• IN-Sen: Chris "Count" Chocola, head of the Club for Growth and himself a Hoosier, says his organization may step in to help oust apostate Sen. Dick Lugar. The CFG has already talked to Treasurer Richard Mourdock, and if they get involved, they could make up for his lackluster fundraising so far.
• MA-Sen: Remember when ThinkProgress busted Scott Brown for sucking up to David Koch for donations while he was publicly saying he wasn't even thinking about 2012? His pitch worked, I guess: Koch Industries coughed up a $2,500 donation to Brown's campaign last quarter.
In other MA-Sen news, why does Barney Frank keep doing this? On Monday, he repeated his remarks that he thinks Newton Mayor Setti Warren shouldn't run for Senate, this time to local blog Newton TAB. I honestly think this is a bit embarrassing for Frank, and makes him look like a jackass. It's an admission that his private suggestions to Warren haven't been well-received, and that he's had to take to the press to accomplish what he apparently doesn't have the power to do on his own. It's ugly, and what's more, I don't even see the percentage in it. Why does Frank care so much whether Warren runs? Really, just enough.
• MN-Sen: Former state Sen. and unsuccessful 2010 SoS candidate Dan Severson says he might seek the Republican nod to challenge Amy Klobuchar, who so far has drawn no opponents. Severson says he'll decide by May. Also, attorney Chris Barden, another unsuccessful statewide candidate last year (he ran for AG), says he may attempt a Senate race, too.
• MO-Sen: It's getting' mighty crowded in here... well, maybe. Wealthy businessman John Brunner (who can at least partially self-fund) says he might join the GOP field to take on Sen. Claire McCaskill. Reps. Todd Akin and Blaine Leutekemeyer are also still weighing bids, while former Treasurer Sarah Steelman and teabagger fave Ed Martin are already in the race.
• TX-Sen: This is just weird. Ashwin Madia (who you may remember as the Dem candidate in MN-03 back in 2008) is also chair of the progressive veterans group VoteVets. His organization put out a statement the other day in which he said it was "encouraging" to see Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez considering the Texas Senate race as a Dem. It's strange, as Adam Serwer points out, because Sanchez had a very suspect record on torture during his tenure as US commander in Iraq, while VoteVets has been very critical of torture. Another spokesman for the group hurried to say that VoteVets was not issuing a formal statement of endorsement, just an attaboy for a fellow servicemember.
• VA-Sen: Teabagger Jamie Radtke raised just $55K in Q1 and has only $47K on hand. I'm betting that if George Allen does wind up dealing with a serious speed bump on his way to the GOP nomination, it's going to take the form of Del. Bob Marshall, not Radtke. Still a big if.
• VT-Sen, VT-AL: Sen. Bernie Sanders raised $770K in Q1 (not bad for the 49th-largest state in the nation) and has over a million in the bank. The Burlington Free Press pegs an uptick in donations to Sanders after his now-famous eight-hour speech on the Senate floor in which he blasted tax cuts for the wealthy. Meanwhile, Rep. Peter Welch now has a million on hand.
• NJ-Gov, NJ-Sen: Chris Christie's starting to smell like a plate of scungilli left out in the sun after a July picnic. His job approval has dropped to 47-46, according to Quinnipiac, from 52-40 just a couple of months ago. Sen. Bob Menendez isn't doing so hot either, 42-40, but those sorts of numbers are nothing new for him (and are actually better than what he was getting last year). In news of more immediate importance, Dems improved to 47-39 on the generic legislative ballot, up from 43-41. (Thanks to andgarden for spotting that question, tucked away at the very end of the poll.) Also fun: Q asked respondents for an unprompted, open-ended one-word description of Christie. The number one response, by far? "Bully," with 140 mentions.
• AL-05: This is just odd. Freshman Republican Mo Brooks cancelled a town hall and replaced it with one-on-one meetings with constituents-by appointment only. What makes this extra-weird is that these meetings are scheduled to take place across the state line in... Tennessee. Reminds me of this infamous incident from the classic MS-01 special back in 2008.
• IA-04: Some great number-crunching from G-squared: The new 4th CD went for Terry Branstad 59-37 in 2010, 50-48 for GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle in 2006, and 49-48 for Tom Vilsack in 2002. I'll go one further and tell you that Vilsack lost the new 4th in 1998, 47-52. Greg also says that Rep. Steve King currently represents 47% of new CD.
• IL-03: Politico has a profile of John Atkinson, the Democratic businessman who may challenge Rep. Dan Lipinski from the left. Atkinson, who has already raised a boatload, hasn't formally declared yet (and may be waiting on redistricting), but a main theme for him is Lipinski's vote against healthcare reform.
• NY-13: Ex-Rep. Mike McMahon, recently speaking to the Bay Ridge Democratic Club, definitely sounds like he's leaning toward a comeback. The linked piece from the Brooklyn Eagle contains McMahon's ruminations on why he lost last year, but I'm not sure I understand what he thinks the reasons are. On the one hand, he says "[t]here was a drop-off in progressive voters." On the other hand, he cited a memo from Third Way (ugh, but what do you expect) which polled Obama "switchers" and "dropouts." The memo claims that "[s]witchers were eager to vote in this election, whereas droppers didn't come out for a multitude of reasons, none of them being they were upset with Democrats."
What this misses out on, of course, is that Democratic organizations who were pissed with McMahon's vote against healthcare reform were less inclined to bust their asses for him and drag apathetic voters to the polls on his behalf-something members and officials of the Bay Ridge club made plain to him. (The article says some attendees used "harsher language," so since this is Brooklyn we're talking about, enjoy a moment or two imagining what this sounded like.) I'm not sure what McMahon thinks the solution is for next year, if he runs again, but it doesn't sound like he's ready to take back his anti-HCR vote. I think he'd be wise to do so.
• RI-01: Former Republican state Rep. John Loughlin, who lost by six points to now-Rep. David Cicilline last year, says he's considering a rematch, but first he's serving another tour of duty in Iraq. I wonder if Cicilline's self-inflicted wounds regarding the financial woes of Providence (the city of which he used to be mayor) will make him vulnerable-if not next year (which of course is a presidential year), then at some point in the near future... or in a primary.
• WI Recall: Republicans say they will file recall petitions against three Democrats today: Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin, and Robert Wirch. Meanwhile, Greg Sargent says that Dems will file petitions against a fifth Republican, Alberta Darling, also today.
• WI Sup. Ct.: Yesterday, JoAnne Kloppenburg asked for a recount, which will come at state expense since the final margin of 7,316 votes was less than 0.5%. I'm pretty surprised at the decision, since overturning that kind of result seems almost inconceivable.
• Alaska (PDF): Dave Dittman, a pollster and former aide to the late Sen. Ted Stevens, tested Alaskans' feelings about local pols last month. Sen. Mark Begich, up for re-election in 2014, has a 57-33 job approval rating, while Sen. Lisa Murkowski is at 71-27 and Rep. Don Young is at 63-32. Joe Miller, who says he might run against Young next year or against Begich next cycle, has a hilariously awful favorability rating of 18-73. (FWIW, Sarah Palin is at 36-61.) Note that the poll had oddly long field dates: March 3 through March 17.
• Demographics: Aaron Blake has another good piece looking at the changing demographics of majority-black districts.
• House Majority PAC: The new Dem "super PAC" is out with its first-ever media buy (which they claim is "substantial"-you better be telling the truth), hitting ten GOP freshmen who voted for Paul Ryan's budget plan with radio ad. You can listen to a sample spot against Sean Duffy here. Click the first link for the other nine names.
