• AK-Sen: It seems like Lisa Murkowski's meetings with the Libertarian Party didn't lead to anything conclusive (while David Haase sounded amenable, the state party sounds opposed), as the signals she's putting out now seem to point more toward a write-in campaign, if anything. According to Roll Call, she's "strongly considering it" and will have an announcement as early as tomorrow. In case you're wondering about TX-22-style hilarity ensuing, the Alaska Division of Elections confirms that a voter can spell her name incorrectly and still have the vote count, which makes the prospect of a write-in campaign for Linda Mukrosky somewhat more doable.
• CO-Sen: Ken Buck may have dirty boots, but he's been busy scrubbing his website sparkly clean. The Michael Bennet camp has been observing lots of minor changes to Buck's website to make it more mainstream-y, with softer-sounding rewrites on his issues page on Afghanistan, stem cell research, and immigration.
• DE-Sen: In another sign that the GOP primary between Mike Castle and Christine O'Donnell isn't dialing down, both Castle and the Tea Party Express (on behalf of O'Donnell) are both extending their previous ad buys, starting today and running through next Tuesday's election. Again, kudos to Hotline's Jeremy Jacobs, who knows not only the Size Of The Buy but the complete breakdown (Castle, for instance, spent $75K in the Salisbury broadcast market, $27K on statewide cable, and $43K on radio, while the TPX spent $32K on cable only). He also susses out that at the current trajectory, the TPX will reach only slightly past the halfway point on its promise to spend $250K on O'Donnell, unless they want to blow a lot of money at the last minute in the pricey Philadelphia market. Meanwhile, TPM checks out how TPX's ongoing moneybomb for O'Donnell has been going, who has raised $89K since TPX got involved. Despite O'Donnell's frequent attacks on Castle's use of out-of-state money to power his campaign, they highlighted their $250+ donors, and a grand total of one (of 56) was a Delawarean.
• FL-Sen, FL-25: Biden alert! With Kendrick Meek having raised some bucks at a New York appearance with Bill Clinton last night, now he turns his attention to an upcoming fundraiser with the VPOTUS. (Expect to see the usual GOP carping about "Big Hollywood," seeing as how the fundraiser is in Hollywood. Hollywood, Florida, that is.) 25th District candidate Joe Garcia will also be a beneficiary.
• PA-Sen: The Philadelphia Inquirer has a rundown of Pat Toomey's past history of earmarks, in of course blatant contradiction with the pledges of austerity that define his current campaign... yet another Republican example of government largesse for me, but not for thee. In his first term in PA-15, Toomey won $9 million in earmarks, including $3 million for one company (Air Products & Chemicals) that then became his single biggest campaign contributor.
• CA-Gov: Steve Poizner seems to have finally gotten the message, if a few months on the late (and tepid) side. The Republican primary loser gave his endorsement to Meg Whitman yesterday... via press release.
• MI-Gov: Local pollster Mitchell Research is out with what appears to be their first poll of the general election in the Michigan gubernatorial race; like most pollsters, they find Republican Rick Snyder with a solid lead. He's ahead of Democrat Virg Bernero 53-26.
• OH-Gov: Bill Clinton will be in Ohio on behalf of (Hillary endorser) Ted Strickland on the 14th, also the day of his first debate with John Kasich. Clinton will stump for Strickland in both Cleveland and Columbus.
• NC-08: With the DCCC having rolled out a GQR internal poll yesterday giving Larry Kissell a decent lead (48-36) in the 8th (on top of Kissell releasing his own internal in late August with a 49-32 lead), GOP rival Harold Johnson offered up his own poll today to show he's still in this thing. His poll from POS finds Kissell still leading, but by a more surmountable margin: 39-34.
• NV-03: Politico has details on EMILY's List weighing into the 3rd, with a two-week TV ad blitz going after Joe Heck on women's health issues (like his vote against mandated insurance coverage for the HPV vaccine). While the article doesn't have a link to the ad, let alone the Size Of The Buy, it does have a very interesting look at the advanced micro-targeting they're using, focusing on very specific TV shows as well as Hulu and Facebook users.
• OH-16: Someone get Jim Renacci a high school history textbook, stat! When asked at the candidates' first debate what he'd like to do about civil rights, the Republican challenger to John Boccieri retreated to Rand Paul-style teabagger boilerplate, saying "We need to get our federal government out of the way," and that it was better dealt with as "local issues." Yeah, because local and state governments in the 50s and 60s were the paragons of tolerance and virtue during the civil rights movement, and that federal government just came in and screwed everything up...
• DGA: If you've been wondering what they're up to at the DGA, they're out with a strategy memo that outlines the next few months. Wisely, they're most concerned with the states with the greatest population and hence greatest redistricting impact, meaning that the smaller states with Dem-held open seats (Kansas, Wyoming, etc.) have already probably been on the losing end of their triage decisions.
• TX-St. House: We at SSP have been remiss in focusing on state legislatures in the last few months (for the same reason everyone else has -- it's hard to get good intelligence on them, and there's too dang much to focus on just at the national level alone), but Burnt Orange Report has done a bang-up job profiling the race for the Texas state House, one of the few legislatures where the Dems are on the offensive and have a slim but legitimate shot at a flip. They've written up summaries of the 21 hottest races, all helpfully collected in one place at the link.
• SSP TV:
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias ad rolling out his biggest gun: backing from Barack Obama
• PA-Sen: Not one but two ads from Pat Toomey ads with pretzel logic about how his time on Wall Street tells him that one shouldn't bail out Wall Street
• WI-Sen: Ron Johnson ad hits Russ Feingold again for being a career politician
• TX-Gov: Bill White talks about border security
• VT-Gov: Dem group Green Mountain Future hits Brian Dubie on support for keeping local nuclear plant open
• FL-24: First Suzanne Kosmas ad hits Sandy Adams on teh crazy, especially the 17th Amendment
• GA-08: Jim Marshall ad tries to outflank Austin Scott on the right on the immigration issue
• MI-01: DCCC's 2nd IE ad goes after Dan Benishek on Social Security
• NY-25: Dan Maffei's first ad is anti-Ann Marie Buerkle, using Sarah Palin endorsement against her
• PA-06: Manan Trivedi's second ad this week focuses on his time as a military doctor
• AZ-Gov: Terry Goddard (D) 38%, Jan Brewer (R-inc) 60%
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 42%, Meg Whitman (R) 46%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 42%, Carly Fiorina (R) 47%
• KY-Sen: Jack Conway (D) 38%, Rand Paul (R) 51%
Is there any better way to start your day than with the SSP Daily Digest? There is not.
FL-Sen: Great catch by CQ's Greg Giroux, who always has some of the tastiest FEC tidbits. None other than Bob Dole (Bob Dole!) has cut a $1,000 check to Charlie Crist's senate campaign. It feels great to be writing about Bob Dole again! Bob Dole!
PA-Sen, PA-Gov, PA-08: Like some Green and teabagger candidates before them, the Libertarians have all been kicked off the statewide ballots in PA. That's because of a punitive Pennsylvania law which requires that a party which loses a challenge to its ballot status to pay the legal fees of the winner. Unsurprisingly, many minor party candidates tend to bail rather than risk a huge debt. In the same vein, indy Tom Lingenfelter also quit the race in PA-08, under intense courtroom pressure from Mike Fitzpatrick's campaign.
KY-Gov: This seems like a good get for Dem Gov. Steve Beshear: Former Lt. Gov. Steve Pence is hosting a fundraiser for the incumbent next month in Jefferson County. This is a big deal because Pence is not only a Republican, but he served as LG for the man that Beshear beat, disgraced ex-Gov. Ernie Fletcher. (Pence didn't seek re-election in 2007, and in fact had a pretty serious falling-out with Fletcher.)
AZ-08: Not something you see every day: Teabagger Jesse Kelly, hanging on in an uphill fight against establishment fave Jonathan Paton, is attacking none other than Sarah Palin, saying that the ur-Mama Grizz has been endorsing lots of front-runners (like Carly Fiorina) out of pure political calculation, and that she "needs to rehab" her image to woo independents. Paton fell all over himself trying to proclaim his Rich Lowry-like love for Palin, who in point of fact hasn't actually endorsed him. In an interesting aside, Paton's once-hot fundraising has fallen off a cliff, and Kelly actually outraised him in the pre-primary period.
