CT-Sen: Obama alert! The POTUS is going to do a fundraiser in Stamford for Dick Blumenthal on Sept. 16th, the same day he was already scheduled to do a DNC event in Greenwich. Sorry to get all emo on you again, but if even Dick Blumenthal needs Obama's help....
DE-Sen: It's the battle of the sketchy polls! The Tea Party Express is touting a survey which supposedly shows Mike Castle up just 44-38 in the Republican primary over Christine O'Donnell. (Actually, they say Castle is at "43.7%" - too many significant digits is a classic sign of sketchiness.) Meanwhile, the Fix claims that "Internal GOP polling conducted last week showed Castle with a margin of nearly 20 points over O'Donnell." Anyhow, the TPX has no plans to evacuate in their moment of... well, we'll see if it's their moment of triumph... despite a surge of new questions about O'Donnell's fitness as a candidate. Among other things: Former aides say she never paid promised salaries on her 2008 campaign against Joe Biden, and she just received her degree from Farleigh Dickinson University last week, despite having attended 17 years ago and having repeatedly described herself as a graduate. Come on, baby, hold together!
IL-Sen: Amanda Terkel has spotted a trend among Mark Kirk's public statements: He can't shut up about the economic crisis in Greece - and Terkel thinks Kirk is attempting to link Alexi Giannoulias (who is of Greek descent) to the meltdown. Perhaps most egregious is Kirk's statement that while he "wore a U.S. Navy uniform, Alexi Giannoulias wore a basketball uniform in Greece." Really? That last part is relevant? A pretty ugly example of "othering."
LA-Sen: A little bit of Cajun-flavored cat fud: Gov. Bobby Jindal won't endorse Sen. David Vitter in his re-election campaign. Jindal claims he doesn't get involved in federal races, but WDSU has two very recent examples to the contrary. Anyhow, I can't think of too many sitting governors who haven't endorsed same-party, same-state senators, can you?
NH-Sen: Finally, a survey of the severely under-polled GOP senate primary in New Hampshire - though it's from Republican pollster Magellan, who likes to do Rasmussen-style one-day samples (a methodology that I think it's fair to say is not a best practice). Anyhow, here are the results (9/1, likely voters, May in parens):
UT-Sen: The battle for Orrin Hatch's senate seat - which won't take place until 2012 - is already getting ugly. Hatch is claiming that freshman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (who, you'll recall, already knocked off one sitting incumbent at a state convention in 2008) promised him he wouldn't challenge him next cycle. Chaffetz says he only pledged not to run against Sen. Bob Bennett, who of course already lost earlier this year. A Hatch spokesbot took off the gloves in response, saying: "Senator Hatch takes very seriously the principle of keeping his word. Of course, I suppose Jason can break it any time he wants to."
WV-Sen: Robert Byrd's family is excoriating self-funding Republican John Raese for using a photo of Dem Joe Manchin and President Obama that was taken at Byrd's memorial service earlier this year in an attack ad. Raese's campaign manager said, "That's a stock photo. We had no idea it was from the memorial service." Well, now you know.
AZ-Gov: Does this statement remind you of O.J. Simpson's ill-fated "hypothetical" book, If I Did It? Because that was the first thing I thought of:
"That was an error, if I said that," Brewer said about beheadings occurring in Arizona.
AZ-01: Ann Kirkpatrick is out with her first ad of the cycle, a pretty dull positive spot about how she donated 5% of her congressional salary... national treasury... opposed bailout... etc., etc. Ordinarily I'd just relegate this to our ad roundup at the bottom of the digest, but I also wanted to point out this great observation from SSP's own Johnny Longtorso: namely, the fact that the Navajo Nation (the largest Indian tribe in the United States) is holding its presidential election this fall, which may help Kirkpatrick on the turnout front. (Indians vote heavily Dem.) According to Wikipedia, some 130,000 Navajo live within the nation's boundaries in Arizona (it also includes parts of Utah and New Mexico), almost all of which is contained within the 1st CD.
AZ-08: You know how the WWF tried to become the WWE? Well, true hardcore wingnuts aren't content with (the bad kind of) SSP - they want SSE: Social Security elimination. Given how toxic this is in the real world (i.e., for the 99.999% of people who have never heard of John Galt), it's no wonder that Republican nominee Jesse Kelly now say he wants to "protect" Social Security. Good luck getting past statements like this one, from just last year: "If you have any ideas on that, I'm all ears. I would love to eliminate the program."
IA-01: This doesn't seem like a positive sign to me. Bruce Braley is going on the air with an ad (watch it here) hitting back against an outside group's attack ad - not something a candidate in an apparently "Safe D" race ordinarily feels a need to do. The group, American Future Fund, is accusing Braley of "supporting" the Park51 community center, though Braley has taken the standard "don't wanna deal with it" approach of calling it a local zoning issue for NYC. On the flipside, I'll take it as a good sign that Braley doesn't plan to get Martha Coakley'd. (Though doesn't it sound like Braley's "I approve this message" was recorded via cell phone? Does that mean the ad was rushed on to the air?) NWOTSOTB for Braley, though AAF claims it has spent $50K and plans to spend more.
IN-03: A common theme rears its head once more: A Republican rails loudly against bailouts, but it turns out he's been the beneficiary of government largesse himself. In this case, Dem Tom Hayhurst has been attacking GOPer Marlin Stutzman for accepting $180K in agricultural subsidies since 1995. But as the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports, just last month Stutzman said: "It's time to get rid of farm subsidies. The subsidies only manipulate the market."
KS-04: You know, we always love reporting on cat fud for cat fud's sake. Sometimes it's just a whiff, but other times, the cat fud can really stink up a race. Case in point: Mike Pompeo, a top competitor for GOP Dickbag of the Year, wasn't endorsed by any of the candidates he beat in the Republican primary, and even refused to return phone calls from his opponents. Now, the cats are coming home to roost, because one of those opponents, rich guy Wink Hartman, is considering re-entering the race on the Libertarian Party line. (The Lib candidate dropped out of the race for health reasons.) Hartman, who spent almost $1.6 million of his own money on the primary, notably includes among his reasons for wanting to get back in the game the fact that Pompeo "misrepresented Hartman's pro-life position and residency." The Libertarians have until Sept. 20th to decide whether to tap Hartman. In any event, this could provide a huge boost to Dem Raj Goyle, who appears to be in a surprisingly good position to stage an upset.
LA-03: In an unusual move, the Louisiana state Republican Party has formally endorsed Jeff Landry over Hunt Downer in the runoff. State parties don't typically take sides in primaries like this, but it sounds like the powers that be are eager to see Downer bail, rather than prolong the race all the way until October 3rd. I personally suspect that Downer has no chance in the second round, and I think he'll wind up playing Kevin Calvey to Landry's Jim Lankford. (Check out our OK-05 tag if the analogy isn't ringing any bells.)
NC-11: Heh - looks like Heath Shuler's suggesting he could run for Speaker of the House, clearly as a way to distance himself from Nancy Pelosi. Shuler also claimed that cats eventually turn into dogs.
NH-02: Nice - progressive fave Ann McLane Kuster raised $223K in her pre-primary report (7/1-8/25), totally kicking the asses of all the other major candidates (Katrina Swett (D): $37K, Charlie Bass (R): $57K, Jennifer Horn (R): $39K). As for cash, it goes Kuster: $450K, Swett: $798K, Bass: $312K, Horn: $32K. Even better news: Kuster is touting an internal poll from the Mellman Group showing her with a commanding 47-24 lead over Swett in the primary, which is Sept. 14th.
NY-20, NY-23: Rahm Emanuel is headlining a joint fundraiser on Sept. 19th for two upstate Dems: Scott Murphy of the 20th CD and Bill Owens of the 23rd. Murphy has $1.5 million on hand but Owens has only $600K.
