• HI-Sen: Sen. Dan Inouye says in a new interview that he "will not take sides in the primary," and Politico ads that his "top aides insist" he won't be lending quiet, behind-the-scenes support to any candidates either. I hope that's true, since I was concerned Ed Case might have mended things with Inouye to the point that the latter might get behind the former. But without some special help, I think Case will have a hard time. Also, SMS Research took the most useless poll imaginable, pitting Case against former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann in a primary... and absolutely no one else. Whatevs.
• ME-Sen: Olympia Snowe said she raised over $877K in Q1 and has over $2 million on hand.
• OH-Sen: Sherrod Brown said he raised $1.3 million in Q1 and has $2.5 million on hand.
• VA-Sen: George Allen said he raised $1.5 million in Q1 and has $1.25 million on hand.
• KY-Gov: TX Gov. Rick Perry, current chair of the RGA, says his organization won't decide how heavily it'll get involved in Kentucky's gubernatorial race until after the May 17th primary. He also declined to endorse frontrunner (and establishment choice) David Williams, saying he's "got a really good feeling about all the men and women who are running."
• CO-04: Republican Rep. Corey Gardner apparently raised over $300K in Q1.
• CT-04: Dem Rep. Jim Himes estimates he took in over $300K in Q1.
• IN-06, IN-05: Luke Messer, a former official with the state GOP who nearly beat Rep. Dan Burton in a primary last year, now finds himself living just outside Burton's 5th CD, according to new maps proposed by Republicans in charge of the state lege. Messer is now in the 6th, which is likely to be vacated by Mike Pence, who everyone thinks will run for governor. Messer says he's buddies with Pence and will consider running to replace him if Pence makes the leap for the statehouse, but he wouldn't rule out a rematch against Burton (though he says he wouldn't move in order to do so).
• MN-08: This is pretty wild: Former Rep. Rick Nolan (D) says he's thinking about staging a comeback. It's wild because Nolan left office in 1981 and is now 68 years old. It's also rather strange because Nolan represented what was then the 6th CD, which is accurately represented in the map Joe Bodell presents. (His reader update is incorrect.) At the time, Nolan's district covered the southwestern and central portions of the state; today's 8th is in the northeastern corner (though they share one county in common, Mille Lacs). And to cap it all off, Nolan was touting himself at a Dem meeting in Bemidji, which is in the 7th CD. Actually, no - the real capper is that Nolan was a practitioner of the '60s & '70s fad of "Transcendental Meditation" (whose practitioners claimed they could levitate) and earned a mention in Time Magazine for it.
• MO-03: Not going gently... or padding the warchest for a different race, or perhaps something else down the line? Russ Carnahan raised $333K in Q1, his best first quarter ever, and has $286K on hand. Dave Catanese notes that Lacy Clay raised just $17K (though he has $222K in the bank). Would Carnahan really go up against Clay in a primary? What do you think?
• MS-02: Greenville Mayor Heather McTeer Hudson said she plans to challenge veteran Rep. Bennie Thompson in the Democratic primary next year. She also announced she's hiring pollster Celinda Lake. Hudson had previously said she wouldn't seek re-election to her current post. Thompson, meanwhile, ended last year with $1.7 million on hand and has warded off primary challengers before (most recently in 2006, in the form of Chuck Espy, son of former Rep. Mike Espy).
• SD-AL: Though it seems all but certain that ex-Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin won't seek a rematch this cycle (among other things, she just accepted a teaching position at South Dakota State University, where she once worked), she did say she's open to the possibility of seeking office again at some point in the future. She didn't specify what post, so you can mentally flag this item as something other than just SD-AL if you like. Speaking of SD-AL, Rep. Kristi Noem (the woman who beat Sandlin) announced she took in $396K in Q1.
• LA-AG: Former Rep. Joe Cao says he plans to challenge Dem-cum-Republican AG Buddy Caldwell this fall. Cao specifically cited Caldwell's party switch (which only happened in February) and questioned his Republican bona fides - sort of an unusual move in a state where party switching has been very common. We'll see if he Cao actually has the chops to make a race of it. (Side note: A proud moment in SSP in-the-weeds history: Live-blogging the LA-AG runoff in 2007, when control of the state House was also at stake.)
• MS-AG: A rare bright spot for Mississippi Dems: Attorney General Jim Hood leads Republican Steve Simpson by 49-32 margin in PPP's latest poll.
• Special Elections: From Johnny L-T:
Two of the three elections last night were landslides; in South Carolina's SD-16, Republican Greg Gregory trounced Democrat Keith Brann and Libertarian Stan Smith by a 77-18-5 margin, while in Minnesota's SD-66, DFLer Mary Jo McGuire beat Republican Greg Copeland 80-20. In Connecticut's HD-128, Democrat Dan Fox won with 39%, while Republican Charles Pia (not Antonacci, my mistake) came in second with 24%. Independents John Mallozzi and Monique Thomas both made strong showings, pulling in 23% and 13%, respectively, and Green Rolf Maurer brought up the rear with about 1%. Note that Mallozzi failed to win the Democratic nomination, so he petitioned his way onto the ballot.
