AZ-Sen: The AP ran a story about J.D. Hayworth's recent criticisms of John McCain, featuring a provocative headline: "Hayworth suggests McCain would be worse than Obama." This caused Hayworth to flip the fuck out - and put him in the exquisitely agonizing situation of having to defend McCain. Talk about having your nuts squeezed!
CO-Sen: Some off-message messaging from Ken Buck, fresh off his primary win over Jane Norton: "I think Republicans realize that Republicans are every bit as much to blame for the mess that we are in in D.C. as the Democrats."
IN-Sen: Dick Lugar, 78 years young, indicated that he would likely seek re-election in 2012. In case you want to parse the tea leaves, his exact words were: "I suppose there will be a place and a time to do that, to rally the forces, to get the fundraisers going and all of that type of thing. But that's my intent day by day. Most people in the Senate know I will be around, therefore they have to deal with me on that basis."
KY-Sen: Do you ever feel like sometimes, life sounds just like an episode of Arrested Development?
Rand Paul Not a Kidnapper "In a Legal Sense," Accuser Says
It was really just some light... abduction.
CO-Gov: Tom Tancredo is going nowhere! As in, he ain't quitting the race. If anything, he looks more set on staying in than ever, digging in his heels in response to GOP chair Dick Wadhams' broadsides. Said Wadhams: "Tom Tancredo makes it unwinnable if he remains a third-party candidate." Responded the Tanc: "I have a better chance of winning in a three-way race than Maes has in a two-way race."
FL-Gov: The Florida Independent, a member of the American Independent News Network, has a new investigative report about Rick Scott's current healthcare company. Rather than try to summarize, I'll just quote a bit:
Two doctors - both former employees of Solantic, the chain of clinics launched by Scott and in which he is a majority investor - allege that Solantic repeatedly used their name and medical license information without their permission or knowledge. Both doctors state that by allegedly misappropriating their information, the company was able to keep clinics operating in contravention of state law.
One of the doctors asserts that he also came upon evidence of billing irregularities involving Medicare, which, if true, would be the second time a Scott-run company was accused of improperly billing Medicare.
ID-01: Walt Minnick keeps racking up support from the right (and sometimes far-right): the conservative "Council for Citizens Against Government Waste" just named Minnick as the lone Democratic "Taxpayer Hero" of 2009. Whatever it takes, huh?
NY-10: Kevin Powell, who lost badly to Rep. Ed Towns in a 2008 primary challenge and is trying again this year, put out a press release saying he beat back Towns' attempt to disqualify his petitions and remove him from the ballot. Towns is a terrible elected official and is definitely vulnerable - he won a primary in 1998 with just 52% and has been challenged many times. In a year like this, he could definitely go down, but I doubt Powell (who has no money) is the right guy to do it.
PA-10: Rep. Chris Carney is going up on the air with his first ads - and this time, there is word on the size of the buy. Carney's spending $60K, which may not sound like a lot, but this is a really cheap-ass media market. Carney also has a huge cash advantage over his GOP opponent, ex-US Attorney Tom Marino: $800K to 11K as of June 30th, though Marino claims he has more than five times that (WOW!) on hand now.
TN-06: On election night, the Republican primary in the 6th CD ended crazily close, with a 31-30-30 near-tie between three candidates. The last place dude, Jim Tracy, finally conceded and endorsed Diane Black, the first-place dude. The second place dude (and yes, at SSP, we use "dude" to refer to all genders), Lou Ann Zelenik, is still contesting the results.
VA-05: What a weiner! Challengers usually jump at the chance for debates with incumbents, endlessly wheedling and begging and cajoling for any opportunity to raise their profile. But in a bizarre role reversal, Republican Rob Hurt is refusing to debate Rep. Tom Perriello - all because indy teabagger Jeff Clark was also invited to participate. Perriello both goaded and bear-hugged Hurt, saying: "If you're too scared to make your case to the voters, then how easily are you going to get crushed up in Washington in terms of having any independence? It's an important part of the process and I hope Sen. Hurt will show up and try to make his case."
Teabaggers v. CoC: Sounds pretty dirty, doesn't it? Well, I won't tell you to get your mind out of the gutter, because that's where SSP's always is. Anyhow, the Huffington Post has a good rundown of the cycle-long war that's been waged between the Chamber of Commerce, which likes their wingnuts anti-tax but establish-minty, and the teabaggers, who like their wingnuts deep-fried and weapons-grade. So far, the baggers have had an edge in primaries, despite the Chamber's mighty resources. Loves it.
The main event of last night was the Republican gubernatorial primary, which ended surprisingly quickly, with a convincing victory by Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam. Haslam, the ostensible 'moderate' in the race, benefited from not only his lots of his own money, but also from having the moderate side to himself and a conservative pile-up in opposition (and the fact that Tennessee has no runoffs). He defeated Rep. Zach Wamp and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey 47-29-22. (In one more parallel to the Michigan governor primary, Wamp, who said in his concession speech that "The best candidate doesn't always win," can now compete with Rep. Peter Hoekstra as to which one can be the douchiest loser.) Haslam is certainly favored against Dem Mike McWherter in November.
In the House races, there were extremely close GOP primaries in the TN-03 and TN-06 open seats In the 3rd, the somewhat less objectionable Chuck Fleischmann beat former state party chair Robin Smith 30-28. In the 6th, Diane Black won with 31, over fellow state Sen. Jim Tracy and crazed Islamophobe Lou Ann Zelenik (with both at 30). Black faces Dem Brett Carter, who won a similarly close race.
Two other GOP primaries were less close. In TN-08, for the right to face Roy Herron to succeed retiring John Tanner, Stephen Fincher won a surprisingly convincing victory over two self-funders, Ron Kirkland and George Flinn, 48-24-24. And in potential sleeper race TN-04, to face Lincoln Davis, Scott DesJarlais beat Jack Bailey 37-27.
The very last race card may have been played in TN-09. In the third straight slime-covered Dem primary here that was all about race, embarrassing former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton came up woefully short in his quest (predicated almost entirely on Herenton being black and Cohen being white, in a black-majority district) to unseat Rep. Steve Cohen, by a 79-21 margin. Somehow I don't think this'll be the last primary Cohen ever sees, but hopefully they'll be about something other than race in the future.
Finally, the 15 minutes of fame for Basil Marceaux -- whose flag has 49 stars because he'll be dead in the cold cold ground before he recognizes Missourah -- seem to be up, as the viral video hero got 0% in the Republican TN-Gov primary and 1% in the TN-03 primary.