PA-06: A nasty bit of racial ugliness from the campaign of Jim Gerlach. Said a spokesman about Dem opponent Manan Trivedi: "The only one who has played the race card here is him, by going to Indian-American groups to raise money."
SC-02: The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating Rep. Joe Wilson's trips abroad - at least thirty over the last eight years - and his per diem spending habits. Wilson is a prolific traveler on the taxpayer's dime, ranking 29th among current House members and 39th among 734 members who've served since 1994, according to The State. Wilson has tried to downplay prior reports of the probe, claiming it was only about $12 spent on some cheap mementos from Afghanistan, but that's evidently not the case. Meanwhile, Dem Rob Miller has a new ad out hitting Wilson for his support of CAFTA. Check it out - I think it's pretty effective.
VA-05: In a move that vaguely brings to mind Carl Mumpower, teabagger Jeffrey Clark said he'd withdraw from the race if the party or parties responsible for disseminating information about his financial history came forward to claim responsibility. Dem Tom Perriello's campaign said it wasn't them, but Republican Rob Hurt wouldn't say anything, so Clark says he's staying in the race. Feel the Mumpower!
OH-AG: Wrapping up some odds-and-ends from their recent Ohio poll, PPP find ex-Sen. Mike DeWine leading incumbent Dem AG Richard Cordray 44-40.
DCCC: Another day, another triage story. This time, the NYT claims that "party leaders are preparing a brutal triage of their own members in hopes of saving enough seats to keep a slim grip on the majority." And while they don't have an actual quote from him, the Times claims Chris Van Hollen "conceded" that Dems "would ultimately cut loose members who had not gained ground." In response, reports The Hill:
Van Hollen released a statement saying that the story "erroneously" said that the DCCC would redirect resources to two dozen viable campaigns if a review in the next two weeks showed that vulnerables weren't gaining ground.
I have to wonder: Did the NYT really get Van Hollen wrong here, or is CVH deliberately trying to send mixed messages in order to motivate his troops through fear?
• AZ-Sen: Bad news! For John McCain! J.D. Hayworth still hasn't conceded. He's still waiting for those late-breaking absentee ballots to help him make up that oh-so-narrow 56-32 margin, apparently.
• CT-Sen: This doesn't seem like it'll end well for Linda McMahon, whose stance on WWE has been that it's harmless soap opera. Harley McNaught, the father of recently-deceased pro wrestler Lance Cade (who died of heart failure at age 29 in the wake of painkiller addiction), is going on the offense against McMahon in response to her comments that she "might have met him once." McNaught said that he'd been to several functions with his son where they'd met McMahon and she'd known him by name, and also ripped the company's "Wellness Program," which he says was more about PR than about helping employees.
• DE-Sen: There's no third-party fallback option for teabagger Christine O'Donnell, challenging Mike Castle for the GOP Senate nomination. The Constitution Party had nominated O'Donnell for its ballot line, but didn't even receive a ballot line after its membership dwindled to 287(!) members. (That's less than something called the "Blue Enigma Party," which still qualified for the ballot.) O'Donnell still can mount a write-in campaign after losing the primary to Castle (which she already did in the 2006 race after losing the primary to Jan Ting).
• KY-Sen: Our James L. summed this up pithily: "Douche Day Afternoon." Losing Dem Senate candidate Dan Mongiardo's latest statement of semi-support for Jack Conway was that Conway was "not the best" but that "he's a heck of a lot better" than Rand Paul, whose "scare[s him]."
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): The newest Franklin & Marshall poll is another one of their choose-your-own-adventure specials, which shows the dimensions of the enthusiasm gap the Dems are facing, especially in the Keystone State. In the Senate race, Pat Toomey leads Joe Sestak 40-31 among likely voters, but only 31-28 among registered voters, which isn't much different from where we left off with their last general election poll in May. And in the gubernatorial race, it's similar, with Tom Corbett leading Dan Onorato 38-27 among LVs, but only 29-28 (probably the best showing I've seen in a head-to-head in this race) among RVs.
• FL-Gov: With Hayworth and Murkowski already mentioned today, it's just turning out to be the big day of GOP disunity and sour grapes all around. While figures like Jeb Bush and state party chair John Thrasher have gotten behind Rick Scott without any major hedging, Bill McCollum is continuing his sulk, flat-out not endorsing Scott.
• KY-Gov: The aptly-named Republican Agriculture Commissioner, Richie Farmer (I guess "Rich Farmer" was a little too overly descriptive), is still mulling over a run for Governor in next year's off-year election against Dem incumbent Steve Beshear, where early polling has shown he'd be competitive. He's also been linked to a possible Lt. Gov. bid, as running mate to state Senate president David Williams.
• SC-Gov: In another sign that a chunk of the local political establishment prefers Dem Vincent Sheheen to GOPer Nikki Haley, Sheheen just got the endorsement of 30 mayors around South Carolina. Most of these mayors are in nonpartisan elected positions, although one, Greer mayor Rick Danner, said he was a two-time voter for Mark Sanford.
• VT-Gov: Faced with the unenviable task of certifying her own gubernatorial primary loss, SoS Deb Markowitz says that the final certification of the super-close race in Vermont will be done on next Tuesday. All five candidates appeared amicably at a unity rally yesterday, but only shortly after Doug Racine's campaign manager called Peter Shumlin's declaration of victory premature, saying to wait until Tuesday. Shumlin currently leads Racine by 192 votes.
• AL-02: Rep. Bobby Bright caused some hyperventilating today when it came out that, in meeting with constituents, had punted on the issue of whether or not he'd be voting for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker next session. He did so by listing a number of reasons why that might not be an issue, including the decidedly morbid "heck, she might even get sick and die."
• CA-18: I don't know who looks worse in this situation, Mike Berryhill (the Republican launching an uphill, but generally credible, challenge to Rep. Dennis Cardoza), or his former campaign consultant John Villareal. Apparently they parted ways in unpleasant fashion, as Villareal blasted Berryhill's campaign as a lost cause... but did it in the form of a somewhat unhinged-sounding, 25-minute long rant posted to YouTube.
• OH-17: Jim Traficant may still yet be able to beam himself back into Congress. He just got an extension from Jennifer Brunner, giving him more time to prove that he did collect enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot as an independent. He previously got bounced for the ballot for not having enough valid signatures.
• OR-05: Hot on the heels of a too-good-to-be-true internal from Scott Bruun giving him a small lead a few days ago, Rep. Kurt Schrader hauled out his own internal from Lake Research giving him a pretty comfortable lead: 46-35. The poll's from late July, though, so one wonders if there's a more recent one that he's not sharing.
• PA-08: The ubiquitous POS is out with an internal poll on behalf of ex-Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, giving him a 7-point lead (48-41) over Democratic sophomore Rep. Patrick Murphy. Murphy hasn't been one of the Dems' top worries in Pennsylvania, but as we've seen in recent weeks, the Dem brand in Pennsylvania seems to be waning particularly quickly.
• VA-05: Tom Perriello, in an interesting bit of distancing from national Dems that's ambiguous enough that it works from both right and left, called for the replacement of Treasury Sec. Timothy Geithner, at a local town hall. He didn't say who his preferred replacement would be (Robert Reich, anyone?).
• Ads: Lead-off ad of the day is from Alan Grayson in FL-08; the Hotline actually says it makes Grayson look "angelic" and they refer to it as the most positive ad they've seen so far from anyone. That Grayson... always zigging when everyone else is zagging. Other Dems out with their first TV ads for themselves today include Kathy Dahlkemper in PA-03, Julie Lassa in WI-07, and Tom Hayhurst in IN-03.
