• AR-Sen: Labor seems quite keen to finish the job against Blanche Lincoln in the runoff; the AFSCME just anted up $1.4 million for the coming weeks. This includes not just an IE blitz on the state's inexpensive airwaves, but also 30 staffers on the ground, with a particular emphasis on driving up African-American turnout. Meanwhile, Mark Blumenthal took an in-depth look at the AR-Sen poll released yesterday by DFA giving Bill Halter the lead; he had some of the same issues with question order that we did.
• KS-Sen: Rep. Jerry Moran is out with an internal poll from POS that gives him a dominant lead over fellow Rep. Todd Tiahrt in the GOP primary for the open Senate seat. Moran leads 53-27, including a similar 51-33 among those who are "favorable" to the Tea Party movement (despite Moran being somewhat more moderate than the social conservative Tiahrt... Moran's appeal to them may be that Tiahrt is one of those pork-hugging Appropriators).
• KY-Sen: Quickest post-primary implosion ever? Rand Paul, after getting bogged down by questions yesterday over his feelings about the Civil Rights Act, dug his hole even deeper on the Rachel Maddow show last night. He tried to walk that back today on safer turf on Laura Ingraham's show, saying that he would have voted for it in 1964 and wouldn't support repeal of anti-discrimination laws today, although he also said that it was a political mistake to go on a liberal talk show in the first place. Democrats like John Yarmuth and Jim Clyburn are still going on the offensive, while Republican leaders like Jim DeMint and John Cornyn are busy mumbling "no comment." Even Jeff Sessions is backpedaling. Nate Silver is circumspect about how much damage this may have actually caused Paul in Kentucky, but casts some very suspicious eyes in the direction of Rasmussen's new poll of the race today.
• NV-Sen: Busgate seems to be the second half of Sue Lowden's quick one-two punch to her own nose. Having been called out that her name is on the donated campaign bus's title (despite previous contentions that it was leased), she's now admitting that she "misspoke" about her bus. The FEC is starting to take up the matter.
• PA-Sen: Biden alert! Looks like the White House is eager to move past that whole Arlen Specter endorsement, as the Vice-President (and Scranton favorite son) is gearing up to campaign on behalf of Joe Sestak.
• WA-Sen: I'm just getting more and more confused about the state of the Republican field, as Sarah Palin, out of pretty much nowhere, gave an endorsey-supporty-type thing in favor of Clint Didier today. Is this a shot across Dino Rossi's bow to keep him from jumping in (which is locally rumored to be imminent), an endorsement after finding out that Rossi isn't getting in (which competing local rumors also assert), or just Palin marching to the beat of her own off-kilter drum? Didier, in case you've forgotten, is a long-ago NFL player turned rancher who, of the various GOP detritus in the race right now, has been the one most loudly reaching out to the teabaggers. The Rossi-friendly Seattle Times must see him as at least something of a threat, as they recently tried to smack him down with a piece on the hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal farm subsidies Didier has enjoyed.
• AL-Gov: A little more information is surfacing on that shadowy birther group, the New Sons of Liberty, that's been promising to dump seven figures in advertising into the Republican gubernatorial field. The group has a website up now, and it lists a real-world address that's the same as Concerned Women for America, a group who've been supportive of Roy Moore in the past.
• GA-Gov: Insider Advantage has another look at the Republican gubernatorial primary in Georgia. They don't see much of note, other than a bit of a Deal uptick: Insurance Comm. John Oxendine is at 23, followed by ex-Rep. Nathan Deal at 15, ex-Sos Karen Handel at 14, Eric Johnson at 5, Jeff Chapman at 2, and Ray McBerry at 2. (April's poll had Oxendine at 26, Handel at 18, and Deal at 9.)
• MA-Gov: Grace Ross, the other Dem in the primary (and the 2006 Green Party candidate), has had to pull the plug on her candidacy, lacking the signatures to qualify. Incumbent Deval Patrick, whose political fortunes seem to keep improving, has the Dem field to himself now.
