• MA-Sen: We're half a week away from the primary special election in Massachusetts, and AG Martha Coakley is still in the catbird's seat, at least according to an internal poll from her own camp (conducted by Celinda Lake) that got leaked to Chris Cillizza. Coakley's at 41, with Rep. Michael Capuano at 21 (consistent with other polls seeing a last-minute surge by the Congressman), Stephen Pagliuca at 10, and Alan Khazei at 7.
• TX-Sen, TX-Gov: This has been broadly telegraphed already, but Houston mayor Bill White made it official today at a press conference: he's dropping out of the Senate special election that looks less likely to ever happen, and getting into the Governor's race instead. A Democrat has not won statewide office in Texas since 1994, but White is well-funded and, assuming he faces Rick Perry in the general, his centrist competence may match up well against Perry's quick-draw conservatism. Also, I'm not the first wag to notice this, but it's snowing today in Texas, so cue up all the jokes about hell freezing over and Democrats getting elected. (UPDATE: Former Ag Commissioner candidate Hank Gilbert is dropping out of the Dem field in the governor's race today and heading for another Ag Comnissioner race, which probably isn't a surprise. However, this part is a surprise: he's endorsing hair-care guru Farouk Shami instead of White.)
• MN-Gov: Rumors were starting to pop up (via Politico, natch) that Republican ex-Sen. Norm Coleman was trying to raise his profile in preparation for a gubernatorial run. Coleman himself, however, said that's not the case; he's focusing on some think-tank work in Washington for now and will look at the "political horizon" later.
• OR-Gov: Here's a surprise on the fundraising front: Republican Chris Dudley, who's never run for office before and whose main claim to fame is being the Portland Trail Blazers' designated free-throw-misser in the late 90s, filed records he already has $340K banked for a still-unannounced gubernatorial run (more than John Kitzhaber's $280K). Worth noting, though: more than half of that came from only three huge donations, including $100,000 from Dudley's ex-agent. (An interesting tidbit: $5,000 came from ex-teammate Terry Porter.) Also, Dudley is quickly swinging establishment endorsements his way, including from moderate state Sen. Frank Morse, who was briefly rumored as a candidate himself, and former House majority leader Wayne Scott, who is trying to walk back his previous endorsement of Allen Alley. However, as the Oregonian's Jeff Mapes points out: "None of them have a firm idea of where Dudley will come down on the issues."
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato has been teasing a big endorsement this weekend, but he pulled aside the curtain a day ahead: it's Rep. Patrick Murphy, which is especially helpful for Onorato as he seeks to gain ground in the Philly suburbs to expand beyond his own Pittsburgh base. On the GOP side, there have been growing calls from newspaper editorial boards for Tom Corbett to either resign as AG or get out of the gubernatorial race, citing the conflict of interest in Corbett having accepted donations from those he's now charging with crimes in the Bonusgate saga. Yesterday, the Lancaster Intelligencer-Journal joined in.
• SC-Gov: Two items of sort-of-good, or at least somewhat-less-bad, news for Mark Sanford: first, most of the 37 ethics charges against Sanford were dismissed by a state legislative panel. Nine of the charges (involving use of state aircraft) still stand, though, and on Monday, the panel meets again on whether to refer impeachment charges to the full Judiciary committee. And second, a Rasmussen poll finds a narrow plurality saying "no" to the issue of whether he should resign (41-42), and a 36-49 response to the question of whether he should be impeached if he doesn't resign. 54% say he is "about as ethical" as other politicians.
• TN-Gov: The Democratic gubernatorial field in Tennessee is rapidly shrinking this week: not only did state Sen. Roy Herron jump out to pursue TN-08 instead, but businessman Ward Cammack pulled the plug yesterday after no progress on the fundraising front. That leaves beer baron and gubernatorial progeny Mike McWherter, state Sen. minority leader Jim Kyle, and former state House majority leader Kim McMillan in the hunt.
• CO-07: There's another Republican entrant in the 7th, where Aurora city councilor Ryan Frazier recently dropped down from the Senate race to take on sophomore Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter. Lang Sias, an Iraq vet who worked on veterans' outreach for the McCain campaign, is getting in the race; he's also getting some big-name help, including former RNC press secretary Alex Conant.
• IA-03: State Sen. Brad Zaun officially kicked off his campaign yesterday; he'll face wrestling coach Jim Gibbons for the GOP nod to take on the perpetually shaky Leonard Boswell in the Des Moines-based 3rd.
• IL-14: The GOP field is getting re-arranged in the 14th, and there's some strategic thinking behind it. Businessman Jim Purcell dropped out, probably because nobody knew who he was, but specifically argued that he didn't want to split the anti-Ethan Hastert vote, saying that the Hastert name would be poison in the general election. Presumably, his absence will benefit Hastert's main challenger, state Sen. Randy Hultgren.
• TN-08: TPM has a nice expose of the NRCC's efforts to not-so-subtly gay-bait state Sen. Roy Herron, who just took over the helm for the Dems in the race in the 8th. They're trying to get mileage out of Herron's personal blog, asking why he's allegedly so focused on his "body image" and then asking (on the issue that Herron has never been a businessman) "So why can't Roy Herron just be straight with West and Middle Tennesseans and admit it?"
• Polling: I know Rasmussen gets a lot of grief in the comments (and on the front page sometimes, too), so it's worth taking a look at a recent piece of Mark Blumenthal wondering "Why is Rasmussen So Different?" His answers center on their likely voter model (which should come as no surprise to SSP readers) and also the way they ask their approve/disapprove questions. The article also has a very helpful chart showing the "house effects" of all the major pollsters, showing Rasmussen one of the rightmost, right next to Zogby and Harris. (Interestingly, the graph also shows PPP skewing right-of-center... and Fox News skewing a bit left.)
• Maps: I also know that SSPers like maps, so here are some maps courtesy of the Seattle Times of last month's King County Executive and Seattle mayor's races. The KCE results are kind of a no-brainer -- the more rural you are, the more likely you were to vote for losing quasi-Republican Susan Hutchison. The Seattle mayor results are very interesting, though, showing the more likely you are to have a scenic view from your house, the more likely you were to vote for Joe Mallahan, showing some class-based fissures between the coalitions of establishment progressive Mallahan and anti-establishment victor Mike McGinn.
