• CO-Sen: So since the last time we checked in, Ken Buck royally stepped in it not just once, but twice. First, he made the argument that voters should opt for him and not Jane Norton because "he doesn't wear high heels." (It was by way of arguing that, instead, he wears cowboy boots with actual bullshit on them, but the gender card was pretty clear. And Norton's response was easy to write, and was on the air almost instantaneously. It probably played at least something of a role in today's decision by Arizona governor Jan Brewer, amassing her own clutch of Mama Rattlesnakes, to extend an endorsement to Norton.) Then second, it came out over the weekend that on June 11, Buck was overheard referring to Tea Partiers (or at least the birthers among them) as "dumbasses." (Compounding the unforced nature of the error was that he was joking around with his Democratic tracker while saying it!) Buck was out with the inevitable apology to the teabaggers within the day. (Y'know, for a bunch of self-styled tough guys, they sure do get their feelings hurt easily.)
• CT-Sen: Despite his blowing through a large chunk of his remaining cash on hand in a baffling ad urging people to vote in the Republican primary (although not specifically for him), Rob Simmons is still maintaining that he's not currently a candidate for the Senate. He considers his $350K ad buy as something like "public service announcements."
• FL-Sen: Must be nice to have Jeff Greene's money! Concerned observers are a bit troubled by the close correlation between his hiring of DNC member Jon Ausman as a consultant, and his next-day endorsement of Greene's campaign. Greene has spent $6 million of his own money on the race so far, which apparently is a drop in the bucket for him, as he's been content to ignore a $1.87 million fine from the government of Belize that's outstanding against him, after he crashed his 145-foot yacht into a sensitive coral reef there.
• IL-Sen: Continuing the boat-crashing theme, in case you've been living under a rock all weekend, the big news in Illinois is that Mark Kirk has gotten caught in yet another series of misrememberments, this time about his sailboat accident and subsequent Coast Guard rescue that supposedly got him devoted to public service. Turns out he at least got the being in a sailboat accident part right, but, unlike his own description of the events, he was rescued long before nightfall, he probably didn't swim for a mile because he was within half a mile of shore, and his core temperature certainly wasn't 82 because he would have lost consciousness long before getting to that point. Sensing a pattern here?
• KY-Sen: Rand Paul is re-affirming that he supports Mitch McConnell. Well, sort of. During his Fancy Farm appearance this weekend, he said he's going to vote for McConnell for leader, but almost immediately afterwards, reduced that to not seeing a reason why he wouldn't vote for him. Observers also noted that, in his earlier sorta-support for McConnell, he was implicitly dissing Sharron Angle as unlikely to win, by way of saying that Jack Conway's first action would be to vote for Harry Reid for majority leader (something that, of course, wouldn't happen if Reid weren't to get re-elected).
• NV-Sen: Sharron Angle's media policy can be summed up in one word: RUN! That's what she did when faced with questions from a six-months-pregnant reporter last week, who, in typical lamestream media fashion, insisted on asking some further questions after a three-minute speech of boilerplate on the estate tax. How presumptuous! Harry Reid got further good news, too, with the endorsement of Las Vegas mayor and relentless self-promoter Oscar Goodman, who called Reid "the man we go to get things done in the city." If there's one Nevadan having an even worse time than Angle, though, it's John Ensign; his one-time crony Tom Coburn just hung him out to dry, handing over e-mails from Ensign in the ongoing criminal investigation by the DOJ into l'affaire Hampton.
• WV-Sen: With filing closed in West Virginia, there are eleven GOPers fighting in the primary for the right to oppose Joe Manchin in the Senate special election. Most prominent, of course, is businessman John Raese, who lost the 2006 Senate race to Robert Byrd and is also something of an archenemy to the Moore/Capito family. The only other noteworthy GOPer is Mac Warner, who already lost the WV-01 primary this year (and whose brother, Monty Warner, was the 2004 GOP gubernatorial nominee, losing badly to Manchin). Raese punctuated his entry with some ill-advised and outdated ethnic humor, comparing the Italian-American Manchin to Tony Soprano. The NRSC, probably not liking any of its options here (and having gotten burned by some of its earlier interventions), says it isn't getting involved in the primary.
• CO-Gov: The rumor du jour last week was that the RGA was prepared to pull out of Colorado entirely -- and that was before this morning's confirmation that Tom Tancredo was going to jump into the race as an indie candidate in order to either leverage the GOP nomination or crash-land the whole operation. The RGA denied the rumors when they first came out, but the local GOPers working on the race are suddenly leaking e-mails that they're broke. And with Tancredo's bid today, suddenly his allies and core backers among the Tea Partiers are suddenly denouncing him, accusing him of being a likely spoiler, whether intentional or not. Bafflingly, Tancredo pushed back in the way most likely to rub them the wrong way, calling the teabaggers new members of the "establishment." Tancredo's getting some pushback from state party chair Dick Wadhams, too; TPM has audio of the literal screaming match between the two of them.
• FL-Gov: You may remember state Sen. Paula Dockery, who was running a futile campaign against Bill McCollum in the GOP gubernatorial primary until dropping out after getting totally eclipsed by Rick Scott. Well, now she's teaming up with Scott; she's stopping somewhere short of endorsing him, but is joining him on his bus tour, saying she share similar stances on the issues. (She can't be angling for a Lt. Gov. slot, as Florida elects its LG separately, so what her angle is, I don't know. UPDATE: Actually, commenters have corrected me on Florida's LG procedure, wherein the nominees pick running mates, so, yes, it does sound like she's angling for LG.) Also, while it isn't exactly about the horse race, here's a fascinating (at least to me) piece of backstory about Democratic candidate Alex Sink. Her slightly Asian appearance is because she's 1/8th Thai, and her great-grandfather was a well-known celebrity in the early 1800s: circus performer Chang Bunker, one-half of the original so-called "Siamese Twins."
• GA-Gov: Dueling (banjo) endorsements in the Georgia GOP gubernatorial runoff, and they seem to fit the overall media narratives about the two candidates. The suburbanized Karen Handel got Mitt Romney's endorsement, while the more hickory-smoked Nathan Deal got the backing of the NRA.
• OK-Gov (pdf): There's one more poll of the primaries in Oklahoma (to be decided tomorrow night), from the Republican firm of Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates, apparently on their own and not on anyone else's behalf. The results are pretty similar to this weekend's Sooner Poll: they see AG Drew Edmondson beating Lt. Gov. Jari Askins 38-27 on the Dem side, and Rep. Mary Fallin well ahead of state Sen. Randy Brogdon 50-22 on the GOP side. Askins did get one late-breaking endorsement, though, that's good as gold in this football-mad state: she got the backing of former OU and Dallas Cowboys head coach Barry Switzer. Switzer's backing is credited with helping Brad Henry win a come-from-behind victory in the 2002 Dem gubernatorial primary.
• OH-St. House: Here's something you don't see every day: a local article about a competitive state legislative chamber where you don't get just platitudes about the closeness, but actual detail about the most competitive races. Democrats currently control the state House 53-46 after picking it up in 2008, and it could revert back to the GOP this year. The Democratic seats on defense that they list are scattered among Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland suburbs, and Appalachian-flavored rural areas like Portsmouth and Zanesville.
• OR-Init: Oregon stands out as the only west coast state that doesn't have an independent redistricting commission for state legislative seats. It looks like that's going to continue: a proposed initiative to create an independent commission of retired judges for redistricting didn't qualify for the ballot, after too many signatures turned out to be invalid. 2002 GOP governor candidate and bringer-of-the-crazy Kevin Mannix was the leader of the move, although he actually had some big money interests behind him this time (like Nike's Phil Knight).