OH-13: Remember how yesterday I was saying that despite the GOP's great recruitment efforts, they still have to deal with a serious structural problem - the stark raving insanity of their entire movement? Well, even prize recruit Tom Ganley is not immune. Here you have a multi-millionaire who is willing to self-fund, an extremely successful car dealer whose name is all over town, a guy who even helped police investigate the mob... and yet he pops off with statements like this: "I don't have a position on whether he's a Muslim." You can guess who he's talking about. A little while later, Ganley put out a statement trying to backtrack, but really, he's still a fucking nutter.
OH-15/16/18: Another shadowy right-wing group, a 501(c)4 with the Nixonian name "The Committee for Truth in Politics," is up to some dirty tricks, launching ads against Reps. Zack Space ($190K worth) and John Boccieri ($130K). CQ also says that a further $62K buy looks like it will be targeted against Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy. The one odd thing about this writeup is that it says the anti-Space ad buy is going up in Cleveland, but if you compare a media market map with a map of Space's district, you'll see that his CD mostly falls in a bunch of other markets, principally Columbus. I wonder what gives.
Meanwhile, also in OH-16, Republican Jim Renacci (and soon-to-be DavidNYC opponent in the race for NYC Zoning Board) has filed a lawsuit against AFSCME, which is spending $750K on an ad buy against him. Renacci is alleging the ad, which accuses him of "cheating on his income taxes," is defamatory. It's more typical to threaten the TV stations running the ad, though, as they generally are pretty pliant when it comes to removing potentially questionable third-party ads from the air. Maybe he'll try that as well.
ND-AL: Republican Rick Berg is up with his first ad of the general election campaign, which you can view here. NWOTSOTB. Rep. Earl Pomeroy already has three different ads airing.
NY-13: Wingers disgruntled with the state Conservative Party have formed a new ballot line, the Taxpayers Party. (The name reminds me a little bit of George Pataki's vanity line in 1994, the Tax Cut Now Party.) Anyhow, Michael Allegretti, himself spurned by the Conservatives, is probably the TP's biggest name so far, having just filed 5,000 signatures to get on their line. This constitutes at least some bottom-shelf cat fud, since Allegretti would stay on the line even if he loses the GOP primary. Meanwhile, if rival Mike Grimm loses the Republican nod, he'll have the Conservative line no matter what. What did I say about the Republicans never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity?
TN-03: Am I sniffing some cat fud on the horizon? Crazy Lady Robin Smith lost the GOP primary in this uber-red district by a 30-28 margin to self-funder Chuck Fleischmann, and already she's talking about running again in 2012. Smith hasn't endorsed Fleischmann, and for his part, Fleischmann says he hasn't responded to Smith's request for a reconciliation tête-à-tête. Since the only advice I like to give to Republicans is bad advice, nobody tell Fleischmann he should probably reconsider, as 30% doesn't exactly constitute a mandate. (Remember what happened to another Tennessean who barely won his primary in 2006?) Anyhow, Smith is also hoping that the district will get redrawn with a more southerly configuration, as Fleischmann did better in the northern counties. Could be messy!
Race Ratings: CQ has a cool new feature which, I admit, I'm quite envious of. A couple of years ago, James and I dreamed of creating a system which would allow SSP users to rate races as they saw fit, and then generate an "aggregate" rating across the site. Unfortunately, as a purely volunteer outfit with extremely minimal ad revenues, we simply didn't have the money for this project. But now, CQ has gone and created something very close to the tool we were hoping to build. The interface could use some improvement (right now, you have to drill down to a separate page for each race individually, and you can also only rate races that are already on their list), but it still looks pretty promising.
AK-Sen: The Tea Party Express just threw down another $90K on behalf of Joe Miller (mostly on ad buys), bringing their total spent on the race to $367K. Still, as Lisa Murkowski's fundraising reports show, they still have a pretty sizable gap to make up.
CT-Sen: Dick Blumenthal is taking the obvious tack of running against Washington, attacking both TARP (of course) and also the stimulus... but note that his critique of the stimulus is decidedly from the left. Said Blumenthal: "I believe that the stimulus was wrongly structured, because it failed to provide jobs and paychecks to ordinary Americans. It unfortunately was inadequately designed to invest in infrastructure, in roads and bridges and schools."
LA-Sen: Chet Traylor, challenging David Vitter in the GOP primary, is apparently putting all of his meager campaign cash (some $50K) into a radio ad directly slamming the incumbent for his, uh, record when it comes to women. Traylor's ad ain't shy.
NH-Sen, NH-01: Biden alert! The VPOTUS is coming to New Hampshire on September 27th to do an event for Rep. Paul Hodes's senate campaign and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter's re-election campaign.
NV-Sen: Another day, another batshit Sharron Angle quote:
People have always said - those words, 'too conservative,' is fairly relative. I'm sure that they probably said that about Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. And truly, when you look at the Constitution and our founding fathers and their writings, the things that made this country great, you might draw those conclusions: That they were conservative. They were fiscally conservative and socially conservative.
Wait, we've got some more. Back in 1993, Angle (then a member of the Independent American Party) sent a letter to Harry Reid regarding the Clinton budget. Have a look-see:
I and the majority of my fellow Nevadans are sickened by the passage of the recent huge tax increase bill. With YOUR help the quality of life in America has taken another step into the pit of economic collapse. Clinton's mother-of-all tax packages is the world's biggest tax increase ever. It increases government spending by $300 billion, increases the national debt by $1 trillion, it is retroactive to January 1, and probably the most offensive, it schedules 80 percent of the promised spending cuts to take place after the next Presidential election. What a joke, and not a very funny one at that! ...
The answer to this mess is clear. STOP FUNDING THE WASTEFUL SOCIAL AND ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS. MAKE THE DIFFICULT CHOICES THAT WILL KEEP OUR COUNTRY STRONG. THAT'S WHAT YOU WERE ELECTED TO DO!
With her mastery of ALL CAPS, Angle'd make a great comment forum troll.
WI-Sen: Wealthy teabagger and presumptive GOP senate nominee Ron Johnson is sounding a bit like Chauncey Gardner, wouldn't you say? In denying the anthropogenic nature of global warming, Johnson says: "It's far more likely that it's just sunspot activity or just something in the geologic eons of time." There will be growth in the spring!
CO-Gov: Really excellent and funny first ad from Dem John Hickenlooper - just go check it out. NWOTSOTB, unfortunately. Meanwhile, on the other side(s) of the aisle, CO GOP chair Dick Wadhams put out a statement claiming that Tom Tancredo told him he'd drop out of the gube race if Dan Maes did as well (presumably allowing for them to combine into a better candidate, Voltron-style). Maes told Tancredo to go dangle.
OH-Gov: Biden alert! The VPOTUS is visiting a Chrysler plant in Toledo on Monday, and afterwards he's going to help raise some bucks for Ted Strickland.
AZ-08: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has a new ad up attacking those who have called for a boycott of Arizona on account of SB 1070. You can see the ad here. Neighboring Rep. Raul Grijalva is taking the ad personally, since he was among those calling for "economic sanctions" against his own state. NWOTSOTB, though Grijalva claims the buy "potentially total[s] $350,000." (No idea where he got that figure from.)
Meanwhile, in the GOP primary, presumed front-runner Jonathan Paton is airing an ad attacking rival Jesse Kelly for alleged stimulus hypocrisy.
FL-25: Wow. GOP candidate David Rivera is one crazy motherf*cker. Back in 2002, while seeking election to the state House of Representatives for the first time, he ran a truck off the road because it was carrying flyers printed for his opponent, in the hopes of preventing it from reaching the post office on time. Man.
GA-12: Regina Thomas, who took 42% in her primary challenge to Rep. John Barrow earlier this year, says she wants to run as a write-in this fall. However, it seems like state law would prohibit this, though she's claiming the relevant statute wouldn't apply to her.