All the GOP ads today are anti-Dem ads being run by third party groups: America's Future Fund running against Bruce Braley in IA-01, the Heritage Foundation's lobbying arm against Mike McIntyre in NC-07, and Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity running against Gabrielle Giffords in AZ-08 and a weird two-fer (aimed at the Phoenix market, I guess) attacking both Anne Kirkpatrick and Harry Mitchell in AZ-01 and AZ-05. NWOTSOTB, on any of the ads.
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 40%, Meg Whitman (R) 48%
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 21%, Marco Rubio (R) 40%, Charlie Crist (I) 30%
• UT-Gov: Peter Corroon (D) 29%, Gary Herbert (R-inc) 60%
• UT-Sen: Sam Granato (D) 29%, Mike Lee (R) 54%
In the race to replace disgraced ex-Rep. Mark Souder in the House of Representatives, Republican state Sen. Marlin Stutzman is the undisputed front-runner to take control of this conservative northeastern Indiana district in November.
Democrats have a very respectable nominee for the seat in former Fort Wayne councilman and physician Tom Hayhurst, but the partisan lean of the district poses an incredible climb in times like these. So it may be worth taking a closer look at Stutzman, who earlier this year lost the GOP nomination for Evan Bayh's Senate seat to lobbyist kingpin Dan Coats. A new profile on Stutzman by the Fort Wayne Reader presents plenty of dirt, including this particular detail that offers a hint at just how much of a nutbag this guy really is (emphasis added):
In 2009, Stutzman co-hosted a dinner with State Representative Cindy Noe (R-87) at the annual Creation Evidence Expo, an Indianapolis organization that seeks to "make current scientific evidence that supports the conclusion that God created man." Stutzman says that he and Noe (who is on the Education Committee in the Indiana House) were asked by the group to host the dinner, to which many legislators were invited.
"The information they had there was good information," he says. "We had some very good conversations with the folks at the Expo, just getting to know them, over the last couple of years. They wanted to raise awareness of their issue, and wanted to meet as many folks who are willing to support their organization and also make those who are in the legislature aware of their issue as well."
Over at Blue Indiana, Thomas (a great friend of SSP), asks a pretty pertinent question: Exactly what "information" did Stutzman find so compelling that day? Was it anything along these lines?
There are other reasons to doubt that dragon legends arose from fossil-based speculations. Tales of dragons are almost universal and were incorporated into the historical background of virtually every people group on every continent. How could so many different cultures conjure up such similar details in their dragon legends, unless their ancestors actually encountered them?
It would be easily explained if humans had actually seen living dinosaurs.
Emphasis definitely fucking added!
I suppose it should be pretty frightening to know that this guy -- an individual who throws parties for grown men and women who believe in the existence of dragons -- could easily wind up as a national lawmaker next year, but I think he'll be right at home among the teabagging class of 2010.
• CT-Sen: Now that was fast. Only days after his bizarre and probably hopeless parachuting back into the long-abandoned Connecticut Senate race, Rob Simmons just got the primary endorsement from the state's largest newspaper, the Hartford Courant. That's a pretty clear indicator of how they feel about Linda McMahon. Meanwhile, out in Crazy Town, former presidential candidate Steve Forbes weighed in, giving an endorsement to Paulist economist Peter Schiff.
• KY-Sen: Rogue ophthalmologist Rand Paul is certainly a glass-half-full (or mountain-half-still-there?) kind of guy. He's come out in favor of the environmentally destructive mountaintop removal method of coal mining, justifying it, true to form, with economics gobbledygook: "the land is of enhanced value, because now you can build on it." In fact, it's really just a branding problem: "I think they should name it something better."
• WA-Sen: Here's a rather unexpected endorsement: hard-right kingmaker Jim DeMint is coming out in favor of Dino Rossi, who was very much a moderate back when he ran for governor in 2004. I suppose Rossi taking the plunge as the first major Senate candidate to call for repeal of financial reform was enough for DeMint's satisfaction. I still have to wonder why Rossi would seek out this kind of endorsement, as it's certainly not going to help matters in the general election in this blue state; is he actually feeling enough heat from Sarah Palin-backed Clint Didier in the primary that he needs to go to the right-wing well?
• WI-Sen: If you've been following the Wisconsin Senate race, Ron Johnson has been vacillating all week on whether or not to sell his hundreds of thousands of dollars in BP stock and plow it into his campaign, move it into a blind trust, or just tape all his stock certificates together and use them to club baby seals. Now he's just saying he's going to sit on it and sell when market conditions are favorable -- not because it's the right thing to do, just because he wants a better profit on it.
• NH-Gov: PPP also has gubernatorial general election numbers are part of their New Hampshire sample. We'd been wondering if John Lynch, whose previous PPP numbers were kind of lukewarm, might be ready to sneak onto the list as Likely D, but today's numbers seem to suggest otherwise. (In fact, the once-unassailable Mike Beebe may now be likelier to fill that role.) Lynch's approvals are up to 52/36, and he leads his likeliest GOP opponent, ex-state HHS director John Stephen, 51-34. He also leads Jack Kimball 52-29, Karen Testerman 52-28, and Frank Emiro 48-28.
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid just got gifted some serious help in the Nevada governor's race (and having seen him on the stump at Netroots Nation, he's going to need all the help he can get...), via a gaffe from Brian Sandoval. Sandoval has denied previous allegations that he'd said on TV that his kids didn't look Hispanic, but now Univision has dug up the tape. Perhaps even more troublesome for Sandoval: he said that in the context of his kids' appearance being why he was not worried about his kids being racially profiled under Arizona's new law.
• NY-Gov: Unfortunately, Carl Paladino has confirmed that no cat fud will be served in the general election in November (not that Andrew Cuomo, polling over 60%, needs any shenanigans to win). Paladino says he won't puruse a third-party bid on the yet-to-be-named teabagger ballot line if he loses the GOP gubernatorial primary to newly-minted Islamophobe Rick Lazio.
• AZ-03: John McCain waded into the overstuffed GOP primary field in the race to replace retiring Rep. John Shadegg to flag a favorite. He's backing state Sen. Jim Waring. McCain had his choice of endorsers to pay back (Waring, as well as Vernon Parker and Ben Quayle, are supporting McCain, while Sam Crump is the only out-and-proud J.D. Hayworth backer in the field).
• CA-47: While there's nothing really newsworthy going on the 47th, Politico has a very interesting look below the surface at this forgotten race in a demographically-complex district. Both Loretta Sanchez and GOP challenger Van Tran seem aware that the Vietnamese minority in this low-turnout Hispanic-majority district is the district's electoral linchpin.
• DE-AL: Michelle Rollins was supposed to be the moderate in the GOP field in Delaware, but the wealthy philanthropist seems to be going the full Sharron Angle. She joined the swelling Republican ranks of candidates saying that extending unemployment benefits just takes away people's motivations to go out and get real jobs.
• FL-08: The main story here may be that Zogby, the pollster ubiquitous in 2004 and once though to be in the Dems' pocket, is now reduced to doing internal polls for low-priority GOP House candidates? Anyway, they did a poll on behalf of attorney/talk show host Todd Long (the guy who almost successfully primaried Ric Keller in 2008). Long's poll gives him a 46-38 lead over Rep. Alan Grayson. Of course, Long isn't a likely bet to emerge from the primary (which he shares with ex-state Sen. Daniel Webster, state Rep. Kurt Kelly, and rich guy Bruce O'Donoghue), and there's no mention of primary numbers.
• IN-03: If this were two years ago, an open seat in the 3rd (especially with 2006 candidate Tom Hayhurst on board) might have been a good pickup opportunity. Not so this year, apparently. GOP nominee state Sen. Marlin Stutzman is out with an internal from American Viewpoint giving him a 56-29 lead. Hayhurst has the financial advantage, though, and may be able to use that to make up at least some of that ground.