• AZ-Sen (R): John McCain (R-inc) 54%, J.D. Hayworth (R) 34%
• ND-Sen: Tracy Potter (D) 22%, John Hoeven (R) 69%
Richard Blumenthal (D): 54 (55)
Linda McMahon (R): 37 (35)
Undecided: 7 (8)
Richard Blumenthal (D): 55 (54)
Rob Simmons (R): 35 (33)
Undecided: 9 (10)
Richard Blumenthal (D): 58 (56)
Peter Schiff (R): 31 (29)
Undecided: 9 (12)
Linda McMahon (R): 52
Rob Simmons (R): 25
Peter Schiff (R) : 13
Not much change in the Nutmeg State. And it looks like Rob Simmons might have some pretty serious disincentive to not get back into the Senate primary again, as he briefly threatened.
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio's $4.4 million haul blew a lot of people away, but what's equally impressive (and didn't get any coverage at the time) is his burn rate. It turns out that, even though he no longer has a primary to worry about, he spent almost all ($4 million) of what he made.
• NY-Sen-B: You might remember that there was some uncertainty as to whether Joe DioGuardi, who has the Conservative line for November, would even make it into the Republican primary thanks to his poor finish at the GOP state convention. Well, after gathering enough signatures, he has now successfully petitioned his way onto the primary ballot. He has consistently led polls of the GOP primary, although generally in the low 20s. (H/t andyroo312.)
• WI-Sen, WI-Gov (pdf): Apparently, voters in Wisconsin are dimly aware that something called an "election" may be transpiring at some point in the future, as more than half of all those surveyed not having decided yet on a Senate pick, at least according to Univ. of Wisconsin's Badger Poll. The likely voters in Wisconsin are currently going for Russ Feingold at 33 and Ron Johnson 28. RVs are Feingold 27, Johnson 21, and Wisconsin residents are Feingold 25, Johnson 19. In a remarkable contrast with Rasmussen (who'd have thunk?), nobody knows who Johnson is: he has 12/8 favorables among likely voters. They also look at the even-more-disinteresting gubernatorial race, finding Tom Barrett losing to both Scott Walker and Mark Neumann by the same margin of 32-15 (!). (UPDATE (DavidNYC): Here's another good reason to mistrust this poll: It was in the field for a month. What the...?)
• WV-Sen: The West Virginia legislature is still busy tinkering with their state's election laws today as part of the preparations for the special election to succeed Robert Byrd. Perhaps most significantly, it sounds like they are planning special primaries (tentatively set for fast-approaching Aug. 28), rather than a jungle-style election in November. They threw out a Joe Manchin proposal, however, that would scrap the special primaries if only one candidate from each party decided to run.
• AZ-Gov: We reported yesterday on the Rocky Mountain Poll (by the ominously-named Behavior Research Council), and it looks like they also have general election numbers. GOP incumbent Jan Brewer leads Democratic AG Terry Goddard 45-25, a surprisingly large margin since most non-Rasmussen pollsters have seen a close race (although that was mostly before SB 1070-mania hit).
• CO-Gov: SurveyUSA, on behalf of the Denver Post, is out with a snap poll on the subject of Scott McInnis, post-plagiarism-scandal. It turns out that this scandal does have a lot of resonance -- there's a lot less semantic ambiguity here than with Richard Blumenthal or even Mark Kirk... either you wrote it or you didn't (and then tried to pass the blame on an octogenarian ally). 20% of Republicans now say they'll vote for someone else, but 39% say they'll still vote for him. Looking ahead to a replacement, the poll also asked who "the strongest Republican" would be, and the number one pick was... you guessed it... Tom Tancredo, at 29. McInnis followed at 19, with primary opponent Dan Maes at 13. Jane Norton (a possible switchover, given her dwindling Senate campaign) was at 11, former candidate and state Sen. Josh Penry was at 7, and Univ. of Colorado Bruce Benson was at 3. (In other polling news, note that even Rasmussen can't find a way to polish this turd, as seen in a poll (see below) taken last night.)
If you're wondering who Benson is, he's now the subject of perhaps the most speculation as the GOP's preferred fill-in. Another name getting tossed around is long-ago former Sen. Hank Brown, who more recently served as president of Univ. of Northern Colorado. The Post also was apparently set to do its regularly-scheduled endorsement for the primary this week, and they said that prior to this week, they would have endorsed McInnis; now they can't endorse anyone at all (which is quite the slap at Maes).
• GA-Gov: Not that he seems to need a lot of help at this point, but Roy Barnes is getting the endorsement of Atlanta's new mayor, Kasim Reed. Turnabout's fair play, as Barnes gave Reed a late endorsement in last year's election.
• NY-Gov: Well, this race is effectively over: Andrew Cuomo reported raising $9.2 million in the last six months for a total of $23.6 million CoH. (You think he could redirect a little of that to the DGA? Of the nation's 10 most populous states, 9 have gubernatorial races, and of those 9, New York is the lone one that isn't highly competitive.) Rick Lazio, by comparison, raised $1.4 million in that period, and has $689K CoH, which might make him competitive in an upstate House race. GOP primary rival Carl Paladino reported raising $1.7 million during the same period... but $1.6 million of that came out of his own pocket.
• TN-Gov: We normally don't report on Mitt Romney's many endorsements, as he seems to hand out low-four-figures sums of money to any Republican with a pulse who survived a primary. Here's one that's a big race though and where the decisive primary hasn't happened yet. Romney backed Bill Haslam, the establishment and most moderate of the three GOPers in the primary.
• TX-Gov: With full information available from Rick Perry, we know now that Bill White won each fundraising category. White outraised Perry $7.4 million to $7.1 million in the post-primary period, and White leads in CoH by a $9 million to $5.8 million margin. And here's an interesting tidbit: the White campaign says it's raised more than $1 million from former Kay Bailey Hutchison contributors.
• CO-04: EMILY's List is weighing into the 4th with a big independent expenditure. They'll be spending $300K on TV advertising on behalf of Betsy Markey over the next three weeks; the ad's a negative spot hitting Corey Gardner, including on health care issues.
• FL-17: The Miami Herald has some helpful background on the largely-forgotten Democratic primary in the open seat 17th, which is where all the action will be in this dark-blue district. (This seat, long held by the Meek family, hasn't had a competitive primary in decades.) They look at state Sen. Frederica Wilson as frontrunner, and they cite an AFL-CIO poll from March (the first I've seen of it) that had Wilson at 34, with 12 for Miami Gardens mayor Shirley Gibson and 10 for North Miami city councilor Scott Galvin. The race's rapidly emerging wild card, though, seems to be physician Rudolph Moise, by virtue of having over $900K CoH, at least six times what anyone else has. Some of that is self-funded, but he seems to have raised the most from other donors too, and he plans to start an advertising blitz soon.
• GA-12: Rep. John Barrow's been burning cash fast lately: he raised $204K last quarter but spent $374K in that period, leaving him with $655 CoH. But that's probably because his big challenge this year is in the Democratic primary (next week), not in the general, where his possible GOP opponents are all pretty weak. Of course, Regina Thomas doesn't present that much challenge to him, either, if her financials are any indication: she raised $2,400 last quarter and had $6,600 CoH. But hey, at least she managed to file her FEC report on time this year.
• ID-01: Here's another way that Raul Labrador is an unconventional candidate: he thinks that following that unspoken rule that you release your internal polls only when they have good news for you is for pussies. He's out with an internal, by Moore Insight, that gives Rep. Walt Minnick -- in theory one of the most vulnerable freshmen by virtue of his district and narrow win last time -- a 37-27 lead. Minnick's re-elect is only 38/40, though, which I guess is worth something. Reid Wilson also has more detail on Labrador today, slamming Kevin McCarthy's efforts to reach out to citizens for help on creating a new Contract with America-type-thing. (The democracy-hating Labrador, no fan of the 17th Amendment either, thinks House leadership should impose the agenda top-down.) Also, were you wondering why Labrador didn't loudly tout his fundraising haul from last quarter? Well, that's because he raised $101K in the post-primary period of May and June, and is sitting on all of $69K CoH with $30K debt.
