AK-Sen: This is pretty lulzy - Lisa Murkowski is busy reassuring people that she'll still have the support of K Street as she pursued her write-in bid. In a year like this, that's the message you want to run on? It's even sadder that she probably feels like she has to reassure her corporate masters that she's still there for them.
DE-Sen: Merry meet and blessed be! Bill Maher unearths a 1999 clip of Christine O'Donnell (a frequent guest on his show), and promises there's more where this came from:
I dabbled into witchcraft - I never joined a coven. But I did, I did. ... I dabbled into witchcraft. I hung around people who were doing these things. I'm not making this stuff up. I know what they told me they do. [...]
One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar, and I didn't know it. I mean, there's little blood there and stuff like that. ... We went to a movie and then had a midnight picnic on a satanic altar.
Yesterday, though, O'Donnell decided to skip visits to some other satanic altars, namely Sunday talk shows "FOX News Sunday" and CBS's "Face the Nation." Dissing Bob Schieffer I can understand - I mean, that's straight out of the Sarah Palin/Sharron Angle hide-in-a-deep-underground-bunker playbook. But the friendly confines of FOX? How will she get a job there when she moves on to her next gig in the grifter's circuit?
AK-Gov: Last week we learned the disappointing news that Republican Bill Walker, who scored 30% running against Gov. Sean Parnell, would not make a third-party gubernatorial bid. But now he's saying that Lisa Murkowski has inspired him and he might yet wage a write-in campaign. Godspeed, good buddy!
IL-Gov: GOP-affiliated robopollster We Ask America has their first survey of the race, finding Republican Bob Brady at 42, Gov. Pat Quinn at 32, and everybody's favorite, Scott Lee Cohen, at 5.
NY-Gov: Speaking of SLC, it looks like the NY GOP has a reverse Scott Lee Cohen situation on their hands. Basically, the less-crazy guy - Greg Edwards, who was supposed to be Rick Lazio's running-mate, won the Republican Lt. Gov. nomination. Revolting meat-bucket (and, dear lord, gubernatorial nominee) Carl Paladino preferred many-time loser Tom Ognibene instead. There's chatter now that Edwards may stay on the ballot but not really run, or will try to drop out (a somewhat tricky proposition in NY). If he does successfully bail, the state GOP would appoint a replacement (presumably Ognibene, if Paladino's in charge). Anyhow, I suggest you click through for Celeste Katz's full story, because there are so many layers and permutations to this story that I simply can't summarize them all.
Ognibene may be the only guy actually not running away from Paladino as fast as he can. GOP comptroller nominee Harry Wilson has refused to endorse Paladino, and attorney general nominee Dan Donovan is basically saying the same thing. Haven't seen any word yet as to whether senate nominee Joe DioGuardi feels the same way.
CO-03: Republican Scott Tipton is now saying he's no longer a Seventeenther (you know, a maniac who wants to get rid of the direct election of United States senators), despite having answered a teabagger survey on that very question in the affirmative. He's also claiming that he doesn't want to abolish the Department of Education. Live by the yes-no question, die by the yes-no question.
MO-04: Another day, another Dem gets endorsed by the NRA. This time, it's veteran Ike Skelton.
NY-15: Adam Clayton Powell, who took just 25% against Charlie Rangel's 53% in a fractured field, is saying he already has plans to run again. Of course, this district's lines (and even number) could change substantially before 2012.
NY-19: Big Dog Alert (retroactive)! Bill Clinton did a fundraiser for Rep. John Hall in Cortland Manor this past weekend. Of course, Clinton lives ("lives") just outside the 19th CD in Chappaqua (in the 18th).
PA-10: In a previous digest, we related the story of then-U.S. Attorney Tom Marino providing a personal reference for "businessman" Louis DeNaples's bid to get a casino license - while DeNaples (euphemistically described as "having possible ties to organized crime") was under investigation by Marino's office. These dealings led to Marino's resignation in 2007 (and, surprise surprise, he soon wound up with a nice sinecure as DeNaples's in-house counsel). Marino claimed in April that the Department of Justice gave him permission to serve as a reference to DeNaples (then why did you resign?), but has never provided any proof. Now the AP is saying that a DoJ source tells them that there is no evidence that Marino ever received such authorization. The heat is on.
DCCC: The D-Trip has added Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Bill Keating (MA-10) to Red to Blue.
DC-Mayor: Deposed incumbent Dem Adrian Fenty says he won't try to run in the general as a Republican. Given that there are probably 19 registered Republicans in the entire district, I'm not sure how this was even an idea in the first place.
Polltopia: Go tell Public Policy Polling where to poll next.
DE-Sen: DSCC ad says Christine O'Donnell will "fit right in in Washington," thanks to her personal fiscal irresponsibility. Uh, do they remember who is in charge in DC?
IL-Sen: CQ reports that the DSCC is set to go up here this week for a quarter mil, but no links to actual ads yet
PA-Sen: Joe Sestak's new ad compares his navy service to Pat Toomey's service on behalf of Wall Street
FL-Gov: Two Alex Sink ads, one dinging Rick Scott for harping on endlessly about Obama, the other talking about schools
NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo's second spot, featuring an endorsement from a former state Republican Party chair
MA-10: Fresh off his primary win last week, Dem Bill Keating is up with an ad on a good issue: his pledge not to raise the retirement age for Social Security (contrasting with his Republican opponent's desire to do so)
MI-07: SEIU spot hitting GOPer Tim Walberg for failing to support the auto industry and wanting to eliminate Social Security (CQ says buy is for $250K)
NC-11: Two spots from Heath Shuler: the first a touching ad about his efforts to build new veterans' health clinics, the second hammering Jeff Miller for supporting the bad kind of SSP
NH-01: Carol Shea-Porter's first ad, a mostly positive spot emphasizing that "whether it's popular or not," she "always fights for what she believes in,"
NY-19: George Pataki's PAC Revere America has a spot hitting John Hall with scaaaaary music over his vote in support of healthcare reform
NY-23: Bill Owens' first ad, which redistricting geeks will appreciate, emphasizing just how big the district is physically
NY-24: Richard Hanna personally narrates a negative ad attacking Mike Arcuri for his support of the stimulus and bailouts - I think it's pretty effective
OH-13: GOPer Tom Ganley's spot touts his work with the FBI (as a civilian) to bring down some mob extortionists
NRCC: CQ rounds up ads targeting Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-03), Bryan Lentz (PA-07), Paul Kanjorski (PA-11) and John Adler (NJ-03) (click here for Adler ad)
Americans for Job Security: The right-wing front group is launching some huge buys: $443K against Mike Arcuri (NY-24), $526K against Larry Kissell (NC-08), and $712K against Heath Shuler (NC-11)
NY-19: Curses! Those meddling ophthalmologists! The (non-rogue) American Academy Of Ophthalmology, Inc. Political Committee (aka OPHTHPAC) is throwing down $143K on behalf of one of their own, Republican eye doctor Nan Hayworth (NY-19)
• Election results: Yesterday's big event was the special election in FL-19, the first real electoral test after the passage of HCR. The allegedly massive opposition to healthcare reform on the part of the district's many seniors never really materialized. Democratic state Sen. Ted Deutch beat Republican Ed Lynch 62-35, with very little falloff from Obama's 65-34 performance in 2008. (Contrast that with John Garamendi's so-so 53-43 performance in November's CA-10 special election, a similarly 65-33 district in 2008.)
I should also pause to offer a little credit to Texas's Republicans, who voted for the less crazy candidates in the Board of Education and Supreme Court runoffs, and in a bigger surprise to me, for the Hispanic-surnamed candidates in the TX-17 and TX-23 runoffs (which, based on incumbent Victor Carrillo's trouncing in the Railroad Commissioner primary, seemed unlikely to happen). The NRCC has to be pleased to see the wealthier and less wingnutty Bill Flores and Quico Canseco emerge. Rep. Chet Edwards, however, is one guy who knows how to stand and fight, and he wasted no time hitting Flores hard and defining him as a carpetbagger in big oil's pocket.
One other leftover issue from last night: two races in California, as expected, are headed to runoffs. In Republican-held SD-12, Republican Assemblyman Bill Emmerson will face off against Democrat Justin Blake (the GOPers combined got more than 60% of the vote, so this is a likely hold), while in safely-Democratic AD-43, Democratic lawyer Mike Gatto will face off with Republican Sunder Ramani to replace now-LA city councilor Paul Krekorian. Gatto seemed to shoot the gap in this heavily Armenian-American district after the two Armenian candidates, Chahe Keuroghelian and Nayiri Nahabedian, nuked each other.