• DCCC: Speaking of ad buys, props to Dave Catanese for busting what turned out to be a comically bullshit media "blitz" by the DCCC. I groused about this one yesterday, complaining that the size of the buy was sure to be "quite small," but I had no idea that it would be this comically small: The total purchase was just $6,000 across twenty-five districts, with just $40 (yes, $40!) spent against Larry Buchson in IN-08. Of course, it was the NRCC which provided this info to Catanese, which I'm not sure is such a smart move, since they play this stupid game, too. But my bigger concern is whether local reporters who wrote about these ads will be insulted by the joke dollar values and ignore the D-Trip in the future. I sure as hell would.
• Colorado: After instantly descending into a whole bunch of acrimony (mostly, it seemed to me, from the GOP side) after the first batch of maps were produced, both parties agreed to go back to the drawing board and start with a clean slate. Republicans sound a lot more excited about the prospect than Dems, but we'll see if this actually produces any kind of agreement... or if a stalemate eventually leads to court-drawn maps.
• Pennsylvania: No surprise here: The Republican majority on the PA Supreme Court picked a Republican superior court judge to serve as a tiebreaker on the panel which will re-draw Pennsylvania's state legislative maps. This is a direct consequence of a shameful loss of an open Dem-held seat on the court in 2009.
• Texas: A new plan for the Texas state House passed a House committee yesterday. The map increases the number of Latino districts from 28 to 30, but Democrats seem convinced that there are serious VRA issues with it.
KY-Sen: Jack Conway has succeeded in getting a false and misleading ad by the "First Amendment Alliance" pulled off at least one television station, Louisville's Fox 41.
WI-Sen: On the other side of the equation, Russ Feingold is being forced by the NFL to alter an ad which featured some footage of embarrassing end zone victory dances, including Randy Moss taunting Green Bay Packer fans. Could this really have been a mindless goof by Feingold's media team? The Hotline's Tim Alberta had the same thought I did: This sure was a good way to get plenty of free media coverage for this ad. (Judging by the number of Twitter mentions, at least, this ploy worked - if it was indeed the plan.)
AZ-08: The Smart Media Group is reporting that the DCCC has cancelled all of their ad buys in Tucson except for the final week of October. I suppose there are three ways you can interpret this news. The first is that Gabby Giffords is cruising and doesn't need much help. The second I'll call "panzers reconsolidating": She's basically doomed. And the third lies between the two: The D-Trip is performing triage, figuring that Giffords is strong enough to have a chance on her own, while other more fragile campaigns are in greater need of help. Choose your own adventure!
NY-24: Mike Arcuri is a lucky man. As you may recall, he created a new third party just so that he could have an extra ballot line to run on (and perhaps draw in a few votes from people who like him personally but can't stomach the thought of pulling the lever for a Democrat). The problem: He called it the "New York Moderates" party, but state law forbids any party name from including the words "American," 'United States," "National," "New York State," "Empire State," or any abbreviation of those. Fortunately, a court ruled that he was able to retain the line by renaming it just the "Moderates" party.
MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan: $2.1 million raised, "on par with" Roy Blunt
PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D): $3.2 million raised, Pat Toomey (R): $3.8 million raised
CO-Gov: John Hickenlooper (D): $361K raised from 9/16-29, Dan Maes (R): $28K raised, Tom Tancredo (ACP): $149K
OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D): $1.6 million raised from 9/3-10/4
CT-Sen: Sources tell Aaron Blake that the DSCC has added $1.2 million to its buy here
OH-01: The Campaign for Working Families throws down $125K for ads to help Steve Chabot (R)
OR-05: CULAC the PAC chips in $34K for mail on behalf of Rep. Kurt Schrader (D)
NV-Sen: Harry Reid's latest is actually half-positive/half-negative, and concludes by calling Sharron Angle "a foreign worker's best friend"; Angle's newest is a race-baity spot that - jeez - features footage of scary brown people sneaking through a fence (wish I were kidding)
PA-Sen: The DSCC also has an ad out that's fairly race-baity, talking about Pat Toomey's support for sending jobs to China - complete with Asian-style gong noises that were embarrassing even when John Hughes brought us Long Duk Dong more than a quarter-century ago
GA-Gov: In a reversal of the usual roles, Republican Nathan Deal paints himself as the friend of teachers (and education in general) in his first attack ad
NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo continues to sound like an anodyne Republican in his ads (cut wasteful government, blah blah), and says that Carl Paladino's "anger is not a governing strategy"
AL-05: Steve Raby goes back to his mailbox to criticize Mo Brooks for being a DC tool (and then litters)
CA-45: In this Steve Pougnet ad, little kids singing bowdlerized versions of the "Miss Mary Mack" (Mary Bono Mack, get it?) schoolyard rhyme are annoying
CO-07: In an ad with weak production values, Ryan Frazier attacks Ed Perlmutter for supporting the stimulus and cap-and-trade
FL-12: Dennis Ross recites some conservative pabulum
FL-25: In a minute-long spot, Joe Garcia uses news coverage to revisit the David Rivera ramming-a-delivery-truck-carrying-his-opponents-flyers incident
ID-01: Walt Minnick can't resist hitting the illegal immigration theme again - and he, too, features footage of Hispanic-looking people. Just uck
MN-06: A Tarryl Clark ad with really low production values stands out only because the otherwise serious-sounding female announcer declares: "Michele Bachmann: Not doing [bleep] for the people of the sixth district" (yes, there's an actual bleep sound) [UPDATE: Gah, it's just a fucking web ad.]
NC-02: Bob Etheridge hits one of my favorite attack ad topics: Renee Ellmers' support of a 23% national sales tax
NV-03: As she did in her last ad, Dina Titus compares Joe Heck to Sharron Angle, this time attacking his record on education
NY-13: Big fucking surprise: Despite voting against healthcare reform, Mike McMahon is getting attacked on it anyway - for not supporting repeal, and for just generally siding with Pelosi & Obama. Will Democrats never learn? Don't answer that
NY-20: Chris Gibson attacks Scott Murphy for supporting the stimulus. Man, it was a damn long time ago, but remember how much traction Murphy got last year by attacking Jim Tedisco (lol) for opposing the stimulus? (Not surprised to see the ad in that link has since been removed)
OH-18: Oh man. Clearly polls must be showing Dems that attacks on Republicans for wanting to send jobs overseas must be especially potent, 'cause here's another one, from Zack Space. No gong in this one, though - instead, he features a prototypical Chinese dragon, and then even has the announcer say a mock "thank you" in Chinese! I really can't wait for this election to be over
Fundraising: Today is the last day of the fundraising quarter, so now is a good time to donate to any Dems you like out there. Decisions on whom to help will be made in the final weeks of the election season based in part on who shows fundraising strength in this final quarter.
AK-Sen: It's not small - no no no. Republican Joe Miller has failed to file a personal finance disclosure with the Senate, something any candidate who raises or spends more than $5,000 is required to do within 30 days by law. Miller's been out of compliance with the law since at least April. The penalty? Up to $50,000. Politico caught up with Miller at a fancy DC fundraiser, but he refused to answer any questions about the issue.
Meanwhile, Dem Scott McAdams sends out a fundraising ask via email in response to word that the Tea Party Express will be pouring resources into the state to finish the job they started. McAdams reminds us of something we've been saying all along: "In some Alaskan towns it costs only $30 to run a radio ad and $200 for a TV spot." So if you still have some spare change to give, he still needs your help - and it will indeed make a difference, no matter how much you can afford to give.
