Sorry about the title, I was going for something more creative and that is a bit blah. However the title does explain the overview of this diary. This election cycle was expected to be as boring as can be for Indiana yet a series of retirements and resignations changed it. Indiana contains many important elections and promises to be an entertaining year. I will try and provide an overview of all of our elections and even provide predictions. I hope you enjoy!
AR-Sen: Mark Blumenthal has a detailed post-mortem of the polling in the Arkansas senate runoff, including some off-the-record claims that both Halter's and Lincoln's internal polling showed Lincoln ahead. I sort of wonder why Lincoln didn't put out these numbers, if true.
CT-Sen: Several big-name Republican fundraisers are hosting an event for none other than Joe Lieberman, to benefit his 2012 re-election campaign. Some of the hosts include Robbie Aiken, Wayne Berman, Rachel Pearson, and Kathryn Rand. Obviously an outright party switch is always possible with this fuckin' guy.
FL-Sen: Wow, so there really is a Democrat who wants death panels (more or less). Maurice Ferre, himself 75 years old, said in a meeting with the Palm Beach Post editorial board:
"Well, you know what, when you get to be 85 or 90 years old, you're going to die. And I'm sorry, you call it, Sarah Palin, what you want, but the fact is that it is absurd for us to be spending the types of money we're spending to extend life three months."
Asked what he'd do as a Senator to control such costs, Ferre said: "I would absolutely say that this is the cap on how much is available for you to spend at age 90, 87, with a heart condition of this sort, with diabetes of this sort, two legs missing and, you know, this is how much is available for you to spend. And you spend it any way you want."
There are other ways to lose races in Florida, but this is the simplest and most direct.
KY-Sen: Mitch McConnell's sticking in his bite-guard and gritting his teeth hard to do a fundraiser for Roark Rand Paul later this month. Believe it or not, we happened to get the advance text of Paul's prepared remarks for the event:
Throughout the ages, the finger painter, the Play-Doh sculptor, the Lincoln Logger stood alone against the daycare teacher of her time. She did not live to earn approval stamps. She lived for herself, that she might achieve things that are the glory of all humanity. These are my terms; I do not care to play by any others. And now, if the court will allow me, it's naptime.
NV-Sen: The Big Dog is coming to the Silver State to do a campaign rally for Handsome Harry Reid next week - who won't actually be there because the Senate will be in session. No word on whether a fundraiser is also on tap.
PA-Sen: Pat Toomey is taking some heat for a long-ago resume item: He used to work on Wall Street - in derivatives trading, no less.
SC-Sen: Alvin Greene, the mysterious Dem senate nominee in South Carolina, says he won't drop out of the race, in spite of the state party's call for him to bail in the wake of revelations that he was arrested on an obscenity charge last fall. Then again, Scott Lee Cohen said he wouldn't bow out, either.
KS-Gov: Dem gubernatorial hopeful Tom Holland picked fellow state Sen. Kelly Kultala, considered something of a rising star in KS politics, as his running mate. The two formally kicked off their campaign yesterday.
NM-Gov, WI-07: In NM-Gov, we mentioned a little while back that Dem LG Diane Denish is hitting GOP nominee Susana Martinez's record as a prosecutor in TV ads, specifically targeting her conviction rate. A related issue is coming up in WI-07, where Dems are charging ex-prosecutor Sean Duffy with misusing his (very recently) former office to compile conviction statistics helpful to his political campaign.
SC-Gov: Mitt Romney, who endorsed Nikki Haley back in March, is heading back down to the Palmetto state to campaign for her once more. Haley faces a runoff against Rep. Gresham Barrett on June 22nd.
AK-AL: Former communications exec Sheldon Fisher is running ads against his primary opponent, GOP Rep. Don Young, portraying himself as the "new conservative choice." Kudos to the AP for reporting that the ad buy is $40,000 in size - not much by conventional standards, perhaps, but that money ought to go a lot further in Alaska.
IN-03: So this is pretty bizarre. Ex-Rep. Mark Souder, who recently resigned on account of having an extra-marital affair with a staffer, sent an odd message on Facebook concerning his likely successor, state Sen. Marlin Stutzman. On the one hand, he says Stutzman is "probably best qualified" to fill his spot. But then, explains the AP:
In one paragraph, he says Stutzman knew nothing of the affair and therefore couldn't have tipped off the media. In another, he mentions that Stutzman or a political consulting firm leaked word of the affair to Fox News after getting information from the staffer's husband, Brad Jackson a Kosciusko County commissioner.
Hmm, I thought it was Mike Pence who dimed out Souder?
MD-01: Businessman Rob Fisher is going up with an ad presenting himself as an outsider in the GOP primary. He faces the better-known state Sen. Andy Harris (the 2008 loser). BIG props to Ben Pershing at the Washington Post for nailing down these details: "The spot is running on cable stations in the Baltimore and Salisbury markets, with an initial buy of more than $70,000."
MI-07, MI-09: President Obama did some fundraisers in Michigan earlier this week - one for the DNC, and another joint event for Reps. Gary Peters and Mark Schauer.
OH-18: Zack Space is doin' it right: He's launching a "six-figure" buy for an ad attacking GOP opponent Bob Gibbs as a tax-hiker and self-pay-raiser. Why do I like this move? Because Space is using his use cash edge ($1.3 mil to $0.1mil) to define Gibbs, at a time when Gibbs has only just emerged from the uncertainty of a primary recount (which he won with an absurdly pathetic 20.9%). For his part, Gibbs fired back with a popgunpress release, the poor man's television ad - very poor man's.
VA-05: True to his word, Some Dude Jeff Clark is going ahead with his plans to run as a teabagging independent, since Rob Hurt won the GOP primary to take on Tom Perriello. In fact, Clark filed petitions with the board of elections last week. Note, though, something he hasn't yet filed: an FEC report. Meanwhile, second-place finisher Jim McKelvey, who swore he wouldn't support Hurt if he became the nominee, is still playing coy. Election night remarks suggested he was prepared to fall in line, but he hasn't officially endorsed. (The other four also-rans have in fact done so.)
Polltopia: Taegan Goddard relays some blind non-quotes from random "pollsters" complaining about the alleged lack of transparency in Nate Silver's pollster ratings - in particular, the fact that he hasn't published his database of polls. Leaving aside the delicious irony that anonymous pollsters are complaining about transparency, I think this is a red herring. As Nate points out in a post of his own, anyone can recreate his work (with a lot of time and a little money) - and his main concern is the legal issues involved in making public a database that in part relies on information drawn from for-pay services.