• TN-Gov (R): Bill Haslam hopes to bulls-eye a Wamp rat tonight (and Ron Ramsey for good measure). The Knoxville mayor is generally regarded as the frontrunner in the Republican gubernatorial field, in both polling and fundraising (much of which came out of his own pocket). Rep. Zach Wamp and Ramsey (the Lt. Governor) are further back in the polls, and trying to out-conservative each other in their messaging. In fact, this is starting to look like a replay of the Michigan GOP primary earlier this week, with the self-funding 'moderate' (to the extent that Haslam apparently once signed off on a tax increase, and isn't as demagogic as the others) benefiting from a brawl between multiple conservatives.. and also in that while polling has shown Dem nominee Mike McWherter competitive against the conservative candidates, he matches up much less well against Haslam. There's also a wild card in the form of viral video star Basil Marceaux, whose late-surging candidacy may make some inroads among the anti-traffic-stop, pro-immuning crowd. (C)
• TN-03 (R): Like Peter Hoekstra in MI-02, the joy of watching one of the House's most execrable members (Zach Wamp, in this case) give up his seat for a gubernatorial primary faceplant is tempered somewhat by the knowledge that he'll be replaced by someone just as nasty. There are 11 GOPers in this primary, but it's really only a two-person race, between Club for Growth-backed former GOP state party chair Robin Smith and attorney, radio talk show host, and Mike Huckabee ally Chuck Fleischmann. (Smith, you might recall, was the GOP chair during the 2008 campaign, who released the infamous "Anti-Semites for Obama" press release that had him in African tribal garb. (C)
• TN-04 (R): We don't have much intel on the Republican primary here, where the main contestants are attorney Jack Bailey, and physician Scott DesJarlais, but it's worth keeping an eye on, as the victor will go on to face Rep. Lincoln Davis. Davis isn't high on anyone's target list, but in a big enough wave could get swept away just by virtue of his R+13 district. Bailey has a bit of a fundraising edge, probably thanks to connections from his former work as a Hill staffer. (C)
• TN-06 (R): Let the fur fly in this Middle Tennessee district currently held by outgoing Democrat Bart Gordon. The field counts eight Republicans, with three serious contenders in former Rutherford County GOP chair Lou Ann Zelenik, state Senator Jim Tracy from the southern part of the district, and state Senator Diane Black, who represents two northern counties in the district. The mad dash, of course, is for the right, whether its immigration or misuse of government resources. Black released an internal that had her leading at 41% and Zelenik and Tracy mired in the twenties at 22 and 20, respectively. Look for sharp geographic distinctions here tonight, with each candidate having a different base in this rural-exurban district. (JMD)
• TN-08 (R): For the open seat of outgoing Dem John Tanner, five Republicans have jumped into the fray. The three frontrunners -- agribusinessman Steve Fincher, Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn, and doctor Ron Kirkland -- have been busy bashing each other to bits. All sorts of accusations have been thrown around -- Flinn's been attacked for owning a hip-hop station in Memphis, while Fincher's caught flak for voting in the Democratic primary for local offices in May, and Kirkland's on the defensive for steering contributions to Democrats in the past. All three are have significant warchests to play with (Fincher $421k cash-on-hand, Flinn $275k with the ability to self-fund, Kirkland $223k). So who's going to emerge from this bare-knucle brawl? Fincher's the NRCC's preferred candidate, and a recent poll had him leading with 32 to Kirkland's 23 and Flinn's 21. This race is largely in the air (not that presumptive Dem. nominee Roy Herron's complaining), though unfortunately, we'll know the winner of this fight tonight, as Tennessee has no runoffs. (JMD)
• TN-09 (D): Two years ago, Nikki Tinker's campaign against incumbent Dem. Steve Cohen was infuriating; this time, former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton's campaign is just laughable. Whether it's claiming he'll beat Cohen 3:1, losing the CBC's endorsement to Cohen, or having less than 1/47th of Cohen's cash-on-hand, Herenton's campaign really makes you wonder. Let the mockery begin. (JMD)
UPDATE: Polls close at 8 pm ET/7 pm CT (the state is in both time zones, but apparently closing times are coordinated). As always, if you have predictions, let us know in the comments.
• CO-Sen: Both Democratic candidates are hitting the TV airwaves, with Michael Bennet trying once again to introduce himself to his constituents with a feel-good bio spot, and Andrew Romanoff's first ad playing up the anti-corruption, anti-Washington angle he's been working. Over on the Republican side, where Ken Buck seems to be putting some distance between himself and Jane Norton, Buck got some useful backing from the Dick Army: he snagged a FreedomWorks endorsement. Norton's 2005 support for TABOR-limiting Referendum C seems to have been a dealbreaker for the teabaggers.
• KY-Sen: PPP, fresh off its Rand Paul/Jack Conway poll yesterday, also has some approval numbers out for Mitch McConnell. It's more evidence that the most dangerous job in America is party leader in the Senate. McConnell's numbers are dwindling, and his backing of Trey Grayson over Paul in the GOP primary seems to have accelerated that: he's down to 34/48, after having had favorables in the 40s in their previous polls, with almost all of his decline coming from Republicans. 49% of all respondents would like to see him lose his leadership role, with only 38% saying continue.
• NH-Sen: Big money for Kelly Ayotte this quarter: she raised $720K last quarter, her biggest quarter so far. No word on her CoH.
• NV-Sen: With their empty coffers suddenly replenished, the Karl Rove-led 527 American Crossroads decided to keep their anti-Harry Reid attack ad on the air in Nevada for the fourth straight week. They've spent nearly half a million airing the same ad.
• NY-Sen-B: Although the terrible disarray in the state GOP can't be helping matters, New York's unique ballot access laws just seem to encourage self-destructive behavior by the local Republicans. With Republican/Conservative/Independence Party splits threatening to result in multiple viable right-of-center candidates in races ranging from NY-01 to NY-23, now cat fud is about to start flying in the Senate race. David Malpass, seeming a long shot in the Republican field, has said that he's going to seek the ballot line on the as-yet-to-be-named teabagger's ballot line that gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino is trying to create, most likely to be called the Taxpayer's line. Malpass, as you'll recall, is lagging in GOP primary polls against Joe DioGuardi, who already has the Conservative line but is trying to petition onto the GOP ballot, and Bruce Blakeman, who's assured a spot on the GOP ballot. This may even spill over into the who-cares other Senate race, where Gary Berntsen wants in on the Taxpayer's line (and where rival Jay Townsend already has the Conservative line).
• WA-Sen: The Washington Farm Bureau, which endorsed Dino Rossi in his two failed gubernatorial bids, has decided not to endorse anybody in the Senate race. Goldy wonders whether this is a matter of lots of Clint Didier supporters at the Farm Bureau... Didier, after all, is a farmer... or if the Farm Bureau secretly likes Patty Murray's skill at appropriations.
• WV-Sen: Gov. Joe Manchin held a press conference today to announce his plans on the vacant Senate seat, and it seems like the institutional pressure on him to fill the seat soon (preferably with himself) seems to be working. Manchin stopped short of calling on the state legislature to have a special session to move up the election to Nov. 2010, but he did tell his AG to start laying the legal groundwork for such a move. Manchin again said that he wouldn't appoint himself to the seat on a temporary basis, but confirmed that he would be "highly" interested in running for the seat whenever the special election occurs. (He didn't give any inkling on who he might appoint.) At any rate, it seems like Manchin feels confident that, despite the national downdraft for Dems this year, his own personal popularity, combined with the shortened election schedule working to his advantage, would facilitate his election in November; if he didn't, he wouldn't be going along so readily with the moved-up election.
• CO-Gov: Democratic nominee John Hickenlooper had better hope the contributions keep coming in: he's sitting on only $66K CoH right now (although he raised $500K in June alone), but he just reserved $1.2 million in ad time. The plan is to lock the ad space in now, when it's still cheap to reserve far in advance. On the Republican side of the aisle, insurgent candidate Dan Maes is in some trouble: he's being hit with the largest fine ever handed down to a Colorado candidate for campaign finance donations. It was for a series of small-ball failures rather than one huge blunder, ranging from improper reimbursements to himself for mileage, to failure to list occupations for many donors.
• OK-Gov: As I remarked yesterday, it's a remarkable transformation for Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who in a few months went from DOA in her own primary, to competing with Sarah Palin in terms of traversing the country handing out GOP primary endorsements like so much poisoned candy. (What's something Arizona-specific that we can call her clutch of endorsees? Mama Rattlesnakes?) Brewer waded into another gubernatorial race, giving her backing to Rep. Mary Fallin in Oklahoma.
• PA-Gov: Democratic nominee Dan Onorato seems to be kicking his fundraising operations into higher gear after having won the primary; he pulled in $1 million in contributions in the last month. He's sitting on $2.5 million CoH.
• TX-Gov: The plot (to get the Green Party on the ballot in Texas) keeps thickening. New e-mails have surfaced among Green leaders revealing the name of Anthony Holm, a GOP consultant linked to big-time GOP donor Bob Perry (the man behind the Swift Boat Vets), saying that he wanted to pay for 40% of the costs of petitions to get the Greens on the ballot. Holm denies any involvement.
• MN-06: It looks like the 6th, held by lightning rod Michele Bachmann, is going to be the nation's most expensive House race this year. Democratic challenger Tarryl Clark posted big numbers this morning, raising $910K this quarter, claiming $2 million raised so far this cycle. (No mention of her CoH.) Then later this morning, Bachmann topped that, raising $1.7 million last quarter, giving her $4.1 million CoH, which would be plenty even for a Senate race.
• TN-06: State Sen. Diane Black has a GOP primary lead in an internal poll taken for her by OnMessage. She's at 41, leading former Rutherford County GOP chair Lou Ann Zelenik at 22 and state Sen. Jim Tracy at 20. Black (or whoever else wins) should have an easy time picking up this R+13 Dem-held open seat, vacated by retiring Rep. Bart Gordon.
• TN-08: Here's one more GOP primary internal poll out of Tennessee, from the Stephen Fincher camp. His poll, conducted by the Tarrance Group, gives Fincher the lead at 32, followed by Ron Kirkland at 23 and George Flinn at 21. Attacks on Fincher by the other two seem to have taken their toll, as Fincher's previous internal poll from early April gave him a 40-17-7 lead. As with the poll in the 6th, there's no word on general election matchups.