• Pay-to-Play: MaryNYC, the First Lady of the Swing State Project (aka my wife), has an interesting backgrounder on the SEC's new regulations which attempt to curtail Wall Street from engaging in "pay-to-play" with elected officials. What's interesting about the rules is that they make it very difficult for employees of financial firms to donate to state and local officeholders who have a stake in municipal investment decisions, but generally speaking doesn't affect donations to federal officeholders. So, in a hypothetical example, New Mexico state Auditor Hector Balderas, who is weighing a run for Senate, might find Wall Street's doors shut, while Rep. Martin Heinrich, who is already in the race, would face no such problems.
• Indiana: We'll have a lengthier redistricting-only digest later today, but I wanted to bring you this information ASAP. A source involved in Indiana politics informs me that these are the Obama percentages for each CD in the new map proposed by Republicans in the state lege:
• MI-Sen: Peter Hoekstra, having just started as a "senior adviser" at Dickstein Shapiro, let Politico know that, despite all appearances associated with his new job, he hasn't ruled out a 2012 Senate bid, saying he's keeping his options open. (I know that on my first day on the job, I like to loudly tell everybody that I may not be working there much longer. Really helps you get off on the right foot with your boss.)
• MT-Sen: Jon Tester wasted no time in going after newly-announced Denny Rehberg, drawing connections between Rehberg and Michele Bachmann (and her proposed $4.5 billion in VA cuts). Bachmann will be a featured speaker at the event on Saturday where Rehberg formally announces. Tester raised $128K in Q4 with $562K, a decent amount for the small state of Montana but not much different from Rehberg's $553K war chest.
• TX-Sen: You might remember talk from a couple years ago where ESPN analyst Craig James was interested in running for what was then expected to be a Senate special election to replace a resigning Kay Bailey Hutchison. That faded into the mists of time, but here's the first statement of interest I've seen from him since the race re-opened up thanks to her retirement. It comes up in the context of him saying that, yes, he believes people in Lubbock would still vote for him despite his role in getting Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach fired.
• UT-Sen: An interesting piece about Orrin Hatch focuses mostly on how he's trying to avoid the fate of Bob Bennett by reaching out and engaging the local tea party crowd as much as possible; a local 'bagger comments that Hatch shouldn't expect their endorsement but his efforts will really limit the outrage that seemed to overwhelm Bennett. (Hatch also has an interesting selling point to offer them: if he's defeated but the GOP takes the Senate, that puts Olympia Snowe in charge of Finance.) Buried in the story is a provocative comment from Bennett's vanquisher, Mike Lee, who only says that he'll "fully support" the GOP nominee without saying anything about backing Hatch.
• AK-AL, NY-13: Here are two House races where the potential challenger has the financial advantage, according to new Q4 numbers. One is the possible GOP primary for Alaska's at-large seat, where Joe Miller has $825K left in the bank, thanks to money he didn't get a chance to spend on his legal defense, whereas Don Young has $170K CoH. (Miller, of course, hasn't said anything specific about a race against Young in 2012, but he and Young have publicly traded some barbs.) The other is NY-13, where surprise Republican victor Michael Grimm actually finds himself in debt, with a net minus-$36K while Democratic ex-Rep. Mike McMahon, who seems to be laying groundwork for a rematch, has $17K CoH leftover.
• IN-05, IN-06: Roll Call looks at the slowly-developing race to replace Mike Pence in the 6th. Most (if not all) the action is on the GOP side so far, with former Wayne Co. Sheriff Matt Strittmatter the only one with a campaign account open so far (which contains $39K). Other GOPers include 1990s-era ex. Rep. David McIntosh, Henry County Council president Nate LaMar, '10 Senate primary loser Don Bates, and '10 IN-05 primary loser Luke Messer... but it sounds like Messer, who almost beat the unloved Dan Burton, may be running in the 5th again, seeing as how Roll Call got Burton's office to confirm that Burton (frequent subject of retirement speculation) plans to run for re-election. One other wrinkle: Republican redistricting efforts to redden Joe Donnelly's IN-02 may wind up making IN-06 less Republican, so that might encourage Dems to at least consider playing in the 6th.
• MT-AL: With Montana's at-large House seat suddenly looking like it's on track to be an open seat, we may actually get some decent Democratic candidates in the race. It's occasionally been a competitive seat, currently at R+7, though not really hotly contested since the last time it was open, in 2000. Democratic State Rep. Franke Wilmer of Bozeman is already floating her name for the race. (If she won, she'd be the first woman in the seat since the legendary Jeannette Rankin.)
