An all-House digest today - and it's an hour earlier than usual! Remember, today is primary day in IN, NC & OH, so be sure to check out SSP's handy election guide.
AL-07: Attorney Terri Sewell, who is probably the candidate ideologically closest to outgoing Rep. Artur Davis, is going up with a TV ad buy in Montgomery and Birmingham which will stay up through the primary (which is a month from now). No word on the size of the buy, though.
CT-02: Republicans are courting former television news anchor Janet Peckinpaugh to run against Rep. Joe Courtney, who has luckily skated by without much in the way of opposition this cycle. Peckinpaugh says she's considering it. She was most recently seen shilling for a now-defunct mortgage company in deceptive, TV news-like ads, clearly trading on her reputation as a newsreader. The company, Lend America, shut down in December after it was placed under federal investigation.
FL-12: After screwing up the establishment's efforts to clear the GOP primary field for ex-state Rep. Dennis Ross by jumping into the race, Polk County Comm'r Randy Wilkinson is bidding adieu to the Republican Party. Instead, he's going to run as the Tea Party candidate (there's an actual Tea Party in Florida, just like the Whigs). Wilkinson has raised very little money - his FEC reports are a mess, and he seems to like filing them in hand-written form, so he doesn't even appear in their electronic database.
FL-21: What a bummer - zero Dems filed in the open 21st CD, which means that Mario Diaz-Balart will automatically inherit his brother Lincoln's seat. I can't really blame folks too much, though, as Florida has especially onerous ballot access requirements. If you don't petition on, you have to pay a filing fee, which is an insane $10,000+.
HI-01: The DCCC threw down another $70K for negative ads against Charles Djou.
ID-01, OH-15: We mentioned the other day that GOPer Steve Stivers, busy with a rematch against Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy in OH-15, said he favors repealing the 17th amendment - the one which gives citizens the right to vote for their senators (rather than having them be appointed by state legislatures). Well, after taking a lot of much-deserved heat, he's backed off that fantasy. But his would-be colleague, Vaughn Ward, is taking up the mantle. Ward, running against Rep. Walt Minnick in ID-01, offered a rationale worthy of Miss Teen South Carolina, saying "When you look at how come state's rights have been so abrogated, it's because of things like the 17th Amendment that has taken away those rights from our states." Yuh huh. Exactly.
IL-08: Just click the link and read about the greatest political implosion of the entire cycle. (Thankfully, it's the bad guys.) More here, here, and here.
KS-03: Along with Joe Garcia (see yesterday's morning digest), the DCCC added another candidate to their Red to Blue list, Stephene Moore, who is the wife of retiring Rep. Dennis Moore.
MA-10: State Rep. Jeff Perry, running for Bill Delahunt's open seat, scored an endorsement from ex-MA Gov. Mitt Romney. Perry, who was also previously endorsed by Sen. Scott Brown, has a primary against ex-state Treasurer Joe Malone. Malone has some baggage-related cooties, which probably explains Perry's run of good fortune.
MD-01 (PDF): Public Opinion Strategies (R) for Americans for Prosperity (R) (4/25-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
Frank Kratovil (D-inc): 36
Andy Harris (R): 39
Richard Davis (L): 6
Two things about this poll: First off, in contravention of appropriate practice, POS asked all kinds of axe-grindy issue questions ("Gov. O'Malley raised taxes by $1.3 billion") before getting to the horserace question. This does damage to POS's reputation as a supposedly respectable pollster. Secondly, the weird thing is that Harris switched pollsters - and his last survey, from the Tarrance Group back in November, had him up by a whopping 52-39. While it's not a proper trendline, you gotta wonder - is Harris slipping? Or is he getting snowed by his various pollsters? (Update: D'oh! Our mistake -- this poll was not done for Harris, but actually the right-wing consortium of douches known as the Americans for Prosperity.)
MI-01: Dem state Rep. Joel Sheltrown, who got into the race to replace Bart Stupak just a few weeks ago, is bowing out.
MI-09: Self-funder Gene Goodman is dropping out of the race to take on Rep. Gary Peters, despite having loaned his campaign $450K. That leaves ex-state Rep. Andrew "Rocky" Raczkowski and former Oakland County GOP Chair Paul Welday in the running, both of whom have had unimpressive fundraising - and in fact, Rocky is yet another victim (albeit a more minor one) of Base Connect.
