• AR-Sen: With Blanche Lincoln already facing the vague possibility of a primary challenge from her right from Arkansas Senate President Bob Johnson, now there are rumors that she might face a primary challenge from what passes for the left in Arkansas, from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. Halter would focus on Lincoln's health-care related foot-dragging, but apparently has a track record of threatening to run for higher office and then not following through, so this, like Johnson's bid, may amount to a big bowl of nothing.
• HI-Sen: Congratulations to Senator Daniel Inouye, who today becomes the third-longest-serving Senator in history and, adding in his House tenure, the fifth-longest-serving Congressperson. The 85-year-old Inouye has been in the Senate for almost 47 years. Inouye passed Ted Kennedy today, and will pass Strom Thurmond in another eight months, but is still chasing Robert Byrd. (Unfortunately, Inouye may be spending his special day being a jerk, by trying to remove Al Franken's anti-rape amendment from the defense appropriations bill.)
• KY-Sen: Feeling the heat from Rand Paul in the GOP Senate primary in Kentucky, establishment choice Trey Grayson played the "you ain't from around these parts, are you?" card, calling himself a "5th generation Kentuckian" and Texas-born Paul an "outsider." (Of course, by implication, doesn't that make Grayson the... "insider?" Not exactly the banner you want to run under in 2010.)
• LA-Sen: David Vitter spent several days as the lone high-profile politician in Louisiana to not join in the condemnation of Keith Bardwell, the justice of the peace who refused to marry an interracial couple. Given the uselessness of his response, he might as well not have bothered -- Vitter's spokesperson still didn't condemn Bardwell, merely rumbling about how "all judges should follow the law as written" and then trying to turn the subject to Mike Stark's Vitter-stalking.
• AL-Gov: This is a good endorsement for Ron Sparks, but it's also interesting because it's so racially fraught: former Birmingham mayor Richard Arrington, the first African-American to be elected that city's mayor in 1979, endorsed Sparks instead of African-American Rep. Artur Davis Jr. in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Arrington puts it: "I think if we are ever to move forward, across racial lines in this state, we have got to begin to trust each other, work with each other, and I think Ron Sparks can be the kind of governor that helps to make that possible."
• FL-Gov: Rasmussen released part III of its Florida extravaganza, finding that Republican AG Bill McCollum leads Democratic CFO Alex Sink 46-35. (This is the same sample that had Marco Rubio overperforming Charlie Crist against Kendrick Meek.)
• IA-Gov: Ex-Governor Terry Branstad's Republican primary rivals aren't going to go away quietly. Bob vander Plaats attacked Branstad on his insufficient conservatism, ranging from sales tax increases during his tenure, choosing a pro-choice running mate in 1994, and even fundraising for Nebraska's Ben Nelson.
• NJ-Gov (pdf): One more poll out today, from Rutgers-Eagleton, finds Jon Corzine with a small lead. Corzine leads Chris Christie and Chris Daggett 39-36-20. This is the first poll to find Daggett breaking the 20% mark; also, with the addition of this poll to the heap, it pushes Corzine into the lead in Pollster.com and Real Clear Politics' regression lines.
• OR-Gov: Two different candidates have suspended their campaigns due to family health problems. One is pretty high-profile: state Sen. Jason Atkinson, who was initially considered to have the inside track toward the GOP nomination in Oregon but who had, in the last few days, been the subject of dropout speculation. (Could this mean that Allen Alley might actually somehow wind up with the nomination?) The other is John Del Arroz, a businessman who had put a fair amount of his own money into a run in the Republican field in CA-11. Best wishes to both of them.
• RI-Gov: While conventional wisdom has seen ex-Republican ex-Senator and likely independent candidate Lincoln Chafee as having a strong shot at capturing the state house by dominating the middle, he's running into big a problem in terms of poor fundraising. He's only sitting on $180K, compared with Democratic state Treasurer Frank Caprio's $1.5 million; that's what happens when you don't have a party infrastructure to help bolster the efforts.
• CT-04: While it's not an explicit endorsement, Betsi Shays, the wife of ex-Rep. Chris Shays, gave $500 to state Sen. Rob Russo last quarter. Russo faces off a more conservative state Senate colleague, Dan Debicella, for the GOP nod to go against freshman Rep. Jim Himes.