• SD-AL: Now this is interesting: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (haven't heard anything about a rematch, but this might perk up her ears) is actually leading a hypothetical rematch by one point (46-45) against new Republican Rep. Kristi Noem, according to PPP. PPP points out that she lost by three in 2010, so that small shift is consistent with the small nationwide bump upwards for the Dems over the last month or two. Herseth Sandlin's favorables are 55/36, compared with Noem's 38/35 approvals. Over on the Senate side, Tim Johnson (who isn't up until 2014) is at 47/41 approval.
• LA-AG: We've seen a couple dozen legislative party-switchers from the Democrats to the Republicans in southern states in the last few months, in the wake of several states' chambers finally completing their realignment all the way down to the state level, but nobody at a statewide level doing so... until now. Louisiana AG Buddy Caldwell, facing a potentially tough general election, plans to switch to Republican status. (I'd invoke the cautionary specter of Parker Griffith, but Louisiana uses a jungle primary so switching to a potentially tough primary instead may not be the kiss of death.) Since Caldwell was already the only Democratic AG who had joined the multi-state lawsuit against healthcare reform, his "Democrat" status was pretty negligible at this point.
• MA-St. House: This may be one of the largest constituencies where I've seen a race end in a tie (although I'm sure someone in the comments can come up with a historic example of an even bigger race that tied). The November election in Massachusetts's 6th Worcester district in the state House was just declared a tie by a superior court judge, and (rather than flipping a coin, drawing lots, or sending them to Thunderdome) a do-over special election was ordered. Democratic incumbent Geraldo Alicea and GOPer Peter Durant both got 6,587 votes. No date has been set yet, but we'll all be on pins and needles that night, seeing as how Dems control that chamber by only a 128-31 margin.
• CA-Referenda: A statewide special election is planned for some point in June, as Jerry Brown seeks a public mandate for extending increases in three different taxes (and he seems to think he has a better shot getting this through a public vote than the legislature). This is likely to be an entirely vote-by-mail affair, presaging a potential California shift in the direction of its west coast brethren. Somewhat counterintuitively (since vote-by-mail is usually considered to boost Dems), though, observers think this might skew the election toward older, whiter voters, as mail delivery is "unreliable in spots" (?!?) in heavily-minority Los Angeles County and voters there still tend to rely heavily on polling places. On the plus side, though, a recent PPIC poll found more support for extending the taxes among the 55+ set (56 yes/38 no) than among the entire population (where there was 50 yes/48 no support). Have the most seriously tax-hating seniors all fled to Arizona?
• Fundraising: The Fix has a bunch more Senate fundraising numbers to report, building on the numbers we gave you yesterday. For the Dems, Bob Casey Jr. seems to be fully engaged with his race, pulling in $621K in Q4 for $1.3 million CoH, while the publicity surrounding FiliBernie seems to have been a big cash cow for Bernie Sanders, who raised $485K for $536K CoH. Bob Menendez raised $237K for $2.4 million CoH, while freshly-elected Joe Manchin seemed to take a breather from fundraising, raising only $18K for $377K. Among not just vulnerable Republicans but basically everybody else in the Senate, Scott Brown is still the unstoppable money machine, in terms of both cash raised and CoH: $734K raised for $7.2 million CoH. Richard Lugar raised $173K for $2.35 million CoH, while Olympia Snowe raised $79K for $1.2 million CoH.
• Census: We're still waiting for this week's released of detailed 2010 data for Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia, but the Census Bureau is letting us know that next week they'll be out with four more: Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, and Maryland.
• WATN?: Rod Grams somehow managed to be one of the least memorable Senators of my lifetime who managed to serve a full term (surprisingly swept in in Minnesota in 1994, easily turned out in 2000), and now he's working a job that seems befitting his anonymity. He's working as a Hill staffer, and not even on the Senate side: he's the new chief of staff to new MN-08 Rep. Chip Cravaack. (Recall that Cravaack did what Grams couldn't do in 2006: knock off Jim Oberstar, in what was a strange comeback attempt by Grams.)
AR-Sen: The Big Dog is coming back home to stump for Blanche Lincoln, the first time he's done so this race. Meanwhile, the SEIU just tossed in another $100K for phonebanking and another $100K for field on behalf of Bill Halter. (There's also an amusing negative $100K entry for "reverse phonebanking.")
CA-Sen: Chuck DeVore is as insane as this ad. A true must-see. In news of the normal, President Obama kept to his promise to return to CA for two more Barbara Boxer fundraisers. The events raised $1.75 million, $600K of which will go to Boxer and the balance to the DSCC.
KY-Sen: Heh, that was quick. Rand Paul is already planning the dreaded "staff shakeup." The only problem is that he can't fire himself. Barring that, Mitch McConnell is telling his least-favorite fellow Kentuckian to shut the fuck up and hide under a rock - "for the time being."
PA-Sen: I agree - this is a magnanimous move. Arlen Specter introduced Joe Sestak to his Senate colleagues at their weekly lunch yesterday. Very gracious.