• CT-Sen: Rumors are popping up that ex-Rep. Rob Simmons, still the GOP Senate primary's frontrunner by most people's estimation but financially outgunned on a variety of different fronts, may switch to the now-open gubernatorial race. Simmons, however, says his plans are "unchanged," and touts his foreign policy background, saying that's much more useful in the Senate. Meanwhile, an interesting CQ piece looks at pro wrestling svengali Linda McMahon's role in the race, and wonders whether her vast fortunes will really help her that much in a state where a convention attended by party insiders (where Simmons would be favored) is decisive in shaping the field. (Although even if she doesn't win the convention outright or meet the 15% threshold for getting on the ballot, she can still get on the ballot by collecting enough signatures -- certainly an expensive process, but one she could pay for with whatever change she finds under her couch cushions.)
• FL-Sen: Here's about as close as you can get to a Jeb Bush endorsement without his lips actually moving. Bush's sons, Jeb Bush Jr. and George P. Bush, are headlining a Marco Rubio fundraiser in mid-December.
• CT-Gov: Ned Lamont is already staffing up, and a familiar face is going to be one of his key advisors: Howard Wolfson. Wolfson was adviser to Lamont in 2006, but is better known for his lead role in Hillary Clinton's campaign last year, as well as Michael Bloomberg's campaign this year.
• MN-Gov: Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak ran into a snafu with his campaign still on the launching pad, as the state's campaign finance board ruled that he spent money on his campaign before he'd filed the campaign paperwork. Rybak paid for a message-testing poll, although it didn't directly ask questions about the governor's race. If you want to see the whole polling memo (not something you usually get to see with internal polls), check it out.
• WI-Gov: Politics abhors a vacuum, and Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett is acting quickly to fill the vacuum that has formed on the Democratic side of the gubernatorial race. He says he'll make a decision "one way or the other" by the week's end.
• CO-04: Although state Rep. Cory Gardner is clearly the NRCC's favorite in the Republican field, that didn't deter former Ft. Collins city councilor Diggs Brown, who will be announcing his candidacy on Saturday. He had been considered a likely candidate all year, but was on a year-long Army deployment and unable to announce until now. Univ. of Colorado Regent Tom Lucero rounds out the trio of GOPers seeking to take on first-term Dem Rep. Betsy Markey.
• FL-13: James Golden, an African-American minister, attorney and former Bradenton city councilor, launched his campaign last week against Rep. Vern Buchanan. Golden will face an uphill fight against the self-funding Buchanan -- unless Buchanan, facing ongoing scrutiny over mysterious campaign finance machinations, goes down in a legal implosion.
• ID-01: This may be a surprise, or may not -- state House majority leader Ken Roberts withdrew from the GOP primary race to take on freshman Dem Rep. Walt Minnick. Roberts cited health reasons. Roberts initially would have seemed to have a leg up based on name recognition, but veteran and former McCain campaign official Vaughn Ward seemed to be capturing most of the buzz, including a good fundraising start and NRCC touting.
• IN-03: Democrats have taken notice in the last few cycles of Rep. Mark Souder's decidedly lackadaisical approach to re-election in this dark-red district, but now someone from the teabaggy right is taking notice too, and launching a primary campaign. Republican Attorney Phil Troyer (a former staffer to Dick Lugar and Dan Coats) announced his campaign today. (This seems less like an ideological challenge, as Souder is down-the-line conservative, as just opportunistic, taking advantage of his sloth.) Tom Hayhurst, who narrowly lost in 2006, is on track to the Democratic nod again.
• MN-03: Add a second Democratic challenger to the list in the 3rd: Minnesota PTA president, and executive director of the Minnesota Optometrists Association, Jim Meffert filed to run. He joins psychiatrist Maureen Hackett; they may still both be joined by state Sen. Teri Bonoff, although Meffert says that Bonoff has hinted to him that she's likely to take a pass.
• NJ-03: Best wishes to state Sen. Diane Allen, who is entering treatment for an aggressive form of cancer. The moderate Allen, who lost the 2002 Senate primary and was short-listed for Lt. Governor this year, had been considered a possible candidate against Rep. John Adler in the 3rd.
• NV-02: We've got another Democrat lined up to go against Rep. Dean Heller in the 2nd (after Cindy Trigg dropped out several months ago), and he has a strong resume. Jack Schofield is a member of the state's Board of Regents, and is a former state Senator. Unfortunately, he may not be running the most vigorous campaign in the world, as he was a state Senator in the 1970s, and is a World War II veteran (do the math).
• NY-23: The Washington Post has a nice, human-level retrospective on Dede Scozzafava's collapse in the special election and the difference in how the GOP and the Dems treated her, leading to her Bill Owens endorsement. Meanwhile, things continue to play out, as Scozzafava either stepped down from or was stripped of her leadership role in the Assembly Republicans, depending on who you believe. Start counting down to her party switch (not that the Assembly Dems need the help, what with their 109-41 margin).
• OH-02: What's with all these former Apprentice contestants thinking that's somehow a stepping stone to political office? Surya Yalimanchili is now planning to run as an independent in the 2nd, currently held by GOP Rep. Jean Schmidt. He's sounding centrist notes so far rather than sounding teabaggy, though, so he may not help the Dems too much by siphoning off far-right Republican votes.
• PA-07: One more Democrat is getting into the open seat field in the 7th, although it's unclear whether she'll get much traction against state Rep. Bryan Lentz. Environmental lawyer Gail Conner, an Obama convention delegate last year, threw her hat into the ring.