• AR-Sen: Bill Halter's primary campaign gained more momentum, as he picked up an endorsement from the Alliance for Retired Americans, pleased with his time as a Social Security Administration official. One group that really isn't getting on board with Halter, though, is the Berry family; first outgoing Rep. Marion Berry dissed Halter, and now his son, Mitch, is head of a group, Arkansans for Common Sense, that's running ads attacking Halter on the Social Security front. (Are there any Arkansans who are actually against common sense?)
• CO-Sen: Looks like GOP establishment candidate Jane Norton sees the handwriting on the wall and is taking a page from Democrat Michael Bennet's book: not able to rely on getting on the ballot via activist-dominated convention (where teabagger-fueled Ken Buck seems likely to triumph), she's making plans to qualify by finding 1,500 signatures in each of the state's seven congressional districts. Speaking of Bennet, he's still the fundraising kingpin in this race; he just announced he raised $1.4 million last quarter, well ahead of Norton's $816K.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist may have sounded Shermanesque last week in his determination not to switch to an Independent bid for Governor, but apparently now there's increasing moves within his inner circle to move in that direction. Unnamed advisors are floating the idea to the WSJ today.
• IN-Sen: Dan Coats seems to be having more trouble making the transition from the free-wheelin' world of high-stakes lobbying back to the humdrum electoral politics world, where you actually have to follow the rules and stuff. He's 10 days overdue on filing his finance disclosure reports with the FEC. One note that the Beltway press seemed to miss though: his main GOP primary opponent, ex-Rep. John Hostettler hasn't made his filing yet either. (Of course, fundraising was never Hostettler's strong suit. Or even his weak suit.)
• NC-Sen (pdf): PPP issued its latest installment in polls of the Senate general election in its home state. Maybe the biggest surprise is that incumbent Republican Richard Burr's approvals are just continuing to fall; he's currently at 32/41 (while likeliest opponent Elaine Marshall is in positive territory at 19/11). Also encouraging, I suppose, is that the actual human Democrats are starting to draw even with Generic D (while previous polls have had Generic D far outpacing them), showing they're getting better-defined. Burr leads Generic D 43-38, while he leads Marshall 43-37, and leads both Cal Cunningham and Kenneth Lewis 43-35.
• NY-Sen-B: With ex-Gov. George Pataki's phantom interest in this race finally having been dispelled, Swing State Project is removing this race from its "Races to Watch" list.
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): One more poll in the rapidly-becoming-overpolled Pennsylvania Senate race, this time from Republican pollster Susequehanna. They use an LV model, and find Pat Toomey with a 48-38 lead over Arlen Specter. Of more immediate consequence, they find Specter leading Joe Sestak 42-28 in the Dem primary. They also polled both primaries in the gubernatorial race, finding Dan Onorato seeming to break away from the ill-defined pack among the Dems. Onorato is at 32, followed by Joe Hoeffel at 13, Jack Wagner at 6, and Anthony Williams at 4. Tom Corbett beats down Sam Rohrer on the GOP side, 50-7. After marshaling his resources, Specter is finally starting to open fire; he's up with his first TV ad of the cycle starting today.
• WI-Sen: The only thing that's sure is that Tommy Thompson likes to see his name in the press. There's been a lot of conflicting reporting about Tommy Thompson today, with many outlets running with the story that he's decided against running for Senate (that all traces back to one leak to a local TV station, although it sounds like Politico got some confirmation from an anonymous GOP source). Other outlets are emphasizing that Thompson's spokesperson says that Thompson hasn't made a final decision, though. Either way, Thompson will be announcing his plans at a Tea Party rally tomorrow in Madison, so our pain will be ended tomorrow one way or the other.
• MA-Gov: Here's more evidence for my expectation that Dem-turned-indie Tim Cahill will be running to the right (or at least to the incoherent-angry-working-class-Catholic-guy-position) of the Republican in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race this year. He's appearing at today's Tea Party rally on Boston Common today, the same one with Sarah Palin that Scott Brown ditched (although MA-10 candidate Joe Malone and GOP gubernatorial underdog Christy Mihos will be there). Likely GOP gubernatorial nominee Charlie Baker (from the party's old-school moderate WASP tradition) decided against attending, probably out of fears that he might get jostled by some ruffian and spill some of his gin and tonic on his white Bermuda shorts.
• MN-Gov: Two blasts from the past in the Minnesota gubernatorial race. Walter Mondale weighed in in favor of Democratic state House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, while a guy I've never heard of named Al Quie, who claims to have been governor from 1979 to 1983, endorsed Republican Marty Seifert.
• NE-Gov: Via press release, the campaign for Democratic candidate Mark Lakers let us know that he took in $314K, impressive considering his late entry to the campaign.
• AL-07: State Rep. Earl Hilliard Jr. got an endorsement from the United Steelworkers, a union that seems to still have a lot of clout in Birmingham, once a major steel town.
• AZ-03: Now here's some news I didn't expect: the fundraising champ in the 3rd isn't one of the many state legislators running here, but rather attorney (and vice-presidential progeny) Ben Quayle. He pulled in $550K in the first quarter, thanks no doubt to family connections. There are a couple other self-funders in the race too, but the elected officials seem to be lagging: case in point, well-known ex-state Sen. Pamela Gorman, who raised only $37K and ends with $23K CoH.
• FL-24: Rep. Suzanne Kosmas announced a haul of $260K for the first quarter. That's less than the $340K reported by her likely GOP opponent, steakhouse mogul Craig Miller (although a slab of his money was apparently carved out of his own personal funds); Kosmas has a big CoH advantage, though, sitting on more than $1 million.
• GA-07: Retiring Republican Rep. John Linder didn't look far to endorse a replacement for him: he gave his nod to his former chief of staff, Rob Woodall.
• HI-01: Sen. Dan Inouye just transferred $100K of his money to the DCCC, despite appearances that they're actively backing Ed Case, rather than Colleen Hanabusa, who has the support of Inouye (and pretty much everyone else in the local Democratic establishment). Inouye has apparently been working behind the scenes, including reaching out to Nancy Pelosi, to get the DCCC to dial back their Case support, so maybe the cash infusion will give him a little more leverage. (Inouye is sitting on $3.2 million and faces little if any opposition this year.)
• IN-03: Nice fundraising numbers from Democrat Tom Hayhurst, who ran a surprisingly close race against Rep. Mark Souder in 2006 and is back for another try. Hayhurst has racked up $234K CoH, more than Souder ($99K in the first quarter).
• IN-05: Politico has a look at Rep. Dan Burton's difficult primary in the 5th, in Indianapolis's dark-red suburbs. While Burton may actually be safer this year compared with 2008 (since he has four opponents instead of just one), the article traces the roots of the local GOP's discontent with him, and also shows the magnitude of his collapse in support: only 2 of the 11 local party organizations are supporting Burton this time.
• MO-08: Another Dem in a dark-red seat who keeps impressing everybody with his tenacity is Tommy Sowers. The veteran and college instructor, who's challenging Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, raised $295K in the first quarter and is now sitting on $675K CoH.
• NM-02: Ex-Rep. Steve Pearce can write himself his own checks if he needs to, but he may not need to at this rate. Pearce raised $277K in the first quarter, and now sits on $708K. Democratic Rep. Harry Teague hasn't reported yet, but in the duel of wealthy oil guys, he can self-fund too if need be.
• NY-14: With Democratic primary challenger Reshma Saujani having some success on the financial front, Rep. Carolyn Maloney got some top-tier help from Barack Obama, who endorsed her and sent out a fundraising appeal on her behalf.
• PA-11: If this doesn't wake up Rep. Paul Kanjorski from his nap, I don't know what will. Three-time Republican opponent Lou Barletta raised $300K in the first quarter. An important caveat: there was no mention of cash on hand, which is telling because Barletta was still saddled with a lot of debt from his 2008 campaign when he decided to run again. (UPDATE: Barletta's CoH is now $205K.)