• MI-01: Is this the smallest sample size ever? Another Inside Michigan Politics poll of a House primary is out, this time in the Republican field in the open seat race to replace Bart Stupak, and it's got a whopping n of 140. State Sen. Jason Allen and physician Dan Benishek (who was the lone GOPer before Stupak's retirement announcement) are tied at the top with 20 each. There's also a handful of no-names polling in the low single digits, one of whom, Linda Goldthorpe, just dropped out yesterday. (H/t TheGradyDem.)
• Caucuses: Well, it was only a matter of time before this happened. Michele Bachmann is taking out the paperwork to create a whole new caucus in the House: the Tea Party Caucus. Hmmm... I thought that already existed, and it was called the RSC.
• NY-St. Sen.: Here's an interesting piece on the fundraising and infrastructure collapse behind the scenes for the GOP in the New York State Senate (who may, via GOP-held open seats, actually manage to lose further seats in November despite the nature of the year). Case in point: the race to replace retiring Senator Vincent Leibell in the Hudson Valley, where there's cat fud a-flyin' between establishment pick Mary Beth Murphy and teabaggish Greg Ball (who you may recall from briefly making a splashy entry in the NY-19 field).
• CO-Gov: John Hickenlooper (D) 45%, Scott McInnis (R) 43%
• DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 36%, Mike Castle (R) 47%
• DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 39%, Christine O'Donnell (R) 41%
• GA-Gov (D): Roy Barnes (D) 59%, Thurbert Baker (D) 16%, Dubose Porter 5%, David Poythress 5%
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 38%, Tom Corbett (R) 48%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D) 45%, Dino Rossi (R) 48%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D) 45%, Clint Didier (R) 48%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D) 46%, Paul Akers (R) 41%
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.
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal just ended his presser, and it was forceful and an attempt to go back on the offensive. (Reid Wilson's tweet sums it up pretty well: "Shot: Dick Blumenthal's press conference. Chaser: Mark Sanford's press conference. Study in opposites.") He admitted to misspeaking on "in Vietnam," but went after the NYT for the implied impugning of those who served stateside. Good damage control, but we'll have to wait a few days to see if it takes. The local establishment seems to be taking a wait-and-see attitude, too, as Joe Lieberman is publicly saying he's still undecided on the race (recall, though, that Blumenthal endorsed Ned Lamont, and Lieberman tends to be one who holds a grudge); the DSCC, though, is cranking things up defending Blumenthal.
Meanwhile, the GOP has been taking credit for funneling this oppo research to the Times... however, after initially taking a premature victory lap around the ring bellowing with arms raised, the Linda McMahon camp has suddenly pulled earlier references to feeding the info to the NYT off its website.
• FL-Sen: Billionaire Jeff Greene is going up with not one but two different introductory TV ads, calling himself a job-creating outsider. Looks like he's serious about spending some major cash on his rather quixotic bid in the Democratic primary,.
• KY-Sen (pdf): One last poll sneaked across the finish line, from Republican pollster Magellan (not working on either candidate's behalf). In their poll of the GOP primary, they find, consistent with most pollsters, a big edge for Rand Paul; he leads Trey Grayson 55-30. PPP has some pretty tantalizing tidbits of cat fud that they found in the crosstabs of their GOP primary poll, though. Grayson supporters, i.e. establishment Republicans who probably secretly like their earmarks, really, really, don't like Rand Paul. Grayson supporters give Paul 23/53 favorables, and only 40% of them say they'll vote for Paul, while 43% flat-out say they won't vote for him.
• WA-Sen: While the Glenn Thrushes and Chris Cillizzas of the world seem to have some inside information that leads them to say that Dino Rossi is on the precipice of announcing his Senate run, there's just nothing in the local press that seems to bear that out. Instead, all we've got is a lot of lower-level Republicans getting impatient and starting to take each their frustrations out on each other. Clark Co. Commissioner Tom Mielke sent around an e-mail to various other state GOPers saying that Rossi's dithering is angering the base and hurting Republican chances of picking up the seat. The Seattle Times somehow got ahold of the e-mail and a bunch of responses from other insiders, if you want a glimpse behind the state GOP's curtain. Another insider, Mathew Manweller, pointed out that Mielke has an axe to grind as a Don Benton supporter, but also told the Times over the weekend that "Dino probably has to make a decision here and let people know within a week or so, or the milk is going to sour."
• WI-Sen: As expected, wealthy businessman Ron Johnson formally announced yesterday that he's getting in the GOP primary to go against Russ Feingold, joining three other never-before-elected rich guys. Wondering how Johnson made his fortune? Just one word: plastics.
• IA-Gov: In case the ideological fault lines in the GOP gubernatorial primary in Iowa couldn't get any clearer, Mitt Romney announced he's endorsing Terry Branstad for a return engagement. In fact, this may say more about Romney's plans than anything, as he seems to be trying to monopolize the sane/establishment wing of the party for 2012 against a Palin/Huckabee split among the nutters.
• NY-Gov: The Conservative Party is trying once again to upstage the Republicans in New York; their latest move involves moving their nominating convention up to May 28, three days before the GOP nominating convention. They're committed to backing Rick Lazio, and this is a move designed to force the GOP's hand into backing Lazio as well, rather than party-switching Steve Levy, in order to avoid a NY-23-style split between the GOP and the Conservatives.
• WI-Gov: Looking for some traction in the GOP primary, Mark Neumann is accusing Milwaukee Co. Exec Scott Walker of "working part-time" so he can campaign. (Does any officeholder not work part-time in the months leading up to an election?) Meanwhile, there was a big-time Walker walk-back, after he initially voiced displeasure with Arizona's anti-illegal immigrant law and then got deluged with negative comments on his Facebook page. Now suddenly he's for it, saying he changed his mind after talking to the Arizona state senator who proposed it.
• WY-Gov: Well, this is progress... I guess. Natrona County Democratic chair R.C. Johnson says she'll take one for the team and run for Governor on the Democratic line if no other viable candidate does. (The state party convention came and went last weekend without any takers.) Don't bowl us all over with your enthusiasm, R.C.!
• HI-01: Three of Hawaii's Democratic ex-Governors (John Waihee, George Ariyoshi, and Ben Cayetano) put out coordinated statements urging voters to, whatever else they might do, not vote for Charles Djou in the messed-up special election. Waihee said Djou winning would be a "nightmare."
• SC-05: Well, this is more than a little tasteless: the NRCC issued a statement referring to "Amnesiac John Spratt" and accusing him of having "completely forgotten" who he's working for. Spratt, of course, recently revealed that he's in the early stages of Parkinson's Disease, and his opponent, Mick Mulvaney, has carefully steered clear of turning that into a campaign issue. Have no fear, Mick, the NRCC's always willing to do what you aren't.
• VA-05 (pdf): So what's it like being in the World of Hurt? Pretty good, at least according to his own internal poll. Robert Hurt claims a POS poll gives him 35% of the vote in the GOP primary, with his nearest rival, Ken Boyd (the other non-teabagger in the race) lagging at 10%. The assorted teabaggers accumulated together account for another 9%.
• Things in General: CQ has a moderately interesting article today on other pending anti-incumbent primaries. Mostly I'm including it because one quote lingered with me, and I wanted to blockquote it for future reference, as a useful bit of perspective for anyone who gets a little too worked up about whatever's being hyperbolically, breathlessly being reported on in the news any given day:
"We overreact to everything here in Washington," said longtime Democratic media consultant Steve Murphy.
An all-House digest today - and it's an hour earlier than usual! Remember, today is primary day in IN, NC & OH, so be sure to check out SSP's handy election guide.
AL-07: Attorney Terri Sewell, who is probably the candidate ideologically closest to outgoing Rep. Artur Davis, is going up with a TV ad buy in Montgomery and Birmingham which will stay up through the primary (which is a month from now). No word on the size of the buy, though.
CT-02: Republicans are courting former television news anchor Janet Peckinpaugh to run against Rep. Joe Courtney, who has luckily skated by without much in the way of opposition this cycle. Peckinpaugh says she's considering it. She was most recently seen shilling for a now-defunct mortgage company in deceptive, TV news-like ads, clearly trading on her reputation as a newsreader. The company, Lend America, shut down in December after it was placed under federal investigation.