• KS-04: SurveyUSA has one last pre-primary look at the primary races in the 4th. There's a lot of movement in the 4th, where businessman Wink Hartman seems to be rapidly deflating (as the carpetbagging issue may have gotten some traction) and moderate state Sen. Jean Schodorf is quickly gaining (as people realize the other candidates are all wackos). RNC committee member Mike Pompeo is still in the lead, though, at 31. Schodorf is at 24 (up 8) and Hartman at 21 (down 8), with 13 for Jim Anderson. On the Dem side, state Rep. Raj Goyle's ad blitz seems to have had its desired effect, which was to raise his name rec and prevent him from getting VicRawl'd. (Ah, sweet memories of 2008.) Having trailed Some Dude Robert Tillman in the previous SUSA poll, Goyle now leads 63-19.
• KY-03: This race seemed to move onto the map (albeit just barely) with Republican Todd Lally having narrowly outraised Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth last quarter. Yarmuth seems to be acting quickly to squelch any sense that he's in unusual trouble, though, rolling out an internal from Cooper & Secrest that gives him a 58-32 lead over Lally.
• OK-05: Everyone in the Beltway seems to be wondering a) what the heck went wrong with state Rep. Kevin Calvey, who was deemed frontrunner in the GOP primary in the 5th based on his Club for Growth and American Conservative Union backing, but finished second, and b) who the heck is James Lankford? The youth camp director and newbie to politics won thanks to grassroots mobilizing in the social conservative community. At any rate, this sets up a GOP runoff that's similar to a number of others we've seen in southern states: a faceoff between the CfG and Mike Huckabee (a Lankford endorser) sub-wings of the right wing.
• DCCC: Here's an interesting piece from National Journal that runs the DCCC's list of 60-some districts for ad buys through some demographic sifting. It's based on "quadrants" developed by Ronald Brownstein (which are pretty simple, really, just education and racial diversity -- we've been working behind the scenes here at SSP on something similar but more sophisticated, which hopefully will see the light someday soon). As you might expect, most of the vulnerable seats, and the DCCC's ad buys are in the low-education, low-diversity (i.e. mostly white) districts, which is where Obama tended to perform the weakest in 2008.
• IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) 37%, Bill Brady (R) 44%
• MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan (D) 43%, Roy Blunt (R) 49%
• OR-Sen: Ron Wyden (D-inc) 51%, Jim Huffman (R) 35%
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold (D-inc) 46%, Ron Johnson (R) 48%
On the Rasmussen front, it's also worth checking out Chris Bowers' latest Senate projections at Open Left. He ran separate Rasmussen-free and Rasmussen-included versions, and the difference is remarkable.
• CT-Sen, CT-Gov: Leftover from last Friday is the most recent Quinnipiac poll of Connecticut. Without much changing from their previous poll other than some within-the-margin-of-error gains for Linda McMahon, the poll is very digestible. Richard Blumenthal leads McMahon 55-35 (instead of 56-31 in late May), leads Rob Simmons (who has "suspended" his campaign) 54-33, and leads Peter Schiff 56-29. McMahon leads Simmons and Schiff in the GOP primary 45-29-13. They also included gubernatorial primaries (but not the general): for the Dems, Ned Lamont leads Dan Malloy 39-22, while for the GOP Tom Foley leads Michael Fedele and Oz Griebel 39-12-2.
• IL-Sen: With a growing sense that many Illinois residents would prefer to vote for neither Mark Kirk nor Alexi Giannoulias, a new right-winger with money to burn looks like he's daring to go where Patrick Hughes didn't. Mike Niecestro says he's a "disgusted Republican who has had it with the people the party throws at us," and differentiates himself from Kirk on cap-and-trade and immigration. Just another random teabagger who's all talk and no $$$? No, Niecestro says he already has the 25,000 signatures he needs to qualify before the June 21 deadline, and also has $1 million of his own money ready to go, along with another $100K he's raised elsewhere. Even if he winds up pulling in only a few percent off Kirk's right flank, that could be what that Giannoulias needs to squeak by in what otherwise looks to be a close race.
• NV-Sen: Jon Scott Ashjian is turning into something of the white whale for the Nevada GOP. Even though his candidate lost the primary, Dan Burdish, former political director for Sue Lowden, is still filing complaints with the SoS's office to get Ashjian off the ballot. It doesn't look like it'll go anywhere, though; Ashjian himself has qualified for the ballot, easily meeting the low 250-vote signature hurdle even though the "Tea Party" didn't meet the signature requirements for its own ballot line. Of course, competing right-wing third party the Independent American Party is still trying to get Ashjian off the ballot too, and now the teabaggers in general have turned on Ashjian (who never really had much support from them in the first place) since one of their own, Sharron Angle, managed to snare the GOP nod.
• NY-Sen, NY-Sen-B (pdf): Siena has yet another poll out of both the Senate races in New York. There's still very little of interest to report. Kirsten Gillibrand leads Bruce Blakeman 48-27, David Malpass 49-24, and Joe DioGuardi 47-29. DioGuardi leads the GOP primary over Blakeman and Malpass, 21-7-3. Chuck Schumer leads Jay Townsend 60-26 and Gary Berntsen 59-27. Townsend leads Berntsen in the other GOP primary, 20-15.
• SC-Sen: Vic Rawl, who lost the Democratic nomination to the baffling Alvin Greene last week, is now formally contesting the results of the election. The state party's 92-member executive committee will meet on Thursday to hear evidence, but it's unlikely they'll do anything, as there's no precedent in South Carolina for throwing out a primary election's results.
• WA-Sen: The state GOP convention was over the weekend in Washington; unlike, say, Utah or Connecticut, there's nothing at stake here, but the general sense in terms of signage, applause, and the like, was that the party's activist base is pretty jazzed about Sarah Palin-endorsed Clint Didier, and much more tepid about Dino Rossi than they were in 2008, when he was a more apt vehicle for their resentments. A straw poll at a Patriot Coalition event associated with the convention (a subset of a subset of the most hardcore base, so take with much salt) gave Didier a 99-12 edge over Rossi.
• AL-Gov: Artur Davis isn't giving up on being a douchebag just because he lost the gubernatorial nomination; he said he isn't sure how Ron Sparks is going to be able to win the uphill fight in the general election, and that Sparks will need something "broader than bingo" to win. Also, this is a very strange time to be making any major staff changes, let alone plunging into what Reid Wilson is describing as "turmoil:" fresh off the triumph of (probably) making the GOP gubernatorial runoff against Bradley Byrne, Robert Bentley just sacked his campaign manager, communications director, and new media director. Bentley is bringing in members of the Mike Huckabee camp to take over (with Huckabee son-in-law Bryan Sanders the new CM), but it seems like his small-time help didn't get demoted, but instead rudely shown the door by the new bosses.
• CO-Gov: Businessman Joe GesundheitSchadenfreudeWeltschmerz Gschwendtner has pulled the plug on his Republican gubernatorial bid, without endorsing anybody else. He wasn't able to round up enough signatures to qualify, which is odd, considering that people only need to be able to spell their own names, not his.
• FL-Gov: With his once-clear path to the GOP nomination suddenly looking to be on life support, Bill McCollum got some help from a key GOP establishment figure: Mitt Romney. Romney will appear at two Sunshine State fundraisers today, handing out endorsements like candy to a number of other Republicans in better position too.
• IA-Gov: You may recall that, in the wake of Terry Branstad's closer-than-expected victory over social conservative Bob vander Plaats, we lamented that the Dems didn't try any Gray Davis-style meddling in the primary to get the more-conservative, less-electable guy over the top. Well, it turns out they did try a little of that; the Dems launched an independent expenditure committee called "Iowans for Responsible Government" that ran ads on Fox News and sent direct mail attacking Branstad for tax hikes and putting his face on a liberal Mt. Rushmore next to Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Nancy Pelosi. While it didn't seal the deal, it may have contributed to the underwhelming showing by Branstad.
