Richard Blumenthal (D): 54 (55)
Linda McMahon (R): 37 (35)
Undecided: 7 (8)
Richard Blumenthal (D): 55 (54)
Rob Simmons (R): 35 (33)
Undecided: 9 (10)
Richard Blumenthal (D): 58 (56)
Peter Schiff (R): 31 (29)
Undecided: 9 (12)
Linda McMahon (R): 52
Rob Simmons (R): 25
Peter Schiff (R) : 13
Not much change in the Nutmeg State. And it looks like Rob Simmons might have some pretty serious disincentive to not get back into the Senate primary again, as he briefly threatened.
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio's $4.4 million haul blew a lot of people away, but what's equally impressive (and didn't get any coverage at the time) is his burn rate. It turns out that, even though he no longer has a primary to worry about, he spent almost all ($4 million) of what he made.
• NY-Sen-B: You might remember that there was some uncertainty as to whether Joe DioGuardi, who has the Conservative line for November, would even make it into the Republican primary thanks to his poor finish at the GOP state convention. Well, after gathering enough signatures, he has now successfully petitioned his way onto the primary ballot. He has consistently led polls of the GOP primary, although generally in the low 20s. (H/t andyroo312.)
• WI-Sen, WI-Gov (pdf): Apparently, voters in Wisconsin are dimly aware that something called an "election" may be transpiring at some point in the future, as more than half of all those surveyed not having decided yet on a Senate pick, at least according to Univ. of Wisconsin's Badger Poll. The likely voters in Wisconsin are currently going for Russ Feingold at 33 and Ron Johnson 28. RVs are Feingold 27, Johnson 21, and Wisconsin residents are Feingold 25, Johnson 19. In a remarkable contrast with Rasmussen (who'd have thunk?), nobody knows who Johnson is: he has 12/8 favorables among likely voters. They also look at the even-more-disinteresting gubernatorial race, finding Tom Barrett losing to both Scott Walker and Mark Neumann by the same margin of 32-15 (!). (UPDATE (DavidNYC): Here's another good reason to mistrust this poll: It was in the field for a month. What the...?)
• WV-Sen: The West Virginia legislature is still busy tinkering with their state's election laws today as part of the preparations for the special election to succeed Robert Byrd. Perhaps most significantly, it sounds like they are planning special primaries (tentatively set for fast-approaching Aug. 28), rather than a jungle-style election in November. They threw out a Joe Manchin proposal, however, that would scrap the special primaries if only one candidate from each party decided to run.
• AZ-Gov: We reported yesterday on the Rocky Mountain Poll (by the ominously-named Behavior Research Council), and it looks like they also have general election numbers. GOP incumbent Jan Brewer leads Democratic AG Terry Goddard 45-25, a surprisingly large margin since most non-Rasmussen pollsters have seen a close race (although that was mostly before SB 1070-mania hit).
• CO-Gov: SurveyUSA, on behalf of the Denver Post, is out with a snap poll on the subject of Scott McInnis, post-plagiarism-scandal. It turns out that this scandal does have a lot of resonance -- there's a lot less semantic ambiguity here than with Richard Blumenthal or even Mark Kirk... either you wrote it or you didn't (and then tried to pass the blame on an octogenarian ally). 20% of Republicans now say they'll vote for someone else, but 39% say they'll still vote for him. Looking ahead to a replacement, the poll also asked who "the strongest Republican" would be, and the number one pick was... you guessed it... Tom Tancredo, at 29. McInnis followed at 19, with primary opponent Dan Maes at 13. Jane Norton (a possible switchover, given her dwindling Senate campaign) was at 11, former candidate and state Sen. Josh Penry was at 7, and Univ. of Colorado Bruce Benson was at 3. (In other polling news, note that even Rasmussen can't find a way to polish this turd, as seen in a poll (see below) taken last night.)
If you're wondering who Benson is, he's now the subject of perhaps the most speculation as the GOP's preferred fill-in. Another name getting tossed around is long-ago former Sen. Hank Brown, who more recently served as president of Univ. of Northern Colorado. The Post also was apparently set to do its regularly-scheduled endorsement for the primary this week, and they said that prior to this week, they would have endorsed McInnis; now they can't endorse anyone at all (which is quite the slap at Maes).
• GA-Gov: Not that he seems to need a lot of help at this point, but Roy Barnes is getting the endorsement of Atlanta's new mayor, Kasim Reed. Turnabout's fair play, as Barnes gave Reed a late endorsement in last year's election.
• NY-Gov: Well, this race is effectively over: Andrew Cuomo reported raising $9.2 million in the last six months for a total of $23.6 million CoH. (You think he could redirect a little of that to the DGA? Of the nation's 10 most populous states, 9 have gubernatorial races, and of those 9, New York is the lone one that isn't highly competitive.) Rick Lazio, by comparison, raised $1.4 million in that period, and has $689K CoH, which might make him competitive in an upstate House race. GOP primary rival Carl Paladino reported raising $1.7 million during the same period... but $1.6 million of that came out of his own pocket.
• TN-Gov: We normally don't report on Mitt Romney's many endorsements, as he seems to hand out low-four-figures sums of money to any Republican with a pulse who survived a primary. Here's one that's a big race though and where the decisive primary hasn't happened yet. Romney backed Bill Haslam, the establishment and most moderate of the three GOPers in the primary.
• TX-Gov: With full information available from Rick Perry, we know now that Bill White won each fundraising category. White outraised Perry $7.4 million to $7.1 million in the post-primary period, and White leads in CoH by a $9 million to $5.8 million margin. And here's an interesting tidbit: the White campaign says it's raised more than $1 million from former Kay Bailey Hutchison contributors.
• CO-04: EMILY's List is weighing into the 4th with a big independent expenditure. They'll be spending $300K on TV advertising on behalf of Betsy Markey over the next three weeks; the ad's a negative spot hitting Corey Gardner, including on health care issues.
• FL-17: The Miami Herald has some helpful background on the largely-forgotten Democratic primary in the open seat 17th, which is where all the action will be in this dark-blue district. (This seat, long held by the Meek family, hasn't had a competitive primary in decades.) They look at state Sen. Frederica Wilson as frontrunner, and they cite an AFL-CIO poll from March (the first I've seen of it) that had Wilson at 34, with 12 for Miami Gardens mayor Shirley Gibson and 10 for North Miami city councilor Scott Galvin. The race's rapidly emerging wild card, though, seems to be physician Rudolph Moise, by virtue of having over $900K CoH, at least six times what anyone else has. Some of that is self-funded, but he seems to have raised the most from other donors too, and he plans to start an advertising blitz soon.
• GA-12: Rep. John Barrow's been burning cash fast lately: he raised $204K last quarter but spent $374K in that period, leaving him with $655 CoH. But that's probably because his big challenge this year is in the Democratic primary (next week), not in the general, where his possible GOP opponents are all pretty weak. Of course, Regina Thomas doesn't present that much challenge to him, either, if her financials are any indication: she raised $2,400 last quarter and had $6,600 CoH. But hey, at least she managed to file her FEC report on time this year.
• ID-01: Here's another way that Raul Labrador is an unconventional candidate: he thinks that following that unspoken rule that you release your internal polls only when they have good news for you is for pussies. He's out with an internal, by Moore Insight, that gives Rep. Walt Minnick -- in theory one of the most vulnerable freshmen by virtue of his district and narrow win last time -- a 37-27 lead. Minnick's re-elect is only 38/40, though, which I guess is worth something. Reid Wilson also has more detail on Labrador today, slamming Kevin McCarthy's efforts to reach out to citizens for help on creating a new Contract with America-type-thing. (The democracy-hating Labrador, no fan of the 17th Amendment either, thinks House leadership should impose the agenda top-down.) Also, were you wondering why Labrador didn't loudly tout his fundraising haul from last quarter? Well, that's because he raised $101K in the post-primary period of May and June, and is sitting on all of $69K CoH with $30K debt.
• MI-01: Is this the smallest sample size ever? Another Inside Michigan Politics poll of a House primary is out, this time in the Republican field in the open seat race to replace Bart Stupak, and it's got a whopping n of 140. State Sen. Jason Allen and physician Dan Benishek (who was the lone GOPer before Stupak's retirement announcement) are tied at the top with 20 each. There's also a handful of no-names polling in the low single digits, one of whom, Linda Goldthorpe, just dropped out yesterday. (H/t TheGradyDem.)
• Caucuses: Well, it was only a matter of time before this happened. Michele Bachmann is taking out the paperwork to create a whole new caucus in the House: the Tea Party Caucus. Hmmm... I thought that already existed, and it was called the RSC.
• NY-St. Sen.: Here's an interesting piece on the fundraising and infrastructure collapse behind the scenes for the GOP in the New York State Senate (who may, via GOP-held open seats, actually manage to lose further seats in November despite the nature of the year). Case in point: the race to replace retiring Senator Vincent Leibell in the Hudson Valley, where there's cat fud a-flyin' between establishment pick Mary Beth Murphy and teabaggish Greg Ball (who you may recall from briefly making a splashy entry in the NY-19 field).