• WI-07: Republican Sean Duffy, bolstered by David Obey's retirement (and a Sarah Palin endorsement), had a big quarter, raising $470K. He's at $670K CoH.
• Legislatures: If you read one thing today, this should be it: Stateline.org's Louis Jacobson handicaps all the state legislative chambers that promise to be competitive this year. As you might expect, the news isn't very good for Democrats, considering not just the nature of the year but how many chambers they currently hold. He projects one currently Democratic-controlled chamber as Lean R (the Indiana House), and has 11 nominally Dem-held chambers as Tossups (both Alabama chambers, Iowa House, Montana House, both New Hampshire chambers, New York Senate, Ohio House, Pennsylvania House, and both Wisconsin chambers). The only nominally GOP-held chamber that's a Tossup is the Alaska Senate, which is in fact controlled by a coalition of sane Republicans and Democrats.
• NRCC: The NRCC seems to like slapping lots of different names on different groups so that they look busy, and now they've even come up with a program for primary victors who are running in safe Republican seats: "Vanguard!" There's no word on what exactly they plan to do for these shoo-ins, or if it's just an impressive-sounding title so that the likes of Jeff Duncan and Todd Rokita don't feel left out.
• Fundraising: The Fix has a couple other fundraising tidbits that we haven't seen before: Craig Miller in FL-24 raised $270K for 2Q with $332K CoH. And Charlie Bass in NH-02 raised $170K and has $360K CoH.
• Idaho: The numbers from Idaho's primary election last night that everyone is focused on is state Rep. Raul Labrador's somewhat surprising victory over Vaughn Ward in ID-01, by a 48-39 margin. This means that the NRCC-preferred, Sarah Palin-endorsed candidate lost... although given the way Ward's wheels fell off over the last few weeks, Republicans may be breathing a sigh of relief. Not that Labrador may turn out that well either, as he's poorly-funded and apparently not a favorite of the local establishment (as he's tight with ex-Rep. Bill Sali). Democratic freshman Rep. Walt Minnick may actually be feeling... dare I say it... confident going into November?
ID-02 had some eyebrow-raising numbers too, consistent with mediocre primary performances from establishment incumbents on both sides of the aisle in previous months; Rep. Mike Simpson -- not exactly a moderate, but certainly not the flamethrower you'd expect in such a dark-red district - had an unexpectedly rough time in the GOP primary, winning against Chick Heileson only 58-24. And incumbent GOP governor Butch Otter, who'd looked dominant in polling, got a teabagging of his own, scoring only 55% while rancher Rex Rammell (the only guy around with a name even manlier than "Butch Otter") got 25%, as apparently there was a lot of resentment on the right over Otter's failed attempt to raise the state gas tax. Dem nominee Keith Allred has a fundraising lead over Otter and good bipartisan credentials as former head of group Common Interest; combined with Otter's underperformance in the primary, that leaves us thinking Allred might have a legitimate shot here.
• CA-Sen: Anti-abortion group the Susan B. Anthony List (whom you might remember from their involvement in the WV-01 Dem primary) is getting involved in California, in support of Carly Fiorina. They're spending $215K in IEs, as Fiorina opposes the pro-choice Tom Campbell in the GOP primary.
• IN-Sen: The spotlight is starting to turn back toward Dan Coats' lobbying past, with state Democrats demanding that Coats disclose a full list of his lobbying clients. Coats (who worked for law firm King & Spaulding as a lobbyist) is citing attorney-client privilege as a reason for keeping mum, although recent court cases have made clear that the privilege doesn't extend to lobbying activities.
• KY-Sen: No matter how pure you try to be, someone's always going to be more pure than you: dissatisfied with Rand Paul's sops to Republican orthodoxy, the Libertarian Party is saying that they're planning to run a candidate against him in November. They're accusing Paul of having deviated from the Libertarian line on social issues and foreign policy. Meanwhile, the Paul camp's emergency retooling continues apace; he's hired Jesse Benton as his new campaign manager (to replace David Adams, who was the behind-the-scenes equivalent of Some Dude). Benton's not a GOP establishment figure, though; he was the communications director for the 2008 Ron Paul presidential campaign.
• NV-Sen: The feathers are flying in the Nevada GOP primary, where the Club for Growth is taking aim at the very large target on Sue Lowden's back, hitting her for voting to raise taxes while in the state Senate and her previous support for Harry Reid. The CfG, of course, endorsed opponent Sharron Angle last week.
• CA-Gov: MoveOn co-founder Peter Schurman apparently got tired of polling at 1% in the Democratic primary, and ended his recently-launched bid against Jerry Brown. Seeming satisfied that Brown has been stepping up his game lately, he threw his backing to Brown.
• FL-Gov: It's looking like insiders are realizing that Bill McCollum screwed up by letting wealthy health care magnate Rick Scott run rampant on their airwaves for the last month, letting him get a major foothold in the GOP primary. Now rumors suggest that an unnamed independent group is about to start a major advertising blitz on McCollum's behalf, to try and level the playing field.
• NV-Gov: The most recent batch of polls have shown incumbent GOP governor Jim Gibbons down but not out in the Republican primary. But with the primary only a few weeks away, this new poll from the RGA by POS looks like Gibbons is in too deep a hole to dig out of: Brian Sandoval is at 50, with Gibbons at 27 and Mike Montandon at 11.
• NY-Gov: It's convention time in New York, and now that Andrew Cuomo isn't playing coy any more, his first order of business is picking a running mate. He's chosen Rochester mayor Robert Duffy for the position. Duffy will still need to win his own primary, though, before getting joined to the ticket (a la Scott Lee Cohen in Illinois). Cuomo also got welcome news from the Independence Party: he'll be getting that centrist third party's line on the ballot in November. (The IP backed Eliot Spitzer last time, but rich weirdo Tom Golisano three times before that.)
• OH-01: In the War of the Steves, Republican ex-Rep. Steve Chabot is out with a poll giving himself a substantial lead over freshman Democratic Rep. Steve Driehaus. The poll by POS gives Chabot a 53-39 lead. That's actually a smaller Chabot lead than that notorious Firedoglake poll from January, but regardless, Driehaus is going to need huge African-American turnout in Cincinnati if he's going to pull this out.
• OH-16: If that wasn't enough, there's also a Republican poll of the 16th giving a significant lead to Jim Renacci, who has a 47-35 lead over fellow Democratic freshman Rep. John Boccieri. The press release touts this as an independent poll, but it was conducted by Republican pollster Fabrizio, McClaughlin, & Associates, and it was paid for by the innocuous-sounding U.S. Citizens Association who, if you go to their website, have a major ax to grind over health care reform (for which Boccieri was a 'no' to 'yes' vote).
• TN-06: Illegal immigration isn't the kind of issue you'd expect to take center stage in rural Tennessee, but in the race to succeed retiring Bart Gordon, the two main GOP contestants are trying to outflank each other to the right on the issue. State Sen. Jim Tracy is accusing state Sen. Diane Black of trying to water down legislation requiring local authorities to report the arrest of illegal immigrants to ICE.
• Polltopia: Jonathan Chait joins the chorus of Rasmussen doubters, pointing nicely to Rasmussen's role in the cycle of right-wing epistemic closure. Nate Silver also an interesting tidbit that promises to be part of a forthcoming larger revamping of his pollster ratings, one that seems likely not to see Rasmussen in as positive a light as his previous ratings: he finds that while Rasmussen was OK in 2004 and 2006, its performance in 2000 was way off, as they missed seven states, with a Republican bias of 3.5%.
• AR-Sen: Shortest Senate campaign ever. Former Arkansas Farm Bureau president Stanley Reed, about one week into his campaign, dropped out today, citing health reasons. Reed, with his resume and connections, was considered a very credible candidate when stacked up against the rest of the ragtag band of misfits running for the GOP. On the Dem side comes the intriguing news that the SEIU is paying down Lt. Gov. Bill Halter's campaign debt. Daily Kos's Jed seems optimistic that the SEIU is facilitating a primary run against Blanche Lincoln (they said he "has a very bright political future," although not specifically referencing the Senate race), although, considering there were rumors that the SEIU's anti-Gilbert Baker ad was interpreted as a sign to Lincoln that they had her back (in exchange for her cooperation on an HCR cloture vote), it's also possible this could be a carrot from the SEIU to Halter to stay out of the primary. This one's worth keeping an eye on.