• IL-14: Cross out Bill Cross from the list. With Ethan Hastert and state Sen. Randy Hultgren probably consuming most of the race's oxygen, the former Aurora alderman announced that he wouldn't be running in the crowded GOP primary field in the 14th to take on Democratic Rep. Bill Foster after all.
• LA-03: Houma attorney Ravi Sangisetty announced his run for the Democratic nomination for the open seat left behind by Charlie Melancon. He's the first Dem to jump into the race, but certainly not expected to be the only one. He's already sitting on $130K cash.
• PA-11: After a long period of silence, Hazleton mayor Lou Barletta has re-emerged and sources close to him are saying it's "highly likely" he'll try another run at Rep. Paul Kanjorski, who narrowly beat him in 2008. Barletta is encouraged by the lack of presidential coattails and the primary challenge to Kanjorski by Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien -- although it's possible that, if O'Brien emerges from the primary, he might perform better in the general than the rust-covered Kanjorski.
• NJ-St. Ass.: If you haven't already, check out NJCentrist's diary, filled with lots of local color, on the upcoming elections in New Jersey's state Assembly. Republicans seem poised to pick up a couple seats in south Jersey, which would bring them closer but leave the Dems still in control.
• State Legislatures: Another fascinating graphic from 538.com, this one about the ideological makeups of various state legislatures. Apparently, political scientists have found a DW/Nominate-style common-space method of ranking all state legislators. The reason this is brought up is because of NY-23 candidate Dede Scozzafava, who it turns out is pretty near the center of New York legislative Republicans, not the flaming liberal she's made out to be, although that puts her near the nationwide center of all state legislators, because NY Republicans are still, believe it or not, pretty centrist on the whole. There's plenty else to see on the chart, including how Mississippi and Louisiana Democrats (who control their legislatures) are still to the right of New York and New England Republicans, and how (unsurprisingly, at least to me) California and Washington are the states with the simultaneously most-liberal Democrats and most-conservative Republicans.
• Mayors: In New York, incumbent Michael Bloomberg is holding on to a double-digit lead according to Marist, beating Democratic comptroller William Thompson 52-36 (with Thompson down from 52-43 last month). In Seattle, Joe Mallahan is opening up a lead over Mike McGinn according to SurveyUSA, 43-36, compared with a 38-38 tie three weeks ago. (The Seattle race is nonpartisan and both are very liberal by the rest of the country's standards, but Seattle politics tends to be fought on a downtown interests/neighborhoods divide, and this race is turning into no exception as the previously amorphous Mallahan is consolidating most of the city's business and labor support.)
• Nassau Co. Exec: Candidates slamming each other over ticky-tacky financial mistakes like unpaid liens is commonplace, but it's not commonplace when the unpaid liens add up to almost a million dollars. Republican Nassau County Executive candidate Ed Mangano has a whopping $900K liens against property owned by his family business. (Nassau County is the western part of Long Island's suburbs.)
• Fundraising: CQ has one more slice-and-dice of the third quarter fundraising information, listing the biggest self-funders so far this year. Top of the list is Joan Buchanan, who already lost the Democratic primary in the CA-10 special election, who gave herself $1.1 million. In 2nd place is Republican Brad Goehring, running in CA-11 and self-funder to the tune of $650K; 7 of the list of 10 are Republicans.
• CO-Sen: That was fast... two days after saying he was probably going to drop out of the Colorado Senate race, now Weld County DA Ken Buck is likely to stay in the race. Apparently there has been enough conservative discontent over the seeming annointment by the NRSC and state party of former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton as the nominee that Buck may feel he can ride that backlash to primary victory. (Norton may well be conservative herself, but she's such a blank slate that there's no way to tell, and at any rate, conservative activists aren't taking kindly to DC meddling this year, as we've seen in the Missouri and New Hampshire races.)
• FL-Sen: Too cute by half? Charlie Crist's appointment of his ex-Chief of Staff, George LeMieux, to the Senate is getting panned by many of the major newspaper editorial boards in the state. (J)
• IA-Sen: Big Bruce Braley boffo boomlet busts! The sophomore Representative confirmed that, despite a sudden flurry of speculation, he'll stay where he is, and not run against Chuck Grassley for the Senate. Former state legislators Bob Krause and Tom Fiegen are already in the race.