PA-Sen, PA-07, PA-08: VoteVets is launching a half-million dollar canvassing effort on behalf of Joe Sestak, who of course is one of them. They'll also be helping out another pair of veterans, Bryan Lentz and Patrick Murphy.
FL-Gov: Man, dejected gubernatorial loser Bill McCollum is serving up the cat fud personally, on a fucking silver platter. Rick Scott's been hitting Alex Sink on the airwaves over her alleged mismanagement of the state's investments while serving as Chief Financial Officer. But at a recent public meeting of the board of trustees of Florida's pension funds, McCollum made sure to repeatedly question a top administrator about the soundness of the funds - and was assured they were. It's like he's fact-checking and doing p.r. for Sink all at once! Someone hire this guy!
NY-Gov: Here's something that's no surprise: Carl Paladino was awarded the Conservative Party's ballot line. Here's something else that's no surprise: He's a motherfucking spazz who can't control his temper - even around reporters, even on camera. The video is fuzzy and the sound quality poor, but watch Paladino get into it with conservative New York Post political columnist Fred Dicker. The most amusing thing is that Paladino seems to think Dicker, who, uh, as I said, works for the Post, is a Cuomo plant.
AL-05: This parsing almost reaches Clintonian levels: Dem Steve Raby has been hammering Mo Brooks for opposing earmarks, thanks to some teabagger pledge that Brooks signed. This is not a popular position in Alabama, and Brooks had his name removed from the group's website - but claimed he was only opposing pork, not earmarks. Someone buy this poor fucker a thesaurus, stat!
AZ-05: Harry Mitchell's got a poll out from Bennett, Petts & Normington, showing him up 43-40 over David Schweikert.
LA-03: In the very last primary of the year, coming up this Saturday, a survey by a robopollster called ElectPoll shows Jeff Landry crushing fellow Republican Hunt Downer, 66-34. Can't say I'm too surprised, given that Landry missed avoiding a runoff by less than 200 votes. I doubt Downer made the right choice by continuing the fight. Meanwhile, Ravi Sangisetty becomes the latest anti-Pelosi Dem, saying he wouldn't vote to keep her as Speaker of the House. Somehow I doubt he'll have the chance to vote on that issue one way or another.
NM-01: So classic - another anti-government spending Republican who has embraced government spending for himself. It's really no different than the teabaggers who declare "Hands off my Medicare!" Anyhow, Jon Barela is the latest offender. His film production company has received cash assistance from taxpayers thanks to a special New Mexico rebate program designed to encourage movie-making in the state.
NY-20: Always gotta be careful not to read too much into stories about staff departures, but this is awfully late in the game to be losing your campaign manager - which just happened to Republican Chris Gibson. One red flag: That they didn't have someone lined up to replace Patrick Ziegler, who was supposedly recruited by the RNC to help with broader election efforts in the Hudson Valley. Another: Ziegler had almost no political experience and apparently was overwhelmed by the job. And finally: Ziegler himself has sought the GOP nomination, but dropped out of the race in March. A week later, he was hired by none other than Gibson. So perhaps this was not quite a match made in heaven in the first place.
OH-18: SEIU is sending out a mailer attacking Dem Zack Space, who flip-flopped and voted against healthcare reform in the end. No word on how much they're spending, though it seems to me that this fight really should have happened during the primaries. I mean, would they really prefer Bob Gibbs?
PA-06: A nice get for Manan Trivedi: He secured the endorsement of the Sierra Club, one of those groups which likes to back "moderate" Republicans to bolster their supposed bi-partisan cred. While they haven't backed Jim Gerlach in recent years, they haven't supported his opponents, either, so it's good to see them take the right side this time.
VA-02: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, typically friend to Republicans the world over, endorsed Democrat Glenn Nye. Somehow I don't think it'll stop the attacks that he's a libruhl who votes with Nancy Pelosi 743% of the time.
NRSC: Aaron Blake says Tom Coburn's going to give $1 million to the NRSC.
NRCC: Meanwhile, John Boehner just gave $1 million more to the NRCC, and supposedly succeeded in getting $4 million more in pledges from his buddies.
NRA: We are most definitively done with the NRA whip count, which got boring long ago. If you really want to keep checking up on it, keep this link handy.
AR-02: Dem Joyce Elliott touts her non-DC background as a teacher, and links herself to still-popular Gov. Mike Beebe
NC-02: Renee Ellmers accuses Bob Etheridge of cutting half a trillion from Medicare to pay for "Obamacare"
NM-02: Harry Teague attacks Steve Pearce for being pro-shipping-jobs-to-India
SC-02: Rob Miller's campaign asks people how they know Rep. Joe Wilson has "gone Washington," but apparently folks need the help of a poster to answer
• CT-Sen: Linda McMahon's gotta be wondering why all those former employees couldn't wait until after the November election to up and die. With the death two weeks ago of Lance McNaught still in the news, another WWE star, Luna Vachon, died over the weekend. An autopsy is scheduled, but the WWE paid for rehab for substance abuse for Vachon last year.
• KY-Sen: Democrat Jack Conway's out with his first TV ad for the general election. The ad buy, touting Conway's work against prescription drug abuse and child pornography as AG, is for about $150K. Meanwhile, Rep. Ron Paul is out with a doozy of a legislative proposal: to audit the nation's gold reserves. As with many things that come out of the gray area between ultra-libertarianism and black helicopters-territory, the "huh? why?" part is best answered by reading the comments on the article, which apparently suggest that our nation's gold supply actually been given away as collateral on all our debt to commercial banks/our Chinese overlords/the UN/the Bavarian Illuminati. Why is this getting filed under KY-Sen? Partly because those reserves are (allegedly!!!!1!) in Kentucky at Fort Knox, but also because at some point Rand Paul is going to inevitably get called on the carpet to say whether he agrees with dad's latest scheme.
• NC-Sen: Civitas is out with a new poll of the Senate race in the Tar Heel State, but it's an odd little critter, only polling "unaffiliated" voters. They seem to mirror the larger split statewide, with Richard Burr leading Elaine Marshall 39-32 (with 7 for Libertarian Michael Beitler). 34% of respondents had still never heard of Marshall. Burr is also out with his first TV ad of the cycle, focusing on his down-home-ness, presumably to ward off the "gone Washington" problem that sank Elizabeth Dole two years ago. The buy is for $578K (click the link to see the breakdown among the state's many media markets).
• NH-Sen: Ovide Lamontagne just got a big score: the endorsement of the Manchester Union-Leader, the state's largest newspaper and also one of the most consistently right-wing editorial pages anywhere. Newspaper endorsements can usually be shrugged off, but the Union-Leader's endorsement of Lamontagne in the 1996 GOP gubernatorial primary helped him pull of the surprise upset of Rep. Bill Zeliff. Can this help him in a four-way split, though, instead of just a two-way, especially when Kelly Ayotte and Bill Binnie have dramatically outspent him so far? Lamontagne is also finally hitting the airwaves with his first TV ad, with the primary approaching in just a couple weeks. (No dollar figure given, but it's only a one-week cable buy.)
• NV-Sen: Sharron Angle just keeps handing gift after gift to Harry Reid, this time unfortunately timed to coincide with Katrina's 5th anniversary: video has surfaced from Angle's 2006 NV-02 bid in which she says she would have voted against Katrina relief funds. One other minor Nevada point, also courtesy of Jon Ralston: Clark County's GOP chair just resigned, leaving more disarray in the local Republican hierarchy as far as staying organized and disciplined for November.