• AZ-Sen: This might be a clue that there's some growing substance to the rumors that ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth is gearing up for a primary run against John McCain. He's in Washington DC this week, meeting with potential supporters including conservative advocacy group Citizens United.
• CT-Sen: I'm not sure how much sway former Democratic state party chair Ed Marcus has over Chris Dodd or anybody else, but he's gone on the record advocating that Dodd hang it up and make way for Richard Blumenthal. Dodd's people responded that Marcus has some sort of old grudge against Dodd.
• KY-Sen: Um, whoops. Rand Paul's campaign manager Chris Hightower had to resign his post yesterday after local blog Barefoot and Progressive found racist comments on Hightower's MySpace page (and also video of performances by Hightower's death metal band... gotta love those crazy libertarians). (Wait... MySpace? Srsly?) Primary rival Trey Grayson's campaign wasted no time jumping on this, adding some fuel to their argument that Paul isn't coming from mainstream Republican turf.
• IL-Gov: Rasmussen added some gubernatorial numbers to their Illinois sample, finding fairly comfortable leads for both incumbent Pat Quinn and Dem comptroller Dan Hynes against their Republican opposition. It wouldn't be a Rasmussen poll without something inexplicable in it, though, and this time it's the decision not to poll former AG Jim Ryan, who's probably the Republican field's frontrunner. Still, Quinn beats state party chair Andy McKenna 41-33, state Sen. Bill Brady 45-30, and state Sen. Kirk Dillard 41-30, while Hynes beats McKenna 43-30, Brady 46-27, and Dillard 42-29. Interesting to see Hynes overperforming Quinn in the general, even as Hynes looks unlikely to make it out of the primary; that may have to do with some Blago-related stench coming off of Quinn (Blago's ex-LG, although they had absolutely nothing to do with each other), or just the reversal of positions, where the former reformer Quinn is now the insider and the well-connected Hynes is now the outsider. In the Dem primary, long-time SoS Jesse White threw his endorsement to Quinn. The Dem field also shrank to only Quinn and Hynes as the two minor candidates were vanquished; attorney Ed Scanlon was knocked off the ballot, while activist Dock Walls withdrew.
• NY-Gov: It had looked like Erie County Exec Chris Collins had gaffed his way out of contention for a possible run for the GOP gubernatorial nomination (after a bizarre tirade against Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver). But with Rudy Giuliani pretty clearly out of the field and ex-Rep. Rick Lazio exciting absolutely nobody, it looks like Collins may still take a whack at it. He just hired a campaign consulting firm run by a former Giuliani aide.
• IL-10: One of the four GOPers in the field in the 10th, Bill Cadigan, has dropped out; without state Rep. Beth Coulson's name rec or the money of Dick Green or Bob Dold, he really didn't have a foot in the door. Speaking of Bob Dold, Bob Dold is now on the air with a TV spot touting Bob Dold's conservative economic views. Bob Dold!
• MN-06: If there's someone out there who seems like she'd be one of those crazy bosses, it's Rep. Michele Bachmann. She's had a terrible time holding onto chiefs of staff, and now she's facing a rupture with her entire fundraising group, described as a "defection" (although it's not clear where they're defecting to).
• NH-02: This isn't going to endear ex-Rep. Charlie Bass to the teabag set, as he seeks to reclaim his seat. Bass just got a $2,500 check from NRCC chair Pete Sessions' PAC. The anti-establishment right already has to be inclined to support right-wing radio talker Jennifer Horn over the moderate Bass.
• OH-15: Ex-state Sen. (and 2008 loser) Steve Stivers won't get the GOP primary to himself; he's facing a challenge from the right from John Adams, who's labeling himself as the "conservative alternative." Stivers also faces third-party right-winger David Ryon in the general, similar to what hamstrung him last time and let Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy squeak into office.
• OH-17: Ex-Rep. (and ex-con) Jim Traficant is in the news again, sounding revved up to, well, yell and gesticulate a lot, as always. He's also still talking about another run for Congress, although he's not sure where. He said he'd circulate nominating petitions in three different districts. His former seat in the 17th is likeliest, although so too is the neighboring 6th.
• PA-10: The race in the 10th has been slow to take shape, compared with most other red-leaning districts held by Democrats. But with state Rep. Mike Peifer recently having announced he's interested in a race against Rep. Chris Carney, now someone else potentially higher up the food chain is checking it out too: former US Attorney Tom Marino, who already (wisely) passed on the race in 2008.
• PA-15: Here's one more district with teabagger troubles for the NRCC and the Republican establishment. Rep. Charlie Dent is facing his toughest challenge yet from Democratic mayor of Bethlehem John Callahan, and now comes word of a challenge in the GOP primary from 9/12 movement member Matthew Benol. There's also a third-party teabagger awaiting Dent in the general, Jake Towne.
• TN-06: State Sen. Jim Tracy seemed to have an early edge on securing the GOP nod in the now-open 6th, vacated recently by Democratic Rep. Bart Gordon. That was bolstered by his recent announcement that he'd already raised $100K in funds just this week, and that he'd gotten the endorsement of fellow state Sen. (and potential primary rival) Bill Ketron. However, he's got some competition from another fellow state Senator now: Diane Black announced that she's joining the race too. (Black is from suburban Gallatin, while Tracy is from more rural Shelbyville.)
• TN-08: Republican candidate Stephen Fincher had been successfully playing the "I'm just a humble farmer/gospel singer who's never even been to Washington" role for a while, it seems, but suddenly the teabaggers are turning their wrath on even him, too. They're taking an issue with his fundraising, as almost all of his money is coming from nearby farm families who've maxed-out on donations (which is a good sign, as his big haul so far was just him picking the low-hanging fruit; now the real test comes). What's alarming to the anti-pork crowd is that how deep in the pocket of Big Ag he seems to be; his supporters have received a cumulative $80,000,000 in farm subsidies, and Fincher himself has gotten $6,000,000 in farm subsidies over the years, including $800,000 in 2007 alone.
• WA-03: The Democratic field seems to be solidifying, with Olympia-area state Rep. Brendan Williams, a frequently-mentioned possible candidate, deciding against a run. With state Sen. Craig Pridemore and state Rep. Deb Wallace both in, the two main candidates are both from Vancouver instead. Also worth noting: peace activist Cheryl Crist is in the race for the Dems too. Crist primaried Brian Baird in 2008, doing well at the activist-dominated nominating convention but making little impact in the actual primary.
• GA-St. House: It's official; David Ralston is the new Republican speaker of Georgia's House, following the suicide attempt and resignation of former speaker Glenn Richardson. If you're looking for broader implications, it takes Ralston's name out of contention in the open seat in GA-09, where he'd been rumored to be interested in a run.
• Demographics: Josh Goodman does some neat number-tweaking, overlaying Census projections onto the 2008 presidential election to try and predict the 2052 election. Assuming that racial groups keep voting for the same parties at the same proportions, he projects 58-40 Democratic edge. Of course, that's easier said than done, as, for starters, Hispanics could return to their 2004-level GOP performance; also, as he points out, "Heck, in 40 years the Tea Party and the Green Party might be the major players in contesting the all-important cyborg vote."
• AR-Sen: State Sen. Kim Hendren got some early attention as the first entrant in the GOP field to take on Blanche Lincoln, but a few feet-in-mouth later, he doesn't seem to be taken seriously much anymore. He seems to be trying to fix that by loaning himself $200K for his campaign.
• AZ-Sen: A new poll from Republican pollster the Tarrance Group (paid for by Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America, presumably on John McCain's behalf, as it also did anti-J.D. Hayworth message testing) shows McCain faring much better in a potential Republican primary against ex-Rep. Hayworth than a Rasmussen poll did last month; they have McCain beating Hayworth 56-36, and with a 78/20 favorable. Also, Grant Woods, a former Arizona Attorney General (and more significantly, a former McCain chief of staff) filed an FEC complaint against Hayworth, accusing him of using his talk radio bullhorn to promote his potential candidacy.
• CO-Sen: Former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton is facing something of a teabagger deficit, having been ordained as the GOP establishment's candidate. But she's trying to make up for that with some red meat that pleasantly surprised members of the hard right she was appearing in front of: she advocated eliminating the Dept. of Education. (Actually, maybe that should be described as green meat, considering how long that moldy idea has been sitting on the shelf. Ask President Bob Dole how that one went over.)