• CO-Gov: John Hickenlooper (D) 45%, Scott McInnis (R) 43%
• DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 36%, Mike Castle (R) 47%
• DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 39%, Christine O'Donnell (R) 41%
• GA-Gov (D): Roy Barnes (D) 59%, Thurbert Baker (D) 16%, Dubose Porter 5%, David Poythress 5%
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 38%, Tom Corbett (R) 48%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D) 45%, Dino Rossi (R) 48%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D) 45%, Clint Didier (R) 48%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D) 46%, Paul Akers (R) 41%
• CT-Sen: Joe Biden is stopping by Connecticut yet again to fill up Chris Dodd's coffers with a fundraising event tomorrow. This comes against a backdrop of increasing questions from the press of whether or not Dodd will be retiring (or getting pushed out the door by the party)... suggesting the beginning of the same self-fulfilling downward spiral that dragged down Jim Bunning, who'd similarly worn down his welcome on the other side of the aisle.
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio is making a strange ploy here, when the substance of his previous campaign has all been more-conservative-than-thou. He now says he would have accepted stimulus funds, had he been governor. Maybe he's already thinking ahead to how he'll have to moderate things, once he's in the general?
• IL-Sen: With the Illinois primary fast-approaching, believe it or not, Alexi Giannoulias is hitting his cash stash to already go on the air with a second TV spot, again focusing on his jobs-saving efforts. On the GOP side, it looks like Rep. Mark Kirk's frequent flip-flopping is starting to catch the attention of the legacy media; the Sun-Times and AP are taking notice of his new McCain-ish attempts to harp on earmarks despite his own earmark-friendly past.
• NV-Sen: Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, recently cleared on corruption charges, had previously said that he wouldn't seek to challenge Harry Reid in the Senate race. Now sources are saying Krolicki is, in fact, "interested." It's unclear whether Krolicki sustained an unfixable amount of damage as a result of the charges, though, or what sort of space he could seek to carve out in the already overcrowded GOP primary field.
• SD-Sen: You might recall a while back we noted that Matt McGovern, a clean energy activist, was considering a run to follow in his grandfather George's footsteps in the Senate. Today he declined a run, leaving the Democrats without any candidate to go up against John Thune next year.
• TX-Sen: South Carolina's Jim DeMint, increasingly the go-to guy for right-wing kingmaking, issued his fourth endorsement in a Senate primary, although this is the primary that may or may not ever happen. He gave his imprimatur to Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, who's been a darling of the rightosphere but who's polled in the single-digits in the few polls of the special election field.
• MN-Gov: Here's a fundraising boost to state House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, who has lots of behind-the-scenes support in her DFL gubernatorial bid but a big name rec deficit against names like former Sen. Mark Dayton and Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak. She secured an EMILY's List endorsement, giving her a nationwide base to tap into.
• SC-Gov: Mark Sanford may have dodged his final bullet, allowing him to serve out his last year in ignominious peace. A 7-member state House Judiciary subcommittee voted 6-1 against impeachment and instead unanimously for censure. The matter still goes before the full Judiciary committee, but they seem unlikely to reverse course.
• Governors: PPP has one of their frequent good observations: of the nation's governors who have the worst approval ratings, most of them are ineligible or not planning to run for re-election in 2010 (Baldacci, Doyle, Perdue, Rendell, Schwarzenegger). The three who are running for re-election next year are all likely casualties in their own primaries (Brewer, Gibbons, and Paterson).
• FL-12: Outgoing Rep. Adam Putnam, who's leaving his job to run for Florida's Ag Commissioner, has given his endorsement to former state Rep. Dennis Ross to replace him. It's something of a formality, with no other major GOPers in the race, but should help keep anyone else from last-minute gate-crasing.
• IL-10: Lots of endorsements in the 10th. On the GOP side, state Rep. Beth Coulson got the endorsement of moderate ex-Gov. Jim Edgar, the state's only recent ex-Gov who's still on the right side of the law. For the Dems, Dan Seals got the endorsement of the powerful New Trier Township Democrats, while state Rep. Julie Hamos was endorsed by Citizen Action.
• IL-14: Recent dropout Mark Vargas finally confirmed that he'll be pulling his name off the ballot, leaving only the two biggest names. This comes as a relief to the camp of state Sen. Randy Hultgren, who were worried that name of Vargas (who endorsed Ethan Hastert) would stay on the ballot to split the anti-Hastert vote.
• LA-03: Wondering why no one prominent is leaping at the chance to fill the open seat left behind by Charlie Melancon? They know what we redistricting nerds at SSP already know... that seat is likely to vaporize in 2012, leaving any victory a short-lived booby prize. No elected officials of either party have thrown their hat in yet; attorney Ravi Sangisetty and oil field manager Kristian Magar are the only Dem and GOPer, respectively, who've gotten in.
• MN-07: Long-time Rep. Collin Peterson says he won't decide until February on whether to run for re-election (although he has filed his paperwork to run). That may have a few hearts skipping a beat at the DCCC, where a Peterson retirement would leave another GOP-leaning rural seat to defend -- but Peterson says a late decision on sticking around is always standard operating procedure for him.
• NY-19: An initially generic Roll Call profile of Nan Hayworth, the moderate, wealthy ophthalmologist who's the last GOPer left to go up against Rep. John Hall after more conservative and polarizing Assemblyman Greg Ball dropped out, has some interesting dirt buried deep in the article. They say that county-level party officials aren't necessarily behind her, that there are three other (unnamed) persons interested in running, and there's still a movement afoot in the district to get Ball back in the race.
• PA-06: Manan Trivedi, the underdog gaining steam in the Dem primary in the 6th, got an endorsement from a key moderate in the Pennsylvania delegation: the 10th district's Chris Carney. Doug Pike got his own Congressional endorsement too, although from a little further afield: from Massachusetts's Niki Tsongas. There are also rumors of a third potential Dem entrant to complicate matters: Lower Merion Township Commissioner Brian Gordon (not to be confused with his commission-mate Scott Zelov, who's now considering a run on the GOP side).
• TN-08: State Rep. Jimmy Naifeh confirmed that he won't run in a Democratic primary against state Sen. Roy Herron to take over retiring Rep. John Tanner's seat. Naifeh, the House speaker for 18 years, is a legendary figure in Tennessee politics and would have posed a big challenge to Herron. Meanwhile, in a sign of their optimism, the NRCC bumped their farmer/gospel singer candidate, Stephen Fincher, up a slot in their three-tiered "Young Guns" program, from "On the Radar" up to "Contender."
• VA-02, VA-05: The two top contenders in the GOP primary in the 2nd have already had one big proxy fight, backing different candidates in the Dec. 5 primary for an open, dark-red state Senate seat in Virginia Beach. Auto dealer Scott Rigell apparently won the skirmish, backing Jeff McWaters, who defeated Virginia Beach city councilor Rosemary Wilson, who was backed by businessman Ben Loyola. Loyola is running to the right of Rigell (who contributed to Barack Obama last year). Meanwhile, in the 2nd and the 5th, the GOP is faced with the same decision that often bedevils them: pick a nominee by primary election, party canvass, or party convention? With state Sen. Rob Hurt a strong general election contender in the 5th but generating suspicions among the base (for voting for Mark Warner's tax hike), and with activist-dominated conventions often yielding unelectable candidates (see Gilmore, Jim), the decision can affect the GOP's general election chances in each one.
• WA-01: Spunky Microserf rides to the rescue, against an entrenched, well-liked suburban Representative... on behalf of the GOP? That's what's up in the 1st, where never-before-elected Microsoft veteran James Watkins will go up against Democratic Rep. Jay Inslee, who's had little trouble holding down the Dem-leaning district.
• NY-Comptroller: The New York Post (so keep the salt shaker handy) is reporting that ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer is still interested in a return to politics, and is looking seriously at the Comptroller's race. It seemed up in the air as to whether he'd run in the Democratic primary against appointed incumbent Tom DiNapoli (also under reported primary threat from William Thompson) or as an independent.
• GA-St. Sen.: A famous family name is looking to get back into Georgia politics. Jimmy Carter's grandson, 34-year-old attorney Jason Carter, is looking to run in the upcoming special election in the 42nd Senate district, a reliably Democratic area in western DeKalb County where current Senator David Adelman is resigning to become Ambassador to Singapore. Interestingly, Carter may run into trouble with the district's large Jewish population, where his grandfather's name has lost some of its luster because of his pronouncements on the Israel/Palestine saga.
• Mayors: In what seems like an astonishingly fast recount, state Sen. Kasim Reed was confirmed as victor in the Atlanta mayoral race. He defeated city councilor Mary Norwood by 714 votes, losing a grand total of one vote from the original count. Norwood has now conceded.