• IL-Sen: Here's another Senate race where the GOP rabble is getting restive about one candidate getting the establishment stamp of approval. There are eight other candidates besides Mark Kirk, and religious right ultra-conservatives are trying to coalesce behind one, with Hinsdale real estate developer Patrick Hughes seeming to get the most mention. The most notable name in the anti-Kirk camp? Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum, who's 85 and still going strong. The article does mention that there have been several other Senate primaries in Illinois where a conservative upstart beat the establishment moderate, most notably Al Salvi's upset of Bob Kustra in the open seat race of 1996.
• KY-Sen: You better believe it's on. Rand Paul's backers are gearing up for another Moneybomb!, this time cleverly scheduled for the same day (Sep. 23) as Trey Grayson's big DC fundraiser where he'll be feted by 23 Republican Senators.
• LA-Sen: David Vitter seems like he has an endless supply of horse's heads to put in the beds of potential GOP primary opponents. This time, former Lt. General and Katrina recovery hero Russel Honore backed down within a few days of his rumored interest appearing, much the same as with Suzanne Terrell and John Cooksey.
• MA-Sen: There was a brief flurry of speculation that Vicki Kennedy, Ted Kennedy's widow, would be the placeholder short-term appointee to his seat (assuming Massachusetts Dems followed through on changing state law regarding appointment), pushed along by Sens. Dodd and Hatch. However, it now appears she's not interested in the interim appointment (or running in the special). Meanwhile, the many contenders among the Massachusetts House delegation are watching what ex-Rep. Joe Kennedy II does; Ed Markey and Michael Capuano, for instance, both sound eager to run in the special election but will defer to a member of the Kennedy family.
• NV-Sen: There's the old expression about not picking fights with people who buy ink by the barrel, but Harry Reid and the Las Vegas Review-Journal are getting into a little pissing match. Reid told the LVRJ that "I hope you go out of business." The LVRJ's publisher shot back, calling him a "bully" and decrying his "creepy tactic." (I expect a Reid press release saying something about rubber and glue is forthcoming.)
• AL-Gov: The specific details seem few and far between, but Ben Smith leaks some tidbits about an AL-Gov poll commissioned by the Alabama Education Association (the state's teacher's union, naturally a pro-Democratic organization). It's good news for Rep. Artur Davis, who leads all GOPers in the race, ranging from ex-judge Roy Moore by 6 to Treasurer Kay Ivey by 12. Davis also leads Ag Commissioner Ron Sparks by 30 in the Dem primary, and has a 3-to-1 favorable ratio.
• NJ-Gov: The Jon Corzine camp is out with a hard-hitting new TV spot, nailing Chris Christie over his undisclosed loan to carpool buddy Michele Brown. Also, unsurprisingly but critical to his survival, Corzine got the SEIU's endorsement last Friday.
• PA-Gov: Scranton mayor Chris Doherty has been casting a wide net as he looks for a step up, considering the Lt. Gov. spot and a PA-11 primary challenge against Paul Kanjorski, but now he may be considering the big enchilada: a run for Governor. With the two Dem frontrunners both anti-abortion Pittsburgh-area Dems (Allegheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato and state Auditor Jack Wagner), there's may be an opening for someone pro-choice from the East (which is something ex-Rep. Joe Hoeffel is also considering).
• VA-Gov: Republican AG Bob McDonnell's attempts to position himself as a moderate in the Virginia Governor's race hit a big snag this weekend, as the Washington Post took a look at the master's thesis he wrote while a 34-year old graduate student at Pat Robertson's Regent University. McDonnell railed against feminists, working mothers, contraceptive use by married couples, cohabitators, homosexuals, and fornicators. McDonnell protests rather weakly that his views have "changed" since he wrote the thesis.