• PA-11: Third time's the charm? It looks like Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta will give crusty Dem incumbent Paul Kanjorski another challenge next year. Barletta fell just a few points shy of knocking off Kanjorski last year, prompting Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien to enter the Democratic primary for the seat. With pressure from both sides, one has to wonder if Kanjo will hit the eject button. (J)
• PA-17: Here's an example of how voting against health care reform does Blue Dogs a fat lot of good: Rep. Tim Holden got about two days of peace before a Republican state Senator started making noises about a campaign against him anyway. Holden has had little in the way of opposition recently, but now he may face David Argall, who represents Holden's coal-country turf of Schuylkill County. Relatedly, over in Ohio's 16th, a Cleveland Plain Dealer profile of fellow anti-HCR vote John Boccieri shows how he managed to win over exactly no Republicans while ticking off his base.
• PA-19: With Republican Rep. Todd Platts looking to bail on the House and head over to the GAO, candidates are already scoping out the potential special election. Although it's a dark-red district (R+12), one good-sounding Dem is gearing up: Ryan Sanders, real estate developer, president of the Red Lion Area Business Association, and most usefully, an organizer for the Obama campaign in York County.
• UT-02: More fallout from the health care reform vote: Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson (one of the 'no' votes) may, as a result, be facing a primary challenge from the left from state Sen. Scott McCoy (Utah's only gay state Senator and one of its few liberals). The Salt Lake City-based district is still strongly Republican, although it hasn't presented Matheson with much trouble lately.
• MI-St. Sen.: Here's an interesting look at the fight by Dems to reclaim the state Senate in Michigan (currently held 22-16 by the GOP, but where the majority of seats are open next year), which would give them the redistricting trifecta. Even if they don't pick it up (or do while losing the gubernatorial race), the state Supreme Court breaks any logjam, making next year's Supreme Court elections paramount too. The article also contains a map of the Dems' preferred redistricting plan, to turf out Rep. Vern Ehlers by creating a Dem-leaning 3rd District linking Grand Rapids and Muskegon.
• NH-St. Sen.: A special election will be happening in New Hampshire, giving the Dems the chance to add to their narrow lead in the state Senate there (they currently have a 14-10 edge). Republican state Sen. Ted Gatsas is poised to resign after having been elected Manchester mayor. Democratic state Rep. Jeff Goley is set to get into the race, though several other state House Dems are looking at it too.
• Mayors: The Seattle mayor's race has finally come to an end, with as late-breaking ballots are going more toward former local Sierra Club leader Mike McGinn. Joe Mallahan conceded after McGinn's lead pushed up to nearly 5,000, for a 51-49 edge.
• Ads: In the wake of this weekend's health care vote, the DNC is planning to target 32 House Republicans in Obama districts who voted 'no.' They aren't planning on using paid media yet, but will use the OFA campaign e-mail lists to organize in those districts. Meanwhile, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee is promising ads against 10 'no' votes, saying it's "payback" time: Barrow, Shuler, Herseth Sandlin, Murphy, Altmire, Nye, Kissell, Adler, Kosmas, and Ross.
• Demographics: If you're like me, you may spend a lot of time wondering how Scandinavian-Americans got so liberal and Dutch-Americans got so conservative. Dreaminonempty takes a look at ancestry and voting patterns in a very interesting diary at Open Left.
New York: In NY-23, we lost, apparently because the conservatives won, because in their brave new world winning no longer means earning more votes than the other candidates, but rather defeating the candidate that will vote with you most of the time in order to pave the way for the candidate who would theoretically vote with you all the time but has no chance of getting elected in your swing district. I quake in fear of next November, when conservatives will enjoy the mightiest of all glorious historic victories, with the crushing general election losses of Marco Rubio, Chuck DeVore, Rand Paul, Ovide Lamontagne, Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell, Peter Schiff, Chuck Purgason, Ken Buck, and Patrick Hughes, thus purifying the soil for decades to come.
Uh, more specifically, in NY-23, Bill Owens (D) defeated Doug Hoffman (C) and Dede Scozzafava (R), 49-45-6, with about a 6,000 vote margin (out of 131,000) separating Owens and Hoffman.
Elsewhere in New York, two powerful incumbents got scares. New York City's I/R mayor Michael Bloomberg beat Democratic comptroller William Thompson by a much narrower-than-expected margin: 51-46. And Democratic Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi is barely leading Republican Ed Mangano, 48-48 (with a 237-vote margin, which may change as absentees are counted). Republicans picked up two open New York City council seats in Queens (including the one vacated by new comptroller John Liu), bringing the Democrats' control of that body down to a perilous 46-5.
New Jersey: Republican former US Attorney Chris Christie defeated Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine in the Republicans' big score of the night, beating Corzine and independent Chris Daggett 49-44-6. The big story here may be the unexpected collapse in Daggett's numbers (he had been polling near 20% several weeks ago); I'd guess that a swath of moderate but fervently anti-Corzine voters realized that they were planning to waste their votes on a spoiler (Daggett) and in the end held their noses and voted for Christie. The other big story: the robo-pollsters (PPP, SurveyUSA) not only getting the result right but coming close on the spread, while some of the more traditional pollsters saw a Corzine victory. Christie's amply-cut jacket didn't have much in the way of coattails, though: Republicans picked up a total of only one seat in the Assembly, with Domenick DiCicco poised to pick up an open seat in Gloucester County in Philly's suburbs, leaving Dems in control of the chamber, 47-33.
Virginia: Here's where the Democrats really stunk it up, although the handwriting on the wall could be clearly seen from months away. In the gubernatorial race, Republican Bob McDonnell defeated Creigh Deeds by a substantial margin, 59-41. Further down the ticket, Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling was re-elected over Jody Wagner, 56-44, and Republican Ken Cuccinelli won the AG's race over Steve Shannon, 58-42. Democrats also took some damage in the House of Delegates, although they seemed to stave off total wipeout: Republicans netted five seats, to move the total from 53 (and 2 GOP-caucusing indies)-45 (with 2 formerly Dem vacancies) to 58 (plus the 2 indies)-39 (with one Dem incumbent-held seat, the 21st, going to recount).
Maine: In what seemed to be the night's biggest heartbreak for many in the netroots, Question 1, a vote to repeal gay marriage, passed by a 53-47 margin. Nevertheless, Mainers defeated an anti-tax initiative (Question 4, 40-60) and expanded medical marijuana access (Question 5, 59-41).