• House: Here's a concept from the 70s we don't hear much about anymore: the "misery index." But Republican pollster POS dusted off the idea, looking at 13 "change" midterm elections where the average Election Day misery index (unemployment plus inflation) was 10.1, and in which the average loss among the White House party was 26 seats. They point out that today's misery index is 10.02 (although, assuming unemployment declines over the next year, so too will the misery index).
• Redistricting: Moves are afoot in two different states to make the redistricting process fairer. In Illinois, a statewide petition drive is underway to take redistricting out of hands of the legislature and give it to an independent commission. And in Florida, as we've discussed before, two initiatives are on their way to the ballot that would require districts to be compact and not take partisanship into account. The GOP-held legislature is challenging them, however, in the state Supreme Court; part of their argument is that this runs afoul of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision on "crossover" districts in Bartlett v. Strickland.
• AR-Sen: State Sen. Gilbert Baker has generally been treated as the frontrunner in the Arkansas GOP's Senate field, and that became a little clearer over the weekend with the state party's straw poll. It was a close race, though: Baker got 35% (out of 700 votes), followed closely by businessman and Huckabee crony Curtis Coleman at 33. The biggest surprise may be who finished 3rd: former Army colonel and "Christian identity" enthusiast Conrad Reynolds, at 23, followed by head teabagger Tom Cox at 4, state Sen. Kim Hendren an embarrassing 2, and some dudes Fred Ramey and Buddy Rogers at 2 and 1 apiece.
• LA-Sen: Republican SoS Jay Dardenne isn't seeming to take any steps to gear up for a primary challenge to Sen. David Vitter, but he keeps not doing anything to make the rumors go away, either. Dardenne recently said he's considering polling the race soon, which would require setting up an exploratory committee. The only poll of a Vitter/Dardenne matchup, from R2K in March, gave Vitter an 11-pt edge.
• MT-Sen: If Max Baucus is running again in 2014, this is the kind of publicity he doesn't need in the meantime. It turns out that Baucus, who separated from his wife last year, then began an affair with his office director Melodee Hanes -- and then nominated her to be Montana's new US Attorney. She didn't get the position, although she does now work in a different role for the DOJ.
• NC-Sen: After a lot of back and forth, former state Sen. Cal Cunningham made his campaign for the Democratic Senate nomination official today. You can see his launch video at the above link. However, Chapel Hill mayor Kevin Foy, who'd floated his name out there for the Democratic nod, confirmed that he won't be getting in the race.
• NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov: After trumpeting the rumors a few weeks ago that Rudy Giuliani was poised to enter the Senate race against Kirsten Gillibrand, now the Daily News is assessing Rudy's decision to take on a long-term, high-profile consulting gig as security expert for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and concluding that he's not looking so likely as a candidate for anything now. Meanwhile, over on the Dem side of the aisle, Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer, who briefly planned a primary challenge to Kirsten Gillibrand, has now finally offered an endorsement to her.
• PA-Sen: Rep. Joe Sestak pulled in his first endorsement from a fellow Congressperson in his primary campaign against Arlen Specter. Rep. Barney Frank offered his support today, saying that he considers Sestak one of the most valuable members of Congress.
• NV-Gov: With a recent Mason-Dixon poll showing Democratic Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman with a small lead as an independent in various gubernatorial race permutations, Goodman is now publicly weighing the race. He says he'll have an answer "real soon," but that his wife has already given him the green light on a run.
• AL-02: Can teabagging save Bobby Bright next year? Not by him doing it (or we can only hope)... instead, Montgomery city counilor Martha Roby, the NRCC's pick in the race, is going to face a primary challenge from the ultra-right. Businessman Rick Barber, who's been active in local tea parties and the 9/12 Washington march, is planning to take on Roby. He has to be encouraged by an interesting new poll from Rasmussen, which suggests that, given a choice between a Democrat, a Republican, and a Tea Party member in the upcoming election, the Tea Partier would beat the Republican, 23-18 (with the Democrat prevailing at 36%).
• PA-06: Wealthy pharma executive Steven Welch, who fled from the race in the 7th to the 6th when Patrick Meehan appeared, is now earning "RINO" labels and the enmity of the RedStaters. Welch not only gave Joe Sestak $300 in 2006, but also was a registered Democrat from 2006 through 2008. Also, another GOPer is sniffing out the race (as the possible fifth entrant in the GOP field): Scott Zelov, commissioner of very wealthy and moderate Lower Merion Township on the Main Line.
• TN-08: State Sen. Roy Herron is fighting back against the wide-ranging attacks leveled against him by the NRCC, as his candidacy for the 8th enters its second week. (Recall from last week that the NRCC has been gay-baiting Herron.) Herron called the NRCC's attacks "ridiculous and desperate," to which the NRCC said Herron was "foaming at the mouth" and "hurling 'Yo mama'-style insults." As much as the NRCC is transparently guilty of what they accuse Herron of, they at least win some points for evocative language here. An article from the Tennessean lists a few other Dems who may be interested in the seat, despite Herron's quick entry, one of whom is a big name: former state House speaker Jimmy Naifeh (who had considered a run in 1988, when John Tanner took over the seat). They also list state Sen. Doug Jackson as a possibility.
• NY-St. Sen.: State Sen. Hiram Monserrate is managing to escape his misdemeanor assault conviction with no jail time, leaving his colleagues wondering what to do with him (including censure, suspension, or expulsion). Also, good news for the Dems as they look for ways to expand their narrow majority: one of the last Republicans left in the Senate within the New York City limits, Frank Padavan, may get a top-tier challenge next year from former city councilor Tony Avella (last seen losing the mayoral primary to William Thompson).
• Mayors: Kasim Reed has been certified as elected as the new mayor of Atlanta. His opponent, city councilor Mary Norwood, still plans to request a recount of the election, decided by a margin of less than one thousand votes. In New York City, guess who finished fourth in the mayoral race: fictional character C. Montgomery Burns, who got more write-in votes than any other candidate. Why just vote for a billionaire buying the office who's only a little bit creepy and evil, when instead you can go the Full Monty?
• History: Here's an interesting piece of trivia: a woman was not elected to the U.S. Senate, without having been the wife or daughter of a previous Senator, until 1980. That woman was Republican Paula Hawkins, who served as Florida's Senator for one term, and in her outspoken self-proclaimed averageness, telegenic ultra-conservatism, and resentments of liberal media elites, was something of a Sarah Palin prototype. Hawkins died over the weekend at age 82.
• Polltopia: Here's another thoughtful article at Pollster.com on what's driving Rasmussen's perceptibly pro-Republican house effects, from professor Alan Abramowitz. He says that there's more going on than just their use of a likely voter model; he sees a major difference between Rasmussen and other pollsters in terms of the Democratic advantage in party identification. Meanwhile, PPP is asking for your help yet again: they'd like your input on which House district to poll next. Should it be CO-03, CO-04, ID-01, NH-01, NM-01, NM-02, or SD-AL?
• Election results: There was a grab-bag of southern state runoffs and special elections last night; the main event was the Atlanta mayor's race. It looks like Democratic African-American ex-state Sen. Kasim Reed defeated self-proclaimed-independent white city councilor Mary Norwood, but the margin is only around 620 votes (out of 83,000 cast). Reed has declared victory, but Norwood is talking recount.
There were also four legislative runoffs in Georgia; the only one that wasn't an intra-party affair was in HD-141 (a previously Dem-held seat) where independent Rusty Kidd easily beat Democrat Russell Black. Kidd is staying mum on which party he'll caucus with, although he's the son of a prominent long-time Democratic legislator (Culver Kidd) and a stem-cell-research supporter. In HD-58 in Atlanta, community organizer Simone Bell becomes the first LGBT African-American elected to Georgia's legislature. And in Tennessee, Republican state Rep. Brian Kelsey was elected easily in the vacant SD-31 in heavily Republican Memphis suburbs; he takes over for GOPer Paul Stanley, who resigned in disgrace after a sex scandal.
• IL-Sen: Former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman is up with the first TV ad in the fast-approaching Senate primary. Hoffman lacks name rec, but uses the ad to highlight his corruption-fighting past (and take some implicit hits at Alexi Giannoulias's banking background).
• NY-Sen-B: You may remember Michael Balboni, who was pried out of his Dem-leaning Long Island state Senate seat by Eliot Spitzer to become the state's Homeland Security chief and paving the way for Democratic takeover of the state Senate. Now he's reportedly considering a run against Kirsten Gillibrand for Senate, as the New York GOP starts casting its net wider for somebody.