• CT-Sen: Ralph Nader reiterated his interest to the Princeton University newspaper (his alma mater) in running as a Green in the Connecticut race, saying he's encouraged by the nation's anti-incumbent mood. The netroots' other least favorite person, Joe Lieberman, is heading the opposite direction: aware that any hope of winning a Democratic nomination in 2012 vaporized this week, he's now making noises about seeking the Republican nomination instead. One other 2010 note: Barack Obama plans to appear on NBC's "WWE Tribute to the Troops" special to deliver a tombstone piledriver to Linda McMahon. Ooops, actually, it looks like he's just delivering a holiday message to the troops.
• IL-Sen: It looks like all that pandering to the right wing is finally paying off for Rep. Mark Kirk; he got $5,000 from the Koch Industries PAC (Koch is one of the biggest funders of the right, including of operations like Freedom Works and the Cato Institute). It also got him a brief bit of praise from Sarah Palin via Twitter, after months of tugging at her sleeve for help. Erick Erickson still isn't buying what Kirk is selling, though, saying in his usual understated manner that Kirk "will knife [conservatives] in the chest with a smile once he gets to D.C."
• NV-Sen: This ought to just further rev up right-wingers who view former state GOP chair and former Miss New Jersey Sue Lowden as a RINO in the making. Turns out she claimed to be pro-choice when representing a Dem-leaning state Senate seat in the 1990s, while today she's claiming Roe v. Wade is a "bad decision." One more flip-flop that'll have to be dealt with, just like her previous support of Harry Reid.
• NY-Sen-B: Suffolk County Legislator Jon Cooper had been making noises about a primary challenge to Kirsten Gillibrand for many months, but apparently a face-to-face meeting with her was more than satisfactory to him, and he came out of it with an effusive endorsement of Gillibrand instead. And while we discussed the possibility of a William Thompson primary yesterday on the front page, there were also some other numbers from yesterday's Siena and Quinnipiac polls. Quinnipiac tested out Rudy Giuliani numbers, and found that on the off chance he runs, he'd beat both Gillibrand (50-40) and Thompson (52-36). Siena went with a whole bunch of permutations, finding Gillibrand losing to Giuliani 49-42, but beating ex-Gov. George Pataki (46-43) and Port Commissioner Bruce Blakeman (52-22). Thompson loses to both Giuliani (56-34) and Pataki (49-36) but beats Blakeman (40-23). They even tried out an improbable-looking GOP primary, finding Giuliani at 57 and Pataki at 26, followed by ex-state Sen. Michael Balboni at 7, Liz Feld at 6, and Blakeman at 4.
• SD-Sen: John Thune can consider himself safe for next year. He beats a Generic Dem 56-33 (fitting, since no one is running against him yet), and has approvals of 57/35. The only cloud on his horizon is that his constituents don't want him to run for President, by a 28/55 margin.
• FL-Gov: Rasmussen threw in a Florida gubernatorial race general election question to their Senate race sample (which leads to the question: are there going to be Meek/Crist and Meek/Rubio numbers forthcoming?). They find that Republican AG Bill McCollum has a small lead over Democratic CFO Alex Sink, 44-39, but that Sink has more room to grow (24% have no opinion of Sink vs. 16% for McCollum).
• KS-Gov: That didn't last long: the Kansas Dems thought they finally had a decent gubernatorial candidate in retired businessman Tom Wiggans, but he just ended his infant campaign. He cited trouble fundraising, although recent bad press about a settlement by his pharmaceutical company probably helped prompt his move too.
• NY-Gov: That same Quinnipiac sample also took a look at the New York Governor's race, finding a la Siena, that the resurrection of David Paterson (from DOA to slightly less DOA) continues apace. They find Paterson beating Republican ex-Rep. Rick Lazio, 41-37, and with an approval of 40/49 and favorable of 38/44. Paterson shouldn't break out the champagne, though, as he still loses a primary to Andrew Cuomo, 60-23, and Cuomo goes on to beat Lazio 62-22.
• CT-05: The former occupant of the 5th, ex-Rep. Nancy Johnson, endorsed state Sen. Sam Caligiuri to try and take the seat back for the GOP. The awkward part is, Caligiuri's primary opponent Justin Bernier is still touting Johnson's endorsement of him too. Johnson said that she did in fact back Bernier -- up until the moment Caligiuri (her 2002 campaign co-chair) got into the race.
• FL-08: I'm a little confused here, because it seemed like the GOP was desperately casting about for any sort of elected official to go up against Rep. Alan Grayson for a long time, and finally settled on businessman Bruce O'Donoghue... but now that all that sturm and drang is over, state Rep. Kurt Kelly says he's likely to get into the race against Grayson. Kelly's name rarely appeared on the list of potential candidates, leaving me to wonder why the NRCC didn't express any interest in him and whether they'll continue to back O'Donoghue here.
• HI-01: Hawaii may try something new in the wake of the realization that it doesn't have the money to hold a special election to replace resigning Rep. Neil Abercrombie. Elections officer Kevin Cronin says that he can't fight that feeling anymore that Hawaii may have to follow the lead of the northwestern states and conduct an all mail-in ballot. Meanwhile, ex-Rep. Ed Case isn't wasting any time; he's already hitting the airwaves with his first TV spot.
• KS-03: Despite party efforts to coalesce behind state Sen. Nick Jordan, we've definitely got a contested GOP primary in the open seat in the 3rd. State Rep. Kevin Yoder confirmed he's getting into the race.
• MD-01: What is this, the 80s? The NRCC is actually pulling out the "soft on crime" card as they road-test different lines of attack on freshman Rep. Frank Kratovil. Kratovil made his name as the Queen Anne's County state's attorney (and escaped previous "soft on crime" attacks last year in his first matchup against state Sen. Andy Harris), so they're trying to hit him on his strengths.
• NJ-07: One swing district with a freshman GOPer where the Dems have had no luck filling out their dance card is the wealthy suburban 7th. Without an elected officials interested in the race, Dems are looking at cumbersome-named Dem fundraiser Zenon Christodolou to go up against Rep. Leonard Lance.
• NY-23: A month after the fact, we finally have our official count from the special election in the 23rd (hence our finally calling our predictions contest!). Bill Owens got 73,137 votes (48.3%) to 69,553 (46.0%) for Doug Hoffman and 8,582 (5.7%) for Dede Scozzafava; the final count brought Hoffman a little closer.
• NC-08: With a lot of liberals feeling burned by freshman Rep. Larry Kissell's voting record since getting into the House, there's actually talk of a primary challenge happening. Chris Kouri, who ran for the seat in 2002 and surprised a better-known Dem in the primary before losing the general to Robin Hayes, is being courted by some in the district for another run. Kouri is the general counsel for the Lowe's Motor Speedway.
• PA-06: State Rep. Curt Schroder got an endorsement from a once-prominent conservative, ex-Rep. Bob Walker, a key Newt Gingrich henchman back in the day as well as an Elmer Fudd lookalike. Walker used to represent part of Chester County, much of which was contained in the 16th under the 1990s map. That didn't deter one more no-name Republican from getting in the already-crammed field: geologist Walt Hufford, who sits on the board of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and plans to run as a moderate.
• TN-01: Get ready for Roe v. Davis, part III. Ex-Rep. David Davis, narrowly beaten by Rep. Phil Roe in a GOP primary in this dark-red district in 2008, says to Politico that he's "strongly leaning" toward another matchup.
• TN-06: State Sen. Jim Tracy has a slight problem that could hurt him in his GOP primary in the open seat race to succeed Bart Gordon: in the 1990-2002 time period, he voted in six Democratic primaries (Tennessee voters can crossover in primaries) and only two GOP primaries. Of course, Tracy offers the defense that, in that part of the state, there was nothing to vote for but Democrats back then, but that's more grist for the teabagger mill as other candidates (like Lou Ann Zelenik) seek to woo the hard right.
• Retirements: A little more followup on the retirements front, in the wake of our front-page post yesterday: Rick Boucher and Allen Boyd have now confirmed with party leaders that they, too, will be back for re-election next year. (No surprise on Boyd, as he's already hitting the airwaves in his primary fight.) Lincoln Davis also reaffirmed his commitment, saying he's "running come hell or high water," and also saying he's not worried about the specter of GOP-controlled redistricting in 2012, saying he can't be put "in any more conservative district." (SSP's crack team of redistricters may disagree with him on that one!)