• MI-Gov: AG Mike Cox won the endorsement of Michigan Right to Life, a big endorsement that will help him as he fights for the social conservative vote in the GOP primary with Rep. Peter Hoekstra. Cox might be the Republican we most want to face out of the GOP field; Rasmussen joined the crowd today in finding that he polls the weakest against either Democrat.
• NY-Gov (pdf): Siena also polled the gubernatorial race; again, nothing noteworthy here, other than Andrew Cuomo having lost a few points since last time. Cuomo leads Rick Lazio 60-24, and leads Carl Paladino 65-23. Party-endorsed Lazio leads Paladino (assuming he can successfully petition onto the ballot) in the GOP primary, 45-18. Meanwhile, the race may get slightly more interesting as gadflyish New York city councilor Charles Barron seems to be moving forward on his quixotic plans to create a whole third party (New York Freedom Democratic Party) for a challenge to the left, mostly to protest Cuomo putting together an all-white ticket.
• OH-Gov: Incumbent Dem Ted Strickland won the NRA endorsement today, instead of GOP ex-Rep. John Kasich. That may seem a surprise, but Strickland has a lifetime "A" rating from the NRA while Kasich was always an unusually anti-gun Republican.
• GA-12: The Hill details how Rep. John Barrow's fundraising from fellow Dems has fallen way off this year, perhaps an indication of blowback over his "no" vote on HCR. He's only gotten money directly from five Democratic colleagues and five others' PACs, compared with 53 in 2006 and 22 in 2008. (An alternative explanation, of course, is that he's in no major trouble in the general election this year and that money may be more needed elsewhere.) Barrow still has the AFL-CIO's endorsement, and about a 20:1 CoH advantage over primary challenger Regina Thomas. Speaking of one of his minor GOP opponents, Carl Smith, the fire chief of the small town of Thunderbolt, has a less-appealing resume now that he just got canned by his city council, which opted to stop paying for a fire department and return to an all-volunteer operation.
• IN-03: The Indiana state GOP met over the weekend to pick a nominee to fill the spot left behind by the resigned Rep. Mark Souder. It wasn't much of a surprise: they picked state Sen. Marlin Stutzman, an up-and-comer who gave Dan Coats a challenge in the GOP Senate primary. Stutzman won on the second ballot, with state Rep. Randy Borror a distant second. It was a double pick: Stutzman will be replace Souder as the GOP candidate in the general election, and also will be the GOP's candidate in the special election that will also be held on Election Day in November (which, assuming he wins, will allow him to serve in the post-election lame duck session).
• NC-02: Rep. Bob Etheridge, usually one of the more low-key members of the House, had an embarrassing flip-out in front of two GOP trackers/college students asking him if he "supported the Obama agenda," grabbing one of them and his camera. Etheridge subsequently issued a statement apologizing.
• Polltopia: PPP is soliciting opinions on where the poll next, both multiple-choice and open-ended. Let 'em know what burning questions you'd like answered.
AR-Sen: Mark Blumenthal has a detailed post-mortem of the polling in the Arkansas senate runoff, including some off-the-record claims that both Halter's and Lincoln's internal polling showed Lincoln ahead. I sort of wonder why Lincoln didn't put out these numbers, if true.
CT-Sen: Several big-name Republican fundraisers are hosting an event for none other than Joe Lieberman, to benefit his 2012 re-election campaign. Some of the hosts include Robbie Aiken, Wayne Berman, Rachel Pearson, and Kathryn Rand. Obviously an outright party switch is always possible with this fuckin' guy.
FL-Sen: Wow, so there really is a Democrat who wants death panels (more or less). Maurice Ferre, himself 75 years old, said in a meeting with the Palm Beach Post editorial board:
"Well, you know what, when you get to be 85 or 90 years old, you're going to die. And I'm sorry, you call it, Sarah Palin, what you want, but the fact is that it is absurd for us to be spending the types of money we're spending to extend life three months."
Asked what he'd do as a Senator to control such costs, Ferre said: "I would absolutely say that this is the cap on how much is available for you to spend at age 90, 87, with a heart condition of this sort, with diabetes of this sort, two legs missing and, you know, this is how much is available for you to spend. And you spend it any way you want."
There are other ways to lose races in Florida, but this is the simplest and most direct.
KY-Sen: Mitch McConnell's sticking in his bite-guard and gritting his teeth hard to do a fundraiser for Roark Rand Paul later this month. Believe it or not, we happened to get the advance text of Paul's prepared remarks for the event:
Throughout the ages, the finger painter, the Play-Doh sculptor, the Lincoln Logger stood alone against the daycare teacher of her time. She did not live to earn approval stamps. She lived for herself, that she might achieve things that are the glory of all humanity. These are my terms; I do not care to play by any others. And now, if the court will allow me, it's naptime.
NV-Sen: The Big Dog is coming to the Silver State to do a campaign rally for Handsome Harry Reid next week - who won't actually be there because the Senate will be in session. No word on whether a fundraiser is also on tap.
PA-Sen: Pat Toomey is taking some heat for a long-ago resume item: He used to work on Wall Street - in derivatives trading, no less.
SC-Sen: Alvin Greene, the mysterious Dem senate nominee in South Carolina, says he won't drop out of the race, in spite of the state party's call for him to bail in the wake of revelations that he was arrested on an obscenity charge last fall. Then again, Scott Lee Cohen said he wouldn't bow out, either.
KS-Gov: Dem gubernatorial hopeful Tom Holland picked fellow state Sen. Kelly Kultala, considered something of a rising star in KS politics, as his running mate. The two formally kicked off their campaign yesterday.
NM-Gov, WI-07: In NM-Gov, we mentioned a little while back that Dem LG Diane Denish is hitting GOP nominee Susana Martinez's record as a prosecutor in TV ads, specifically targeting her conviction rate. A related issue is coming up in WI-07, where Dems are charging ex-prosecutor Sean Duffy with misusing his (very recently) former office to compile conviction statistics helpful to his political campaign.
SC-Gov: Mitt Romney, who endorsed Nikki Haley back in March, is heading back down to the Palmetto state to campaign for her once more. Haley faces a runoff against Rep. Gresham Barrett on June 22nd.
AK-AL: Former communications exec Sheldon Fisher is running ads against his primary opponent, GOP Rep. Don Young, portraying himself as the "new conservative choice." Kudos to the AP for reporting that the ad buy is $40,000 in size - not much by conventional standards, perhaps, but that money ought to go a lot further in Alaska.
IN-03: So this is pretty bizarre. Ex-Rep. Mark Souder, who recently resigned on account of having an extra-marital affair with a staffer, sent an odd message on Facebook concerning his likely successor, state Sen. Marlin Stutzman. On the one hand, he says Stutzman is "probably best qualified" to fill his spot. But then, explains the AP:
In one paragraph, he says Stutzman knew nothing of the affair and therefore couldn't have tipped off the media. In another, he mentions that Stutzman or a political consulting firm leaked word of the affair to Fox News after getting information from the staffer's husband, Brad Jackson a Kosciusko County commissioner.
Hmm, I thought it was Mike Pence who dimed out Souder?
MD-01: Businessman Rob Fisher is going up with an ad presenting himself as an outsider in the GOP primary. He faces the better-known state Sen. Andy Harris (the 2008 loser). BIG props to Ben Pershing at the Washington Post for nailing down these details: "The spot is running on cable stations in the Baltimore and Salisbury markets, with an initial buy of more than $70,000."