• CA-Sen: For a brief shining moment there, Tom Campbell had some good news: in the April 1-May 19 reporting period, Campbell actually outraised Carly Fiorina from outside donors. Campbell pulled in $990K while Fiorina got $909K. Fiorina's response? She wrote herself another seven-figure check.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist's 7-word-long Google ad attacking Jeff Greene (almost haiku-like in its simplicity: "What has Jeff Greene done? Experience matters.") prompted a 300-word press release from the Greene camp landing some solid hits on Crist.
• KY-Sen: In terms of rocking the political boat, this probably isn't as eye-opening as his comments about the Civil Rights Act or the NAFTA Superhighway, but it's one more weird, sketchy act by Rand Paul: in 1999, he created a whole new certifying body for ophthalmologists, the National Board of Ophthalmology, in order to compete with the establishment American Board of Ophthalmology. The NBO has looser certification requirements than the ABO.
• NH-Sen (pdf): Republican pollster Magellan has been really active lately in GOP primaries where they don't have any skin in the game; they're back to looking at the New Hampshire Senate race. They find the real race here between Kelly Ayotte, at 38, and Bill Binnie, at 29. Ovide Lamontagne is lagging at 9, with Jim Bender at 4.
• OH-Sen, OH-Gov (pdf): The Ohio Poll, conducted by the University of Cincinnati, is out today with pleasant results for Democrats (perhaps doubly so, considering they have a reputation for producing GOP-leaning results). They find Dem Lee Fisher with a one-point lead over GOPer Rob Portman in the Senate race, 47-46. They also find incumbent Dem Ted Strickland looking OK in the gubernatorial race, leading John Kasich 49-44 (and sporting a surprisingly high 55/35 approval, suggesting that whatever he's been doing lately has been working).
• FL-Gov: Ad wars are reaching a fever pitch in the GOP primary in the Florida gubernatorial race; Rick Scott placed a sixth major media buy for another $2.9 million, taking his total to $10.9 million. We've also found out more about that mystery group that's planning to spend nearly a million hitting Scott (primarily on the issue of the fraud charges against his company): it's the Alliance for America's Future. While it's not clear what their interest in Bill McCollum is, the group is headed by Mary Cheney (daughter of Dick).
• HI-Gov: After many months of operating in running-but-not-running limbo, Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann made it official yesterday: he'll run in the Democratic gubernatorial primary against ex-Rep. Neil Abercrombie.
• NM-Gov: Former state GOP chair Allen Weh, who's turned into the main GOP primary opposition to Susana Martinez by virtue of his money, just loaned himself another $600K for the home stretch, on top of $1 million he's already contributed. Lt. Gov. Diane Denish is unopposed in the Dem primary, but watching Martinez catch up to her in polls of the general, has launched into a fundraising frenzy as of late; she's raised $464K from donors in the last three weeks.
• SC-Gov (pdf): Two different polls are out in South Carolina: one, from Insider Advantage, continues the trend of giving an advantage to Nikki Haley (and the survey period was May 25, after the current imbroglio broke). Haley is at 31, Andre Bauer at 21, Gresham Barrett at 14, and Henry McMaster at 13. On the Dem side, Vince Sheheen leads at 26, with Jim Rex at 17 and Robert Ford at 12. SCIndex didn't look at the primaries, but had some rather heartening numbers for November: Generic Republican leads Generic Dem only 46-44 in the gubernatorial race, while in the Senate race, Jim DeMint leads Democratic challenge Vic Rawl only 50-43.
• IN-03: Mitch Daniels made it official today, setting the date for the special election to replace resigned Mark Souder on Nov. 2, at the same time as the general election. (So the special election's winner will only serve during the House's lame duck session.) The state GOP will pick its candidates for both elections at a June 12 caucus; presumably, they'll choose the same person for both.
• MO-08: Where's the New York Times when you need them? Rep. Jo Ann Emerson just lied big-time about her Dem opponent Tommy Sowers' military record, saying that her opposition to DADT repeal was based on talking to actual commanders, as opposed to Sowers, who "never commanded anybody." Um, yeah... except for that platoon of combat engineers that Sowers led in Kosovo.
• MS-01: Wow, even Mississippi Dems are now taking a page from the Gray Davis playbook. A Dem 527 called "Citizens for Security and Strength" is hitting presumed Republican frontrunner state Sen. Alan Nunnelee prior to the primary as a "hypocrite on taxes." Apparently they too are sensing some late-game momentum by Henry Ross, a teabagger whom they'd much rather Travis Childers face in the general than financially-flush establishment figure Nunnelee, and would like to facilitate a Ross victory (or at least a runoff).
• NC-08: Thinking that Barack Obama is a Kenyan secret Muslim? Check. Wanting to repeal the 17th Amendment? Great! Thinking that there's a 1,000-foot-high pyramid in Greenland? Sorry, that's a fridge too far even for the teabaggers of North Carolina. Six leaders among the local Tea Partiers publicly switched their allegiances to Harold Johnson in the runoff in the 8th, following revelations of just how off-the-rails their one-time fave Tim d'Annunzio is.
• NY-23: Determined to relive the NY-23 special election over and over again, the Concerned Women of America are sticking with their endorsement of Doug Hoffman, who seems on track to pick up the Conservative Party line while the GOP line goes elsewhere (like Matt Doheny, most likely).
• Votes: The repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell cleared the House by a 234-194 margin yesterday, with 5 GOPers voting yes and 26 Dems voting no. The GOP 'ayes' were Judy Biggert, Joe Cao, Charles Djou (in his first week of work), Ron Paul, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Dem no votes were -- no surprise -- mostly vulnerable members in culturally conservative areas: Berry, Bishop (GA), Boucher, Bright, Carney, Childers, Costello, Critz, Davis (TN), Donnelly, Edwards (TX), Etheridge, Green (TX), Lipinski, Marshall, McIntyre, Ortiz, Peterson, Pomeroy, Rahall, Ross, Shuler, Skelton, Spratt, Tanner, and Taylor.
