• HI-Sen: Sen. Dan Inouye says in a new interview that he "will not take sides in the primary," and Politico ads that his "top aides insist" he won't be lending quiet, behind-the-scenes support to any candidates either. I hope that's true, since I was concerned Ed Case might have mended things with Inouye to the point that the latter might get behind the former. But without some special help, I think Case will have a hard time. Also, SMS Research took the most useless poll imaginable, pitting Case against former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann in a primary... and absolutely no one else. Whatevs.
• ME-Sen: Olympia Snowe said she raised over $877K in Q1 and has over $2 million on hand.
• OH-Sen: Sherrod Brown said he raised $1.3 million in Q1 and has $2.5 million on hand.
• VA-Sen: George Allen said he raised $1.5 million in Q1 and has $1.25 million on hand.
• KY-Gov: TX Gov. Rick Perry, current chair of the RGA, says his organization won't decide how heavily it'll get involved in Kentucky's gubernatorial race until after the May 17th primary. He also declined to endorse frontrunner (and establishment choice) David Williams, saying he's "got a really good feeling about all the men and women who are running."
• CO-04: Republican Rep. Corey Gardner apparently raised over $300K in Q1.
• CT-04: Dem Rep. Jim Himes estimates he took in over $300K in Q1.
• IN-06, IN-05: Luke Messer, a former official with the state GOP who nearly beat Rep. Dan Burton in a primary last year, now finds himself living just outside Burton's 5th CD, according to new maps proposed by Republicans in charge of the state lege. Messer is now in the 6th, which is likely to be vacated by Mike Pence, who everyone thinks will run for governor. Messer says he's buddies with Pence and will consider running to replace him if Pence makes the leap for the statehouse, but he wouldn't rule out a rematch against Burton (though he says he wouldn't move in order to do so).
• MN-08: This is pretty wild: Former Rep. Rick Nolan (D) says he's thinking about staging a comeback. It's wild because Nolan left office in 1981 and is now 68 years old. It's also rather strange because Nolan represented what was then the 6th CD, which is accurately represented in the map Joe Bodell presents. (His reader update is incorrect.) At the time, Nolan's district covered the southwestern and central portions of the state; today's 8th is in the northeastern corner (though they share one county in common, Mille Lacs). And to cap it all off, Nolan was touting himself at a Dem meeting in Bemidji, which is in the 7th CD. Actually, no - the real capper is that Nolan was a practitioner of the '60s & '70s fad of "Transcendental Meditation" (whose practitioners claimed they could levitate) and earned a mention in Time Magazine for it.
• MO-03: Not going gently... or padding the warchest for a different race, or perhaps something else down the line? Russ Carnahan raised $333K in Q1, his best first quarter ever, and has $286K on hand. Dave Catanese notes that Lacy Clay raised just $17K (though he has $222K in the bank). Would Carnahan really go up against Clay in a primary? What do you think?
• MS-02: Greenville Mayor Heather McTeer Hudson said she plans to challenge veteran Rep. Bennie Thompson in the Democratic primary next year. She also announced she's hiring pollster Celinda Lake. Hudson had previously said she wouldn't seek re-election to her current post. Thompson, meanwhile, ended last year with $1.7 million on hand and has warded off primary challengers before (most recently in 2006, in the form of Chuck Espy, son of former Rep. Mike Espy).
• SD-AL: Though it seems all but certain that ex-Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin won't seek a rematch this cycle (among other things, she just accepted a teaching position at South Dakota State University, where she once worked), she did say she's open to the possibility of seeking office again at some point in the future. She didn't specify what post, so you can mentally flag this item as something other than just SD-AL if you like. Speaking of SD-AL, Rep. Kristi Noem (the woman who beat Sandlin) announced she took in $396K in Q1.
• LA-AG: Former Rep. Joe Cao says he plans to challenge Dem-cum-Republican AG Buddy Caldwell this fall. Cao specifically cited Caldwell's party switch (which only happened in February) and questioned his Republican bona fides - sort of an unusual move in a state where party switching has been very common. We'll see if he Cao actually has the chops to make a race of it. (Side note: A proud moment in SSP in-the-weeds history: Live-blogging the LA-AG runoff in 2007, when control of the state House was also at stake.)
• MS-AG: A rare bright spot for Mississippi Dems: Attorney General Jim Hood leads Republican Steve Simpson by 49-32 margin in PPP's latest poll.
• Special Elections: From Johnny L-T:
Two of the three elections last night were landslides; in South Carolina's SD-16, Republican Greg Gregory trounced Democrat Keith Brann and Libertarian Stan Smith by a 77-18-5 margin, while in Minnesota's SD-66, DFLer Mary Jo McGuire beat Republican Greg Copeland 80-20. In Connecticut's HD-128, Democrat Dan Fox won with 39%, while Republican Charles Pia (not Antonacci, my mistake) came in second with 24%. Independents John Mallozzi and Monique Thomas both made strong showings, pulling in 23% and 13%, respectively, and Green Rolf Maurer brought up the rear with about 1%. Note that Mallozzi failed to win the Democratic nomination, so he petitioned his way onto the ballot.