• NY-Gov: Suddenly, there's a fourth candidate in the GOP gubernatorial race. In a year with no Mumpowers or Terbolizards, this guy may be the winner for this cycle's best name: M. Myers Mermel. He's a Westchester County businessman who had been running for Lt. Governor and reportedly had locked down many county chairs' support in that race but inexplicably decided to go for the upgrade. This comes on top of word that state GOP chair Ed Cox, worried that the Steve Levy thing may have blown up in his face, has been trying to lure yet another guy into the race: recently-confirmed state Dept. of Economic Development head Dennis Mullen. Frontruner ex-Rep. Rick Lazio is undeterred, naming his running mate today: Greg Edwards, the county executive in tiny (by NY standards) upstate Chautauqua County.
• AL-07: Terri Sewell, the one candidate in the race with money, is out with an internal poll from Anzalone-Liszt showing a three-way dead heat. Sewell is tied with Jefferson Co. Commissioner Shelia Smoot at 22 apiece, with state Rep. Earl Hilliard Jr. at 20. Attorney Martha Bozeman is at 7. By contrast, a Smoot poll from April had Smoot in the lead, at 33, to Hilliard's 28 and Sewell's 9. The intervening event? Sewell hit the TV airwaves; she's likely to be the only candidate able to do so.
• AR-01: This is charming: when a state Rep., Tim Wooldridge (one of the two contestants in the Democratic runoff in the 1st) proposed a bill changing the method of execution in Arkansas to public hanging. Now, granted, several other states do allow hanging as alternate method (both blue states, oddly enough), but public hanging?
• LA-03: Hunt Downer, the former state House speaker, has been acting candidate-like for a while, but is finally making it official, filing the paperwork to run in the Republican primary in this Dem-held open seat. Downer seems like the favorite (in the primary and general) thanks to name rec, although he'll need to get by attorney Jeff Landry in the primary, who has a financial advantage and claims an internal poll from April giving him a 13-point lead over Downer.
• NY-15: There's one more Dem looking to take out long-long-time Rep. Charlie Rangel, who's looking vulnerable in a primary thanks to ethics woes. Craig Schley, a former Rangel intern, announced he's running (he also ran against Rangel in 2008). With the field already split by Vince Morgan and Jonathan Tasini (UPDATE: and Adam Clayton Powell IV), though, that may just wind up getting Rangel elected again.
• PA-12: PPP has more interesting crosstab information from PA-12, showing the difference candidate quality, and appropriateness for the district, can make. Tim Burns had 27/52 favorability among self-declared "moderates," while Mark Critz had 67/27 favorables. (Guess who won?) Compare that with Scott Brown in Massachusetts, who had 62/31 favorability among moderates. And here's an interesting tidbit: the NRCC spent fully one-tenth of its cash on hand on PA-12. (In order to get spanked.)
• VA-02: A lot of Republicans who've lent support to Scott Rigell in the primary in the 2nd may be wondering what they're getting themselves into, as more detail on his contributions record comes out. Not only did he give money to Barack Obama in 2008 (as has been known for a while), but he also contributed to Mark Warner and in 2002 gave $10,000 to a referendum campaign that would have raised sales taxes in the Hampton Roads area. If he hadn't already kissed Tea Party support goodbye, it's gone now.
• Turnout: The WaPo has interesting turnout data in Arkansas and Pennsylvania. Arkansas turnout, juiced by the competitive Senate campaigns, was actually higher than the 2008 presidential primary.
• House GOP: That highly-touted ban on earmarks imposed on its members by the House GOP leadership? Yeah, turns out that's just kind of more of a "moratorium" now. One that's set to expire in January, so they can resume appropriating away once the election's over.
• CA-Sen: Good news for Tom Campbell, in the form of the Senate half of M4's poll of the California GOP primary: he leads Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore, 33-28-15. (Of course, with his plans to briefly go dark to conserve funds, that gives Fiorina a chance to play catchup when the margin's not that big.) Bad news for Campbell, though: the NRA has him in its metaphorical crosshairs, sending out a mailer to members attacking Campbell and, while not endorsing, offering kind words for Fiorina and DeVore.