FL-12: After screwing up the establishment's efforts to clear the GOP primary field for ex-state Rep. Dennis Ross by jumping into the race, Polk County Comm'r Randy Wilkinson is bidding adieu to the Republican Party. Instead, he's going to run as the Tea Party candidate (there's an actual Tea Party in Florida, just like the Whigs). Wilkinson has raised very little money - his FEC reports are a mess, and he seems to like filing them in hand-written form, so he doesn't even appear in their electronic database.
FL-21: What a bummer - zero Dems filed in the open 21st CD, which means that Mario Diaz-Balart will automatically inherit his brother Lincoln's seat. I can't really blame folks too much, though, as Florida has especially onerous ballot access requirements. If you don't petition on, you have to pay a filing fee, which is an insane $10,000+.
HI-01: The DCCC threw down another $70K for negative ads against Charles Djou.
ID-01, OH-15: We mentioned the other day that GOPer Steve Stivers, busy with a rematch against Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy in OH-15, said he favors repealing the 17th amendment - the one which gives citizens the right to vote for their senators (rather than having them be appointed by state legislatures). Well, after taking a lot of much-deserved heat, he's backed off that fantasy. But his would-be colleague, Vaughn Ward, is taking up the mantle. Ward, running against Rep. Walt Minnick in ID-01, offered a rationale worthy of Miss Teen South Carolina, saying "When you look at how come state's rights have been so abrogated, it's because of things like the 17th Amendment that has taken away those rights from our states." Yuh huh. Exactly.
IL-08: Just click the link and read about the greatest political implosion of the entire cycle. (Thankfully, it's the bad guys.) More here, here, and here.
KS-03: Along with Joe Garcia (see yesterday's morning digest), the DCCC added another candidate to their Red to Blue list, Stephene Moore, who is the wife of retiring Rep. Dennis Moore.
MA-10: State Rep. Jeff Perry, running for Bill Delahunt's open seat, scored an endorsement from ex-MA Gov. Mitt Romney. Perry, who was also previously endorsed by Sen. Scott Brown, has a primary against ex-state Treasurer Joe Malone. Malone has some baggage-related cooties, which probably explains Perry's run of good fortune.
MD-01 (PDF): Public Opinion Strategies (R) for Americans for Prosperity (R) (4/25-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
Frank Kratovil (D-inc): 36
Andy Harris (R): 39
Richard Davis (L): 6
Two things about this poll: First off, in contravention of appropriate practice, POS asked all kinds of axe-grindy issue questions ("Gov. O'Malley raised taxes by $1.3 billion") before getting to the horserace question. This does damage to POS's reputation as a supposedly respectable pollster. Secondly, the weird thing is that Harris switched pollsters - and his last survey, from the Tarrance Group back in November, had him up by a whopping 52-39. While it's not a proper trendline, you gotta wonder - is Harris slipping? Or is he getting snowed by his various pollsters? (Update: D'oh! Our mistake -- this poll was not done for Harris, but actually the right-wing consortium of douches known as the Americans for Prosperity.)
MI-01: Dem state Rep. Joel Sheltrown, who got into the race to replace Bart Stupak just a few weeks ago, is bowing out.
MI-09: Self-funder Gene Goodman is dropping out of the race to take on Rep. Gary Peters, despite having loaned his campaign $450K. That leaves ex-state Rep. Andrew "Rocky" Raczkowski and former Oakland County GOP Chair Paul Welday in the running, both of whom have had unimpressive fundraising - and in fact, Rocky is yet another victim (albeit a more minor one) of Base Connect.
Meanwhile, we missed a Welday internal poll from a couple of weeks ago (taken by Mitchell Research & Communications), which had Peters leading by just 44-43. The poll sampled just 300 LVs, though, and according to the Hotline, was in the field at two discontiguous times. Peters' camp attacked the poll's sample composition, but Steve Mitchell says he used the same methodology as he did in September of 2008, when (according to the article), " he declared Peters was going to defeat Joe Knollenberg." Is this hindsight proving to be 20/20? Mitchell's poll from back then had the race tied.
NY-13: Global Strategy Group (D) for Mike McMahon (4/7-11, likely voters, no trendlines):
Mike McMahon (D-inc): 56
Mike Allegretti (R): 24
Mike McMahon (D-inc): 56
Mike Grimm (R): 23
OH-09: Dem Rep. Marcy Kaptur, who is not really on anyone's radar in terms of having a competitive race, is nonetheless facing a moneybags challenger. Former Food Town CEO Rich Iott just dumped $319,000 into his campaign. Kaptur has over a million on hand, and the 9th CD voted 62% for Obama and 58% for Kerry.
PA-12: Anzalone-Liszt (D) for the DCCC (4/27-29, likely voters, no trendlines):
Mark Critz (D): 43
Tim Burns (R): 41
TN-08: A couple of disgusting low-lifes running for TN-08, Ron Kirkland and Randy Smith, had this delightful exchange at a candidate forum:
Kirkland, of Jackson, referred to his Army training during the Vietnam War and said: "I can tell you if there were any homosexuals in that group, they were taken care of in ways I can't describe to you."
Smith, a chef from Mercer who served in the Navy during the Gulf War, said: "I definitely wouldn't want to share a shower with a homosexual. We took care of that kind of stuff, just like (Kirkland) said."
These sick bastards have serious issues.
SD-AL: Heh - GOP state Rep. Kristi Noem has a biographical spot up on the air, talking about her return to her family farm after her father's death. The only problem is that she shot the ad in Texas - which became apparent given that the backdrop (a grove of leafy green trees) is something you can't really find in North South Dakota this time of year. Reminds me of when Bob Schaffer ran an ad pretending that Alaska's Mount McKinley was actually Colorado's famous Pikes Peak while running for CO-Sen in 2008.
Tom Campbell (R): 34
Carly Fiorina (R): 27
Chuck DeVore (R): 14
Tim Kalemkarian (R): 3
Meg Whitman (R): 49
Steve Poizner (R): 27
Others (R): 9
Jerry Brown (D): 63
Richard Aguirre (D): 6
Lowell Darling (D): 6
Peter Schurman (D): 1
Others (D): 6
Undecided (D): 18
It's nice to see SurveyUSA getting into the game in California (although this poll is primaries only); they find, as did Capital Weekly yesterday, that Meg Whitman's big lead over Steve Poizner is dissipating. However, with only a few weeks left until early voting begins (on May 10), it seems unlikely Poizner will be able to catch up all the way. Unlike Capital Weekly, though, they find, like most pollsters, that Tom Campbell's lead over Carly Fiorina in the Senate primary is down in the single-digits. And apparently Jerry Brown has some primary opposition. Who knew? Peter Schurman is one of the founders of MoveOn.org, who launched a last-minute candidacy, but his lack of name recognition seems to relegate him behind some other no-names who at least have more interesting-sounding names (Lowell Darling?).
• FL-Sen: Awwwwwk-ward. George LeMieux is Charlie Crist's former chief of staff and his hand-installed seat-warmer in the Senate seat that Crist assumed was his for the taking. But now, LeMieux is weighing whether he'll have to say that he'll endorse Marco Rubio for the seat if Crist pulls the trigger on his anticipated independent bid. LeMieux is reportedly interested in a 2012 Senate bid against Bill Nelson, and unless he too plans to take the indie route, can't afford to anger the GOP rabble. PPP's Tom Jensen takes a look at LeMieux and finds that, with his 13/33 approval (including 15/29 among Republicans), he isn't likely to be a viable 2012 candidate regardless of how he plays his cards next week.