MI-07, MI-09: President Obama did some fundraisers in Michigan earlier this week - one for the DNC, and another joint event for Reps. Gary Peters and Mark Schauer.
OH-18: Zack Space is doin' it right: He's launching a "six-figure" buy for an ad attacking GOP opponent Bob Gibbs as a tax-hiker and self-pay-raiser. Why do I like this move? Because Space is using his use cash edge ($1.3 mil to $0.1mil) to define Gibbs, at a time when Gibbs has only just emerged from the uncertainty of a primary recount (which he won with an absurdly pathetic 20.9%). For his part, Gibbs fired back with a popgunpress release, the poor man's television ad - very poor man's.
VA-05: True to his word, Some Dude Jeff Clark is going ahead with his plans to run as a teabagging independent, since Rob Hurt won the GOP primary to take on Tom Perriello. In fact, Clark filed petitions with the board of elections last week. Note, though, something he hasn't yet filed: an FEC report. Meanwhile, second-place finisher Jim McKelvey, who swore he wouldn't support Hurt if he became the nominee, is still playing coy. Election night remarks suggested he was prepared to fall in line, but he hasn't officially endorsed. (The other four also-rans have in fact done so.)
Polltopia: Taegan Goddard relays some blind non-quotes from random "pollsters" complaining about the alleged lack of transparency in Nate Silver's pollster ratings - in particular, the fact that he hasn't published his database of polls. Leaving aside the delicious irony that anonymous pollsters are complaining about transparency, I think this is a red herring. As Nate points out in a post of his own, anyone can recreate his work (with a lot of time and a little money) - and his main concern is the legal issues involved in making public a database that in part relies on information drawn from for-pay services.
• AR-Sen: As predicted, labor doesn't look like it's going to kiss and make up with Blanche Lincoln. The SEIU says it won't back Lincoln in November, if nothing else, seeing as how they have races with better odds elsewhere that they need to deal with. PPP's Tom Jensen reinforces that point in a piece entitled "Write Off Lincoln," listing a handful of total sleeper races where the polls have been better for Dems than Arkansas.
• CT-Sen: Campaigns don't usually release internal polls showing them down by 13 points, but when all the public pollsters are showing you down by more than 20 after your blockbuster move failed and it's a last ditch effort to get contributors to not write you off, I suppose it makes sense. A Moore Information poll finds Linda McMahon trailing Richard Blumethal "only" 51-38.
• IL-Sen: Glad to see that the mainstream environmental groups are starting to see the big picture of how Washington works instead of reflexively endorsing moderate Republicans who occasionally pantomime throwing them a bone (see also Reichert, Dave). The Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters, who've backed Mark Kirk in the past in his House races, will be going with Alexi Giannoulias instead this year.
• NH-Sen: This seemed more like a cry for attention than a well-thought-out campaign pre-announcement when it happened last week. So it's not surprising to hear that whistleblower/former state Securities chief Mark Connolly, after floating his name last week, has decided against running against Paul Hodes in the Dem Senate primary. (The same link also has a list of filings for New Hampshire's state Senate... although Blue Hampshire has that data in helpful table form. Most notable: a troubling Dem-held open seat in a R+4 district.)
• SC-Sen: That didn't take long at all, for the Democrats' baffling new Senatorial nominee, Alvin Greene, to slide into Scott Lee Cohen territory. With revelations this morning that he's facing felony obscenity charges, the state party is calling on Greene to drop out of the race. Mother Jones has some more detail on Greene that really plumbs the depths of his sheer unpreparedness for what he's gotten himself into. I have no idea whether he's a GOP plant (who got fronted the $10K filing fee to be a speed bump for Vic Rawl and wound up winning instead) or just a naif who accidentally wandered into the corridors of power, "Being There"-style, but either way, it makes for a great story.
• AL-Gov: It's official; Robert Bentley finished in 2nd place in the GOP gubernatorial primary, earning him a spot in the primary, and, as expected, Tim James will file for a recount. AG Troy King just issued an AG opinion clarifying the whole issue of whether an automatic recount applies here: no, it doesn't apply to primaries, so James is responsible for the cost of the recount himself. James still plans to do it, though, despite the cost of at least $300K.
• MI-Gov: Republican AG Mike Cox got endorsements from two key GOP power brokers: from the state Chamber of Commerce, and also from Dick and Betsy DeVos. I was a little surprised that the Grand Rapids-based Amway cult leaders didn't go with their in-house western Michigan U.S. Rep., Pete Hoekstra, but Hoekstra claims not to be surprised, probably suggestive of some interpersonal tension with the DeVos family.
• MN-Gov: Here's one more place the SEIU won't get involved: the DFL gubernatorial primary in Minnesota. All three contenders seem to be friendly with labor, so the SEIU didn't seem to want to play favorites in a field that's basically a tossup.
• OR-Gov: Now this is odd... while Oregon has a rather New England-influenced politics, there's no track record of quirky moderate independents running and winning there. Nevertheless, prominent local attorney John DiLorenzo is reporting a $150K loan from himself to his exploratory committee, in apparent preparation for a gubernatorial run.
• SC-Gov: I don't think the RGA could tip its hand any further than it did last night, all but endorsing Nikki Haley, who still has to get past a runoff against Gresham Barrett, saying "the voters made a clear choice" and "the outcome is certain." Barrett, for his part, is brushing that off and continuing to fight on.
• VT-Gov: You may remember Anthony Pollina, who ran as a Progressive and then independent in several gubernatorial races, going as far as to finish 2nd in 2008. Good news for Vermont Dems: Pollina isn't making a third-party bid, or even running for governor at all this year; instead, he's running for a state Senate seat. Also, it sounds like the local Dems and Progressives are getting smarter about not canceling each other out, as they plan to avail themselves more of "fusion voting" this year. (H/t terje; the whole comment is well worth a read.)
• AR-01: With the ink barely dry on Chad Causey's victory in the Dem runoff, the Rick Crawford campaign released an internal poll showing them with a lead over Causey. The poll by POS gives the GOP nominee a 40-34 lead. While the district has a strong Dem tradition, Obama's 54% disapproval in the district gives Crawford an opening.
• IN-03: There's a tally of 15 different Republicans seeking the GOP nod for the special election to replace the recently-resigned Mark Souder; the local GOP will meet on Saturday to choose somebody. The most prominent name is state Sen. Marlin Stutzman, who recently lost the IN-Sen primary, but the list also includes IN-03 primary loser Bob Thomas, two state Reps., Randy Borror and Wes Culver, and even a local TV anchor, Ryan Elijah.
• IN-09: Biden alert! The fundraiser-in-chief has added Baron Hill to his list of beneficiaries, and will be appearing on his behalf in Jeffersonville on June 28.
• PA-12: For his rematch against now-Rep. Mark Critz, Tim Burns is going to try a different campaign manager. Having lost by 9 in the special after seeming to lose the ground war, he parted ways with former chief Tadd Rupp.
• NRSC: John Cornyn admits that the NRSC's wide playing field this November isn't all good news, because their limited resources (currently $17.1 million) will be stretched thin. Somewhere Dino Rossi is thinking "Now he tells me..."
• Polltopia: Maybe the biggest story that people are following today is the quick decision, in the wake of the AR-Sen runoff polls (as well as MA-Sen, PA-12, and the AL-Gov D primary...), by Daily Kos to part ways with hired pollster Research 2000. However, Markos says the decision was more based on 538's aggregate pollster ratings than any one poll. There's no word yet on which pollster will be wearing the orange in the future. Mark Blumenthal has more on the decision, including R2K head Del Ali's response.