Washington: In the nation's other corner, Referendum 71, a vote to approve legislation creating "marriage in all but name" expanded domestic partnerships, is passing 51-49. (Assuming it passes, this would be, by my reckoning, the first time gay rights have been expanded through statewide vote; since King County has reported disproportionately few of the state's ballots, that margin is likely to grow.) Washington also rejected anti-tax I-1033, 44-56, and King County elected Dow Constantine as County Executive by a comfortable 57-43 over Susan Hutchison (in the first time this has been run as a nonpartisan race -- unfortunately for Hutchison, somewhere in the last few weeks her Republican cover got blown). The Seattle mayor's race will probably be the last race in the country to get resolved: with less than half reporting, anti-establishment progressive Mike McGinn leads establishment progressive Joe Mallahan 50-49.
California: In the night's other House election, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Garamendi defeated Republican attorney David Harmer in CA-10, 53-43 (with the balance going to Green and Peace & Freedom candidates). That's a bit underwhelming in a district where Barack Obama won 65-33, but in a low-turnout special, it's not remarkable.
North Carolina: Charlotte got only its second African-American mayor and its first Democratic mayor in 22 years, as 38-year-old Anthony Foxx beat the polls en route to a 51-49 over Republican Andy Lassiter. Democrats also now have an 8-3 edge on the city council. College town Chapel Hill now has an openly gay mayor: Mark Kleinschmidt, who narrowly defeated conservative Matt Czajkowski, 49-47.
Ohio: Somehow I can't see Cleveland becoming the next Las Vegas (maybe $pringfield, Ohio will), but Ohio voters just opted to legalize casino gambling in Issue 3, 53-47.
Pennsylvania: Republicans picked up a seat on the state Supreme Court; Jane Orie Melvin defeated Democrat Jack Panella 53-47. The GOP now controls the court 4-3, which has bad implications for state legislative redistricting next year.
Michigan: Another Dem screw-up that may bury the prospect of a pro-Democratic gerrymander in Michigan next year is a loss in the one hotly contested state Senate seat anywhere last night. In SD-19, Republican Mike Nofs won 61-34, picking up a seat formerly held by Democratic now-Rep. Mark Schauer. Republicans now control the Senate 22-16 (all seats are up in 2010, meaning Dems now need to flip four for control -- of course, they'd also need to hold the gubernatorial race, which may not happen either). In Detroit, incumbent Dave Bing held on to win the mayor's race, 58-42.
Georgia: We're headed to a runoff in Atlanta, where city councilor Mary Norwood and state Senator Kasim Reed finished 1 and 2, with 46% and 36% respectively. Reed may be able to pull it out, though, if he consolidates African-American votes in the general (the 3rd place finisher, Lisa Borders with 14%, is also African-American). The most interesting legislative race seems to be the previously Dem-held HD-141, where it's unclear whether Dem Darrell Black or GOPer Angela Gheesling-McCommon (each of whom got 23%, although Black has a 16-vote edge) will face off against independent Rusty Kidd (who got 44%) in the runoff.
Got any other races you want to share results from, or want to talk about? Let us know in the comments!
Has anybody heard anything about there being an election of some sort today? I'll look into it, but this is the first I've heard. In the meantime...
• AR-Sen (pdf): Talk Business Quarterly had a strange poll earlier in the year where they had a huge disparity between Blanche Lincoln's favorables (mediocre) and her re-elect (terrible), and now they're back with another poll showing pretty much the same thing. Her favorable is 42/46, but she gets a 25/61 on the oddly worded question "Would you vote to re-elect Blanche Lincoln as your United States Senator no matter who ran against her?" Gov. Mike Beebe doesn't have much to worry about, though; he may be the nation's most popular politico these days, with a favorable of 71/15.
• NC-Sen: Research 2000 did another poll on behalf of Change Congress, this time looking at North Carolina. They see the same pattern as PPP and most other pollsters: tepid re-elect numbers for Burr (21 re-elect/45 someone new, with 39/46 favorables), but a decent lead for Burr against SoS Elaine Marshall (42-35) and Rep. Bobby Etheridge (43-35).
• NJ-Gov (pdf): One last poll straggled across the finish line yesterday afternoon, from Fairleigh Dickinson University. They give Jon Corzine a 43-41-8 edge over Chris Christie and Chris Daggett, but it's a very large timeframe (Oct. 22 to Nov. 1). Unusually, this incorporates the smaller sample that was the basis for the standalone poll that FDU released over the weekend (which was in the field from Oct. 22 to Oct. 28) had a topline of 41-39-14 for Christie)... which is good news, I suppose, as it showed either movement to Corzine in the last few days or just that more Corzine voters were picking up their phones over the weekend, but a strange technique (why not release the Oct. 29-Nov. 1 data as a separate poll?). Because of the sample overlap, Pollster.com didn't add this one to the pile, leaving their final regression line total at a remarkable 42.0-42.0.
Meanwhile, this being Jersey, both parties are engaged in some last-minute chicanery: the Democrats are reportedly robocalling Republicans to encourage them to vote for Daggett, while Republicans are seeing what we're all seeing -- a race that's within a percentage or two, and one that's possibly to be decided in the post-game of recounts and even litigation -- and are getting a jump on the post-election framing by leveling allegations of 'election fraud' (without proof, or even specifics, of course).
• TX-Gov, TX-Sen: The first Univ. of Texas/Texas Tribune poll of the GOP gubernatorial primary gives a bigger edge to incumbent Rick Perry than other pollsters have; he leads Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison 42-30, with a surprisingly large 7% going to Debra Medina from the party's Paulist contingent. (Rasmussen has the most recent poll of the race, from September, and actually found KBH ahead, 40-38.) On the Democratic side, they find only chaos, with Kinky Friedman actually in the lead with 19, followed by Tom Schieffer at 10, Ronnie Earle at 5, and Hank Gilbert at 3. In the general, Perry is surprisingly vulnerable to Generic D (34-33, with 8 going to "Generic third party"), while Hutchison performs better (36-25, with 9 to third party) against Generic D. Against actual human Democrats, though, Perry seems safe (beating Friedman 38-23 and Schieffer 36-25).