• Pay-to-Play: MaryNYC, the First Lady of the Swing State Project (aka my wife), has an interesting backgrounder on the SEC's new regulations which attempt to curtail Wall Street from engaging in "pay-to-play" with elected officials. What's interesting about the rules is that they make it very difficult for employees of financial firms to donate to state and local officeholders who have a stake in municipal investment decisions, but generally speaking doesn't affect donations to federal officeholders. So, in a hypothetical example, New Mexico state Auditor Hector Balderas, who is weighing a run for Senate, might find Wall Street's doors shut, while Rep. Martin Heinrich, who is already in the race, would face no such problems.
• Indiana: We'll have a lengthier redistricting-only digest later today, but I wanted to bring you this information ASAP. A source involved in Indiana politics informs me that these are the Obama percentages for each CD in the new map proposed by Republicans in the state lege:
In the wake of Sen. Dan Akaka's retirement announcement, Beltway pundits started talking up the chances of Linda Lingle, the recently termed-out Republican governor. This chatter ignored quite a few things: the fact that Lingle left office pretty unpopular after eight years (41-56 job approvals); that 2010's massive red tide failed to wash up on Hawaii's shores (GOP Rep. Charles Djou lost to Colleen Hanabusa; Dem Neil Abercrombie won the gubernatorial race over then-Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona in a landslide); and that a dude named Barack Obama would be on the top of the ticket next year (the native son won by 45 points in 2008).
Now, to imagine Lingle might be competitive, there's one more piece of evidence that will have to get ignored: this poll. With her underwater 41-51 favorable rating, she can't crack 40% against any Democrat, even the least popular among them, former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann (39-48 favorables). And indeed Hanabusa, Rep. Mazie Hirono, and ex-Rep. Ed Case all clear 50 against her. If Lingle's own internal polls are showing markedly different numbers, then I think she's deluding herself. Of course, Aiona fares only slightly better, while Djou does no better than Lingle, but if Hawaii Republicans want to take on a hopeless suicide mission, they're welcome to do so.
One final note: If you weren't familiar with Hawaii politics, you might take a look at these numbers and say, "Wow! Who is this Ed Case guy? He performs the best of all the Dems, and does really well among independent voters!" These things are true, but don't be fooled: Ed Case has a long conservative pedigree as scion of the (now-defunct) Democratic Leadership Committee, the same corporatist outfit which more or less gave Joe Lieberman a reason for being. I won't spill a lot of electrons on him right now, but I'm sure commenters will regale you with his greatest hits. I am somewhat surprised to see his favorables are so strong (51-30), despite running in a nasty special election last year which tarnished both Djou (40-47) and Hanabusa (45-41).
But while these numbers might offer Case an "electability" argument, all Dems are clearly capable of winning - and what's more, Case would have to make it out of a primary first. So it's important to look at each Dem's favorables among members of their own party:
That's going to be tough for Case to pull off (and Hannemann, too - his negative primary against Abercrombie last year seems to be hurting him). But Hirono and Hanabusa should talk, though, and figure out which of them ought to run, because in a multi-way race, Case could definitely sneak through, and we definitely do not want that.
After months of thinking about my political future, I am announcing today that I have decided not to run for re-election in 2012. As many of you can imagine, it was a very difficult decision for me. However, I feel that the end of this Congress is the right time for me to step aside. It has been a great honor and privilege to serve the people of Hawaii. In 2006, the people of Hawaii gave me an opportunity to continue my service in the United States Senate and I fully intend to serve the last two years of my term in office.
Dan Akaka, in his statement, singles out colleague Dan Inouye for particular thanks; I've gotta wonder how much Inouye's recent comments prodding Akaka to get his butt in gear, fundraising-wise, may have helped clarify things for him, as all signs prior to that had been that Akaka was on track to run for re-election. The questions now are: does this make the race more appealing to ex-Gov. Linda Lingle (the only Republican in the state who could make this a competitive race, although her once-sky-high popularity was starting to dwindle when she left office last year), and who all piles into the once-in-a-lifetime Democratic primary? Rep. Mazie Hirono seems like a likely starting point, although we might also see ex-Rep. Ed Case, who lost an ill-advised 2006 primary against Akaka, re-emerge from the woodwork. Former Honolulu mayor and losing 2010 Dem gubernatorial primary candidate Mufi Hannemann also would be high on the list.
• CT-Sen: Rep. Chris Murphy has been studiously avoiding saying he's running for Senate, but seems to be dancing up to the edge of it more. He tells the Hartford Courant that he's "interested" and that his decision will be "independent" of whether or not Joe Lieberman decides to run for another term. Murphy's also claiming the backing of 2010 Lt. Gov. candidate Mary Glassman. Murphy may have a large hurdle to clear even before getting to take on Lieberman, though; here's another reminder that Rep. Joe Courtney is still scoping out the Senate race too. Dem insiders and labor leaders are conflicted, with the differences between the two more stylistic than ideological, and are, at this point, mostly just hoping to avoid a divisive primary.
• FL-Sen: The Republicans have their first big-name candidate to go up against Bill Nelson, although several more seem likely to get in: state Senate president Mike Haridopolos hasn't formally announced, but unveiled his operation yesterday, kicking off his fundraising efforts and launching his website. For what it's worth (not worth much, since Nelson is a thoroughly-known statewide figure at this point) Nelson and Haridopolos share the same geographical turf on the Space Coast.
