• Colorado: What looked like a hotly contested race on the Democratic side of the Senate race (thanks to a mixed bag of poll results, including an Andrew Romanoff lead according to SurveyUSA) turned into a fairly comfortable win for Michael Bennet in the end. Propped up by Obama and DSCC help, and weathering a last-minute patented hit job from the New York Times, Bennet won 54-46. Maybe this'll help put to sleep two memes that are getting very very tiresome: that it's an "anti-incumbent year," and that Obama endorsees all lose. Bennet will face off against Ken Buck, who defeated Jane Norton in the GOP primary 52-48. Polls haven't been conclusive in terms of whether Dems should have wanted to face off against Buck or Norton. Buck gets lumped in with Sharron Angle and Rand Paul because of his teabagger proclivities, but he's considerably more skilled than they are; nevertheless, he still seems gaffe-prone and irritable, so I'll take him.
Dan Maes won the GOP gubernatorial nod, 51-49. The only way things could have gone better for Dems in the GOP gubernatorial race would be if Maes' margin had been small enough to force a recount. The risk here was that irreparably-damaged Scott McInnis would win and then, being a good GOP team player, promptly drop out, allowing a better Republican (Jane Norton?) to take his place, which would then drive Tom Tancredo out of his indie bid. Maes has vowed to fight on, though, and his underwhelming presence is likely to keep Tancredo in the race, meaning not one but two guys not just spewing the crazy, but splitting the crazy vote and ensuring Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Finally, in Colorado, the GOP House primaries were uneventful wins for establishment candidates, with Ryan Frazier beating Lang Sias 64-36 in CO-07 and Scott Tipton beating Bob McConnell (Sarah Palin's other losing endorsee yesterday) winning 56-44 in CO-03.
• Connecticut: Probably the biggest surprise of the night was the 58-42 victory by former Stamford mayor Dan Malloy over Ned Lamont in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, seeing as how Lamont had led all polls (although polls did capture a late and rapid Malloy surge). The lesson here mostly boils down to one more race where the organizational power of the local political establishment was able to overcome the money of a rich outsider, but there's one other story here that Dem message-setters will hopefully notice. Judging by when polls saw the race tigthen, the wheels seemed to come off Lamont's campaign with a late round of attack ads that focused on layoffs at Lamont's company. Taking not just that but the air war in the PA-12 special in mind (where Mark Critz won in large measure by hammering Tim Burns over outsourcing), it really seems like, despite this year's overarching CW, voters will go for a "career politician" over a self-described job-creating outsider businessman, once it's made clear that said businessman's interest in jobs only extends as far as his own bottom line.
Malloy will face a flawed Tom Foley in November, and based on general election polling recently should be considered a slight favorite. Foley won the GOP primary narrowly over Lt. Governor Michael Fedele and Oz Griebel 42-39-19. Also, for the GOP, Linda McMahon unsurprisingly won the GOP primary in the face of Rob Simmons' half-assed comeback-type-thing. Simmons and Paulist economist Peter Schiff did keep her under 50% though: 49-28-23. McMahon faces Richard Blumenthal in November, who already launched his first TV ad this morning, shirking a no-doubt-tempting smackdown in favor of... what's that thing that McMahon doesn't have... oh, yeah. Dignity. The three GOP House primaries led to expected victories for Janet Peckinpaugh in CT-02 (43-38 over Daria Novak), Dan Debicella in CT-04 (60-24 over Rob Merkle), and Sam Caligiuri in CT-05 (40-32-28 over Justin Bernier and Mark Greenberg).
• Georgia: The main event in Georgia was the GOP gubernatorial runoff, and hoo boy, did it live up to its billing. The two candidates finished in recount territory at 50-50, with Nathan Deal leading Karen Handel by 2,500 votes. Unfortunately, Handel just conceded this morning rather than following through with the recount, so Dem nominee Roy Barnes doesn't get to spend weeks watching them keep fighting it out. Pundits will no doubt focus on the proxy war aspects of the battle ("Huck beats Palin!"), but the outcome seems to have more to do with Deal consolidating conservative votes outside the Atlanta area, where Handel's anti-corruption, anti-good-ol'-boyism message may have fallen flat.
We also had outcomes in three GOP House primaries, one to determine the nominee in a Likely Dem race, and the others to determine who's the next Rep. in dark-red districts. In GA-07, establishment-backed former John Linder CoS Rob Woodall beat teabagging radio talker Jody Hice, 56-44. In GA-09, Rep. Tom Graves won his fourth (and probably final) faceoff against Lee Hawkins, 55-45. And in GA-12, Ray McKinney beat Carl Smith 62-38 for the right to take on Rep. John Barrow. If you want to argue that this year's crop of Republican candidates is radioactive, you don't need to look any further than McKinney; he's a nuclear power plant project manager by day.
• Minnesota: Finally, there was only one race worth watching last night in Minnesota, and it turned out to be a barnburner: the DFL gubernatorial primary. State House speaker (and DFL endorsee) Margaret Anderson Kelliher led most of the night based on her strength in the Twin Cities, but as results trickled in from the rest of the state, ex-Sen. Mark Dayton crept into the lead. In the end, despite having convincing pre-primary poll leads, Dayton won 41-40-18 over Kelliher and Matt Entenza. Dayton pretty clearly benefited not only from his statewide familiarity, but also from picking a running mate from Duluth, where he cleaned up, late in the game. With a 7,000 margin separating them, Kelliher didn't concede last night... but she did this morning, meaning Dayton faces the increasingly woeful GOP nominee Tom Emmer in November. The most recent spate of polls has given Dayton double-digits advantages in that matchup.