AL-06, AL-07: Unsurprisingly, corporate lawyer Terri Sewell is the only Democrat airing TV ads in the primary to succeed Rep. Artur Davis, spending about $200K so far. With $783K, she's far outraised her chief competitors, Earl Hilliard, Jr. ($328K) and Shelia Smoot ($100K). Sewell can also count among her contributors Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.
Crazily, though, ten-term GOP Rep. Spencer Bachus is also airing ads in advance of his primary in AL-06, some $70K worth. Bachus has spent an amazing $680K on his campaign so far, even though his challenger, teabagger Stan Cooke, has raised just $29K total. This is the reddest district in the nation according to Cook PVI (R+29), which may explain Bachus's anxiety, since he is the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee and voted in favor of the bailout.
AR-01: A similar situation in AR-01 as in AR-02 below, where first-rounder David Cook endorsed the somewhat less-conservative Chad Causey over the extremely conservative Tim Wooldridge in (you might be a little surprised to hear me say this if you don't already know the names) the Democratic runoff.
AR-02: Some runoff endorsements on both sides from the also-rans. Patrick Kennedy and John Adams (great names, huh?) both endorsed Robbie Wills in the Democratic race, while David Boling endorsed Joyce Elliott. I suspect national Dems would prefer Wills over the more-liberal Elliott, but this race is probably too touchy to get involved in.
DE-AL: Joe Biden returned home to do a fundraiser in Wilmington for John Carney. No word on whether he'll also do one for Senate candidate Chris Coons, but it's not like it's a big schlep.
FL-25: The statewide Florida AFL-CIO, following the lead of its South Fla. branch, endorsed little-known longshoreman Luis Meurice in the Democratic primary, rather than Joe Garcia. The union, Florida's biggest, backed Garcia in 2008.
IN-05: This is exactly the kind of weird that Dave Weigel specializes in. Tim Crawford, the teabagging "Democrat" who snuck to victory in the Democratic primary here, abruptly dropped out of the race after an unpleasant meeting with, you know, actual Democrats... and then wrote a long, rambly email saying he was un-dropping-out. Ah well.
IN-09: Speaking of Joe Biden, he'll also be doing a fundraiser in late June for Rep. Baron Hill in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
NC-08: I would really freakin' love to see Tim D'Annunzio pull this one off. The entire NC House GOP delegation just collectively endorsed former TV sportscaster Harold Johnson, terrified as they are of the spastic-fantastic Tim-diana Jones. If you don't know what I'm talking about, click here stat.
RI-01: Scott Brown is coming to Rhode Island for a fundraiser with state Rep. John Loughlin, the GOP's candidate in this open seat. To date, Loughlin's raised about $344K, which might not seem too bad, but in fact he's been running for a long time, since well before Rep. Patrick Kennedy announced his retirement.
VA-11: Businessman Keith Fimian has a new poll from McLaughlin & Associates showing him with a 36-23 lead over Fairfax Co. Supervisor Pat Herrity in the GOP primary. A March poll had Fimian up 29-17. Herrity had his own poll out last month, though, showing him with a 42-21 lead - and pointed out that Fimian claimed his internals had him just three points behind Gerry Connolly before election day 2008, but lost by twelve.
DSCC: Uh, good, I guess. The DSCC has cancelled plans to have EPA chief Lisa Jackson headline an NYC fundraiser next week - but what a retarded idea in the first place. It seems pretty inappropriate to me to have cabinet members doing hackwork like this (can you imagine Hillary Clinton or Eric Holder shilling for dollars?), but it's even worse when you're talking about the head of the EPA in the midst of the oil spill crisis in the Gulf. I also find it unctuous that the original invitation promised that the event would be "intimate, so each of you will have a real opportunity to get to know and to speak to Lisa about issues of concern to you and our nation." Pretty gross when it's our team selling access to the ultra-wealthy. Barf.
Ideology: Alan Abramowitz has a great piece up at the Democratic Strategist, looking at the correlation between ideology (as measured by DW-NOMINATE) and election performance by Republican senators. Using a modified eight-point DW-N scale, Abramowitz finds: "For every additional one point increase in conservatism, Republican incumbents lost an additional three percentage points in support relative to their party's presidential candidate." But shhh... don't tell the Republicans!
OK, who goofed? Dave Weigel reports that Tim Crawford, the guy who won the Democratic primary earlier this month in IN-05, is a certifiable teabagger who seems to hate everything about Democrats and Obama.
Just look at what he's written on his Facebook page.
So... anti-health care reform, thinks we're all socialists, and a Tenther to boot!
How'd Indiana Democrats let this happen? Nonpartisan had me convinced Nasser Hanna, an actual Democrat, would be the Democratic nominee. Instead... we got Crawford, who handily won the primary, 61%-39%.
Yesterday's primary elections in Indiana, North Carolina, and Ohio showed two things: one, despite all the huffing and puffing about it being an anti-incumbent year and there being a massive wave of teabaggers ready to take the system down, establishment candidates still won pretty much everything. And two, the enthusiasm gap between the parties that we've been warned about is definitely out there, and numbers from last night back that up.
