• FL-Sen: Do you remember Craig Miller? I barely do. He's the wealthy former steakhouse exec who was the Republican Plan C in the FL-24 primary last year... and in an amusing bit of synchronicity, came in third, behind now-Rep. Sandy Adams and the batshit nuts Karen Diebel. Hoping to fail upward, Miller is now looking at the Senate race and plans to decide "within the next few weeks." I have no idea what he thinks he niche might be, and it's not clear to me that he has the money to overwhelm the field.
• IN-Sen, IN-Gov: Former Rep. Tim Roemer says he's stepping down as ambassador to India. Could this presage a return to Hoosier politics? I'm skeptical, as Dems already have legit candidates lining up for both marquee statewide races. (And for what it's worth, an unnamed source told The Hill last month that Roemer wasn't likely to run for Senate.)
• MA-Sen: This is just weird. Despite repeatedly saying he isn't interested in running for Senate, Deval Patrick somehow keeps finding himself talking about the subject. This time, he said that he had talked with the President about other jobs, but wouldn't say whether Obama had asked him to run against Scott Brown. Patrick again said he doesn't want to run, and added: "I would say no to the president of the United States."
• ND-Sen: When the Club for Growth takes aim at an otherwise top-tier Republican candidate, you know you have premium-grade cat fud ready to be served. Le Club's target now is freshman Rep. Rick Berg, who went from a seemingly distant possibility to not-running-but-virtual-frontrunner status almost instantly a week ago. They're accusing Berg of being insufficiently pro-dystopia, i.e., not supporting enough cuts to federal government spending. I really hope they can find a dog... er... cat for this fight.
• NV-Sen: Sometimes PPP deliberately polls for the lulz, and sometimes, the lulz find them. In this case, it's the latter: Tom Jensen's band of merry robodialers found Dean Heller beating Sharron Angle in a hypothetical GOP primary by a score of... LOL... 84-8. ("El Exigente, what more could you want?" "Their names.") Meanwhile, on the Dem side, where there does appear to be an actual primary, Rep. Shelley Berkeley leads wealthy attorney Byron Georgiou by a 65-8 margin. Good times.
• PA-Sen: Apparently, there's two things Quinnipiac won't do: a) release sample compositions and b) test incumbents against hypothetical opponents whose names don't start with "Generic." Anyhow, Sen. Bob Casey has inched up to a 46-34 lead against "the Republican candidate." He was 45-35 two months ago.
• UT-Sen: Speaking of the Club for Growth, they just put out their 2010 scorecard, and Orrin Hatch's numbers really demonstrate the Club's power. Despite a lifetime score of 74% (30th among Senators in office last year), Hatch managed to rack up a 97% rating last year, tying him with several other Republicans for third place. What a difference a sword of Damocles makes.
• VA-Sen: Hmm. Ultra-wingnut Del. Bob Marshall's 2008 campaign manager just got hired by George Allen... and the dude didn't even tell his old boss first. Marshall's been looking at a possible Senate run, and I think he's the best hope (albeit not a great hope) we have of knocking off Allen in the GOP primary, but it's not clear what impact this will have on his plans. One positive tea-leaf: In response to the news, Marshall said, "You can tell who the candidates are not by where the consultants go, but where the volunteers go."
• PA-Gov: Uhh... did Gov. Tom Corbett just say that state universities sitting atop the Marcellus Shale should plug their budget gap by allowing exploitation of the natural gas reserves beneath them? Why yes he did. If you aren't familiar with the deeply fraught issue of hydraulic fracturing (also known as "hydrofracking" or just "fracking"), this NYT piece is a good place to start. Fracking is a devastatingly poisonous method of extracting gas, and Pennsylvania is at the epicenter of the fracking debate. Indeed, the EPA is investigating a fracking spill that took place there just last week. UPDATE: Hah, sheez. Corbett literally lifted this idea from an episode of Saved by the Bell! NOT kidding! Click the link!
• WV-Gov: Former Republican SoS Betty Ireland is finally out with her first TV ad, which I think has a weird soundtrack, odd staccato pacing, and (at least in the version her campaign posted to YouTube) crappy audio quality. I think she could definitely lose.