• CT-Sen: This is going to make it a lot easier for Richard Blumenthal to make the case that the "in Vietnam" controversy is something of a cheap shot. A longer-form video release of the appearance (provided, ironically, by the Linda McMahon campaign, undercutting their own hatchet job) where the offending phrase occurred have him correctly referring to having "served in the military, during the Vietnam era" in the very same speech. That's not stopping Vietnam vet Rob Simmons, who, sensing an opening, has rolled out web advertising with "Blumenthal Lied About Vietnam" in very large letters.
Blumenthal is getting more explicit backing from Democratic bigwigs now, as his mea culpa/attempt to get back on the offense seems to have had the desired effect. Rep. Chris Murphy, the likeliest guy to pick up the pieces if Blumenthal had to bail out, offered his unqualified support; so too did Howard Dean. And here's one thing that's actually good about Rasmussen's one-day, no-callback samples: they can strike fast. They polled Connecticut, and while the trendlines aren't appealing, they find Blumenthal still beating McMahon even in the heat of the moment before the story has had time to digest, and beating the other, unmoneyed GOP opponents by pretty wide margins. Markos has some really nice pushback against Rasmussen in general, today, asking why they always poll quickly when there's the potential for a good Republican narrative but not when the narrative doesn't fit (as seen in their failure to poll the Sorta Super-Tuesday primaries).
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist has been trying to woo union support, starting with a speech at the state AFL-CIO convention this weekend. It's another indication that he's trying to move squarely onto Kendrick Meek's turf and monopolize as much of the left-of-center vote as he can, now that he's free from his GOP shackles. Meanwhile, quixotic Democratic candidate Jeff Greene has apparently been seen wooing Ukrainian strippers, in 2005 on his 145-foot yacht while cruising the Black Sea. Not so, claims his campaign spokesperson; he was busy traveling with his rabbi at the time instead.
• KY-Sen: In case you needed one more data point on how thin-skinned Rand Paul and how likely a meltdown from him is at some point before November, here's an anecdote from last night: he refused to take the customary concession call from Trey Grayson, at least according to the Grayson camp.
• NC-Sen: Here's a big score for Elaine Marshall: Third-place finisher Kenneth Lewis gave his backing to Marshall in her runoff against Cal Cunningham. This move isn't so surprising, given that Lewis's supporters, like Rep. Eva Clayton, were already gravitating toward Marshall, but it ought to steer much of Lewis's African-American and youth base in her direction as well.
• NV-Sen: Three items, all of which are very, very bad for Sue Lowden. First, the Club for Growth finally weighed into the Senate primary, and they backed right-winger Sharron Angle (maybe not that surprising, since they backed her in the 2006 primary for NV-02). That ought to give Angle a further shot of adrenaline, though, on top of her Tea Party Express endorsement and polling momentum. Lowden is also still bogged down in controversy over her luxury bus, doubling-down on her claims that use of the $100K vehicle was leased despite also having stated elsewhere that the bus was "donated" (which means it would have needed to be reported as an in-kind contribution). That's nothing, though, compared to the (by my count) quintupling-down on Chickens-for-Checkups, simultaneously trying to fight top Nevada journo Jon Ralston on the fact that, yes, people are bartering for health care while trying to claim that she never actually said anything about Chickencare at all.
• NY-Sen-B: The only GOP big name left who hadn't said anything definitive about participating in the GOP Senate primary for the right to get creamed by Kirsten Gillibrand finally said a public "no." Orange County Executive Ed Diana said he'll stick with his current job, to which he was elected in November to a third term.
• UT-Sen: Looks like that teabaggers' victory in Utah might be short-lived. Bob Bennett seems to be more interested than before in running as a write-in in the general (where, despite the complex dynamics of a write-in campaign, he faces better odds with the broader electorate than with the narrow slice of extremists running the GOP convention). We may know tomorrow what his plans are, as he emphasized "Stay tuned tomorrow."