• HI-Sen: An interview with Mufi Hannemann, now decamped to the private sector, raises the question of the 2012 Senate race. Hannemann says that octogenarian Dan Akaka has indicated to him that he'll run again, and he would never run against Akaka, but would "look at it" if there were an opening instead.
• MA-Sen: We've already seen the mayors of some of Massachusetts's cities cited as potential candidates (especially Newton's Setti Warren), but here's another one to keep in mind: Salem mayor Kim Driscoll, who has been asking around about the race. Two other mayors get cited in the piece as additional down-in-the-weeds possibilities for the Dems: New Bedford's Scott Lang and Fitchburg's Lisa Wong.
• PA-Sen: The magic 8-ball is telling us that Mark Schweiker's odds of running for Senate are pretty hazy at this point. The ex-Gov. just took on a "senior advisor" role (read: lobbyist) at a major law firm, which isn't usually the action of a likely candidate for something.
• TX-Sen: The big question today seems to be who all will pile into the overstuffed clown car that will be the GOP field to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison (who announced her retirement yesterday). Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has already said he's in (which may have surprised some people who thought he was more interested in becoming Governor instead... although those who know Texas politics know that being Governor is actually a step down from being Lt. Governor). Lots of sources today have long lists of all the potential candidates, with the one from the Texas Tribune probably the most thorough, with the other "high" probability GOPers besides Dewhurst being Elizabeth Ames Jones (the mama grizzly), Michael Williams (the teabaggers' fave), Roger Williams (the business candidate), and the state's former solicitor general, Ted Cruz. One other interesting bit of news is that right-wing kingmaker Jim DeMint, who has been squarely behind Michael Williams so far, is branching out his support, also expressing an interest in Cruz (probably at the best of social conservatives, who seem particularly fond of Cruz).
As for the Dems, most of the news has been prominent potential candidates saying "I'm not touching this one." That includes former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk and former Houston mayor Bill White, both of whom have already lost statewide. While John Sharp is expected to run (though he hasn't said anything official since KBH's announcement), some Dems are already casting an eager eye toward San Antonio mayor Julian Castro, an up-and-comer who they think may be ready for prime time, calling the charismatic 30-something the Dems' "Marco Rubio." Other fallback options might include recently defeated ex-Rep. Chet Edwards, or two state Sens., Kirk Watson and Leticia van de Putte, who both were briefly speculation-subjects for last year's gubernatorial race.
• MT-Gov: Here's one more Republican candidate for the open seat gubernatorial race, where the field is dominated by ex-Rep. Rick Hill but two state Senators are also in the mix. Jim O'Hara is an elected official, although it barely gets him out of Some Dude territory: he's a Chouteau County Commissioner (population approximately 5,000).
• WA-Gov: Chris Gregoire's popularity in Washington seems to be keeping on dwindling; a recent Elway poll put her at just 38/61, worse than her position before the 2010 election. While nobody's really expecting her to run for a technically-possible third term, it's likely she won't announce her plans until after the legislative session is done in order to avoid being a lame duck and have some clout instead.
• MA-06: Rep. John Tierney's wife, Patrice, was sentenced to 30 days in jail for aiding and abetting filing of false tax returns (on behalf of her fugitive brother). This is worth a mention here only because it could weigh on Tierney in terms of retirement or drawing a legitimate challenger for 2012, although this mini-scandal has been in the news for months and didn't seem to have caused of an impression in 2010 (although Tierney's kooky opponent probably wasn't in a position to capitalize).
• WA-St. House: There's legislation afoot in Washington that could dramatically change the way the state House is set up. Currently, each of the state's 49 legislative districts elect one senator and two representatives (meaning each Washingtonian has three state legislators to keep track of, instead of two). The proposed changes would move Washington toward the more conventional system of 98 individually-districted House districts, which would give each Rep. half as many constituents and in theory make them more accessible. There's no indication, though, of whether this has the backing to go anywhere or if it's just one Rep.'s personal hobby horse.
• Mayors: One of the higher-profile mayoral races up for grabs this November will be in Las Vegas, although it's doubtful any of the contenders will have the high profile of termed-out, outgoing mayor Oscar Goodman. (Any reporter writing about Goodman is required by law to refer to him as "colorful" in the first paragraph.) It seems pretty wide open, but three candidates who are already jockeying for position include Clark Co. Commissioner Larry Brown, city councilor Steve Ross, and Chamber of Commerce president Katherine Duncan.
• Redistricting: Here's a nice promise from Pennsylvania Republican state Senate president Dominic Pileggi regarding transparency in the redistricting process this year. He says that he's planning a website that will offer "voter data, past district maps... and proposed maps when time allows." Easy access to that kind of data ought to get a whole lot of SSPers salivating, but bear in mind that, for now, simply remains a promise. (Also, bear in mind that Pennsylvania has an odd system, where state legislative boundaries are drawn by a bipartisan commission but congressional boundaries are drawn directly by the legislature, subject to the governor's veto. The GOP, rather inconveniently for us, just took over the trifecta for the first time since, oh, the last redistricting.)
