• AZ-Sen: As the dust settles from Jon Kyl's retirement, the biggest name on the Dem side may also be the biggest question mark: Rep. Gabby Giffords, who it turns out had been telling her staff that she'd planned to run for Senate in 2012 if an open seat arose, but whose recovery timetable is entirely unclear at this point. Local Dems are saying she has "the right of first refusal," but it may be a while till we get a decision out of her, so the Dem field is very much up in the air. One other major Dem is publicly expressing his interest, though: Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon, who's termed-out of his job this year. (The same article also finds former Arizona Diamondbacks star Luis Gonzalez declining a run; not sure why he was being asked in the first place.) On the GOP side, Gov. Jan Brewer acted quickly to quash any speculation that she might run. However, J.D. Hayworth, last seen getting creamed by John McCain in the 2010 primary, says he's interested in another run, while another unappetizing leftover, ex-Gov. Fife Symington, says he won't rule it out (as well as floating the name of former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner). If you want to see all the many potential names in one place, here's The Hill's mega-rundown.
• FL-Sen: Scratch one more of the state's myriad GOP House members from the list of possible Senate candidates. FL-16's sophomore Rep. Tom Rooney says the Senate may be an eventual goal someday, but he'd rather focus on building up his credentials in the House first.
• ME-Sen: It seems like his extended period of talking to himself is over, as local tea party leader Andrew Ian Dodge announced (at CPAC, instead of in Maine) that he will in fact challenge Olympia Snowe in the GOP primary. I'm not sure if Snowe is really shaking in her boots, though, if this is the best that the teabaggers can find: Dodge, though able to self-fund, is a bit of an iconoclast (and one might charitably describe his appearance as "scruffy"), and doesn't really seem to fit in with any of the various subconstituencies within the tea party umbrella. He's uninterested in social issues (he's pro-gay and indifferent to abortion) and more of a fiscal hawk, but doesn't have much common cause with the Paulists either, breaking with them on foreign policy. If he loses social con votes to the other teabagger in the race, little-known Scott D'Amboise, that split basically ensures Snowe another nomination. Further complicating matters, Dodge is allied with Tea Party Patriots, archenemy to the DC-based astroturf-flavored Tea Party Express. For what it's worth, TPX officially declared that Snowe is one of their top targets for 2012 (um, was there any doubt about that before yesterday?), but there's no word on who they plan to back in the race, and I can't imagine it being Doge.
• MI-Sen: Former state party chair Saul Anuzis may be getting cold feet about a Senate run all of a sudden, if his new comments are any indication: he said he'd rather see someone else run. One name he dropped as a preferred alternative to himself is (no surprise) ex-Rep. Peter Hoekstra, but another is perhaps the one potential candidate with even less name rec than Anuzis (and also the likeliest person to run, it seems): wealthy businessman Tim Leuliette.
• NM-Sen: In case Jeff Bingaman does (contrary to current expectations) resign, don't look for a Bill Richardson run to succeed him. The ex-Gov. leaves office under a cloud according to PPP, with a 34/55 approval, and 50% saying they'd never vote for him for anything again. Everyone else in New Mexico is pretty popular; Tom Udall is at 56/31 and new Gov. Susana Martinez is at 53/29.
• UT-Sen: Looks like Orrin Hatch, who's in full cozy-up-to-the-tea-party mode this week, can't count on any help from his new colleague Mike Lee; Lee just confirmed that he'll remain neutral in any primary that Hatch might face. Hatch, for his part, at CPAC today, just said that he's sorry for his bailout vote, but that the bailout helped prevent a depression. So... he's sorry about having helped prevent a depression?!? Let me sit and ponder that one for a bit.
• VA-Sen: Here's some good news: ex-Rep. Glenn Nye says he has "absolutely no interest" and has made "zero calls" about the Senate race on the Dem side. (That contradicts yesterday's reports that he was calling around; the "absolutely no interest" part may be true though, inasmuch as that's what he got on the other end of the line.) However, Rep. Gerry Connolly isn't doing anything to downplay his name; he isn't ruling it in or out, but is pitching himself as "viable." (Woooooo! Viable!!! The audacity of viability! We have nothing to fear but inviability itself! Mr. Gorbachev, this wall is not viable!) Connolly blanches at the pricetag though, saying this will likely be a $25 million race.
• MT-Gov, MT-Sen: Well, this pretty much makes it clear that Denny Rehberg will have a stroll to the Senate nomination. Military/security-complex businessman Neil Livingstone was one of the two initial non-Rehberg names associated with the GOP side of the Senate race; with Steve Daines now in the House race, Livingstone now has decided to announce for the gubernatorial race instead. He doesn't face anyone of Rehberg size there, although ex-Rep. Rick Hill is still a pretty imposing obstacle.
• WV-Gov: With tomorrow's filing deadline for the gubernatorial special election fast approaching, it's worth noting how few people (of the many, many possibles) have actually signed up. All we have so far are Natalie Tennant, Earl Ray Tomblin, Rick Thompson, and a Some Dude candidate (Arne Moltis) on the Dem side, and Clark Barnes on the GOP side. Betty Ireland was planning to file today, though, and there will probably be a rush tomorrow.
• NY-26: Kathy Konst isn't the only Dem who seems to be moving forward with seeking the nomination in the upcoming special election; Erie Co. Clerk Kathleen Hochul is interested, too. (She lives slightly outside the district's boundaries in Hamburg.) Meanwhile, lots of GOPers took their names out of contention: ex-Rep. Tom Reynolds, Assemblyman Jim Hayes, state Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, and state Sen. Joe Robach. (With George Maziarz also apparently a no, that's pretty much all the GOP state Senators who'd been floated, lessening the likelihood of more 31-31 fun.)