IN-09: You can't deny that the GOP has done a good job in general with recruitment this cycle. They have a systemic problem, though, which is that their party is fundamentally insane, and so their candidates believe - and say - a lot of fundamentally insane things. Case in point: Republican Todd Young caught on camera deriding Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme." Baron Hill uses Young's words no fewer that four times in a new attack ad that, of course, questions Young's commitment to protecting the program. NWOTSOTB.
LA-03: It's not really a surprise that the mouthbreathers running in the Republican primary in Louisiana's 3rd CD are trying to out-crazy each other. ("Repeal the 17th amendment!" "Repeal the 14th amendment!") What is a little interesting is that former state House Speaker Hunt Downer skipped the teabagger-sponsored debate where rivals Jeff Landry and Kristian Magar dueled each other to see who could shred the Constitution the fastest. Both Landry and Downer have raised real money (Magar hasn't) and are probably the main candidates.
MA-10: In a cycle where you have a guy like Rick Scott seeking office, it's pretty damn hard to be a contender for Douchebag GOP Candidate of the Year - but Jeffrey Perry is not giving up. Perry is best known for his failings as a police sergeant (he allowed an officer under his supervision to strip-search teenage girls - twice), so it's not a surprise to hear that he abused his powers in yet another way. In sworn deposition testimony, a supervisor said that Perry played "the old red light game,'' in which Perry purposely tripped a red light to catch drivers going through it, "creating motor vehicle violations." Bonus bit of petard-hoisting: The testimony was given in lawsuits brought against Perry by the very girls his subordinate mistreated.
NH-02: Dem Annie Kuster is out with her second ad of the campaign, a jobs-related spot. NWOTSOTB, but it's airing "on WMUR-Channel 9 and cable stations across New Hampshire." (WMUR is the one NH-based broadcast channel which covers the whole state.) Primary rival Katrina Swett also has a new ad of her own... and seriously, people, what is with the references to bodily functions in political advertising? First there was Stephanie Herseth Sandlin's pooping kid, now we have an entire ad devoted to bad puns based on Swett's last name? Ick.
NY-20: Another upstate Republican challenger speaks out in defense of the Cordoba House... only to quickly backtrack. Much like Richard Hanna, GOPer Chris Gibson put out a statement on Facebook, saying that "churches, synagogues and mosques should be treated the same." After a CNN piece pointed out Gibson's comment, his campaign deleted the post, and then put out a statement saying he opposes the cultural center. God, this whole non-controversy is really sickening to me, and the political spinelessness it's led to is just revolting.
NY-24: Rep. Mike Arcuri just filed 7,300 signatures for his new "NY Moderates" ballot line (he needed 3,500). As we noted when we first mentioned this story, Arcuri doesn't have a second ballot line to run on (he was denied the endorsement of both the Working Families Party and the Independence Party), so this is his attempt to make up ground.
OH-16: So of course GOPer Jim Renacci has come out against the Cordoba House (which wags have amusingly dubbed the "Burlington Coat Factory Mosque"). Frosh Rep. John Boccieri had a great response:
[If Renacci] wants to run for the zoning commission in New York City, I'll be more than happy to pay his filing fee.
AND I WILL FUCKING RUN AGAINST HIM! If only it were actually an elected position. (Eh, it's probably a good thing that it isn't.)
SC-02: It's Miller Time - finally. Dem Rob Miller, who has a huge pile of cash on hand, is going up with his first ad of the election campaign. The spot (which you can view here) features Miller's fellow Marines describing their commander's leadership during the battle for control of Fallujah. NWOTSOTB. Rep. Joe Wilson also has an ad up, apparently only on cable.
TN-06: Lou Ann Zelenik, who trailed Diane Black by just a tiny margin in the GOP primary on election night, has more or less conceded. Interestingly, Black's husband had filed a lawsuit against Zelenik over a TV ad late in the campaign, and Zelenik's statement basically asks Black to drop the case. Though Zelenik says she "congratulates" Black on her victory, I wonder if she's holding out a formal endorsement in exchange for a dismissal.
VA-05: Earlier in the digest, I was bemoaning the lack of political courage we've mostly seen in the Cordoba House "debate." Well, I'm not sure if there's a more courageous dude in the House these days than Tom Perriello, who, among other things, unflinchingly keeps attending town halls, no matter how hostile the attendees are. Facing yet another tough crowd, here's how he rose to the occasion:
"Let me start by saying, I cannot imagine wanting the government to be able to tell me and my faith community where we can build a house of worship on private property," Perriello said. "... I have opinions on whether it's a good idea or not, but ... compared to the importance of solving the economy right now... this is a distraction of what our biggest priorities should be."
The crowd overwhelmingly applauded his answer.
A lot of Democrats could learn a lot from this man.
Via Greg Giroux, AFSCME is up with a new ad today hitting Republican hopeful Jim Renacci, who is challenging first-term Dem Rep. John Boccieri, on the issue of Renacci's support for a 23% sales tax:
And we definitely have some word on the size of the buy:
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE COUNTY AN - C90011172
1. Opposes Candidate: James B Renacci (H0OH16097)
Office Sought: House of Representatives, Ohio District 16
Date Expended = 08/09/2010 Amount Expended = $750000.00
Purpose: TV ads Totally Unacceptable Deadbeat
That's a monstrously huge buy for this time of year, and there's no word on whether that money is being spread out over multiple weeks or multiple ads. Boccieri is pretty high on the list of vulnerable Ohio Dems this cycle, so it's nice to see AFSCME try to get out and define Renacci before he can define himself.
• Idaho: The numbers from Idaho's primary election last night that everyone is focused on is state Rep. Raul Labrador's somewhat surprising victory over Vaughn Ward in ID-01, by a 48-39 margin. This means that the NRCC-preferred, Sarah Palin-endorsed candidate lost... although given the way Ward's wheels fell off over the last few weeks, Republicans may be breathing a sigh of relief. Not that Labrador may turn out that well either, as he's poorly-funded and apparently not a favorite of the local establishment (as he's tight with ex-Rep. Bill Sali). Democratic freshman Rep. Walt Minnick may actually be feeling... dare I say it... confident going into November?
ID-02 had some eyebrow-raising numbers too, consistent with mediocre primary performances from establishment incumbents on both sides of the aisle in previous months; Rep. Mike Simpson -- not exactly a moderate, but certainly not the flamethrower you'd expect in such a dark-red district - had an unexpectedly rough time in the GOP primary, winning against Chick Heileson only 58-24. And incumbent GOP governor Butch Otter, who'd looked dominant in polling, got a teabagging of his own, scoring only 55% while rancher Rex Rammell (the only guy around with a name even manlier than "Butch Otter") got 25%, as apparently there was a lot of resentment on the right over Otter's failed attempt to raise the state gas tax. Dem nominee Keith Allred has a fundraising lead over Otter and good bipartisan credentials as former head of group Common Interest; combined with Otter's underperformance in the primary, that leaves us thinking Allred might have a legitimate shot here.
• CA-Sen: Anti-abortion group the Susan B. Anthony List (whom you might remember from their involvement in the WV-01 Dem primary) is getting involved in California, in support of Carly Fiorina. They're spending $215K in IEs, as Fiorina opposes the pro-choice Tom Campbell in the GOP primary.
• IN-Sen: The spotlight is starting to turn back toward Dan Coats' lobbying past, with state Democrats demanding that Coats disclose a full list of his lobbying clients. Coats (who worked for law firm King & Spaulding as a lobbyist) is citing attorney-client privilege as a reason for keeping mum, although recent court cases have made clear that the privilege doesn't extend to lobbying activities.
• KY-Sen: No matter how pure you try to be, someone's always going to be more pure than you: dissatisfied with Rand Paul's sops to Republican orthodoxy, the Libertarian Party is saying that they're planning to run a candidate against him in November. They're accusing Paul of having deviated from the Libertarian line on social issues and foreign policy. Meanwhile, the Paul camp's emergency retooling continues apace; he's hired Jesse Benton as his new campaign manager (to replace David Adams, who was the behind-the-scenes equivalent of Some Dude). Benton's not a GOP establishment figure, though; he was the communications director for the 2008 Ron Paul presidential campaign.