• CO-Sen (D): The Democratic heavyweights are out in this marquee race on our side in Colorado, splitting between appointed incumbent and former Denver Schools Superintendent Michael Bennet and Colorado House speaker Andrew Romanoff. Obama's recorded a robocall for Bennet, while the Big Dog's been stumping for Romanoff (who, yes, endorsed Hillary in 2008). While Romanoff's bid seemed quixotic at first, he's managed to gain some traction, with the most recent polling in the race offering a split decision, with PPP saying Bennet 49-43 and SurveyUSA saying Romanoff 48-45. Much hay was made about Bennet's accidental incumbency, and the newest scuttle in the race takes the form of Bennet's financial dealings while Superintendent. While that news may have broken a little late, Romanoff still has the momentum -- but will it be enough? (JMD)
• CO-Sen (R): The Devil Wears Prada! Or, perhaps more appropriately, former Lt. Gov Jane Norton wears high heels, according to her rival, Weld County DA Ken Buck. The two have been duking it out for the conservative mantle. Buck's been endorsed by GOP would-be kingmaker Jim DeMint and has had some airpower in the form of shady 501(c)(4) group Americans for Job Security; Norton's earned the endorsements of both John McCain and the star of Saved By The Xenophobia, Jan Brewer. Norton and Buck remain close in polling, with PPP giving Norton a narrow edge at 41-40 and SurveyUSA giving Buck some more breathing room at 50-41. All of this remains in complete flux though, and any result tonight could be rendered moot by a switcheroo with the Governor's race, should the Colorado GOP somehow manage to cast off their albatross in Scott McInnis. (JMD)
• CO-Gov (R): Former Rep. Scott McInnis was at one time considered a major get for the GOP, and the strength of his candidacy was such that he helped push incumbent Dem Gov. Bill Ritter out of the race after just one term. No more. While some initially dismissed McInnis's plagiarism scandal as a minor white-collar affair that wouldn't interest average voters, his transgressions in fact proved unusually potent, leading to his campaign's utter ruin. Polls now show a dead heat between McInnis (whose fundraising has dried up) and crazy fringer Some Dude Dan Maes (who never raised squat to begin with). The primary may be completely moot, though: Rumors have abounded that if McInnis were to win, he'd step down in favor of a less-damaged candidate. We should probably be rooting for Maes, though, who has explicitly said he'd do no such thing. (D)
• CO-03 (R): Former state Rep. Scott Tipton, who represented a large swath of Southwestern Colorado before running against incumbent Dem. John Salazar in 2006, looked like he would easily earn the right to challenge Salazar a second time, but was held to only 45% at the state nominating against the teabaggish Bob McConnell, who also earned 45%. As a result, the two square off tonight, with McConnell running to Tipton's right, even boasting a Sarah Palin endorsement. Both candidates have some cash to play with, Tipton having spent $213k and McConnell having spent $132k so far. Given the relative low profile of this race - Salazar bested Tipton with 62% in 2006 and seems to be more entrenched than most vulnerable Dems - the race remains unpredictable. (JMD)
• CO-07 (R): The primary field in this suburban Denver district is also down to two after the convention, with Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier having earned 49% and carpetbagging former Democrat Lang Sias having earned 43%. Frazier is winning the money race by quite a distance, $252k to Sias's $89k cash-on-hand. Sias -- who lives in CO-02 and became a Republican in 2007, however, boasts endorsements from both former 7th CD Rep. Bob Beauprez, the one and only Tom Tancredo, and John McCain, who Sias campaigned for (but didn't vote for). Again, Perlmutter doesn't seem particularly vulnerable, leading to a lower-profile -- and less predictable -- race tonight. (JMD)
• CT-Gov (D): Connecticut Democrats are hungry for a win this November -- which would be their first gubernatorial win since William O'Neill's re-election in 1986 -- but they'll have to get through a fast-closing primary tonight to see who their nominee will be. '06 Senate nominee and Lieberman primary-slayer Ned Lamont is facing off against former 14-year Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy, and this race looks like it's going down to the wire. After lagging in the polls behind Lamont for months, Malloy has used some well-timed punches to turn Lamont's business experience against him, releasing TV ads criticizing Lamont for layoffs at his telecommunications company. The latest Q-poll shows that Lamont's lead has eroded to a mere three points -- certainly not a margin to bet the farm on tonight. (JL)
• CT-Gov (R): While technically this one is a three-way decision, the only candidates with a shot at winning the Republican nomination tonight are ex-Ambassador Tom Foley and Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele. Like Lamont, Foley has used his personal fortune to catapult himself to an early lead. Fedele has had a rough time keeping pace, highlighted by his failures to secure endorsements from Gov. Jodi Rell and the state GOP convention. Still, Fedele has swung back at Foley with TV ads drawing attention to layoffs at one of Foley's textile factories in Georgia. The latest Q-Poll shows some juice for Fedele, but he still lags behind Foley by 38-30. (JL)
• CT-Sen (R): Little Bobby Simmons announced that he was taking his ball and going home, but it turns out that he was just lingering behind the bleachers until he could muster up the courage to take another at-bat. The results aren't pretty: a 50-28 lead for controversial WWE Queen Linda McMahon in the latest Q-Poll. Next! (JL)
• CT-02 (R): Now this one's getting down in the weeds, but Republicans are trying to prod as many Dem-held seats for potential weakness as possible. The crop of candidates going up against two-term Rep. Joe Courtney, however, leaves much to be desired. After their most well-funded recruit, former Hebron Board of Finance vice chairman Matthew Daly, dropped out in May, Republicans are picking between former TV anchorwoman Janet Peckinpaugh, former State Department official Daria Novak, and farmer/attorney Douglas Dubitsky. Peckinpaugh, the most "hyped" of the trio, failed to raise more than $50K for her campaign, and her candidacy drew early fire for her most recent employment stint as a shill for a now-defunct mortgage company in deceptive, TV news-like ads. As much success as Republicans have had in expanding the map this year, this race stacks up as a glaring recruiting failure. (JL)
• CT-04 (R): State Sen. Dan Debicella is the clear front-runner in the race to take on Rep. Jim Himes. He faces a couple of Some Dudes who, as befits their Some Dude status, haven't raised squat: Rick Torres and Rob Merkle. (A more credible opponent, Tom Herrmann, dropped out in June after petition fraud meant he couldn't qualify for the ballot.) Debicella won his party's backing at the state convention earlier this year. (D)
• CT-05 (R): Though the 5th district would seem to be a tougher GOP target than the 4th, the Republican primary here has attracted quite a bit more money, and a larger number of credible candidates. Another state senator, Sam Caligiuri, is also the presumed front-runner here, having won 70% of the delegate vote at his party's nominating convention. But Afghanistan vet Justin Bernier, who was running in this race (and got some favorable notice) before Caligiuri dropped down from the senate contest last November, has raised a creditable sum and hasn't given up. Like many others in his position, though, it seems he's had a chip on his shoulder ever since Caligiuri hopped into the race, and that's usually not very appealing. Wealthy businessman Mark Greenberg actually leads the money race, with over a million raised (most of that from his own pockets), but most of the media attention devoted to this contest has seemed to focus on the Caligiuri-Bernier matchup. The winner, whomever he may be, gets to challenge sophomore Rep. (and all-time SSP hero) Chris Murphy in the fall. (D)
• GA-Gov (R): The big ticket race in Georgia is the Republican gubernatorial runoff, between Karen Handel, the former SoS who finished a dominant first in the primary, and Nathan Deal, the former U.S. Rep. who was second. The Beltway media tends to emphasize that this is a proxy fight between possible presidential candidates (with Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney backing Handel, and Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee backing Deal), but the important post-primary endorsements here may have been the NRA, and third-place finisher state Sen. Eric Johnson (who has a strong base in the Savannah area), which both seemed to have consolidate conservative and rural Johnson and John Oxendine votes behind Deal. With that, Deal has pulled into a polling tie with Handel, promising a down-to-the-wire race tonight. (C)