Indiana: Indiana was the case study for what went wrong with the anti-establishment candidates -- there were just too many of them. In Republican race after race, the anti-establishment votes were split between too many candidates, letting the incumbents or the anointed challengers slip through; had the teabaggers had the presence of mind to unite behind one person, they could have done some actual damage. In the Senate primary, 90s-leftover Dan Coats won with a tepid 39%, beating state Sen. Marlin Stutzman (standard-bearer of the DeMint wing of the teabaggers) at 29 and ex-Rep. John Hostettler (representing the Paulist wing) at 23. As we've wondered openly before at SSP, I have no idea whether that's better or worse for Democrats, seeing as how Coats has access to actual money but also a dump-truck full of vulnerabilities (starting off with the possibility that the NRA might actually support Brad Ellsworth over the Brady Bill-supporting Coats).
The same dynamic played out in a slew of House races. In IN-03, somnambulistic Rep. Mark Souder won with 48% over two opponents, Bob Thomas at 34% and Phil Troyer at 16%. In the open seat race in IN-04, SoS Todd Rokita only cleared 42%, although there were 13 contestants in the race and his nearest rival, Brandt Hershman, only reached 17%. In IN-05, widely disliked Rep. Dan Burton managed to way underperform his 52% from his last primary: he only got to 30%; luckily for him, his opposition was so chopped up that he still survived, with former state GOP chair Luke Messer coming closest at 28%. In IN-08, the NRCC's pick, surgeon Larry Bucshon, barely survived a horde of teabaggers, most of whom coalesced behind Kristi Risk, whom he beat 33-29. And in IN-09, a three-way duel between ex-Rep. Mike Sodrel, establishment pick attorney Todd Young, and teabagger fave Travis Hankins wound up with Young winning with 34%, with Hankins at 32% and Sodrel at 30% (sparing us Baron Hill vs. Sodrel Round Five). The only dominant performance was Jackie Wolarski in IN-02, who picked up 61% of the vote to Jack Jordan's 28%.
As with Coats, it's unclear to me who we'd rather have faced in those races. In each case, it was a choice between an establishment guy with money but who isn't going to excite the GOP base, vs. an outsider without the connections or, possibly, the campaign chops. Maybe Risk's loss will help with Democrat Trent Van Haaften's outreach to the local teabaggery, and in the 9th, while it's sad Baron Hill won't get to face off against the increasingly laughable Sodrel, Young seems to come with his own set of problems (first and foremost, a big recent donation from Don Blankenship, controversial CEO of coal mining company Massey Energy).
North Carolina: The big story in North Carolina was the Democratic primary in the Senate race. Thanks to a fairly strong performance from third-place finisher Kenneth Lewis, nobody cleared the 40% mark, and we're headed to a June 22 runoff between SoS Elaine Marshall and ex-state Sen. Cal Cunningham, which'll be a duel between name rec (Marshall) and money (Cunningham). Marshall finished at 36%, Cunningham at 27%, and Lewis at 17%.
At the House level, in the main race where the GOP is playing offense, the primary is also headed to a runoff. In NC-08, unhinged rich guy Tim D'Annunzio got 37% and ex-sportscaster Harold Johnson got 33%. NC-11 had looked like it was also headed to a runoff, but by night's end businessman Jeff Miller barely cleared the hurdle, with 40.2%. In both those races, the Dem incumbents got mild rebukes from their bases (presumably over their anti-HCR votes), with Larry Kissell getting only 63% and Heath Shuler getting 62%. In NC-06 and NC-10, geriatric Howard Coble (64%) and bombastic Patrick McHenry (63%) also underperformed against fractured opposition. You have to look further downballot to see any bodies falling: five incumbent state legislators lost their primaries (four of them Dems, although some of these look like safe seats).
Ohio: The main event in Ohio was the Senate primary for Democrats, where Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, as expected beat SoS Jennifer Brunner 55-45. Considering how vastly Brunner was outspent, and the trajectory of the last week's polls, it's actually surprising it was that close. Apparently Brunner's hard work on the ground in some of Ohio's reddish areas in the last weeks of the campaign paid off some dividends, as she put up big leads in the Cincinnati area (Hamilton and Clermont Counties). Naturally, it leaves you to wonder what she could have done if she'd had some actual money.
In the House, OH-02 was the scene of two contested primaries. Rep. Jean Schmidt survived her primary challenge with little trouble, beating Warren Co. Commissioner Mike Kilburn 62-22. On the Dem side, Surya Yalamanchili squeaked out a 41-38 win over David Krikorian, with apparently enough people repulsed by both to give 22% to Some Dude J. Parker. Krikorian continued to be a douchebag even in defeat, accusing Yalamanchili of having played "the race card." The establishment candidates in the two other big GOP primaries both prevailed: in OH-16, Jim Renacci got 49% to 40% for Matt Miller (his third straight time breaking 40% but losing the GOP primary here). And state Sen. Bob Gibbs, the NRCC's recruit in OH-18, seems to have beaten Fred Dailey by about 200 votes (at 21% each), although this race appears headed to a recount. (One would be hard-pressed to call Dailey, the 2008 nominee and former state Agriculture Director, an outsider candidate, although at least he was certainly angry this time around.)