• CA-10: SurveyUSA is out with their final poll of the special election to replace Ellen Tauscher, and finds little movement in the past two weeks. Lt. Gov. John Garamendi (D) leads with 25%, followed by Republican David Harmer with 20%. The other two major Dems in the race, state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier and Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, are at 16% and 12%, respectively. (J)
• MO-04: Retiring GOP Sen. Kit Bond seems displeased that national Republicans are trying to knock off veteran Democratic Rep. Ike Skelton next year. In an interview during a recent Cardinals game, Bond said that "it's very very important for us to have a man like Ike Skelton" in Congress. (J)
• FL-Sen: As the angling for a one-and-a-half-year fill-in for Mel Martinez's Senate seat continues, there's already been one prominent "no thanks," from Jeb Bush (not that anyone would expect Charlie Crist to pick him, as there's been a lot of Crist/Bush friction and Crist wouldn't want to risk having a placeholder overshadow him). Meanwhile, a likelier pick, 70-year-old former Republican Rep. Clay Shaw (a Gold Coast moderate who served in the House from 1980 to his 2006 defeat) shot his hand up and said "pick me pick me!"
• IL-Sen: Chicago Urban League president (and former Rod Blagojevich spokeperson) Cheryle Jackson made her entry into the Democratic senatorial primary field official yesterday. However, the Illinois SEIU chapter, one of the state's major unions, came out with an Alexi Giannoulias endorsement today, which, given their resources, moves him closer to having a lock on the nod. I'm wondering if they're announcing in response to Jackson... or to Roland Burris, who keeps popping his head back up.
• KS-Sen: Not much change in the GOP Senate primary in Kansas since we last looked. SurveyUSA finds that Rep. Jerry Moran has a 38-32 lead over Rep. Todd Tiahrt, propelled along by a 78-13 edge in the state's western portion. Moran led by 2 in June and 4 in April.
• NY-Sen-B, NY-16: It didn't register much, at a time when all speculation focused on Rep. Carolyn Maloney, but several months ago Rep. Jose Serrano said he would consider a primary run against Kirsten Gillibrand. Yesterday he made clear that he wouldn't get in the race (although he still didn't sound very enthused about Gillibrand), which means that none of her former House colleagues are left planning a primary challenge.
• MN-Gov: Add one more second-tier Republican to the huge pile of prospects for the open Minnesota governor's race: state Senator Mike Jungbauer, a religious rightist from exurban Anoka County, formally kicked off his campaign. He does already have one important endorsement in his corner; he was "called by God" to run.
• NJ-Gov: Today's Quinnipiac poll has a slightly better showing for Jon Corzine, in line with last week's R2K poll, though it's far from time to start talking "comeback." He cuts the lead to 9 points, 51-42, in a two-way poll of likely voters, down from 53-41 in July. More importantly, Corzine trails Chris Christie 46-40 in a three-way that includes independent Chris Daggett (who's up to 7%). Campaign Diaries observes that the centrist Daggett (a former EPA regional administrator) is probably absorbing a lot of protest votes, keeping Democrats and moderate indies who hate Corzine from going over to Christie. If Corzine wins, he'll owe Daggett a big ol' "thank you."
• NY-Gov The NYT reports on growing discomfort by various downballot electeds on the prospect of having David Paterson at the top of the ticket. Both Reps. Michael McMahon and Dan Maffei worry about the effect of Paterson's low approvals spilling over into their own races. Not to worry: although it's buried deep in the story, the Times says that powerful local Dems are pushing Paterson to stand down and make way for Andrew Cuomo -- and that local bigwigs have been tugging at White House sleeves, hoping they'll find a nice appointed position for Paterson soon.
• CA-10: The John Garamendi camp released an internal poll from Tulchin Research giving Garamendi a sizable edge in the upcoming special election: Garamendi is at 31, Mark DeSaulnier is at 21, Joan Buchanan is at 17, Anthony Woods is at 9, and Republican David Harmer is at 5. There's a wrinkle with this poll, though (one that didn't elude the DeSaulnier campaign): it's a poll only of Democratic and decline-to-state voters, but the primary election is an all-party primary with one pool of votes (although under California law, the top Democrat and Republican will advance, not simply the top 2). In response to our inquiry, the Tulchin crew said that polling Republicans as well just wasn't cost-effective, especially since there are six Republicans running and therefore there isn't likely to be much party-line crossing.