• PA-17: Republican state Sen. David Argall raised a tolerable but not-too-impressive $125K in the first quarter. He'll need more than that to battle Rep. Tim Holden, who, if nothing else, has great survival skills (he had the worst district of any freshman who survived 1994, and then survived a 2002 gerrymander designed to rub him out). In fact, he'll need more than that just for his primary; heretofore unknown GOP opponent ex-Marine Frank Ryan raised $70K in the first quarter.
• Redistricting: Maryland beat out New York to be the first state in the nation to enact legislation that will, in terms of redistricting, treat prisoners as residents of their last known address, rather than where they're incarcerated (and thus move the center of gravity back toward the cities from the countryside). Also, on the redistricting front, if there's one group of people who are the target audience for a whole movie about redistricting (Gerrymandering), it's the crowd at SSP. The film's director has a diary up, touting its release in two weeks at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Former New York Republican Gov. George E. Pataki has decided not to mount an election challenge against Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand this fall.
Instead, he said in an interview Tuesday that he would create a new national organization aimed at building support to repeal the recently enacted health-care overhaul.
What a douchebag -- but that's beside the point. Pataki has consistently posted strong performances in hypothetical head-to-heads against Gillibrand (including a Q-Poll released just today showing him leading by five points), so Democrats lucked out with this one - though Pataki never appeared very interested in running in the first place. Gillibrand appears to be one of the only potentially vulnerable Democratic senators who'll escape a serious challenge from the GOP this year.
• Special elections/Runoffs: Believe it or not, it's a busy election night tonight. Top of the list is the special election in FL-19, where the successor to Robert Wexler will be chosen. In this D+15 district in the more middle-class parts of the Gold Coast, the Democrat, state Sen. Ted Deutch, is heavily favored. The parties haven't gotten involved, and Republican Ed Lynch (who lost a lopsided decision to Wexler in 2008) is hamstrung by the presence of independent right-wing candidate Jim McCormick.
It's runoff day in Texas, with almost all the action on the GOP side. TX-17, between self-funder Bill Flores and 2008 candidate Rob Curnock, and TX-23, between self-funder Quico Canseco and ex-CIA agent William Hurd, are the marquee races as far as the U.S. House goes. There are also some GOP runoffs in some state House races, an interesting mixed bag of open seat succession races, teabaggish challenges to GOP incumbents, and challenges to vulnerable Dems. Finally, there's a culture war clash between just-very conservative and super-duper conservative in two statewide contests: one for the Supreme Court (with Rick Green, the former state Rep. known for punching the guy who beat him in 2002, representing Team Crazy), and one for the Board of Education (between Marsha Farney and Brian Russell, with Russell the movement conservative here).
Finally, there's some state legislature action in Massachusetts, California, and Florida. Primaries for two state Senate seats are in Massachusetts, the ones held by now-Sen. Scott Brown and now-disgraced Anthony Gallucio. This is the de facto election in Gallucio's dark-blue seat, seeing as how no Republicans are running, but the winner between state Rep. Lida Harkins and doctor Peter Smulowitz in the Dem primary will face off against GOP state Rep. Richard Ross on May 11 to succeed Brown. In California, there are two legislative specials; using the California system, each one will likely head to a runoff (unless someone in the cluttered fields breaks 50%). Both seats will likely turn out to be holds: SD-37 is in Republican exurban Riverside County, while AD-43 is in Democratic Glendale in LA County. And in the Florida Panhandle, dark-red HD-04 should be an easy Republican hold.
• AR-Sen: Looks like Blanche Lincoln picked the wrong week to stop acting like a Democrat. She got seriously outraised by Bill Halter in the first quarter, earning $1.3 million (Halter got $2 mil). She also spent more than she earned, running a blitz of TV ads, probably to the tune of $2 million, as her cash on hand dropped $700K --although it's still a high $4.7 million. Still no word yet from the race's key Republicans.
• CA-Sen: Carly Fiorina filled in the last blank in the California Senate race; her fundraising total for the first quarter was $1.7 million, edging out Tom Campbell (who pulled in $1.6 million). Both GOPers lagged Barbara Boxer's $2.4 million.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist is still trying to find something that'll stick to Marco Rubio, and he's trying again to link ex-state House speaker Rubio to some of the other less savory elements among legislative leadership. He's up with a new ad trying Rubio to another former speaker, Ray Sansom, who's currently under indictment for charges of falsifying state budget items.
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias is lagging Mark Kirk on the cash front; he raised $1.2 million last quarter, compared with Kirk's $2.2 million. Giannoulias didn't release cash on hand figures, which may not be too impressive either considering that he had to fight through a competitive primary.
• NC-Sen (pdf): PPP looked at the primaries only in the North Carolina Senate race (they're on May 4). On the Dem side, former state Sen. Cal Cunningham is still within striking distance of SoS Elaine Marshall; she leads Cunningham 23-17, with Kenneth Lewis at 9 and 5% for assorted minor candidates. (Last month, Marshall led Cunningham and Lewis 20-16-11.) On the GOP side, Richard Burr is at 67%, with his closest competition, Brad Jones, at 7.
• NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov: Quinnipiac finds a lot of same-ol'-same-ol' in the Empire State: Andrew Cuomo crushing, and Kirsten Gillibrand crushing anyone non-Pataki. Gillibrand trails non-candidate George Pataki 45-40 but leads actual candidate Bruce Blakeman 47-25 (none of the other third-tier GOPers get polled); she's also sporting her highest-ever approvals, at 47/25. (Pataki beats Blakeman in a GOP primary, 64-15.) On the Governor's side, Rick Lazio is still poised to be GOP nominee; he leads Steve Levy and Carl Paladino 34-11-11 (note that the poll was in the field prior to the whole bestiality thing). Andrew Cuomo dispatches Lazio 55-26, Levy 57-24, and Paladino 60-24.
• OH-Sen: I'd assumed Lee Fisher had been on the air before, but he's just now launching his first TV spots of his campaign with the primary only weeks away (apparently marshaling his resources for the general). Fisher also pulled down the endorsement of Cleveland mayor Frank Johnson, although he didn't gain the backing of his own home town's Democratic party (in Shaker Heights), which instead declined to endorse.
• PA-Sen: Here's a bit of a surprise: Joe Sestak succeeded in his ballot challenge, getting last-minute conservadem entrant Joe Vod Varka kicked out of the Democratic primary, setting up a two-man fight against Arlen Specter. If Sestak's going to have any hope of knocking off Specter, he'll need to consolidate every anti-Specter vote (and also not have the Slovak-American vote -- a big segment in western Pennsylvania -- split).
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold had a successful fundraising quarter, considering right now he's only running against the specter of Tommy Thompson. Feingold earned $1.34 million, leaving him with $4.26 million CoH.
• FL-Gov: Rick Scott has decided, rather belatedly, to throw his hat in the ring in the Republican field in the Governor's race. If the name's familiar, he's a former hospital-industry businessman who funded much of the initial anti-HCR astroturfing efforts via his organization Conservatives for Patient Rights. He's sound teabaggish themes about establishment candidate AG Bill McCollum (despite McCollum taking the lead on the GOP AGs' anti-HCR lawsuit). Considering that state Sen. Paula Dockery is already trying to run against McCollum from the right and getting no traction, it's hard to see Scott going anywhere with this, though.
• NM-Gov: Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, the lone Dem in the race, is dominating the fundraising front; she raised $1.1 million in the six-month reporting period and has $2.6 million CoH. Among the GOPers, former state party chair Allen Weh leads both in money raised ($691K, although $500K was a personal loan) and CoH ($544K). Dona Ana County DA Susana Martinez raised $428K and sits on $364K CoH.
• PA-Gov: Here's a blow to, well, everybody in the Democratic field; after not being able to find two-thirds support for anybody, the AFL-CIO won't be endorsing any particular candidate in the Dem primary. Former Philadephia city controller Jonathan Saidel got their Lt. Gov. endorsement.
• AL-05: Party-switching Rep. Parker Griffith (most recently in the news for forgetting his party-switch and billing the DCCC for expenditures) surprised his GOP primary opponents at a debate by asking them sign a unity pledge that the losers of the primary would campaign for the winner in November. No thanks, said both Mo Brooks and Les Philip.
• DE-AL: Looks like wealthy self-funder Michelle Rollins, the NRCC's preferred recruit in the race, has some competition on the big bucks front in the GOP primary. Real estate developer Glen Urquhart just announced that he has $512K in his account (of course, $500K of that came from his own pocket).