• Mayors: There are mayoral polls in both Chicago and Philadelphia, neither one offering a surprise. In the Windy City, Rahm Emanuel finds himself just shy of clearing the runoff hurdle in a poll from Chicago Tribune/WGN; he's at 49, with 19 for Gery Chico, 10 for Carol Mosely Braun, and 8 for Miguel del Valle. (Last month's Tribune poll had Emanuel at 44 and CMB at 21.) In the Hey, Up Yours City, incumbent Michael Nutter wins easily despite some ambivalent approvals, according to Franklin & Marshall. His approval is 50/32 (60/24 among whites but only 42/41 among African-Americans, who, despite the fact that he's African-American himself, tend to be his weakest constituency); despite that, 53% say he doesn't deserve to be re-elected. Nutter beats Tom Knox 46-28 in a general election matchup (which is odd because Knox isn't a Republican, although I guess he could become one to avoid another primary loss to Nutter, which is what happened in 2007). Nutter's only announced opponent so far is former state legislator Milton Street, the brother of ex-mayor John Street; Street has a bit of a liability, though, in that he's currently on supervised release after spending 20 months in federal prison for tax evasion.
• Dark money: The billionaire Koch brothers have, over the last year, suddenly gone from anonymous rich guys who like to fund right-wing think tanks to, with their efforts to move more into funding activism and advertising, public enemies #1 on the dark money front. They've set a new target for the 2012 cycle that shows just what we're up against money-wise: they plan to contribute and raise $88 million for funding micro-targeting efforts as well as ads. It's not clear whether that would all happen under the aegis of their Americans for Prosperity, or if that money would get spread around the dark money universe, but Politico's article makes it sound that the secretive Kochs aren't closely allied with, if not directly in competition with, other groups like American Crossroads.
• AK-Sen: As is often the case, Alaska dominates our headlines today. Perhaps biggest in its implications is a hot-off-the-grill ruling from a judge that says that the state can't provide a list of possible write-in candidates for people in the voting booth. Obviously, that hurts the cumbersome-named Lisa MukroskyMorkoskiGibr Murkowski. Also, in the good news (well, maybe not, considering how far her star has fallen in-state) column for Joe Miller: Sarah Palin will be returning to the Last Frontier to stump for him tomorrow.
On the bad news front for Miller, though, first, he had to shout "I LIE!" yet again. That's a confession from his own work e-mails, over his now-well-known reprimand for hijacking (and covering up his tracks) of co-workers' computers to rig a local Republican online straw poll. That's at the core of his Fairbanks personnel files, released last evening after he declined to appeal their release to the state supreme court. On top of that, now the Army is investigating his use of its soldiers from Fort Richardson to act as his personal paramilitary force during their off-hours; in addition to rules prohibiting active military members from involvement in political campaigns, it's unclear whether they had their commander's permission to seek outside employment.
• CA-Sen: Here's some good news; Carly Fiorina bounced back quickly from her hospitalization yesterday for an infection associated with her breast cancer recovery, and left the hospital today. She'll be back on the trail tomorrow, says her campaign.
• CO-Sen: Would you believe this is the biggest-money Senate race anywhere in the country? It is, if you go by outside group expenditures. 27 different IE groups have spent nearly $25 million in Colorado, with the NRSC leading the way. (Nevada will still probably wind up the most expensive overall, factoring in the candidates' own accounts.) Meanwhile Ken Buck is in the news for two other reasons, first, his questioning of the separation of the church and state... handled more elegantly than Christine O'Donnell's palm-to-forehead method, but still probably a liability as he seeks to downplay his extremism. And also, he's now agnostic on whether he'll support Mitch McConnell for GOP leader (Buck, of course, owes Jim DeMint big-time for getting him as far as he's gotten).
• WV-Sen: Wow, this stuff literally writes itself. John Raese, under fire from Joe Manchin and the DSCC for his Florida mansion (and, for all practical purposes, residency), is now going to have to put some spin on this. The current item on the agenda for the Palm Beach planning commission: approval for Raese to replace a six-by-eight-foot "giant dollhouse" on his property with a fourteen-by-fifteen-foot "glass conservatory," perfect for those real-life Clue re-enactments. I know that's a problem that most West Virginians grapple with on a day-to-day basis.
• AZ-Gov: Now here's an October Surprise that's pushing the envelope (close to a November Surprise). Old documents reveal that Jan Brewer, a state Senator at the time, was involved in a 1988 auto accident where she was suspected at the time of driving under the influence. While she was immune from arrest at the time because the legislature was in session, it's not clear why the case wasn't pursued after that.
• MS-04: This might provide a small boost (dozens of votes?) to Gene Taylor: the Republican who lost the primary to state Rep. Steven Palazzo threw his backing to Taylor. Joe Tegerdine, interestingly, was the Tea Party candidate in the GOP race (with Palazzo the establishment pick), and finished with 43% of the vote; Tegerdine seemed to frame his decision very much in terms of pissing off the Republican establishment, in fact.
• Dark Money: If you look at only one link today, it should be this one, where a picture is worth way more than 1,000 words. It shows the octopus tentacles linking all the various shadowy outside groups that have poured in hundreds of millions of undisclosed dollars, and how they all kind of link back to Republican leadership. It's almost worthy of Glenn Beck's blackboard (well, if it had Woodrow Wilson and Diego Rivera on there somewhere).
• DNC: To quote Don Brodka, "if I wanted smoke blown up my ass, I'd be at home with a pack of cigarettes and short length of hose." Nevertheless, the DNC is out with a memo today showing in various ways how the Republican wave hasn't materialized, at least not in the form of early voting patterns so far, that's worth a look-see (especially the graphs).