In other CA-10 news, Garamendi got another bit of good news: he got the endorsement of both Bill Clinton and Al Gore (he was a deputy Secretary of Interior for part of the Clinton administration). However, a SurveyUSA that only tested favorables for the CA-10 candidates didn't have good news for much of anyone: Garamendi is at 30/34, DeSaulnier is at 22/23, and Buchanan is at 16/25. Only up-and-comer Woods is in positive (if generally unknown) territory, at 14/13.
• CT-04: With presumptive GOP nominee state Senate minority leader John McKinney staying out, not one but two other GOPers got in the race against Democratic freshman Rep. Jim Himes. One was the party's likely #2 choice, state Senator Dan Debicella; the other is Rob Merkle, a political novice but the wealthy owner of a financial services recruitment firm.
• PA-06: Maybe journalist Doug Pike won't have the Dem primary to himself after all, now that Rep. Jim Gerlach is committed to the gubernatorial race. Bob Roggio, the little-known businessman who almost beat Gerlach in 2008, said he hasn't "ruled it out." Also, while there doesn't seem to be anything tangible, there are indications that state Sen. Andy Dinniman, the Dems' highest-profile elected official in the pivotal Chester County portion of the district, is "increasingly rumored to be seriously considering" the race.
• AR-Sen: It took new Arkansas Senate candidate Conrad Reynolds only the first day of his candidacy to descend to the same levels of right-wing gaffe insanity as fellow candidates Kim Hendren and Curtis Coleman. Speaking before about a dozen Young Republicans yesterday, he said, "I never thought it would be domestic, but in today's world I do believe we have enemies here," and then said "We need someone to stand up to Barack Obama and his policies. We must protect our culture, our Christian identity." Following his speech, though, before he took questions, he said he'd be careful with answers, as "I don't want to do a Kim Hendren," he said.
• NH-Sen: It looks like Ovide Lamontagne is going full speed ahead on a run in the New Hampshire Senate primary, with his path, be it as it may, gaving gotten easier with fellow renegade Fred Tausch dropping out. He hired two key members of the Mitt Romney camp: Charlie Spies, who was the Romney campaign's CFO, and Jim Merrill, who managed Romney's NH campaign.
• NV-Sen: Here's another bad sign for John Ensign: his chief of staff, John Lopez, just bailed out. The timing, with Ensign facing fallout over trying to cover up an affair with a staffer, probably isn't coincidental.
• PA-Sen: In the wake of yesterday's ominious Quinnipiac poll, Arlen Specter has retreated to the last refuge of troubled politicians: attacking the poll's composition. (Hey! That's our job!) Nate Silver re-ran the numbers using the actual 2008 party split (D 44, R 37, I 18) and found it really didn't make much difference: 46-43 in Specter's favor. Meanwhile, a popular new activity among Democratic party bigwigs in Pennsylvania is telling Joe Sestak to shut up; both Allegheny Co. party chair Jim Burn and Philly-area official Penny Gerber took loud exception to implications from the Sestak camp that they were backing him.
• AK-Gov: Two Democrats both officially announced their candidacies to run, presumably, against Sean Parnell in 2010: state Senator Hollis French, and former Dept. of Administration Commissioner Bob Poe. Former state House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz also says he'll officially become a candidate in late summer or early fall.
• MN-Gov: Democratic State Rep. Paul Thissen announced his candidacy for Minnesota's governor today. Hard to see, though, how a state Representative stands out in a field that seems to contain every major politician in the state.
• CA-10: EMILY's List finally got involved in the special election in CA-10. As you'd expect, they're backing Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, who as the only woman in the race has a definite shot to sneak through while the better-known male candidates (Lt. Gov. John Garamendi and state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier) split the vote.
• IL-10: A new Roll Call piece on IL-10 adds a few more names to the potential primary fields. For the Dems, Highland Park City Councilor Jim Kirsch may get in. And for the GOP, it sounds like state Sen. Matt Murphy is now thinking about running here; he's currently running for Governor, in a crowded field of second-stringers, and might stand better odds here.
• NC-08: Lou Huddleston, an African-American veteran and defense industry consultant, may wind up being the GOP's candidate against Larry Kissell; after having visited Capitol Hill for some wooing, he says he'll decide by Labor Day. (His one attempt at elective politics was a losing campaign for a state House seat in 2008.) Some bigger names, including ex-Rep. Robin Hayes and Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory, haven't ruled the race out yet, though.