• GA-07 (R): With the surprising third-place finish of state Rep. Clay Cox (who'd had the backing of the Club for Growth and many local endorsers), meaning he's not in the runoff, it's anybody's guess as to who has the upper hand tonight in the Republican runoff in the dark-red open seat 7th and be the district's next Rep. (Actually, this part of Atlanta's northern suburbs is going through a lot of demographic change that will be beneficial to Democrats in the long run, but this isn't going to be the year to capitalize on that.) John Linder's former CoS, Rob Woodall, faces off against radio talk show host Jody Hice. (C)
• GA-09 (R): Few candidates are as well acquainted with each other as newly-minted Rep. Tom Graves and former state Sen. Lee Hawkins, who, thanks to a special election, special election runoff, and primary, are now poised to face each other for the fourth time this year. Graves has won the first three rounds, and barely missed winning the primary outright (with 49% of the vote), so it would be a pretty monumental turnaround for Hawkins to finally win it, on the time it really counts (as November will be of little import in this dark-red district). Maybe having been in Congress for five months is enough to give Graves the unacceptable taint of incumbency, though. The county to watch is Hall, where Hawkins has his geographic base and which tends to report late. (C)
• GA-12 (R): Democratic Rep. John Barrow -- who overcame his main challenge this year, a challenge from the left from former state Sen. Regina Thomas, in the primary -- will be watching with some interest tonight to see who his Republican opponent will be: nuclear power plant project manager Ray McKinney, or former fire chief of the small town of Thunderbolt, Carl Smith? Neither one is particularly well-funded or has an imposing profile, but this race could be competitive if the Republican wave is particularly large. (C)
• MN-Gov (D): Minnesota Democrats will finally have a chance to participate in some real democracy today, rather than having their gubernatorial nominee chosen for them by a bunch of elites at a party convention. State House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher did in fact win the endorsement of state delegates, but former Sen. Mark Dayton and former state Rep. Matt Entenza forged on with primary challenges regardless. It was probably a wise move for the wealthy Dayton, seeing as recent polls have all shown him to be in first place, with MAK in second and Entenza (who also has access to family money) in third. While this race may not wind up being very exciting, in a low turnout three-way with one woman and two men, the outcome could be unexpected. (D)
GA-Gov (D): Ex-Gov. Roy Barnes has held commanding leads in every credible poll of this primary, so the question tonight isn't who finishes first, but rather, will Barnes capture the Democratic nomination without needing a runoff? Four out of the five pollsters who have released polls of this contest in July have pegged Barnes' support in the mid-to-high 50s, while the fifth, Public Policy Polling, had Barnes at 49%. Barnes has dominated the airwaves at the expense of his next closest competitor, state AG Thurbert Baker, but Baker recently picked up the support of Bill Clinton, the most recent Democrat to win Georgia at the Presidential level. Baker may have also earned some favor with base voters by refusing to challenge the constitutional validity of Congress' healthcare reform legislation passed earlier this year -- a move that earned him the full wrath of sitting Gov. Sonny Perdue and the GOP-dominated state legislature. Rounding out the field are House Minority Leader DuBose Porter and ex-SoS/Labor Commissioner/GA National Guard Adjutant-General David Poythress, both of whom have failed to gain much traction in the polls. (J)
GA-Gov (R): What a difference a few weeks makes. One month ago, Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine was a mortal lock to make the runoff (with just too many candidates for anyone to win outright), and looking likely to advance to the general election thanks to his financial advantages. A few ethical allegations and Sarah Palin endorsements later, former SoS Karen Handel has pulled into a dominant lead, with Oxendine struggling to even make the runoff. The most recent spate of polls has seen the Ox neck-and-neck with almost-as-sleazy former Rep. Nathan Deal for the 2nd runoff spot, and even, in one poll, sinking into 4th behind state Sen. Eric Johnson, who aired a last-minute TV ad blitz and might (a la Robert Bentley in Alabama) sneak into the runoff by virtue of not being any of the other candidates.
GA-04 (D): Incumbent Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson faces a serious primary challenge from ex-DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones and DeKalb County Commissioner Connie Stokes. Jones, as you may recall, was last seen losing the 2008 Democratic Senate nomination to Jim Martin after admitting that he voted for George W. Bush not once but twice. (Furthermore, the man also carries around some pretty ugly baggage.) Jones has been aggressively hitting Johnson, who disclosed last December that he's been battling Hepatitis C for years, for supposedly being an absentee representative, and drawing attention to Johnson's curious comments that the island of Guam may someday "capsize". An internal poll for Johnson released in January had Johnson up by a 47-19 margin over Jones, with 5% for Stokes. And after a slow fundraising start to the year, Johnson has been raising and spending at a rate unmatched by Jones and Stokes. Johnson has also earned the endorsements of Barack Obama and former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin. Still, in this summer of discontent, it's worth watching races like this one. (J)
GA-07 (R): The Republican derby to replace retiring long-time wingnut Rep. John Linder is overloaded with candidates and likely to head to a runoff, but state Rep. Clay Cox seems to be in the driver's seat, with former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed and several prominent state Senators having taken passes or bailed out of the race. Cox's main opposition seems to be Linder's former CoS, Rob Woodall. Interestingly, all eight candidates in the field have sworn fealty to Linder's pet crackpot scheme, the so-called "Fair Tax" (a plan to replace the graduated income tax with a gigantic, and massively regressive, national sales tax).
GA-09 (R): They've already faced off two times in the last few months, so what's one more time between friends? Former state Rep. Tom Graves won the special election to fill the seat left empty by Nathan Deal's one-step-ahead-of-the-law resignation and is just settling in as a newly-minted U.S. Rep. However, now he has to face off once again against the man he defeated in the special primary and runoff: state Sen. Screamin' Lee Hawkins. It'll be an uphill fight for Hawkins, but Hawkins has a strong base in Hall County, and Graves may be further damaged by revelations about his attempts to dodge a lawsuit over an unpaid loan (which hadn't fully broken when the special runoff happened).
GA-12 (D/R): The duel in the GA-12 Democratic primary between Rep. John Barrow and Regina Thomas seemed to catch some netroots attention in 2008; it pitted one of House Dems' most conservative members (a particularly bad mismatch with his D+1 district) against an African-American former state Senator with a delightful array of hats. Her underfunded campaign barely captured a quarter of the vote, though, and the rematch this year seems to have inspired a netroots-wide 'meh.' Despite more of a head start this year, Thomas's campaign is even more underfunded this time, and Barrow has been spending like mad to mitigate his constituents' discontent with his 'no' vote on HCR. Barrow correctly understands that Thomas is his main opposition this year; with widely-self-touted Wayne Mosely sidelined last year by lawsuit-related financial woes, the NRCC doesn't seem to have a prize pick in this primary. Former Thunderbolt fire chief Carl Smith seems to come closest to being the GOP's establishment candidate here, while nuclear power plant safety inspector project manager Ray McKinney fancies himself the teabaggers' choice.
Have any predictions for tonight? Please share with us in the comments.
• AR-Sen: Here's a non-surprise. Americans for Job Security, who poured $1.8 million into anti-Bill Halter ads during the primary, say they probably aren't going to be doing any further work on behalf of Blanche Lincoln. The anti-labor group already got what it wants (two anti-labor candidates), so its work is done. Also worth noting, Nate Silver points out what a tough lift a Bill Halter victory would have been, revealing something called the 'blogginess' index (a factor of being white, liberal, and college-educated), on which Arkansas scores very low and Pennsylvania scores pretty high (by way of explaining how Pennsylvania was more responsive to a labor/netroots primary challenge -- although I'd point out that actual labor and netroots support wasn't the main factor in pushing Joe Sestak past Arlen Specter, whereas it was the driving force in Halter's bid). I'm not sure if he noticed or not, but the rank ordering of the states on that index is quite similar to the graph of most liberal-to-conservative Democratic electorates that Andrew Gelman introduced last week.