• KY-Sen: It looks like the story about Dan Mongiardo's housing stipend may have some legs to it. It was revealed a few weeks ago that Mongiardo was living with his in-laws in Frankfort but still accepting the housing stipend that comes with his job, but now the news is that he used his $30K/yr. housing allowance to buy a Frankfort-area farm where he didn't live but that, in 2003, he looked into trying to develop as a subdivision. There's also a last-minute hit on the Republican side of the race, as Trey Grayson filed complaints with a variety of agencies alleging that Rand Paul hasn't been paying the proper withholding taxes on some of his campaign staff. (They're listed as "independent contractors," which means there's no withholding, but it's doubtful they meet the legal criteria for being independent contractors.)
• LA-Sen: Local Democrats are asking for federal investigation into allegations that David Vitter threatened to pull federal funds to the (private) University of New Orleans if it allowed Charlie Melancon to speak at a Democratic committee meeting scheduled on campus on April 10. The meeting was subsequently canceled.
• NV-Sen: There's a debate among the Republican candidates for Senate in Reno tonight; it's the first major public appearance for Sue Lowden after the chickens-for-care fiasco, so it'll be interesting to see whether her opponents shower her with derision or if they try to outflank her on the right by throwing even more white meat to the base. Here's a clue: one of Lowden's predecessors, former state party chair Chuck Muth, says "It is absolutely breathtaking at how badly the Lowden camp has mishandled the situation."
• MI-Gov: Ordinarily Mitt Romney endorsements don't get too much ink here, but this is an interesting one: he endorsed Rep. Peter Hoekstra for Michigan governor. This is relevant in a couple ways: one, Romney is the son of ex-Gov. George Romney and those are meaningful connections, seeing how he fared well in the Michigan primary in 2008, so it carries some weight. And two, if Romney is going to try to be the moderate, sane guy in the 2012 GOP primary, you'd think he'd find a different way to show it than by endorsing the hard-right, strident Hoekstra.
• MN-Gov: The DFL endorsing convention in Minnesota is tomorrow, and the main event is who gets the gubernatorial endorsement... which, given the big crowd, could require many ballots to decide. Six Dems are still left contesting the nomination: Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak, state House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher (considered the two frontrunners, based on the precinct-level straw polling), state Sen. John Marty, state Reps. Tom Rukavina and Paul Thissen, and former state Rep. Matt Entenza. Former Sen. Mark Dayton and Ramsey Co. DA Susan Gaertner are also running, but plan to contest the primary no matter what and therefore aren't bothering with seeking the endorsement. (Entenza also plans to be in the primary no matter what, which means he's unlikely to get any support at the convention, but still is participating at the convention.)
• NY-Gov: Remind me again why Suffolk Co. Exec Steve Levy is running for Governor as a Republican? I suppose it was because state chair Ed Cox promised him a smooth ride to the nomination, but if the endorsements of the various county-level GOP chairs around New York is any indication, it looks like Cox sold Levy a bill of goods. Levy has been endorsed by only 14 county chairs, with a weighted vote of 26%, while ex-Rep. Rick Lazio has the backing of 27 county chairs with a weighted vote of 51%. 19 chairs remain neutral.
• OH-Gov: When we talk about the money chase, it's usually focused on the federal races, but Ohio is a good reminder that the money pours into the state-level races too. Big money is at work in the Buckeye State, as incumbent Dem Ted Strickland raised $1.6 million last quarter and has $7.1 million CoH, while GOP challenger John Kasich raised $2 million and has $5.1 million CoH. Even the downballot races aren't immune: GOP SoS candidate Jon Husted has $2 million in the bank (dwarfing Democratic opponent Maryellen O'Shaughnessy), while Democratic Auditor candidate David Pepper is sitting on $785K, giving him a huge advantage over his GOP opponents.
• FL-08: Former state Sen. Daniel Webster (who's known for not following through on his intentions to run for things) decided to go through with his threats to run against Rep. Alan Grayson, getting a late start on the race. Webster probably could have cleared the field if he'd gotten in the first time around, half a year ago, but now the various primary opponents (state Rep. Kurt Kelly, Bruce O'Donoghue, Todd Long) say they won't get out of the way. Webster comes to the table with two big-name endorsements, though, which might help him make up some fundraising ground quickly: Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee. The local GOP establishment is fractured, though, as Mel Martinez is sticking with his ally O'Donoghue.
• GA-04: Rep. Hank Johnson, facing a competitive Dem primary with Vernon Jones, got a big endorsement today, from one Barack Obama. (Johnson was the first member of the Georgia delegation to endorse Obama.) With Obama having won the black-majority 4th by a 79-21 margin, it's an endorsement I'd expect that Johnson welcomes.
• NM-02: Apparently there had been some goading of Democratic freshman Rep. Harry Teague from Republican quarters for him to release his internal polling, which he hasn't done previously. Ask and ye shall receive... Hamilton Campaigns finds Teague leading ex-Rep. Steve Pearce 47-46. That compares favorably to Teague's internal from August, which, unsurprisingly, he didn't release; there, Teague trailed 52-42. The one public poll of the race, from PPP in February, gave Pearce a 43-41 lead.
• NY-19: Here's a weird story out of the GOP primary in the 19th, where ophthalmologist Nan Hayworth is already brandishing lots of money. Apparently there's a phantom candidate out there by the name of Kristia Cavere, who's claiming to have raised $300K in a matter of weeks and is now sitting on $400K CoH. That can't be verified, however, because Cavere's camp hasn't filed an FEC Q1 report yet, though, and her spokesperson pointed to a loophole that doesn't really exist. Furthermore, no one really seems sure what the 31-year-old Cavere does, other than having recently gotten a master's degree, or how she'd have access to such money.
• OH-13: This is one of those "huh?" moments that makes you check the calendar to see what century you're living in. The Medina County GOP sent out a mailer with a bullet-pointed list of to-do items. One of them was "Let's take Betty Sutton out of the House and put her back in the kitchen!"
AR-Sen: As Reid Wilson says, here's something you don't see every day - at least, not in a Dem primary. Blanche Lincoln is attacking the labor unions who are supporting her opponent, Bill Halter. Lincoln is also doing her best to warm the hearts of the faithful by taking John Boehner's side in the latest kerfuffle over House procedural tactics with regard to healthcare reform.
CO-Sen: Dem Sen. Michael Bennet has his first TV ad up, a $300K buy in Denver and Colorado Springs. Greg Giroux suggests that the timing is deliberate, since Bennet will be looking to blunt any possible momentum Romanoff might have received coming out of last night's precinct caucuses.
FL-Sen: All the cool kids have already done it, which means anyone getting on the Marco Rubio bandwagon at this late date is just a fair-weather fan. Still, GOP Rep. Tom Price is chair of the Republican Study Committee, which is the Borg collective mothership of right-wing crazy, so this gives Rubio the Good Wingnut Seal of Approval™. Resistance is futile.
MA-Sen: That didn't take long - newly-minted GOP Sen. Scott Brown will be hosting his first inside-the-beltway fundraiser, at $1000 a head. Of course, it'll be at the offices of lobbying firm Duane Morris. My advice to Scott Brown is to hold lots and lots of events with lobbyists. Also, become the anti-healthcare frontman for your party. Thanks for helping out with that, Mitch McConnell!
NV-Sen: Memo to reporters: Please include information about the size of ad buys (especially for attack ads) when you're writing them up. There are too many tiny buys made solely for the purpose of spinning the media. We the people need to know if we're being spun, too.
NY-Sen-B: Republican ex-Rep. Joe DioGuardi officially offered himself up as a sacrificial lamb entered the race to take on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand yesterday.
PA-Sen: Arlen Specter snagged another valuable endorsement yesterday, this time from the 191,000-strong Pennsylvania State Education Association. (JL)
WI-Sen: A source close to Tommy Thompson's jowls says that the former governor is "50-50" on whether he will play Droopy Dog in the upcoming remake.
SC-Gov: It's payback time - Willard Mitt Romney is endorsing Mark Sanford protégé and state Rep. Nikki Haley for governor. Haley, as you've probably gathered, had endorsed Mittens in 2008 for the key SC primary. Other presidential wannabes have also returned the favor to their respective buddies; Reid Wilson has the full scorecard.