• NJ-03: The Burlington County GOP is saying that moderate state Sen. Diane Allen (who'd been on the short list for Chris Christie's Lt. Gov. pick) is now their top choice to run against freshman Rep. John Adler. Interestingly, this is the same organization that basically torpedoed her interest in running for the open seat in 2008, leaving more conservative Chris Myers (and presumably less electable) to run instead. Allen is still sounding non-commital, especially since the party leadership in more conservative Ocean County continues to sound lukewarm about her.
• NY-23: The Conservative Party isn't at all pleased with the selection of socially liberal Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava as the GOP's candidate in the NY-23 special election. State party chair Mike Long said that likely Democratic candidate Darrel Aubertine actually has a more "palatable" record. The Conservatives plan to run their own candidate on their line, he says, and party activist Jim Kelly has expressed interest.
• OH-02: This is good news: the Democrats actually found an honest-to-gosh state Representative to go against Rep. Jean Schmidt: Todd Book. David Krikorian, who got a sizable share of the vote as an Independent in 2008, is already running as a Democrat in the primary, but looks like he's getting shoved over: Governor Ted Strickland has already endorsed Book. (Book is from Strickland's hometown of Portsmouth.)
• SC-01: A Georgetown restauranteur, Robert Dobbs, announced he'll run for the Democrats in SC-01. He has electoral experience... but in Wisconsin, where he was a Manitowoc County Supervisor. (Although I hope it is, I assume this isn't the"Bob" Dobbs.) Other more prominent Democratic figures, like state Rep. Leon Stavinrakis, are also considering the race.
• SC-03: Former Cincinnati Bengals coach Sam Wyche, who led the Bengals to the Super Bowl in 1989, is considering running as a Republican for the open seat in the 3rd, vacated by Gresham Barrett, running for Governor. Wyche isn't a total newbie to politics, as he's currently serving on the Pickens County Council. He'd bring a lot of name recognition to the field, where state Representative Rex Rice is probably current frontrunner. (Democrats are unlikely to strongly contest this freakishly red district.)
JMM Research for John Garamendi (dates unknown, likely voters):
John Garamendi (D): 24
Warren Rupf (R): 17
Mark DeSaulnier (D): 13
Joan Buchanan (D): 10
Lt. Gov. John Garamendi has been shopping around for the just-right elected office for a long time now, and with Rep. Ellen Tauscher leaving behind an open seat in the U.S. House to head to the State Dept., he might just be ready to settle down. Garamendi got into the race late (after finally pulling the plug on his faltering 2010 gubernatorial campaign), with state Senator Mark DeSaulnier already having gobbled up many key endorsements. Still, Garamendi is in a strong position in his own internal poll, beating his two Democratic opponents combined, DeSaulnier and Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan. (The only other poll of this race was a Buchanan internal from late March which, not surprisingly, gave her the lead.)
Garamendi's position is largely thanks to his high name recognition: 80% know him, with 35/12 favorables. DeSaulnier is known by 39%, with 16/13 favorables, and Buchanan is known by 45%, with 17/12 favorables. The Republican polled, Contra Costa County Sheriff Warren Rupf, is known by 20%, with 9/9 favorables.
Rupf has not announced for the race, and doesn't really seem likely to run; he is, however, probably the strongest GOPer in the district. (San Ramon mayor Abram Wilson and former Assemblyman Guy Houston are other Republicans who've been linked to this race.) They were polled en masse because in the primary special election, all candidates are listed together in one pool, and if no one candidate receives more than 50% (unlikely with three top-tier Dems in the race), then the top vote-getter from each party advances to the general.
Found this J. Moore Methods poll over at Calitics. Lt. Gov. John Garamendi leads among likely voters (36% have no opinion). (Rupf is Republican Warren Rupf, Sheriff of Contra Costa County.)
While Garamendi does have a commanding lead in the polls and the name rec, Senator Mark DeSaulnier or Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan can try and catch up, but it will be a long shot when facing Garamendi's high name rec and campaign war chest. DeSaulnier is a great progressive in the state legislature and I would like him to win, but no one knows if it will be enough. For now this race is Garamendi's to lose.