• CO-Sen: Jane Norton is making a rhetorical rush to the right, if her new advertising is any indication: it's all about stopping "Obamacare" and "yanking it out by the roots," and it's playing mostly in the dark-red Colorado Springs market. Wondering why? She's probably seeing the same thing in her polling as what Republican pollster Magellan (who are getting quite active in offering public polls of Republican primaries where they don't have a horse in the race) is seeing. They have a poll out today showing Weld County DA Ken Buck leading Norton, 42-32.
• IL-Sen: Worse to worst for Mark Kirk? It looks like frustration with his constant politicizing of his military service was present even within the Department of Defense, as a DoD memo has surfaced that expressed "concerns arising from his partisan political activities during his last two tours of active duty." Kirk was required to get a waiver before deploying to Afghanistan in 2008, which required him to write out "an acknowledgment of limitations required for all candidates on active duty."
• NC-Sen: This is kind of an out-of-the-blue endorsement, but it may help Elaine Marshall gain a little traction with the national netroots. Ohio SoS Jennifer Brunner is apparently OK with endorsing outside her own state's boundaries, as she offered her support to Marshall.
• NV-Sen: Echoes of Rand Paul's still-in-progress post-primary makeover? Jon Ralston notices that Sharron Angle's wacky website just got scrubbed, with no discussion of her positions at this point (no mention of Social Security elimination, for instance). Meanwhile, the GOP signals that they're going to actively get involved in breaking out the message massage oil and work on rehabbing Angle: RNC head Michael Steele has pledged his support. RNC funds will go to the Nevada GOP rather than directly to Angle, whose campaign actually was in the red ($139K CoH, $179K debt) on May 19. (Compare that to Harry Reid's $9.1 million.) And Angle's reaching out to the GOP establishment, too, to the extent that she says she's willing to accept campaign help from John Ensign, a flip-flop from her pre-primary position. Fitting, though, since she's been a big proponent of embracing radioactive waste in Nevada. (And while I don't ordinarily like to honk my own horn, after looking back through the SSP attic, I have to remind everybody that I forecasted an Angle primary victory back in October.)
• SC-Sen: There's a growing sense that something's amiss with Alvin Greene's entry to the race, to the extent that Jim Clyburn explicitly called him a "plant" today and asked for a probe. The real puzzle is the timeline on Greene's obscenity arrest, obtaining a public defender because of his indigence, and then his filing for the race:
The South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense, which operates the state's public defender program, makes clear that courts take into account "the number of people in your household, whether you own any real estate, or have money in the bank" when deciding whether to assign a public defender to a defendant.
Greene has claimed that he paid the $10,400 filing fee out of his savings from his military pay. But he was discharged from the Army in August 2009 and says he hasn't held a job since then.
So, in economic terms, the timeline goes like this: Greene's military paychecks stopped in August. Three months later, he filed an affidavit with a South Carolina court claiming to be indigent. And four months after that he walked into the South Carolina Democratic Party headquarters with a personal check for $10,400.
Losing gubernatorial candidate Robert Ford (who's African-American) also sheds some light on how Greene might have won despite his complete unknownness: apparently, in South Carolina, "Greene" (as opposed to "Green") is understood to be an African-American last name. With South Carolina's Democratic electorate with a black majority, voters with no other information about the two choices might vote based purely on that.
• UT-Sen: After previously having had some nice things to say about him, 4th place finisher Cherilyn Eagar went the whole way and endorsed Tim Bridgewater for the GOP Senate primary against Mike Lee.
• WI-Sen: Republican businessman Ron Johnson, who has some personal wealth to draw on in his bid against Russ Feingold, is launching his first television ads. A source tells SSP that this is a one-week statewide ad buy for about $350K.
• AL-Gov: Second-place finisher Robert Bentley is out with an internal poll (by Dresner Wicker) giving him a big lead in the runoff against Bradley Byrne, 45-29. That's somewhat plausible, since Bentley seems likelier to consolidate the votes for the most conservative options, Roy Moore and Tim James, than is "moderate" Byrne. (Of course, since James is paying for a recount, it's not a done deal that Bentley's in the runoff.)
• CO-Gov: Scott McInnis, facing a primary from teabagger Dan Maes (who pulled even with him at the state convention), now says he "doesn't remember" serving on the board of pro-choice group Republicans for Choice. However, paperwork filed with the FEC lists him on the group's letterhead as a board member from 1996 to 2005... that's ten years.
• SC-Gov: Nikki Haley is out with an internal poll giving her a big lead heading into the runoff against Gresham Barrett, 62-28 (suggesting she's gotten the majority of the gains from the primary, where she led 49-22). Barrett's staying in (despite a sandbagging by the RGA), and he's already out with a TV ad, where he appears with a drill sergeant who calls him "a Christian family man who won't embarrass us." I'm not sure if that cringeworthy line is supposed to be an anti-Mark Sanford dogwhistle or an anti-Haley dogwhistle; maybe it's intended to do double-duty.
• GA-09: Despite losing the runoff in the special election in the 9th, Lee Hawkins is continuing to fight on; he'll also challenge Rep.-elect Tom Graves in the regularly scheduled July primary. Hawkins didn't fare as poorly as expected, staying within 56-44, and may be counting on the late-breaking news about Graves's attempts to dodge a lawsuit over an unpaid business loan continuing to be a story in coming months.
• ID-01: Greg Smith & Associates released a poll (apparently not on any candidate's behalf), showing Raul Labrador leading Democratic freshman Walt Minnick, 36-24. Recall, though, that this is the same pollster that found Minnick leading "the Republican" candidate 50-20 before the primary (and the link also helpfully provides a list of other times Smith has been way off the mark).
• VA-05: This should put to rest any notions that ex-Rep. Virgil Goode was considering a third-party independent teabagger-powered run in the 5th, or that he might throw his backing to one of the minor-league third-partiers running. Goode endorsed establishment Republican Rob Hurt to go against Rep. Tom Perriello.
AR-Sen: Mitch Berry, the son of retiring Dem Rep. Marion Berry, is stepping up his fight against Bill Halter's purported war on common sense. Berry's PAC, Arkansans For Common Sense, just filed a $150,000 media buy against Halter, bringing their total expenditures in this race to nearly $350K. (J)
NV-Sen: Salon notes that hard-charging teabagger Sharron Angle has been handing out her own newspaper-style pamphlet at campaign events, titled "The Angle Examiner." Underneath eye-grabbing headlines like "Reid Waterboarding the Economy" are photos of Angle in various action poses, including one in which she's firing her .44 Magnum, which she calls her "Dirty Harry Hand Cannon." Salon editorializes that "the breathless tone of its writing, and the very un-slick design, makes it seem like one more piece of evidence that Angle may not be quite ready for prime time."