• FL-08: Alan Grayson had another big fundraising quarter, thanks in large part to netroots moneybombing (especially his March event which brought in $500K). He raised $803K in the last three months, bringing his CoH total to $1.5 million (along with the possibility of writing checks to himself).
• HI-01: CQ has an interesting piece on HI-01 that focuses primarily on just how difficult it is (especially for "mainland" pollsters) to poll in Hawaii. With only two polls of this race having seen light of day so far, the main takeaway may be that anyone's guess is as good as mine where the race stands.
• MI-01: One of the top Republicans on everyone's candidate list for the newly-opened seat in MI-01 has said that he won't run. State House minority leader Kevin Elsenheimer said he won't run, even though he's termed out of the House and needs something else to do. (Elsenheimer, from the Traverse City area, is disadvantaged by not coming from the Upper Peninsula portion of the district.)
• MS-04: Here's one other eye-catching fundraising note: a Dem incumbent who got outraised by Republican opposition previously considered inconsequential. Rep. Gene Taylor raised $41K and has $221K CoH, while GOP state Rep. Steven Palazzo raised $125K and has at least $100K CoH. Let's hope Taylor doesn't hit the "snooze" button for another quarter. National Journal's latest fundraising outline also has noteworthy numbers from Charlie Dent (PA-15), Dan Debicella (CT-04), and Rick Crawford (AR-01).
• Redistricting: With the Fair Districts redistricting initiative seeming destined to make the ballot in Florida, now the Republican-controlled legislature is trying to get its own redistricting initiative on the ballot, in an apparent effort to clarify (or gut) the Fair Districts proposals. The Senate's proposal deals with the thorny questions of VRA-mandated districts and communities of interest, which aren't addressed in satisfactory manner by the original initiatives, which forbid designing districts in a manner that is favorable to one party or the other.
• Demographics: Josh Goodman has an interesting look at population change in Texas, similar to some work we've done at SSP over the last few years; he finds that while Texas's largest counties are becoming swingier, its fastest-growing counties are still pretty solidly Republican (although the growth in these counties is in demographics that aren't likely Republican). Of course, the parts of the state that are becoming less and less of the state, percentage-wise -- the rural parts -- have become even more conservative than the fast-growing exurbs, so in a way that's progress too.
• AZ-Sen: Looks like the Maverick has finally been broken (as he's decided that it's preferable to spend six years chewing his cud while fenced in the GOP pasture, instead of getting sent prematurely to the glue factory). In the face of a potentially serious primary from the right from J.D. Hayworth, John McCain says not only is he no longer a maverick, but he "never considered himself a maverick." (Except for in all those campaign ads from two years ago?) In response, Hayworth said McCain is trying to "encourage amnesia."
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov: There's a new LA Times/USC poll of the two major races in California, with a mixed bag of results for Democrats. Like most pollsters, they find that Republican Meg Whitman has pulled into a small lead over Jerry Brown in the governor's race, thanks to her nonstop deluge of self-funded advertising; she leads Brown 44-41, while she leads Steve Poizner in the GOP primary 60-20. On the Senate side, Barbara Boxer leads a Generic Republican by a surprisingly wide 48-34. Polling Generic R seems pretty weird, though, considering that there are only two likely opponents for her: Tom Campbell leads Carly Fiorina in the GOP primary 29-25, with Chuck DeVore lagging at 9. One other bit of good news for Dems: by a 46-29 margin, voters prefer to back a candidate who backed health care reform.
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet is playing it safe, making plans for a petition drive to make sure his name is on the ballot in November. He needs at least 30% at the Democratic state convention to qualify, but his Plan B seems to be an acknowledgment that he may be facing a rough time at the convention too. Remember that he lost at the caucus level to former state House speaker Andrew Romanoff (whose main source of strength seems to be insiders and activists, rather than the broader population).
• IN-Sen: CQ takes a look at the NRSC's private teeth-gnashing over the possibility that kooky ex-Rep. John Hostettler might beat ex-Sen. Dan Coats in the primary, something that can't be ruled out in an anti-establishment year like this one. They'd then have to decide whether they want to financially prop up Hostettler, a legendarily poor fundraiser who's relied on shoestring campaigns and religious right ground troops. Still, a reasonably competent Hostettler ought to be able to make short work of Coats in the GOP primary, given the amount of material he has to work with: for instance, it turns out that Coats, when lobbying for King & Spaulding, lobbied Congress in favor of cap and trade, the same legislation he claims he now opposes.
• NV-Sen: If there's one reason not to quite count out Harry Reid yet, it's his ability to bring in the campaign cash. He brought in more than $1.5 million for the quarter, giving him more than $10 million in receipts so far this cycle. Sue Lowden, ostensibly the GOP's top contender, says she raised about $500K and will match that dollar-for-dollar from her own personal stash. Danny Tarkanian raised $445K last quarter.
• NY-Sen-B (pdf): These numbers are a little stale, but we found there were some more useful numbers buried in that Marist poll from last week where the topline was just the usual rigamarole about the Kirsten Gillibrand vs. George Pataki matchup that's very unlikely to happen (especially not if Al D'Amato has anything to say about it). They also tested some head-to-heads with the lesser GOPers who are actually in the race: Gillibrand beats Bruce Blakeman 54-25, Joe DioGuardi 54-27, and David Malpass 54-25. They also looked at the GOP primary, finding DioGuardi winning it with 18, followed by Blakeman at 10, Malpass at 9, and non-candidate Dan Senor at 4. A permutation including Pataki finds Pataki at 62, with DioGuardi at 7, Blakeman at 4, and Malpass and Senor at 2. In other news, Gillibrand picked up an endorsement today from one of her biggest skeptics, Assemblyman and Kings Co. Dem chair Vito Lopez. Lopez had been considering backing Harold Ford Jr., way back in those heady days of February.
• WA-Sen: Dino Rossi is still saying he's "completely undecided" about running for Senate, but will do it if he thinks he has a "50% chance" of winning. Here's one more bit that might help move his decision along, though: financially, he'd be starting from scratch against Patty Murray, who raked in another $1 million last quarter, bringing her total war chest to $5.9 million.
• AL-Gov: I gather from the comments that SSP is full of mustache aficionados, and this news might prove heartbreaking to them: Ron Sparks shaved off his legendary 'stache. He says this was a spur-of-the-moment decision at the barber shop (and hopefully not the result of thorough focus grouping?). I just hope Travis Childers doesn't decide to follow suit.
• NY-Gov: Wealthy businessman Carl Paladino has decided to go ahead with his teabaggish-sounding campaign for Governor, kicking off his bid today in Buffalo. He'll be running in the GOP primary, although he'd previously made noises about a possible independent run. Unfortunately, his rollout might be overshadowed by other news today... that he had a daughter with his mistress 10 years ago, and kept the child secret from his wife until last year.
• OH-Gov: In response to pressure to release his financials, John Kasich released his 2008 tax returns. Kasich earned $615K from now-kaput Lehman Brothers in 2008, including $183K base and a $432K bonus (but no "golden parachute" as Lehman Brothers collapsed). Oh, by the way, he also earned $265K as a Fox News commentator, $166K in speaking fees, $62K as an associate for Schottenstein Property Group, $45K as an Ohio State Univ. lecturer, $77K for being on the board of directors of two companies, and $122K in interest and dividends. Just your average teabagging Joe Lunchpail.
• HI-01: Charles Djou is trying to get some mileage out of the fact that neither Ed Case nor Colleen Hanabusa lives in HI-01. This kind of thing usually doesn't matter much even in most other states, and seems to matter even less in Hawaii, though, where the island of Oahu gets split between the two districts and no one seems to care that Mazie Hirono lives in the 1st instead of HI-02.
• CO-04: Rep. Betsy Markey is near the top of most people's vulnerable Dems lists, especially after her pro-HCR vote, but her cash haul may go along way toward allaying fears. She pulled in $505K, with $355K of that coming between Mar. 21 (the HCR vote) and Mar. 31. Her vote (plus being in Sarah Palin's sorta-metaphorical crosshairs) seems to have helped, not hurt. Likely GOP opponent Cory Gardner raised only $75K last quarter after the HCR vote.
• ND-AL: One GOPer who is doing well on the fundraising front is state Rep. Rick Berg, who pulled in $483K in the first quarter. $330K of that came in the last 10 days of the quarter, although that seems to have more to do with his winning the state party's endorsement rather than the HCR vote. Most of the rest of that took the form of $100K from his own pocket. Between this and the downdraft from John Hoeven at the top of the ballot, looks like Rep. Earl Pomeroy's in for a real race this year.