• Polltopia: Somebody must have slipped some Red Bull into Nate Silver's Ovaltine lately, as he's just landed his third hard hit on Rasmussen in as many days. Today, it's their Wisconsin Senate race poll showing the unknown Ron Johnson competitive (and known by 68% of likely voters) that's drawing Nate's ire.
• CO-Sen: Colorado's state party conventions are this weekend. Most of the drama is on the Democratic side in the Senate race -- actually, even there, it's not that dramatic, as underdog Andrew Romanoff is expected to prevail at the convention because of his connections to party insiders and his former fellow legislators (and also based on his performance at precinct-level caucuses). Michael Bennet is still expected to meet the 30% threshold that gets him on the ballot without signatures, though, and victory here for Romanoff may be pyrrhic anyway, as the Dem convention winners have fared poorly in the actual primary (ex-Sen. Ken Salazar, for instance, lost the 2004 convention to Mike Miles). The GOP convention should be less interesting because, realizing they have little hope among the revved-up base, establishment-flavored Jane Norton and Tom Wiens aren't bothering, simply opting to qualify for the primary by petition, so Weld Co. DA and Tea Party fave Ken Buck is expected to romp.
• CT-Sen, CT-Gov: Likewise, the state conventions are scheduled for this weekend in Connecticut as well. Although there's a competitive battle in the Dem convention on the gubernatorial side between Ned Lamont and Dan Malloy, it seems like all eyes will be on Richard Blumenthal instead, to see if there's any sort of challenge to him that pops up (other than the minor candidacy of Merrick Alpert). If someone is going to get drafted as a last-minute Blumenthal replacement, it doesn't look like it's going to be the newly-freed-up Susan Bysiewicz, who, seemingly caught off-guard by this week's Supreme Court ruling about her AG eligibility, is now saying she won't run for anything in 2010. There's also the Senate face-off in the GOP convention, where ex-Rep. Rob Simmons' connections and institutional support will be measured up against Linda McMahon's gigantic wealth; McMahon, for her part, is back to touting her camp's leak of the Blumenthal story to the NYT after hiding it yesterday.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist couldn't square his support for Elena Kagan today with his opposition to Sonia Sotomayor, telling the Miami Herald that he really couldn't recall why he opposed Sotomayor. (Um, maybe because he was a Republican back then?) On the plus side, Crist is coming out in favor of the Fair Districts initiatives on the ballot this November, which would smooth out the most pernicious tendencies toward gerrymandering and thus is strongly opposed by the state's large Republican legislative majorities.
• IL-Sen: Hmmm, I wonder where this ranks on the hierarchy of misstating your military credentials? Rep. Mark Kirk told a gathering last May that "I command the war room in the Pentagon." Kirk does have a high-profile role in the National Military Command Center, but the war room is run by one-star general, and that's something that Kirk most definitely is not. Let's see what the NYT does with this one.
• KY-Sen: After a bad news day yesterday, Rand Paul is continuing to run his mouth, whining about how he was supposed to get a media honeymoon after Tuesday's Randslide, and also going the full Bachmann against Barack Obama, saying it "sounds Unamerican" for him to be criticizing BP over its massive oil spill because "accidents sometimes happen." (So that "B" in BP stands for American Petroleum now?) Paul is scheduled for this weekend's Meet the Press, for what his handlers hope is damage control but may turn into extended hole-digging.
Paul also expounded yesterday on the Americans with Disabilities Act, and he should be lucky the media were too fixated yesterday on his Civil Rights Act statements to provide any fact-checking about his bizarre ignorance of the ADA. Paul's example of the ADA's suckage is that it would be reasonable, if an employee used a wheelchair at a two-story business, to just give that person a first-floor office instead of forcing the employer to install an elevator at terrible cost. That's true; it would be "reasonable" -- which is exactly why the ADA asks employers to provide "reasonable accommodation" to disabled employees, a prime example of which might be letting someone work on a lower floor. Removal of architectural barriers is not required if it isn't "readily achievable" (in other words, easily accomplished, without much difficulty or expense) -- which means, grab bars in the bathroom stall or a curb cut, yes, an elevator in an old two-story building, no. Paul's attack on the ADA seems entirely based on having failed to, as the teabaggers have often urged us to do, "read the bill."
• NC-Sen: There's a late-in-the-game shakeup at the Cal Cunningham camp, as his campaign manager and communications director are out the door. Cunningham's spokesperson says it's a necessary retooling for the different nature of the runoff, with less focus on the air war and more on grassroots and shoe-leather.
• PA-Sen: Sigh. The DSCC, which isn't exactly rolling in money these days, spent $540K in coordinated expenditures trying to prop up one-year Democrat Arlen Specter in his 54-46 loss to Joe Sestak in the primary.
• MN-Gov: Margaret Anderson Kelliher reached across the aisle, or at least in the pool of bipartisan budget wonkery, for a running mate, picking John Gunyou. Gunyou was the finance commissioner for Republican Gov. Arne Carlson; he also worked as finance director for Minneapolis mayor Don Fraser and is currently city manager of the suburb of Minnetonka.
• CO-07: The GOP already had its district-level convention in the 7th, as a prelude to the statewide convo. The two main rivals, Lang Sias and Ryan Frazier, both cleared the 30% mark to get on the ballot; the minor candidates didn't clear the mark and won't try to get on by petition. Frazier got 49%, while Sias got 43%. Sias's nomination was seconded by ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo, as well as the 7th's former Rep. Bob Beauprez.
• CT-04: Thom Hermann, the First Selectman of Easton and a guy with a lot of wealth at his disposal, is making his presence known in the GOP primary field in the 4th, heading into the weekend's convention. He's out with an internal poll, via Wilson Research, giving him a large lead over presumed frontrunner state Sen. Dan Debicella among those primary voters who've decided. It's reported in a strange, slightly deceptive way, though: he has a 44-25 lead over Debicella among those who've decided, but only 36% have decided! (So by my calculations, it's more like a 16-9 lead in reality?)
• FL-02: Dem Rep. Allen Boyd seems to be taking nothing for granted this year. He's already up with his second TV ad against his underfunded primary opponent, state Sen. Al Lawson, this time hitting Lawson for votes to cut back funding for healthcare and construction jobs. (J)
• HI-01: We're up to 48% of all ballots having been returned in the 1st, with tomorrow being the deadline in the all-mail-in special election to replace Neil Abercrombie (152K out of 317K).