• WA-Sen: If Dino Rossi really is still interested in running for Senate, this isn't a particularly good way of showing it. Rossi is scheduled to make a blockbuster appearance on May 25... to give opening remarks at a dinnertime seminar for local real estate investors focusing on strategies for profiting off foreclosures. Because nothing says "I'm a man of the people" than knowing all the ins and outs of how to profit off the people's misery.
• AL-Gov: Artur Davis is out with an internal poll, that seems mostly oriented toward countering the sense that he's losing ground among his African-American base. The poll shows Davis leading Democratic primary rival Ron Sparks 46-33. It also shows Davis leading 50-25 among African-Americans (despite the defections of some prominent local black groups), while trailing Sparks 42-41 among whites.
• FL-Gov: Bill McCollum is going to have to start taking moneybags Rick Scott seriously, and he's striking hard, sending out a press release calling him an "embarrassment" and a "fraud," presumably in reference to allegations leveled against Scott's health care firm. Scott's ginormous introductory ad buy is now estimating at $6.3 million.
• KS-Gov: Sam Brownback is drawing some heat for taking things out of context. Now, politicians take things out of context all the time, but his sleight-of-hand in attempting to fight efforts to more tightly regulate the business of car loans to military members may be a fridge too far.
"CNN Money on May 13 reported that 'Raj Date ... agreed that the additional (Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection) regulation might cause some dealers to stop arranging loans," Brownback said in the letter.
But Brownback's letter did not include the rest of Date's comment, which was this, "There will be some dealers who say, 'If I have to play by an honest set [of] rules, then I can't be in this business anymore.' I'm not going to shed any tears for these dealers."
• MA-Gov: You may recall last week's Rasmussen MA-Gov poll where, in an effort to find some sort of good news, they found that, if liberal activist Grace Ross somehow beat incumbent Dem Deval Patrick in the primary, she would lost to GOPer Charlie Baker. Well, it's looking like Ross is in danger of not even making it onto the ballot. The state SoS says she has only a little more than half of the 10,000 signatures she needs; Ross promises an announcement tomorrow morning on her next step. (The upside for Patrick, if Ross qualifies for the primary though, would be $750K in public financing for his campaign, which he wouldn't be entitled to if he were running unopposed.)
• ME-Gov: There's been some ongoing controversy in the sleepy Maine governor's race about how Republican candidate Steve Abbott (former CoS to Susan Collins) wound up with GOP voter lists, but this is a strange turn: the state Republican party chair, Charlie Webster, is now saying that Abbott's camp flat-out "stole" it.
• GA-09: The special election to replace Nathan Deal (where GOPers Tom Graves and Lee Hawkins are in a runoff) seems to have winnowed the Republican field for the regularly-scheduled GOP primary, too. Former state Senate majority leader Bill Stephens has dropped out of contention in that field.
• HI-01: Even if something incredibly dramatic happens between now and Saturday's drop-dead date in the special election in the 1st, things are still pretty much cast in stone. In the all-mail in election, now 43% of all ballots sent out have been returned.
• IN-03: State Sen. Marlin Stutzman (whose name rec is sky-high right now after running fairly well in the GOP Senate primary against Dan Coats) says that he's going to strike while the iron is hot, and get into the race to replace resigning Rep. Mark Souder. Other GOPers confirming that they'll run include state Rep. Randy Borror, Ft. Wayne city councilor Liz Brown, and recent primary loser Phil Troyer. Another recent primary loser, Bob Thomas, is a potential candidate.
• OH-16: After having found an excuse to hide behind the door the last time Barack Obama came to Ohio, Rep. John Boccieri was proudly with him when he visited Youngstown yesterday. Perhaps he can sense a bit of a turning of the tide? Troublingly, though, Senate candidate Lee Fisher wasn't present.
• PA-12: PPP digs through the data from their last pre-election poll in the 12th and finds what may really have done the Republicans in. There's one entity in the district even more unpopular than Barack Obama (who had 30% approval), and that's Congressional Republicans, who were at a miserable 22/60. In nationalizing the election, Tim Burns tied himself to the nation's least favorite people of all.