• PA-06: Doug Pike picked up another labor endorsement, and it's a big one: the AFL-CIO. They also backed Paul Kanjorski in the 11th, who's being challenged by Corey O'Brien in the primary.
• RI-01: Here's one more huge House Democratic fundraising haul, although this isn't a race that the DCCC has been sweating too hard. Providence mayor David Cicilline pulled in a huge $725K (although some of that was checks re-written away from his mayoral fund to his newly-established House fund). His main Democratic rival, former state party chair William Lynch, raised $230K (including $100K of his own money).
• TX-17: Bill Flores pulled in an endorsement that will help in his GOP primary runoff against Rob Curnock, from perhaps the most unlikable man in the entirety of American politics, ex-Sen. Phil Gramm. In fact, that district may be conservative enough that it might still be a positive in the general.
• LA-LG: Republican SoS Jay Dardenne's plan for an easy upgrade to the position of Lt. Governor (left vacant by Mitch Landrieu's move to mayor of New Orleans) ran into a bit of a snag. He's facing GOP primary opposition now from the state GOP chair, Roger Villere.
• CA-Init: Proposition 15 looks to be the only interesting initiative on the June primary ballot in California, and it lays some important groundwork for countering the flood of corporate money into elections. The Fair Elections Act, as it's called, is a pilot program for public financing of state races; if passed, it'll publicly fund the 2014 and 2018 Secretary of State races, which, if successful, could lead to a broader system.
• Fundraising: There are a number of other fundraising roundups today, courtesy of National Journal's Reid Wilson and also the crew at TPM. Other highlights include Tom Campbell, Pat Toomey, Bob Dold!, Colleen Hanabusa, Bruce O'Donoghue, and various OR-Gov contestants.
• Teabaggers: Ed Kilgore continues his hot streak of dismantling the myth of the teabaggers, pointing to today's Gallup/USA Today poll as more evidence that they're nothing more than louder, angrier Republicans (who'd like access to a time machine). Only 7% say they're Democrats, and while many say they're independents, all evidence suggests they're not from the center but those indies who think the GOP is too establishment, too liberal, or just too unsalvageable.
• RNC: You might remember several weeks ago the RNC lost a case in the D.C. District Court, squelching their desires for unlimited "soft money" contributions, which they felt they should be able to do in the wake of Citizens United. The RNC has decided to go ahead and appeal the case to the Supreme Court, although it doesn't seem likely it'll be decided in time for this year's general election. (If you're wondering why the case is bypassing the DC Circuit, McCain-Feingold allows challenges to it to leapfrog directly from the trial level to SCOTUS.)
• Census: Here's an interesting tidbit: despite her early anti-Census fearmongering, Michele Bachmann's district is actually well outpacing much of the nation on Census form return rates. Counties in her district have had an especially high return rate, ranging from 68-71% (compared with the current national average of 50%). Perhaps Republicans have decided it's better in the long-term to, y'know, get conservative parts of the country to get accurately represented, rather than to try to appeal to the black-helicopters fringes, if Karl Rove cutting an ad urging Census participation is any indication.
• O2B: Finally, over at the Great Orange Satan, there's an open call for nominations for the Orange to Blue program. Stop by and suggest some names of candidates who should get the netroots' financial help this year.
AR-Sen: Bill Halter has a new ad up going after Sen. Blanche Lincoln for her vote in favor of TARP - aka the bailout. As is all too often the case with these kinds of reports, there's no indication of how big the ad buy is.
CA-Sen, CA-Gov: Man, the news cycle moves fast these days. The RNC bondage-themed nightclub scandal (which I'm sure you've read all about) already had some same-day blowback. GOP senate candidate Chuck DeVore says he's "severed all ties" with Erik Brown, a consultant who seems to be responsible for the expenses racked up at Voyeur West Hollywood. The Daily Caller (which broke the story originally) also says that Brown did work for Republican gubernatorial hopeful Steve Poizner. Meanwhile, Politico's Dave Catanese tweets that freshman Sen. Claire McCaskill is sending out a fundraising email for Barbara Boxer.
CT-Sen: In the somewhat strange Connecticut Republican senate primary, Paulist economist Peter Schiff has put out his first TV ad... and it doesn't mention that he's a Republican. Schiff is spending half a mil to run the ad statewide for two weeks. Schiff also promised to run in the August primary even if he doesn't get the party nomination at the May convention.
KS-Sen: Things have gotten a little worse for Todd Tiahrt in his race against Jerry Moran in the GOP primary to succeed outgoing Sen. Sam Brownback: SUSA now shows Moran up 42-32. Two months ago, Moran led by seven points - and by just three two months before that. The Kansas primary is not until August 3rd, so Tiahrt still has time, but he doesn't seem to be gaining much traction.
Trey Grayson, Kentucky's secretary of state, used his latest ad to again hammer his rival, Bowling Green eye surgeon Rand Paul, on national security issues.
"Paul even wonders whether 9/11 was our fault," a female announcer says in the spot that began airing Thursday. The commercial then shows Paul speaking at a Blue Grass Policy Institute forum in March 2009, saying: "Maybe some of the bad things that happen are a reaction to our presence in some of these countries."
I just hope that Grayson doesn't nuke Paul before our nominee (hopefully Jack Conway) gets a chance to pummel him in the general.
NC-Sen: A good get for former state Sen. Cal Cunningham: Gen. Wesley Clark endorsed his fellow Army veteran for the Democratic senate nod. Interestingly, Clark specifically noted Cunningham's support for ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
NY-Sen-B: Marist finds ex-Gov. George Pataki with the narrowest of leads over Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, 47-45, essentially unchanged from last month's 48-45 margin. This is all well and good for Republicans, but Pataki hasn't given the slightest indication that he's interested in running.
GA-Gov: Looks like Nathan Deal didn't quit quite fast enough. The Office of Congressional Ethics found (according to the NYT) that Deal "appeared to have improperly used his office to pressure Georgia officials to continue a vehicle inspection program that generated hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for his family's auto salvage business." I wonder how much of an impact this will have in the governor's race, though, since Deal had mostly been floundering in the polls. Maybe it'll just be the final nail in his political coffin - a suiting end for a party-switching ex-Democrat.
IA-Gov: GOP ex-Gov. and comeback hopeful Terry Branstad is up with his first TV ad of the campaign. No word on the size of the buy, though.
MD-Gov: The Baltimore Sun profiles would-be GOP gubernatorial candidate (and ex-gov) Bob Ehrlich and finds that his current job is "'rainmaker' for the Baltimore branch of North Carolina-based law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice. Ehrlich describes his job as being 'the face of the firm,' with his duties including 'speeches, coffees, dinners, lunches, meetings.'" Sounds like Ehrlich's been working on honing his Dan Coats/Tommy Thompson pedigree.
FL-08: Rep. Alan Grayson, one of the wealthiest members of Congress and a man who has largely self-funded his past campaigns, raised almost half a million dollars in a recent "moneybomb."
NY-13: It looks like the GOP has some primary woes of its own in the 13th CD. Though the Republican establishment is coalescing around former FBI agent Mike Grimm, lawyer Michael Allegretti is vowing to fight on. He's recently gone up with an ad on cable (so presumably a small buy) demanding repeal of the healthcare reform bill.
NY-23: Hah! Could the unlikable Doug Hoffman foment yet another right-wing split? Hoffman is laying claim to the Conservative Party line in this fall's election, and he's making the argument that whoever runs for the Republicans will need both lines in order to win. (Pretty plausible!) This is pissing off local GOP leaders, though, who are taking this as a threat to nominate Hoffman - or else face yet another divided ballot. This is some Fancy Feast-level cat fud we're talking about.
NY-29: A more complete list of candidates interviewed by upstate Dems as potential nominees for the special election to fill ex-Rep. Eric Massa's seat:
Mary Wilmot, an aide to Gov. David Paterson, Assemblyman David Koon of Perinton, past candidate for state Senate and businessman David Nachbar of Pittsford, Southern Tier native Matthew Zeller, and Michael McCormick of Allegany County
Wonder if we might be missing a name, though, since yesterday word was that the Dems would be interviewing six people.