• CO-Sen: In case there was any doubt about where Ken Buck is on abortion, new video has come out from June that he's not only against Roe v. Wade, but against the whole concept of a right of privacy (on the usual teabagger grounds that it wasn't explicitly laid out in the Constitution).
• PA-Sen: Although there will be a Barack Obama appearance in Philly proper this weekend, Bill Clinton is left with the task of headlining rallies around the rest of the state. Today Clinton appears on Joe Sestak's behalf in the Philly suburbs, in Bryn Mawr and Cheyney. Clinton also appears with Dan Onorato and John Callahan in Bethlehem today.
• WV-Sen: Good news for John Raese on two different fronts. The Palm Beach architecture commission approved his plans to replace a "giant dollhouse" in the yard of his Palm Beach mansion with a glass conservatory! (Just be sure to hide all the blunt objects when Colonel Mustard comes over for a visit.) Also, it turns out he's a +13 handicap, occasionally getting down into the high 70s, so he's definitely got some game on the links. (Unfortunately for Raese, the reason we know this is because somebody leaked his self-reported scorecards from the golf ladder at the Everglades Club, the all-white country club in Palm Beach about which he's stonewalled on inquiries on whether he's a member or not.)
• HI-Gov: Credit Mufi Hannemann for good sportsmanship. In response to evidence that his supporters from the primary (who tended to skew socially conservative) were tending to break toward Duke Aiona, Hannemann recently cut a TV ad urging his backers to vote for Neil Abercrombie. The ad's part of a $200K buy by Hawaii labor unions.
• AZ-03: It's sounding like that PPP poll that gave him a lead wasn't a total fluke. Whatever Jon Hulburd is seeing is enough to get him to open up his personal checkbook and hand his campaign another $250K for a final push. No specific numbers are available, but the article says that his internal polling sees him "within the margin of error." (That's not usually the phrasing of someone who's leading in his internals, but maybe he still can gut it out.)
• NC-11: A handful of Democrats in tough races have said that they'd rather vote for someone other than Nancy Pelosi for Speaker, but no one has actually stepped forward until now to volunteer himself as a receptacle for Blue Dog votes. Heath Shuler, previously declared as one of the "no" votes, said he'll do it if no one else will. There's not telling how this gambit would work out if the Dems keep the House, or if he'll be running for minority leader if not.
• Passages: Condolences to the friends and family of Owen Pickett, the former long-time Democratic Rep. from VA-02. Pickett, who was 80, served there from 1987 to 2001.
• SSP TV:
• CT-Sen: Linda McMahon's closing argument is an endorsement from her daughter, celebrexecutive (that should be a word, if it isn't) Stephanie
• LA-Sen: Assuming Charlie Melancon loses, still give him credit for using all the material at his disposal: his TV spot hits David Vitter as hard as possible, saying his taxpayer-paid salary paid for prostitutes and it's a "sin" he represents Louisiana at all
• WV-Sen: Credit to Joe Manchin, too, for not Coakleying this one up; once he found himself in an unexpected close race, he buckled down, found messages that worked, and hammered on them, as in his final ad
• FL-22: Ron Klein goes positive with his last spot, touting endorsements from a variety of citizen groups
• NH-02: Ann McLane Kuster's ad is a combo platter of hitting Charlie Bass on his Wall Street ways and going positive on her own job creation plans
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 49%, Carly Fiorina (R) 46%
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 44%, Ken Buck (R) 48%
• FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 45%, Rick Scott (R) 48%
• GA-Sen: Michael Thurmond (D) 29%, Johnny Isakson (R-inc) 59%
• ME-Gov: Libby Mitchell (D) 26%, Paul LePage (R) 40%, Eliot Cutler (I) 26%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 44%, John Kasich (R) 48%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 47%, Dino Rossi (R) 48%
(um, do you really want that to be your final answer on WA-Sen?)
12:32pm: In the end, the numbers barely changed from the first batch. Neil Abercrombie crushed Mufi Hannemann, 60-38.
2:17am: TV station KHON was just at Abercrombie HQ, and while the crowd seems pretty pumped there, I'm still not getting the sense that they think the race is over - they keep talking about waiting for the "second printout" (ie, the next batch of results).
2:10am: DavidNYC here. Not so sure about this call. Doesn't seem like local HI TV news is acknowledging what the AP is saying.
1:51am: We don't need to wait up all night, though - the AP has just called the race for Neil Abercrombie!
1:26am: It looks like we won't have any new numbers for another two hours. Go take a ganja break and check back later.
1:17am: We finally have some numbers, and Abercrombie is up big: 42K to 28K votes (59%-40%). It looks like this hasn't been a very smooth process in Hawaii today.