• UT-Sen: A Deseret News poll has bad news for Bob Bennett, in the form of perilous re-elects: only 27% support his re-election, and 58% want someone new. Nevertheless, he has a big edge over the field of nobodies circling around him: he polls at 31%, with Democrat Sam Granato at 14, followed by a gaggle of right-wingers: Cherilyn Eagar at 5, Tim Bridgewater and Fred Lampropoulos at 4, Mike Lee at 3, and James Williams at 1. With the Republican nomination potentially to be decided at the state convention -- dominated by hard-right activists -- though, these numbers don't help to project much of anything for next year.
• IA-Gov: Chet Culver's campaign manager Andrew Roos is out, as Culver stares at double-digit deficits against ex-Gov. Terry Branstad. Culver mangled his Shakesperean shrug-off, saying it's "much to do about nothing."
• TX-Gov: Press releases are already going out saying that Houston mayor Bill White is announcing something big on Friday, and now leaks are confirming what most people have suspected, that he's going to go ahead and jump into the Democratic field in the governor's race.
• FL-10: Sorta-moderate GOP Rep. Bill Young has another challenger -- this time from the right. Eric Forcade says he got interested in politics from participating in tea parties and the 9/12 movement. (In case you're having trouble remembering where all these random teabagger primary challenges are popping up, Think Progress has a handy scorecard of all of them.)
• IL-10: Little-known rich guy Dick Green dipped into his self-provided funds and laid out $100K for a big TV ad buy, introducing himself to Republican voters in the 10th. While Democrat Julie Hamos already has hit the airwaves, Green beats out fellow GOPers Beth Coulson and Bob Dold.
• KY-03: Rep. John Yarmuth may not exactly be intimidated by the first Republican to show up to go against him in Kentucky's lone Dem-leaning district. Jeffrey Reetz has never run for office before, but he does own 25 Pizza Hut franchises.
• MD-04: Rep. Donna Edwards, who got into office via primary challenge, is facing a big challenge of her own. Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn Ivey has formed an exploratory committee to go up against Edwards for the Democratic nod. Ivey worked as a senior congressional staffer in the 1980s and 1990s; although he expresses enthusiasm for moving the "progressive agenda forward," he's probably running at least a bit to the right of Edwards, one of the leftmost House members.
• MN-01: This marks the third entry to the field against Democratic Rep. Tim Walz in about one week's time. Today, it's Republican Jim Hagedorn, a former congressional staffer and a one-time blogger under the name "Mr. Conservative." He joins ex-state Rep. Allen Quist and state Rep. Randy Demmer, although the party seems to still be watching what more moderate state Sen. Julie Rosen does.
• PA-11: Hazleton mayor and 2008 loser Lou Barletta is doing his best to stay in the news, announcing that he'll make another announcement on Dec. 9 as to whether or not he'll seek a third faceoff against Democratic Rep. Paul Kanjorski.
• TN-08, TN-Gov: In case you missed our late update last night, Democratic state Sen. Roy Herron got out of the governor's race where he was something of a longshot, and into the now-open TN-08 field, where he's probably the favorite to get the Democratic nod. (Although open seats are theoretically harder to defend, Herron's long district presence and lack of ties to Washington could conceivably help him to perform better next year than long-time Beltway creature Tanner might have.) Party officials (and outgoing Rep. John Tanner too, although he declined to endorse anyone yet) are moving quickly to keep a contested primary from happening, although state Rep. Philip Pinion has also been publicly letting his interest be known. Also, in discussing his sudden retirement decision, Tanner claims he wasn't scared off by the fundraising success of out-of-nowhere GOP challenger Stephen Fincher; he'd already been eyeing retirement and the challenge "got his competitive juices flowing" but finally decided to call it a career.
• UT-02: Morgan Philpot, a former Republican state Representative, is considering a race against Rep. Jim Matheson next year. Philpot is currently the state party's vice-chair, so he would bring some insider backing to the race.
• NY-Comptroller (pdf): With all the sudden talk of recruiting NYC comptroller William Thompson onto the Cuomo "ticket" to wage a primary fight against current state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, it's worth going back and noting that the most recent Siena poll from a few weeks ago actually polled this permutation. They found a 31-31 tie in the Clash of the Comptrollers. They also found that both would beat Republican John Faso in the general.
• TX-Comptroller: In fact, talking about comptrollers is so much fun I'm going to keep doing it. Ex-Rep. Nick Lampson, who couldn't hold down dark-red TX-22 last year, says that's he's looking into next year's comptroller's race, which would bring top-tier Democratic talent to another statewide race in Texas.
• NY-St. Sen.: After a lot of optimistic predictions earlier in the day, the actual vote on gay marriage in the New York Senate today kind of fizzled. Eight Democrats voted against and no Republicans crossed the aisle, leaving it to go down 24-38. Ironically, Marist came out with a poll today showing public support in favor of gay marriage, 51-42.
• CA-St. Ass.: However, in the one-step-forward, one-step-back fight for LGBT equality, California looks like it's poised to have its first-ever gay Assembly Speaker. Los Angeles Assemblyman John Perez apparently has the votes locked up to take over as Speaker from Karen Bass, who's termed out.
• Nassau Co. Exec: Two-term incumbent Tom Suozzi, who was down by 377 votes to Republican challenger Ed Mangano after a recount, decided to concede rather than pursue legal options. Suozzi, who'd be considered a likely AG candidate next year, says he'll be back in politics but he can't "imagine it would be anytime soon."
• Mayors: It looks like a premature end of the line for Baltimore mayor Sheila Dixon, who was just convicted of misdemeanor embezzlement for helping herself to $1,500 worth of gift cards that had been donated to give to poor families. Dixon is supposed to be suspended from office, but post-trial motions and a possible appeal may push that until later. City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is in line to succeed her.
• DGA: There's new leadership at the Democratic Governor's Association, as fast-rising Delaware governor Jack Markell (who's been in office only for a year) takes over from Montana's Brian Schweitzer. One of the DGA's first orders of business as they prep for 2010: committing $1 million to the GOP Accountability Project, whose first ad target is Florida Republican candidate Bill McCollum.
Tonight is the mayoral election runoff for the city of Atlanta. Please feel free to post results below in the comments section and how you feel the night is going.
I found an excellent website for the results from the Fulton County board of elections. In case you're wondering I consider Reed to be the better candidate in this nonpartisan race because he was an excellent Democratic state senator and he got the endorsement from many top Democrats in the state like Former Governor Roy Barnes, 2008 US Senate Candidate Jim Martin and others.
As of 9:33 with 33 percent reporting:
Reed at 56.24%
Norwood at 43.76%
Please feel free to update results for any other race in GA you see as well.
UPDATE: Getting tighter
As of 9:57
Reed at 53.88%
Norwood at 46.12%
UPDATE: Reed declares victory with 50.46 percent of the vote. He's just below the 1 point margin of victory needed to avoid a runoff so it's unclear if this is over completely but it looks like Reed has won it.
UPDATE (12/05): Reed today was certified as the winner in the runoff but because his lead is less than 1 percent Norwood is allowed the option of a recount which she is requesting.
• MA-Sen: Rep. Michael Capuano picked up several more endorsements in the special election primary to succeed Ted Kennedy, although the clock is ticking loudly on trying to make up that last bit of ground against AG Martha Coakley. He got the endorsement of the Boston Herald (Boston's smaller daily) and also fellow Rep. Ed Markey, who had seemed a likely candidate initially.
• NJ-Sen: With a Republican moving into Drumthwacket (sorry, I just like saying "Drumthwacket") for four years and Sen. Frank Lautenberg not getting any younger (at 85), Democratic Assembly whip John McKeon has introduced legislation that would change the way that Senate vacancies are filled in New Jersey. Under current law, a governor can opt either to make a temporary appointment or call a special election. The proposed law, however, would require the governor to appoint a replacement within 30 days and it would need to be someone from the same political party as the departed officeholder. The temporary appointment would continue until the next general election.
• IA-Gov: His entry to the race provoked a lot of interest back when the rest of the field was just assorted wingnuts, but with the entry of ex-Gov. Terry Branstad, there wasn't much room for young businsessman Christian Fong. He suspended his campaign today.
• MI-Gov: Lansing mayor Virg Bernero has been on some people's wish list for a gubernatorial candidate, in light of the rather underwhelming Democratic field in Michigan. It sounds like Bernero has been hearing those calls (and noticing the polls showing Lt. Gov. John Cherry not only badly losing the general but not even summoning up much interest in the Dem primary), as now he says that he's switching from "very unlikely" to "seriously considering" a race in the last few weeks.
• OR-Gov: This is the kind of thing that can put a big crimp in your newly-launched gubernatorial campaign. Initiative kingpin (and 1998 gubernatorial loser) Bill Sizemore just got charged with tax evasion for failure to file state tax returns for the previous three years. Although the state has known about this failure for more than a year, the timing may have more to do with the recent expiration of Sizemore's amnesty period to file rather than his announcement last week of his intention to run for governor again.