• NV-Sen: The feathers are flying in the Nevada GOP primary, where the Club for Growth is taking aim at the very large target on Sue Lowden's back, hitting her for voting to raise taxes while in the state Senate and her previous support for Harry Reid. The CfG, of course, endorsed opponent Sharron Angle last week.
• CA-Gov: MoveOn co-founder Peter Schurman apparently got tired of polling at 1% in the Democratic primary, and ended his recently-launched bid against Jerry Brown. Seeming satisfied that Brown has been stepping up his game lately, he threw his backing to Brown.
• FL-Gov: It's looking like insiders are realizing that Bill McCollum screwed up by letting wealthy health care magnate Rick Scott run rampant on their airwaves for the last month, letting him get a major foothold in the GOP primary. Now rumors suggest that an unnamed independent group is about to start a major advertising blitz on McCollum's behalf, to try and level the playing field.
• NV-Gov: The most recent batch of polls have shown incumbent GOP governor Jim Gibbons down but not out in the Republican primary. But with the primary only a few weeks away, this new poll from the RGA by POS looks like Gibbons is in too deep a hole to dig out of: Brian Sandoval is at 50, with Gibbons at 27 and Mike Montandon at 11.
• NY-Gov: It's convention time in New York, and now that Andrew Cuomo isn't playing coy any more, his first order of business is picking a running mate. He's chosen Rochester mayor Robert Duffy for the position. Duffy will still need to win his own primary, though, before getting joined to the ticket (a la Scott Lee Cohen in Illinois). Cuomo also got welcome news from the Independence Party: he'll be getting that centrist third party's line on the ballot in November. (The IP backed Eliot Spitzer last time, but rich weirdo Tom Golisano three times before that.)
• OH-01: In the War of the Steves, Republican ex-Rep. Steve Chabot is out with a poll giving himself a substantial lead over freshman Democratic Rep. Steve Driehaus. The poll by POS gives Chabot a 53-39 lead. That's actually a smaller Chabot lead than that notorious Firedoglake poll from January, but regardless, Driehaus is going to need huge African-American turnout in Cincinnati if he's going to pull this out.
• OH-16: If that wasn't enough, there's also a Republican poll of the 16th giving a significant lead to Jim Renacci, who has a 47-35 lead over fellow Democratic freshman Rep. John Boccieri. The press release touts this as an independent poll, but it was conducted by Republican pollster Fabrizio, McClaughlin, & Associates, and it was paid for by the innocuous-sounding U.S. Citizens Association who, if you go to their website, have a major ax to grind over health care reform (for which Boccieri was a 'no' to 'yes' vote).
• TN-06: Illegal immigration isn't the kind of issue you'd expect to take center stage in rural Tennessee, but in the race to succeed retiring Bart Gordon, the two main GOP contestants are trying to outflank each other to the right on the issue. State Sen. Jim Tracy is accusing state Sen. Diane Black of trying to water down legislation requiring local authorities to report the arrest of illegal immigrants to ICE.
• Polltopia: Jonathan Chait joins the chorus of Rasmussen doubters, pointing nicely to Rasmussen's role in the cycle of right-wing epistemic closure. Nate Silver also an interesting tidbit that promises to be part of a forthcoming larger revamping of his pollster ratings, one that seems likely not to see Rasmussen in as positive a light as his previous ratings: he finds that while Rasmussen was OK in 2004 and 2006, its performance in 2000 was way off, as they missed seven states, with a Republican bias of 3.5%.
• CA-Sen: Good news for Tom Campbell, in the form of the Senate half of M4's poll of the California GOP primary: he leads Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore, 33-28-15. (Of course, with his plans to briefly go dark to conserve funds, that gives Fiorina a chance to play catchup when the margin's not that big.) Bad news for Campbell, though: the NRA has him in its metaphorical crosshairs, sending out a mailer to members attacking Campbell and, while not endorsing, offering kind words for Fiorina and DeVore.
• CT-Sen: This is going to make it a lot easier for Richard Blumenthal to make the case that the "in Vietnam" controversy is something of a cheap shot. A longer-form video release of the appearance (provided, ironically, by the Linda McMahon campaign, undercutting their own hatchet job) where the offending phrase occurred have him correctly referring to having "served in the military, during the Vietnam era" in the very same speech. That's not stopping Vietnam vet Rob Simmons, who, sensing an opening, has rolled out web advertising with "Blumenthal Lied About Vietnam" in very large letters.
Blumenthal is getting more explicit backing from Democratic bigwigs now, as his mea culpa/attempt to get back on the offense seems to have had the desired effect. Rep. Chris Murphy, the likeliest guy to pick up the pieces if Blumenthal had to bail out, offered his unqualified support; so too did Howard Dean. And here's one thing that's actually good about Rasmussen's one-day, no-callback samples: they can strike fast. They polled Connecticut, and while the trendlines aren't appealing, they find Blumenthal still beating McMahon even in the heat of the moment before the story has had time to digest, and beating the other, unmoneyed GOP opponents by pretty wide margins. Markos has some really nice pushback against Rasmussen in general, today, asking why they always poll quickly when there's the potential for a good Republican narrative but not when the narrative doesn't fit (as seen in their failure to poll the Sorta Super-Tuesday primaries).
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist has been trying to woo union support, starting with a speech at the state AFL-CIO convention this weekend. It's another indication that he's trying to move squarely onto Kendrick Meek's turf and monopolize as much of the left-of-center vote as he can, now that he's free from his GOP shackles. Meanwhile, quixotic Democratic candidate Jeff Greene has apparently been seen wooing Ukrainian strippers, in 2005 on his 145-foot yacht while cruising the Black Sea. Not so, claims his campaign spokesperson; he was busy traveling with his rabbi at the time instead.
• KY-Sen: In case you needed one more data point on how thin-skinned Rand Paul and how likely a meltdown from him is at some point before November, here's an anecdote from last night: he refused to take the customary concession call from Trey Grayson, at least according to the Grayson camp.
• NC-Sen: Here's a big score for Elaine Marshall: Third-place finisher Kenneth Lewis gave his backing to Marshall in her runoff against Cal Cunningham. This move isn't so surprising, given that Lewis's supporters, like Rep. Eva Clayton, were already gravitating toward Marshall, but it ought to steer much of Lewis's African-American and youth base in her direction as well.
• NV-Sen: Three items, all of which are very, very bad for Sue Lowden. First, the Club for Growth finally weighed into the Senate primary, and they backed right-winger Sharron Angle (maybe not that surprising, since they backed her in the 2006 primary for NV-02). That ought to give Angle a further shot of adrenaline, though, on top of her Tea Party Express endorsement and polling momentum. Lowden is also still bogged down in controversy over her luxury bus, doubling-down on her claims that use of the $100K vehicle was leased despite also having stated elsewhere that the bus was "donated" (which means it would have needed to be reported as an in-kind contribution). That's nothing, though, compared to the (by my count) quintupling-down on Chickens-for-Checkups, simultaneously trying to fight top Nevada journo Jon Ralston on the fact that, yes, people are bartering for health care while trying to claim that she never actually said anything about Chickencare at all.
• NY-Sen-B: The only GOP big name left who hadn't said anything definitive about participating in the GOP Senate primary for the right to get creamed by Kirsten Gillibrand finally said a public "no." Orange County Executive Ed Diana said he'll stick with his current job, to which he was elected in November to a third term.
• UT-Sen: Looks like that teabaggers' victory in Utah might be short-lived. Bob Bennett seems to be more interested than before in running as a write-in in the general (where, despite the complex dynamics of a write-in campaign, he faces better odds with the broader electorate than with the narrow slice of extremists running the GOP convention). We may know tomorrow what his plans are, as he emphasized "Stay tuned tomorrow."
• WA-Sen: If Dino Rossi really is still interested in running for Senate, this isn't a particularly good way of showing it. Rossi is scheduled to make a blockbuster appearance on May 25... to give opening remarks at a dinnertime seminar for local real estate investors focusing on strategies for profiting off foreclosures. Because nothing says "I'm a man of the people" than knowing all the ins and outs of how to profit off the people's misery.
• AL-Gov: Artur Davis is out with an internal poll, that seems mostly oriented toward countering the sense that he's losing ground among his African-American base. The poll shows Davis leading Democratic primary rival Ron Sparks 46-33. It also shows Davis leading 50-25 among African-Americans (despite the defections of some prominent local black groups), while trailing Sparks 42-41 among whites.