• House: Nancy Pelosi seems to be getting fed up with the Senate in many ways, and one smart way she's fighting back is saying that the House won't be going first on the tough votes anymore, and that she'll act on potentially divisive issues like EFCA and immigration reform only after the Senate has hashed it out. She has to be concerned with shielding her most vulnerable members from voting on tough votes like HCR and cap and trade only to see the legislation head into purgatory in the Senate.
• CT-Sen: You know you're in trouble when the trade publications that cover you start asking what your exit strategy is. CQ has an interesting piece that delves into the how, when, and where of how Chris Dodd might excuse himself from his not-getting-any-better Senate race, and it also asks who might take his place.
• DE-Sen: CQ has another speculative piece about another troublesome seat for Dems: what happens if Beau Biden doesn't show up for his planned Senate race (he's been mum so far, although most people expect him to run). The uncomfortable truth is there just isn't much of a Plan B there, but options could include New Castle County Exec Chris Coons, or elbow-twisting Ted Kaufman to actually stand for re-election.
• CO-Gov: Considering how deep a hole Michael Bennet was in vis-a-vis Jane Norton, it shouldn't be a surprise that Rasmussen's gubernatorial numbers from last week's Colorado sample aren't very appetizing either. Republican ex-Rep. Scott McInnis leads incumbent Dem Bill Ritter 48-40, despite Ritter having 50% approval. (The thing is, he also has 50% disapproval. Rasmussen still managed to find 1% of all likely voters who don't know. Which, of course, adds up to 101%.)
• HI-01: Rep. Neil Abercrombie is saying he'll resign in a matter of weeks, not months. He still wouldn't give a specific date, citing the uncertainty of timing of major votes coming up in the short term (not just health care reform, but also the locally-important Native Hawaiian recognition act).
• IA-03: Another Republican is getting into the field against Rep. Leonard Boswell, who's never quite gotten secure in this swing district. Retired architect Mark Rees will join state Sen. Brad Zaun and former wrestling coach Jim Gibbons in the GOP primary; Rees seems to be striking a lot of moderate notes, in contrast to the rest of the field.
• IL-10: With state Rep. Julie Hamos having gotten the AFSCME's endorsement yesterday, her Democratic primary opponent, Dan Seals, got his own big labor endorsement today, from the Illinois Federation of Teachers.
• MS-01: Despite having a painstakingly-cleared field for him, state Sen. Alan Nunnelee is still getting a primary challenge, apparently from the anti-establishment right. Henry Ross, the former mayor of Eupora, made his campaign official. Eupora, however, is tiny, and nowhere near the Memphis suburbs; remember that Tupelo-vs.-the-burbs was the main geographical fissure in the hotly contested and destructive GOP primary last year that paved the way for Democratic Rep. Travis Childers to win.
• NJ-03: Here's another place where the Republican establishment got hosed by a primary-gone-bad last year, and where they'd like to avoid one next year: New Jersey's 3rd. This is one where the county party chairs have a lot of sway, and candidates aren't likely to run without county-level backing. Burlington County's chair William Layton is already backing NFL player Jon Runyan, so the real question is what happens in Ocean County. Other possible GOP candidates include Toms River councilman Maurice Hill, assistant US Attorney David Leibowitz, Assemblyman Scott Rudder, and state Sen. Chris Connors.
• NY-19: Another report looks at the discontent brewing in the 19th, where Assemblyman Greg Ball bailed out, leaving wealthy moderate ophthalmologist Nan Hayworth in command of the GOP field. Much of the discontent seems to be less teabagger agita and more about a personal dispute between the Orange Co. GOP chair and Hayworth's campaign advisor, but there are also concerns that Hayworth's country-club positioning won't work well in the blue-collar counties further upstream from her Westchester County base. Alternative challengers being floated include Tuxedo Park former mayor David McFadden and Wall Street guy Neil DiCarlo, as well as state Sen. Vincent Leibell, who may be unethused about running a GOP primary to hold his Senate seat against Ball and looking for something else to do.
• TN-06: The newly-open 6th may not be as much of a lost cause as everyone thinks; despite its dwindling presidential numbers, Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen won the district in both 2002 (with 52%) and 2006 (with 67%). The article also names some other Republicans who might show up for the race, besides state Sen. Jim Tracy and former Rutherford Co. GOP chair Lou Ann Zelenik (both already in): businessman Kerry Roberts, state Sen. Diane Black, Army Reserve Maj. Gen. Dave Evans, and real estate agent Gary Mann. One other Dem not previously mentioned is former state Sen. Jo Ann Graves.
• TX-17: Although they didn't get the state Senator they wanted, Republicans seem pleased to have lined up a rich guy who can pay his own way against Rep. Chet Edwards: businessman Bill Flores. Flores has also made a name as a big contributor to his alma mater Texas A&M, a big presence in the district. 2008 loser Rob Curnock also remains in the GOP field.
• WA-03: Lots happening in the 3rd. One official entry is no surprise, given what we'd already heard this week: young Republican state Rep. Jaime Herrera is in. On the Dem side, as I expected, state Sen. Craig Pridemore is telling people he's in, although hasn't formalized anything. (H/t conspiracy.) Pridemore, who's from central Vancouver, is probably one or two clicks to the left of state Rep. Deb Wallace (who's already running), as befits his safer district; in recent years, he'd been the recipient of lots of arm-twisting from local activists eager to find someone to primary the increasingly uncooperative Brian Baird. Speaking of local activists, someone named Maria Rodriguez-Salazar also plans to run; she sounds like she's on the moderate side of the Dem equation, though. Finally, for the GOPers, there have been persistent rumors that conservative radio talk show host Lars Larson is interested, although he may have debunked that.
• WV-01: Democratic Rep. Alan Mollohan is already facing state Sen. Clark Barnes (whose district has little overlap with the 1st), but that's not stopping other GOP entrants: today, it's Mac Warner, a lawyer and former West Point grad.
• DCCC: The DCCC is playing some offense against vulnerable GOP House members, with radio spots in five districts: Charlie Dent, Dan Lungren, Mary Bono Mack, Lee Terry, and Joe Wilson. The ad attacks the GOPers for voting for TARP last year but then voting against financial services reform now. The DCCC is being coy about the actual cost of the ad buy, though, suggesting it's more about media coverage of the ads than the actual eyeballs.
• House: Bob Benenson has a lengthy piece looking at House retirements, finding that the pace really isn't that much different from previous years, and talking to a variety of Dems who can't decide whether or not it's time to panic. The article suggests a few other possible retirees, some of whom shouldn't be seen as a surprise (John Spratt, Ike Skelton) and a few more that seem pretty improbable (Baron Hill?).
• NRSC: The NRSC is doing what is can to shield its hand-picked establishment candidates from the wrath of the teabaggers, often by denying their transparent efforts to help them fundraise. Here's one more example of how the NRSC isn't doing so well at hiding those ties, though: they've set up joint fundraising accounts for some of their faves, including Kelly Ayotte, Trey Grayson, Carly Fiorina, and Sue Lowden, which is sure to fan more teabagger flames.
• AK-Legislature: Alaska's tiny legislature (20 Senators and 40 Reps.) is looking to grow (to 24 and 48), hopefully before the next redistricting. As you can imagine, the small number of seats leaves many districts extremely large, geographically, and also stitching together many disparate communities of interest.
• Redistricting: I know everyone here likes to play redistricting on their computers, but for Californians, here's an actual chance to get your hands on the wheel! California's new redistricting commission is soliciting applications from members of the public to become members. Anyone who has worked for a politician or been on a party's central committee is excluded, but there are seats for 5 Democrats and 4 "others" (including decline to state), so there are lots of slots that need progressives to fill them.
• Polltopia: PPP wants your input yet again. Where to next? Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, or Massachusetts? (Although it looks like the poll has already been overwhelmingly freeped in favor of Kentucky by Rand Paul supporters...)