AZ-08: GOPer Jonathan Paton, who recently resigned from the state Senate to challenge Rep. Gabby Giffords, was added to the NRCC's Young Guns program. Three other Republicans are seeking their party's nod, including one candidate already on the Young Guns list, Marine Corps vet Jesse Kelly. Paton is almost certainly the establishment favorite, though.
LA-02: It's hard to know what to make of the GOP's attitude toward Joe Cao's seat. On the one hand, they let him get mixed up with the sketchmeisters at BMW Direct. On the other, John Boehner just held a $500/person fundraiser for Cao last night on Capitol Hill. But then on the flipside, it looks like Cao will flip-flop and vote against healthcare this time, which will surely doom him in November. So why waste the money on him? Perhaps GOP bigs figure that buying Cao off will pay dividends when the party is able to point to unanimous opposition to the healthcare bill.
ND-AL: The campaign manager for former state House Majority Leader Rick Berg, a leading challenger to Earl Pomeroy, resigned yesterday, after misusing a state Republican Party email list and lying about it.
NY-13: Andy Stern wasn't kidding. The SEIU is running a full-page ad in today's Staten Island Advance urging Rep. Mike McMahon to vote in favor of healthcare reform. Greg Sargent has a copy of the full ad (PDF). This ad could presage a primary or third-party challenge should McMahon vote no, something Stern has already threatened.
SD-AL: Steve Hildebrand, a top Obama campaign official, says he's considering a challenge to Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in the Democratic primary, particularly if she votes against healthcare.
DNC: This is Not News. DNC chair Tim Kaine says that Organizing for America will help Dems who vote "yes" on healthcare reform... but of course doesn't say that he'll withhold help from Dems who vote "no." I wouldn't expect him to, hence why this is Not News.
Healthcare: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce absolutely, definitely, most assuredly is not not NOT concern trolling House Democrats on the upcoming healthcare vote. They have our best interests at heart, and spent money on polling because they genuinely care about us.
Much more interesting poll numbers on healthcare can be found here. It turns out that the public was evenly divided on Medicare before it became law, too. Now, of course, the program is unassailable.
Kentucky: A bill to let independents vote in Democratic or Republican primaries died in the KY House.
WATN: I guess with Eric Massa stealing the limelight these days, Mark Foley feels emboldened to make his return to DC. He'll be a guest at one of those unduly cozy black-tie beltway affairs, the Radio and TV Correspondents' Dinner.
SSP: I'm not done begging. We're at 1,386 Twitter followers. SO close to 1,400. Make it happen. Pretty please?
• AZ-Sen: One more endorsement for John McCain, as the GOP establishment circles the wagons around him in the face of a primary challenge from J.D. Hayworth. Today, it was former presidential rival Mitt Romney's turn to boost McCain.
• FL-Sen: Rasmussen follows up with a look at the Senate general election in Florida, and pretty consistent with its last few polls, gives double-digit leads to both Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio over Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek. Crist leads 48-32, while Rubio leads 51-31. It's looking dicier for Crist to make it to the general, though, and that's reflected with an increasing number of staffers seeing the handwriting on the wall and bailing out. Political director Pablo Diaz announced his departure, and new media consultant Sean Doughtie is already out.
• IN-Sen, IN-08: Dem Rep. Baron Hill, still apparently mulling a Senate bid, says that he probably will make a decision "this week". Meanwhile, presumptive Dem nominee Brad Ellsworth has officially removed his name from the 8th CD Democratic primary ballot, leaving state Rep. Trent Van Haaften as the consensus Democratic choice. (J)
• MA-Sen: Unless you were under a rock yesterday, you know that the Senate jobs bill cleared the cloture hurdle with the aid of five Republicans, most notably Scott Brown, who actually seems to be thinking ahead to getting re-elected and, in doing so, has royally pissed-off his nationwide base of teabagging donors. On top of that comes another revelation that ought to further take the bloom off his status as living embodiment of angry-white-guy rage: that truck that signified he was an average blue-collar guy? Turns out he owns it in order to haul his daughter's horse.
• NV-Sen: One more data point in the Nevada Senate race, this one not looking so good for Harry Reid. Research 2000 polls the race again, this time on behalf of the PCCC, and finds Reid trailing Sue Lowden 53-39 and Danny Tarkanian 54-40. The real point of the poll, though, is to try to show him that his support would go up if he successfully got a public option into the health care reform bill, with 31% saying they'd be likelier to vote for him if so (with 15% saying less likely and 51% saying no difference). Bear in mind that this poll, unlike the interesting POS poll from yesterday, doesn't factor in the sudden emergence of a 3rd party Tea Party option.
• CT-Gov: After some brief flirtations with the idea, ex-Rep. Chris Shays has decided not to run for Connecticut governor after all, saying he couldn't make it work financially. Although he didn't address the also-rumored possibility of running again in CT-04, the same logic may apply there too.
• FL-Gov: The seeming dwindling of the Alex Sink campaign continues apace, at least if you go by Rasmussen's trendlines. Republican AG Bill McCollum is up to 13-point lead against the Democratic CFO, 48-35.
• GA-Gov: More Rasmussenny goodness in neighboring Georgia, where they take their second look at the general election in the gubernatorial race. While Democratic ex-Gov. Roy Barnes led several of the GOP contestants in the previous Rasmussen poll, trailing only Insurance Comm. John Oxendine, this time he doesn't fare as well. Barnes loses to Oxendine 45-37, to Rep. Nathan Deal 43-37, to SoS Karen Handel 45-36, and ties state Sen. Eric Johnson 37-37.
• IL-Gov: The GOP primary contestants are still waiting for the last ballots to trickle in today, the last day for counties to submit their numbers to the state. (The state has until March 5 to announce official results.) Estimates last week were that there were fewer than 2,000 votes, mostly provisional votes, to count. State Sen. Kirk Dillard, currently trailing by a little more than 200 votes, doesn't plan to make a decision on whether to concede or keep fighting until after the 5th. On the Democratic side, the search for a Lt. Governor goes on. Pat Quinn had publicly said that his top choice would be current Deputy VA Secretary Tammy Duckworth, but she has taken herself out of consideration today.
• MI-Gov: Looks like Genesee County Treasurer Dan Kildee is in the gubernatorial race for the Democrats; he's skipping right over the exploratory phase and filing as a candidate for governor. He joins Lansing mayor Virg Bernero and state Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith, with state House speaker Andy Dillon likely to enter soon.
• PA-Gov: State Sen. Anthony Williams didn't meet his very high $4 million fundraising bar, but he seems to feel heartened enough by the $2 million he has to officially pull the trigger on a gubernatorial run. With Chris Doherty and Tom Knox both out of the Democratic field now, it seems like there's room for one more SE Pennsylvania candidate in the field; Williams, from Philadelphia, will be the only African-American in the race.
• WI-Gov: One more Rasmussen gubernatorial poll to look at, featuring (surprise!) the Republican in the lead. Milwaukee Co. Exec Scott Walker leads Democratic Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett 49-40, while ex-Rep. Mark Neumann has a much smaller lead over Barrett, 44-42. That's actually a smidge better than last month's Rasmussen poll.
• AR-03: State Sen. Cecile Bledsoe got the endorsement of one of her predecessors in the 3rd, ex-Rep. and former DEA Director Asa Hutchinson. A wide cast of characters, including Rogers mayor Steve Womack, is either already in the hunt for the GOP nod or considering it, in this dark-red district.
• AZ-05: Rep. Harry Mitchell can probably consider this to be good news: another divisive Republican primary, which helped him to a comfortable victory in 2008, is brewing this year. Former state Rep. Susan Bitter Smith jumped into the GOP field yesterday, which pits her in a rematch against former Maricopa Co. Treasurer David Schweikert (who won the 2008 primary). Businessman Jim Ward and his ability to self-fund is in the mix too, as something of a wild card.