• FL-Gov: Bill McCollum is going to have to start taking moneybags Rick Scott seriously, and he's striking hard, sending out a press release calling him an "embarrassment" and a "fraud," presumably in reference to allegations leveled against Scott's health care firm. Scott's ginormous introductory ad buy is now estimating at $6.3 million.
• KS-Gov: Sam Brownback is drawing some heat for taking things out of context. Now, politicians take things out of context all the time, but his sleight-of-hand in attempting to fight efforts to more tightly regulate the business of car loans to military members may be a fridge too far.
"CNN Money on May 13 reported that 'Raj Date ... agreed that the additional (Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection) regulation might cause some dealers to stop arranging loans," Brownback said in the letter.
But Brownback's letter did not include the rest of Date's comment, which was this, "There will be some dealers who say, 'If I have to play by an honest set [of] rules, then I can't be in this business anymore.' I'm not going to shed any tears for these dealers."
• MA-Gov: You may recall last week's Rasmussen MA-Gov poll where, in an effort to find some sort of good news, they found that, if liberal activist Grace Ross somehow beat incumbent Dem Deval Patrick in the primary, she would lost to GOPer Charlie Baker. Well, it's looking like Ross is in danger of not even making it onto the ballot. The state SoS says she has only a little more than half of the 10,000 signatures she needs; Ross promises an announcement tomorrow morning on her next step. (The upside for Patrick, if Ross qualifies for the primary though, would be $750K in public financing for his campaign, which he wouldn't be entitled to if he were running unopposed.)
• ME-Gov: There's been some ongoing controversy in the sleepy Maine governor's race about how Republican candidate Steve Abbott (former CoS to Susan Collins) wound up with GOP voter lists, but this is a strange turn: the state Republican party chair, Charlie Webster, is now saying that Abbott's camp flat-out "stole" it.
• GA-09: The special election to replace Nathan Deal (where GOPers Tom Graves and Lee Hawkins are in a runoff) seems to have winnowed the Republican field for the regularly-scheduled GOP primary, too. Former state Senate majority leader Bill Stephens has dropped out of contention in that field.
• HI-01: Even if something incredibly dramatic happens between now and Saturday's drop-dead date in the special election in the 1st, things are still pretty much cast in stone. In the all-mail in election, now 43% of all ballots sent out have been returned.
• IN-03: State Sen. Marlin Stutzman (whose name rec is sky-high right now after running fairly well in the GOP Senate primary against Dan Coats) says that he's going to strike while the iron is hot, and get into the race to replace resigning Rep. Mark Souder. Other GOPers confirming that they'll run include state Rep. Randy Borror, Ft. Wayne city councilor Liz Brown, and recent primary loser Phil Troyer. Another recent primary loser, Bob Thomas, is a potential candidate.
• OH-16: After having found an excuse to hide behind the door the last time Barack Obama came to Ohio, Rep. John Boccieri was proudly with him when he visited Youngstown yesterday. Perhaps he can sense a bit of a turning of the tide? Troublingly, though, Senate candidate Lee Fisher wasn't present.
• PA-12: PPP digs through the data from their last pre-election poll in the 12th and finds what may really have done the Republicans in. There's one entity in the district even more unpopular than Barack Obama (who had 30% approval), and that's Congressional Republicans, who were at a miserable 22/60. In nationalizing the election, Tim Burns tied himself to the nation's least favorite people of all.
• PA-19: After having surviving his primary last night despite publicly seeking another job, it looks like Rep. Todd Platts exposed himself to all that danger for no reason at all. Platts announced yesterday that the Obama administration had let him know that he wasn't going to be selected for the Government Accountability Office job he'd been angling for.
• CT-AG: Here's one of the weirdest career crash-and-burns I've seen lately: SoS Susan Bysiewicz went in a few months from likely next Governor to somehow not even eligible to run for the lower-tier job she dropped down to. Connecticut's Supreme Court unanimously ruled that she didn't meet the criteria for legal experience required to become AG, reversing a lower court's decision. Former Democratic state Sen. George Jepsen now has the AG job pretty much to himself. At any rate, with Bysiewicz now combing the "Help Wanted" section, that gives the Connecticut Dems a fallback plan for the Senate if Richard Blumenthal does need to bail out (although Bysiewicz may be seriously damaged at this point too).
• OR-St. House: Here are a couple races with interesting implications that I forgot to watch last night: two Republican state Reps. from the high-desert parts of Oregon (the state's Republican stronghold) committed the unthinkable heresy of not only bipartisanship but supporting tax increases to close the state's budget gap. Both Bob Jenson and Greg Smith survived their primaries, though, after teabaggers, right-to-lifers, and even their state House minority leader turned their wrath against them.
• Arizona: One other election result from last night that most people, us included, seemed to overlook was Proposition 100 in Arizona. In a surprise, at least to those people who think that it's a rabidly anti-tax year (which would be those people who didn't pay any attention to Measures 66 and 67 earlier this year in Oregon), the people of this red state voted by a fairly wide margin for a temporary sales tax increase as part of a package of changes to close the budget gap. It's a victory for Jan Brewer, actually, who backed the plan (perhaps feeling safer to do so, having solidified her position with her support for the "papers please" law).
• 1994: When you have a wave, a lot of dead wood washes up on the beach. Prompted by '94 alum Mark Souder's mini-scandal and resignation, Dana Milbank looks back at the wide array of scoundrels and rogues who were swept in in 1994.
• History: History's only barely on the side of Blanche Lincoln when it comes to runoffs. It turns out that the person who finishes first in a runoff wins 72% of the time, but when that's limited only to runoffs in primaries, the success rate is only 55%... and Lincoln's victory over Bill Halter last night was a particularly close one.
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio seemed to beat Charlie Crist to the punch on calling for repeal of the health care reform bill passed over the weekend, but now the allegedly-moderate Crist is getting in on the act too, saying he opposes the entire bill and supports the lawsuit by Republican AGs (including Florida's Bill McCollum) against the package.
• KY-Sen: I really can't decide who I'd rather have in my corner. Rand Paul has the backing of lots of crackpots with computers and open wallets, as he had another online moneybomb yesterday to the tune of $262K. Trey Grayson, on the other hand, has the backing of establishment favorite... Dick Cheney?
• NY-Sen, NY-Sen-B: Earlier in the day, there were rumors that the state GOP in New York was desperately trying to get someone from the GOP field against Kirsten Gillibrand (which doesn't have any top-tier talent, but at least has a bunch of warm bodies) to switch over to the even more unenviable task of facing off against Chuck Schumer, where they've got nobody. Their favored candidate for that job seemed to be former Bush spokesperson Dan Senor. Maybe that rubbed Senor the wrong way, or maybe there's more to the story, but either way, that changed by mid-day today, as Senor suddenly said he not only wasn't running against Schumer but not running for anything, period, saying the timing wasn't right for him. (Well, maybe they'll have better luck getting David Malpass to switch over.)
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): More up-and-down numbers from Franklin & Marshall this month, as their latest look at the Senate race finds Pat Toomey beating Arlen Specter 33-29 among RVs. Last month, Specter (currently at a terrible 30/45 favorable) led by the same 33-29 margin. (Recall that for the last couple months, F&M was releasing separate numbers for RVs and LVs. They seem to have dropped that unwieldy formulation in favor of RVs only, for now.) They find Toomey beating Joe Sestak 27-19 in the general, Specter beating Sestak 32-12, and in the forgotten GOP primary, Toomey defeating pro-life activist Peg Luksik 30-4. They do only the primaries in the slow-to-take-shape Governor's race, finding Dan Onorato leading among Dems at 11, followed by Jack Wagner at 7, Joe Hoeffel at 5, and Anthony Williams at 4. Tom Corbett leads state Rep. Sam Rohrer 28-4 on the GOP side.
• UT-Sen: Last night was caucus night in Utah, where precincts chose delegates to the state convention which may or may not be Bob Bennett's Waterloo. It's hard to gauge, at this point, how things turned out for Bennett last night; the convention, which will determine whether he can avoid (or even make it to) a primary will be real proof. With filings closed in Utah, Democrats left a lot of seats unchallenged in the dark-red legislature, leaving 15 of 75 House seats and 2 of 15 Senate seats without Ds.