• CT-Sen, CT-Gov: The rumors had been getting louder all week that ex-Ambassador Tom Foley would drop out of the complicated GOP Senate field, paring that field down to ex-Rep. Rob Simmons, Linda McMahon, and Peter Schiff, and head over to the seemingly easier Governor's race instead. (Easier in the primary, at least -- whatever Dem he faces in the general won't come in with the same baggage as Chris Dodd.) Today Foley made it official, getting out of the Senate race and into the Governor's race. Foley doesn't have the field to himself, though, and in fact faces a formidable challenge from current Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele, who'd also been rumored to run but made it official yesterday. Fedele claims to have outgoing Gov. Jodi Rell's support, but Rell is only saying that there are several well-qualified Republicans running.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist is red in the face today after it was noticed that his recorded message giving callers the number for Florida KidCare had several of the numbers mixed up, and the number he was giving out was a number for 'hot, horny girls.' And while we're talking about hot, horny girls, we might as well talk about Bubba the Love Sponge. Crist's appearance tonight on his endless fundraising carousel is being hosted by attorney Stephen Diaco. One of Diaco's most renowned clients is the aforementioned Mr. Sponge, who once famously asked Crist "Are you a homo?" (UPDATE: The St. Pete Times apparently got its shock jocks mixed up; that wasn't Bubba the Love Sponge, but rather "Randy and Dave" who asked that.)
• IL-Sen: With David Hoffman hitting the airwaves this week, it didn't take long for Alexi Giannoulias to respond with his first TV spot. While Hoffman's ad is just him intensely facing down the camera, Giannoulias is a more conventional touchy-feely bio spot that focuses on his efforts to save jobs at local company Hartmarx. Also, Jacob Meister has his own internal poll out of the Democratic primary field. Usually candidates don't release internal polls that show them polling at 1%, but, well, Meister's gotta start somewhere. It's pretty well in-line with the other candidates' internals, showing about half of voters still undecided, with Giannoulias at 33, Cheryle Jackson at 10, and Hoffman at 7.
• KY-Sen: An interesting National Journal piece on Rand Paul points to what we've been wondering about: whether the Paulists and the teabaggers can make common cause, despite the the ideological differences they bring to the table (if one can accuse the teabaggers' incoherent and paranoid set of grievances to be an 'ideology'). The answer is, yes, apparently they can, as they're sufficiently united in their hatred of all things guvmint. Paul has apparently had some success reaching out to the tea party wing of the Republicans, and lately has taken to comparing himself to another successful upstart, Marco Rubio.
• FL-05: Florida Republican Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite isn't really on anybody's list of vulnerable House members, but, in case that needed to be quantified, she released an internal poll proving that. A Tarrance Group survey found her with a 62/18 approval. Her greatest concern in 2010 in this GOP-leaning district may be a primary challenge from teabagger Jason Sager, but her approval is in "the 70s" purely among conservative Republicans, so she's probably safe on her right flank too.
• MN-06: It looks like the Democratic contest in the 6th is going to go to a primary, regardless of what happens with the DFL endorsement process. Maureen Reed says she's won't abide by the state party's endorsement (which was probably already going to go to the well-connected state Sen. Tarryl Clark). Minnesota has a notoriously late primary, which could leave the primary winner with little time to replenish before the general against Rep. Michele Bachmann, but it's possible the Minnesota primary may get moved earlier to comply with new federal election laws.
• NC-05: Rep. Virginia Foxx is protected by a deep-red district but has a great gift for inserting her foot into her mouth, so it's always good to have a Dem on tap to go against her. The rumored candidate for 2010 may be Billy Kennedy, a former state and county Democratic party committee member and the host of a local radio talk show.
• NH-01: Manchester mayor Frank Guinta is quickly going from a solo show to Three's Company, with businessman Rich Ashooh getting in earlier this week and now Fergus Cullen saying he's interested in the race too. Cullen is the former state party chair in New Hampshire, and points out that offers some contrasts to the other two candidates, in terms of being more socially moderate and also being from the district's rural part instead of Manchester.
• NH-02: Next door in the 2nd, it looks like we're also about to expand to a three-person field on the Dem side. Katrina Swett, an attorney who lost to Charlie Bass in 2002, says she's "very, very strongly" moving in the direction of running -- this comes after people were starting to wonder where she is, despite her long-expected candidacy (she says she's been busy with the Lantos Foundation, named after her father, former Rep. Tom Lantos). Attorney Ann McLane Kuster and state Rep. John DeJoie are already in, but Swett has the advantage of leftover funds that she stockpiled for a Senate run last year that never happened.
• NY-01: Here's an internal in a race where the incumbent is considered potentially vulnerable: Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop, in Long Island's 1st. The internal, taken by wealthy Republican Randy Altschuler by McLaughlin & Assocs. gives Bishop a big lead, 46-26. Still, Altschuler hasn't introduced himself to the district yet and is likely only to gain ground, so Bishop might want to take notice that he's polling below the magic 50% mark.
• PA-06: The Democratic primary in the 6th has suddenly escalated into a brutal barfight in the last few days, with both candidates' camps throwing the kitchen sink and everything else handy at each other. The initial sound and fury focused on abortion, but it quickly devolved into general impugning of each other's motives, and one of the issues then hurled by the Manan Trivedi camp via press release was the sockpuppetry engaged in here at SSP by a Doug Pike campaign official. So, that's some food for thought for all the campaign pros (and amateurs) among the SSP readership: don't give in to the temptation to sockpuppet, or it could actually wind up a campaign issue that bites you in the butt.
• PA-08: The Republicans found an elected official to go up against not-terribly-vulnerable Rep. Patrick Murphy in the suburban, Dem-leaning 8th: Judith Algeo, a lawyer who's also on the Warwick Township Board of Supervisors. Warwick Twp. has a population of 12,000, though, so what little name rec that generates isn't guaranteed to get her out of the GOP primary -- there are three other candidates already, among whom attorney and Marine Reservist Dean Malik seems to have gotten the most attention.
• TN-06: Things still seem to be full speed ahead for Republican state Sen. Jim Tracy, who's now meeting with the NRCC in Washington about the logistics of a challenge against long-time Rep. Bart Gordon in this increasingly-red district. He'd face a primary against former Rutherford Co. GOP chair Lou Ann Zelenik, though.
• TN-08: A couple more items about the newly-minted open seat in the 8th: state Sen. Roy Herron is already in the race (and out of the gubernatorial race), but he's going to be refunding the money he raised for his gubernatorial run. On the one hand, it's gotta suck to be giving back that $900K, but on the other hand, assumedly he can get much of that re-donated back to his new account and it does show that he knows how to raise the dough. Also, good news as the Dems seek to avoid a costly primary: fellow state Sen. Lowe Finney said that he wouldn't seek the nomination.
• GA-St. House: It's looking like Republican state House speaker Glenn Richardson's resignation is imminent. People on both sides of the aisle have been urging him to step down in the wake of Richardson's suicide attempt last month, although perhaps more damaging is the allegation that the suicide attempt was related to an affair with a utility lobbyist where there may have been some quid pro quos. (And I have to ask, thinking back to "Hot Mike" Duvall in California, is that just how utility lobbyists do business these days?)
• CT-Sen: It's a rumor that's been going around for a few weeks that seemed ridiculous, but it only seems to be getting louder, so it's worth a mention: Ralph Nader is considering a run for the Senate in Connecticut under the Green Party's banner, and is gauging grass-roots support for a race. The knee-jerk reaction is that this is one more piece of bad news Chris Dodd doesn't need, but it's worth considering that Nader may actually help Dodd more than hurt him, by diluting the pool of anti-Dodd votes, giving an option for Dems and indies who are specifically anti-Dodd and anti-bankster, other than voting for the Republican.
• IL-Sen: Freshman Rep. Aaron Schock gave his endorsement to Rep. Mark Kirk in his quest to win the GOP Senate nomination. People are treating this like it boosts Kirk's conservative bona fides, but Schock has turned out to be more of a low-key, establishment player since getting into the House than his loose-lipped statements during his campaign would have suggested.
• KY-Sen: Rand Paul and the NRSC seem to be in a standoff, over the same old issue, whether or not the NRSC plans to endorse in the primary. Paul was spreading the word last week, based on conversations with the NRSC, that the NRSC would not endorse, but spokesperson Brian Walsh now says the NRSC doesn't "anticipate" endorsing but reserves the right to do so.
• MA-Sen: Rep. Michael Capuano got an endorsement from one of the deans of Bay State politics, former Gov. (and presidential candidate) Mike Dukakis. However, he might be overshadowed a little by Alan Khazei, who's attracted little attention so far but seems to be closing strong, if the last Rasmussen poll is any indication. Khazei snagged endorsements from both the Boston Globe and retired Gen. Wesley Clark.