They also look at the Senate race that may or may not ever happen and get more inconclusive results; polling all participants together in one pool, they find Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Democratic Houston mayor Bill White tied at 13 each, followed by Democrat John Sharp at 10 and a gaggle of other Republicans, none of whom break 3. Here's the poll's one heartening tidbit: Barack Obama actually has a better favorable (41/52) than either Perry (36/44) or Hutchison (39/27).
• MD-04: Here's one more potential challenge to Rep. Donna Edwards in the safely Democratic 4th. (Delegate Herman Taylor is already scoping out the primary.) Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn Ivey, a former senior staffer on the Hill, is now considering a run in the Dem primary too. The bulk of the district's votes are in mostly-black Prince George's County in the DC suburbs. It sounds like members of the local business community are looking for a more establishment challenge to the fiercely progressive Edwards.
• NY-23: New York State, the last state in the nation to comply with the Help America Vote Act, is finally switching over to optical scan machines from its ancient (but awesome) lever machines. The 2009 election is just a "pilot" run, so the entire state hasn't adopted the new machines yet, but most of the counties which make up the 23rd CD have. This means one of two things: results will come in more quickly than usual thanks to speedier and more reliable equipment... or results will come in more slowly that usual, thanks to the inevitable learning curve. (D)
Meanwhile, this seemed inevitable: overzealous electioneering by revved-up teabaggers. Police have been called to several locations in the North Country for violations of the 100-foot polling barrier by rabid Doug Hoffman fans.
• SC-05: Republican State Sen. Mick Mulvaney today made official his race against veteran Democratic Rep. John Spratt. Mulvaney is one of Mark Sanford's closest allies, so in the next year expect to see lots of the photo that's at this link.
• Mayors: One last mayoral poll out, in a close race between two different flavors of progressive. Joe Mallahan leads Mike McGinn 45-43 in the Seattle mayoral race, according to SurveyUSA. SurveyUSA also finds Democrat Dow Constantine surging into a comfortable lead over stealth Republican Susan Hutchison in the King County Executive race, 53-43. Previous SUSA polls had given a small edge to Hutchison, suggesting that a lot of voters weren't paying much attention yet and hadn't found out that she was a Republican.
• Illinois Filings: Yesterday was the filing deadline in Illinois, and lots more names trickled in after yesterday's digest. For starters, we actually did get a Dem on the ballot in IL-06 (and all the other GOP-held House districts), although it really seems to be Some Dude: the heretofore unknown Benjamin Lowe. In IL-07, more electeds eventually showed up, in addition to state Sen. Rickey Hendon. So too did alderwoman Sharon Dixon, alderman Bob Fioretti, and former state Rep. Annazette Collins. And I'm left wondering about the weird saga of Patrick Hughes, the great wingnut hope in the Senate race; after rumors of not having enough signatures, he withdrew around 10 am yesterday, but then filed again after 4 pm. Most likely that was a ploy to get the last line on the ballot (which was why Cheryle Jackson waited so long to file on the Democratic side) -- but I'm preferring to envision a scenario where he had to hold a benefit show to scrape together those last few signatures, then rush back to Chicago along Lower Wacker Drive, trashing about 80 police cars while trying to get to the Cook County Assessor's Office Board of Elections before it closed.
• Teabaggers: Could it be that the legacy media are finally noticing that the rise of the teabaggers, as seen in their decapitation of the Republican establishment candidate in NY-23, could spell only deeper trouble for Republicans in 2010? Politico and Roll Call both take notice today, that this dynamic is poised to repeat itself in the crucial Senate race in Florida... and, for that matter, Connecticut, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Nevada, Missouri, Arkansas, Colorado, and Illinois. In fact, the real question may be: where are the Senate races where there won't be a hot establishment/movement Republican primary? (Weirdly, Pennsylvania may be that place, where running the teabagger that nobody loved may actually turn out to be an asset for the GOP.)
• Babka: Hey! Do you want not just bragging rights among your fellow electoral junkies, but also a delicious chocolate babka? Don't forget to submit your entries in the SSP elections prediction contest! Do it in the prediction thread, though, not in the digest, at least if you want it to count.
• Volunteering: Marriage/partnership equality campaigns in three states are looking for help down the home stretch. The best part is, you don't even have to leave your chair - all three organizations are looking for folks to make calls to help get out the vote. So if you'd like to help, follow the links for Maine, Washington state, and Kalamazoo, Michigan. The folks in Kalamazoo are also looking for in-person volunteers - click here if you are in the area. (D)
• CT-Sen: With Joe Lieberman back to his usual self-promoting mavericky ways, vis a vis the public option, and with the netroots worked up into a lather, it's a perfect time for Ned Lamont to step back into the spotlight. The 2006 Democratic primary winner attacked Lieberman's statements, although he sounded interested but noncommital about the idea of a 2012 rematch.
• FL-Sen: Here's another sign that the Charlie Crist camp is starting to take the Marco Rubio threat more seriously. They've launched an anti-Rubio website, TruthAboutRubio.com.
• KS-Sen: Oklahoma's Jim Inhofe endorsed Rep. Todd Tiahrt in the GOP primary in the open seat Senate race in Kansas. Inhofe seems to be the first sitting senator to endorse Tiahrt (although Rick Santorum already did); several senators (John McCain, John Thune, and Inhofe's colleague Tom Coburn) have already endorsed the less hardline Rep. Jerry Moran.
• MA-Sen: Rep. Niki Tsongas (the only woman in the Massachusetts House delegation) endorsed AG Martha Coakley in the Dem primary for the upcoming Senate special election. It's Coakley's first endorsement from a House member; four other House members have gotten behind Rep. Michael Capuano.