• PA-19: After having surviving his primary last night despite publicly seeking another job, it looks like Rep. Todd Platts exposed himself to all that danger for no reason at all. Platts announced yesterday that the Obama administration had let him know that he wasn't going to be selected for the Government Accountability Office job he'd been angling for.
• CT-AG: Here's one of the weirdest career crash-and-burns I've seen lately: SoS Susan Bysiewicz went in a few months from likely next Governor to somehow not even eligible to run for the lower-tier job she dropped down to. Connecticut's Supreme Court unanimously ruled that she didn't meet the criteria for legal experience required to become AG, reversing a lower court's decision. Former Democratic state Sen. George Jepsen now has the AG job pretty much to himself. At any rate, with Bysiewicz now combing the "Help Wanted" section, that gives the Connecticut Dems a fallback plan for the Senate if Richard Blumenthal does need to bail out (although Bysiewicz may be seriously damaged at this point too).
• OR-St. House: Here are a couple races with interesting implications that I forgot to watch last night: two Republican state Reps. from the high-desert parts of Oregon (the state's Republican stronghold) committed the unthinkable heresy of not only bipartisanship but supporting tax increases to close the state's budget gap. Both Bob Jenson and Greg Smith survived their primaries, though, after teabaggers, right-to-lifers, and even their state House minority leader turned their wrath against them.
• Arizona: One other election result from last night that most people, us included, seemed to overlook was Proposition 100 in Arizona. In a surprise, at least to those people who think that it's a rabidly anti-tax year (which would be those people who didn't pay any attention to Measures 66 and 67 earlier this year in Oregon), the people of this red state voted by a fairly wide margin for a temporary sales tax increase as part of a package of changes to close the budget gap. It's a victory for Jan Brewer, actually, who backed the plan (perhaps feeling safer to do so, having solidified her position with her support for the "papers please" law).
• 1994: When you have a wave, a lot of dead wood washes up on the beach. Prompted by '94 alum Mark Souder's mini-scandal and resignation, Dana Milbank looks back at the wide array of scoundrels and rogues who were swept in in 1994.
• History: History's only barely on the side of Blanche Lincoln when it comes to runoffs. It turns out that the person who finishes first in a runoff wins 72% of the time, but when that's limited only to runoffs in primaries, the success rate is only 55%... and Lincoln's victory over Bill Halter last night was a particularly close one.
There's a whole lot of ZOMG! going on today associated with the new Suffolk poll of the Massachusetts' governor's race, most of it focused on Republican businessman Charlie Baker's 10-point leap in the last few months as people become more familiar with the previously-little-known CEO (as his gain fits in conveniently with the narrative of the zillion Republicans-resurgent-in-Massachusetts stories spawned by Scott Brown's surprise victory). Much of the ZOMGing is coming directly from Suffolk head David Paleologos, who's been telling the press that it's now a race "between [Republican] Charlie Baker and [Dem-turned-indie] Tim Cahill," despite the fact that, y'know, Deval Patrick is leading by 8 points. Paleologos says "Whoever emerges from the Baker-Cahill race is likely to be the winner."
Now I assume that's just inartfully phrased and that Paleologos doesn't think that Baker and Cahill are going to face off in some sort of weird primary, and that what he means is that there's a race-within-a-race where Baker and Cahill try to box each other out and become the dominant non-Patrick candidate. If one of Baker and Cahill somehow does severely damage the other, then, yes, I agree, Patrick's in deep doo-doo. But if they don't, and the current holding pattern continues, then there is no winner of the Baker-Cahill "race," only two losers, as they split the anti-Patrick majority right down the middle. Which is precisely how Patrick is currently leading the race, despite his unappealing 38/50 favorables and 35/54 approvals. Considering, though, that many of the I-hate-Patrick voters are specifically anti-Patrick Democrats or Dem-leaning indies who would never vote for a Republican (for whom Cahill is a safety valve), and that many of Baker's voters are the state's small but diehard Republican minority who'd never vote for what's essentially a moderate Dem (again, Cahill), I suspect the consolidation of the anti-Patrick vote behind one person is easier said than done.