Ready or not, Angle is getting some big help in the closing days of her insurgent campaign. The Club for Growth filed a half-million dollar expenditure report with the FEC, the bulk of which is being spent on direct mail and attack ads hitting front-runner Sue Lowden. At the same time, the Tea Party Express has upped their media buys supporting Angle by another $50K. (J)
AZ-Gov: Get a load of this tyranny. GOP Gov. Jan Brewer says that she "has removed" state AG Terry Goddard, a Democrat running against her this fall, from defending the state against possible litigation by the federal Department of Justice surrounding the state's "papers please" immigration law. Apparently, Brewer thinks that Goddard is "colluding" with the DoJ after learning that he met with DoJ lawyers shortly before they met with the governor's legal advisors. This is a routine practice for Justice Department attorneys when considering legal action against a state, but Brewer will have none of it. Goddard, for his part, insists that he will be "definitely defending the state" in any challenges to the law. (J)
NY-Gov: Ex-Rep. Rick Lazio scored the Conservative Party's endorsement, but he didn't exactly do it in fine fashion. Chairman Mike Long pushed the party convention a week ahead of the GOP confab, in the hopes of pressuring the Republicans to nominate Lazio instead of recent ex-Dem Steve Levy. But this move ruffled quite a few feathers, it seems, and supporters of Levy and ultra-creepbag Carl Paladino conspired to also put Erie County Conservative chair Ralph Lorigo on the ballot as well. This means that if Lorigo sees it through, Lazio could face a contested primary for the Conservative line. That would mean two different primaries for two different parties with two different sets of opponents for Lazio at the same time! I also have to wonder whether Long will also face backlash over his continued meddling in NY-23 as well. Ah, the Republicans: They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
CA-36: Not taking any chances, Dem Rep. Jane Harman is out with an incendiary ad against her primary opponent, activist Marcy Winograd. The ad, which began airing on local cable stations and FIOS last Thursday, hits Winograd for wanting to "kill the defense budget" and to "destroy Israel." Kudos to the Politico's Alex Isenstadt for inquiring about the size of the ad buy, but shame on the Harman campaign for declining to provide details. (J)
CA-42: Teabagging accountant Phil Liberatore pumped another $375K of his own cash into his race against GOP Rep. Gary Miller. Liberatore has now spent half a million trying to unseat Miller, who has spent "only" $337K. There are also a couple of Some Dudes in this race. The primary is June 8th.
FL-10: Even though the House ethics office cleared Bill Young in the PMA lobbying scandal back in February, a criminal investigation is apparently underway at the Justice Department. (You may recall that several lawmakers were accused of steering defense-related earmarks to PMA clients, in exchange for campaign donations.) Dem Charlie Justice seems to be overplaying his hand here (if he even has one), calling for Young to resign from office.
GA-09: Sure, anyone can file a lawsuit, but banks aren't Orly Taitz, and they usually only sue debtors when they mean it. So it's a bit startling to see that a local bank is suing Tom Graves, the leading candidate in the GA-09 runoff, to recover an unpaid $2.25 million business loan. They're also accusing him of fraudulently transferring some property in order to frustrate the bank's collection efforts. This sounds pretty serious, and could be a real game-changer. The second round of this special election is on June 8th, where Graves, a former state rep., faces Lee Hawkins, a former state senator. (Graves led 35-23 in the first round.)
ID-01: Walt Minnick just rolled out a list of 100 key supporters across his district, including a bunch of prominent Republican donors and elected officials, like some county commissioners and the former head of the National Cattleman's Beef Association. Whoo-eee!
IL-10: Biden alert! The VPOTUS will do a fundraiser for Dan Seals on June 21st in Chicago.
NC-08: It's always the sign of a successful campaign when the candidate starts threatening to sue members of his own party for defamation. That's what SSP fave Tim D'Annunzio is doing, claiming that the state GOP chair is spreading lies about him. Oh, and he wants $5 million. God speed, little Timmy!
NY-01: Bill Clinton will be doing a $2,400-a-head fundraiser for Rep. Tim Bishop in Manhattan this Thursday, while Henry Kissinger will be doing the same for Republican Chris Cox. (Cox is the grandson of Richard Nixon, who of course was BFF with Kissinger back in the day.) P.S. Note to CQ-Roll Call: There is no "furor" about this dumb Sestak job non-story.
SC-02: GOP Rep. Joe Wilson raised an unbelievable amount of cash after his infamous State of the Union outburst, and he's spending at an equally prodigious clip, too. Wilson's pre-primary fundraising report, filed with the FEC, indicates that his campaign brought in $190,000 in a six-week period following the end of March, but he also spent over $450,000 out of his war chest, leaving him with under $1.9 million cash-on-hand. All told, Wilson has spent a whopping $2 million on his re-election campaign already, despite not facing any primary opposition. (J)
UT-02: Rep. Jim Matheson scored the backing of the 18,000-strong Utah Education Association teachers union. It so happens that his primary opponent, Claudia Wright, has been a teacher for 30 years.
NRCC: A good observation by Steve Benen, who points out that the NRCC has recently begun lowballing expectations. While Republicans had for months been acting as though they were sure to retake the House, NRCC recruitment chair Kevin McCarthy has reduced his oddly specific takeover from 45 to 37 - just short of what the GOP would need for the majority. Benen wonders if the NRCC is playing a deep game here, trying to goad supporters into giving their all, lest they become complacent. But in the wake of PA-12 and other embarrassments in primaries, maybe the Republicans really have dialed back their hopes a bit.
• 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.
• AK-Sen: Moose man endorses Some Dude. That's SSP shorthand for: Todd Palin just endorsed Joe Miller, the right-wing lawyer who's taking on Lisa Murkowski in the Republican Senate primary. Recall that Mr. Palin has had some fairly fringey politics in the past (as with his membership in the Alaskan Independence Party), so I wonder if this was done with his wife's approval (or, given her busy schedule these days, whether he was even able to block out some time with her to get her say-so). Given her rumored brief interest in taking on Murkowski in the primary herself (back when she was still Governor rather than itinerant book-selling motivational-speaking grifter), and her long-standing beef with all things Murkowksi, I'd suppose yes.
• CA-Sen: Carly Fiorina, trying to make up last-minute ground in the GOP primary against Tom Campbell, has thrown $1.1 million of her own money into her campaign. On top of previous loans to her campaign, that brings her total self-contributions to $3.6 million. Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner were both heard scoffing loudly.
• CT-Sen: Chalk this one up to bad, bad timing. Linda McMahon just sent out a mailer proposing to "put Connecticut back to work" by "increasing offshore drilling and production" (um, in Long Island Sound?). The mailer features a large, lovely picture of a (non-burning) offshore oil rig.
• NH-Sen: Has Kelly Ayotte just given up on any pretense of trying to look moderate? She's appearing at a Susan B. Anthony List (the anti-abortion group) fundraiser today, headlined by Sarah Palin, along with a supporting cast like Rep. Steve King. I know that she still needs to survive her GOP primary, but her main opposition these days is looking like moderate Bill Binnie, not right-wing Ovide Lamontagne.