• WA-Sen: Dino Rossi was spotted in DC yesterday to meet with Michael Steele about a possible Senate run. He isn't expected to make a decision until close to the June 11 primary, though (which seems odd, since he'd be basically starting from scratch at that point to go against Patty Murray's mammoth war chest).
• IL-10: Bob Dold doesn't need this. Turns out that Dold, who cozied up to the teabaggers in his primary run and touted his opposition to abortion (in order to squeak past moderate state Rep. Beth Coulson), has turned on a dime and is now calling himself "pro-choice" and "a fiscal conservative and social moderate" in order to run against Dan Seals in the general in this D+6 district.
• MA-10: Republican flavor-of-the-month Scott Brown has weighed in on the GOP primary in the open seat in the 10th, not coincidentally the district where he fared the best in the special election. And he chose new over old, opting for state Rep. Jeff Perry instead of long-ago state Treasurer Joe Malone.
• MI-01: Connie Saltonstall's primary challenge to Bart Stupak may have lost some of its raison d'etre over the weekend, but it's still proceeding full speed ahead with some new supporters that may be able to make it rain money for her: Planned Parenthood and NARAL's PACs. NOW had previously endorsed Saltonstall as well.
• NJ-12: Scott Sipperelle, the random businessman running against Rush Holt in the D+5 12th, apparently has money to burn as he's already hitting the TV airwaves, with an ad blasting Holt for his health care vote. It's a cable buy, though (in case you were having visions of him blanketing the NYC and Philly markets), so it could be a tiny expenditure aimed at getting free media for all we know.
• SD-AL: Even with Scott Hildebrand having folded his hand quickly on a threatened Stephanie Herseth Sandlin primary challenge, it sounds like another less-known Dem is getting in on it. Rapid City doctor Kevin Weiland is sounding out a run.
• VA-05: "We've given the word 'mob' a bad name." The gas line at the Perriello household was mysteriously cut, after Rep. Tom Perriello's gutsy HCR vote. Um, oooops... that was the Bo Perriello household, as several local teabaggers mistakenly posted the Congressman's brother's address on their websites and urged protesters to stop by for a friendly visit. The guy who posted the address (and refused to take it down after finding out it was the wrong Perriello) is now publicly "shocked" that one of his ilk would resort to violence. Oh, and the FBI is investigating. Tom Perriello, on the other hand, displayed only sangfroid, saying "If the worst thing that happens is that special-interest groups spend millions of dollars against me and my most ardent opponents organize against me, it's hardly a 'cry me a river' moment - as long as people act civil and within the law."
• WV-01: In the choice between conservadem and even-more-conservadem in the Democratic primary in the 1st, it's becoming pretty clear which one is which: state GOP chair Douglas McKinney praised Alan Mollohan's opponent state Sen. Mike Oliverio, saying he "has always been a conservative guy. He votes with the Republican on committees. We've joked for years he needs to come over to the party who thinks like he does."
• HCR: Are some of the saner GOP members of Congress starting to come to their senses as the fog of war starts to dissipate? (Or are they just seeing the shift in the polls and engaging in some pre-emptive ass-covering?) The oft-blustery Rep. Pete King is urging his fellow GOPers to "get constructive" and "stop demonizing" health care reform and the Dems. And Chuck Grassley, almost single-handedly responsible for bogging the bill down and giving legs to the "Death Panel" lie in the August of Dems' discontent, is now happily talking up his own positive contributions to the bill, regarding tax-exempt hospitals.
• DNC: The DNC is wheeling out a seven-figure budget for running ads in the wake of health care's passage. It's two-pronged, with attack ads against vulnerable Republicans who voted "no" (I guess the "voted no" part is redundant): Mark Kirk, Jim Gerlach, Dave Reichert, Mike Castle, and Joe Cao. And "thank you" ads are planned for vulnerable Dems, tentatively including John Boccieri, Dennis Cardoza, Brad Ellsworth, Paul Hodes, Tim Walz, Bob Etheridge, Tom Perriello, Leonard Boswell, Betsy Markey, and Gerry Connolly.
• SARAH's List: Shortly after tweeting for her supporters not to retreat, but RELOAD, Sarah Palin's website posted a map with gunsights targeting 20 Representatives for her supporters to shoot. Or to work to defeat for re-election, I suppose. It's pretty much all the districts that went for McCain in 2008 and where there was a "yes" on HCR, without much regard for the race's actual vulnerability or whether it's an open seat: AR-02, AZ-01, AZ-05, AZ-08, CO-03, CO-04, FL-02, FL-24, IN-08, IN-09, ND-AL, OH-06, OH-16, PA-03, PA-10, SC-05, TN-06, VA-05, WV-01, and WV-03.
• Teabaggers: Quinnipiac released another poll showing the peril and promise of the teabagger movement for the GOP, as seen in the contrast between the basic generic ballot (44 R, 39 D) and one with a third-party element thrown in (36 D, 25 R, 15 T). Various commenters, like Ed Kilgore and TPM's Zachary Roth are paying close attention to the poll, wondering, as they've done in the past, if there really even is a new-and-different "Tea Party" movement or if it's just a new name for the most-extreme, riled-up part of the Republican Party that's always been there (through the militia movements of the 90s and the Birchers of the 60s).
• NRCC: The NRCC claims to have pulled in $7 million last night at their annual fundraising dinner. That's a lot of scratch, but bear in mind much of that's in "pledges," mostly from House members, some of whom haven't had a good track record of helping the NRCC in the past.
• Census: Two neat Census-related maps worth checking out. One is a constantly-updated real-time map at the Census website which shows the response rates by state and municipality so far. (While the national return rate so far is 16%, the best municipality return rate so far is the civic minded folks of Westside, Iowa at 74%. And despite the popular image of it being full of paranoid militia types living in the hills who would rather use fiat money than fill out a Census form, Montana has the best return rate of any state, at 33%.) The other map is much sadder, courtesy of the Prison Policy Initiative: it shows state-by-state how much distortion of districts occurs through the counting of prisoners where they're incarcerated rather than where they're actually from.
AR-Sen: The chair of the Arkansas branch of the NAACP is taking issue with his organization's "A" rating for Blanche Lincoln. Rightly pointing out a methodological flaw that all such interest group "scorecards" share, Dale Charles doesn't like that Lincoln gets credit for voting "yes" on healthcare reform despite her endless footdragging and her successful effort to block the public option.
KY-Sen: No surprise: Kentucky AG Jack Conway, a healthcare reform supporter, is refusing to join the coalition of Grandstanding Attorneys General United in Stupidity (GAG-US) - see Florida bullet below for more on what I'm talking about. Conway specifically decried the waste of taxpayer dollars and knocked Treasurer SoS Trey Grayson for playing "tea party politics."
MA-Sen: Oy. It looks like the chair of the MA Dem Party sent a tweet to Rachel Maddow, feeling her out about a run against Scott Brown in 2012. Thing is, it looks like John Walsh meant to send a private "direct message" but instead sent a public tweet (his note included his cell phone number). Brown's campaign jumped all over this and sent out a fundraising email trying to scare supporters with the possibility of a Maddow run. No word if she's actually interested.
NV-Sen: Harry Reid is hitting Sue Lowden hard and early - and since she's just one of 13 (!) Republicans vying to take him on, you have to wonder why. The Las Vegas Sun thinks it's because Reid figures Lowden has the best chance to emerge as the GOP nominee and wants to soften her up early. He might also perversely be increasing her chances to win her party's nod, since Reid is so hated among Republicans that his attacks might boost her cred. The Sun also notes that labor has it in for Lowden, so Reid may be playing to them as well.
OH-Sen: Another Republican comes out in favor of repealing healthcare reform, former Bush budget director Rob Portman. But at the same time, NRSC chair John Cornyn is already walking back the "repeal it!" mantra, even though he, like Portman, previously called for Total Repeal. I wouldn't be surprised to see this entire line of attack fade over the next several months.