• NY-20 (pdf): Last evening's total from the BoE had Scott Murphy leading Jim Tedisco by 401. With his chances approaching the "statistically impossible" realm, we may reportedly see a Tedisco concession today.
• MN-Sen: Norm Coleman could take a few pointers from Jim Tedisco. The five justices of the Minnesota Supreme Court who'll hear the election contest (two justices who've been actively involved in the count recused themselves) announced that their expedited hearing isn't all that expedited: it'll happen on June 1, to give the parties adequate time to file briefs and replies. In the meantime, that gives Minnesotans more than one more month with just one senator.
• GA-Gov, GA-03: Just one day after his name was suddenly floated for GA-Gov, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland flushed that idea, saying he'll stay in the House.
• PA-Gov: Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato was bandied about as the early front-runner for the Democratic nomination for the open governor's race in 2010, but we've heard nary a peep from him on the matter. Apparently, he is in fact interested, as he says he's "laying the groundwork" and expects a formal announcement later in the year.
• TN-Gov: Businessman Mike McWherter made official his candidacy for the Democratic nod in the open Tennessee governor's race. McWherter hasn't held elective office, but benefits strongly from links with his father, popular ex-governor Ned McWherter.
• SC-Gov: Lawyer Mullins McLeod (and apparent scion of a political family, although one that pales in comparison to the Thurmonds or Campbells) announced his bid for the Democratic nomination in the open governor's race. He joins two Democratic state senators Vincent Shaheen and Robert Ford in the chase.
• CA-10: Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, who previously issued an internal poll showing her leading senator Mark DeSaulnier, has officially jumped into the special election field. With Lt. Gov. John Garamendi's entry into the race, splitting the white-guy vote, Buchanan probably feels that her hand has been strengthened.
• CO-03: Rep. John Salazar has drawn a solid Republican challenger in this R+5 district: Martin Beeson, who's the district attorney for Pitkin, Garfield, and Rio Blanco Counties. Blue Dog Salazar has had little trouble with re-election despite the district's lean.
• CA-36: Jane Harman's high-profile role in the still-unfolding wiretap scandal has liberal activists in the 36th, long frustrated by Harman's hold on this D+12 district, wondering if they finally have an opening to defeat her in a primary. Marcy Winograd, who won 38% against Harman in 2006, has been urged to run again and is "thinking about it."
• MI-07: For real? Republicans in DC (read: the NRCC) are telling MLive.com's Susan J. Demas that their top choice to take on frosh Dem Mark Schauer is none other than... ex-Rep. Joe Schwarz, who was ingloriously defeated in a 2006 primary by wingnut Tim Walberg. Schwarz, who went so far as to endorse Schauer over Walberg last fall, tells Demas that he's not interested in running again. (J)
• NH-02: Democratic New Hampshire State Rep. John DeJoie has formed an exploratory committee for the seat Paul Hodes is leaving open. (D)
• KS-04: Democrats have their first candidate in the open seat in the 4th: Robert Tillman, a retired court services officer, and former precinct committeeman and NAACP local board member. There's more firepower on the GOP side of the aisle in this now-R+14 district, including RNC member Mike Pompeo and state senator Dick Kelsey.
• Redistricting: Republican Ohio state senator John Husted (who will probably be the GOP's candidate for SoS in 2010) has introduced legislation that would totally change the way redistricting is done in Ohio. It would create a 7-member bipartisan commission that would draw both congressional and state district lines (removing congressional district authority from the legislature, and legislative district authority from the 5-member panel that Dems currently control). It remains to be seen, though, whether this proposal would make it past the Democratic governor and state house.
• NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo made statements in a speech at Schenectady County Community College on Tuesday to the effect that his "only plan is to run for re-election as attorney general," and that he believes David Paterson will be re-elected as governor. I wouldn't be prone to believe him (and it seems like nobody else does either; only The Hill has taken any notice of this comment), given his poll numbers and the fundraising groundwork he's laid. It just seems weird; he's well past the point where he needs to be coy about his plans.