• CA-Sen: For a brief shining moment there, Tom Campbell had some good news: in the April 1-May 19 reporting period, Campbell actually outraised Carly Fiorina from outside donors. Campbell pulled in $990K while Fiorina got $909K. Fiorina's response? She wrote herself another seven-figure check.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist's 7-word-long Google ad attacking Jeff Greene (almost haiku-like in its simplicity: "What has Jeff Greene done? Experience matters.") prompted a 300-word press release from the Greene camp landing some solid hits on Crist.
• KY-Sen: In terms of rocking the political boat, this probably isn't as eye-opening as his comments about the Civil Rights Act or the NAFTA Superhighway, but it's one more weird, sketchy act by Rand Paul: in 1999, he created a whole new certifying body for ophthalmologists, the National Board of Ophthalmology, in order to compete with the establishment American Board of Ophthalmology. The NBO has looser certification requirements than the ABO.
• NH-Sen (pdf): Republican pollster Magellan has been really active lately in GOP primaries where they don't have any skin in the game; they're back to looking at the New Hampshire Senate race. They find the real race here between Kelly Ayotte, at 38, and Bill Binnie, at 29. Ovide Lamontagne is lagging at 9, with Jim Bender at 4.
• OH-Sen, OH-Gov (pdf): The Ohio Poll, conducted by the University of Cincinnati, is out today with pleasant results for Democrats (perhaps doubly so, considering they have a reputation for producing GOP-leaning results). They find Dem Lee Fisher with a one-point lead over GOPer Rob Portman in the Senate race, 47-46. They also find incumbent Dem Ted Strickland looking OK in the gubernatorial race, leading John Kasich 49-44 (and sporting a surprisingly high 55/35 approval, suggesting that whatever he's been doing lately has been working).
• FL-Gov: Ad wars are reaching a fever pitch in the GOP primary in the Florida gubernatorial race; Rick Scott placed a sixth major media buy for another $2.9 million, taking his total to $10.9 million. We've also found out more about that mystery group that's planning to spend nearly a million hitting Scott (primarily on the issue of the fraud charges against his company): it's the Alliance for America's Future. While it's not clear what their interest in Bill McCollum is, the group is headed by Mary Cheney (daughter of Dick).
• HI-Gov: After many months of operating in running-but-not-running limbo, Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann made it official yesterday: he'll run in the Democratic gubernatorial primary against ex-Rep. Neil Abercrombie.
• NM-Gov: Former state GOP chair Allen Weh, who's turned into the main GOP primary opposition to Susana Martinez by virtue of his money, just loaned himself another $600K for the home stretch, on top of $1 million he's already contributed. Lt. Gov. Diane Denish is unopposed in the Dem primary, but watching Martinez catch up to her in polls of the general, has launched into a fundraising frenzy as of late; she's raised $464K from donors in the last three weeks.
• SC-Gov (pdf): Two different polls are out in South Carolina: one, from Insider Advantage, continues the trend of giving an advantage to Nikki Haley (and the survey period was May 25, after the current imbroglio broke). Haley is at 31, Andre Bauer at 21, Gresham Barrett at 14, and Henry McMaster at 13. On the Dem side, Vince Sheheen leads at 26, with Jim Rex at 17 and Robert Ford at 12. SCIndex didn't look at the primaries, but had some rather heartening numbers for November: Generic Republican leads Generic Dem only 46-44 in the gubernatorial race, while in the Senate race, Jim DeMint leads Democratic challenge Vic Rawl only 50-43.
• IN-03: Mitch Daniels made it official today, setting the date for the special election to replace resigned Mark Souder on Nov. 2, at the same time as the general election. (So the special election's winner will only serve during the House's lame duck session.) The state GOP will pick its candidates for both elections at a June 12 caucus; presumably, they'll choose the same person for both.
• MO-08: Where's the New York Times when you need them? Rep. Jo Ann Emerson just lied big-time about her Dem opponent Tommy Sowers' military record, saying that her opposition to DADT repeal was based on talking to actual commanders, as opposed to Sowers, who "never commanded anybody." Um, yeah... except for that platoon of combat engineers that Sowers led in Kosovo.
• MS-01: Wow, even Mississippi Dems are now taking a page from the Gray Davis playbook. A Dem 527 called "Citizens for Security and Strength" is hitting presumed Republican frontrunner state Sen. Alan Nunnelee prior to the primary as a "hypocrite on taxes." Apparently they too are sensing some late-game momentum by Henry Ross, a teabagger whom they'd much rather Travis Childers face in the general than financially-flush establishment figure Nunnelee, and would like to facilitate a Ross victory (or at least a runoff).
• NC-08: Thinking that Barack Obama is a Kenyan secret Muslim? Check. Wanting to repeal the 17th Amendment? Great! Thinking that there's a 1,000-foot-high pyramid in Greenland? Sorry, that's a fridge too far even for the teabaggers of North Carolina. Six leaders among the local Tea Partiers publicly switched their allegiances to Harold Johnson in the runoff in the 8th, following revelations of just how off-the-rails their one-time fave Tim d'Annunzio is.
• NY-23: Determined to relive the NY-23 special election over and over again, the Concerned Women of America are sticking with their endorsement of Doug Hoffman, who seems on track to pick up the Conservative Party line while the GOP line goes elsewhere (like Matt Doheny, most likely).
• Votes: The repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell cleared the House by a 234-194 margin yesterday, with 5 GOPers voting yes and 26 Dems voting no. The GOP 'ayes' were Judy Biggert, Joe Cao, Charles Djou (in his first week of work), Ron Paul, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Dem no votes were -- no surprise -- mostly vulnerable members in culturally conservative areas: Berry, Bishop (GA), Boucher, Bright, Carney, Childers, Costello, Critz, Davis (TN), Donnelly, Edwards (TX), Etheridge, Green (TX), Lipinski, Marshall, McIntyre, Ortiz, Peterson, Pomeroy, Rahall, Ross, Shuler, Skelton, Spratt, Tanner, and Taylor.
• Polltopia: Somebody must have slipped some Red Bull into Nate Silver's Ovaltine lately, as he's just landed his third hard hit on Rasmussen in as many days. Today, it's their Wisconsin Senate race poll showing the unknown Ron Johnson competitive (and known by 68% of likely voters) that's drawing Nate's ire.
AK-Sen: It looks like Democrats will have a warm body to challenge frosh GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski this year. The Alaska Democratic Party is touting Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams as their man, and he says that he'll make an announcement about the race on June 1.
AR-Sen: The SEIU is spending $307,000 on their latest ad buy for Bill Halter, bringing their total investment in this race close to $2.5 million. That's some serious pie.
CT-Sen: Last week, Joe Lieberman said he was undecided on whom to support in the race between Democrat Richard Blumenthal and Republican Linda McMahon. This week, Lieberman is still saying that he's "not eliminating [a McMahon endorsement] as a possibility." What a major league asshole.
FL-Sem: This is both amusing and rather extraordinary. Libertarian Party candidate Alexander Snitker released an internal poll conducted by Telsel Inc. showing Charlie Crist at 40%, Marco Rubio at 34%, Kendrick Meek at 10%, and Snitker at a whopping 2.5%. I'm not sure what's more remarkable: the fact that this guy paid for a poll, or the fact that he's touting its results as proof that he can win.
MO-Sen: Because it's never too early to start planning for 2012, ex-Sen. Jim Talent says that he's mulling over a rematch with Democrat Claire McCaskill, and will make a decision early next cycle.
NV-Sen: We had heard of the Dump Reid PAC before, but I didn't realize that their name was an acronym. Yes, their formal title is actually "Decidedly Unhappy Mainstream Patriots Rejecting Evil-Mongering Incompetent Democrats". Anyway, those bozos have spent $30,000 against Harry Reid, mostly on direct mail.
AL-07: EMILY's List has now spent $110,000 on the candidacy of former Wall Street securities attorney Terri Sewell, most of that on direct mail. My one-word editorial: Yeesh.