OH-16, OH-18: CQ: "Businessman Jim Renacci, who is taking on freshman Rep. John Boccieri in the 16th district, and state Sen. Bob Gibbs, who is running against two-term Rep. Zack Space in the adjacent 18th district, established a joint fundraising committee, 'Gibbs-Renacci for Congress' and will split the proceeds evenly."
PA-06: Manan Trivedi is chipping away at Doug Pike's big lead among organized labor. He picked up a couple of local union endorsements, from the Transport Workers and the Iron Workers.
TN-08: Republican potentates are showering even more love on Steve Fincher, this time in the form of a campaign tour with GA Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (of "Obama is uppity" fame). Fincher has a lot of money, but like almost every GOP candidate with establishment backing, he faces a primary from ever-truer conservatives.
Census: There's some speculation that anti-government attitudes (and paranoid black-helicopterism) might be the cause of low Census response rates in Texas. Though the biggest challenge for the Census is typically presented by undercounted groups like blacks and Latinos, some of the lowest response rates are in fact coming from very Republican counties. It'll be very interesting to compare response rates and voting history when all is said and done.
Redistricting: Nathan Gonzales has a detailed look at the powers that are gathering on both sides for the upcoming post-census redistricting battle.
• CA-Sen: Ex-Rep. Tom Campbell is getting an endorsement that may boost his cred with the socially conservative right: from the man who couldn't even beat Gray Davis, Bill Simon. Simon hopes socially conservative voters will still take a look at Campbell's fiscal credentials.
• IN-Sen: Retiring Evan Bayh hasn't said anything specific about what he's doing with his gigantic $13 million federal war chest. But a spokesperson gives some hints: "What he has said is that you can expect him to help the Democratic Senate nominee in Indiana and to help like-minded Democrats - people who want to get things done, who are practical and who want to reach out and forge principled compromises."
• KY-Sen: Jack Conway is pointing out an important ideological fracture line, which seems to have gotten little media attention in the Democratic primary in the Bluegrass State. Conway says he supports the health care legislation passed yesterday, while Dan Mongiardo has previously said he'd "throw it out and start over."
• NH-Sen: Speaking of HCR, Kelly Ayotte was quick to abandon her previous flavorless, position-less campaign and get on the "repeal!" bandwagon. With Paul Hodes having been a "yes" in the House, this may become one of the marquee issues in this race, and by extension, the battle for the Senate.
• NY-Sen-B (pdf): Siena has a new poll out of the Empire State which includes a couple head-to-heads in the Senate race. They just won't let up on the George Pataki front, finding that he leads Gillibrand 45-39 in a hypothetical race, while Gillibrand leads actual candidate Bruce Blakeman 48-24. There are a couple other names on the "actual" candidate front they might want to try out instead -- Joe DioGuardi and David Malpass -- and now it looks like one more is poised to get in. Dan Senor apparently has enough Wall Street support behind him to go ahead and launch his bid. One other name who's now saying she won't run, though, is former Lt. Gov. and malfunctioning health insurer spokesbot Betsy McCaughey, who it turns out is backing Malpass.
• MI-Gov (pdf): It turns out there was a lot more meat to that Insider Michigan Politics/Marketing Resource Group poll than what got leaked on Friday. They also looked at the Democratic primary, finding state House speaker Andy Dillon in charge at 21, followed by Lansing mayor Virg Bernero at 9 and state Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith at 6. They also did a whole bunch of general election permutations, all of which were won by the GOPers by suspiciously large margins (at least when compared with other recent polls): Mike Bouchard over Dillon 41-26, Mike Cox over Dillon 44-27, Peter Hoekstra over Dillon 43-27, Rick Snyder over Dillon 42-26, Bouchard over Bernero 45-23, Cox over Bernero 45-26, Hoekstra over Bernero 43-27, and Snyder over Bernero 44-24.
• NY-Gov (pdf): Naturally, Siena also has a gubernatorial half to its poll. They find newly-minted Republican Steve Levy's entry to the field to be rather unwelcome: ex-Rep. Rick Lazio is beating him 45-16 in the GOP primary. Either way, Democratic AG Andrew Cuomo (with a 63/22 approval) seems to have little to worry about; in November, Cuomo beats Lazio and Libertarian candidate Warren Redlich 59-21-3, while beating Levy and Redlich 63-16-4.
• OH-Gov: John Kasich is still reaching out to teabagger nation as his core of backers, and consistent with that, he's having Fox gabber Sean Hannity host a Cincinnati fundraiser for him on April 15. I sure hope Kasich gets a bigger cut of the proceeds than Hannity's military charity recipients seem to.
• OR-Gov: The last big union left to endorse in the Democratic gubernatorial primary finally weighed in, and Oregon's AFSCME went with ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber rather than ex-SoS Bill Bradbury, who'd gotten the teachers' union endorsements. The AFSCME also endorsed newly appointed Treasurer Ted Wheeler in his primary bid against state Sen. Rick Metsger, and also, in an unusual step, endorsed two Republican state Reps. in rural eastern Oregon who voted "yes" on raising income taxes, probably figuring that non-wingnut GOPers is probably the best we're going to do in those districts.
• LA-02: Republican Rep. Joe Cao probably ended any hopes of hanging onto his dark-blue (and 21.7% uninsured) seat by voting against health care reform yesterday, but just in order to emphasize the way in which he slammed the door shut on himself, he also compared abortion as a moral evil comparable to slavery. Because that's a comparison just bound to go over well in his black-majority district.
• MA-10: Former Republican state Treasurer (from the 1990s) Joe Malone made it official: he's running in the 10th to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Bill Delahunt. He'll still have to get past state Rep. Jeff Perry in the GOP primary, though.
• PA-06: Manan Trivedi and Doug Pike traded union endorsements in their Dem primary battle in the 6th. Trivedi got the backing of the Iron Workers local, while Pike got the nod from the local AFSCME.
• PA-12: Bill Russell seems like he just can't take a hint, despite the GOP uniting behind Tim Burns. Russell says he'll write himself in for the special election between Burns and Democrat Mark Critz, in addition to continuing to contest the same-day GOP primary against Burns. Meanwhile, the pro-life Critz's main opponent remaining, Navy vet Ryan Bucchanieri, got an endorsement that ought to give him a financial boost, from the National Organization for Women.
• WV-01: We've heard rumors that the local Democratic establishment wasn't very enthused about propping up Rep. Alan Mollohan, who faces both a credible primary challenge and a self-funding Republican opponent. Here's some of the first public whiff of that: the state Democratic chair, Nick Casey, says he won't be taking sides in the primary battle between Mollohan and state Sen. Mike Oliverio (although he did predict that Mollohan would be the eventual victor).
• Redistricting: Cillizza has a little more background on the Democrats' efforts to gear up for the 2012 redistricting battles, which we discussed last week in terms of the DLCC's efforts. The DGA is getting in on the act, too, with a Harold Ickes-led effort called Project SuRGe (for "Stop Republican Gerrymandering"), also focused on maximizing Dem control of state legislatures.
• Votes: Lots of slicing and dicing in the media today regarding who voted which way, and why, on yesterday's historic health care reform vote. Nate Silver has a bunch of nice charts up, which show that district lean and Reps' overall ideology was much more determinative than whether the Rep. is considered vulnerable in November in terms of a "yes" or "no" vote. And Some Dude over at Salon has a more concise look at Reps who most mismatched their districts with their votes. Finally, if you want to see the "(some) Dems are still doomed" conventional wisdom in full effect, they've got that in spades over at Politico.
• Passings: Our condolences to the Udall family, which lost family patriarch Stewart Udall over the weekend. Udall, 90, was Congressman from Arizona and then John F. Kennedy's Interior Secretary, and many of our environmental protections that we take for granted today bear his stamp.
• $$$: The fundraising quarter is almost over, and Adam B. is opening up another round of "We've Got Your Backs" over at Daily Kos (and cross-posted here), dedicated to showing some (financial) love to the House Dems in the most difficult districts who did the right thing on health care reform.
• CA-Sen: Wow, it actually looks like conservadem blogger Mickey Kaus is forging ahead with his planned challenge to Barbara Boxer; he submitted papers to run in the Democratic primary. It sounds like he's approaching the race with rather limited expectations, though; in an interview with the New York Times, Kaus said that, in comparison to Al Franken: "I do not expect to win, and that is the difference between Franken and me. This is an issue-raising candidacy."