WI-Sen/OH-16: Russ Feingold should send a thank-you card to Rep. John Boccieri, who landed a nice blow on Crypt Keeper Tommy Thompson the other day during the debate on the healthcare bill. Thompson has been attacking healthcare reform for constituting "government-controlled healthcare" (eyeroll), but Boccieri pointed out on the House floor that his Republican colleagues voted to send Thompson to Iraq "with a billion dollar checks in hand to make sure that every man, woman and child in Iraq had universal health care coverage."
FL-Gov: Hah, just perfect. Bill McCollum is leading the crusade of delusional state attorneys general who are trying to get healthcare reform declared unconstitutional. (Good luck with that.) The best part is that McCollum evidently thinks his own employees aren't up to the task, since he's hired an old crony who he used to work with in a private DC law firm. Alex Sink is blasting Billy Mac for wasting taxpayer money on a frivolous lawsuit, and of course for tossing some coin his former partner's way.
DE-AL: A good hit from the DCCC press shop: In 2007, potential Republican House candidate Michelle Rollins was elected to the board of a bank which received a $330 million in bailout funds. This bank, Wilmington Trust, has not repaid the bailout money, but it did find a way to reward its executives with $31.5 million in bonuses - including the aforementioned Rollins, whose 2009 compensation more than quadrupled over previous years.
FL-25: Right-wing radio host Paul Crespo says he's going to seek the Republican nod in this open seat. (Recall that Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart is trying to switch districts, running for the 21st CD, which his brother Lincoln is leaving vacant.) A fascinating tidbit from that article: "Also in the running for the seat are three Miami-Dade County residents, Democrat Luis A. Rivera, Whig party candidate Craig Porter and nonpartisan candidate Marili Cancio." Emphasis definitely fucking added!
MI-01: Some Dude challenging Bart Stupak as a Republican says he's raked in $50K in the wake of Stupak's alleged "betrayal" of anti-choicers with his healthcare reform vote.
NJ-03: Teabagger Justin Murphy says he's going to take on former NFL tackle John Runyan in the GOP primary, despite (or perhaps because of) Runyan sewing up the endorsement of all the county Republican organizations. Apparently, there's an actual Tea Party out in Jersey (or at least in Burlington County), and they've given Murphy their nod.
NY-13: Attorney Stephen Harrison is considering a rematch against Rep. Mike McMahon in the Democratic primary, citing McMahon's vote against healthcare reform. Harrison ran for this seat in 2006 without any establishment backing, taking 43% against Vito Fossella - the best any Dem had done under the district's current lines. Harrison ran a second time in 2008, but when Fossella announced his retirement in disgrace, Dems cast about for a stronger candidate and settled on then-councilman Mike McMahon. Harrison was nonplussed and stayed in the race, getting crushed 75-25 in the primary. Labor is also pissed at McMahon, and the WFP has said he won't get their line, but they haven't said whether they'll support a primary challenge against him. Harrison said he has no timeframe for making a decision.
PA-15: After months of staying mum on the subject (and suffering quite a few blows as a result), Dem John Callahan finally came out in favor of the healthcare reform bill which the president signed into law yesterday. Really, though, waffling is the worst thing you can do. Either come out loud-and-proud, or run against it.
TX-19: Pretty pathetic, really: GOP Rep. Randy Neugebauer, who yelled "Baby killer!" at Bart Stupak on the House floor before Sunday's healthcare vote, is now trying to use his outburst to raise campaign cash. Neugebauer's Democratic opponent, Andy Wilson, calls him out for the cheap stunt and rightly says he's just trying to ape the disgusting behavior of Joe "You lie!" Wilson.
UT-02: Rep. Jim Matheson scores some pretty good job approval ratings in a new Deseret News poll conducted by Dan Jones & Associates. Among 2nd CD constituents, he sports a 57-39 approval.
VA-05: Apparently, Virgil Goode's fundraiser this Thursday for state Sen. Rob Hurt isn't an endorsement. In fact, Goode's done events for three other Republicans in the race and has still another planned for next week. What a guy!
WV-01: State Sen. Mike Oliverio, challenging Rep. Alan Mollohan in the Dem primary, is playing dumb as to whether he, like Mollohan, would have voted in favor of healthcare reform. Oliverio claims he has "not had a chance to read the bill, as it is still fresh in its printing." Of course, the bill the House passed on Sunday night was the same bill that the Senate passed in... December, and the electrons at thomas.loc.gov dried some time ago. Anyhow, this posturing confirms rumors we've heard that Oliverio is going to run to Mollohan's right. If that's the case, here's hoping he tanks miserably.
Census: CNET has an awesome photographic roundup of equipment used to tabulate the census, dating back to 1890, the first time the Census Bureau started using mechanical equipment. Great punch-card generation eye candy.
DNC: The DNC claims it's raised a million bucks since healthcare reform was signed, "without even asking."
NRCC: Two vile tastes that taste vile together: Sean Hannity and the National Republican Congressional Committee. His Hannityness just did a DC fundraiser last night for the NRCC which took in $7 million, topping the $6 million haul for last year's event.
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov: There have been rumors about this before that didn't pan out, but based on the amount of chatter out there, it's seeming very likely all of a sudden: ex-Rep. Tom Campbell sounds poised to drop his gubernatorial bid (where he's been polling well, but is way financially outgunned) and move over to the Senate race. He sounds likely to announce this on Thursday, seeing as how he has said he will be appearing at a Los Angeles County GOP event then, but "not as a candidate for Governor." Weirdly, this could wind up helping Assemblyman Chuck DeVore in the Senate primary, as Campbell was one of three ostensible moderates (with no right-winger) in the Governor's race, but now Campbell and Carly Fiorina will be splitting the moderate vote in the Senate primary, potentially letting ultra-conservative DeVore crash the gate.
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio has been winning his fair share of county GOP straw polls lately, but this one was more eagerly awaited than most, because it's Charlie Crist's home county. Rubio continues his winning streak, winning the straw poll in moderate-leaning Pinellas County (home of St. Petersburg) by a 106-54 margin.
• IL-Sen: This seems like a good get for David Hoffman, as he seeks to make up some ground on Alexi Giannoulias in the Senate primary: he got the Dem primary endorsements of both Chicago's major papers, the Tribune and Sun-Times (although getting the endorsement of the more conservative and anti-machine Tribune doesn't seem odd for Hoffman, given his reformist message). On the GOP side, Rep. Mark Kirk got an endorsement from one of his fellow moderates from the state delegation, downstate Rep. Timothy Johnson.
• MA-Sen: If you were thinking, in the wake of a couple good polls in Massachusetts, that it was safe to unbuckle your seatbelt and resume walking around the cabin, guess again. Republican state Sen. Scott Brown, taking a page from the Paulists, used the one-day "moneybomb" technique to good effect, raking in $1.1 million and basically ensuring he'll be able to stay on the air up until Election Day. Brown has yet another TV spot up on the air, in response to Coakley's first negative ad; Brown's firing back with the ol' "tsk, tsk on you for going negative" approach. Between the contradictory polls, Brown's fundraising, and other signs of life (like a Boston Herald endorsement for Brown - although that's not a surprise from the conservative Herald), the Beltway Dems have decided to leave nothing to chance, and are getting more involved, as the DNC is sending in some ground troops, and the DSCC is ponying up for $567K for more ad time for Coakley - meaning, in its own way, that the GOP already won a moral victory here by getting the DSCC to pry open its checkbook.
• NH-Sen: I don't know if anyone really cares one lick about what former Vice-President Dan Quayle is up to these days, but he popped up long enough to endorse Ovide Lamontagne in the GOP Senate primary in New Hampshire. Meanwhile, wealthy businessman Bill Binnie is tapping his own personal money to get a head start on the ad wars in the NH primary, with an introductory bio spot.
• NV-Sen: For a while there, it was looking like Harry Reid was even starting to have some trouble within his caucus, as Russ Feingold publicly criticized Reid yesterday over his insensitive language regarding Barack Obama, wondering out loud if he should continue as Majority Leader. Feingold dialed it back a little today, though, saying that he supports Reid staying on it that role. With Chris Cillizza today joining many other pundits in wondering if the fork is ready to be stuck in Reid, there comes word (buried in a longer Politico story), via anonymous sources, of a "a whisper campaign in Nevada that it would be possible for him to step aside and find someone else who could win."