• AZ-08: State Sen. Jonathan Paton has resigned from the state Senate, in order to focus full-time on running against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the 8th. He leaves behind one piece of legislation underway that's actually a pretty cool idea: instituting "question time," a la the UK's parliament, where the Governor has to show up for a biweekly grilling in front of the legislature. Paton becomes the third Republican state Senator to resign in the span of a few weeks, with Pam Gorman and Jim Waring both having bailed out to pursue the open seat in AZ-03.
• FL-24: Former Ruth's Chris Steakhouses CEO Craig Miller went ahead and got into the GOP field in the 24th, despite already having taken on some damage from preemptive salvos fired by the DCCC over statements opposed to stronger drunk-driving laws. Potentially self-funding Miller has become the NRCC's new fave in the race, after state Rep. Sandy Adams and Winter Park city councilor Karen Diebel have floundered at fundraising.
• FL-25: Joe Garcia, the Democratic 2008 candidate who almost knocked off Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, met with the DCCC's Chris Van Hollen yesterday. This only serves to increase speculation Garcia will try again, now that the 25th is an open seat. The DCCC has also been interested in Miami-Dade Co. state's attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.
• KS-03: Republican State Sen. Nick Jordan, who lost in the 3rd to Democratic Rep. Dennis Moore, looks to be on track to succeed the retiring Moore. Jordan's own internal poll from POS shows him ahead of state Rep. Kevin Yoder 27-9, with former state Rep. Patricia Lightner and Charlotte O'Hara both at 5 (leaving about half of the voters undecided). Jordan's poll didn't look at the general, but there's nothing to see there yet, seeing as how the Dems haven't, um, found an interested candidate yet.
• MA-10: In the event of a retirement by Rep. William Delahunt, state Senate majority leader Therese Murray says she won't try to succeed him. On the GOP side, possible candidate ex-Treasurer Joe Malone may come with more liabilities than were initially apparent when he first started touting himself for the race. After Malone's tenure ended in 1999, it was discovered that several of his top aides had stolen over $9 million from the state. Malone himself was never accused of being involved, but reminding voters about it will inevitably lead to questions about his judgment.
• NM-02: Ex-Rep. Steve Pearce has released an internal poll performed on his behalf by the Tarrance Group that gives him a small lead over Democratic Rep. Harry Teague, 48-44. The good news for Teague is that R beats D in a generic ballot test 47-37, showing that the conservative Teague overperforms the Democratic brand despite his vote in favor of cap and trade in this heavily oil-dependent district.
• NY-01: Despite the NRCC's seeming preferences for rich guy Randy Altschuler, he's already in a difficult primary, and now he may be facing a three-way contest with a local elected official too. State Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick says he's exploring the race.
• OH-06, OH-17: Ex-Rep. Jim Traficant didn't meet the filing deadline to file as a Democrat for any race in Ohio, but now he's saying that he's planning to run as an Independent instead (which would require filing by early May). He's still not saying where he's going to run, although neither of the two possibilities look terribly promising: either the strongly-Democratic 17th (which he used to represent), or the swingy 6th, where he'd have to introduce himself to most of the voters
• PA-06, PA-07: Here's a big get for Manan Trivedi, as he seeks the Democratic nomination in the 6th. He got the endorsement of the Chester County Democrats. With Trivedi already strong in Berks County and Doug Pike strong in Montgomery County, suburban/exurban Chester County is somewhat the pivotal county in the district. (They also endorsed Bryan Lentz over his minor primary opposition in the 7th.)
• PA-12: This is another solid break for the Dems in special election in the 12th: Republican businessman Mark Pasquerilla, with deep pockets, seemed to be one of the few GOPers who could make this race competitive. Something of a John Murtha ally, though, he had previously said he wouldn't run if Joyce Murtha got in. She didn't, but Pasquerilla still didn't bite; instead, he's endorsing Murtha's district director, Mark Critz, who announced his candidacy yesterday. This basically moves the GOP back to square one, with the candidates who were already in place for the regularly scheduled election: businessman Tim Burns (who doesn't seem quite as able to self-fund), or veteran/BMW Direct frontman Bill Russell.
• WV-01, WV-03: Worries have been emanating out of West Virginia's governor Joe Manchin about the re-election prospects of Reps. Alan Mollohan and Nick Rahall, who despite their no votes on cap-and-trade often get tagged as not being sufficiently pro-coal. The United Mine Workers have no trouble supporting the duo, though; they endorsed both of them this weekend.
• DSCC: There have been some rumblings about DSCC chair Bob Menendez's lackluster ways, at least by comparison to his manic predecessor, Chuck Schumer. Here's a telling quote:
"Chuck - wow - he would call all the time, three, four times a week, when he needed something, but I don't ever hear from Menendez unless I initiate the contact," said a Washington-based donor who has bundled tens of thousands of dollars in contributions to the committee. "You just don't have the same level of energy from Bob; he just doesn't push you like Chuck would," the source added. "And that makes it a lot easier to say no."
• DCCC: The DCCC is trying to get some mileage out of fanning the flames in some of the most divisive GOP primaries between the GOP establishment and teabagger-powered movement conservatives (which they're cheekily calling "Palin's primaries"). Targets include MS-01, VA-02, VA-05, NH-01, CA-11, and TN-08.
• Polltopia: Mark Blumenthal takes another look at Rasmussen, asking if they've been "flooding the zone" and thus shaping the overall narrative by sheer numeric dominance of the data that get released. (Sound familiar? He gives a shout-out to a diary here by our own spiderdem that first raised the point.) It's quite true that Rasmussen has done many more Senate polls this cycle than last (45 vs. 13 at this point in the cycle), but so too have some of the other new players (especially PPP, 21 vs. 5). (He also notices what we've noticed, that SurveyUSA is polling less this cycle; they poll only when hired to do so, and he speculates that TV stations and newspapers have cut back their polling budgets.) Interestingly, he also points to why Rasmussen is able to do so: a "major growth capital investment" from private equity firm Noson Lawen. (Noson Lawen, and what their potential agenda might be, sounds like an interesting topic for enterprising investigative bloggers...)
• CT-Sen: It's a rumor that's been going around for a few weeks that seemed ridiculous, but it only seems to be getting louder, so it's worth a mention: Ralph Nader is considering a run for the Senate in Connecticut under the Green Party's banner, and is gauging grass-roots support for a race. The knee-jerk reaction is that this is one more piece of bad news Chris Dodd doesn't need, but it's worth considering that Nader may actually help Dodd more than hurt him, by diluting the pool of anti-Dodd votes, giving an option for Dems and indies who are specifically anti-Dodd and anti-bankster, other than voting for the Republican.
• IL-Sen: Freshman Rep. Aaron Schock gave his endorsement to Rep. Mark Kirk in his quest to win the GOP Senate nomination. People are treating this like it boosts Kirk's conservative bona fides, but Schock has turned out to be more of a low-key, establishment player since getting into the House than his loose-lipped statements during his campaign would have suggested.
• KY-Sen: Rand Paul and the NRSC seem to be in a standoff, over the same old issue, whether or not the NRSC plans to endorse in the primary. Paul was spreading the word last week, based on conversations with the NRSC, that the NRSC would not endorse, but spokesperson Brian Walsh now says the NRSC doesn't "anticipate" endorsing but reserves the right to do so.
• MA-Sen: Rep. Michael Capuano got an endorsement from one of the deans of Bay State politics, former Gov. (and presidential candidate) Mike Dukakis. However, he might be overshadowed a little by Alan Khazei, who's attracted little attention so far but seems to be closing strong, if the last Rasmussen poll is any indication. Khazei snagged endorsements from both the Boston Globe and retired Gen. Wesley Clark.