• LA-Sen: The Charlie Melancon camp is offering up another Anzalone-Liszt internal, this one taken in mid-February, to show that things aren't quite as bad off as Rasmussen would have you believe. Melancon's poll shows David Vitter leading him, 48-38.
• NV-Sen: Ex-Assemblywoman Sharron Angle is on the air with a 60-second radio spot, her first of the campaign. It's really more of an ad for the teabaggers than for herself, though, as it focuses on critiquing the TARP program and promoting the Tea Party rally planned for Harry Reid's tiny town of Searchlight.
• NY-Sen-B: There's been a remarkable churn-and-burn of celebrities showing up, saying they're interested in challenging Kirsten Gillibrand, and then backing away after doing the math. This time, it was former state banking official and Michael Bloomberg girlfriend Diana Taylor. Politico is also abuzz about George Pataki's dodging of questions of running for Senate when at a Rick Lazio rally, since of course his basic polite desire not to step on Lazio's message means that Pataki is secretly planning to run for Senate.
• OH-Sen: This guy looks like he's destined to end up with about one or two percent of the vote, but in what could be a super-close race between Lee Fisher and Rob Portman (if recent polling is any indication), that fraction could make all the difference. Surgeon Michael Pryce announced his independent candidacy for the Senate at a Tea Party gathering last week. (Of course, there's still the little matter of his gathering those signatures.)
• PA-Sen: Arlen Specter pulled in another union endorsement over the weekend, and it's one with a lot of boots on the ground: the state chapter of the SEIU, with nearly 100,000 members.
• MN-Gov: Howard Dean is weighing in with a pay-back endorsement in another Democratic gubernatorial primary. This time, it's in Minnesota, and he's backing Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak. Rybak was chair for Dean's 2004 primary campaign in Minnesota.
• OR-Gov: This isn't the kind of news that helps your gubernatorial campaign gain traction. Bill Sizemore, at one point one of the most dominant forces in Oregon's GOP (and still persisting in running for Governor in spite of the odds), is facing three counts of tax evasion. He finally relented and accepted the help of a public defender despite previous plans to go it alone. He hasn't been getting any private donations for his legal defense fund and is working as a landscaper to make ends meet, so he qualifies.
• SC-Gov: Rep. Gresham Barrett's having a hard time washing the stench of Washington off his hands while running for the GOP gubernatorial nod in South Carolina. Under attack over his inside-the-Beltway vote in favor of TARP from inside-the-Beltway group Americans for Job Security, Barrett has decided to use his inside-the-Beltway federal campaign funds to run ads in South Carolina to defend himself, which is permissible because he's defending his voting record rather than touting his gubernatorial campaign.
• UT-02: Despite the entry several months ago of former state Rep. and state party co-chair Morgan Philpot, the GOP is looking for a better option to go against Rep. Jim Matheson. GOP recruiters have been trying to get four-term state Rep. Greg Hughes to get in the race, who apparently offers more gravitas than the young Philpot.
• WA-03: Retiring Rep. Brian Baird took a while to settle on an endorsement for a replacement, but he's going with ex-state Rep. and TVW founder Denny Heck. The Dem establishment (starting with Gov. Chris Gregoire) seems to be coalescing behind Heck, who faces off against liberal state Sen. Craig Pridemore in the primary.
• New York: New York's Working Families Party is laying it all on the line: the party's central committee voted to prohibit the endorsement of any member of Congress who votes against the pending healthcare bill. The WFP's line provided the margin of victory for both Scott Murphy and Bill Owens in their special elections last year. It also (sigh) provided Eric Massa's margin in 2008. (D)
• Demographics: An interesting University of Southern California study points to an trend that got underway in the 1990s that's really started to show up lately in Census estimates: that immigrants to the U.S. are increasingly skipping the traditional ports of entry (New York, Los Angeles) and instead heading directly for the nation's midsize metropolitan areas. The numbers of recent immigrants had the steepest gain, percentage-wise, in places like Nashville, El Paso, Bakersfield, and Stockton.
FL-Sen: Insider Advantage, polling on behalf of the Florida Times Union, confirms what PPP sees in the GOP primary. They have Marco Rubio eviscerating Charlie Crist, 60-26. Charlie Crist better figure out his exit strategy in a hurry, or else he'll have a lot more time to spend on back waxes come September.
KY-Sen: Some Dude Bill Johnson said he's bailing on the GOP primary to succeed Jim Bunning, saying his internal polling looked cruddy. He'd spent a few hundred grand of his own money, but yeah, I never heard of him either. He does have a perfect Some Dude name - according to the SSP tags, there's another Bill Johnson running in Ohio this cycle, and still another running in Alabama!
NV-Sen: How is this man still in office? The New York Times reports:"Previously undisclosed e-mail messages turned over to the F.B.I. and Senate ethics investigators provide new evidence about Senator John Ensign's efforts to steer lobbying work to the embittered husband of his former mistress...."
CO-Gov: In an apparent bid to out-nut his party-mate Jane Norton when it comes to outlandishly conservative proposals on the "restructuring" of basic governance, Scott McInnis was caught on tape at a recent Tea Party candidate forum suggesting that the state Department of Education be looked at as a possible target for elimination. (JL)
GA-Gov: Georgia Dems are pressing the House Ethics Committee to wrap up its investigation of Rep. Nathan Deal, who is slated to resign from the House at the end of the month. If they don't finish by then, there's a good chance they'll just drop the investigation - something, in fact, they just did with regard to Eric Massa.
HI-Gov: This is interesting. We noted the International Longshore and Warehouse Union's endorsement of Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hanneman in the Dem primary yesterday, but we didn't look at their rationale. One of their reasons ought to appeal to progressives: Hanneman, like the ILWU and Sens. Dan Akaka and Dan Inouye, has backed Colleen Hanabusa over Ed Case for the HI-01 May special election. Rival Neil Abercrombie has stayed neutral, which looks like a big mistake, given how powerful the ILWU is in Hawaii.
NY-Gov: Trying to forestall attempts to find a better candidate (or shove him from the race), Rick Lazio rolled out a bunch of endorsements from a bunch of Republicans who are all retired these days: former Gov. George Pataki and former Reps. Amo Houghton, Sherwood Boehlert, and George Wortley. I had to look up Wortley - he hasn't served since 1989.
MI-07: Look out, John Kasich! Tim Walberg says "I was Tea Party before there was a Tea party." He also says he lost in 2008 "because McCain was not a true conservative and people were tired of moderates."
NY-14: With Democratic majorities at risk and progressive power in Congress at a troubling ebb, too many powerful New Yorkers seem only too happy to back an unabashed pro-bankster neophyte challenging a liberal female incumbent. I'm talking about Reshma Saujani, who's running on a platform of kissing Wall Street's ass ("If you go to Texas, you'll never hear a Congressional member speak poorly of the oil industry") against Rep. Carolyn Maloney. Oh, but don't worry - Saujani's got all the important things covered. At a recent women's fundraiser, one of her supporters assured the crowd, "But it gets better, look how fashionable she is. She'll definitely be the best dressed person in Congress."
NY-29: Former Rep. Randy Kuhl has decided he won't try to win his old seat back. Instead, he's endorsing ex-Corning Mayor Tom Reed. Incidentally, Kuhl must have had the worst oppo team ever when he was actually running for office, no?
SC-02: Ugh - Dem Rob Miller, who raked in a couple mil he never otherwise would have seen after Rep. Joe Wilson's "You lie!" outburst, is making some unforced errors. He kicked a TV reporter and camera crew out of a speech to a local Democratic club, and then tried to later claim he had done no such thing. Unfortunately, contemporaneous emails contradicted Miller's claims. I really hope that Miller's elevation to Red to Blue status means he's going to get some professional campaign assistance, and that he's not just being fleeced for his Brewster's millions.
Redistricting: I love this diary - possumtracker takes us on a magical mystery tour of some of the most extreme possible majority-minority districts, in places you probably never thought such districts could exist. Let's hope actual map-drawers (or the DoJ) don't take too many cues, though, since these kinds of districts would likely kill many neighboring Democratic seats.