• SSP TV:
• CO-Sen: The DSCC has two spots in Colorado, both with citizens reciting the litany of why they can't vote for Ken Buck • IL-Sen: The DSCC links Mark Kirk to George W. Bush, while Alexi Giannoulias trots out the Obamas in his own ad
• MO-Sen: I seriously can't summon up anything interesting to say about the last ads from Roy Blunt and Robin Carnahan; it's been that sort of race
• NV-Sen: The DSCC finishes in Nevada by pointing out how Sharron Angle consistently brings teh crazy
• PA-Sen: The DSCC hits Pat Toomey on outsourcing yet again, while Pat Toomey goes blandly autobiographical for his closing spot
• WA-Sen: The DSCC's parting shot is to hit Dino Rossi over his web of connections to unsavory real estate and lending partners
• WI-Sen: Both candidates close by ragging on each other; Ron Johnson hits Russ Feingold for only being fake "mavericky," while Feingold asks why Johnson is being so vague and cagey about his agenda
• WV-Sen: The DSCC's newest ad hits John Raese on the Florida residency issue yet again
• ND-AL: This may be the most interesting ad of the day: Earl Pomeroy faces the camera and says "I'm not Nancy Pelosi, and I'm not Barack Obama" (yeah, that's pretty evident by looking at you); he pivots off people's anger to say they'll be even angrier, though, if Republicans go against the farm bill, Social Security, and so on
• WA-08: Suzan DelBene's last ad beats the 'change' drum, and focuses on the Seattle Times endorsement again
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias (D) 42%, Mark Kirk (R) 46%, LeAlan Jones (G) 5%
• MD-Sen: Barb Mikulski (D-inc) 56%, Eric Wargotz (R) 38%
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 35%, Brian Sandoval (R) 58%
• OR-Gov: John Kitzhaber (D) 46%, Chris Dudley (R) 49%
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 42%, Scott Walker (R) 52%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 49%, John Raese (R) 46%
(ooops, time for Scotty to get in line with everyone else on this one!)
TX-Gov (University of Texas): Bill White (D) 40, Rick Perry (R-inc) 50
Bonus: UT also tested a wide range of down-ballot races.
VA-02 (Christopher Newport University): Glenn Nye (D-inc) 41, Scott Rigell (R) 42
Margins & Errors: The DSCC supposedly has some internal with Alexi Giannoulias up 2 in IL-Sen, but this is some NRCC-style crap with no details other than the toplines... Some MI-Gov poll shows that the race still sucks... Frank Guinta is touting an internal in NH-01 that supposedly has him up 53-37, but there isn't even word of the pollster's name
• CA-Gov: Another few weeks go by, and Meg Whitman keeps smashing the barriers on over-the-top self-funding: she's spent $140 million out of pocket over the entire cycle now. Here's the number that's gotta suck for her, though: Jerry Brown, having spent all of $10 million so far this cycle, is sitting on $22 million in reserves for the remaining month, allowing him to compete on perhaps an even financial footing for the last month. Whitman's cash reserves are $9 million, but even if she cuts herself the biggest check of all to re-up, there's only a finite amount of TV time left for her to buy. Truly the story of the ant and the grasshopper.
• NM-Gov: The Diane Denish camp keeps up the onslaught of internal polls showing her behind but within arm's length of Susana Martinez. This time, the poll is from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, and gives Martinez a 49-46 lead. That still feels kind of "meh" to me, but there's an interesting kernel in the fine print: Martinez has fallen into net negative favorables for the first time (39/42, down from 42/31 in August), suggesting the ad war is having its effect.
• OH-Gov: I'm going to wait until I start seeing these kind of numbers in public polls before I start getting too optimistic about whether Ted Strickland's comeback really has legs, but here's another strong internal from his camp. The Feldman Group poll taken 10/3-5 gives Strickland a 46-42 lead over John Kasich, and finds Strickland with 47/40 favorables.
• CA-03: Ami Bera continues to be a fundraising force among Democratic challengers (not that he has much high-profile competition on that front); he raised $550K in 3Q, and $2.1 million raised over the cycle. He beat incumbent Dan Lungren yet again, who raised $480K for a $1.7 mil total.
• FL-02: We still haven't seen any public polling of this race, but here's a second GOP poll for challenger Steve Southerland giving him a double digit lead over Allen Boyd (the first one was an NRCC poll from the Tarrance Group way back in May, giving Southerland a 52-37 lead). This one's from National Research (presumably on Southerland's behalf?), taken 9/29-30, giving Southerland a 46-30 lead.
• VA-05: The US Chamber of Commerce gave its backing to Robert Hurt, not much of a surprise as he's the kind of non-threatening establishment conservative that wing of the GOP tends to like. Tom Perriello picked that up and is using it as a cudgel that seems to combine various elements that have apparently polled well for Dems (outsourcing and Citizens United), saying that the endorsement means "foreign money" is pouring into the race now, citing companies in Bahrain, Russia, and China that give money to the US Chamber.
• DCCC: Here's some more detail on the various ways in which the DCCC is, um, advancing in other directions (we told you about their pullout in AZ-08 last night, which probably has to do with Gabby Giffords having enough money to pull her own weight). They've also reduced buys for one week in a few other districts: a mix of ones where they seem genuinely hosed (CO-04, TX-17, FL-24, and the KS-03 and IN-08 open seats), one that seems a true tossup but where our guy has money (Harry Teague in NM-02), and one that's looking like a pickup (LA-02). The DCCC will be using at least some of that money putting out a new brushfire that popped up in NY-23, where Doug Hoffman's ceasing and desisting makes the race a tossup, and where they're spending $500K.