• PA-Gov: Allegheny Co. Executive Dan Onorato isn't well-known outside the Pittsburgh area, so he's been focusing his early efforts on the Philadelphia area. He's gotten a boost with endorsements from several prominent Democratic legislators in Montgomery and Chester Counties: state Sens. Daylin Leach and Andy Dinniman, and just yesterday, state Rep. Michael Gerber.
• CA-03: The once-crowded Democratic field in the 3rd, to go up against vulnerable GOP Rep. Dan Lungren, has gotten whittled down to one. Bill Slaton, an executive with Sacramento's municipal public utility, dropped out and endorsed Ami Bera. With Elk Grove city councilor Gary Davis also having dropped out a few months ago, Bera has a clear shot; Bera, the former Sacramento County Chief Medical Officer, has been going gangbusters on the fundraising front, sitting on $586K (more than Lungren has). Slaton had loaned himself $300K but hadn't seemed to make much progress beyond that.
• FL-10, FL-12: Two Democratic challengers who have favorable circumstances (an aging incumbent who's barely fundraising in the 10th, an open seat in the 12th) but haven't gotten far at fundraising yet are getting a boost on the money front. Iowa Rep. Bruce Braley is hosting a Tampa fundraiser for state Sen. Charlie Justice, while Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Allen Boyd are hosting a DC fundraiser for Polk Co. Elections Supervisor Lori Edwards (although perception-wise, it's probably not good that it's being held in a lobbyist's office).
• MN-01: Another Republican challenger showed up to take on sophomore Rep. Tim Walz in Minnesota's rural 1st. Unlike former state Rep. Allen Quist (who was at his peak in the 90s), Randy Demmer is a current state Rep.
• NH-02: State Rep. John DeJoie, who's been expected to run, made official that he's getting into the open seat race for the 2nd on the Democratic side. DeJoie has been a firefighter in Concord for 14 years; he joins attorney Ann McLane Kuster and may also be joined by Katrina Swett.
• NJ-03: Jon Runyan might want to be spending the next few months working on his message discipline instead of playing for the Chargers. Runyan, shortly after announcing that he'd be running against freshman Democratic Rep. John Adler after the football season, turned around and told San Diego reporters that he hadn't committed to the race yet and was exploring his options. Runyan's spokesperson then corrected Runyan, saying he's definitely in the race, and bafflingly said that the latter comment was made "in jest."
• PA-06: The Republican field in the open seat race in the 6th just keeps growing; the fifth entrant is Patrick Sellers, a former Republican committeeman. Sellers is apparently a Paulist, and made his announcement at a Philadelphia "End the Fed" rally. He joins state Rep. Curt Schroder, pharma exec Steven Welch, Chester Co. Recorder of Deeds Ryan Costello, and long-ago state Revenue Secretary Howard Cohen.
• PA-19: It's not clear yet whether Rep. Todd Platts is even going to get chosen as head of the GAO, but Republicans are already lining up to take over his dark-red seat if he does. Roll Call lists a bunch of 'em, starting with state Rep. Scott Perry, who's already making his interest public. Eyes are also on one of Platts' 2000 primary opponents, York County Commissioner Chris Reilly. The article also lists a slew of other possible state legislators and county officials.
• NH-St. Sen.: Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty really, really wants to do lots of favors for the good people of New Hampshire, and he's starting by hosting a fundraising event for Republicans in its state Senate, who are currently down 14-10 in that chamber. Interestingly, ex-Rep. Jeb Bradley (who downshifted to the state Senate) is on the host committee and a key recipient of the help, which may lead to the question of whether he's looking for leverage for trying something bigger again in the future.
• KY-St. Sen.: Here's a positive tea leaf as we head into the home stretch on the special election in the Bardstown-based SD-14 next week (one of the two seats strategically excised of its Republican occupants by Democratic governor Steve Beshear): Democratic former state Rep. Jodie Haydon has raised more than four times the funds as Republican state Rep. Jimmy Higdon ($546K for Haydon, including in-kind contributions from the state Dems, vs. $131K for Higdon). Much of Haydon's money is coming from the horse industry, which has fallen squarely behind the Dems in recent months as state Democrats seek to allow video slots at horsetracks (something Higdon and most local GOPers oppose). A Dem pickup here would cut the GOP advantage in the state Senate to 19-18 (with one GOP-leaning indie).
• VA-St. Sen.: The special election to fill two vacant, formerly GOP-held state Senate seats has been set for Jan. 12. The race to take over the heavily Republican SD-8 in Virginia Beach (vacated by new Virginia Beach Sheriff Ken Stolle) doesn't look to be very interesting; only two Republicans have signed up for it so far. Dems may have a shot at a pickup in the swingy SD-37 in Fairfax County, vacated by new AG Ken Cuccinelli. Democratic state Del. David Marsden has confirmed that he'll run for the promotion. Dems have a narrow 21-19 edge in the Senate, which they'd like to pad in case incoming Gov. Bob McDonnell attempts any Beshear-style poaching.
• Mayors: The Atlanta mayoral runoff is tonight, between white city councilor Mary Norwood and African-American former state Sen. Kasim Reed. (The one public poll of the race gave Reed a small edge.) Norwood's final ad, and the final debate, point to how the runoff has gotten racially fraught as it comes to a close. There are also four legislative runoff elections scattered around Georgia tonight, although two are Dem/Dem and one is GOP/GOP. The remaining one, in HD-141 in Milledgeville, is between independent Rusty Kidd and Democrat Darrell Black.
• AR-Sen: PPP's Tom Jensen has some interesting crosstabs from their AR-02 poll, which shed some light on Blanche Lincoln's unique set of problems. Lincoln generates only lukewarm enthusiasm from her base: Barack Obama gets a 78% approval among Dems in the district, Rep. Vic Snyder is at 75%, and Mark Pryor is at 61%, but Lincoln is at only 43%, with 30% of Dems thinking she's too conservative (although that may be coming to a head right now with her obstructionist role in the health care debate, which may not be much of an issue one year from now). Moving to the left, though, will cause her to lose votes with independents, though, among whom 49% think she's too liberal.
• CT-Sen, CT-05: Local GOP party poohbahs are sounding eager to push state Sen. Sam Caligiuri out of the Senate race, where he's rather, uh, underutilized, and into the 5th, for a race against Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy; Caligiuri says he'll consider it. Problem is, Justin Bernier is already running there, and has had some fundraising success and gotten NRCC "Young Gun" status; as you might expect, Bernier is crying foul.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist has been trying to hide from his previous stimulus support, but Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson has the goods on him, dragging out an old interview from spring in which Crist says "absolutely" he would have voted for the stimulus had he been in the Senate at the time. Here's one bit of good news for Crist, though; Marco Rubio's once-perfect A rating from the National Rifle Association is about to drop, thanks to Rubio's compromise (from back when he was House speaker) on the take-your-gun-to-work law that recently became law.
• IL-Sen: Former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman has an internal poll of his own now, and while it doesn't give numbers for the Dem primary matchup between Hoffman and frontrunner Alexi Giannoulias, it does point to some vulnerabilities for Giannoulias. The poll claims that without message-testing, GOP Rep. Mark Kirk leads Giannoulias 40-37 and leads Hoffman 40-30, but once positives and negatives are read, Kirk beats Giannoulias 47-30 and Hoffman beats Kirk 42-36. The negatives involve the Giannoulias family bank, which apparently has been connected to Tony Rezko. Meanwhile, Kirk took an embarrassing hit from the conservative Chicago Tribune editorial board, whose response to Kirk's flip-flopping and fearmongering on trying terrorists in New York boiled down to "Give us a break." Wondering why Kirk is so transparently turning into a right-winger? Kirk's looking increasingly nervous about erstwhile opponent Patrick Hughes, who is currently seeking out a Jim DeMint endorsement.
• KY-Sen, NH-Sen: The NRSC is claiming it's not getting involved in primary fights with fundraising, but you can't make party leadership's intentions any clearer than when Mitch McConnell hosts a fundraiser in New York on Dec. 7 for Trey Grayson and Kelly Ayotte. With both candidates facing mounting anti-establishment challenges, it seems like the bad publicity back home generated by these appearances -- more grist for the movement conservative mill -- might outweigh the financial benefit.
• NJ-Sen: Now that recently unemployed TV pundit Lou Dobbs has some time on his hands, he told Bill O'Reilly he's considering a run for the Senate in New Jersey. There isn't a seat available until 2012 (when Dobbs will be 67) -- he'd be going up against Bob Menendez that year. Dobbs vs. Menendez? Hmmm, you can't get any more weighed down with symbolism than that.
• SC-Sen: The county GOP in Berkeley County (in the Charleston suburbs) was prepared to have its own censure vote against Lindsey Graham, but they called off the vote after Graham's chief of staff promised to meet with them first.