• OH-Sen: The national Chamber of Commerce is out with a new positive ad touting Rob Portman, which is odd since Portman has enough money in the bank that he can pay his own way and then some. (The establishment, free-tradin' Portman is definitely their kind of guy, though, much more so than the teabaggers cluttering a number of other close Senate races.) NWOTSOTB.
• AL-05: Republican Mo Brooks (who blew out party-switching Parker Griffith in the GOP primary) has a decent, but not overwhelming, lead over Dem Steve Raby, at least according to his own internal courtesy of POS. Brooks leads 48-37; taking into consideration that it's an internal, this race isn't a likely pickup but certainly still on the table.
• KY-06: One other ad to consider today: Ben Chandler's out with another spot, this time going negative against local attorney Andy Barr, hitting him on the issue of the bad kind of SSP (social security privatization).
• MI-01, MI-03, MI-07: We Ask America is out with a trio of House district polls in Michigan. As is their usual modus operandi, the Republicans are in the lead. In the Dem-held open seat 1st, Dan Benishek leads Gary McDowell 45-29 (even WAA admits they expect that to tighten a lot, based on Benishek's name being in the news from the ultra-close GOP primary). In the reddish open-seat 3rd being vacated by GOPer Vern Ehlers, Justin Amash leads Patrick Miles 51-30. And the state's most vulnerable Dem incumbent, Mark Schauer trails ex-Rep. Tim Walberg in a rematch, 45-37.
• OH-17: "Trafican't" just got turned into "Trafican." Although there's no official word, supporters of ex-con ex-Rep. Jim Traficant are saying that re-canvassing of petitions has yielded enough valid signatures to get him on the ballot as an independent. He was only 20 shy, and they've found at least 27 new valid signatures. Traficant isn't likely to be much of a factor against incumbent Rep. Tim Ryan in this solidly blue district, though.
• AGs: I know I can rely on Louis Jacobson to go even deeper into the weeds than we here at SSP ever will. Writing for Governing magazine, he handicaps and encapsulates the nation's many state Attorney General races. He finds the Dems (who currenly have a 32-18 edge in AG positions) in danger of losing at least six seats this year, including Dem-held open seats in California, Arizona, and Georgia. One of the Dems' best (if only) offensive opportunities is Bill McCollum's old post in Florida. The St. Petersburg Times has a deeper profile of the race between Democratic state Sen. Dan Gelber, and the Sarah Palin-backed Hillsborough Co. prosecutor Pam Bondi.
• Mayors: Here's a second poll in a week's time showing current Washington, DC mayor Adrian Fenty significantly trailing in his bid for re-election, against Democratic primary opponent Vincent Gray. The Washington Post finds Gray leading Fenty 53-36 among likely voters, or 49-36 among registered voters.
• AZ-Gov: Terry Goddard (D) 38%, Jan Brewer (R-inc) 57%
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 44%, Ken Buck (R) 47%
• OK-Gov: Jari Askins (D) 37%, Mary Fallin (R) 52%
• OK-Sen: Jim Rogers (D) 24%, Tom Coburn (R-inc) 67%
• SC-Sen: Alvin Greene (D) 19%, Jim DeMint (R) 63%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 48%, John Raese (R) 42%
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov: There's one more poll in California, courtesy of Capitol Weekly (done for them by Republican pollster Probolsky Research). They've polled a few times before, but they're calling this a "tracking poll," suggesting they'll be putting out more numbers as we count down to the June 8 primary. At any rate, there aren't any surprises here: they too see the Carly Fiorina surge on the Senate side: she's at 40, compared with Tom Campbell's 25 and Chuck DeVore's 13. In the Governor's race, Meg Whitman leads Steve Poizner 54-24.
The big news here, though, is that Campbell, after saying he was going dark earlier this week, apparently pulled together enough last-minute contributions for a final TV ad. His closing argument is all about electability, centering around the recent LA Times/USC poll that gave him a lead over Barbara Boxer while Fiorina trailed. A candidate making a calm, logical pitch based on quantifiable data, instead of throwing together a mish-mash of fearmongering, jingoism, and meaningless buzzwords? I think Campbell might be running in the wrong party's primary for that kind of thing to work. Fiorina, for her part, may have some backtracking to do after her deriding Boxer's push on climate legislation as worrying about "the weather." Back in October, before Campbell's entry forced herself to recast herself as a conservative, she had lots of praise for cap and trade.
• KY-Sen: Rush disses Rand Paul! No, it's not Rush Limbaugh; it's just plain Rush, the pioneer 70s Canadian prog-rockers. They've told Paul to stop using Rush's music at his rallies and in his web ads, citing copyright violations inasmuch as Paul has simply chosen his own Free Will and not asked them for, y'know, permission. The Paul campaign has used "The Spirit of Radio" pre-rallies (and here's how big a Rush geek he is: he's actually quoted that song's lyrics on the stump). There's always been a lot of overlap between Rush fans and libertarians, not just because many of Rush's lyrics lean that way, but also because they both have a core audience of 14-year-old boys.
• NY-Sen-B: The Senate primary, for the right to go against Kirsten Gillibrand, is turning out to be just as much of a clusterf@ck as everything else the NY GOP has done lately. The GOP convention has left them with yet one more contested primary, as Bruce Blakeman and David Malpass split the vote (a weighted 42% for Blakeman and 40% for Malpass), leaving them to fight it out in a primary. They're still likely to be joined by Joe DioGuardi, who only got 18% (missing the 25% threshold) but who intends to petition his way on to the ballot. Remember that DioGuardi is already on the ballot on the Conservative line, though, so he's participating in November regardless of whether he gets into, let alone wins, the primary.
• CT-Gov: Here's one advantage to running against a rich guy in a state with public campaign financing: every time your opponent pulls out more money, more money magically appears for you, too. Dan Malloy has raised $250K in contributions, which opens the door to another $1.25 million from the state, and on top of that, he's entitled to a $938K bonus to match Ned Lamont's spending. On the GOP side, Michael Fedele (with a rich guy problem of his own, in the form of Tom Foley) would like to do the same thing, but doesn't look like he can rustle up $250K in contributions by the deadline.
• AL-05: Parker Griffith apparently isn't switching back to being a Dem after his party-switching chicanery blew up in his face; he congratulated Mo Brooks at a press conference yesterday and said he'll vote for him in November. "I was rejected by the constituents, they did not accept me. I appreciate that because that is how America is supposed to work," said Griffith.
• CA-36: There are some internal polls floating around out there ahead of next week's primary in the 36th. Jane Harman's camp has a poll out giving her a 58-17 lead over Marcy Winograd (no word on the pollster, let alone any of the details). Winograd has her own internal, with even less detail: all they're saying is that Harman is down at 43, although their silence about Winograd's own number is pretty telling.
• FL-19: The FEC is telling ex-Rep. Robert Wexler to give back an unspecified amount of the contributions he received for the 2010 general election -- which makes sense, considering he isn't a participant. (He left to become president of the Center for Middle East Peace, although ongoing chatter has him on track to become the next Ambassador to Israel.) Unfortunately, that means less cash that he can offload to the> DCCC or other Dems this cycle.
• HI-01: I wasn't aware that he hadn't already weighed in in favor of Colleen Hanabusa, since most of the rest of the local old-guard Dem establishment had, but today ex-Rep. and gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie endorsed Hanabusa. He also gave a hat tip to Ed Case for getting out of the way.