• NRCC: Speaking of CO-04 and being hosed, here's some additional evidence: the NRCC is taking $700K out of the 4th, and moving it next door to another race that's looking decidedly tossup-ish: John Salazar's CO-03.
• Redistricting: This may be the single best use of money anywhere by Dems this cycle: they're finally putting some money into Florida's redistricting amendments that purport to make the process less subject to gerrymandering. Over $1 million has flowed from Democratic groups to Fair Districts Florida, who are behind the measures. Fair Districts is ostensibly nonpartisan, but obviously the net effect of a less partisan map would be to dismantle one of the most effective Republican gerrymanders anywhere.
• Polltopia: With dramatically different results (especially in the generic ballot tests, but also in head-to-head polls) popping up that often seem to have very different definitions of "likely voter," Mark Blumenthal looks at the various ways pollsters cobble together their LV models. There's a marked difference between the way academic pollsters and partisan pollsters do it, revealing major disparities. If you haven't seen it already, this should be required reading.
• Independent expenditures: The folks at Zata|3 have put together a very useful table, adding up and comparing DCCC and NRCC independent expenditures in all the districts where they've weighed in. (The NRCC has spent a lot more so far, despite their cash shortfall vs. the DCCC. The D-Trip seems to be saving up for a massive blast in the final weeks. Or maybe just saving up for 2012.) They also have charts for the DCCC and NRCC that break down each district's expenditures by category (media buys, production, internet, etc.).
• SSP TV:
• CO-Sen: The DSCC hits Ken Buck for his enthusiasm for privatizing everything he can get his hands on
• CT-Sen: The Chamber of Commerce has a fairly boilerplate ad against Richard Blumenthal for being too anti-(big) business
• KY-Sen: There are six different ads embedded in this Inquirer article, several of which you've already seen (including the DSCC ad on Medicare deductibles), but including a new Rand Paul campaign ad on the "Conway = Obama" theme; separately, the NRSC has a new ad here on Conway waffling on extending Bush tax cuts
• MO-Sen: The DSCC has yet another ad about Roy Blunt and his lobbyist friends
• NY-Sen-B: Kirsten Gillibrand's out with a second bio ad that seems specifically aimed at the upstate market, pointing out her roots in that part of the state
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak's new ad points to what we junkies have long known, that Pat Toomey's free market fundamentalism has given him aggregator ratings even more conservative than Rick Santorum
• WI-Sen: A second cookie-cutter ad from the Chamber of Commerce, this one targeting Russ Feingold
• KS-Gov: Tom Holland's out with his first ad of the cycle, a comparison spot that's half negative against Sam Brownback, half positive intro of Holland
• TX-Gov: Bill White's newest ad rebuts some of Rick Perry's claims about his mayoral leadership and lists his various commendations
• AZ-05: The National Education Association gets into the ad war in a big way, hitting David Schweikert for being anti-public education (this buy is part of a $15 million initiative on the NEA's part, also including TV in OH-13 and mailers in NC-08)
• CO-04: EMILY's List is still sticking around in the 4th, bolstering Betsy Markey with an anti-Cory Gardener spot that's a mother of a child with autism addressing Gardener not wanting to require insurers to cover that
• AZ-Gov: Terry Goddard (D) 39%, Jan Brewer (R-inc) 55%
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 54%, Linda McMahon (R) 43%
• IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) 38%, Bill Brady (R) 46%, Rich Whitney (G) 4%
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias (D) 41%, Mark Kirk (R) 45%, LeAlan Jones (G) 4%
• MD-Gov: Martin O'Malley (D-inc) 49%, Bob Ehrlich (R) 41%
• RI-Gov: Frank Caprio (D) 30%, John Robitaille (R) 22%, Lincoln Chafee (I) 33%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 44%, John Raese (R) 50%
Jan Brewer said Tuesday's she might debate Terry Goddard again - but only if there's some chance he actually could beat her.
Brewer, in an interview with Capitol Media Services, conceded that her decision to avoid a televised confrontation with her Democratic gubernatorial foe is purely political: She is leading in recent polls, with no sign of her margin narrowing.
In fact, Brewer's gaffes during last month's debate - she verbally stumbled, went silent for seconds and mangled her grammar - did not make a dent in her popularity. So at this point, Brewer said she sees no reason to give Goddard another shot at her.
"Maybe there would be a possibility that we would debate if my numbers starting dropping dramatically,'' she said. "And, of course, I'm working hard to see that they don't.''
Points for honesty, I suppose... though I'm not sure why she'd think that a debate rematch would help her in a squeaker! (Recall that she previously said there'd be no more debates, period - because they were too helpful for Goddard.)
• DE-Sen: One more Real World alum in the political news: that's first-season vet Eric Neis debating Christine O'Donnell in this new 90s video that's surfaced. Ooops, I'm burying the lede: the point of the video is that O'Donnell answers in the affirmative when asked if she wants to stop the whole country from having sex.
• KY-Sen: Benenson Strategy Group for DSCC (9/14-19, likely voters, early Sept. in parentheses):
Jack Conway (D): 42 (45)
Rand Paul (R): 45 (47)
Undecided: 13 (8)
The newest Benenson poll from the DSCC shows things pretty stable in the Kentucky race, with Jack Conway hanging back within striking distance of Rand Paul. They also find Conway leading 48-45 among those who actually know both candidates (and find Paul with greater name recognition: 84%, to 72% for Conway).