In Ohio, there were also some allegedly hot primaries for the GOP in statewide races, where teabagger favorites were taking on establishment picks, that also turned out to be a big bucket of nothing. In the SoS primary, state Sen. Jon Husted beat Sandra O'Brien 67-33, while in the Auditor race, Delaware Co. Prosecutor Dave Yost (who was the teabagger fave when he was in the AG race running against the guy they really hate, Mike DeWine, but became their enemy when he switched over to the Auditor's race against the guy they liked) beat state Rep. Seth Morgan 65-35.
Finally, as I said at the start, there's the matter of turnout disparities. Reid Wilson points to how only 662K voters voted in the OH-Sen Democratic primary, which was lower than the number of Democratic voters (872K) in the Democratic primary in 2006 (where there was no contested D primary in either the Governor or Senate races). That jibes with the broader numbers we've been seeing about enthusiasm gaps (as with Gallup's recent poll showing 43% of Republicans are "very enthused" about voting, while 33% of Democrats are). The falloff was similar in Indiana, where only 204K Dems participated as opposed to 304K in 2006, although it's worth noting that the Dems were playing offense in 2006 and had contested House primaries, while this year there was really bupkus to get Dems to the polls in Indiana. In North Carolina, 425K voted in the Dem primary. Reid compares this to 2004, where more Dems showed up in the primary, but that may not be an apt comparison as that's a presidential year -- regardless, that too may be an ominous number in the context of the Republican Senate primary, where almost as many, 374K, voted to help Richard Burr dispatch no-name opposition.
• AR-Sen: Maybe it was yesterday's performance in front of Carl Levin by all those Goldman Sachs execs, but Blanche Lincoln saw the handwriting on the wall and reversed course on her Goldman contributions, which she'd previously said she was keeping. She's giving all that money to the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance.
• LA-Sen: Having tried to hammer David Vitter on all sorts of approaches (most of which seem to relate back to formaldehyde somehow -- FEMA trailers, the dry cleaners' lobby, and so on) and not gotten much traction, the Louisiana Democratic Party is going back to the well, to focus on the really easy-to-understand, obvious stuff: his patronizing of prostitutes. They have a new site up called "Forgotten Crimes" that revisits that sordid business.
• NC-Sen: Elaine Marshall is about to go on the TV airwaves starting Thursday, her first spot with less than a week to go before the primary. One of her advisors, Thomas Mills, also seems to have had a bit of a Homer Simpson moment of not saying the say-out-loud part and shouting the keep-it-in-your-head part; he said that opponent Cal Cunningham doesn't have a chance in the general "because he's a white male."
• PA-Sen: An ill-timed Arlen Specter quote today is raising a few eyebrows; he told Allentown's newspaper that "I might have helped the country more if I'd stayed a Republican." Of course, all the selective quoting misses the meat of his statement, which is that he says he would have voted for HCR regardless, and was musing whether he would have been in a better position to bring aboard Republican moderates from within that camp. Meanwhile, it seems like people are only just now waking up to the fact that Pat Toomey isn't unopposed on the GOP side; he still faces off against underfunded pro-life activist Peg Luksik. Luksik is finally getting in the news today, calling attention to Toomey's pro-choice statements in the past.
• WI-Sen: When Tommy Thompson decided not to run for Senate, many eyes wandered over to conservative state Senator Ted Kanavas as a possible Republican candidate against Russ Feingold. Kanavas declined a bid today; the only potential candidate that the GOP seems to be waiting on is wealthy businessman Ron Johnson, who still seems to be making up his mind.
• MA-Gov: The RGA is taking a page from its successful race in New Jersey, where they spent a ton of money neutralizing independent candidate Chris Daggett. They're facing an even bigger problem in Massachusetts in the form of Dem-turned-indie state Treasurer Tim Cahill, who's not only spoiling the race for Charlie Baker, but in 2nd place ahead of Baker. With that in mind, the RGA is launching the first big ad buy of the race, and it's an anti-Cahill, rather than anti-Deval Patrick, salvo.
• ME-Gov: The winner of the money chase in the Maine governor's race is Republican businessman Les Otten; he says he's raised $106K for his campaign, but also loaned himself $1.2 million. Republican Bruce Poliquin seems to have raised the most from others, among all the candidates; he's raised $600K. The money issue may be less relevant in Maine than most states, though; the more-or-less frontrunners on each side of the aisle, Democratic state Sen. Libby Mitchell and Republican state Sen. Peter Mills, are both relying on public funding through the Maine Clean Election Act.