RESULTS: Associated Press | Politico
• AK-Sen: All signs are now pointing toward a Lisa Murkowski write-in bid, although nothing is official yet. But she's inviting supporters to a "campaign kickoff" tonight, which are certainly not the words of someone ready to go gently into that good night. She seems undeterred by the fact that the Tea Party Express already fired a shot across her bow yesterday, warning her to be a "good team member" and saying they'll resume spending money against her if she does. Meanwhile, hilarious and slightly damning news on the Joe Miller front, as it turns out that he, like so many other teabagger candidates this year, was a recipient of $14K in farm subsidies over the decade for a thousand acres of land he owned near Fairbanks. Y'know, subsidies from the federal government that he hates so much, in order to pay for the otherwise-unprofitable way of life that he chose. (Can you even grow anything near Fairbanks? That may be the most surprising part of the story to me.)
• DE-Sen: Christine O'Donnell and Chris Coons faced off in their first appearance together, and O'Donnell seemed to be doing a lot of rhetorical distancing from the O'Donnell that had existed up until Tuesday. Meanwhile, O'Donnell is now facing the wrath of multiple ex-aides, all willing to dish to Politico on the trainwrecks that were previous O'Donnell campaigns.
• IL-Sen: Illinois-based Republican-linked robo-pollster We Ask America is out with their second poll of the IL-Sen race, giving Mark Kirk a 39-36 link over Alexi Giannoulias. That's better than their previous offering, which gave Kirk a 6-point edge.
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold's "Cheddarbomb" sounds like it was very successful, bringing in at least $435K in one day's worth of contributions.
• AR-Gov: With yesterday's PPP NH-Gov poll, I think it's now safe to say that Mike Beebe is officially the nation's safest Democratic incumbent governor this year. The gubernatorial half of yesterday's Mason-Dixon poll on behalf of Arkansas News Service is out, and Beebe leads Republican challenger Jim Keet by 21 points, 54-33. (One other very important detail: currently, Beebe has $2.5 million CoH, while Keet has $9,000.) Given the state's turn to the red this cycle, Dems should be glad that they aren't defending an open seat here, though, as in the open Lt. Governor race, Dem state Sen. Shane Broadway is barely leading Some Dude (Mark Darr) 36-34.
• CA-Gov: Well, my cynicism has been eased a bit, I guess: Bill Clinton will be giving Jerry Brown the full endorsee treatment and not just throwing him a bone, including stumping on his behalf (and Gavin Newsom's behalf too) in mid-October.
• HI-Gov: It feels like the primary season wrapped up on Tuesday, but there's one last race that needs to be previewed: the Democratic gubernatorial primary in Hawaii, which will be settled in their regularly scheduled election tomorrow. The race pits ex-Rep. Neil Abercrombie against former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann in what's literally a clash of titans (the 72-year-old Abercrombie can bench-press 272 lbs., while former basketball player Hannemann is 6'7"). Hannemann seems to running a bit to Abercrombie's right, at least on social issues, and Abercrombie seems to have the late momentum based on polling and fundraising. The linked WaPo article points to some intriguing behind the scenes drama (with Dan Inouye behind Hannemann and Ed Case behind Abercrombie) and the racial resentments stirred by the race (Abercrombie is white, Hannemann is Samoan).
• NM-Gov: The DGA is keeping the pressure on in New Mexico, hitting Susana Martinez again on staff bonuses and sweetheart deals. Bill Clinton, who's increasingly turning out to be the #1 Dem surrogate on the stump this cycle, is also now scheduled to stump on Diane Denish's behalf on Oct. 14 in the heavily-Latino northern town of Espanola.
• NY-Gov: This may be the dumbest idea in the history of political advertising: send intentionally bad-smelling mailers to people's houses. Carl Paladino is trying to make the point that "something smells" in Albany, but there has to be a smarter way to do it than invading people's houses to intentionally physically sicken them.
• CO-04: Hot on the heels of the NRA backing John Salazar next door in the 3rd, now they're also endorsing Democratic freshman Betsy Markey in the similarly rural, reddish 4th.
• MI-09: There's a poll out in the 9th from a previously unknown (to us) pollster (The Rossman Group/Team Telcom) giving Rocky Raczkowski a small lead over Dem freshman Gary Peters, 45-41. Thanks to Paleo in the comments, we know that the Rossman Group is a PR firm associated with state-level GOP operative Audrey Perricone, so salt this one as you see fit.
• NY-23: All that hoping paid off, and now the cat is now officially in the dryer! A replay of the special election is on, as Doug Hoffman, who narrowly lost the GOP primary to Matt Doheny, is saying that he is going to stick with the Conservative Line no matter what. (More accurately, Conservative party chair Michael Long, who's basically been Hoffman's puppetmaster for the last year, is the one saying that.)
• TN-04: Sure, we've all been accused of harassment, intimidation, and physical abuse, but... oh, wait. We haven't? Well, Republican candidate Scott DesJarlais was accused by his ex-wife of all of that, in divorce filings from a decade ago. It's unclear how much this'll affect the direction of the race, though; buried deep in the Roll Call article is word of a late August internal poll on Lincoln Davis's behalf (released in response to a DesJarlais internal showing him within 4 of Davis), giving Davis a 51-40 lead. (No word on who Davis's pollster is.)
• Mayors: Primary-defeated Dem incumbent Adrian Fenty somehow won the Republican mayoral primary. There wasn't a candidate, and Fenty got more write-in votes than anyone else. It didn't sound like Fenty was interested in turning coats and running again under the GOP aegis, and now the DC BoE is arguing that he couldn't anyway, as he would have had to be a member of the Republican Party as of the election date.