• CA-Gov (pdf): Lots of people have taken notice that the Republican field in the governor's race isn't a diverse bunch: three sorta-moderates from Silicon Valley. San Jose State University took a poll of those who would seemingly know the candidates the best: Republican likely voters in "Silicon Valley" (Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, plus small parts of Alameda and Santa Cruz Counties). Perhaps thanks to Tom Campbell's tenure in the House representing much of this area, he has a wide lead, at 39%, compared with 11 for Meg Whitman and 7 for Steve Poizner.
• MI-Gov, MI-08: In case there was any doubt that Rep. Mike Rogers (the Michigan one) was going to run for re-election to his House seat and not for governor, we found a statement from way back in February to that effect. (H/t to Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, a blog devoted to all things MI-08.)
• MN-Gov: Rasmussen looks at the still-coalescing primary fields in the Minnesota governor's races, and seems to be finding very name-recognition-driven results right now. On the Democratic side, most of the votes are going to former Senator Mark Dayton and Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak; both poll at 30, trailed by state House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher at 8 and former state legislator Matt Entenza at 6. On the Republican side, ex-Sen. Norm Coleman dominates, with 50%; however, he's not in the race, at least not yet, and is probably the only name that people know. Among the rest of the rabble, former House minority leader Marty Seifert is doing the best, at 11, with 5 for Laura Brod and 1 for Tom Emmer.
• OR-Gov: Most people have already mentally ruled out Rep. Peter DeFazio from the governor's race, but he just said that he's still somewhat interested, and that he won't be making up his mind on it until... next March? He doesn't seem too concerned about the delay, as Oregon law would let him transfer over his federal dollars and he alludes to private polling showing him in a dead heat with John Kitzhaber. While I still doubt he'll follow through, that raises the question of who might fill a vacancy in OR-04; it's looking less and less like it would be Springfield's Republican mayor Sid Leiken, who was just fined $2,250 by the state for the phantom poll that may or may not have been conducted by Leiken's mom.
• TX-Gov: Little-known fact: Kay Bailey Hutchison, despite the seeming overall malaise in her campaign, has a big edge in endorsements from Texas House Republicans. She has the endorsements of 10 of 20 (including Kay Granger, Kenny Marchant, and Michael Burgess), perhaps indicative of Rick Perry's increasingly strident anti-Washington rhetoric. (Not that that will help much when the actual electorate is in an increasingly anti-establishment mood.) A couple other Dems are looking at the race: hair care magnate Farouk Shami (who's willing to bring his own money to the race) is officially launching his campaign on Thursday, while El Paso-based outgoing state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh is publicly weighing a run.
• FL-19: West Palm Beach mayor Lois Frankel, who would have been maybe the highest-profile possible primary challenger to state Sen. Ted Deutch in the upcoming special election in the 19th, has decided not to run. Deutch has been endorsed by outgoing Robert Wexler and has an increasingly clear path to the nomination. Meanwhile, the only GOPer looking interested in running in the dark-blue district is Ed Lynch, who lost to Wexler last year.
• IL-06: Here's a little more information about Benjamin Lowe, who's the only Dem running in the 6th against Peter Roskam. While he's something of a political unknown, it turns out he's well-connected in the religious left community as well as the green jobs movement. He's a graduate of evangelical Wheaton College (which is in the district) and has been active in the last few years in organizing students at other evangelical colleges on issues of environmental stewardship.
• NY-13: I don't know if anything can top last year's NY-13 race for political trainwrecks, but the Staten Island GOP may have gotten switched onto that same track again. Michael Allegretti, a 31-year old who caught attention for raising $200K for the race already, is a lawyer who also owns a share of the family business, Bayside Fuel and Oil -- which employed Gambino family capo Joe "Joe Butch" Corrao for several decades. Over $40K of Allegretti's contributions came from family members working for Bayside. To add to the made-for-TV drama: Allegretti's potential Republican primary opponent, Michael Grimm, was on the FBI squad charged with investigating said crime family.
• NY-19: Republican Greg Ball -- who puts the "Ass" in Assemblyman -- is out with an internal poll putting him within single digits of Rep. John Hall. Hall leads the Hall/Ball matchup, 48-43 -- although for some reason the poll was taken only in the portion of the district that's east of the Hudson River. Hall still has strong favorables, at 57/25, while Ball is at 40/28.
• NY-23: Recounting in NY-23 is still on track to see Rep. Bill Owens remain in the House; Doug Hoffman is down 2,951 votes with 6,123 left, so about the best he can hope for is to lose by about 2,000. The Hoffman saga just got weirder when yesterday Hoffman, goaded along by his patron Glenn Beck, unconceded on national TV -- yet today, his spokesperson un-un-conceded, not that any of that is legally binding, of course.
• NRCC: If the Republicans are going to make a serious dent in the Democratic edge in the House next year, they're going to have to refill the NRCC's coffers, which are still lagging the DCCC. Party leadership smacked down members in a closed-door session, trying to get them to pony up their $15K dues. The Hill also has an interesting profile of CA-22's Kevin McCarthy, an up-and-comer who's the NRCC recruitment chair now and likely to head the NRCC at some point in the near future. Turns out that McCarthy is quite the student of Rahm Emanuel.
• Mayors: SurveyUSA polls the runoff in the Atlanta mayor's race, and they have quite the reversal of fortune for Mary Norwood, who led all polls before November and finished first in the election. State Sen. Kasim Reed, who finished 2nd, now leads Norwood, 49-46. Reed leads 69-25 among African-American voters, indicating that he picked up almost all of 3rd-place finisher Lisa Borders' support.
• Special elections: Two legislative specials are on tap tonight. The big one is California's AD-72, a Republican-leaning seat in the OC left vacant by the resignation of Mike Duvall (who resigned in disgrace after bragging about his affair with a lobbyist). It seems to be mostly a contest between two GOPers, Orange County Supervisor Chris Norby and activist Linda Ackerman (who's been making much of Norby's four divorces). Since this is California, assuming one of the Republicans doesn't finish over 50%, it'll move on to another round where the top Republican faces off against Dem John MacMurray. Also, in Mississippi, there's a contest in Biloxi-based HD-117, to replace Republican state Rep. Michael Janus; candidates aren't identified by party on the special election ballot, but the contestants are Patrick Collins (who ran against Janus several times) and Scott DeLano.
• Redistricting: You might want to check out the website called "Redistricting the Nation," presented by GIS software company Avencia but full of fun widgets. Most interestingly, you can evaluate the compactness of any congressional district by four different criteria, and see the worst offenders in each category.
• NY-23: There was a brief moment of collective "Holy crap!" earlier today when people realized that the race in the 23rd wasn't quite over. The Bill Owens lead over Doug Hoffman shrank considerably (down to 3,176 votes currently, compared to 5,335 at the end of election night) after recanvassing, including discovery of some errors in Hoffman-leaning Oswego County. There remain 5,600 absentee votes to be counted, so for the election results to actually change, Hoffman would need to win about 80% of those votes (many of which were sent in while Dede Scozzafava was still in the race). Hoffman's camp is admitting that the results of the race aren't about to change, but they say they might not have conceded so quickly on Election Night if they'd known it was going to be so close -- meaning that the big story here is that they could have stopped Bill Owens from being sworn in and providing one of the decisive votes on health care reform in the House.
• FL-Sen: Every day now seems to bring a little more bad news for Charlie Crist, and today's bit is that members of the Florida state GOP are demanding an "emergency closed door meeting" with the state chair, Jim Greer. The meeting-demanders seem to be Marco Rubio supporters, and they're particularly exercised about Crist's relationship with sketchy financial backer Scott Rothstein.
• IL-Sen: Rep. Mark Kirk's pronounced turn to the right has been unsubtle enough that even NARAL is noticing, and calling him out on it. They're no longer considering him "pro-choice" after his Stupak amendment vote, and say they'll be working toward his defeat next year.
• ME-Sen: We weren't the only ones to take notice of Olympia Snowe's terrible approvals among Republicans according to PPP. The Family Research Council is now saying that if a conservative candidate shows up to run against Snowe in 2012, the FRC will back them.
• NC-Sen (pdf): PPP's newest poll of North Carolina finds more of what they've been finding all year: people are lukewarm about Richard Burr (with an approval of 40/31) and he only narrowly leads a Generic Dem (44-40). However, Burr does better against named Democrats, including Rep. Bob Etheridge (45-35), SoS Elaine Marshall (45-34), and former Lt. Gov. Dennis Wicker (45-33).
• NV-Sen: There's yet another hapless-seeming Republican entering the GOP Senate field: former Nevada Board of Education member Greg Dagani. Dagani is probably best known for resigning from the Board of Education after getting caught making out with his wife during a public meeting. Wait... his wife, and not a staffer (or someone he met in Argentina and/or the men's room)? Are we sure he's a Republican?