• ID-02: I have no idea what this is about, but I thought I'd put it out there, as it's one of the weirdest IEs we've seen in a while. Not only did someone plunk down $8K for polling in the 2nd, one of the most reliably Republican top-to-bottom districts anywhere where Rep. Mike Simpson only ever faces token opposition, but the money's from the American Dental Association. Making sure Idahoans are brushing properly?
• IN-03: State Sen. Marlin Stutzman made it official today: he's running in the special election for the seat just vacated by Rep. Mark Souder. Having performed well in the Senate primary (and having had a path cleared for him by Mike Pence's lowering of the boom on Souder), he looks like the one to beat here.
• PA-07: Former local TV news anchor Dawn Stensland has decided to forego a vaguely-threatened independent run in the 7th. That leaves it a one-on-one battle between Dem Bryan Lentz and GOPer Pat Meehan.
• PA-12: The GOP seems to have settled on its preferred explanation for trying to spin away its underwhelming performance in the special election in the 12th, via their polling guru Gene Ulm. It's all Ed Rendell's fault, for scheduling it on the same day as the Senate primary, causing all those Joe Sestak supporters (of which there were many in that corner in Pennsylvania) to come out of the woodwork and vote in the 12th while they were at it.
• Unions: Now that's a lot of lettuce. Two major unions are promising to spend almost $100 million together to preserve Democratic majorities this fall. The AFSCME is promising $50 million and the SEIU is planning $44 million.
• Enthusiasm Gap: This is something I've often suspected, but never felt like bringing up because the numbers weren't there to prove the point (and also perhaps because saying so would put me at odds with the general netroots orthodoxy): the Democratic "enthusiasm gap" isn't so much borne out of dissatisfaction with the insufficient aggressiveness of the Obama administration or the slow pace of getting watered-down legislation out of Congress as much as it's borne out of complacency. In other words, there's the sense by casual/irregular/low-information Dem voters that they did their job in 2008, got the country back on track, things are slowly improving, and because they aren't angry anymore they don't need to keep following up. PPP backs this up: among those "somewhat excited " or "not very excited" about voting in November, Obama's approval is a higher-than-average 58/35, and their supports for the health care bill is also a higher-than-average 50/38.
• 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.
Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.), a former congressional staffer who was elected to the House in the Republican revolution of 1994, has told colleagues he will resign Tuesday because of an affair with a female aide, a House GOP official told POLITICO.
Souder has scheduled an announcement about his future for 10 a.m. today at his congressional office in Ft. Wayne.
Souder is married and has three children.
He informed Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) of his decision on Sunday, according to GOP sources.
Souder, as you'll recall, squeaked out of his primary earlier this month with just 48% of the vote. Last cycle, he handily dispatched Dem Mike Montagano in a race many (SSP included) expected to be a lot closer. We'll bring you details on any word of a special as soon as we have them.
Sec. 1. A special election shall be held in the following cases:
(3) Whenever a vacancy occurs in the office of United States Representative unless the vacancy occurs less than thirty (30) days before a general election.
Also, when Julia Carson's death created a vacancy in IN-07 back in 2008, news accounts at the time said that the special election had to have been held within 60 days of the vacancy. Presumably that is the timetable we'll be following here, but we will do some more research on this question. (James)
MORE UPDATE: Hoo boy, this is rich. Souder and his mistress actuallly made an anti-sex tape together: they appeared together in a video in favor of abstinence-only education.
A couple other interesting observations from the comments: prior to Andre Carson's election, the last special election in Indiana was back in 1989 in this very district (numbered the 4th back then), where Democrat Jill Long won an upset to fill the vacancy left by Dan Coats (who got promoted to the Senate to fill the vacuum left by Dan Quayle). Long went on to get swept out by Souder in 1994, and as Jill Long Thompson mounted a very poor comeback in the 2008 gubernatorial race. (H/t IndianaProgressive.) Also, it turns out that state Sen. Marlin Stutzman, last seen acquitting himself well in the Senate primary against Coats, is from this district (he's from tiny Howe, in LaGrange County). I wonder if he'd be interested in parlaying his newfound celebrity with the DeMint wing into another run for a promotion? (H/t izengabe.)
Under Indiana Code 3-13-3-2, the circuit court clerk of the county where the U.S. Representative resided (in this case, Marion County) must certify that the vacancy has occurred, and file the certification with the Governor.
The Governor will then issue a writ of election that must specify the date of the special election (IC 3-10-8-3). There is no deadline specified by law for either the clerk's certification to be filed or for the Governor's writ to be issued.
However, the combination of deadlines set by state law for nominating candidates and absentee ballot voting makes it mathematically impossible for a special election to occur earlier than 60 days after a vacancy occurs in the office of U.S. Representative (See, for example, IC 3-13-1-7; 3-13-1-9; 3-13-1-20; 3-8-6-13; 3-8-7-15).
Just to clarify, this means that the "within 60 days" timeline that the Politico identified back in 2008 is incorrect.
Yesterday's primary elections in Indiana, North Carolina, and Ohio showed two things: one, despite all the huffing and puffing about it being an anti-incumbent year and there being a massive wave of teabaggers ready to take the system down, establishment candidates still won pretty much everything. And two, the enthusiasm gap between the parties that we've been warned about is definitely out there, and numbers from last night back that up.
Indiana: Indiana was the case study for what went wrong with the anti-establishment candidates -- there were just too many of them. In Republican race after race, the anti-establishment votes were split between too many candidates, letting the incumbents or the anointed challengers slip through; had the teabaggers had the presence of mind to unite behind one person, they could have done some actual damage. In the Senate primary, 90s-leftover Dan Coats won with a tepid 39%, beating state Sen. Marlin Stutzman (standard-bearer of the DeMint wing of the teabaggers) at 29 and ex-Rep. John Hostettler (representing the Paulist wing) at 23. As we've wondered openly before at SSP, I have no idea whether that's better or worse for Democrats, seeing as how Coats has access to actual money but also a dump-truck full of vulnerabilities (starting off with the possibility that the NRA might actually support Brad Ellsworth over the Brady Bill-supporting Coats).