• NY-20: About that recent DNC ad touting Obama's endorsement of Scott Murphy... while the existence of the ad itself has been gobbling up a good deal of headlines, it appears that it won't actually be seen by a lot of eyeballs in-district. The DNC's independent expenditure filing with the FEC indicates that they're only putting up $10,000 for the ad buy. (J)
• CA-10: Departing Rep. Ellen Tauscher has already endorsed state senator Mark DeSaulnier to take her place. Apparently she had intended to wait until he formally announced his candidacy, but the internal poll from yesterday from assemblywoman Joan Buchanan showing her in the lead may have forced Tauscher's hand.
• UT-Sen: The knives are still out for Bob Bennett, but it's looking like someone higher up the totem pole than former Juab County DA David Leavitt may jump into the primary: Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is also "considering" it. Ultra-conservatives sense an opening because of Bennett's pro-bailout vote, and also because of Utah's unique nominating system. A candidate who consolidates activist support and breaks 60% at the state convention outright wins, and can avoid the primary altogether.
• KS-Sen: Here's another example of how Oklahoma senator Tom Coburn likes to keep us guessing. Not only is he wading into the GOP senate primary in his neighboring state, but he's endorsing Rep. Jerry Moran, who passes for a moderate by Kansas standards, over Rep. Todd Tiahrt, from the religious right corner of the party.
• MI-11: Back to the drawing board? Democratic state Sen. Glenn Anderson, who has been the target of a draft effort to encourage him to take on GOP weirdo Thaddeus McCotter, says that he'll probably run for re-election instead. (J)
• PA-12: Bill Russell, who held Jack Murtha to 58% in 2008, is back for another try in 2010. No word if he'll use BMW Direct for his fundraising efforts again.
• NY-20: Lots going on in the Empire State today, as we enter the home stretch. Perhaps most significantly, the GOP finally succeeded in getting Libertarian candidate Eric Sundwall kicked off the ballot, on the grounds that he didn't have enough valid petition signatures. Siena found Sundwall polling at only 1% (Benenson gave him 4%), but there have been multiple rumored internal polls floating around within the last few days that have it as a 1 or 2-point race, so Sundwall's votes (which seem likelier to migrate to Jim Tedisco's column) may make a big difference. (Siena promises a new public poll to be released tomorrow.)
Joe Biden also jumped into the special election, cutting a radio ad touting Murphy and his own sort-of-local ties (he's a Syracuse Law alum). The NRCC is continuing to work the faux-populist angle, rolling out a new ad criticizing Murphy for being on the board of an Internet company that paid bonuses to workers while losing money. (I assume that company wasn't receiving hundreds of billions on the government dole, though.)
• CA-10: There's already an internal poll of the race to replace Ellen Tauscher in the East Bay suburbs, commissioned by assemblywoman Joan Buchanan. In a bit of a surprise, Buchanan leads the pack, slightly edging presumptive frontrunner state senator Mark DeSaulnier. Buchanan is at 21, DeSaulnier at 18, with two Republicans, San Ramon mayor Abram Wilson and former assemblyman Guy Houston, at 14 and 13. (It's polled that way because in a California special, like in CA-32, all candidates run in a multi-party primary, and if no one breaks 50%, the top person from each primary advances to a general, which according to this poll would be Buchanan and Wilson.) Buchanan and DeSaulnier both are waiting for Tauscher's resignation to announce; it's not clear whether either of the GOPers will get involved.
• NH-01: Manchester mayor Frank Guinta looks pretty serious about taking on Carol Shea-Porter in 2010; he met a second time with the NRCC about the race. He's still likely to face a primary battle against John Stephen, who barely lost to Jeb Bradley in the 2008 primary and seems to be planning to try again.
• OR-05: Buried deep in a CQ article about how the parties are turning more to self-funders is a delightful tidbit about Mike Erickson, last seen getting flattened by Kurt Schrader in the 2008 open seat battle. Despite his last campaign collapsing into a horror show of Cuban junkets and abortion hypocrisy, he's "actively considering" a third try for the seat in 2010. We could only be so lucky.
• CT-05: It's been telegraphed for a number of weeks, but today it's official: Justin Bernier, former Rob Simmons aide and former director of Connecticut's Office of Military Affairs, will be running against Chris Murphy in the 5th. Murphy had little trouble defeating a state senator, David Cappiello, in 2008.