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): Franklin & Marshall has another poll of the Pennsylvania races out, and like a lot of other pollsters, they're finding that people aren't very enthused about Arlen Specter, and are getting even less enthusiastic, giving him a 28/46 favorable (down from 35/42 in August), and a 23/66 reading on the "deserves re-election" question. Specter currently leads ex-Rep. Pat Toomey 33-31 (down from 37-29 in August), and beats Rep. Joe Sestak in the Dem primary 30-18 (down from 37-11). Sestak loses to Toomey, 28-20. F&M also look at the gubernatorial primaries (no general matchups, though). AG Tom Corbett leads on the GOP side over Rep. Jim Gerlach, 30-8, while the Dem field plays out: 10 for Allegheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato, 9 from Auditor Jack Wagner, 6 for ex-Rep. Joe Hoeffel, 3 for Tom Knox, and 3 for Scranton mayor Chris Doherty.
• SD-Sen: Democrats may turn to an old family name for a Senate candidate against John Thune: Mark McGovern, the 37-year-old grandson of former Senator and presidential candidate George McGovern. McGovern is state director for Repower America, a clean energy advocacy group, and was state director for the 2008 Obama campaign.
• CT-Gov: The campaign for Democratic SoS Susan Bysiewicz is making references to an internal poll that has her trailing by only 6 to the once-thought-unassailable Jodi Rell in 2010, 47-41. (And that assumes Rell runs -- given her fundraising, and now the possibility of a hard race, she may not be on track to do so.) The poll also finds Bysiewicz overperforming Stamford mayor Dan Malloy (who loses to Rell 52-31), and beating Malloy in the primary, 44-12.
• SC-Gov: An impeachment resolution against Mark Sanford was introduced today by Republican state Rep. Greg Dellenny during the brief special session. However, fellow Republican speaker Bobby Harrell ruled it out of order, as outside the scope of the special session. It'll have to wait until January.
• VA-Gov (pdf): Looks like we'll have to wait another day (and probably a lot longer than that) for signs of life in the Virginia gubernatorial race. Virginia Commonwealth issued their first poll of the race, giving Bob McDonnell a 54-36 edge over Creigh Deeds (51-33 without leaners pushed). Rasmussen chimes in with similar numbers at 54-41 for McDonnell (finding a spreading McDonnell lead like most pollsters; two weeks ago they had it at 50-43). Pollster.com's regression line has the overall total moving today to the exact same result: 54-41.
• TX-Gov: Maybe this falls under the category of an endorsement you don't really want to tout, but Kay Bailey Hutchison needs every vote she can get in what looks like a tight GOP primary with incumbent Gov. Rick Perry. KBH secured the endorsement of Dick Cheney today.
• CA-19: I'm still not sure what conservative Rep. George Radanovich did to wrong the local GOP, but the hunt goes on for an even more conservative Republican to challenge him in the primary. One possible challenger is former Fresno mayor Jim Patterson, who's looking for a new political gig. (Patterson ran for Congress in 2002 in then-new CA-21, losing the GOP primary to Devin Nunes.) Patterson may also be interested in replacing termed-out Mike Villines in the state Assembly.
• FL-08: Buried in a longer Politico piece titled, appropriately, "Rivals shy away from Alan Grayson" are three more potential Republican challengers: first-term state Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, attorney Will McBride (who lost the 2006 Senate primary to Katherine Harris), and businessman Bruce O'Donoghue. O'Donoghue, who's close to Mel Martinez, sounds like the likeliest of those three to run.
• NY-23: Big money continues to flow into the 23rd on the pro-Bill Owens side, with another $245K from the DCCC, and $200K from the AFSCME. MoveOn.org has also started flogging this race in its fundraising e-mails, saying that it's a chance to rebuke the Palin/teabagger wing of the GOPers. Meanwhile, Doug Hoffman continues to rack up the endorsements from people that no one in the 23rd has ever heard of: South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, and even Oklahoma House candidate Kevin Calvey and California Senate candidate Chuck DeVore. RNC chair Michael Steele is still standing by Dede Scozzafava, though.
• TN-09: It looks like former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton may self-destruct before Rep. Steve Cohen even lays into him in the Dem primary in the 9th. Herenton is reportedly the target of a criminal probe by the local US Attorney's office focusing on "personal business transactions" during his time as mayor. Herenton, naturally, is calling the investigation politically-motivated.
• VA-02: Here's a screwup for Ben Loyola, one of the Republicans jostling to take on freshman Dem Rep. Glenn Nye and one who made a big self-funding impact last quarter. Loyola may have low-balled estimates of the value of a division of his company that he sold to a Swedish firm, at best a disclosure violation in terms of reporting his net worth, and at worst an illegal campaign contribution.
• EMILY's List: EMILY's List added four Democratic House members to its list of endorsees. Three are swing-district freshmen (Debbie Halvorson, Ann Kirkpatrick, and Dina Titus), and the other one is the perpetually shaky Carol Shea-Porter.
• WA-Init: A slew of polls out of Washington yesterday and today, containing good news. UW's Washington Poll finds that R-71 (a referendum in favor of expanded domestic partnership) is passing 57-38, while I-1033 (the latest TABOR-style anti-tax initiative from initiative huckster Tim Eyman) is failing 40-49. These numbers are confirmed by SurveyUSA, which finds R-71 passing 50-43, and I-1033 going down 38-50. The Washington Poll also looks at the King County Executive race, which (though ostensibly nonpartisan) sees Democratic county councilor Dow Constantine beating Republican former news anchor Susan Hutchison 47-34 -- they don't have trendlines, and the only comparison point is SurveyUSA, who last showed Hutchison with a surprising 47-42 lead, so this one still bears watching. The Washington Poll finds Joe Mallahan leading Mike McGinn in the Seattle mayor's race, 44-36.
• Census: An independent analysis of the effect of the proposed David Vitter legislation that would only count U.S. citizens for purposes of reapportionment finds a very different looking House. California post-2010 would lose five House seats, and Texas would gain only one House seat (instead of the projected three). The proposed change would also spare Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania the expected loss of one seat each. (The study is worth a look also because it projects which states gain and lose seats according to normal rules, and also looks at which metro areas are experiencing 'brain drain.')
• 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.