• NV-Sen: Steve Kornacki looks at the Nevada Senate race and the "what if" scenario if Sharron Angle somehow wins the primary. History indicates that Harry Reid can't pin too many hopes on winning just because the GOP puts forth its most extreme candidate... maybe the biggest case in point, the Carter camp's hopes that wacko Ronald Reagan would make it out of the GOP primary in 1980.
• NY-Sen: Wow, there's actually going to be a GOP primary for the right to get mulched by Chuck Schumer! Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, who's only been on the job half a year, is already looking to move up. He'll still have to get past political consultant Jay Townsend in the primary.
• UT-Sen: She stopped short of a formal endorsement, but fringey activist Cherilyn Eagar, who finished fourth at the GOP convention, said that Tim Bridgewater would be "an excellent senator" and complimented him on a "clean, honest race." Eagar is back to her day job fighting the menace posed by gnomes.
• AL-Gov: I'm losing track of all the weird outside groups popping up to play dirty pool in the Alabama governor's race. Today's entrant is the mysterious New Sons of Liberty, whose main agenda seems to be Barack Obama's birth certificate. They've reserved $1.1 million in TV airtime, although it's unclear what they'll be advertising about or on behalf of whom. The leader of a group, Basics Project, affiliated with the New Sons is mystified at where they would have gotten that kind of money, so it seems like they're being used as a conduit for... well, somebody.
There's also a new poll out of the Republican primary, by Republican pollster Baselice (on behalf of local PR firm Public Strategy Associates... there's no word on whether any of the candidates are their client). They find Bradley Byrne barely leading Tim James 24-23. Roy Moore, who many thought would be the man to beat, is lagging at 18, with Robert Bentley at 12 and Bill Johnson at 2. The juicier numbers might be down in the AG race, where GOP incumbent Troy King is in all kinds of trouble. He's losing 50-25 to challenger Luther Strange. There are three Dems in the AG field, most prominently James Anderson, ready to try to exploit the cat-fud fight.
• AR-Gov: One thing we didn't mention in our writeup of Research 2000's AR-Sen poll from yesterday is that they were the first pollster to throw the Arkansas Governor's race into the mix. Incumbent Dem Mike Beebe routinely sports some of the highest favorables of any politician (64/24 here), and he seems immune from Arkansas' reddish trend and the nation's overall anti-incumbent fervor. He leads Republican former state Sen. Jim Keet, 62-19.
• CT-Gov: Former Stamford mayor Dan Malloy picked up another potentially useful endorsement today as we make our way toward Connecticut's endorsing conventions. He got the nod from Rep. John Larson, the #4 man on the House totem pole. UPDATE: On the GOP side, ex-Rep. Chris Shays has an endorsement of his own: Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele.
• NY-Gov: It's kind of more meta than we'd like, to report on an announcement about an announcement (about an announcement), but it sounds like we're getting closer to pinning down a date from Andrew Cuomo. It's being reported that he'll announce his gubernatorial candidacy on or around May 25, the start of the state Democratic convention.
• AL-05: Rep. Parker Griffith is already up with a negative ad hitting one of his Republican primary opponents, Madison Co. Commissioner Mo Brooks, calling him a "career politician" and "big spender." Brooks observed, perhaps correctly (although the Alabama primary is fast approaching), that an incumbent attacking a challenger is a big-time sign of weakness.
• GA-09: Former state Rep. Tom Graves, in the runoff for the special election in this seat against fellow Republican Lee Hawkins, got the endorsement from nearby Rep. Lynn "Uppity" Westmoreland. In a district this red, that may actually be a plus.
• MN-06: An unaffiliated independent, Troy Freihammer, may appear on the ballot, in addition to Independence Party nominee Bob Anderson. He needs 1,000 signatures by month's end, though, so he may not make that hurdle. Getting him on might be a net plus for the Dems, as his website makes pretty clear he's a Tenther and he's only likely to take votes away from Michele Bachmann.
• OR-01: SurveyUSA is way down in the weeds here (although that's because the poll where they get paid to do so, in this case by local TV affiliate KATU), with a look at the primaries in the 1st. In a four-way field on the GOP side, the NRCC's preferred candidate, sports-industry consultant Rob Cornilles, leads at 31, beating mortgage broker John Kuzmanich at 19. The other guy whose name you hear in connection with this race, Stephan Brodhead (mostly because he somehow summoned up $298K CoH) is polling at all of 3, probably because his main campaign activity seems to be trolling the online comment sections of local newspapers and people have ascertained thusly that he's a wackjob. Rep. David Wu is at 75% against token opposition on the Dem side.
• PA-04: What was supposed to be a victory lap for former US Attorney and loyal Bushie Mary Beth Buchanan has turned into a real dogfight with attorney Keith Rothfus, seemingly helped along by her apparent ineptitude at electoral politics. She's currently drawing fire for a "deceitful" mailer which uses the National Rifle Association logo without its permission. Things have actually been going badly enough on the message-control front that improbable rumors have her dropping out of the race (with days to go), although her camp is saying her "major political announcement" is just a press conference to go on the offensive against Rothfus.
• Census: An interesting article from Stateline looks at what various states are doing to amp up Census participation. The real interest, here, is a neat map they've put together rating the states not on their overall participation percentages, but on the overall shifts in participation percentage from 2000 to 2010. Intriguingly, the biggest improvements in participation were clustered in the Deep South (especially North and South Carolina, both of which are on the cusp of adding another seat), while the Mountain West states suffered the most. California also seemed to fall off a bit, as budget limitations kept them from doing much outreach this time around, which could conceivably hurt their hopes of staying at 53 seats.
• Tonight's Preview: Tonight's something of a small palate-cleanser in between the meaty primaries of last Tuesday and next Tuesday. The main event is WV-01, where there are competitive primaries on both sides of the aisle. Most of the attention is focused on the Democratic side, though, where Rep. Alan Mollohan could be the first House incumbent to get bounced out this cycle. Despite already being rather conservative, he's been challenged from the right by state Sen. Mike Oliverio, who's attacking Mollohan over not fighting hard enough against cap and trade, and for his earmarking. Both camps have released internal polls giving them the lead. On the GOP side, there's a three-way fight between the establishment fave, former state Rep. and state GOP chair David McKinley, former state Sen. Sarah Minear, and businessman Mac Warner. Warner has gotten nailed for tax liens on his businesses, but may benefit from the infighting between the two others. Polls in WV close at 7:30 pm ET.
The special election to replace Nathan Deal in GA-09 is also tonight. With Democrats a non-factor in this R+28 district, but a crowded field of various Republicans, the likeliest outcome is a June 8 runoff between the top two conservative Republicans, most likely former state Rep. Tom Graves (the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks pick) and former state Sen. Lee Hawkins (who seems to generate less enthusiasm on the ground but who has some geographical advantages). TheUnknown285 also points out a handful of other legislative special elections in Georgia today, all of which are very unlikely to change hands; the most interesting may be in SD-42, where Jimmy Carter's grandson may be able to take over a blue seat in Atlanta's suburbs.