Robocalls: The Republican Attorney General of Indiana, Greg Zoeller, chastised the NRCC yesterday for its use of robocalls introduced by a live operator. Zoeller says that, while legal, the NRCC's tactics violate the spirit of a tri-partisan treaty signed between the state's Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties banning the use of robocalls in the state. Zoeller asked the NRCC to suspend its use of robocalling in the state. Typical for the NRCC, they told Zoeller to go twist. (JL)
• AR-Sen: Bill Halter's netroots haul has crested $1 million, between MoveOn and ActBlue (led by the PCCC and Daily Kos). On top of all that, the Sierra Club is joining the fray, with its own attack ads against Blanche Lincoln over her attempts to limit EPA regulation. The ads don't mention Halter by name, though.
• AZ-Sen: John McCain is getting the newest GOP sensation, Scott Brown, to come to Arizona to stump for him. Because, you know, nothing says "Hey teabaggers, vote for me instead of J.D. Hayworth!" than bringing in the New England RINO who gladly took all the teabaggers' money and support and turned around and voted for a Democratic piece of legislation on his first week on the job.
• CO-Sen: Having seemingly scored big time with his public option letter (at least to the extent of raising his previously very low profile), Michael Bennet seems to be getting very ambitious. The freshman Senator just unveiled a comprehensive package of Senate reforms that he's authored that's aimed squarely at undoing the quagmire that the Senate has become, including filibuster reform, eliminating anonymous holds and private-sector earmarks, and barring lawmakers from lobbying... for life.
• KS-Sen: Rasmussen finds that (big surprise) all the action in the Kansas Senate race is the GOP primary (although they didn't bother polling the hotly-contested primary). Rather than test possible candidate state Sen. David Haley, they just take the "Generic D" route, and find both Reps. Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt beating G.D., 51-26 and 50-29 respectively.
• ND-Sen: The Dems' leading candidate for contesting the likely takeover of the open Senate seat in North Dakota by Republican Gov. John Hoeven decided against a run, probably sensing the long odds. Former AG Heidi Heitkamp said no (on her brother's radio show), although rumors suggest she's interested in running for Governor in 2012, meaning she probably wouldn't want a big defeat as people's last memory of her. State Sen. Tracy Potter is already in for the Dems, and businesswoman Kristin Hedger may also get in, as she said she'd defer only to Heitkamp.
• NY-Sen-B: Is Kirsten Gillibrand going to actually be able to waltz to re-election, or will some other moneybags celebrity pop out of the woodwork next week? After having sent Harold Ford Jr. packing, now billionaire publisher Mort Zuckerman decided against a Republican bid (couching it oddly, in that being a Senator would take up too much time from his actual day job). Zuckerman is wise to save his money, as Rasmussen finds Zuckerman losing to Gillibrand 47-36 (not as bad as Marist yesterday, but still not encouraging). Rasmussen also finds Gillibrand beating even George Pataki, 44-42 (although for some reason they don't poll actual candidate Bruce Blakeman).
• NY-Gov: When it rains, it pours, for David Paterson. The New York State Commission on Public Integrity just released its finding that he violated state ethics laws for securing World Series tickets for himself and friends and then falsely testifying under oath about it. That gets sent over to Andrew Cuomo's desk on top of the whole meshugas about the state police, which kept building today with the resignation of state police superintendent Harry Corbitt. Maurice Hinchey just publicly said what I'll bet most other New York Dems are privately thinking: he's glad he won't have to run with Paterson upticket from him.
Meanwhile, there's a ton of snap polling out today about Paterson, of varying degrees of badness for him. Quinnipiac finds his approval at an all-time low of 24/62, although voters say 61-31 he should finish his term rather than resign. SurveyUSA, however, finds a plurality for resignation: 47 say resign, 44 say stay. Rasmussen finds 28 say resign, 53 say stay. Rasmussen also threw in some numbers for the gubernatorial election in November, finding Cuomo winning against Republican Rick Lazio, 55-30. They also tested out gadflyish businessman Carl Paladino, who's made noises about running. With Paladino as the R, Cuomo wins 56-27, and with Paladino as an I, Cuomo is at 50, with 19 for Lazio and 15 for Paladino.
• OK-Gov: Here's a path for Democrats to win the Governor's race in Oklahoma, according to Rasmussen: find a way for state Sen. Randy Brogdon to win the GOP primary. Unfortunately, it seems like the very conservative Rep. Mary Fallin is well on her way to winning the primary against the ultra-conservative Brogdon. Fallin beats Democratic Lt. Gov. Jari Askins 51-37, and AG Drew Edmondson 51-36. Brodgon, however, loses to Askins 42-39 and beats Edmondson 42-41.
• PA-Gov: Quinnipiac released the gubernatorial half of its Pennsylvania poll, and Arlen Specter's bounce doesn't seem to have rubbed off much on the Democrats running for Governor... although their main problem, as always, seems to be that no one knows who they are. In the primary, "don't know" dominates at 59, followed by Dan Onorato is at 16, Jack Wagner at 11, Joe Hoeffel at 10, and Anthony Williams at 2. AG Tom Corbett has no problems on the GOP side, beating state Rep. Sam Rohrer 43-5. In head-to-heads, Corbett beats Onorato 42-32, Wagner 42-30, and Hoeffel 41-30.
• TN-Gov: Here's another state where it's still just too damn early to be polling the gubernatorial race. MTSU doesn't even bother with head-to-heads in the Tennessee race, but finds that Republican Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam (who's been spending heavily on advertising) has a bit of a leg up, in that he's the least unknown of the myriad candidates (19% of respondents were actually able to name him). Mike McWherter is the best known Dem (although that may be because he shares a last name with his dad the ex-Gov.).
• HI-01: We've gotten confirmation that the May 22 special election to replace resigned Rep. Neil Abercrombie will be an all mail-in affair, saving the state some money but possibly scrambling the parties' GOTV plans. This election and the special election in PA-12 four days earlier pose a quandary for the NRCC -- spend money they don't really have, in order to take advantage of what seems to be nationwide Republican momentum... or fess up that they really don't have much chance in either of these districts and save their money for November (or worse, spend the money and lose anyway, as with NY-20 and NY-23). NRCC spokesperson Paul Lindsey seems to telegraph which way the NRCC is leaning: "Considering that one district is the birthplace of President Obama and the other gives Democrats a voter registration advantage of more than 130,000, it is not lost on anyone that we face an incredible challenge in both races."
• NY-15: Charles Rangel has finally put down his gavel as Ways and Means chair, after he was found to have violated ethics rules. He says it's a temporary "leave of absence," but the House's presiding officer said "the resignation is accepted," suggesting something more permanent. This comes in the face of a growing wave of opposition within his own party, with a number of members returning his PAC money (ranging from the very vulnerable, like Walt Minnick, to the theoretically vulnerable, like Niki Tsongas). Also, perhaps symbolically important, it came after Artur Davis (running for Alabama governor) became the first CBC member to call for Rangel to give up his gavel.
• OK-02 (pdf): The 2nd seems like a strange choice of a place to poll, but I guess it's a good test case in terms of a Democratic Rep. in a dark-red district that hasn't been on anyone's radar screen as being vulnerable (in the face of utterly no-name challengers). True to form, Dan Boren doesn't have much to worry about this fall. He's having no trouble against his anonymous opponents, beating Dan Arnett 49-22, Daniel Edmonds 44-28, and Howard Houchen 48-26. (Teabagging independent Miki Booth pulls in 7 or 8 in each matchup.) Much of that has to do with the level of opposition, but Boren is the first incumbent Rep. PPP has found who's polling above 50 in terms of approval, at 51/33. Boren's occasional, um, departures from the party line can be better understood in terms of Barack Obama's disturbingly low 27/65 approval in the district.
• PA-11: Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien got some help from the left as he fights a primary battle against crusty Rep. Paul Kanjorski; he got the endorsement of two local unions: the Northeast Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council, and the Scranton Building and Construction Trades Council.
• PA-12: Bill Russell released an internal poll showing him beating Tim Burns in the GOP primary in the 12th. That's not really the newsworthy part; what's interesting is his internal pollster is Zogby. The pollster that everyone treated as an oracle in 2004 has been reduced to polling on behalf of BMW Direct's direct-mail-scam frontman? Lord, how the mighty have fallen.
• Census: Guess who's finally learned to love the Census? Michele Bachmann! Probably after some of her staffers showed her a puppet show spreadsheet showing how a combination of not enough residents in her district + a Democratic governor and legislature = no more MN-06. At any rate, she's planning to vote for a largely symbolic resolution to encourage Americans to participate in the Census.