• AR-Sen: To few people's surprise, Blanche Lincoln folded faster than Superman on laundry day on the public option issue when faced with a non-ridiculous challenge from the right. Still, her erstwhile GOP rival, Gilbert Baker, may not be quite as problem-free as the Beltway media have touted him as; ArkDem provides some essential local color in the diaries.
• CO-Sen: This isn't going to endear the NRSC to the Colorado rank-and-filers (and even the party establishment, like state party head Dickwad Hams Dick Wadhams) any more: they just got caught building websites for former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton. This may help fuel whatever fire is suddenly burning under Weld Co. DA Ken Buck.
• MA-Sen: After contrasting reports yesterday about whether ex-Rep. Marty Meehan might or wouldn't run for Senate, Politics magazine got him on the record saying that he "hadn't ruled it out" but that he was absorbed in his university chancellor job and that he'd defer to either Vicky or Joe Kennedy. No word on what happens to his $4 million if he doesn't run.
• NY-Gov: The Eliot Spitzer boomlet lasted about one day before he laughed it off, but a quickie SurveyUSA poll verified that he's still got some political mojo left. 15% of New Yorkers said they'd still vote for him no matter what office, 47% said they might, depending on the office, and only 39% said no way. He also won against David Paterson on the curiously worded question of "who's better qualified" to be Governor, 41-24, although Rudy Giuliani wins the same question against Spitzer, 59-25.
• OR-Gov: As we reported yesterday, ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber made it official this morning: he's in the race. Former SoS Bill Bradbury, who's already in the Dem primary, now says he will be announcing something on Sept. 17 (he'd previously alluded to staying in even if Kitzhaber got in, but we'll have to see what he says now that it's happened). Meanwhile, SurveyUSA has another snap poll, this time of the favorables of the race's announced players so far: Kitzhaber has a fave of 33/26, Bradbury is at 21/20, and moderate Republican Allen Alley (the 2008 Treasurer candidate, and a former deputy CoS to Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski) is at a woeful 8/10.
• VT-Gov: Two other names for potential GOP gubernatorial candidates have surfaced, in addition to Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie. One is Mark Snelling, who's never held office before but benefits from a prominent family name (he's the son of ex-Gov. Richard Snelling and ex-Lt. Gov. Barbara Snelling). Another possibility is former Auditor Randy Brock who served one term, 2004-2006, before losing re-election.
• CA-24: Marta Jorgensen, a nurse who held Rep. Elton Gallegly to 56% in 2008, said she's back for another try in 2010. Gallegly, frequent retirement speculation target, hasn't formally announced he's running but informally said he'll run again.
• IL-14: Another GOPer is taking a look at the race against Bill Foster, joining Ethan Hastert and Mark Vargas. Bill Cross is a former member of the Aurora City Council and owns two hardware stores in the district.
• KS-03: Rep. Dennis Moore has proven pretty entrenched in his light-red district in the Kansas City suburbs, repelling state Sen. Nick Jordan in 2008 without much trouble. Still, he's drawn another credible challenge for 2010, from GOP former state Rep. Patricia Lightner.
• LA-03: One more name to add to the seemingly endless pile of possible candidates in the open seat in the 3rd: Craig Webre, sheriff of Lafourche Parish (popu. 90,000). The article is strangely unclear about what party he'd be running for -- Webre is registered as a Republican, but Democrat Reggie Dupre (the former state Senator whose resignation triggered last week's successful special election in SD-20) was advising Webre and was the article's source -- although considering how porous party lines can be in Louisiana, that seems typical. Dupre, who just took over as Terrebonne Parish levee director, confirmed that he himself wouldn't run.
• VA-02, 05, 11: The trio of Virginia freshmen (Tom Perriello, Glenn Nye, and Gerry Connolly) have banded together in a joint fundraising committee. Connolly has to be seen as less vulnerable than the other two, but still needs resources for a potentially expensive rematch against Keith Fimian.
• CA-Lt. Gov: With the now very-high likelihood that John Garamendi will be heading to Washington DC in a few months, the question arises of who Arnold Schwarzenegger will replace him with. Sorta-moderate state Sen. Abel Maldonado gets the most press; his appointment would open up a Senate seat in a Dem-leaning area that could get Senate Dems closer to that magic 2/3s mark. Assemblyman (and former minority leader) Mike Villines is another possibility; another idea is giving the job to ex-Rep. Tom Campbell in order to pry him out of the Governor's race. Schwarzenegger is mavericky enough he might appoint a Democrat, too; one name mentioned is former Assembly speaker Bob Hertzberg, who has occasionally cooperated with the Governator.
• Seattle Mayor: The mayor's race in Seattle, between two unknowns (Mike McGinn and Joe Mallahan) who won the primary after incumbent Greg Nickels KO'd himself, briefly threatened to get much more interesting when prominent state Sen. Ed Murray started exploring running as a write-in, sensing an opening for someone who actually knows what the hell he's doing. Although he could have counted on a lot of both labor and real estate developer support, he decided against it yesterday, aware of the extreme technical difficulty in mounting a successful write-in campaign on weeks' notice. Murray instead remains the most-talked-about successor to Rep. Jim McDermott, although it seems like he could be waiting another decade for that seat to open up.
• AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln is getting yet another challenger, except this time it's a Democrat: Bob Johnson (no, not thatBob Johnson... he's the Arkansas Senate President, and former Arkansas House Speaker). Surely the netroots will rejoice that conservadem Lincoln, known for her foot-dragging on EFCA, is getting a primary challenge. Um, except there's the small fact that Johnson would be running against Lincoln from the right. (Johnson held a fundraiser for Republican state Senator Gilbert Baker last fall, who may well be the Republican Senate nominee.)
• FL-Sen: One more fossil got unearthed by Charlie Crist as he seeks applications for potential Senate replacements for Mel Martinez: former Representative Lou Frey, a 75-year-old who served in the House from the Orlando area from 1968 to 1978. Crist is still planning to interview current Rep. Bill Young, as well as former Reps. Clay Shaw and Mike Bilirakis. Follow the link to see all 10 current possible replacements.