• WI-Gov: In the jostling to be Democrat Tom Barrett's running mate in the Wisconsin gubernatorial race, there was a lot of action yesterday. Milwaukee alderman Tony Zielinski got out of the race and at the same time, state Assembly majority leader Thomas Nelson got in. Nelson is from Kaukauna (near Appleton); there may have been a push by Barrett (the Milwaukee mayor) to get some geographic diversity on the ticket.
• IN-05: Republican Dan Burton is one of Big Pharma's least favorite Republicans; no surprise, as he's one of the leading voices in the House for autism/vaccination crackpottery. Money from health and drug executives and PACs has been flowing into the campaigns of his primary opponents (especially state Rep. Mike Murphy and former state GOP chair Luke Messer). Unfortunately for Big Pharma, the badly-fractured opposition means that Burton looks poised to survive the May 4 primary even with a small plurality (as Indiana doesn't have runoffs).
• WV-01: Rep. Alan Mollohan, who tends to keep less money in his campaign warchest than most people keep in their checking accounts, has suddenly turned into a fundraising beast in recent weeks (now that he suddenly has some motivation to do so, facing both a tough primary and some credible GOP opposition). He's raised $32K in just the last two days after holding a fundraiser. Meanwhile, there's no clear front-runner as to who his GOP opponent will be, although former state Rep. David McKinley and former state Sen. Sarah Minear are trading punches over their legislative track records.
• CA-LG: Abel Maldonado was sworn in as California's new Lt. Governor today, finally filling the long-vacant position. On the downside, the Republican can now run for re-election as an incumbent, but on the plus side, his Democratic-leaning Senate seat (not just in terms of registration, but a 59/39 vote for Obama), SD-15, is up for grabs. Der Governator just set the special election date for the summertime (6/22 primary, 8/17 general), though, rather than to coincide with the November election, which may work to Republicans' advantage in terms of lower turnout.
• Illinois: Hoping to avoid a repeat of the short-lived Pat Quinn/Scott Lee Cohen ticket (and various terrible pairings from the past as well), Illinois Democrats are changing the system so that a Governor and Lt. Governor candidate run together as a ticket even in the primary, rather than getting a post-primary shotgun wedding. The state Senate passed the bill 56-0 (as Republicans seem none too enthused about their 27-year-old dilettante running mate either) and heads to Pat Quinn for his signature. (Gee, I wonder how he feels about the issue?)
• 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.
FL-08: Former hospital administrator Peg Dunmire has left the Republican Party and will officially challenge Alan Grayson as a member of Florida's new Tea Party.
GA-09: The special election for Nathan Deal's now-vacant seat has been set for April 27th. This is an all-party "jungle" election, with the winner needing 50% to win. If no one hits that mark, a runoff would be held on May 25th. With 11 Republicans and only one Democrat (former Navy chaplain Mike Freeman) running, is it completely insane to imagine...? Also note that Georgia has a "resign to run" rule, so folks who hold other offices will have to quit before getting into this race, setting off a domino chain of further special elections.
IN-05: Former state Rep. Luke Messer is on the air with a biographical tv spot. He's one of several Republicans challenging Rep. Dan Burton in the primary.
MA-05: Seven Republicans and four independents have lined up so far to take on Dem Rep. Niki Tsongas. Scott Brown won this district 56-43 in January.
NY-13: The Brooklyn Conservative Party has endorsed former FBI agent Mike Grimm. This has touched off another fight with Staten Island Conservatives who, as they did in 2008, seem inclined to endorse Democratic Rep. Mike McMahon. But back then, the Brooklyn Cons (who represent a much smaller part of the district) engineered a coup at the state party level with the backing of chair Michael Long in order to thwart the will of their SI counterparts. It looks like the same might happen again this cycle.
OK-05: SoonerPoll.com surveyed the GOP primary for the open 5th CD, which Rep. Mary Fallin is leaving to run for governor. They find former state Rep. Ken Calvey leading with 20, while state Rep. Mike Thompson is at 9 and "political newcomer" James Lankford is at 7. State Rep. Shane Jett, who just joined the field, was not included.
PA-04: Could Jason Altmire get Arcuri'd? Thanks to his vote against the healthcare reform bill, Jack Shea, the president of the Allegheny County Labor Council, says he's considering a primary challenge. The problem is that Pennsylvania's filing deadline closed earlier this month, so Shea would have to run as a write-in. Alternately, he could run as an independent (indies have a much later filing deadline).
PA-19: Rep. Todd Platts is expected to be on a shortlist of four possible names to fill the top spot at the Government Accountability Office. The House and Senate are compiling this list and will send it to the White House "soon." President Obama can then select a nominee from this slate, or pick his own. Either way, his choice is subject to confirmation in the Senate.
RI-01: Retired Superior Court Judge Roy Pfeiffer is weighing a run for the now-open 1st CD as a Republican. The GOP actually already has a candidate here, state Rep. John Loughlin.