Meanwhile, we missed a Welday internal poll from a couple of weeks ago (taken by Mitchell Research & Communications), which had Peters leading by just 44-43. The poll sampled just 300 LVs, though, and according to the Hotline, was in the field at two discontiguous times. Peters' camp attacked the poll's sample composition, but Steve Mitchell says he used the same methodology as he did in September of 2008, when (according to the article), " he declared Peters was going to defeat Joe Knollenberg." Is this hindsight proving to be 20/20? Mitchell's poll from back then had the race tied.
NY-13: Global Strategy Group (D) for Mike McMahon (4/7-11, likely voters, no trendlines):
Mike McMahon (D-inc): 56
Mike Allegretti (R): 24
Mike McMahon (D-inc): 56
Mike Grimm (R): 23
OH-09: Dem Rep. Marcy Kaptur, who is not really on anyone's radar in terms of having a competitive race, is nonetheless facing a moneybags challenger. Former Food Town CEO Rich Iott just dumped $319,000 into his campaign. Kaptur has over a million on hand, and the 9th CD voted 62% for Obama and 58% for Kerry.
PA-12: Anzalone-Liszt (D) for the DCCC (4/27-29, likely voters, no trendlines):
Mark Critz (D): 43
Tim Burns (R): 41
TN-08: A couple of disgusting low-lifes running for TN-08, Ron Kirkland and Randy Smith, had this delightful exchange at a candidate forum:
Kirkland, of Jackson, referred to his Army training during the Vietnam War and said: "I can tell you if there were any homosexuals in that group, they were taken care of in ways I can't describe to you."
Smith, a chef from Mercer who served in the Navy during the Gulf War, said: "I definitely wouldn't want to share a shower with a homosexual. We took care of that kind of stuff, just like (Kirkland) said."
These sick bastards have serious issues.
SD-AL: Heh - GOP state Rep. Kristi Noem has a biographical spot up on the air, talking about her return to her family farm after her father's death. The only problem is that she shot the ad in Texas - which became apparent given that the backdrop (a grove of leafy green trees) is something you can't really find in North South Dakota this time of year. Reminds me of when Bob Schaffer ran an ad pretending that Alaska's Mount McKinley was actually Colorado's famous Pikes Peak while running for CO-Sen in 2008.
• CA-Sen: Huckabee hearts Chuck DeVore. The once and perhaps future presidential contender endorsed the conservative Assemblyman, who's buried deep in third place in the GOP Senate primary but still flying the right-wing flag with pride.
• UT-Sen: Bob Bennett finally reeled in the endorsement that'll help him salvage his career at the state convention... Karl Rove! OK, I'm being a little facetious, but Utah is dark-red enough that Rove might actually still be more asset than liability here.
• WA-Sen: The DSCC sent opposition researchers to Washington to comb-over Dino Rossi's business dealings in a Dan Coats-style pre-emptive attack, and already unearthed an interesting nugget: $20,000 in back taxes on an investment property owned by an investment group in which Rossi is a partner. Also, I'd speculated last week that minor candidate (and Rossi friend) Chris Widener's dropout may foreshadow a Rossi entry. Not so, Widener is now saying: he has no insight into Rossi's plans, and his departure had nothing to do with Rossi one way or the other. Widener felt that Don Benton and Paul Akers were coalescing as front-runners in a non-Rossi field, leaving Widener not much of a shot even with Rossi out.
• CT-04: Things got whittled down in the GOP field in the 4th, to take on freshman Democratic Rep. Jim Himes. Former state Sen. Rob Russo, a former aide to and ally of ex-Rep. Chris Shays, dropped out and threw his support to his former colleague, the somewhat more conservative state Sen. Dan Debicella. Russo seemed squeezed by the late entry of moneybags Thomas Herrmann.
• GA-08: The 8th was one of the GOP's biggest recruiting failures in a year that saw them round up a remarkably full dance card; it's an R+10 district where Democratic Rep. Jim Marshall has never won by a crushing margin, but they were left with only an assortment of non-self-funding businessmen and local cranks. That may change, though, as reports suggest state Rep. Austin Scott, who's had little luck breaking out of the low single-digits in the GOP gubernatorial primary field, may be willing to try his hand in the 8th instead. (Scott had also been urged to get into the Lt. Governor primary against Casey Cagle.) It still seems an uphill fight for Scott (especially getting in the fundraising game so late), but definitely an upgrade for the GOP; Scott will have to finalize his decision soon, as Friday is the filing deadline.