• IL-Sen: With the Democratic Senate field suddenly down to two candidates, Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and local Urban League president Cheryle Jackson, there's still some of the inevitable casting-about for someone else going on. An unnamed "top Dem" is reportedly encouraging Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart to make the race. Dart is a former state legislator who made big news recently for suspending foreclosure evictions.
• MO-Sen: Michael Steele just referred to Roy Blunt as crap. Well, not in the most literal sense. There was an extended toilet metaphor on a conservative radio talk show and Steele went along with the host's anti-Blunt anti-insider arguments. Still, the Carnahan ads write themselves.
• NY-Sen-B: Kirsten Gillibrand got yet another endorsement from her House colleagues, from freshman Rep. Eric Massa. Siena is also out with a new New York poll. Gillibrand trails the unlikely-to-run ex-Gov. George Pataki in a hypothetical head-to-head, 42-39 while whomping the only slightly-less-likely-to-run Rep. Peter King, 46-24. (They didn't poll the Dem primary, where Jonathan Tasini is Gillibrand's last challenger standing.)
• CA-Gov: Meg Whitman's campaign strategy seems to be to duck debates and let her money do her talking for her instead. Here's another eyebrow-raising development, that's potentially a good line of attack for Dems (or her primary challengers): Whitman didn't register to vote in California til 2002 (or as a Republican until 2007), and has missed voting in more than half the elections since then, including the 2003 recall.
• MA-Gov: Rasmussen looks at the Massachusetts Governor's race, and finds I-turned-R Christy Mihos leading incumbent Dem Deval Patrick 40-35, up from a 41-40 lead in June. Patrick leads Republican Charlie Baker 40-39. The utility of this poll is close to zero, though, seeing as how it leaves out likely D-turned-I candidate Tim Cahill, whom polls have found either absorbing enough anti-Patrick votes to let Patrick squeak through, or else winning outright.
• NY-Gov: There's a certain role about holes, shovels, and not digging that David Paterson seems to be forgetting. He lashed out at critics saying he should stand down for re-election, accusing them of racial bias, and even launched into the media for their coverage (which I don't think has ever ended well for a politician). The aforementioned Siena poll finds Paterson losing the Dem primary to Andrew Cuomo 65-23, and the general to Rudy Giuliani 56-33 (although he does beat Rick Lazio, 38-37). Cuomo beats Giuliani 53-40, and beats Lazio by a hilarious 66-16 (OK, that's not as hilarious as the GOP primary, where Giuliani beats Lazio 73-6, with 8 for Erie Co. Exec Chris Collins).
• SC-Gov: Cue up the "frequent flier" jokes. Turns out Mark Sanford, already known for his little jaunt to Argentina and his overeager use of state planes, has also failed to disclose at least 35 flights on private planes that should have been listed on ethics forms or campaign disclosures as 'things of value.'
• IN-09: Could we really see Hill/Sodrel 5.0? American politics' most repetitive rivalry may well continue on into 2010, as GOP ex-Rep. Mike Sodrel says he'll weigh another bid against Rep. Baron Hill in the 9th as soon as he's done with the book that he's coloring writing.
• MI-13, 14: Detroiters are feeling surly about their Representatives, it seems. A poll by Deno Noor Polling finds both Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick and John Conyers with negative re-elect numbers: 27/58 for Kilpatrick and 40/44 for Conyers. Not a surprise for Kilpatrick, whose son got bounced out as Detroit's mayor and who barely survived a primary herself last year, but it's a new development for Conyers, the second-longest-serving House member; assumedly, this has a lot to do with the conviction of his wife, ex-city councilor Monica Conyers, on bribery charges.
• OR-04: I'd be sad too if I was watching my once-promising House bid crash and burn more than a year out from the election. Republican Springfield mayor Sid Leiken teared up repeatedly during a news conference where he finally announced that he didn't have documentation for the $2,000 in cash that somehow found its way from his campaign to his mother. He'll repay the $2,000 out of pocket, he says, but the Sec. of State investigation continues.
• PA-07: Here's a good photo op for Dem state Rep. Bryan Lentz, running to succeed Rep. Joe Sestak. He's appearing at the White House to discuss energy policy with Obama administration officials and other energy policy leaders.
• VA-05: Conventional wisdom seems to be coalescing around state Sen. Robert Hurt as GOP nominee; one GOP operative says he's "60% leaning toward the race." His state Senate district overlaps about one-quarter of the 5th. State Del. Rob Bell, who was frequently mentioned earlier, seems hard-pressed to win his off-year re-election this year and turn around and take on Rep. Tom Perriello. Two other state Senators sound interested, Frank Ruff and Steve Newman, but sound likely to defer to Hurt if he gets in.
• Seattle Mayor: Primary elections in Seattle were last week, and in typical Washington fashion, ballots from the all-mail-in election are still being counted. In a serious surprise, two-term mayor Greg Nickels won't be coming back, as he finished third in the top-two nonpartisan primary at 25%. No worries, as he'll be replaced by someone just as, if not more so, liberal, although someone who's never held elective office before: the top 2 are local Sierra Club president Mike McGinn (at 28%) and T-Mobile VP and big-time Obama bundler Joe Mallahan (at 27%).
Meanwhile, the King Co. Executive race is down to two. It's the first time it's been an officially nonpartisan position (after a GOP-led initiative to change it to nonpartisan passed, as this is the only way a Republican will ever get elected), but everyone still knows that former news anchor Susan Hutchison (who got 37%) is the Republican and county councilor Dow Constantine (who got 22%) is the Democrat. That looks daunting at first, but there were no other major Republicans and three other top-tier Dems in the race (county councilor Larry Phillips, state Sen. Fred Jarrett, and state Rep. Ross Hunter). The four Dems put together got 56%, so, no, King County isn't going to elect a Republican in November.
• Polltopia: Where should PPP poll next: New Jersey or Virginia? You decide. (Tom Jensen says they'd planned to do New Jersey but skipped it to do Arkansas this week, where he hints at some blood-curdling numbers.)