AR-03: Wilson Research Strategies (5/19-20, likely voters):
CT-04: It looks like the GOP primary to take on Jim Himes will be a four-way. State Sen. Dan Debicella, businessman Robert Merkle, and Easton First Selectman Thomas Herrmann will be joined on the ballot by Paulist businessman Rick Torres, who says that he's collected the required amount of signatures to land on the ballot. Torres also announced a cross-endorsement of fellow weirdo Peter Schiff, who's waging an uphill campaign for the Republican Senate nomination. Torres says that his campaign will help Schiff collect signatures in the coming days.
IN-03: Republicans now have more than ten dudes running for the seat of disgraced ex-Rep. Mark Souder, the latest entrant being state Rep. Wes Culver.
NY-13: After being rebuffed by disgraced ex-Rep. Vito Fossella, the Staten Island GOP formally nominated lawyer Michael Allegretti to take on Dem Rep. Mike McMahon. In advance of the committee's vote, Allegretti's primary opponent, former FBI agent Michael Grimm, wrote a blistering letter to the borough party, calling their Fossella shenanigans "dysfunctional" and their endorsement a "sham". Grimm is vowing to soldier on to the primary. Meanwhile, McMahon picked up the endorsement of the Staten Island Conservative Party this week.
SC-03: I don't have a dog in this race, but a good rule of thumb when it comes to contested GOP primaries is to root against whatever nutcase the Club for Growth has endorsed. That said, the Clubbers are spending $110K on a media buy in support of real estate broker and auctioneer Jeff Duncan in the open seat race to replace GOP Rep. Gresham Barrett. Write that one down on your scorecard!
TN-08: And speaking of "independent" expenditures, it's been mentioned several times in the digest that Robert Kirkland has been filing independent expenditures on behalf of his brother, physician Ron Kirkland, who's locked in a Republican primary battle with agribsuiness kingpin/humble gospel singer Stephen Fincher to replace retiring Dem Rep. John Tanner. For those keeping score, Rob has now spent a quarter of a million bucks on the race in a show of brotherly love.
AR-Sen: The SEIU is looking to finish the job, throwing down another $450K on behalf of Bill Halter. The union has spent almost $2 million dollars on this race so far.
AZ-Sen: Perhaps sensing some vulnerability on John McCain's part, ex-state Rep. and former AZ health department chief Cathy Eden is jumping into the Democratic primary, where she'll face former Tucson city councilman Rodney Glassman. Eden served in the state House in the early 1990s, then ran a brief campaign for the Dem nod for Arizona's open Senate seat in 1994, dropping out before the primary. She's also apparently tight with Janet Napolitano.
CT-Sen: So it turns out the NYT did have in its possession a copy of the full video of the Dick Blumenthal speech where he first said he served "during Vietnam," only later to cloud things by saying he served "in Vietnam." Yet despite having the entire video, the Times only posted a truncated clip showing the latter bit. Sheesh.
FL-Sen: The normally Dem-friendly Florida Education Association endorsed both Charlie Crist and Democrat Kendrick Meek for Senate on Friday, as a thank-you to Crist for his veto of a controversial teacher "merit pay" bill. Crist tried to parlay that victory by attempting to steal another endorsement from Meek, enthusiastically courting the backing of the AFL-CIO. Unfortunately for Crist, the union decided to endorse Meek and only Meek. (J)
KY-Sen: You probably saw that Rand Paul abruptly cancelled a "Meet the Press" appearance scheduled for yesterday. What you may not have known is that the only other people in recent history to do so are Louis Farrakhan and Saudi Arabia's Prince Bandar. Also, if you check out that first Politico link, you'll see exactly how uncomfortable Paul's post-primary "unity" roll-out has been. Even Trey Grayson couldn't stay on-message long enough to avoid admitting to reporters that the whole thing has been "awkward."
NV-Sen: This is the chicken that laid the golden egg: Nevada election officials have banned people from wearing chicken suits into polling places on primary day. Though Dems have been sending people in chicken costumes to Sue Lowden campaign events, no one had any apparent plans to do electioneering while so garbed. But what this means is another day of chickens in the news. I think that calls for some Chicken Dance!
PA-Sen: Weird - Joe Sestak repeated his claim that the Obama administration offered him a job so that he'd drop his challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter. The weird part is that White House press secretary Bob Gibbs, in response, said only that "nothing inappropriate" happened, but didn't confirm or deny Sestak's claim.
WI-Sen: This is a surprise: One-time beer baron Dick Leinenkugel has dropped out of the race after less than a month. He endorsed teabaggy businessman Ron Johnson, which seems like an odd fit, since the Kugel had worked in Dem Gov. Jim Doyle's administration (a pretty big and obvious knock against him in a GOP primary). Hey, Beer Man - we hardly knew ye! Meanwhile, Johnson picked up the GOP's endorsement (by a wide margin) at the state Republican convention this past weekend. Terrence Wall and David Westlake are apparently still staying in the race, though.
FL-Gov: God bless chrome-domed creep Rick Scott. He's blasting McCollum on the airwaves for failing to support Arizona's new "papers, please" immigration law with sufficient gusto. Though I usually complain when tradmed accounts fail to detail the size of ad buys, since it's Scott, we can probably assume there's plenty of money behind it, as he's already spent approximately eight zillion dollars on the race. You know McCollum is sitting at home with his head in his hands, just wondering, "What the hell did I do to deserve this shit?"
Meanwhile, third wheel state Sen. Paula Dockery said she wouldn't put her personal wealth into her campaign - and also opined that she'd veto an abortion bill she voted for if she became governor. I'm not even sure John Kerry could come up with something that good.
ID-Gov: This is interesting - Dem Keith Allred raised $240K since January, outstripping Gov. Butch Otter's $193K. Otter has $201K CoH while Allred has $130K.
WI-Gov: Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker was forced to return $44K in illegal contributions for an amazingly simple reason: a railroad exec used company money to reimburse employee donations to Walker! Talk about shady - and dumb.
HI-01: Colleen Hanabusa made it clear she's going to run again after Saturday's lost to Charles Djou, but Ed Case sounded surprisingly non-committal, saying only that on Monday, he planned to "wake up, go body surfing and cut the lawn. We'll figure out the rest of it later."
IN-03: Ala NY Gov. David Paterson and the NY-29 race, Gov. Mitch Daniels is reportedly considering holding the IN-03 special election in November, on the same day as the regular general election, in order to save the state money.
VA-09: Morgan Griffith, majority leader of the state House of Delegates, won the GOP nod at a district convention this past weekend on the first ballot. I'm not sure if there even would be a primary here on account of the convention, but in any case, it sounds like the other Republican candidates are rallying behind Griffith, who will take on Dem Rep. Rick Boucher in the fall.
NY-State Sen.: New York Dems seem to have landed a good recruit against the 78-year-old Sen. Hugh Farley in the 44th district upstate. Susan Savage, chair of the Schenectady county lege, is entering the race in this 50-48 Obama district.
Fundraising: The WaPo has a great interactive graphic illustrating corporate PAC giving to Dems vs. Republicans, dating all the way back to 1989.
Polling: A new Pew study shows that question responses in landline + cell phone surveys are starting to differ from landline-only answers, sometimes as much as four or five points (and in one case, seven). In general, landline-only surveys tend to underestimate Democratic support.
Passings: One-time GOP Rep. Donald "Buz" Lukens died on Saturday at age 79. He was best known for his conviction for paying a 16-year-old girl for sex, which led to his 1990 loss in the GOP primary to none other than John Boehner.
WATN?: Former senator and general d-bag Bob Kerrey may go and head up the Motion Picture Association of America. He'd follow in the footsteps of another former member of Congress from the middle of the country, Dan Glickman.