• MO-Sen: The DSCC is also out with an internal poll in Missouri, one of the other races where they'd like you to know they're still playing offense, courtesy of Garin Hart Yang (no mention of the dates, MoE, or any of that useful stuff, though... just a leak to the Fix). The poll has Robin Carnahan trailing Roy Blunt 45-41 (and only 41-40 without leaners). Roy Blunt, meanwhile, is engaging in typical frontrunner behavior, trying to limit debates (to avoid any grist for the negative ad mill); there will only be two debates, neither in a network TV setting.
• NC-Sen: National Research for Civitas (9/15-17, likely voters, 7/19-21 in parentheses):
Elaine Marshall (D): 29 (37)
Richard Burr (R-inc): 49 (44)
Mike Beitler (L): 3 (3)
Undecided: 17 (15)
Thanks to a big lead with unaffiliateds (48-21), Richard Burr has a big lead in North Carolina. With a big financial disparity, unless there's some outside assistance, that lead's probably going to continue (although I'd be surprised if it's actually a full 20 points). One other interesting note: Civitas hires out third-party pollsters, and this is their first poll since they switched to Republican internal pollster National Research.
• NV-Sen, NV-Gov: The only evidence we have of this poll is a Jon Ralston tweet, but apparently there's a poll rumbling around behind the scenes from a reputable Republican pollster that gives a 5-point lead to Harry Reid, 42-37 (among RVs). That's quite plausible; the real shock here, though, is that it also finds Rory Reid trailing only by 6 in the governor's race.
• WV-Sen: The big news here is probably that the NRSC is plowing $1.2 million into this race, hoping for the upset (as this race seems to be increasingly taking the place of Washington and California) or at least to pull DSCC fire away from elsewhere. That's just to run one new ad, tying Joe Manchin to Barack Obama; part of the expense is that the ad is running in the DC market, so it can reach the Panhandle. (You can see the IE filing here.)
One more plus, though, for Joe Manchin, is that he's getting the NRA's endorsement (one more in a seemingly endless parade of ConservaDems getting backed this week). Also, some details about John Raese are surfacing that may lead to ads that write themselves: photos of his marble-driveway Florida mansion, where it turns out his family lives full-time (presumably because of Florida's big juicy homestead exemption, but also because of the schools, as he wants a school system he "believes in")... and Raese's own description, in a radio interview yesterday, of how hard he worked for his riches:
RAESE: I made my money the old-fashioned way, I inherited it. I think that's a great thing to do. I hope more people in this country have that opportunity as soon as we abolish inheritance tax in this country, which is a key part of my program.
• AZ-Gov: Here's a look at the financial situation in Arizona, where both gubernatorial candidates are relying on clean elections public financing in their bids. Dem Terry Goddard has about $1 million left to spend, while Jan Brewer has $860K left. Goddard also spent more in the last reporting period, spending $477K to Brewer's $291K.
• MA-Gov: If you're shedding your main campaign strategist with 40 days to go, that's probably a sign that you're not going to win. That's what happened with the Tim Cahill camp, who said goodbye to John Weaver. Having seen Cahill's share plunge into the single digits, Weaver said (in a parting shot) at this point, Cahill's candidacy is just hurting Charlie Baker's chances.
• NY-Gov: Marist (9/14-19, likely voters, no trendlines):
Andrew Cuomo (D): 53 (67)
Carl Paladino (R): 34 (22)
Rick Lazio (C) : 9 (NA)
Undecided: 6 (11)
I don't know if the Marist poll exactly qualifies as a tie-breaker in the New York gubernatorial race, but it's a likely voter poll (instead of an RV poll, like Siena), and it doesn't have that outlier-ish whiff that Quinnipiac had. Also adding to its potential credibility: it's about halfway between the two, if erring somewhat on the side of Andrew Cuomo's safety. (It looks like they'll release Senate numbers later, separately.)
• CA-47: This is the first time I've ever used the scary all-caps to put words in the mouth of a Democratic candidate, but Loretta Sanchez just sent up the alarm that THE VIETNAMESE ARE COMING FOR HER SEAT!!!1!! Not just Van Tran, but apparently all of them!!! I suppose that's a dog-whistle of sorts to her Latino base in this seat that has a Latino majority (though not a lot of actual voters among them) and a politically active Asian minority, where her Republican challenger is Vietnamese. Kind of a faceplant moment for Sanchez, who has had good outreach to the Vietnamese community in the past (up until now, I'd imagine) and has relied on their votes to stay in office.
• MI-01: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for Gary McDowell (9/21-22, likely voters, no trendlines):
Gary McDowell (D): 38
Dan Benishek (R): 41
Glenn Wilson (I): 12
Here are some not-bad numbers from an internal for Gary McDowell, showing this is one of the few Republican-leaning open seats where we're still in fighting shape right now. McDowell's offering some pushback against a Dan Benishek internal that gave Benishek a 39-25 lead in a race that also includes wealthy independent Glenn Wilson.
• MI-07: It's a little late in the game for ex-Rep. Tim Walberg to be jumping on the birther train (that's so 2009...) but he just said that he doesn't know if Obama was born in the U.S. Meanwhile, his incumbent Dem opponent, Mark Schauer, is out with an internal poll in response to the Rossman Group poll that gave a 4-point lead to Walberg. Schauer's poll, taken 9/21-22 by Myers Research, finds a mirror-image 4-point lead for Schauer, 49-45 (or if you'd prefer inclusion of all third-party candidates, he's up 45-43).
• NRCC: The NRCC is wading into six more districts that they haven't been in before, with IE ad buys. Most (except for WA-03) of these districts feel like "Lean Dem" districts right now, but where the GOP thinks it can make some inroads: Ike Skelton's MO-04, Chris Carney's PA-10, Steve Kagen's WI-08, Martin Heinrich's NM-01, and the open seats in MA-10 and WA-03.