SD-AL: I'm unsurprised - Obama strategist Steve Hildebrand says he won't challenge Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in the Dem primary, even though she voted against healthcare reform.
TN-08: Roy Herron will have the Democratic field to himself: Educator and former John Tanner staffer Luther Mercer has dropped out, citing difficulties in fundraising. On the, well, non-Dem side, meanwhile, the knives are out for GOP frontrunner Stephen Fincher. Teabaggy independent Donn Janes is slamming Fincher for claiming to want to cut DC spending despite having been a big beneficiary of farm subsidies.
VA-05: Ex-Rep. Virgil Goode will appear at a fundraiser on the 25th for state Sen. Rob Hurt, who is seeking to reclaim Goode's seat for the Republicans. Hurt is the establishment favorite in this race, but the teabaggers truly seem to hate him and are determined not to let him win the primary. So it remains to be seen whether Goode can sprinkle him with winger fairy dust, or befoul him with DC stink lines.
WY-AL: Democrats have found a candidate to take on freshman Cynthia Lummis: David Wendt, president of the Jackson Hole Center for Global Affairs. Wendt specifically cited Lummis's vote against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and also congressional inaction on emissions, as reasons for his run.
Polltopia: The boys at PPP are choosing between AL, IL, MD & WA for their next poll, and you can go over there to vote. I can also tell you that R2K will have a WA poll out this week (as well as polls in AR and WI).
Passings: Fred Heineman, a one term congressman from North Carolina, passed away this past weekend at the age of 80. The Republican Heineman beat Dem Rep. David Price in the 1994 Republican Revolution, but Price won his seat right back in 1996. Heineman's brief tenure had a lot to do with how mind-bogglingly clueless he was, most infamously remarking:
"When I see a first-class individual who makes $80,000 a year, he's lower middle class. When I see someone who is making anywhere from $300,000 to $750,000, that's middle class. When I see anyone above that, that's upper middle class.
FL-Sen: Appointed Republican Sen. George LeMieux apparently has no intention of being a mere seat-warmer. He's carving out a pretty active profile, and the speculation is that he wants to take on Bill Nelson in 2012.
SC-Gov: The once-expansive Democratic gubernatorial primary in South Carolina has been whittled down even further with the exit of attorney/lobbyist Dwight Drake on Friday. We're now essentially left with a two-way race between state Superintendent Jim Rex and state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, although underfunded state Sen. Robert Ford is also in the mix. (JL)
IN-04: Republican pollster Public Opinion Strategies has a pair of surveys out in two adjacent, dark red Hoosier State districts. The first poll, taken for Secretary of State Todd Rokita, has him at 40%, with a 50-6 approval rating. State Sen. Mike Young is in second place at 10%, and two other dudes are in single digits. Everyone tested apart from Rokita has sub-30% name ID. A ton of candidates have filed for this seat, and the primary is just two months away.
IN-05: Meanwhile, GOP Rep. Dan Burton is also brandishing a POS poll, this one showing him with 46% of the vote and no one else in double digits. Burton barely survived a challenge from Marion County coroner John McGoff in 2008 (winning 52-45), though I don't think that internal looks all that great. McGoff is running again, but in Burton's favor, so are five other dudes.
MA-10: State Sen. Robert O'Leary (D) is officially in the race to succeed Bill Delahunt. Many other Dems are likely to jump in, including Norfolk D.A. William Keating. State House Assistant Majority Leader Ronald Mariano is also weighing a run. Incidentally, we ran the numbers, and MA-10 is the most Irish district in America, at 33%. (The rest of the top ten: PA-07, MA-09, PA-13, PA-08, MA-06, NY-01, MA-07, NY-03, and NJ-01.)
NY-29: Politico reports that former Corning Mayor Tom Reed is becoming the consensus choice for the Republican Party. Seven of eight county chairs in the district have backed Reed, and these are the guys who will pick a nominee if there's a special election. Considering that Reed hadn't raised very much, and that other big names are now weighing the race, this is a somewhat surprising development.
TX-23: Ex-CIA spook Will Hurd, in a runoff with richie rich Quico Canseco, picked up the endorsement of the third-place finisher, physician Robert Lowery, who scored 22% in the first round of the Republican primary. 2008 nominee Lyle Larson, who himself beat Quico in a primary, also threw his support to Hurd.
Consultants: The Hotline has a monster-sized searchable database of consultants - you can see which consultants worked for which campaigns, or vice-versa, in several different specialties (polling, mail, media, etc.). Very cool.
Number Crunching: Did you know that Microsoft Excel 2010 Beta is available as a free download? A list of key new features is here.
Indiana is where I live now, so I thought I'd do a rundown here too, though I don't know the politics as well and the results won't be as interesting as for the Arizona races. The big story here is a colossal recruiting failure on the part of Republicans in IN-01, IN-02, and IN-08, and a sticky situation for them in IN-09. As of now, I predict only one competitive race in the entire state in 2010. Read on for more...