• Blogosphere: The New York Times actually got something right! They're going to be partnering with Nate Silver, bringing a relaunched 538 under the NYT's online umbrella in August. We're glad to see that the legacy media are realizing that not only is there serious political journalism (if not scholarship) going on in the blogosphere, but that their last gasp at relevance may be by moving in that direction. Congrats to Nate, too!
NV-Sen: Chicken Lady, meet Couch Lady? Does Tea Party fave Sharron Angle have a Scientology problem? It looks like Angle scrubbed a passage from her campaign website about how she, along with actresses Kelly Preston and Jenna Elfman, lobbied John Ensign to sponsor legislation prohibiting school employees from requiring students to take psychotropic drugs. Preston and Elfman are noted Scientologists, and psychotropic drugs are considered to be anathema to that, uh, belief system. Another curious nugget is Sue Lowden's attacks on Angle for "her support in 2003 of a drug-treatment program for inmates that included saunas and massages as treatment". It's amazing how this race has transformed itself from one of the most depressing to one of the most amusing.
MI-Gov: Hotline OnCall sits down for an entertaining interview with Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, the populist progressive choice in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Calling himself a "FDR-Kennedy-Truman-Obama Democrat" and the candidate most in-touch with average angry voter, Bernero is blasting his opponent, House Speaker Andy Dillon, as the "Speaker of the Mess".
SC-Gov: Dick Cheney is showing his lovable mug in South Carolina, issuing an endorsement for Rep. Gresham Barrett, who was the House equivalent of Some Dude for most of us before he announced his gubernatorial campaign. One of Barrett's opponents, state AG Henry McMaster, used the news as an opportunity to remind voters of Barrett's vote for the Cheney-backed TARP legislation.
AL-05: If you want the endorsement of the freakshow Minuteman Project and its founder, Jim Gilchrist, be prepared to cut a fat check to the Election Impact Group, a political firm run by a close associate of Gilchrist. Ben Smith takes a thorough look at the financial strings attached to a Gilchrist endorsement, specifically honing in Republican Mo Brooks, who lobbied for a Gilchrist endorsement but was rebuffed after he refused to hire the Impact Group. Five months later, Gilchrist endorsed turncoat Rep. Parker Griffith instead... just two weeks after Griffith paid $6500 to the Gilchrist-connected firm. Sleazy stuff, all around.
CA-11: David Harmer, a demi-hero among Republicans for his decent performance against John Garamendi in the CA-10 special election last year, says that he is "disgusted" by healthcare reform, stimulus packages, and bailouts. The only problem? Harmer previously worked for Washington Mutual, which was acquired by JPMorgan Chase, who in turn received $25 billion in TARP funds. JPMorgan Chase then sent Harmer out the door with a $160,000 bonus and severance package.
ID-01: Raul Labrador proudly boasts that he's been called one of the "most extreme conservatives in the legislature". I love this guy.
KS-03: The Kansas City Star hears word that physician and teabagger Milton Wolfe -- a cousin of Barack Obama -- may run in the Republican primary for the seat of retiring Dem Rep. Dennis Moore. If he does, he'll certainly turn the heads of a few national media types.
SC-01: National Research Inc for the Club for Growth (5/23-24, likely voters):
Tim Scott (R): 30
Carroll "Tumpy" Campbell III (R): 10
Paul Thurmond (R): 9
Clark Parker (R): 9
Larry Kobrovsky (R): 8
W. Stovall White (R): 6
Mark Lutz (R): 4
For the sake of completeness (this is Swing State Project, after all), a poll from early April that we missed showed Tumpy in the lead. The poll, commissioned by ex-Charleston County School Board member Larry Kobrovsky and taken by Victory Communications, had Tumpy with 18%, the Club for Growth-backed Scott at 16%, and Kobrovsky at 10%.
SC-05: Public Opinion Strategies for Mick Mulvaney (5/17-18, likely voters, October in parens):
CT-Sen: Yet another thing the New York Times appears to have gotten wrong: Dick Blumenthal was on his college swim team, and no, he never claimed to have been the captain. In light of recent revelations, SSP is retracting the accusation we made in our first post on the NYT article that Blumenthal "lied." Subsequent information has show that the NYT's piece was misleading, at best.
NV-Sen: Chicken Lady is up on the air with an ad attacking Crazy Lady, aka enriched weapons-grade wingnut Sharron Angle, for some pretty lulzy stuff. No word on the size of the buy. Meanwhile, Danny Tarkanian is also aiming (indirectly) at Angle, with a press release criticizing the Tea Party Express, which endorsed her and not him.
NY-Sen-B: Even I had given up on all the people who have given up, but it looks like there may be yet one more name on the list of people who want to challenge Kirsten Gillibrand. Gail Goode, a staffer for the NYC Corporation Council (the city attorney's office) supposedly wants to give it a go. Goode has a pretty unimposing pedigree and would have to go through the arduous and expensive process of petitioning to get on the ballot. Meanwhile, one of the hapless Republicans trying to take down Gillibrand, David Malpass, is on the air with a TV ad (this early? really?), but of course, no word on the size of the buy.
AL-Gov: Mystery wingnutty (?) birthery (?) teabaggy (?) group New Sons of Liberty was caught making prank calls to Moe's Tavern said "psych!" and cancelled their vaporware $1 million ad buy that was set to asplode in the Alabama governor's race. If this was just a gambit to gain free media by pretending to buy paid media, it's an awfully weird one, since we know little more about this group now than we did a week ago. Anyhow, how come ad buyers don't have to put down deposits, especially when they book so much airtime during ad peak season?
IA-Gov: Chet Culver has raised $1.5 million this year so far, but more than half his haul came directly from the Democratic Governors Association. Chief rival Terry Branstad raised $1.6m in the same timeframe. Culver leads in cash-on-hand, $3.3m to $1.2m. You also may have seen that Culver lost his campaign "briefing book," the bible by which any campaign is run. Reminds me of when the Indiana Pacers lost their playbook right before a playoff series with the Knicks. (The Knicks won.)
AL-05: Mo Brooks, mankind's last, best hope of defeating turncoat Parker Griffith in the GOP primary, announced a whole slew of endorsements from local elected officials and party bigwigs. Interestingly, on the list was the GOP chair for Limestone County, who elected not to support the incumbent, which is a fairly unusual move for a party official.
AR-03: Damn - looks like we won't have Gunner DeLay to kick around anymore, at least for this cycle. The ex-legislator, who narrowly missed out on the runoff, backed off his plans to seek a recount and instead endorsed second-place finisher Cecile Bledsoe, a state senator. She squares off against Rogers (pop. 39K) Mayor Steve Womack. With Gunner gone, we're getting desperately low on awesome names.
CA-11: After previously saying he wished he could issue "hunting permits" for liberals because we "need to thin the herd," Republican jackass Brad Goehring isn't backing down in the least - rather, he says he's "proud" of all the flack he's been getting. What a guy!
ID-01: In his ongoing quest to assume the title of Bill Sali 2.0, budding SSP fave Vaughn Ward repeatedly referred to Puerto Rico in a debate as a "country." When corrected by his Puerto Rican opponent, he proudly reveled in his ignorance, saying he didn't "care what it is." That alone should garner him some good wingnut cred.
LA-03: Make them sweat? Despite not really having a candidate in this deep-red seat that most Dems have mentally given up on, the DCCC put out a press release walloping former Louisiana Speaker Hunt Downer, who just got into the race. They accuse Downer, who just retired as a major general from the National Guard, of abandoning his state in favor of his political ambitions instead of dealing with the BP oil spill. Dunno if this charge is really going to stick, though, seeing as Downer said he planned his retirement long ago.