The same dynamic played out in a slew of House races. In IN-03, somnambulistic Rep. Mark Souder won with 48% over two opponents, Bob Thomas at 34% and Phil Troyer at 16%. In the open seat race in IN-04, SoS Todd Rokita only cleared 42%, although there were 13 contestants in the race and his nearest rival, Brandt Hershman, only reached 17%. In IN-05, widely disliked Rep. Dan Burton managed to way underperform his 52% from his last primary: he only got to 30%; luckily for him, his opposition was so chopped up that he still survived, with former state GOP chair Luke Messer coming closest at 28%. In IN-08, the NRCC's pick, surgeon Larry Bucshon, barely survived a horde of teabaggers, most of whom coalesced behind Kristi Risk, whom he beat 33-29. And in IN-09, a three-way duel between ex-Rep. Mike Sodrel, establishment pick attorney Todd Young, and teabagger fave Travis Hankins wound up with Young winning with 34%, with Hankins at 32% and Sodrel at 30% (sparing us Baron Hill vs. Sodrel Round Five). The only dominant performance was Jackie Wolarski in IN-02, who picked up 61% of the vote to Jack Jordan's 28%.
As with Coats, it's unclear to me who we'd rather have faced in those races. In each case, it was a choice between an establishment guy with money but who isn't going to excite the GOP base, vs. an outsider without the connections or, possibly, the campaign chops. Maybe Risk's loss will help with Democrat Trent Van Haaften's outreach to the local teabaggery, and in the 9th, while it's sad Baron Hill won't get to face off against the increasingly laughable Sodrel, Young seems to come with his own set of problems (first and foremost, a big recent donation from Don Blankenship, controversial CEO of coal mining company Massey Energy).
North Carolina: The big story in North Carolina was the Democratic primary in the Senate race. Thanks to a fairly strong performance from third-place finisher Kenneth Lewis, nobody cleared the 40% mark, and we're headed to a June 22 runoff between SoS Elaine Marshall and ex-state Sen. Cal Cunningham, which'll be a duel between name rec (Marshall) and money (Cunningham). Marshall finished at 36%, Cunningham at 27%, and Lewis at 17%.
At the House level, in the main race where the GOP is playing offense, the primary is also headed to a runoff. In NC-08, unhinged rich guy Tim D'Annunzio got 37% and ex-sportscaster Harold Johnson got 33%. NC-11 had looked like it was also headed to a runoff, but by night's end businessman Jeff Miller barely cleared the hurdle, with 40.2%. In both those races, the Dem incumbents got mild rebukes from their bases (presumably over their anti-HCR votes), with Larry Kissell getting only 63% and Heath Shuler getting 62%. In NC-06 and NC-10, geriatric Howard Coble (64%) and bombastic Patrick McHenry (63%) also underperformed against fractured opposition. You have to look further downballot to see any bodies falling: five incumbent state legislators lost their primaries (four of them Dems, although some of these look like safe seats).
Ohio: The main event in Ohio was the Senate primary for Democrats, where Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, as expected beat SoS Jennifer Brunner 55-45. Considering how vastly Brunner was outspent, and the trajectory of the last week's polls, it's actually surprising it was that close. Apparently Brunner's hard work on the ground in some of Ohio's reddish areas in the last weeks of the campaign paid off some dividends, as she put up big leads in the Cincinnati area (Hamilton and Clermont Counties). Naturally, it leaves you to wonder what she could have done if she'd had some actual money.
In the House, OH-02 was the scene of two contested primaries. Rep. Jean Schmidt survived her primary challenge with little trouble, beating Warren Co. Commissioner Mike Kilburn 62-22. On the Dem side, Surya Yalamanchili squeaked out a 41-38 win over David Krikorian, with apparently enough people repulsed by both to give 22% to Some Dude J. Parker. Krikorian continued to be a douchebag even in defeat, accusing Yalamanchili of having played "the race card." The establishment candidates in the two other big GOP primaries both prevailed: in OH-16, Jim Renacci got 49% to 40% for Matt Miller (his third straight time breaking 40% but losing the GOP primary here). And state Sen. Bob Gibbs, the NRCC's recruit in OH-18, seems to have beaten Fred Dailey by about 200 votes (at 21% each), although this race appears headed to a recount. (One would be hard-pressed to call Dailey, the 2008 nominee and former state Agriculture Director, an outsider candidate, although at least he was certainly angry this time around.)
In Ohio, there were also some allegedly hot primaries for the GOP in statewide races, where teabagger favorites were taking on establishment picks, that also turned out to be a big bucket of nothing. In the SoS primary, state Sen. Jon Husted beat Sandra O'Brien 67-33, while in the Auditor race, Delaware Co. Prosecutor Dave Yost (who was the teabagger fave when he was in the AG race running against the guy they really hate, Mike DeWine, but became their enemy when he switched over to the Auditor's race against the guy they liked) beat state Rep. Seth Morgan 65-35.
Finally, as I said at the start, there's the matter of turnout disparities. Reid Wilson points to how only 662K voters voted in the OH-Sen Democratic primary, which was lower than the number of Democratic voters (872K) in the Democratic primary in 2006 (where there was no contested D primary in either the Governor or Senate races). That jibes with the broader numbers we've been seeing about enthusiasm gaps (as with Gallup's recent poll showing 43% of Republicans are "very enthused" about voting, while 33% of Democrats are). The falloff was similar in Indiana, where only 204K Dems participated as opposed to 304K in 2006, although it's worth noting that the Dems were playing offense in 2006 and had contested House primaries, while this year there was really bupkus to get Dems to the polls in Indiana. In North Carolina, 425K voted in the Dem primary. Reid compares this to 2004, where more Dems showed up in the primary, but that may not be an apt comparison as that's a presidential year -- regardless, that too may be an ominous number in the context of the Republican Senate primary, where almost as many, 374K, voted to help Richard Burr dispatch no-name opposition.
• AR-Sen: The SEIU is turning their amps up to 11 in a final effort to beat Blanche Lincoln in the Democratic primary. They're ponying up another $1 million for a new TV ad blitz, focusing on Lincoln's support for NAFTA, CAFTA, and sundry other free-trade deals.
• FL-Sen: Looks like the "Help wanted" sign is going out at Charlie Crists's office. As expected, much of his top-tier staff evacuated en masse; he lost communications director Andrea Saul, spokesperson Amanda Hennenberg, and campaign counsel Ben Ginsberg (all Beltway types left over from when Crist was the NRSC's prize pony, who just headed back to the GOP's mothership). Also former Crist marionette George LeMieux severed his strings: the seat-warming Senator says he won't support Crist's independent bid.