• NY-Sen-B: Ex-Rep. Harold Ford Jr. is beating the Senate drum a little louder today, saying in a New York Post (interesting choice of venue) that he's "strongly considering" the race. In an interview with Chris Mathews, he also had his version of the "Ich bin ein Berliner" moment, enunciating that "I am a New Yorker, I am a New Yorker." (Although I believe, in the local dialect, that's pronounced "Hey! I'm a fuggin' New Yorker here already, now step off!")
• MA-Gov (pdf): Hot on the heels of the MA-Gov poll from the Boston Globe comes another one from PPP, part of its MA-Sen sample. Their sample finds incumbent Dem Deval Patrick in slightly worse position than the Globe (with an awful 22/59 approval), although he's still in the lead. Interestingly, this poll also sees the Republicans in much better shape than the Globe did, as independent candidate Tim Cahill slouches into third place here. Patrick leads GOPer Charlie Baker and Cahill 29-27-21, while in a Patrick/Cahill/Christy Mihos three-way, Cahill moves into second with a 28-25-21 outcome. (This certainly points to the composition difference between the PPP sample, which may have overweighted Republicans, and the Globe/UNH sample, which may have overweighted Democrats. The Senate special election results may give us a clue which of these MA-Gov polls is closer.) PPP also tested Democratic SoS William Galvin as a replacement for Patrick, finding little difference, with a 26-26-18 race among Galvin, Baker, and Cahill, and a 26-22-20 race among Galvin, Cahill, and Mihos.
• MN-Gov: The Republican field in the Minnesota governor's race may actually be dwindling down into the single digits, as things sort themselves out. Former Auditor Pat Anderson is dropping her gubernatorial bid, and instead is looking at a return to her old job. She'll be running against Democratic incumbent Rebecca Otto, who unseated Anderson in 2006.
• RI-Gov: Things are getting pretty dire for the Reupblicans in Rhode Island, where former Cranston mayor (and 2006 Senate primary candidate) Stephen Laffey decided for the second time that he isn't going to run for Governor. With businessman Rory Smith's dropout, the GOP still has nobody here, although salvation may be coming in the form of current Gov. Don Carcieri's communications director, John Robitaille, who is filling the gap by filing as a candidate. (Robitaille's only political experience is losing a state Rep. race in 2006.) Meanwhile, Josh Goodman has been wondering if independent candidate Lincoln Chafee, while a former Republican, might actually run to the left of the Democrat in this race (telegraphed by his statements on possible tax hikes). A local consultant tells Goodman that Chafee may in fact get labor backing on the race, perhaps depending on which Dem Chafee faces. (Chafee might get labor support if he's against Treasurer Frank Caprio, although the more liberal AG Patrick Lynch would probably have a lock on labor support if he survives the Dem primary.)
• LA-02: The prospect is lessening for a free-for-all Democratic primary in New Orleans for what's likely to be an easy race to defeat GOP incumbent Rep. Joe Cao. State Rep. Cedric Richmond seems to be locking down establishment support as a consensus candidate here, and that was underscored by an endorsement from former Sen. John Breaux. Fellow state Rep. Juan LaFonta is still in the primary, but state Rep. Karen Carter Peterson (who took Bill Jefferson to a runoff in 2006) is running for state Senate instead of LA-02, and none of Richmond's 2008 primary opponents seem to be getting in the race.
• PA-06: After earlier vows that he wouldn't get out the GOP primary in the 6th despite the re-entry of incumbent Rep. Jim Gerlach, yesterday state Rep. Curt Schroder saw the fundraising-related handwriting on the wall and got out of the race. With former Revenue Secretary Howard Cohen and Lower Merion Twp. Commissioner Scott Zelov already having stood down, that leaves only self-funder Steven Welch and several some-dudes in Gerlach's way.
• RI-01: Maybe he's been comparing notes with Jim Traficant on how to restart your political career after spending several years in prison. Republican former Providence mayor Buddy Cianci, fresh off of four and a half years in jail over criminal acts while mayor, is now considering a challenge to Rep. Patrick Kennedy.
• VA-09: Despite having dodged a bullet with state Del. Terry Kilgore deciding against a run, Rep. Rick Boucher may still have to avoid some incoming fire in November. The state House's majority leader, Morgan Griffith, said he's "considering" the race and may get in if someone stronger doesn't. (Since the only other person who's probably stronger is state Sen. William Wampler Jr., and it doesn't sound like he'll run in the 9th, as he's probably banking on a Republican takeover of the state Senate soon, in which case he'd become Finance chair, it may in fact fall to Griffith.) Griffith does have one slight problem: he doesn't live in the 9th, although he's apparently within walking distance of the district lines.
• FL-CFO: Florida Democrats finally found a CFO candidate to help round out their slate of candidates: former state Rep. Loranne Ausley, who decided on a CFO run and ended her state Senate bid. The bigger implication is that state Sen. Al Lawson - who's flirted off and on with a CFO bid - is probably staying for good in the FL-02 primary now. (Interestingly, Ausley, like Lawson, hails from the Tallahassee area.)
• OH-Auditor: Buzz in Ohio is that incumbent Mary Taylor (the only statewide Republican right now) is going to drop a bid for another term as Auditor and run as John Kasich's running mate for Lt. Governor instead. This probably strengthens Kasich's bid against incumbent Dem Ted Strickland... but an open Auditor seat is also good news for the Dems, as Hamilton Co. Commissioner David Pepper was already running a strong race against Taylor. Remember that the Auditor is one of the seats on Ohio's state legislative redistricting board, so an Auditor pickup would compensate there for a loss at Governor or SoS (but not both).
• MT-St. Sen.: The Missoulian has a very early look at prospects in the state legislature in Montana. Because of the open seat situation in the Senate, Democrats might have a shot at retaking that body (the GOP controls 27-23). Of the 25 seats up this year, 16 are held by Republicans and 9 by Democrats, with a total of 15 of the 25 being open seats.
• VA-St. Sen.: Two special elections are on tap for tonight, one of which is very interesting. The 37th, a swingy area in suburban Fairfax County, was left vacant by new Republican AG Ken Cuccinelli; it's being contested by Democratic Del. Dave Marsden and Republican former Fairfax Co. School Board member Steve Hunt. There are echoes of the gubernatorial race here, as Marsden is running a moderate-enough campaign that he may be at risk of losing the base's interest, while Hunt is trying to downplay controversial social conservative remarks from his past. Hunt has an internal poll showing him up, and Dem enthusiasm may still be down thanks to the post-Creigh Deeds hangover, so the GOP seems poised to eke this one out, helping them to keep holding the Dems to a narrow 21-19 edge in the Senate. The other race is in the solid-red 8th in Virginia Beach, where GOP businessman Jeff McWaters should have little problem beating Democratic Bill Fleming to replace Republican Ken Stolle, who just became Virginia Beach Sheriff.
• NRCC: The NRCC bumped up four more challengers in their "Young Guns" framework today, most prominently a move to "Contender" (the 2nd of three tiers) for Jim Renacci, challenging Rep. John Boccieri in OH-16. Also entering at the lowest level ("On the Radar") are former FBI agent Mike Grimm, running in NY-13, state Sen. Dan Debicella, running in CT-04, and state Rep. John Loughlin, running in RI-01 against Rep. Patrick Kennedy. That last entry may seem like the longest of long shots; it may in fact be more of a deterrent by the NRCC to keep Buddy Cianci (see above) from running here, and the accompanying bad PR that would go with that.
• Redistricting: Martin Frost's former CoS, Matt Angle, is the center of Democratic efforts to un-gerrymander Texas's House map after the 2010 census. Roll Call looks in depth at how he's built a complex fundraising network that's primarily aimed at Democratic gains in the state House (where they are down only 77-73), so Dems can get a better share of the four seats Texas is expected to add.
• Grant money: People with a professional interest in studying Congress might want to apply for research grants available from the Dirksen Congressional Center. It sounds particularly oriented toward graduate students and fellows, but I'm sure some of SSP's readership fits that bill.