• UT-Sen: Here's a little more information on the two new guys scoping out the GOP field in the wake of AG Mark Shurtleff's departure, suggesting that they both have the potential to be formidable opponents to Bob Bennett. In fact, these two might do better at gaining the favor of the teabaggers, in that Shurtleff (who was running to the conservative Bennett's right) was somehow considered not conservative enough in some circles (mostly owing to his immigration stance). Wealthy businessman Fred Lampropoulos was a gubernatorial candidate in 2004, almost forcing Jon Huntsman to a primary. And while lawyer Mike Lee hasn't run for office before, he's the son of Mormon leader and former BYU president Rex Lee, which means a lot in Utah (although Bennett's family's role in the Mormon church also looms large).
• CO-Gov: Is Scott McInnis about to get Scozzafavaed? The law of unintended consequences seems to point that direction. After ex-Rep. McInnis's establishment moneybags supporters thought they were being smart by hounding state Senate minority leader Josh Penry out of the GOP primary, that just seemed to tick off the anti-establishment base. And now a much higher-profile (and much less palatable in the general) candidate with a national following to draw on is emerging to take Penry's place. Yes, it's ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo, who's saying that he'll file to create an exploratory committee in the next few days.
• MN-Gov: Another Republican fell by the wayside in the overstuffed Minnesota gubernatorial race. State Sen. Mike Jungbauer dropped out, citing fundraising troubles and a weak showing in a recent straw poll.
• WI-Gov: People have treated Republican Milwaukee Co. Exec Scott Walker as a strong contender in the Wisconsin gubernatorial race, but he seems to have a certain tone-deafness about him: he met with Sarah Palin during her Wisconsin visit to try to secure an endorsement from her... in a state where Barack Obama won 56-42.
• DE-AL: Republicans managed to lure somebody into the open seat race to replace Rep. Mike Castle, despite that this race may be the Republicans' likeliest House loss in 2010. Fred Cullis, who owns an industrial sales company, said he'd be an "independent voice" for Delaware a la Castle.
• FL-08: I don't know if this is an indicator of the NRCC having settled on Bruce O'Donoghue as its consensus pick, or a case of Rep. Alan Grayson having yet more success with his voodoo doll, but yet another prospective Republican challenger is turning tail and running. First-term state Rep. Eric Eisnaugle made public his decision not to run.
• FL-16: St. Lucie County Commissioner Chris Craft has previously sounded some moderate notes as he takes on freshman Republican Rep. Tom Rooney in this R+5 district, but he's not playing it safe on health care. He came out yesterday saying that he'd have voted for the House health care reform bill and against the Stupak amendment.
• PA-17: Republican state Senator David Argall batted down rumors that he'd challenge long-time Rep. Tim Holden in this GOP-leaning Harrisburg-based seat, saying he was "99% sure" he wouldn't run. Blue Dog Holden seems on track to receive his usual free pass.
• Nassau Co. Exec: Republican Ed Mangano's lead over incumbent Dem Tom Suozzi expanded to 497 in the recount of the Nassau County Executive race on Long Island. Suozzi also waxed philosophical in an interesting interview with Ben Smith, pointing to a public exhaustion with civic engagement and a return to "self-interest" on tax issues.
• Mayors: Endorsements from the 3rd place finishers were handed out in the runoff elections in both the Atlanta and Houston mayoral races. In Houston, city controller Annise Parker got the endorsement of city councilor Peter Brown, who surprisingly finished behind Parker and former city attorney Gene Locke. (Locke is African-American, Parker is white and a lesbian, and Brown is a straight white guy.) And in Atlanta, city councilor Lisa Borders endorsed state Senator Kasim Reed, consolidating the African-American vote against white city councilor Mary Norwood, who finished first.
• Vote By Mail: Washingtonians are getting pretty tired of watching their elections drag on (the Seattle mayoral race this time). There's a renewed move afoot in Washington to change election laws to match the mail-in ballot law in better-organized Oregon, where ballots must be received by Election Day instead of postmarked by Election Day. The movement is getting a boost with Gov. Chris Gregoire's support.
New York: In NY-23, we lost, apparently because the conservatives won, because in their brave new world winning no longer means earning more votes than the other candidates, but rather defeating the candidate that will vote with you most of the time in order to pave the way for the candidate who would theoretically vote with you all the time but has no chance of getting elected in your swing district. I quake in fear of next November, when conservatives will enjoy the mightiest of all glorious historic victories, with the crushing general election losses of Marco Rubio, Chuck DeVore, Rand Paul, Ovide Lamontagne, Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell, Peter Schiff, Chuck Purgason, Ken Buck, and Patrick Hughes, thus purifying the soil for decades to come.
Uh, more specifically, in NY-23, Bill Owens (D) defeated Doug Hoffman (C) and Dede Scozzafava (R), 49-45-6, with about a 6,000 vote margin (out of 131,000) separating Owens and Hoffman.
Elsewhere in New York, two powerful incumbents got scares. New York City's I/R mayor Michael Bloomberg beat Democratic comptroller William Thompson by a much narrower-than-expected margin: 51-46. And Democratic Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi is barely leading Republican Ed Mangano, 48-48 (with a 237-vote margin, which may change as absentees are counted). Republicans picked up two open New York City council seats in Queens (including the one vacated by new comptroller John Liu), bringing the Democrats' control of that body down to a perilous 46-5.
New Jersey: Republican former US Attorney Chris Christie defeated Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine in the Republicans' big score of the night, beating Corzine and independent Chris Daggett 49-44-6. The big story here may be the unexpected collapse in Daggett's numbers (he had been polling near 20% several weeks ago); I'd guess that a swath of moderate but fervently anti-Corzine voters realized that they were planning to waste their votes on a spoiler (Daggett) and in the end held their noses and voted for Christie. The other big story: the robo-pollsters (PPP, SurveyUSA) not only getting the result right but coming close on the spread, while some of the more traditional pollsters saw a Corzine victory. Christie's amply-cut jacket didn't have much in the way of coattails, though: Republicans picked up a total of only one seat in the Assembly, with Domenick DiCicco poised to pick up an open seat in Gloucester County in Philly's suburbs, leaving Dems in control of the chamber, 47-33.
Virginia: Here's where the Democrats really stunk it up, although the handwriting on the wall could be clearly seen from months away. In the gubernatorial race, Republican Bob McDonnell defeated Creigh Deeds by a substantial margin, 59-41. Further down the ticket, Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling was re-elected over Jody Wagner, 56-44, and Republican Ken Cuccinelli won the AG's race over Steve Shannon, 58-42. Democrats also took some damage in the House of Delegates, although they seemed to stave off total wipeout: Republicans netted five seats, to move the total from 53 (and 2 GOP-caucusing indies)-45 (with 2 formerly Dem vacancies) to 58 (plus the 2 indies)-39 (with one Dem incumbent-held seat, the 21st, going to recount).
Maine: In what seemed to be the night's biggest heartbreak for many in the netroots, Question 1, a vote to repeal gay marriage, passed by a 53-47 margin. Nevertheless, Mainers defeated an anti-tax initiative (Question 4, 40-60) and expanded medical marijuana access (Question 5, 59-41).
Washington: In the nation's other corner, Referendum 71, a vote to approve legislation creating "marriage in all but name" expanded domestic partnerships, is passing 51-49. (Assuming it passes, this would be, by my reckoning, the first time gay rights have been expanded through statewide vote; since King County has reported disproportionately few of the state's ballots, that margin is likely to grow.) Washington also rejected anti-tax I-1033, 44-56, and King County elected Dow Constantine as County Executive by a comfortable 57-43 over Susan Hutchison (in the first time this has been run as a nonpartisan race -- unfortunately for Hutchison, somewhere in the last few weeks her Republican cover got blown). The Seattle mayor's race will probably be the last race in the country to get resolved: with less than half reporting, anti-establishment progressive Mike McGinn leads establishment progressive Joe Mallahan 50-49.
California: In the night's other House election, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Garamendi defeated Republican attorney David Harmer in CA-10, 53-43 (with the balance going to Green and Peace & Freedom candidates). That's a bit underwhelming in a district where Barack Obama won 65-33, but in a low-turnout special, it's not remarkable.
North Carolina: Charlotte got only its second African-American mayor and its first Democratic mayor in 22 years, as 38-year-old Anthony Foxx beat the polls en route to a 51-49 over Republican Andy Lassiter. Democrats also now have an 8-3 edge on the city council. College town Chapel Hill now has an openly gay mayor: Mark Kleinschmidt, who narrowly defeated conservative Matt Czajkowski, 49-47.
Ohio: Somehow I can't see Cleveland becoming the next Las Vegas (maybe $pringfield, Ohio will), but Ohio voters just opted to legalize casino gambling in Issue 3, 53-47.
Pennsylvania: Republicans picked up a seat on the state Supreme Court; Jane Orie Melvin defeated Democrat Jack Panella 53-47. The GOP now controls the court 4-3, which has bad implications for state legislative redistricting next year.