• NV-Sen: Imagine that... a Democrat actually taking to the airwaves to explain the benefits of the broadly-misunderstood (or just plain not-understood-at-all) health care reform bill and not just ceding the discursive arena to right-wing radio and astroturfers? Better late than never, I guess. Harry Reid is forging ahead with that, launching three different new TV ads featuring stories from actual Nevadans actually benefiting from HCR.
• OH-Sen (pdf): There's one more poll of the Democratic Senate primary in Ohio, from Suffolk this time. They find an even bigger edge for Lee Fisher over Jennifer Brunner than did PPP; in fact, Suffolk has Fisher doubling up on her, 55-27. Voters may be thinking strategically: they also find that respondents feel Fisher has a better chance of beating Rob Portman than does Brunner, by a lop-sided 55-15 margin. Brunner voters report that, if Fisher wins the election, 74% will vote for Fisher and 8% for Portman.
• AZ-Gov: PPP has one more installment in its Arizona sample today: the Republican primary in the gubernatorial race. As other pollsters have found, once-wobbly incumbent Jan Brewer has strengthened her primary position (while destabilized her general election position) by signing off on Arizona's new racial profiling law. Brewer leads the pack at 38, over fractured opposition led by NRA board member Owen Buz Mills at 19, state Treasurer Dean Martin at 16, and former university regent John Munger at 3. (In PPP's last poll here, from September, Brewer was losing a head-to-head against Martin 37-26.) PPP also did a fantasy-baseball poll that included Maricopa Co. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who, as he does every four years, has been expressing interest in the race but not moving forward in it. Arpaio wins that version of the primary, taking 33%, with 25 for Brewer, 15 for Martin, 11 for Mills, and 1 for Munger.
• MN-Gov: With the Republican endorsing convention in Minnesota already underway, most media accounts are focusing on Sarah Palin's last-minute endorsement of state Rep. Tom Emmer, but there's a more important endorsement at work here in terms of potentially moving some delegates: Norm Coleman is now also backing Emmer and privately making calls to delegates on Emmer's behalf. The GOPers have already endorsed in some of the downballot races, maybe most notably the Auditor's race, where they endorsed former Auditor Pat Anderson (who had been running for Governor for a while, until she decided to drop down and try to get her old job back instead).
• UT-Gov: Mason-Dixon, on behalf of the Salt Lake Tribune, took another look at the general election in the Utah governor's race, which is definitely looking like a heavy lift for Salt Lake County mayor Peter Corroon. The Democrat trails GOP incumbent Gary Herbert 61-30, an even better showing than Herbert's 55-30 result in January.
• FL-16: Whew. After making some noises about a possible comeback attempt, ex-Rep. Tim Mahoney decided on filing day that he wouldn't run to get his seat back. He still took a parting shot at Rep. Tom Rooney, saying he's part of the GOP's move to the "radical right." Some Dudes Jim Horn and Ed Tautiva are all the Dems have on the ballot in this R+5 district, unless something changes in the next few hours.
• HI-01: The Republicans continue to very subtly funnel money into the 1st, somewhat mirroring their stealth strategy on how they got similarly-blue MA-Sen off the ground. Rather than the NRCC charging in with both barrels blazing, instead there's a push for individual House GOP members to contribute directly to Charles Djou; about 40 have done so already.
• IN-02: The National Rifle Association slammed GOP candidate Jackie Walorski. No, that's not because the right-wing Walorski suddenly had a change of heart on the gun issue; instead, it was because she was claiming the NRA's endorsement. That was only for her 2008 legislative bid, the NRA said, and she has not been endorsed yet for this year for the different office.
• IN-03: Looks like Rep. Mark Souder isn't going to be in the House much longer, regardless of how next week's primary plays out. Brian Howey says Souder has been telling him that he'd already been contemplating retirement in 2012, and the stress of trying to win his unexpectedly-tough primary election has "sealed it" for him.
• PA-04: Here's a last-minute sign of life for Keith Rothfus, who'd been the leading GOP contender here up until the moment when former US Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan announced (although Rothfus beat Buchanan at fundraising last quarter). He got the endorsement today of Glen Meakem, a wealthy businessman and part-time talk radio host who's something of a behind-the-scenes power in Republican circles in western Pennsylvania and who had briefly considered a Senate bid last year.
• SC-04: Rep. Bob Inglis's main threat this year is in the GOP primary, not the general, and he launched two different ads reminding voters that he's actually pretty conservative. One ad touts his NRA endorsement, while the other runs down the litany of things he opposed (health care reform, stimulus, cap-and-trade, auto industry bailout).
• NY-St. Sen.: A long-time Republican stalwart in the New York state Senate is retiring: Dale Volker (in office since 1975). Democrats looking to pad their narrow majority in the Senate may need to look elsewhere, though; this district in the Buffalo suburbs and surrounding rural counties is one of the most conservative in the state, with a 79K-to-65K GOP registration advantage, and won 54-40 by John McCain.
• Arizona: Arizona has been doing all kinds of weird things lately, and here's one more to add to the list. One of the few states to not have a Lt. Governor (the SoS is 2nd in line of succession, which is how Jan Brewer became Governor), Arizona is planning to have a Lt. Governor... but only because they would eliminate the SoS position and give all those duties to the LG. What's even weirder is that they'd start doing what Illinois just decided to stop doing because the results were so uniformly terrible: the Governor and LG candidates will run separately in the primary, but be joined together on one ticket via shotgun wedding for the general election. The idea cleared the legislature, but because it's a constitutional amendment, the idea has to pass a voter referendum before it becomes law.
• Puerto Rico: The House approved allowing Puerto Rico to hold a plebiscite on its grey-area status (the last one was in 1998, where they decided to remain a commonwealth). It'll be a two-step vote, where the first vote will ask whether it should remain a commonwealth or not. If the answer is "no," the second vote will ask whether it should become independent, a U.S. state, still remain a commonwealth, or enter some other sovereign-but-connected-to-the-U.S. status. If it voted for statehood, Congress would still have to approve making it a state. Of course, this has to pass the Senate as well before the vote could happen, so it may get kicked down the road for a while.