• AFF: The financially-disadvantaged NRCC can't win this all on its own, so AFF is keeping up its IEs, too. They're going on the air in four new districts, two of which overlap the above list. They're hitting SD-AL ($360K), TX-17 ($117K), NM-01 ($290K), and WA-03 ($875K).
• SSP TV:
• CO-Sen: The softer side of Ken Buck? He's out with a positive ad with testimonials from senior citizens
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist simultaneously hits both his opponents on corruption issues in one ad, hitting Kendrick Meek's real estate dealing and Marco Rubio's enthusiastic use of RPOF credit cards
• NC-Sen: It seemed to work well the first time for Richard Burr, so the rocking chair guys are back for another round
• NV-Sen: The newest ad from Harry Reid hits Sharron Angle for not supporting requiring health insurers to cover mammograms and colonoscopies
• NY-Sen-A: Chuck Schumer's running his first ad of the cycle, a bio spot, on local cable
• PA-Sen: Pat Toomey's newest ad is a hard negative one linking Joe Sestak to Barack Obama; interestingly, it's not running in the Philadelphia market
• WA-Sen: Dem group Commonsense Ten is out with an anti-Dino Rossi ad throwing the kitchen sink at him, including the foreclosure seminars
• CA-Gov: The latest Meg Whitman opus attacks Jerry Brown over Oakland schools during his tenure as mayor
• CA-47: Loretta Sanchez launches a negative ad against Van Tran, featuring him asleep on the job (during an Assembly budget all-nighter)
• LA-03: Bet you'd forgotten there's still one race where the field isn't set? (There's still a GOP runoff here.) Anyway, Hunt Downer is out with an ad full of adorable babies... to make the point that Jeff Landry is insufficiently pro-life
• PA-03: Kathy Dahlkemper engages in some fat-cat bashing, tying Mike Kelly to Wall Street
• FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 44%, Rick Scott (R) 50%
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 21%, Marco Rubio (R) 40%, Charlie Crist (I) 31%
• MN-Gov: Mark Dayton (D) 41%, Tom Emmer (R) 42%, Tom Horner (I) 9%
• OK-Gov: Jari Askins (D) 34%, Mary Fallin (R) 60%
• SC-Gov: Vincent Sheheen (D) 33%, Nikki Haley (R) 50%
• TX-Gov: Bill White (D) 42%, Rick Perry (R-inc) 48%
• AK-Sen: It seems like Lisa Murkowski's meetings with the Libertarian Party didn't lead to anything conclusive (while David Haase sounded amenable, the state party sounds opposed), as the signals she's putting out now seem to point more toward a write-in campaign, if anything. According to Roll Call, she's "strongly considering it" and will have an announcement as early as tomorrow. In case you're wondering about TX-22-style hilarity ensuing, the Alaska Division of Elections confirms that a voter can spell her name incorrectly and still have the vote count, which makes the prospect of a write-in campaign for Linda Mukrosky somewhat more doable.
• CO-Sen: Ken Buck may have dirty boots, but he's been busy scrubbing his website sparkly clean. The Michael Bennet camp has been observing lots of minor changes to Buck's website to make it more mainstream-y, with softer-sounding rewrites on his issues page on Afghanistan, stem cell research, and immigration.
• DE-Sen: In another sign that the GOP primary between Mike Castle and Christine O'Donnell isn't dialing down, both Castle and the Tea Party Express (on behalf of O'Donnell) are both extending their previous ad buys, starting today and running through next Tuesday's election. Again, kudos to Hotline's Jeremy Jacobs, who knows not only the Size Of The Buy but the complete breakdown (Castle, for instance, spent $75K in the Salisbury broadcast market, $27K on statewide cable, and $43K on radio, while the TPX spent $32K on cable only). He also susses out that at the current trajectory, the TPX will reach only slightly past the halfway point on its promise to spend $250K on O'Donnell, unless they want to blow a lot of money at the last minute in the pricey Philadelphia market. Meanwhile, TPM checks out how TPX's ongoing moneybomb for O'Donnell has been going, who has raised $89K since TPX got involved. Despite O'Donnell's frequent attacks on Castle's use of out-of-state money to power his campaign, they highlighted their $250+ donors, and a grand total of one (of 56) was a Delawarean.
• FL-Sen, FL-25: Biden alert! With Kendrick Meek having raised some bucks at a New York appearance with Bill Clinton last night, now he turns his attention to an upcoming fundraiser with the VPOTUS. (Expect to see the usual GOP carping about "Big Hollywood," seeing as how the fundraiser is in Hollywood. Hollywood, Florida, that is.) 25th District candidate Joe Garcia will also be a beneficiary.
• PA-Sen: The Philadelphia Inquirer has a rundown of Pat Toomey's past history of earmarks, in of course blatant contradiction with the pledges of austerity that define his current campaign... yet another Republican example of government largesse for me, but not for thee. In his first term in PA-15, Toomey won $9 million in earmarks, including $3 million for one company (Air Products & Chemicals) that then became his single biggest campaign contributor.
• CA-Gov: Steve Poizner seems to have finally gotten the message, if a few months on the late (and tepid) side. The Republican primary loser gave his endorsement to Meg Whitman yesterday... via press release.
• MI-Gov: Local pollster Mitchell Research is out with what appears to be their first poll of the general election in the Michigan gubernatorial race; like most pollsters, they find Republican Rick Snyder with a solid lead. He's ahead of Democrat Virg Bernero 53-26.
• OH-Gov: Bill Clinton will be in Ohio on behalf of (Hillary endorser) Ted Strickland on the 14th, also the day of his first debate with John Kasich. Clinton will stump for Strickland in both Cleveland and Columbus.