• IE Tracker:
• MO-Sen: $124K from Commonsense Ten against Roy Blunt
• WV-01: $439K from American Future Fund against Mike Oliverio
• NC-02, VA-09: $341K from Americans for Job Security against Bob Etheridge, $431K against Rick Boucher
• AL-02: $414K from AFF against Bobby Bright
• SC-05: $191K from AFF against John Spratt
• NJ-03: $170K from AFF against John Adler
• MI-01: $304K from AFF against Gary McDowell
• GA-08: $346K from AFF against Jim Marshall
• MI-07: $501K from AFF against Mark Schauer
• SSP TV:
• PA-Sen: The DSCC rides to Joe Sestak's rescue with an ad tying Pat Toomey to George Bush's deficit-swelling tax policies, while the Club for Growth tries to walk a delicate balance, thanking Sestak for his military service before laying into his voting record
• AZ-Gov: Terry Goddard's out with not one but three different ads using footage of Jan Brewer's tongue-tied performance at last month's debate, one of which focuses on her unproven allegations about headless bodies in the desert (and ending with the tagline "Is this the best Arizona can do?")
• KS-Gov: The Kansas Moderate Majority PAC runs an anti-Sam Brownback ad hitting him on the flat tax, while Brownback is out with two ads of his own
• MI-Gov: Virg Bernero's on the air, hitting Rick Sndyer for outsourcing jobs while he was head of Gateway
• ID-01: Walt Minnick actually hits Raul Labrador for being too soft on illegal immigrants, saying it's "good business" for Labrador's immigration law practice
• MI-01: 2 ads from Gary McDowell, one about cleaning up the Great Lakes and one hitting Dan Benishek on Social Security privatization
• TX-17: Chet Edwards is doing the distancing-from-DC-Democrats game in his newest ad
• WA-08: Suzan DelBene's first TV ad starts negative against Dave Reichert, hitting him on his financial reform vote and on earmarks, of all things
• IN-Sen: Brad Ellsworth (D) 34%, Dan Coats (R) 50%
• MA-Gov: Deval Patrick (D-inc) 45%, Charlie Baker (R) 42%, Tim Cahill (I) 5%
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold (D-inc) 44%, Ron Johnson (R) 51%
AK-Sen: As of Friday, Lisa Murkowski was saying that she still hasn't made a decision about whether to pursue a write-in bid. At least one major Republican is opposed to the idea: Sen. John Cornyn says that Murkowski would have to quit her job as vice chair of the NRSC if she goes the third-party route. I also wonder if her Senate committee spots might be in jeopardy, too. Anyhow, Eric Ostermeier of the University of Minnesota's excellent Smart Politics blog has a good post on the history of write-in campaigns in the Land of the Midnight Sun. In eight statewide contests, the best-ever score in a senate race was 17%, and 26% in a gubernatorial race. I actually think those numbers aren't bad at all!
DE-Sen: While everyone's still abuzz about last night's poll numbers, there's some other DE-Sen news worth reporting. For one, the NRA endorsed Christine O'Donnell. For another, so did Sen. Jim DeMint, Kingmaker of Loons. For yet another, Sarah Palin recorded a robocall for O'Donnell, playing up their shared sense of victimhood.
Meanwhile, The Hill says that the Tea Party Express has spent some $300K on radio and TV ads on O'Donnell's behalf, but it's a little hard to double-check that since TPX's FEC filings seem to use, shall we say, "new math." Finally, a reporter asked Mike Castle if he'd pursue an independent bid if he lost the primary. (DE's laws are apparently similar to Alaska's in this regard.) Castle was surprisingly non-committal, saying he'd "have to give it thought."
GA-Sen: Big Dog Alert (retroactive)! Bill Clinton was in Atlanta late last week to do a fundraiser for Labor Comm'r Michael Thurmond, the Dem senate nominee challenging GOPer Johnny Isakson. Thurmond, as you'd expect, was a big-time Hillary Clinton supporter.
IA-Sen: Chuck Grassley, making a play for the dirty old man vote, had this to say when asked why he didn't once look at opponent Roxanne Conlin during a recent debate:
"I wish you had told me because I would have been very happy to look at her. She's a very nice looking woman."
NH-Sen: The New Hampshire Union Leader has been combing through a batch of emails released by the NH attorney general's office pursuant to a freedom of information request, and they've turned up a doozy: Then-AG Kelly Ayotte used her official email account to discuss campaign strategy with a guy who later became one of her consultants. In better news for Ayotte, Sarah Palin recorded a robocall for her, too (see DE-Sen item above), but man is this imagery getting crazy: She calls Ayotte a "Granite Grizzly." Zuh? Anyhow, Jim DeMint's also decided to get involved here (again, see DE-Sen), endorsing surging wingnut Ovide Lamontagne.
NV-Sen: Jon Ralston has the complete tick-tock on how he got Harry Reid and Sharron Angle to agree to a debate on his show - only to have Angle, in a spasm of campaign dysfunction, pull out, despite being the one to throw down the challenge to Reid in the first place.