Michigan: Another Dem screw-up that may bury the prospect of a pro-Democratic gerrymander in Michigan next year is a loss in the one hotly contested state Senate seat anywhere last night. In SD-19, Republican Mike Nofs won 61-34, picking up a seat formerly held by Democratic now-Rep. Mark Schauer. Republicans now control the Senate 22-16 (all seats are up in 2010, meaning Dems now need to flip four for control -- of course, they'd also need to hold the gubernatorial race, which may not happen either). In Detroit, incumbent Dave Bing held on to win the mayor's race, 58-42.
Georgia: We're headed to a runoff in Atlanta, where city councilor Mary Norwood and state Senator Kasim Reed finished 1 and 2, with 46% and 36% respectively. Reed may be able to pull it out, though, if he consolidates African-American votes in the general (the 3rd place finisher, Lisa Borders with 14%, is also African-American). The most interesting legislative race seems to be the previously Dem-held HD-141, where it's unclear whether Dem Darrell Black or GOPer Angela Gheesling-McCommon (each of whom got 23%, although Black has a 16-vote edge) will face off against independent Rusty Kidd (who got 44%) in the runoff.
Got any other races you want to share results from, or want to talk about? Let us know in the comments!
• AR-Sen: Another day, another random conservative guy running for the Senate in Arkansas. Today, it's the turn for Stanley Reed, the former president of the Arkansas Farm Bureau and former president of the University of Arkansas board of trustees, who says he's considering the race for the Republican nod. (H/t CongressDaily.)
• FL-Sen: The Police Benevolent Association, friendly with Charlie Crist from his law-and-order days as Attorney General, commissioned a poll via McLaughlin & Associates that paints a slightly rosier picture of Crist's race against Marco Rubio than we've seen from several other pollsters last week. They find Crist up against Rubio 53-29, with a 67% approval.
• IA-Sen: It looks like Christie Vilsack (the former Iowa first lady, and political heavyweight in her own right) won't be challenging Chuck Grassley after all. She'd sounded receptive to the idea in the last few weeks, but today she's telling the Des Moines Register that she won't run. Lawyer and former gubernatorial candidate Roxanne Conlin had sounded close to running last week, so the ball's in Conlin's court now.
• LA-Sen: Louisiana Secretary of State Jay Dardenne is the only prominent Republican left who hasn't ruled out a challenge to David Vitter in the Republican primary, and, although he hasn't taken any steps, he's still not shutting the door on it. Last week on a radio show he confirmed that he hasn't ruled it out. While a primary between the two hasn't been polled since March (with Vitter leading 43-32), a recent poll had Dardenne overperforming Vitter against Charlie Melancon in the general.
• MA-Sen: A poll of the Democratic primary, from Western New England College Polling Institute, in the special election in Massachusetts finds that AG Martha Coakley is still in the driver's seat, but that some of her competitors are gaining ground as they get better-known. Coakley is at 37, with Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca at 14 (that's what spending all that money on ads will get you), Rep. Michael Capuano at 13, and City Year founder Alan Khazei at 4. The general election is shaping up to be a non-event, as Coakley beats Republican state Sen. Scott Brown 58-32 and Capuano beats him 49-33.
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold finally has a noteworthy challenger: Terrence Wall, a Madison-area real estate developer who seems to have lots of money, although he's never been elected before and it's not clear what poltical skills he brings to the table. Wall is a frequent GOP donor, although he's also given money to his local Dem, Rep. Tammy Baldwin.
• MI-Gov: Rasmussen took a look at the Michigan governor's race, but without a clear sense of who the nominees will be, they just did a generic ballot test. Generic R leads Generic D by only a point, 37-36 -- suggesting that Lt. Gov. John Cherry, who hasn't polled well in general election matchups, is underperforming Generic D. Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm's approval is 40/60.
• NJ-Gov: Suffolk University takes its first poll of the New Jersey governor's race, and while it would be nice to say this was the new reality, it's probably more likely an outlier: Jon Corzine leads Chris Christie 42-33, with Chris Daggett pulling in 7. Suffolk did an interesting experiment: they listed all 12 minor candidates, and they ate a bit into Daggett's numbers, pulling in a cumulative 3%. Corzine also has surprisingly high favorables, at 45/46, with Christie at 34/46. Monmouth, however, explains what might have happened with this sample (apparently a simple mistake that out-of-state pollsters often make): Suffolk weighted party ID by registration, but because of NJ's semi-open primary system, many unaffiliateds are actually partisan and should be polled as such.
Meanwhile, with most polls still pointing to a tossup, Barack Obama is back for one more rally with Corzine next weekend. Chris Christie can ill-afford one more scandal in the news, but that seems to be happening anyway, as stories about his seemingly politically-motivated hiring of the son of Christie patron and mentor Herbert Stern as an assistant US Attorney, despite Stern Jr.'s mediocre interviews.
• NY-Gov: This is the kind of courtesy call you don't really want -- the kind that says "I'm taking the job you want." According to the NY Post's Fred Dicker (so add salt according to taste), Andrew Cuomo contacted Rudy Giuliani through intermediaries to let him know that he will, in no uncertain terms, be running for Governor.
• CA-11: One more Republican sounds like he's ready to join the strangely crowded field to go up against Rep. Jerry McNerney next year. Former San Jose city councilor Larry Pegram says he'll move into the district to take on McNerney -- but it seems like he may want to do a little research before getting too committed, as he claimed that McNerney is weak because he was just swept in as part of the "Obama wave." (McNerney, of course, was first elected in 2006.)
• FL-19: The special election in the 19th is shaping up to be pretty uneventful: over the weekend, not only did outgoing Rep. Robert Wexler endorse state Sen. Peter Ted Deutch to take over for him, but so too did everyone else representing the Gold Coast: Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Ron Klein, and Alcee Hastings.
• MI-02: A whole lot of Dutch-American conservative Republicans are jostling to take over from Rep. Peter Hoekstra in the solidly-red 2nd, and one of the field's heavy hitters made his entry official: state Sen. Wayne Kuipers. He faces former state Rep. Bill Huizenga, former NFL player Jay Riemersma, and businessman Bill Cooper.
• NY-23 (pdf): There have been rumors of private polls out there given a small lead to third-party Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman in the 23rd, and now his sponsors at the Club for Growth have openly released one. Basswood Research finds Hoffman in the lead with 31, with Democrat Bill Owens at 27 and Republican Dede Scozzafava lagging at 20, with 22 undecided (although with a huge 6% MoE, anything could be happening). That must have something to do with the DCCC's new strategy; their new negative ad is going after Hoffman, rather than Scozzafava. Also, Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty finally got off the fence and decided to throw his lot in with the movement: he endorsed Hoffman.
• NY-24: The New York Times, in a broader piece on GOP targeting of New York House Democrats, has an interesting tidbit we hadn't seen before: the GOP is trying to coax Michael Richard Hanna, the businessman who performed surprisingly well against Rep. Mike Arcuri last year, into a rematch.
• KY-St. Sen.: We're moving one step closer to another vacant seat and special election in Kentucky's Senate (which is controlled 21-17 by Republicans right now). Republican Dan Kelly was nominated for a state circuit court position, and he just needs Gov. Steve Beshear's approval to get the job. Competitors are already lining up for the special, including Republican state Rep. Jimmy Higdon and Democratic former state Rep. Jodie Haydon. (In case you were wondering if Kentucky, which votes for statewide offices in odd-numbered years, is having legislative elections next week, the answer is no; state legislators are still elected in even-numbered years.)
• VA-St. House: One more good piece in the diaries breaking down the individual races in Virginia's House of Delegates into Tossup, Lean, and Likely, thanks to our Johnny Longtorso. One particularly interesting race is the 51st District in exurban Prince William County, where Republican Rich Anderson, challenging Dem incumbent Paul Nichols in a very competitive race, may face criminal charges for giving out Nichols' Social Security number on a mailer to over 15,000 area residents.
• ME-Init: Another poll from Pan Atlantic SMS of Question 1 in Maine on gay marriage. They find 42 yes and 53 no (with "no" being a vote in favor of continuing gay marriage), not much changed from their September poll (43-52) but the most optimistic numbers we've seen yet here.
• Mayors: In New York City, Quinnipiac finds incumbent Michael Bloomberg (the $85 million man) with a sizable edge against Democratic comptroller William Thompson, leading 53-35 with a lead in every borough. (Not much change from 52-36 a month ago.) In what looks to be the first poll of the Atlanta mayoral race, SurveyUSA finds city councilor Mary Norwood with a big lead, although not quite enough to avoid a runoff with the 2nd place finisher. Norwood is at 46%, followed by state Sen. Kasim Reed at 26% and city councilor Lisa Borders at 17%. Norwood leads 6:1 among whites, independents, and Republicans; Reed leads among African-Americans. Also worth a read is a piece from our own diaries about major (and minor) mayoral races from elections09, which gets into the weeds on some tight races not on anybody's national radar screen (with Vancouver, WA and Stamford, CT as particularly interesting examples).