• KS-03: One more Republican decided to get into the field in the open seat race in the 3rd, where there's a gaping hole where presumed front-runner state Sen. Nick Jordan used to be (after his surprising dropout). Lawyer and ice rink owner Jean Ann Uvodich launched her candidacy today.
• MI-01: Connie Saltonstall, who got NARAL and NOW endorsements in the primary in the 1st back when Bart Stupak was still planning to run, is saying if she doesn't win the primary she won't back a general election candidate who isn't pro-choice. That seems to limit her choices: of the three state legislators who piled into the Dem field after Stupak's retirement, only one (Matt Gillard) is pro-choice; Gary McDowell and Joel Sheltrown are pro-life. EMILY's List is still pondering whether to get behind Saltonstall, polling the race to see if she's a viable candidate.
• NJ-03: Rep. John Adler has turned out to have a more conservative voting record (characterized by his anti-HCR vote) than pretty much anyone expected, given his track record in the state legislature. Adler's standing among the Democratic base will get put the test with a primary challenge, it turns out: Barry Bendar, the chair of the local Democratic committee in Lacey Township (in Ocean County), will run against Adler. Bendar says he'll still support Adler in the general in the very likely event he doesn't win the primary.
• Michigan: At the Michigan Liberal blog, they're taking a look at the prospects in the state Senate and House in November... and they're using a variation on Swing State Project's own House Vulnerability Index as the metric for making predictions. Democrats look likely to lose a few seats in the House (where they have a decent-sized majority) but the Senate (where they're a few flips away from the majority) looks like it could be anyone's game at this point.
• CO-Sen: The nomination process in Colorado has worked its way up to the county-level assemblies now, and former state House speaker Andrew Romanoff still has an edge over appointed incumbent Michael Bennet in the race for Democratic Senate primary delegates. Romanoff has a 57-42 edge over Bennet, bolstered by strong numbers in the urban Denver and El Paso Counties.
• CT-Sen: This may not turn out to be much, but it's another drip-drip hurting Linda McMahon's credibility. It's been revealed that in 1989, she gave advance warning to a doctor, George Zahorian, of a pending federal investigation; Zahorian was later convicted of selling steroids to WWF wrestlers. (Only Zahorian was convicted; the government's case against the WWF fell apart.)
• IN-Sen: Take this with as much salt as you'd like, as it's a leak of an Indiana GOP Senate primary poll to a right-wing blog and the leak doesn't even say which candidate's camp it came from, let alone who the pollster is. Nevertheless, it shows a tight race between Dan Coats and John Hostettler: Coats leads 29-26, with Marlin Stutzman not to be counted out either at 18.
• MA-Sen: Here's more evidence that Scott Brown is intent on trying to have a long career as a moderate New England Senator, rather than flaming out in half a term of teabagging glory. He said thanks but not thanks to appearing with Sarah Palin at a teabagger rally on Boston Common on Wednesday.
• OH-Sen: Another big quarter for Rob Portman, who's started to fall behind in recent polling against his Democratic opposition but who will have a huge cash advantage over whoever his opponent is. He pulled in $2.3 million last quarter, bringing his CoH total to a ridiculous $7.6 million.
• WA-Sen: Here's what may be a tea leaf that Dino Rossi isn't likely to run for Senate this year: state Sen. Don Benton, who's already in the race for the GOP and is a friend of Rossi, says "I don't believe Dino would allow me to sacrifice my family time and my business if he was going to run for the U.S. Senate," and "If he had serious plans, I really believe he would have told me that." Of course, this may also be a shot across Rossi's bow, especially since Benton also points out that his fundraising ($130K last quarter) has suffered as everyone watches Rossi instead.
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): I don't know why so many small schools in the Northeast feel the need to have their very own polling operation, but now Muhlenberg College is getting in on the act too. Their apparently first look at the Senate race uses a likely voter model, so as you might expect, it gives a bit of a lead to Pat Toomey. Toomey leads Arlen Specter 47-40 and leads Joe Sestak 33-22 (with leaners). There's a whole lotta undecideds in the gubernatorial race, but Tom Corbett has a clear advantage among those who've decided: he leads Dan Onorato 42-18, Jack Wagner 44-16, and Joe Hoffel 45-11.
• GA-Gov: Ethics questions are continuing to follow around ex-Rep. Nathan Deal even though he's left the House now, in order to pursue his gubernatorial bid. Turns out he spent $20K from his state campaign account to pay for legal fees related to the House Ethics inquiry into his car inspection business. The state's ethics board says it's unclear whether or not it's a violation, as it's a situation they've never dealt with before.