MN-06: It's always rich when anti-tax zealots fuck up paying their taxes - something Michele Bachmann just did by failing to pay her own property taxes on time.
NY-13: Vito Fossella is shocked, shocked!... I mean, surprised! that he was nominated for his old seat by the Staten Island GOP on Wednesday. (Read this if you need to catch up on one of the most remarkable bits of WTF? this cycle.) He says he'll "take a short period of time" to decide if they like him, they really, really like him - i.e., whether to take the plunge. I'm not buying the "short period of time" business, since Fossella said he wants to talk this over with "loved ones," which ought to take him quite a while, given how many families he has.
Meanwhile, Michael Allegretti, one of two candidates (not including Vito Fossella) seeking the GOP nomination to take on Rep. Mike McMahon, says he plans on staying in the race regardless of what Vito does. There had been some chatter that local Republicans wanted him to run for the state Assembly instead, but that would be a pretty sucky alternative, to say the least.
FEC: Instant SSP hero Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA-53) offered an amendment to the DISCLOSE Act (the bill designed to take the Citizens United ruling down a peg or two) which would require that all independent expenditures be filed electronically with the FEC, and be "searchable, sortable and downloadable." The amendment passed unopposed, so hopefully it will emerge intact in the final bill. Now if only the damn Senate would join the 20th century and file electronically, too.
Spoilers: Don't even think about talking about LOST.
• AK-Sen: Moose man endorses Some Dude. That's SSP shorthand for: Todd Palin just endorsed Joe Miller, the right-wing lawyer who's taking on Lisa Murkowski in the Republican Senate primary. Recall that Mr. Palin has had some fairly fringey politics in the past (as with his membership in the Alaskan Independence Party), so I wonder if this was done with his wife's approval (or, given her busy schedule these days, whether he was even able to block out some time with her to get her say-so). Given her rumored brief interest in taking on Murkowski in the primary herself (back when she was still Governor rather than itinerant book-selling motivational-speaking grifter), and her long-standing beef with all things Murkowksi, I'd suppose yes.
• CA-Sen: Carly Fiorina, trying to make up last-minute ground in the GOP primary against Tom Campbell, has thrown $1.1 million of her own money into her campaign. On top of previous loans to her campaign, that brings her total self-contributions to $3.6 million. Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner were both heard scoffing loudly.
• CT-Sen: Chalk this one up to bad, bad timing. Linda McMahon just sent out a mailer proposing to "put Connecticut back to work" by "increasing offshore drilling and production" (um, in Long Island Sound?). The mailer features a large, lovely picture of a (non-burning) offshore oil rig.
• NH-Sen: Has Kelly Ayotte just given up on any pretense of trying to look moderate? She's appearing at a Susan B. Anthony List (the anti-abortion group) fundraiser today, headlined by Sarah Palin, along with a supporting cast like Rep. Steve King. I know that she still needs to survive her GOP primary, but her main opposition these days is looking like moderate Bill Binnie, not right-wing Ovide Lamontagne.
• NV-Sen: Steve Kornacki looks at the Nevada Senate race and the "what if" scenario if Sharron Angle somehow wins the primary. History indicates that Harry Reid can't pin too many hopes on winning just because the GOP puts forth its most extreme candidate... maybe the biggest case in point, the Carter camp's hopes that wacko Ronald Reagan would make it out of the GOP primary in 1980.
• NY-Sen: Wow, there's actually going to be a GOP primary for the right to get mulched by Chuck Schumer! Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, who's only been on the job half a year, is already looking to move up. He'll still have to get past political consultant Jay Townsend in the primary.
• UT-Sen: She stopped short of a formal endorsement, but fringey activist Cherilyn Eagar, who finished fourth at the GOP convention, said that Tim Bridgewater would be "an excellent senator" and complimented him on a "clean, honest race." Eagar is back to her day job fighting the menace posed by gnomes.
• AL-Gov: I'm losing track of all the weird outside groups popping up to play dirty pool in the Alabama governor's race. Today's entrant is the mysterious New Sons of Liberty, whose main agenda seems to be Barack Obama's birth certificate. They've reserved $1.1 million in TV airtime, although it's unclear what they'll be advertising about or on behalf of whom. The leader of a group, Basics Project, affiliated with the New Sons is mystified at where they would have gotten that kind of money, so it seems like they're being used as a conduit for... well, somebody.
There's also a new poll out of the Republican primary, by Republican pollster Baselice (on behalf of local PR firm Public Strategy Associates... there's no word on whether any of the candidates are their client). They find Bradley Byrne barely leading Tim James 24-23. Roy Moore, who many thought would be the man to beat, is lagging at 18, with Robert Bentley at 12 and Bill Johnson at 2. The juicier numbers might be down in the AG race, where GOP incumbent Troy King is in all kinds of trouble. He's losing 50-25 to challenger Luther Strange. There are three Dems in the AG field, most prominently James Anderson, ready to try to exploit the cat-fud fight.
• AR-Gov: One thing we didn't mention in our writeup of Research 2000's AR-Sen poll from yesterday is that they were the first pollster to throw the Arkansas Governor's race into the mix. Incumbent Dem Mike Beebe routinely sports some of the highest favorables of any politician (64/24 here), and he seems immune from Arkansas' reddish trend and the nation's overall anti-incumbent fervor. He leads Republican former state Sen. Jim Keet, 62-19.
• CT-Gov: Former Stamford mayor Dan Malloy picked up another potentially useful endorsement today as we make our way toward Connecticut's endorsing conventions. He got the nod from Rep. John Larson, the #4 man on the House totem pole. UPDATE: On the GOP side, ex-Rep. Chris Shays has an endorsement of his own: Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele.
• NY-Gov: It's kind of more meta than we'd like, to report on an announcement about an announcement (about an announcement), but it sounds like we're getting closer to pinning down a date from Andrew Cuomo. It's being reported that he'll announce his gubernatorial candidacy on or around May 25, the start of the state Democratic convention.
• AL-05: Rep. Parker Griffith is already up with a negative ad hitting one of his Republican primary opponents, Madison Co. Commissioner Mo Brooks, calling him a "career politician" and "big spender." Brooks observed, perhaps correctly (although the Alabama primary is fast approaching), that an incumbent attacking a challenger is a big-time sign of weakness.
• GA-09: Former state Rep. Tom Graves, in the runoff for the special election in this seat against fellow Republican Lee Hawkins, got the endorsement from nearby Rep. Lynn "Uppity" Westmoreland. In a district this red, that may actually be a plus.
• MN-06: An unaffiliated independent, Troy Freihammer, may appear on the ballot, in addition to Independence Party nominee Bob Anderson. He needs 1,000 signatures by month's end, though, so he may not make that hurdle. Getting him on might be a net plus for the Dems, as his website makes pretty clear he's a Tenther and he's only likely to take votes away from Michele Bachmann.
• OR-01: SurveyUSA is way down in the weeds here (although that's because the poll where they get paid to do so, in this case by local TV affiliate KATU), with a look at the primaries in the 1st. In a four-way field on the GOP side, the NRCC's preferred candidate, sports-industry consultant Rob Cornilles, leads at 31, beating mortgage broker John Kuzmanich at 19. The other guy whose name you hear in connection with this race, Stephan Brodhead (mostly because he somehow summoned up $298K CoH) is polling at all of 3, probably because his main campaign activity seems to be trolling the online comment sections of local newspapers and people have ascertained thusly that he's a wackjob. Rep. David Wu is at 75% against token opposition on the Dem side.