• NC-Sen: Campaign Diaries managed to snag an internal polling memo for the Elaine Marshall campaign, which leads me to wonder why the DSCC is stiff-arming her and still pining for former state Sen. Cal Cunningham to get in the race. Marshall leads with 42% in the primary, with attorney Kenneth Lewis at 7 (including 14% of African-Americans) and Cunningham at 5. At some point, the DSCC's tepidness about her, if it doesn't change, is going to start affecting broader perceptions of her -- likely to create a fundraising vicious circle of not being able to raise funds well because she's not perceived as not being able to win because she can't raise funds well. The poll was conducted by PPP, although Marshall has previously used Lake Research as her pollster.
• NY-Sen-B: Rasmussen took their first look at a Rudy-centric Senate race in New York, finding Rudy Giuliani beating Kirsten Gillibrand 53-40 (a very similar margin to last week's Marist poll). Giuliani has 63/33 favorables, while Gillibrand is at 46/41 (this has to be the best-known Gillibrand has ever been, but one of Rasmussen's many quirks is to show everyone as being well-known). The New York Post also has the scoop on a Republican who seems likelier to run (although it's on the gossip page rather than the politics section!): Port Authority Commissioner Bruce Blakeman is considering a running for the Republicans. Blakeman lost the 1998 state Controller's race to Carl McCall; also, his ex-wife is now dating Paul McCartney, which is apparently Page Six's angle on all this.
• UT-Sen: Here's an interesting ploy: Rep. Jason Chaffetz (rumored as a potential Senate candidate) is taking a highly visible stand against the Obama administration's decision to deploy additional troops to Afghanistan, saying it's time to bring them home and that he's opposed to "nation building." That puts him up against the party orthodoxy, but it also leads to the question of whether Chaffetz is a bit of an outlier here or if the movement conservatives are going to be moving in more of an isolationist direction heading into 2012 (and whether that's because of their paranoid nativist worldview, or just because it gives them one more thing to oppose the President on).
• AL-Gov: Two endorsements in the Alabama governor's race, where there are heated primaries on both sides. Mitt Romney has endorsed Treasurer Kay Ivey, perhaps as payback for chairing his Alabama campaign but also a potential thumb-in-the-eye to the religious right, who are naturally supporting Roy Moore in the race. On the Dem side, Sam Jones, the first African-American mayor of Mobile, endorsed Rep. Artur Davis.
• MA-Gov: Rasmussen threw in some gubernatorial numbers to their sample last week of the Senate special election primary, and they continue to find that incumbent Dem Deval Patrick has the edge. It's a little narrower than their last poll or Suffolk's recent poll -- Patrick leads independent Tim Cahill and Republican Christy Mihos 32-28-26 and leads Republican Charlie Baker and Cahill 33-28-25 -- but it still shows Patrick benefiting from Cahill splitting the anti-Patrick vote.
• MI-Gov: A poll of the Republican field in the Michigan gubernatorial race by Mitchell Research for the Detroit News finds a small lead for AG Mike Cox. Cox leads Rep. Peter Hoekstra 27-24, with 12 for Oakland Co. Sheriff Mike Bouchard and 3 each for state Sen. Tom George and businessman Rick Snyder. The poll also finds Cox beating Democratic Lt. Gov. John Cherry by 16 points in the general, although specific numbers aren't reported for some reason.
• NY-Gov: Another brave Republican is considering taking on the gubernatorial race: Emil Henry Jr. He's got just the right resume for these troubled times: He was assistant Treasury Secretary in the Bush administration, and before that, an executive at Lehman Brothers. Ex-Rep. Rick Lazio is already in the GOP field.
• UT-Gov: Democratic Salt Lake County mayor Peter Corroon is sounding more like a candidate for governor, in next year's special election against appointed GOP incumbent Gary Herbert. A recent Deseret News/KSL-TV poll finds Herbert leading Corroon 56-32. Corroon actually sounds encouraged by these numbers; considering it's Utah, I suppose they could be much worse.
• CA-45: More Mitt Romney news, and it's a tea leaf that the GOP is concerned about defending Mary Bono Mack in the 45th even as they go on the offense in swing districts elsewhere: Romney will be appearing at a Bono Mack fundraiser in the district on Jan. 9.
• FL-19: Charlie Crist moved the date on the general special election to replace resigning Rep. Robert Wexler, which had been originally scheduled Apr. 6. He moved it to Apr. 13, so it wouldn't conflict with Passover (a problem in this heavily Jewish district).
• GA-08: Democrats dodged a bullet in the 8th, where Rep. Jim Marshall may get the easiest ride of any Dem in a dark-red southern district next year. Republican State Sen. Ross Tolleson said he'd like to run for Congress at some point, but this won't be the year. Tolleson threw his support to Angela Hicks, a businesswoman who's one of several little-known candidates in the hunt.
• GA-12: It's official: former state Sen. Regina Thomas will be challenging Rep. John Barrow in the Democratic primary next year. Barrow is unusual among the most problematic Blue Dogs because he's in a district with a Democratic-leaning PVI and thus one where a better Dem could still win a general election (although it's one where African-American voting tends to fall off during off-year elections). Thomas piqued some netroots interest last year because of this unusual circumstance, but between a late start, a low-visibility strategy focused on word-of-mouth through black churches, and an Obama endorsement of Barrow, she only cleared 24% in last year's primary. We'll have to see if the earlier start helps this time.
• IA-02: Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who came within 18 points of Rep. David Loebsack last year thanks to a lot of help from those meddling Ophthalmologists, says she'll try again in 2010. She's not alone in the GOP field, though; interestingly, she's up against two guys who both ran for Senate in 2008, businessman Christopher Reed (who made it through to the general against Tom Harkin, only to get flattened) and Steve Rathje (who lost the primary).
• NH-01: I don't know if this is a case of once-highly-touted Manchester mayor Frank Guinta losing momentum, or just Some Dude with delusions of grandeur, but businessman Richard Ashooh is filing exploratory paperwork to run in the GOP primary. The winner faces Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter in what's likely to be a close race.
• TN-06: The GOP is trying to cajole a state Senator into getting into the race against long-time Democratic Rep. Bart Gordon in the once-swingy, now R+13 6th. Jim Tracy says he's strongly considering the race. There's one catch: Rutherford County Republican chair Lou Ann Zelenik is already in the race, and has the ability to self-fund.
• TX-17: Here's a Dem in a dark-red district who caught a big-time break on the recruiting front, though: Rep. Chet Edwards won't be facing state Sen. Steve Ogden, as had been rumored. Ogden announced that he'll run for another term in the Senate instead. (Thanks to the small size of Texas's Senate, Ogden actually has more constituents than Edwards.) 2008 candidate Rob Curnock, who came within single-digits of Edwards, is running again, though.
• GA-Super. of Education: Georgia's Republican Superintendent of Education, Kathy Cox, is persisting in running for re-election next year despite having recently filed for bankruptcy to escape $3.5 million in debt. The story gets even weirder: this is despite Cox having won $1 million on "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" -- despite having pledged to give that money to charity, her creditors are now coming after that money. (Is there any precedent for a statewide elected official appearing on a game show?) Cox now faces opposition in a GOP primary from former state Rep. Roger Hines.
• Nassau Co. Exec: The counting of absentee ballots in Nassau County is finally winding down in this month's most drawn-out election, and it looks like Republican challenger Ed Mangano may actually succeed in upsetting incumbent Dem Tom Suozzi. Mangano leads by 217 with few ballots remaining. Even if the count concludes today, it won't be the last word, as legal challenges to a number of votes will still need to be resolved.
• Mayors: New Orleans mayoral candidate James Perry is getting a jump on political advertising, and his ad is certainly attention-grabbing too. It includes a variety of bleeped-out profanities as local residents (or actors portraying them) let everyone know how they feel about career politicians.
• NY-St. Ass.: Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava says she's going to stay a Republican, despite losing her leadership position in the wake of her imploded House campaign. Despite her many impure thoughts, she says she'd still clock in at 7 out of 10 on the RNC's new purity test.
• Redistricting: CQ Politics sits down with filmmaker Jeff Reichert, whose upcoming documentary on redistricting is slated for release next year. I've been emailing with Jeff about this project for a while now, and it looks very interesting. (D)