AK-Gov: Anchorage attorney Bill Walker, who drew about 30% in his primary against Gov. Sean Parnell (thanks to $300K in self-funding), says he's still waiting to see if either the Alaskan Independence Party or Libertarian Party candidates withdraw from the race. If there's a drop-out by Wednesday, Walker could take that spot for the general election.
HI-Gov: A new robopoll by Aloha Vote (taken for online news service Civil Beat) shows ex-Rep. Neil Abercrombie beating Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann by 48-31 in the Democratic primary. That's a pretty different picture from a Ward Research survey a few weeks ago which had Abercrombie leading just 49-44.
NY-Gov: It's been a long time since anyone has come out with any interesting statewide poll numbers in New York, but with just days to go before the primary, Siena has finally managed to surprise us (well, sorta): They show scuzzbucket businessman Carl Paladino in a dead heat with ex-Rep. Rick Lazio, trailing just 43-42. In mid-August, Lazio had a 43-30 lead, so this is all Paladino surge. The rest of the numbers (which test the senate races) are all meh - click the link if you want `em.
In other NY-Gov news, the Working Families Party decided to endorse Andrew Cuomo, and Cuomo - who had kept the WFP at arms' length for a long time - accepted. A federal investigation of the WFP was recently dropped, which seemingly helped smooth things. The party was in a very tough spot, though, as without Cuomo on their ballot spot, there was no real path for them to get the 50,000 votes they needed to avoid losing their ballot line. So I'm guessing there may be more to this story.
"John Salazar, it's time to come home," Tipton said as he opened the debate. "It's 9/11. Let's roll."
FL-25: Another mystery teabagger has (not really) come out of the woodwork. Roly Arrojo is running on the Florida Tea Party line, and it seems no one knows a thing about him, except for the fact that he hasn't filed any FEC reports - except for a Statement of Candidacy in which he identified himself as a Democrat. Republicans are suggesting this is a Dem put-up job, but Joe Garcia's camp is of course denying any knowledge of this guy. Interestingly, so is the head of the FL Tea Party!
ND-AL: I know, it sounds like parody, but Republican Rick Berg has a great idea: Drill for oil in North Dakota's Theodore Roosevelt National Park! Not only is it, of course, illegal to do so, but it's also a fucking national park!
NY-13: Republican Michael Allegretti just got bounced from the new teabaggish Taxpayers Party line, thanks to a lack of sufficient signatures. Rival Mike Grimm already has the Conservative line, come hell or high water.
NY-15: Of all people, Mayor Mike Bloomberg wound up recording a robocall for Rep. Charlie Rangel.
PA-08 (PDF): Yikes. Sophomore Dem Patrick Murphy just put out an internal from the Global Strategy Group showing him up by a mere 47-43 margin over the man he beat in 2006, Republican Mike Fitzpatrick. This is scary.
VA-05: The Weiner Watch continues: Republican Rob Hurt has already skipped two debates, and now he's announced he's skipping a third. Weiner!
Chicago-Mayor: Outgoing Chicago Mayor Richard Daley says he won't make an endorsement in the race to succeed him.
NY-AG (PDF): Siena also released some final attorney general numbers, finding Eric Schneiderman narrowly in the lead at 25, with Kathleen Rice nipping his heels at 23. Sean Coffey is at 13, Richard Brodsky at 7, and Eric Dinallo at 4. The race has continued to get nasty in its final days, with Rice putting out a TV ad trying to link Schneiderman to scumbag state Sen. Pedro Espada, while a Schneiderman spot hits Rice for only becoming a Democrat in 2005.
DCCC: Blah blah blah, Dems not paying their DCCC dues. It's old news, and I'm beyond sick of these stories, but not (only) for the reason you might expect. Oh yeah, I'm pissed at the schmucks who are holding out on their party for no discernible reason, but I'm also frustrated with the DCCC. We've repeatedly told them we want to help them raise money from their members - the netroots is not all-powerful, but we can bring some pressure on stingy Dems. But the DCCC steadfastly refuses to share their dues spreadsheet with us - even though they have no problem sharing it with the likes of Politico, and even though they actually promised to give us a copy at Netroots Nation. Not just obnoxious, but weirdly self-defeating.
KY-06: NRCC ($96K on anti-Ben Chandler ads and polls from two different firms)
More generally, the NRCC's IE arm said that it would go up with anti-Dem ads in eight districts (though no IE reports have yet been filed): AZ-01, AL-02, FL-02, MS-01, TN-08, TX-17, VA-05 & WI-07. A representative ad is available at the link.
• DE-Sen: Despite all the hullabaloo about the late-breaking surge by Christine O'Donnell (which, if you look at fundraising and ad spending, seems like it might not have been that much of a surge at all), both parties seem to be reconciled to a Chris Coons/Mike Castle race, according to CQ. O'Donnell seems to be hanging her hopes on a last-minute Sarah Palin endorsement, which, according to intense semantic analysis by Twitterologists, didn't really happen with her recent retweety-hashtaggy thing.
• HI-Gov: Hawaii's the last primary in the nation, and that also means it's the last for pre-primary financial reporting. Neil Abercrombie, who'd been lagging Mufi Hannemann on the fundraising front previously, shot ahead for the months of July and August. Abercrombie raised $768K while Hannemann raised $330K. Hannemann still has the CoH edge, $792K to $275K.