Finally, two other things you might watch, if you want to get way down in the weeds: Nebraska is the only other state with regularly scheduled primaries for today, although the only one worth a look is the GOP side in NE-02, where Rep. Lee Terry faces a teabagger with some money, Matt Sakalosky. Terry is likely to win, but the margin will be worth watching, as he's one of the Dems' few offense targets this year. And New Jersey has a host of mayoral elections today. The big name here is Newark's Cory Booker, expected to face no trouble with re-election; an open seat in Trenton may provide some interest, though.
UPDATE: Marcus in comments points out a big miss on my part: the state Senate seat in Massachusetts left vacant by Scott Brown is up for special election tonight, too. (Rather than a boring number, it has a name: "Norfolk, Bristol, and Middlesex." Still not quite as mellifluous as a lot of the British constituencies that we all got a crash course in last week though... especially "Vale of Glamorgan.") Democratic physician Peter Smulowitz (a netroots fave who won an upset in the primary) faces off against GOP state Rep. Richard Ross. There's also a safe blue seat up tonight that will shortly belong to Dem Sal DiDomenico.
• NH-Sen: It looks like those missing Kelly Ayotte e-mails, which are at the center of the growing questions surrounding the collapse of Financial Resources Mortgage and what the AG's office did (or didn't) do, may be retrievable after all via backup systems. State legislative hearings into the matter are beginning on Friday, so this issue could get bigger in coming weeks.
• NY-Sen, NY-Gov (pdf): Marist has a slew of data out of New York, all of it good for the Dems. Kirsten Gillibrand breaks 50% against all of her GOP contenders, leading Joe DioGuardi 50-30, Bruce Blakeman 52-28, and David Malpass 52-28. DioGuardi leads the GOP primary at 31, to 13 for Blakeman and 12 for Malpass. Chuck Schumer also has little trouble with his one announced opponent, Jay Townsend; he leads 66-27. On the gubernatorial side, Andrew Cuomo wins just as convincingly. He leads Rick Lazio 65-25, Steve Levy 63-25, and Carl Paladino 67-22.
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): Today's Muhlenberg tracker sustains the Joe Sestak lead over Arlen Specter, at 47-43. In the gubernatorial race, Anthony Williams seems to be emerging as the closest rival to Dan Onorato; Onorato still has a big edge, though, leading Williams 33-15 with Joe Hoeffel at 10 and Jack Wagner at 9. Word is that Franklin & Marshall will also have a poll out tomorrow giving Sestak the edge. Barack Obama appears in the newest TV ad on Specter's behalf, but it sounds less likely that Obama, always careful about overextending his political capital, will be actually showing up to campaign for Specter. Finally, if you haven't already, it's worth a look at Chris Bowers' analysis of Specter vs. Sestak on general election electability (as you might expect, it boils down to Specter being universally-known and Sestak having the upside).
• UT-Sen: Bob Bennett still isn't ruling out a write-in candidacy in November, and will continue to weigh his options. Bob, for what it's worth, everyone here at SSP agrees that a write-in candidacy would be pure awesome.
• WA-Sen: Some more investment sleaze-by-association for Dino Rossi. He was one of the initial investors who established the Eastside Commercial Bank in 2001, a bank that's currently teetering on the edge after the FDIC required it to raise another $3 million in the wake unsound lending practices. He didn't have any managerial control over the bank, but it's one more paper cut for Rossi.
• CT-Gov: Former Stamford mayor Dan Malloy announced his running mate choice today: state Comptroller Nancy Wyman. Rival Ned Lamont chose Simsbury First Selectwoman Mary Glassman (Malloy's 2006 running mate) last week.
• OR-Gov, OR-Sen: SurveyUSA is out with a whole new gubernatorial primary poll (the one that got released last week was taken nearly a month ago; I'm not sure what the delay was about). Although the number of undecideds is dropping, the margins between the candidates is staying pretty much the same. For the Dems, John Kitzhaber is leading Bill Bradbury 59-25. On the GOP side, Chris Dudley leads Allen Alley 42-24 (while hopeless third and fourth wheels John Lim and Bill Sizemore are at 8 each). They also threw in Senate primary numbers, finding that Ron Wyden is pulling in 80% against some nobodies on the Dem side while the GOP side is a big question mark. Law professor Jim Huffman (the establishment's choice to be sacrificial lamb) is at 20, while some dude Tom Stutzman isn't that far behind at 13.
• FL-02: Here's a race that wasn't on anyone's competitive list that's suddenly bursting into view. An NRCC internal poll (by the Tarrance Group) that's from mid-April but just got leaked to Chris Cillizza has no-name funeral home director Steve Southerland leading Rep. Allen Boyd, and not just squeaking it out, but up by a 52-37 margin. Boyd has a huge cash edge ($1.5 mil to Southerland's $157K), although he'll need to spend some first fighting a primary challenge against Al Lawson.
• HI-01: With news that the DCCC is pulling out, and polls giving a small but consistent edge to Charles Djou in the f'd-up jungle-style special election, SSP is moving our rating of this race to "Leans Republican" from "Tossup."
• MI-01: Amidst all the hullaballoo over Connie Saltonstall's dropout yesterday (wait, what's the opposite of "hullaballoo?" how about "yawning?"), we missed another detail in the Democratic primary to succeed Bart Stupak: so too did Matt Gillard. That leaves state Rep. Gary McDowell as the only candidate left in the field, on this the last day of Michigan filings. That was easy.
• MN-06: We at SSP love us some taxes, but we're also big fans of a certain something called "optics," and state Senate DFLers created a mammoth screwup that, appearance-wise, really harms Taryl Clark's chances against Michele Bachmann. Clark got stuck holding the Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky bag after she wound up casting the deciding vote in favor of a deficit-closing package that includes an income tax increase, after the vote was held open for her for 20 minutes deadlocked at 33-33. It may be a moot point as Tim Pawlenty has promised to veto, but still... (In her defense, Clark says she was delayed by a phone call with her son's doctor.)
• NJ-03: Jon Runyan is getting accused of a "Rose Garden" strategy of campaigning in the GOP primary, sitting still and trading on his inevitability instead of, y'know, actually going out and debating with conservative opponent Justin Murphy. The John Adler camp is noticing too, and is out with their own "Where's Jon?" video.
• RI-01: There's a third contender in the Democratic primary to take over the 1st from retiring Rep. Patrick Kennedy. State Rep. David Segal is getting into the race, joining Providence mayor David Cicilline and former state Dem party chair William Lynch.
• WA-03: You keep hearing from Beltway media that state Rep. Jaime Herrera is the person to beat in the GOP primary for this open seat, but other than ex-Sen. Slade Gorton and her ex-boss, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, I'm hard-pressed to think of any endorsements of consequence for her. David Castillo has lined up most of the local support within the 3rd, and now he got endorsements from a variety of local leaders in the evangelical community, including Joe Fuiten (probably the most prominent Christian right leader in Washington) and ex-Rep. Randy Tate (who briefly led the national Christian Coalition after getting bounced out of office).