• NY-Gov: With his teabag-flavored gubernatorial campaign only a few weeks old, Carl Paladino's campaign manager is already in damage control mode, acknowledging today that, yes, his boss send out some e-mails to political and business contacts that were "off-color" and "politically incorrect." If, by politically incorrect, you mean including an African tribal dance photo entitled "Obama Inauguration Rehearsal," and hardcore bestiality photos.
• PA-Gov: Two House members endorsed in the Democratic governor's primary, and given their geographical connections, neither one should be a surprise. Pittsburgh-area Rep. Mike Doyle endorsed Allegheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato, while PA-01'sBob Brady (who just happens to be chair of the Philadelphia City Democrats in his spare time) backs state Sen. Anthony Williams. Getting the Philly machine officially behind Williams, currently lagging his opponents, may help him gain a little ground on his competition.
• SC-Gov: AG Henry McMaster had a strong fundraising quarter in the race to replace Mark Sanford, pulling in $464K and sitting on $1.4 million CoH. He's almost caught up with Rep. Gresham Barrett, who was last year's fundraising leader; Barrett raised $427K and holds $1.5 million CoH.
• HI-01: Looks like it's turning into the DCCC vs. everybody else in the 1st. The AFL-CIO and Longshoremen, undeterred by the D-Trip's preferences, are both weighing into the race with mailers on behalf of Colleen Hanabusa, pointing out Ed Case's anti-labor record.
• MI-01: More local politicians are starting to jump into the race in the 1st, with last Friday's sudden departure of Bart Stupak. Democratic State Rep. Joel Sheltrown said he'll get in the race (joining Connie Saltonstall, who had been challenging Stupak in the primary). One problem for Sheltrown, though, is that he's a "troll" (i.e. from under the bridge, instead of from the Upper Peninsula, where the district's center of gravity is). One other sorta-big-name possible contender who doesn't quite live in the district, ex-Rep. Jim Barcia (who's got gerrymandered out of MI-05 in 2002, dropped down to the state Senate, which he's now term-limited out of), confirmed he wouldn't run. Roll Call also has the names of a few other potential Dems that we haven't mentioned yet, including state Reps. Jeff Mayes, Judy Nerat, and Steve Lindberg, and state Agriculture Director Don Koivisto. Other possible GOPers include state Sen. Jason Allen, former state Rep. Tom Casperson (who lost by a wide margin to Stupak in 2008), and former state Rep. Scott Shackleton.
• NY-24: Republican repeat challenger Richard Hanna raised $350K in the first quarter for the race against Rep. Mike Arcuri; that's on top of the $600K he loaned himself.
• PA-04: The growing scandal surrounding the Orie family (centered on state Sen. Jane Orie, who allegedly had staff in her office working on campaign work on the state's dime) spilled over into the 4th. Mary Beth Buchanan's campaign manager, Kurt Acker, resigned on Friday after it came out that he was one of those Orie staffers participating in the violations.
• TN-08: Looks like we've got a good case of the dueling rich guys in the GOP primary in the 8th: physician Ron Kirkland is reporting $607K raised last quarter. Throw in the $250K he lent himself, and he's already drawn almost even with Stephen Fincher, who's already gotten the NRCC's imprimatur based on his own fundraising.
• VA-05: Freshman Rep. Tom Perriello also put up excellent fundraising numbers this quarter, and that seems to have more to do with getting the base excited about him (with his tough vote in favor of HCR) rather than dipping into his own wallet. Perriello raised $600K in the first quarter, leaving him with $1.4 million CoH for what's sure to be a bruising general election campaign.
• WV-01: There have been some indications that Rep. Alan Mollohan was on the outs with the West Virginia Democratic establishment (starting top-down with Gov. Bob Manchin), but here's an interesting clue that suggests otherwise: Mollohan's primary opponent, state Sen. Mike Oliverio, complained at a candidate forum that he'd requested registered voter files from the state committee and hadn't received them, and he wondered if Mollohan's influence had anything to do with that.
• Polltopia: Mark Blumenthal has some added nuance on the issue of the House generic ballot, which pundits have been pointing to lately as evidence of possible huge Republican gains in the House in November. The Gallup generic ballot poll does have some predictive value... but that's only the final Gallup poll before the election, making it a not-terribly-reliable measure at this point in time.