• NM-Gov: GOPer Susana Martinez has led narrowly in most polls here, but the RGA isn't taking this race for granted: they're moving $500K to the Martinez campaign. The DGA is also continuing to fight here, and they seem to think they have something here with their own little Bonusgate story here (where Martinez allegedly spent border security money on staff bonuses instead); they're running their second attack ad here, and it (like the first ad) focuses on the bonuses.
• RI-Gov: There had been rumors of this way, way back, but the RNC is revisiting them today, saying that Democratic candidate Frank Caprio talked to them about a possible party switch in February (back when he was still facing the more-liberal Patrick Lynch in the Dem primary). It's unclear what the GOP's angle is in releasing this now... their chances are pretty much DOA, so are they just hoping to deny the DGA a victory here (for post-election talking points purposes) by driving Caprio votes to Lincoln Chafee (the indie who seems to be running, for the most part, to Caprio's left)?
• VT-Gov: The recount has begun for the ultra-close Democratic primary in the Vermont gubernatorial race, but instead of lobbing grenades at each other, 197-vote leader Peter Shumlin and runner-up Doug Racine are touring the state together in an RV, stumping along with the other three candidates. In fact, Racine is urging his donors to get behind Shumlin, despite having requested the recount. (So far, Shumlin's lead has edged up by 9, with 10 of the state's 14 counties having completed the recanvass.)
• WI-Gov: Here's a good development, that a lot of other outgoing Dem incumbents might take a lesson from: Jim Doyle, with $1.8 million sitting around in his campaign funds as he ends his gubernatorial run, is transferring $1 million of that money to the Greater Wisconsin Committee, which has aired both anti-Scott Walker and anti-Mark Neumann ads.
• CT-05: Here's one House GOP internal that's getting a little stale, but somehow eluded us until just now: Sam Caligiuri put out a late-August internal from National Research showing him right on Chris Murphy's heels, trailing 40-39.
• Committees: Jim Doyle's not the only guy with money to burn who's emptying out the piggy banks. Barack Obama will be transferring $4.5 million from his campaign fund, divvying it up three ways with $1.5 million each to the DCCC, DSCC, and DNC.
• Mayors (pdf): Two mayoral polls are out today. One is more timely, with the DC primary only days away: Clarus finds Vincent Gray ready to oust incumbent Adrian Fenty in the Dem primary, 45-38. We Ask America also pounces on the Chicago mayor question, despite a thoroughly unclear field, and finds Rahm Emanuel would be starting in the pole position out of 10 names they gave. Emanuel's at 30, followed by Tom Dart at 14, and both Luis Gutierrez and Jesse Jackson Jr. at 13.
• Massachusetts: Here's an interesting set of numbers out of the Bay State: despite the election of Scott Brown and running a competitive gubernatorial race, Republicans have actually lost ground lately in terms of registration. The GOP has lost more than 9,000 voters over the last two years, and are down to 11% of all registrations. Dems held almost even at 37%, while the ranks of the unenrolled grew (by 187K since 2006), up to 51% of the electorate.
• SSP TV:
• IN-Sen: The Chamber of Commerce is out with an anti-Brad Ellsworth ad hitting the usual "trillions of government spending" points
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin's first TV ad attacks John Raese for running attack ads
• OH-Gov: The SEIU attacks John Kasich on his Wall Street days, with a "significant six-figure" buy
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato's first TV ad of the general is a 60-second extravaganza focusing on the revitalization of Pittsburgh
• IL-14: Randy Hultgren talks jobs
• MI-01: Gary McDowell's first ad has testimonials from locals saying he's just like them, only "better dressed"
• OH-18: Americans for Job Security is out with four anti-Dem House ads, in IN-08, PA-04, and PA-07 as well as the 18th... and we have actual numbers ($124K in OH-18, $415K in PA-04, $293 in PA-07, and $318K in IN-08)
• SC-05: John Spratt's first TV ad of the cycle focuses, unsurprisingly, on his constituent service reputation and attention to local issues
• AZ-Sen: Rodney Glassman (D) 37%, John McCain (R-inc) 51%
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias (D) 34%, Mark Kirk (R) 37%, LeAlan Jones (G) 12%
• MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan (D) 43%, Roy Blunt (R) 53%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 50%, John Raese (R) 45%
This one's been sitting on our shelf for a couple of days, so now's a good time to clear the decks before it starts to collect dust. Note that Ward Research has shifted away from their unusual approach in sampling that they deployed back in May and gone for a more conventional sample.
Favorable ratings for all three of these guys are pretty even: Aiona's at 57-31, Abercrombie's at 57-36, and Hannemann's at 55-38. In the general election, both Democrats lose independents to Aiona by varying degrees (Abercrombie by 41-49 and Hannemann by 32-52) and aren't holding onto Democrats very strongly (Hannemann leads among Dems by 72-21 and Abercrombie leads by 71-24). The problem remains, though, that there are just way more Democrats than Republicans in Hawaii. Aiona has a shot, but he'll probably need the Democratic primary to get a bit nastier first.