• WI-07: Here's another primary in the north woods where the Dems seem to have coalesced and it's all over but the shouting. At the same time as state Sen. Julie Lassa was officially announcing that she'd run to succeed retiring Rep. David Obey, fellow state Sens. Russ Decker and Pat Kreitlow announced they wouldn't run. Perhaps making the difference: Lassa's seat isn't up for re-election this year, so it's a freebie for her, while Decker and Kreitlow's seats are up. With Dems holding an 18-15 margin in the Senate and the GOP on the offensive, it's the safe choice not to open up seats in the Senate too.
• NRSC: Hmmm, speaking of optics, the NRSC is hosting an "intimate" (Hotline's words; I don't know if that's how the NRSC billed it) fundraiser with the under-investigation John Ensign as host. No word yet on whether anyone plans to show up.
• DE-AG: Best wishes for a quick recovery to Beau Biden, who's currently hospitalized today after a minor stroke. The 41-year-old Biden, who passed on a Senate race this year, is expected to fully recover.
CA-Sen: Moose lady endorses sheep lady. Is chicken lady next?
KY-Sen: With the primary less than two weeks away, Jack Conway's throwing in another $300K of his own money.
OH-Sen: Gov. Ted Strickland thinks that Jennifer Brunner might be getting ready to endorse Lee Fisher after all. If she wants to have a future in Democratic politics, she has to do this. If she fails to come through, this will be the kind of thing people remember forever.
CO-Gov: A challenging name for challenging times: Businessman Joe Gschwendtner is joining the GOP gubernatorial field, and he says he'll seed his campaign with $100K of his own scrilla.
OH-Gov: Dems keep making John Kasich feel the pain over his refusal to make public all of his tax returns. Now, a couple of state legislators are proposing a bill which would require all political candidates to disclose their returns as a condition of running for office. Kasich, you'll recall, briefly displayed a summary of his 2008 returns to reporters (who weren't allowed to photocopy it); he made $1.1 million for doing mostly nothing, including helping to drive Lehman Brothers into the ground.
CA-19, CA-20: Two stones, one bird: It looks like two GOP congressional hopefuls in neighboring districts broke federal election laws by taking a flight on a private corporate jet with none other than Karl Rove. That could turn out to be one expensive ride for State Sen. Jeff Denham of Atwater (CA-19) and cherry farmer Andy Vidak (CA-20).
DE-AL: Wilson Research Strategies did a poll of the GOP primary for developer Glen Urquhart, who is facing off against possibly rich businesswoman Michele Rollins. (I've heard she may have only inherited an income interest from her late - and exceedingly wealthy - husband's estate.) The poll showed Rollins leading 27-11 (with 60%) undecided.
FL-02: This is a little unexpected: Blue Dog Allen Boyd is running ads against his absurdly underfunded primary opponent, state Sen. Al Lawson. (Boyd has 29 times the cash that Lawson does.) Once again, though (say it with me), no word on the size of the buy.
FL-11: A fridge too far? NRCC honcho Pete Sessions is holding a fundraiser later this month in Tampa for one Mike Prendergast. Yeah, I ain't never heard o' him neither, but I guess he did raised about $100K in Q1, and incumbent Kathy Castor only has about $350K on hand. Still, this was a 66% Obama/58% Kerry district.
GA-09: In these dark-red districts, the most you can hope for is some hot wingnut-on-wingnut violence - and it looks like we're finally seeing some. The Club for Growth is running ads targeting ex-state Sen. Lee Hawkins, alleging (what else?) that he's not conservative enough and wouldn't sign a pledge to repeal healthcare reform. Hawkins fired back with a press release, charging that the CFG supports illegal immigration and that their favored candidate, ex-state Rep. Tom Graves, is their stooge.
IL-08: Local Republican leaders met with the already-imploded Joe Walsh to see what the eff was going on with his campaign... and they've decided to stick with him. While running into the Melissa Bean buzzsaw might not be that enticing (even in a cycle like this), several other candidates ran against Walsh in the primary, so a replacement ought to be possible. (Read here if you need background on the Walshsplosion.)
MO-06: Local businessman Clint Hylton will run as a Democrat against GOP Rep. Sam Graves. Graves obliterated one of our most highly-touted recruits last cycle, former Kansas City mayor Kay Barnes.
NM-01: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (D) for Martin Heinrich (4/28-5/2, likely voters, no trendlines):
Martin Heinrich (D-inc): 55
Jon Barela (R): 38
Heinrich leads among Hispanics 68-24, who make up 35% of this sample. These are very nice numbers. Heinrich has over $1 million cash-on-hand, while Barela has under $400K.
MA-09: SEIU political director Mac D'Alessandro submitted 5,000 signatures as part of his nominating papers, but still needs an additional 2,000 by June 1 to qualify for the ballot. He's aiming to take on Rep. Stephen Lynch, who earned lifetime douchebag status by infamously switching from "yes" to "no" on the healthcare reform bill.
OH-18: 2008 loser Fred Dailey trails establishment fave Bob Gibbs by 164 votes after Tuesday's GOP primary, but there are still ballots left to be counted. In fact, provisionals and absentees, as long as they were postmarked on time, will still be accepted up until ten days after the election. No one knows how many ballots are outstanding, though. If the final margin is less than one half of one percent, there will be an automatic recount. Still, the odds have to be against Dailey - though a prolonged fight is probably good for Rep. Zack Space.
PA-06: While NARAL doesn't usually endorse in primaries, their former president, Kate Michelman, is backing Manan Trivedi over Doug Pike. Pike, in the past, has written columns that suggested he has wobbly views on reproductive choice. Other pieces of his have made very questionable remarks about women - click the link if you want the exact quotes. Pike says he "apologizes" for these columns, about the 99th time he's had to apologize for something on this campaign.
PA-12: Public Opinion Strategies (R) Tim Burns (5/4-5, likely voters, 3/15 in parens):
Mark Critz (D): 41 (41)
Tim Burns (R): 43 (45)
Undecided: 14 (13)
Even though this district in the exurban and rural areas north of Atlanta is R+28 (4th worst in the nation), certainly not the kind of terrain that's going to give us a special election pickup, I'm going to call this good news for two reasons:
Rep. Nathan Deal announced Monday that he will quit his job in Congress on March 8 to concentrate on his campaign for governor of Georgia....
Once Deal resigns, a special election will be scheduled to fill out the rest of his term. It's possible the state could look to hold the special election July 20 to coincide with the regularly scheduled primaries. The state also has runoffs scheduled for Aug. 10.
First, this is good news because one less Republican in the House means that, when it's time for the Democrats to pass health care reform, that's one less Democrat Nancy Pelosi has to rustle up to vote 'yes.' The resignations of Robert Wexler and Neil Abercrombie [and death of John Murtha] set her back two three votes, but Deal's resignation moves the needle back one. And second, Nathan Deal is the last man standing among the Democrats in the House who switched over to the Republicans in the wake of 1994, so there's simply a sense of good riddance.
The special election is likely to attract all the same participants who are already running in the primary for November. On the Republican side, this includes state Sen. Lee Hawkins, state Rep. Tom Graves, and former state Sen. Bill Stephens. Democrats still seem to be searching for a candidate.