• OFA: Nathan Gonzales has a thorough look at the Obama campaign's state directors, and how they're part of OFA's pivot to focus on turning out the same voters for the 2010 midterms. Here's a handy table of what all the directors are up to these days.
• History: Rhodes Cook has an interesting column that's been getting linked all over the place in the last couple days: a much more apt comparison for what the Democrats are getting themselves this year, rather than 1994, is 1966. The parallels are that the Democrats were facing some inevitable snap-back after overperforming in the 1964 election (winning nearly 2/3s majorities in each chamber), and the GOP quickly got back up off the mat after the Dems pushed the limits in passing a variety of Great Society legislation (most notably Medicare). Of course, the Democrats still took a bath, losing 47 in the House and 3 in the Senate, so it's still not really something the Democrats should aspire towards.
SurveyUSA for the Mike Downs Center For Indiana Politics (4/22-26, likely voters):
Dan Coats (R): 36
John Hostettler (R): 24
Marlin Stutzman (R): 18
Don Bates (R): 6
Richard Behney (R): 4
A conservative split between Hostettler and a surprisingly potent Stutzman seems to be giving Coats a path to victory, even with an underwhelming level of primary support. In the general, though, Coats starts the race off as the GOP's strongest choice:
Brad Ellsworth (D): 31
Dan Coats (R): 47
Brad Ellsworth (D): 32
John Hostettler (R): 45
The DSCC managed to produce a clean hit on Coats on what seemed like a daily basis immediately after his entry into this race, and I hope they have a few chestnuts ready to go after the primary is done.
Meanwhile, SUSA also took a look at the IN-03 GOP primary, and the results are not pretty for incumbent Mark Souder:
Mark Souder (R-inc): 35
Bob Thomas (R): 29
Phil Troyer (R): 19
Greg Dickman (R): 2
Souder, one of the lesser lights of a state delegation dominated by Republican deadwood, has been somewhat notorious over the past two cycles for dramatically under-performing his district's Republican tilt. It looks like a primary loss is a live possibility at this point, with self-funding auto dealer Bob Thomas nipping on Souder's corn-encrusted heels. Mark this one down on your calendars as another fun primary to watch.
The full polling memo for the Senate race is available below the fold.
• Election results: Yesterday's big event was the special election in FL-19, the first real electoral test after the passage of HCR. The allegedly massive opposition to healthcare reform on the part of the district's many seniors never really materialized. Democratic state Sen. Ted Deutch beat Republican Ed Lynch 62-35, with very little falloff from Obama's 65-34 performance in 2008. (Contrast that with John Garamendi's so-so 53-43 performance in November's CA-10 special election, a similarly 65-33 district in 2008.)
I should also pause to offer a little credit to Texas's Republicans, who voted for the less crazy candidates in the Board of Education and Supreme Court runoffs, and in a bigger surprise to me, for the Hispanic-surnamed candidates in the TX-17 and TX-23 runoffs (which, based on incumbent Victor Carrillo's trouncing in the Railroad Commissioner primary, seemed unlikely to happen). The NRCC has to be pleased to see the wealthier and less wingnutty Bill Flores and Quico Canseco emerge. Rep. Chet Edwards, however, is one guy who knows how to stand and fight, and he wasted no time hitting Flores hard and defining him as a carpetbagger in big oil's pocket.
One other leftover issue from last night: two races in California, as expected, are headed to runoffs. In Republican-held SD-12, Republican Assemblyman Bill Emmerson will face off against Democrat Justin Blake (the GOPers combined got more than 60% of the vote, so this is a likely hold), while in safely-Democratic AD-43, Democratic lawyer Mike Gatto will face off with Republican Sunder Ramani to replace now-LA city councilor Paul Krekorian. Gatto seemed to shoot the gap in this heavily Armenian-American district after the two Armenian candidates, Chahe Keuroghelian and Nayiri Nahabedian, nuked each other.
• AR-Sen: Bill Halter's primary campaign gained more momentum, as he picked up an endorsement from the Alliance for Retired Americans, pleased with his time as a Social Security Administration official. One group that really isn't getting on board with Halter, though, is the Berry family; first outgoing Rep. Marion Berry dissed Halter, and now his son, Mitch, is head of a group, Arkansans for Common Sense, that's running ads attacking Halter on the Social Security front. (Are there any Arkansans who are actually against common sense?)
• CO-Sen: Looks like GOP establishment candidate Jane Norton sees the handwriting on the wall and is taking a page from Democrat Michael Bennet's book: not able to rely on getting on the ballot via activist-dominated convention (where teabagger-fueled Ken Buck seems likely to triumph), she's making plans to qualify by finding 1,500 signatures in each of the state's seven congressional districts. Speaking of Bennet, he's still the fundraising kingpin in this race; he just announced he raised $1.4 million last quarter, well ahead of Norton's $816K.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist may have sounded Shermanesque last week in his determination not to switch to an Independent bid for Governor, but apparently now there's increasing moves within his inner circle to move in that direction. Unnamed advisors are floating the idea to the WSJ today.
• IN-Sen: Dan Coats seems to be having more trouble making the transition from the free-wheelin' world of high-stakes lobbying back to the humdrum electoral politics world, where you actually have to follow the rules and stuff. He's 10 days overdue on filing his finance disclosure reports with the FEC. One note that the Beltway press seemed to miss though: his main GOP primary opponent, ex-Rep. John Hostettler hasn't made his filing yet either. (Of course, fundraising was never Hostettler's strong suit. Or even his weak suit.)
• NC-Sen (pdf): PPP issued its latest installment in polls of the Senate general election in its home state. Maybe the biggest surprise is that incumbent Republican Richard Burr's approvals are just continuing to fall; he's currently at 32/41 (while likeliest opponent Elaine Marshall is in positive territory at 19/11). Also encouraging, I suppose, is that the actual human Democrats are starting to draw even with Generic D (while previous polls have had Generic D far outpacing them), showing they're getting better-defined. Burr leads Generic D 43-38, while he leads Marshall 43-37, and leads both Cal Cunningham and Kenneth Lewis 43-35.
• NY-Sen-B: With ex-Gov. George Pataki's phantom interest in this race finally having been dispelled, Swing State Project is removing this race from its "Races to Watch" list.