• PA-04: What was supposed to be a victory lap for former US Attorney and loyal Bushie Mary Beth Buchanan has turned into a real dogfight with attorney Keith Rothfus, seemingly helped along by her apparent ineptitude at electoral politics. She's currently drawing fire for a "deceitful" mailer which uses the National Rifle Association logo without its permission. Things have actually been going badly enough on the message-control front that improbable rumors have her dropping out of the race (with days to go), although her camp is saying her "major political announcement" is just a press conference to go on the offensive against Rothfus.
• Census: An interesting article from Stateline looks at what various states are doing to amp up Census participation. The real interest, here, is a neat map they've put together rating the states not on their overall participation percentages, but on the overall shifts in participation percentage from 2000 to 2010. Intriguingly, the biggest improvements in participation were clustered in the Deep South (especially North and South Carolina, both of which are on the cusp of adding another seat), while the Mountain West states suffered the most. California also seemed to fall off a bit, as budget limitations kept them from doing much outreach this time around, which could conceivably hurt their hopes of staying at 53 seats.
• Special elections/Runoffs: Believe it or not, it's a busy election night tonight. Top of the list is the special election in FL-19, where the successor to Robert Wexler will be chosen. In this D+15 district in the more middle-class parts of the Gold Coast, the Democrat, state Sen. Ted Deutch, is heavily favored. The parties haven't gotten involved, and Republican Ed Lynch (who lost a lopsided decision to Wexler in 2008) is hamstrung by the presence of independent right-wing candidate Jim McCormick.
It's runoff day in Texas, with almost all the action on the GOP side. TX-17, between self-funder Bill Flores and 2008 candidate Rob Curnock, and TX-23, between self-funder Quico Canseco and ex-CIA agent William Hurd, are the marquee races as far as the U.S. House goes. There are also some GOP runoffs in some state House races, an interesting mixed bag of open seat succession races, teabaggish challenges to GOP incumbents, and challenges to vulnerable Dems. Finally, there's a culture war clash between just-very conservative and super-duper conservative in two statewide contests: one for the Supreme Court (with Rick Green, the former state Rep. known for punching the guy who beat him in 2002, representing Team Crazy), and one for the Board of Education (between Marsha Farney and Brian Russell, with Russell the movement conservative here).
Finally, there's some state legislature action in Massachusetts, California, and Florida. Primaries for two state Senate seats are in Massachusetts, the ones held by now-Sen. Scott Brown and now-disgraced Anthony Gallucio. This is the de facto election in Gallucio's dark-blue seat, seeing as how no Republicans are running, but the winner between state Rep. Lida Harkins and doctor Peter Smulowitz in the Dem primary will face off against GOP state Rep. Richard Ross on May 11 to succeed Brown. In California, there are two legislative specials; using the California system, each one will likely head to a runoff (unless someone in the cluttered fields breaks 50%). Both seats will likely turn out to be holds: SD-37 is in Republican exurban Riverside County, while AD-43 is in Democratic Glendale in LA County. And in the Florida Panhandle, dark-red HD-04 should be an easy Republican hold.
• AR-Sen: Looks like Blanche Lincoln picked the wrong week to stop acting like a Democrat. She got seriously outraised by Bill Halter in the first quarter, earning $1.3 million (Halter got $2 mil). She also spent more than she earned, running a blitz of TV ads, probably to the tune of $2 million, as her cash on hand dropped $700K --although it's still a high $4.7 million. Still no word yet from the race's key Republicans.
• CA-Sen: Carly Fiorina filled in the last blank in the California Senate race; her fundraising total for the first quarter was $1.7 million, edging out Tom Campbell (who pulled in $1.6 million). Both GOPers lagged Barbara Boxer's $2.4 million.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist is still trying to find something that'll stick to Marco Rubio, and he's trying again to link ex-state House speaker Rubio to some of the other less savory elements among legislative leadership. He's up with a new ad trying Rubio to another former speaker, Ray Sansom, who's currently under indictment for charges of falsifying state budget items.
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias is lagging Mark Kirk on the cash front; he raised $1.2 million last quarter, compared with Kirk's $2.2 million. Giannoulias didn't release cash on hand figures, which may not be too impressive either considering that he had to fight through a competitive primary.
• NC-Sen (pdf): PPP looked at the primaries only in the North Carolina Senate race (they're on May 4). On the Dem side, former state Sen. Cal Cunningham is still within striking distance of SoS Elaine Marshall; she leads Cunningham 23-17, with Kenneth Lewis at 9 and 5% for assorted minor candidates. (Last month, Marshall led Cunningham and Lewis 20-16-11.) On the GOP side, Richard Burr is at 67%, with his closest competition, Brad Jones, at 7.
• NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov: Quinnipiac finds a lot of same-ol'-same-ol' in the Empire State: Andrew Cuomo crushing, and Kirsten Gillibrand crushing anyone non-Pataki. Gillibrand trails non-candidate George Pataki 45-40 but leads actual candidate Bruce Blakeman 47-25 (none of the other third-tier GOPers get polled); she's also sporting her highest-ever approvals, at 47/25. (Pataki beats Blakeman in a GOP primary, 64-15.) On the Governor's side, Rick Lazio is still poised to be GOP nominee; he leads Steve Levy and Carl Paladino 34-11-11 (note that the poll was in the field prior to the whole bestiality thing). Andrew Cuomo dispatches Lazio 55-26, Levy 57-24, and Paladino 60-24.
• OH-Sen: I'd assumed Lee Fisher had been on the air before, but he's just now launching his first TV spots of his campaign with the primary only weeks away (apparently marshaling his resources for the general). Fisher also pulled down the endorsement of Cleveland mayor Frank Johnson, although he didn't gain the backing of his own home town's Democratic party (in Shaker Heights), which instead declined to endorse.
• PA-Sen: Here's a bit of a surprise: Joe Sestak succeeded in his ballot challenge, getting last-minute conservadem entrant Joe Vod Varka kicked out of the Democratic primary, setting up a two-man fight against Arlen Specter. If Sestak's going to have any hope of knocking off Specter, he'll need to consolidate every anti-Specter vote (and also not have the Slovak-American vote -- a big segment in western Pennsylvania -- split).
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold had a successful fundraising quarter, considering right now he's only running against the specter of Tommy Thompson. Feingold earned $1.34 million, leaving him with $4.26 million CoH.
• FL-Gov: Rick Scott has decided, rather belatedly, to throw his hat in the ring in the Republican field in the Governor's race. If the name's familiar, he's a former hospital-industry businessman who funded much of the initial anti-HCR astroturfing efforts via his organization Conservatives for Patient Rights. He's sound teabaggish themes about establishment candidate AG Bill McCollum (despite McCollum taking the lead on the GOP AGs' anti-HCR lawsuit). Considering that state Sen. Paula Dockery is already trying to run against McCollum from the right and getting no traction, it's hard to see Scott going anywhere with this, though.
• NM-Gov: Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, the lone Dem in the race, is dominating the fundraising front; she raised $1.1 million in the six-month reporting period and has $2.6 million CoH. Among the GOPers, former state party chair Allen Weh leads both in money raised ($691K, although $500K was a personal loan) and CoH ($544K). Dona Ana County DA Susana Martinez raised $428K and sits on $364K CoH.