• NC-Sen: Campaign Diaries managed to snag an internal polling memo for the Elaine Marshall campaign, which leads me to wonder why the DSCC is stiff-arming her and still pining for former state Sen. Cal Cunningham to get in the race. Marshall leads with 42% in the primary, with attorney Kenneth Lewis at 7 (including 14% of African-Americans) and Cunningham at 5. At some point, the DSCC's tepidness about her, if it doesn't change, is going to start affecting broader perceptions of her -- likely to create a fundraising vicious circle of not being able to raise funds well because she's not perceived as not being able to win because she can't raise funds well. The poll was conducted by PPP, although Marshall has previously used Lake Research as her pollster.
• NY-Sen-B: Rasmussen took their first look at a Rudy-centric Senate race in New York, finding Rudy Giuliani beating Kirsten Gillibrand 53-40 (a very similar margin to last week's Marist poll). Giuliani has 63/33 favorables, while Gillibrand is at 46/41 (this has to be the best-known Gillibrand has ever been, but one of Rasmussen's many quirks is to show everyone as being well-known). The New York Post also has the scoop on a Republican who seems likelier to run (although it's on the gossip page rather than the politics section!): Port Authority Commissioner Bruce Blakeman is considering a running for the Republicans. Blakeman lost the 1998 state Controller's race to Carl McCall; also, his ex-wife is now dating Paul McCartney, which is apparently Page Six's angle on all this.
• UT-Sen: Here's an interesting ploy: Rep. Jason Chaffetz (rumored as a potential Senate candidate) is taking a highly visible stand against the Obama administration's decision to deploy additional troops to Afghanistan, saying it's time to bring them home and that he's opposed to "nation building." That puts him up against the party orthodoxy, but it also leads to the question of whether Chaffetz is a bit of an outlier here or if the movement conservatives are going to be moving in more of an isolationist direction heading into 2012 (and whether that's because of their paranoid nativist worldview, or just because it gives them one more thing to oppose the President on).
• AL-Gov: Two endorsements in the Alabama governor's race, where there are heated primaries on both sides. Mitt Romney has endorsed Treasurer Kay Ivey, perhaps as payback for chairing his Alabama campaign but also a potential thumb-in-the-eye to the religious right, who are naturally supporting Roy Moore in the race. On the Dem side, Sam Jones, the first African-American mayor of Mobile, endorsed Rep. Artur Davis.
• MA-Gov: Rasmussen threw in some gubernatorial numbers to their sample last week of the Senate special election primary, and they continue to find that incumbent Dem Deval Patrick has the edge. It's a little narrower than their last poll or Suffolk's recent poll -- Patrick leads independent Tim Cahill and Republican Christy Mihos 32-28-26 and leads Republican Charlie Baker and Cahill 33-28-25 -- but it still shows Patrick benefiting from Cahill splitting the anti-Patrick vote.
• MI-Gov: A poll of the Republican field in the Michigan gubernatorial race by Mitchell Research for the Detroit News finds a small lead for AG Mike Cox. Cox leads Rep. Peter Hoekstra 27-24, with 12 for Oakland Co. Sheriff Mike Bouchard and 3 each for state Sen. Tom George and businessman Rick Snyder. The poll also finds Cox beating Democratic Lt. Gov. John Cherry by 16 points in the general, although specific numbers aren't reported for some reason.
• NY-Gov: Another brave Republican is considering taking on the gubernatorial race: Emil Henry Jr. He's got just the right resume for these troubled times: He was assistant Treasury Secretary in the Bush administration, and before that, an executive at Lehman Brothers. Ex-Rep. Rick Lazio is already in the GOP field.
• UT-Gov: Democratic Salt Lake County mayor Peter Corroon is sounding more like a candidate for governor, in next year's special election against appointed GOP incumbent Gary Herbert. A recent Deseret News/KSL-TV poll finds Herbert leading Corroon 56-32. Corroon actually sounds encouraged by these numbers; considering it's Utah, I suppose they could be much worse.
• CA-45: More Mitt Romney news, and it's a tea leaf that the GOP is concerned about defending Mary Bono Mack in the 45th even as they go on the offense in swing districts elsewhere: Romney will be appearing at a Bono Mack fundraiser in the district on Jan. 9.
• FL-19: Charlie Crist moved the date on the general special election to replace resigning Rep. Robert Wexler, which had been originally scheduled Apr. 6. He moved it to Apr. 13, so it wouldn't conflict with Passover (a problem in this heavily Jewish district).
• GA-08: Democrats dodged a bullet in the 8th, where Rep. Jim Marshall may get the easiest ride of any Dem in a dark-red southern district next year. Republican State Sen. Ross Tolleson said he'd like to run for Congress at some point, but this won't be the year. Tolleson threw his support to Angela Hicks, a businesswoman who's one of several little-known candidates in the hunt.
• GA-12: It's official: former state Sen. Regina Thomas will be challenging Rep. John Barrow in the Democratic primary next year. Barrow is unusual among the most problematic Blue Dogs because he's in a district with a Democratic-leaning PVI and thus one where a better Dem could still win a general election (although it's one where African-American voting tends to fall off during off-year elections). Thomas piqued some netroots interest last year because of this unusual circumstance, but between a late start, a low-visibility strategy focused on word-of-mouth through black churches, and an Obama endorsement of Barrow, she only cleared 24% in last year's primary. We'll have to see if the earlier start helps this time.
• IA-02: Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who came within 18 points of Rep. David Loebsack last year thanks to a lot of help from those meddling Ophthalmologists, says she'll try again in 2010. She's not alone in the GOP field, though; interestingly, she's up against two guys who both ran for Senate in 2008, businessman Christopher Reed (who made it through to the general against Tom Harkin, only to get flattened) and Steve Rathje (who lost the primary).
• NH-01: I don't know if this is a case of once-highly-touted Manchester mayor Frank Guinta losing momentum, or just Some Dude with delusions of grandeur, but businessman Richard Ashooh is filing exploratory paperwork to run in the GOP primary. The winner faces Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter in what's likely to be a close race.
• TN-06: The GOP is trying to cajole a state Senator into getting into the race against long-time Democratic Rep. Bart Gordon in the once-swingy, now R+13 6th. Jim Tracy says he's strongly considering the race. There's one catch: Rutherford County Republican chair Lou Ann Zelenik is already in the race, and has the ability to self-fund.
• TX-17: Here's a Dem in a dark-red district who caught a big-time break on the recruiting front, though: Rep. Chet Edwards won't be facing state Sen. Steve Ogden, as had been rumored. Ogden announced that he'll run for another term in the Senate instead. (Thanks to the small size of Texas's Senate, Ogden actually has more constituents than Edwards.) 2008 candidate Rob Curnock, who came within single-digits of Edwards, is running again, though.
• GA-Super. of Education: Georgia's Republican Superintendent of Education, Kathy Cox, is persisting in running for re-election next year despite having recently filed for bankruptcy to escape $3.5 million in debt. The story gets even weirder: this is despite Cox having won $1 million on "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" -- despite having pledged to give that money to charity, her creditors are now coming after that money. (Is there any precedent for a statewide elected official appearing on a game show?) Cox now faces opposition in a GOP primary from former state Rep. Roger Hines.
• Nassau Co. Exec: The counting of absentee ballots in Nassau County is finally winding down in this month's most drawn-out election, and it looks like Republican challenger Ed Mangano may actually succeed in upsetting incumbent Dem Tom Suozzi. Mangano leads by 217 with few ballots remaining. Even if the count concludes today, it won't be the last word, as legal challenges to a number of votes will still need to be resolved.
• Mayors: New Orleans mayoral candidate James Perry is getting a jump on political advertising, and his ad is certainly attention-grabbing too. It includes a variety of bleeped-out profanities as local residents (or actors portraying them) let everyone know how they feel about career politicians.
• NY-St. Ass.: Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava says she's going to stay a Republican, despite losing her leadership position in the wake of her imploded House campaign. Despite her many impure thoughts, she says she'd still clock in at 7 out of 10 on the RNC's new purity test.
• Redistricting: CQ Politics sits down with filmmaker Jeff Reichert, whose upcoming documentary on redistricting is slated for release next year. I've been emailing with Jeff about this project for a while now, and it looks very interesting. (D)