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): One more poll in the rapidly-becoming-overpolled Pennsylvania Senate race, this time from Republican pollster Susequehanna. They use an LV model, and find Pat Toomey with a 48-38 lead over Arlen Specter. Of more immediate consequence, they find Specter leading Joe Sestak 42-28 in the Dem primary. They also polled both primaries in the gubernatorial race, finding Dan Onorato seeming to break away from the ill-defined pack among the Dems. Onorato is at 32, followed by Joe Hoeffel at 13, Jack Wagner at 6, and Anthony Williams at 4. Tom Corbett beats down Sam Rohrer on the GOP side, 50-7. After marshaling his resources, Specter is finally starting to open fire; he's up with his first TV ad of the cycle starting today.
• WI-Sen: The only thing that's sure is that Tommy Thompson likes to see his name in the press. There's been a lot of conflicting reporting about Tommy Thompson today, with many outlets running with the story that he's decided against running for Senate (that all traces back to one leak to a local TV station, although it sounds like Politico got some confirmation from an anonymous GOP source). Other outlets are emphasizing that Thompson's spokesperson says that Thompson hasn't made a final decision, though. Either way, Thompson will be announcing his plans at a Tea Party rally tomorrow in Madison, so our pain will be ended tomorrow one way or the other.
• MA-Gov: Here's more evidence for my expectation that Dem-turned-indie Tim Cahill will be running to the right (or at least to the incoherent-angry-working-class-Catholic-guy-position) of the Republican in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race this year. He's appearing at today's Tea Party rally on Boston Common today, the same one with Sarah Palin that Scott Brown ditched (although MA-10 candidate Joe Malone and GOP gubernatorial underdog Christy Mihos will be there). Likely GOP gubernatorial nominee Charlie Baker (from the party's old-school moderate WASP tradition) decided against attending, probably out of fears that he might get jostled by some ruffian and spill some of his gin and tonic on his white Bermuda shorts.
• MN-Gov: Two blasts from the past in the Minnesota gubernatorial race. Walter Mondale weighed in in favor of Democratic state House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, while a guy I've never heard of named Al Quie, who claims to have been governor from 1979 to 1983, endorsed Republican Marty Seifert.
• NE-Gov: Via press release, the campaign for Democratic candidate Mark Lakers let us know that he took in $314K, impressive considering his late entry to the campaign.
• AL-07: State Rep. Earl Hilliard Jr. got an endorsement from the United Steelworkers, a union that seems to still have a lot of clout in Birmingham, once a major steel town.
• AZ-03: Now here's some news I didn't expect: the fundraising champ in the 3rd isn't one of the many state legislators running here, but rather attorney (and vice-presidential progeny) Ben Quayle. He pulled in $550K in the first quarter, thanks no doubt to family connections. There are a couple other self-funders in the race too, but the elected officials seem to be lagging: case in point, well-known ex-state Sen. Pamela Gorman, who raised only $37K and ends with $23K CoH.
• FL-24: Rep. Suzanne Kosmas announced a haul of $260K for the first quarter. That's less than the $340K reported by her likely GOP opponent, steakhouse mogul Craig Miller (although a slab of his money was apparently carved out of his own personal funds); Kosmas has a big CoH advantage, though, sitting on more than $1 million.
• GA-07: Retiring Republican Rep. John Linder didn't look far to endorse a replacement for him: he gave his nod to his former chief of staff, Rob Woodall.
• HI-01: Sen. Dan Inouye just transferred $100K of his money to the DCCC, despite appearances that they're actively backing Ed Case, rather than Colleen Hanabusa, who has the support of Inouye (and pretty much everyone else in the local Democratic establishment). Inouye has apparently been working behind the scenes, including reaching out to Nancy Pelosi, to get the DCCC to dial back their Case support, so maybe the cash infusion will give him a little more leverage. (Inouye is sitting on $3.2 million and faces little if any opposition this year.)
• IN-03: Nice fundraising numbers from Democrat Tom Hayhurst, who ran a surprisingly close race against Rep. Mark Souder in 2006 and is back for another try. Hayhurst has racked up $234K CoH, more than Souder ($99K in the first quarter).
• IN-05: Politico has a look at Rep. Dan Burton's difficult primary in the 5th, in Indianapolis's dark-red suburbs. While Burton may actually be safer this year compared with 2008 (since he has four opponents instead of just one), the article traces the roots of the local GOP's discontent with him, and also shows the magnitude of his collapse in support: only 2 of the 11 local party organizations are supporting Burton this time.
• MO-08: Another Dem in a dark-red seat who keeps impressing everybody with his tenacity is Tommy Sowers. The veteran and college instructor, who's challenging Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, raised $295K in the first quarter and is now sitting on $675K CoH.
• NM-02: Ex-Rep. Steve Pearce can write himself his own checks if he needs to, but he may not need to at this rate. Pearce raised $277K in the first quarter, and now sits on $708K. Democratic Rep. Harry Teague hasn't reported yet, but in the duel of wealthy oil guys, he can self-fund too if need be.
• NY-14: With Democratic primary challenger Reshma Saujani having some success on the financial front, Rep. Carolyn Maloney got some top-tier help from Barack Obama, who endorsed her and sent out a fundraising appeal on her behalf.
• PA-11: If this doesn't wake up Rep. Paul Kanjorski from his nap, I don't know what will. Three-time Republican opponent Lou Barletta raised $300K in the first quarter. An important caveat: there was no mention of cash on hand, which is telling because Barletta was still saddled with a lot of debt from his 2008 campaign when he decided to run again. (UPDATE: Barletta's CoH is now $205K.)
• PA-17: Republican state Sen. David Argall raised a tolerable but not-too-impressive $125K in the first quarter. He'll need more than that to battle Rep. Tim Holden, who, if nothing else, has great survival skills (he had the worst district of any freshman who survived 1994, and then survived a 2002 gerrymander designed to rub him out). In fact, he'll need more than that just for his primary; heretofore unknown GOP opponent ex-Marine Frank Ryan raised $70K in the first quarter.
• Redistricting: Maryland beat out New York to be the first state in the nation to enact legislation that will, in terms of redistricting, treat prisoners as residents of their last known address, rather than where they're incarcerated (and thus move the center of gravity back toward the cities from the countryside). Also, on the redistricting front, if there's one group of people who are the target audience for a whole movie about redistricting (Gerrymandering), it's the crowd at SSP. The film's director has a diary up, touting its release in two weeks at the Tribeca Film Festival.