• PA-Gov: Here's a blow to, well, everybody in the Democratic field; after not being able to find two-thirds support for anybody, the AFL-CIO won't be endorsing any particular candidate in the Dem primary. Former Philadephia city controller Jonathan Saidel got their Lt. Gov. endorsement.
• AL-05: Party-switching Rep. Parker Griffith (most recently in the news for forgetting his party-switch and billing the DCCC for expenditures) surprised his GOP primary opponents at a debate by asking them sign a unity pledge that the losers of the primary would campaign for the winner in November. No thanks, said both Mo Brooks and Les Philip.
• DE-AL: Looks like wealthy self-funder Michelle Rollins, the NRCC's preferred recruit in the race, has some competition on the big bucks front in the GOP primary. Real estate developer Glen Urquhart just announced that he has $512K in his account (of course, $500K of that came from his own pocket).
• FL-08: Alan Grayson had another big fundraising quarter, thanks in large part to netroots moneybombing (especially his March event which brought in $500K). He raised $803K in the last three months, bringing his CoH total to $1.5 million (along with the possibility of writing checks to himself).
• HI-01: CQ has an interesting piece on HI-01 that focuses primarily on just how difficult it is (especially for "mainland" pollsters) to poll in Hawaii. With only two polls of this race having seen light of day so far, the main takeaway may be that anyone's guess is as good as mine where the race stands.
• MI-01: One of the top Republicans on everyone's candidate list for the newly-opened seat in MI-01 has said that he won't run. State House minority leader Kevin Elsenheimer said he won't run, even though he's termed out of the House and needs something else to do. (Elsenheimer, from the Traverse City area, is disadvantaged by not coming from the Upper Peninsula portion of the district.)
• MS-04: Here's one other eye-catching fundraising note: a Dem incumbent who got outraised by Republican opposition previously considered inconsequential. Rep. Gene Taylor raised $41K and has $221K CoH, while GOP state Rep. Steven Palazzo raised $125K and has at least $100K CoH. Let's hope Taylor doesn't hit the "snooze" button for another quarter. National Journal's latest fundraising outline also has noteworthy numbers from Charlie Dent (PA-15), Dan Debicella (CT-04), and Rick Crawford (AR-01).
• Redistricting: With the Fair Districts redistricting initiative seeming destined to make the ballot in Florida, now the Republican-controlled legislature is trying to get its own redistricting initiative on the ballot, in an apparent effort to clarify (or gut) the Fair Districts proposals. The Senate's proposal deals with the thorny questions of VRA-mandated districts and communities of interest, which aren't addressed in satisfactory manner by the original initiatives, which forbid designing districts in a manner that is favorable to one party or the other.
• Demographics: Josh Goodman has an interesting look at population change in Texas, similar to some work we've done at SSP over the last few years; he finds that while Texas's largest counties are becoming swingier, its fastest-growing counties are still pretty solidly Republican (although the growth in these counties is in demographics that aren't likely Republican). Of course, the parts of the state that are becoming less and less of the state, percentage-wise -- the rural parts -- have become even more conservative than the fast-growing exurbs, so in a way that's progress too.
AL-05: Wayne Parker, the GOP's 2008 nominee, is endorsing Madison County Comm'r Mo Brooks as a "consistent conservative voice" - and pointedly not endorsing the party-switching Rep. Parker Griffith, to whom he lost. Parker also seems to be trying to consolidate support behind Brooks, who also has to contend with businessman Les Phillip in the primary.
AL-07: Radio journalist Patricia Evans Mokolo is dropping out of the Dem primary to succeed Rep. Artur Davis. This doesn't really change the dynamics of the race much - the three main candidates are still Shelia Smoot, Terri Sewell, and Earl Hilliard, Jr.
MI-01: Cheboygan County Drain Commissioner (Drain Commissioner!!) Dennis Lennox, a 25-year-old Republican, won't challenge Rep. Bart Stupak, instead endorsing surgeon Dan Benishek.
MN-01: Michele Bachmann's toxic vapors are spilling over into the 1st CD: GOPer Jim Hagedorn, himself no stranger to inflammatory remarks, is attacking primary opponent Allen Quist for his supposed "allegiance" to Bachmann - and his propensity for outrageous statements. (Quist once said that men are "genetically predisposed" to be the head of the household.) This seems to be a case of the pot calling the kettle black, but it's also a rare instance of one Republican trying to not out-crazy another.
ND-AL: Criticizing the state convention which backed state Rep. Rick Berg as "exclusive," businessman (and, I'm guessing, Some Dude) J.D. Donaghe filed to run against Berg in the Republican primary. It doesn't look like Donaghe has filed any FEC reports so far - but then again, neither has Berg.
NJ-12: Fair Haven Mayor Michael Halfacre is dropping out and instead supporting businessman Scott Sipprelle for the GOP nod to take on Rep. Rush Holt. Sipprelle, who has given his own campaign a quarter million bucks, still faces real-estate investor Dave Corsi in the primary.
NY-02: The Suffolk County GOP is backing former radio talk-show host John Gomez to run against Rep. Steve Israel. Can't tell you much more than that, though, since the story is behind the Newsday paywall - and there are only 35 online subscribers!
NY-13: Rep. Anthony Weiner will fill in for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn at a fundraiser for Rep. Mike McMahon. Quinn, you may recall, pulled out after McMahon voted against healthcare reform. Weiner was an outspoken proponent of the bill.
NY-20: Looks like the GOP got their huckleberry: Republican county committees have rallied around retired Army colonel Charles Chris Gibson to challenge Dem. Rep. Scott Murphy in the fall. In response, Gibson's last remaining opponent, Patrick Ziegler, dropped out of the race, so it seems that there won't be a primary here. Not sure if that's a good thing, considering the poor success this same 10-county gang had in hand-picking all-time SSP fave Jim Tedisco last year.
NY-24: Epidemiologist Les Roberts is still weighing a primary run against Rep. Mike Arcuri, saying he'll wait until at least April 9th to decide. That's when the Working Families Party's executive committee will meet to discuss the race. Roberts is also waiting to hear from county Democratic committees and local unions.
NY-29: Citing the state's fiscal crisis and concerns about costs, a spokesperson for David Paterson is suggesting that the governor might not call a special election after all and will instead wait until the general election in the fall. This would also probably benefit Dems, who will (almost certainly) have Andrew Cuomo at the top of the ticket in November. (So, not surprisingly, GOP candidate Tom Reed is complaining loudly.) Here's a question I have: If things unfold this way, then would the candidate selection process instead be replaced by a normal primary?
SC-02: Sigh. The story of Rob Miller's campaign in one sentence: "The voice mailbox at his campaign office is full, and no one answered ITK's repeated calls."
VA-10: Navy vet and teabagger Jim Trautz has dropped his primary challenge to GOP Rep. Frank Wolf. I think we're going to see the vast majority of teabaggers fizzle out in one way or another.
1994: Pollster Stan Greenberg seemed to freak everybody out by saying at a recent breakfast that if the election were held today, it'd be 1994 all over again. But then he proceeded to explain why he thinks things might be different in November.
Census: Nate Silver, looking at state-by-state numbers, thinks there's no hard evidence that the black helicopter crowd is letting itself get undercounted by refusing to return census forms. I think the county-level response rates will be more interesting, though.
Polling: An interesting tidbit: Quinnipiac has been steadily adding cell phones to its call lists. This is something that only pollsters who use live interviewers can do, because federal law prohibits automated calls to cell phones. Also, some fun polling on the political preference of sports fans, broken down by sport.