• NC-08: With the DCCC having rolled out a GQR internal poll yesterday giving Larry Kissell a decent lead (48-36) in the 8th (on top of Kissell releasing his own internal in late August with a 49-32 lead), GOP rival Harold Johnson offered up his own poll today to show he's still in this thing. His poll from POS finds Kissell still leading, but by a more surmountable margin: 39-34.
• NV-03: Politico has details on EMILY's List weighing into the 3rd, with a two-week TV ad blitz going after Joe Heck on women's health issues (like his vote against mandated insurance coverage for the HPV vaccine). While the article doesn't have a link to the ad, let alone the Size Of The Buy, it does have a very interesting look at the advanced micro-targeting they're using, focusing on very specific TV shows as well as Hulu and Facebook users.
• OH-16: Someone get Jim Renacci a high school history textbook, stat! When asked at the candidates' first debate what he'd like to do about civil rights, the Republican challenger to John Boccieri retreated to Rand Paul-style teabagger boilerplate, saying "We need to get our federal government out of the way," and that it was better dealt with as "local issues." Yeah, because local and state governments in the 50s and 60s were the paragons of tolerance and virtue during the civil rights movement, and that federal government just came in and screwed everything up...
• DGA: If you've been wondering what they're up to at the DGA, they're out with a strategy memo that outlines the next few months. Wisely, they're most concerned with the states with the greatest population and hence greatest redistricting impact, meaning that the smaller states with Dem-held open seats (Kansas, Wyoming, etc.) have already probably been on the losing end of their triage decisions.
• TX-St. House: We at SSP have been remiss in focusing on state legislatures in the last few months (for the same reason everyone else has -- it's hard to get good intelligence on them, and there's too dang much to focus on just at the national level alone), but Burnt Orange Report has done a bang-up job profiling the race for the Texas state House, one of the few legislatures where the Dems are on the offensive and have a slim but legitimate shot at a flip. They've written up summaries of the 21 hottest races, all helpfully collected in one place at the link.
• SSP TV:
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias ad rolling out his biggest gun: backing from Barack Obama
• PA-Sen: Not one but two ads from Pat Toomey ads with pretzel logic about how his time on Wall Street tells him that one shouldn't bail out Wall Street
• WI-Sen: Ron Johnson ad hits Russ Feingold again for being a career politician
• TX-Gov: Bill White talks about border security
• VT-Gov: Dem group Green Mountain Future hits Brian Dubie on support for keeping local nuclear plant open
• FL-24: First Suzanne Kosmas ad hits Sandy Adams on teh crazy, especially the 17th Amendment
• GA-08: Jim Marshall ad tries to outflank Austin Scott on the right on the immigration issue
• MI-01: DCCC's 2nd IE ad goes after Dan Benishek on Social Security
• NY-25: Dan Maffei's first ad is anti-Ann Marie Buerkle, using Sarah Palin endorsement against her
• PA-06: Manan Trivedi's second ad this week focuses on his time as a military doctor
• AZ-Gov: Terry Goddard (D) 38%, Jan Brewer (R-inc) 60%
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 42%, Meg Whitman (R) 46%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 42%, Carly Fiorina (R) 47%
• KY-Sen: Jack Conway (D) 38%, Rand Paul (R) 51%
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?
Incumbent Republican Jan Brewer said Thursday she has no intention of participating in any more events with Democrat Terry Goddard. She said the only reason she debated him on Wednesday is she had to to qualify for more than $1.7 million in public funds for her campaign.
I hope that $1.7 million was worth the embarrassment of her disastrous pre- and post-debate performance, in which she stumbled out of the gate during her opening statement and angrily stormed away from a media scrum after refusing to answer a chorus of questions on her bizarre, unsubstantiated claims about "beheadings in the desert". And by the way, she's still not explaining herself on that score:
"All you guys were doing and talking were beheadings, beheadings, beheadings," the governor said. "That is something that has stuck with you all for so long, and I just felt we needed to move on."
You gotta give Brewer points for honesty; she fully admits that she's ducking out of all future debates because she knows she'll lose:
Anyway, Brewer said, she believes the debates help Goddard more than they benefit her.
"Why would I want to give Terry a chance to redefine himself?" she said.
• DE-Sen: Christine O'Donnell's radio interview on a local station yesterday should answer any doubts about whether or not the new Tea Party fave is ready for prime time (the answer: she isn't). Mostly it's notable for how testy it got, but also for O'Donnell pushing back on rumors that Mike Castle is gay - rumors that apparently no one has ever heard until O'Donnell brought them up in the first place. At any rate, Castle isn't content to just stand back and let her dig her own hole: not wanting to fall into the Lisa Murkowski trap, his camp confirms that his last-minute pre-primary ad buy will be negative against O'Donnell. He also said he won't be debating with (or otherwise even talking to) O'Donnell... ordinarily a safe decision for a quasi-incumbent, but who knows, maybe a mid-debate implosion by O'Donnell would be all Castle needs to put this one away.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist's out with an internal today from Fredrick Polls, and while it gives him the lead, it's a small enough edge compared with his rather robust leads pre-Dem primary that it shouldn't fill anybody with much confidence about where his trendlines are headed. He leads Marco Rubio and Kendrick Meek 35-34-17. That comes against the backdrop of getting squeezed in both directions, with the NRSC "pledging" (I don't know what that means, but it's not actual reservations) $2.5 million for the race, and Meek airing a new radio ad going after Crist's GOP past, airing Crist's own words, including calling himself "pro-life" and a "Jeb Bush Republican." At least Crist is getting some backing from one rather unusual corner: state Sen. Al Lawson, who just lost the FL-02 primary to Allen Boyd, just endorsed Crist.
• NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov: Maybe I should've been patient yesterday instead of complaining about Quinnipiac's lack of New York primary numbers, because they rolled them out today. At any rate, they find, as I'd suspected, things tightening in the GOP gubernatorial primary: Rick Lazio leads Carl Paladino 47-35. ("Tightening" may not be the right word, as this is their first look at the NY-Gov primary, but it's what other pollsters have seen.) In the Senate special election, Joe DioGuardi leads David Malpass and Bruce Blakeman, 28-12-10. And in another sign that Democratic voters are only dimly aware that there's an election this year, fully 77% of Dem voters have no idea who they'll vote for in the Attorney General's race. Kathleen Rice leads Eric Schneiderman by a margin of 4-3. (That's not a typo.)
• WI-Sen: Ron Johnson has been outspending Russ Feingold 3-to-1 on the TV airwaves, which goes a long way to explaining why this is a tied race, but that may not matter much if he keeps stepping on his own free-market-fundamentalist message. Johnson found himself, in a recent radio interview, tying himself into knots by praising Communist China for having a more favorable investment climate for business than America, in part because of its "certainty." So, let's see... to stop America's descent into socialism, we need to become more like the Communists, because the path to freedom is actually through the kind of "certainty" that comes from a command economy? Finally, this is probably too little too late, but Terence Wall, the guy who dropped out in a huff from the GOP field after the state convention, is now publicly touting the idea of a write-in campaign in the upcoming primary. I don't know if he actually thinks he has a shot against a stumbling Johnson or is just engaged in some last-minute sour grapes.
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin continues to rake in the bucks in the West Virginia Senate special election. (Facing self-funding John Raese, the money issue is the main threat to Manchin... well, that, and the perilously low approvals for national Dems here.) He reported raising $393K last week, bringing his total to $1.5 million. Raese reported $717K, but $520K of that was self-funded, with only $22K from donors.
• AZ-Gov: This may not get much press in the wake of her amazing debate performance, but Jan Brewer is also engaged in an interesting strategy of retaliation, pulling her campaign ads off the local CBS affiliate, whose news department dared to question Brewer's relationship with a key advisor who's also connected to private prison company Corrections Corporation of America, which stands to make significant money incarcerating illegal immigrants rounded up under Arizona's SB 1070. That's not the same station whose reporter aggressively questioned Brewer post-debate last night... my advice to Brewer would be to go ahead and stop advertising on all local network affiliates as punishment. That'll show 'em!
• CO-Gov: This may be kind of repetitive, but Dan Maes againturned down calls to drop out of the race today, after former state Senate president John Andrews withdrew his endorsement and told him to get out. Andrews wasn't alone in the endorsement rescinding department: it looks like the whole ooops-no-I-actually-wasn't-an-undercover-cop-in-Kansas thing was the fridge too far for former GOP Senator Hank Brown, who is now saying he's "looking around" for a new candidate. Meanwhile, on the touchy subject of water law, maybe Maes should take a page from Scott McInnis and just plagiarize all his work on the subject, as at least that way he wouldn't appear completely ignorant of the law. He just introduced an entirely new water law doctrine with his proclamation that "If it starts in Colorado, it's our water" - ignoring the 7-state compact on use of Colorado River water and the whole concept of prior appropriation. As much as I'd like to see Jan Brewer using the Arizona National Guard to invade Colorado and reclaim its water, I don't think the courts would let it get to that point.
• FL-Gov: Alex Sink is expanding her current TV advertising buy, throwing another $600K into keeping her introductory spot on the air in a number of non-Miami markets. Oddly, Rick Scott has been taking the week off since the primary, at least from advertising.
• OR-Gov: John Kitzhaber has finally decided to go negative on Chris Dudley... it might be too little too late, but at least he's recognizing what he needs to do (as recently as last week, he negged a DGA ad that went negative on Dudley... and this is the first time he's aired a negative ad since 1994). The ad attacks Dudley for having "never managed anything" and never "shown much interest in Oregon" before (as seen in his decision to live in income-tax-free Washington while playing for the Trail Blazers).
• CT-04: Republican state Sen. Dan Debicella offers up a recent internal poll, via National Research. It has him within 4 points of Rep. Jim Himes, trailing 42-38 (the same 4-point margin seen in the recent round of AAF polling).
• FL-25: Here's an offensive opportunity for House Dems that nobody should be writing off. Joe Garcia posted a lead in a recent internal poll (taken in wake of the primary, and revelations about various unsavory moments from Republican opponent David Rivera's past) for his campaign. Garcia leads by 4 points in the poll from Benenson, 40-36 (with 5 for the Tea Party candidate and 1 for the Whig).
• MO-03: Republican challenger Ed Martin got the endorsement of the Missouri Farm Bureau, a change from their backing of Russ Carnahan in previous cycles. Carnahan didn't show up for his meeting with the Farm Bureau, although it's unclear whether that's why he didn't get endorsed or if he felt the endorsement was already lost.
• NH-02: EMILY's List, Planned Parenthood, and NARAL are all coordinating their efforts in favor of Ann McLane Kuster ahead of the Dem primary in the 2nd, where's she's running against Katrina Swett, who has supported parental notification laws. In addition to a joint rally, they're sending out a joint mailer together.
• PA-12: The NRCC is out with a poll, via POS, of the 12th, giving Tim Burns a small lead in his rematch against special election victor Mark Critz. Burns leads 48-43, quite the reversal from Critz's 53-45 win in May. (Bear in mind that POS's final released poll before that election gave Burns a 2-point lead.)
• AK-Sen: Scott McAdams (D) 44%, Joe Miller (R) 50%
• FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 44%, Rick Scott (R) 45%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 46%, Dino Rossi (R) 48%