• AZ-06: Yesterday we noted that state House Speaker Kirk Adams was resigning his post. Later that day, he formally announced he was, as expected, running in the GOP primary in the open 6th CD. Retiring Sen. Jon Kyl immediately endorsed Adams, while Rep. Trent Franks endorsed Matt Salmon, who is also running for this post
• NV-02: Roll Call's Kyle Trygstad does a nice job digging up some facts about a 1954 special election to replace Nevada Sen. Pat McCarran, who passed away in September of that year. (If you've ever flown to Vegas, that's the guy the airport is named after.) There was some legal wrangling as to whether a special election was actually required, but once the state Supreme Court ruled yes, the parties selected their nominees by committee, not primary. That could possibly serve as precedent as SoS Ross Miller decides whether state law requires that parties choose their candidates, but Nevada's current statutes were revised only a decade ago, so the McCarran case may not be applicable.
• NY-23: A few weeks ago, the NRCC mocked a batch of miniscule radio ad buys by the DCCC and said: "At what point does a campaign committee blush when launching a 'paid advertising campaign?'" Apparently, that point must lie somewhere below $4,550, which is the amount the NRCC is spending on a tiny TV buy in Rep. Bill Owens' district. (It's some lame Pelosi-related attack.)
I'd also like to give some props to Steve Peoples of Roll Call for basically ignoring the contents of the ad and focusing on exactly what the NRCC is trying to accomplish here. I don't know if he wrote the headline, but it can't be what Republicans were hoping for: "NRCC Takes Turn With Small Ad Buy Targeting Earned Media." And in referring a radio ad against Rep. Mike Ross that we noted the other day, Peoples used the kind of language you might find on SSP, saying that the NRCC "convinced a local paper to write a story about the radio buy but refused at the time to disclose the size of the investment." (It turned out to be $2,550.) If you're going to write up a story like this, this is how it should be written.
• IN-SoS: The GOP-held state legislature has backed off a bit on attempting to rewrite the law in order to get around the Charlie White mess. (If this is the first you're hearing of the whole saga, I would suggest checking out our IN-SoS tag.) The proposed new law would give the governor the power to appoint replacement officers only on a prospective basis, so it won't affect the White situation. However, the legislation will still prevent the GOP from losing their major-party status (which was keyed to the SoS race) if the worst happens.
• NJ-St. Sen.: The legal wrangling over Democrat Carl Lewis's ballot eligibility has heated up quickly. Lewis has filed suits in both state and federal court, and a federal court judge has already ordered LG/SoS/Chris Christie goon Kim Guadagno to explain her decision booting Lewis from the ballot earlier this week. Lewis is still busy campaigning, and if he's ultimately declared eligible, I think all this rigmarole might wind up helping him, given that it's free media.
• Colorado: I'm guessing that Republicans are wishing state Sen. Greg Brophy hadn't cracked out of turn and admitted that proposed GOP maps had been deliberately "skewed to the right." That certainly won't help them when the entire matter winds up in court, which Republican state Rep. Don Coram acknowledged was inevitable anyway. In a bit worthy of Stephen Colbert, Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post writes: "Brophy said Republicans got nervous when they heard Democrats were pushing so-called competitive seats, which he said favor Democrats...." Ah, indeed, the facts do have a well-known liberal bias.
Connecticut: According to the Greenwich Time, Dem state House Speaker Christopher Donovan has his eye on Rep. Chris Murphy's open 5th CD, and would very much like to have the blue stronghold of Bridgeport drawn into it. That would remove it from Rep. Jim Himes's district, but if you look at a map, it's rather hard to envision this happening without doing a lot of reshuffling. Of course, anything is possible, but given how minor CT's population deviations are, a serious reconfiguration of the map would seem to be uncalled for.
• Indiana: The Hoosier State is poised to become the fourth to finalize a redistricting map. The Republican-held state legislature has given its approval to a new plan, which now goes to GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels for his signature.
• Massachusetts: A seemingly clever bit of politics by Scott Brown, but there's a "but." Brown sent a letter to the state legislature's redistricting committee, advocating for a majority-minority congressional seat to be drawn in the Suffolk County region, and also to press for more maj-min districts in the state lege. Who knows whether the idiots in the legislature will listen to him, but Brown of course is simultaneously pushing for new district lines which will ultimately favor Republicans (by packing minorities) and, more importantly, he gets to look like he's protecting minority interests, all at no cost to himself.
Here's the "but": Brown doesn't seem to know what he's talking about. Rep. Mike Capuano, who would be most affected by Brown's proposal, fired back, saying his 8th CD already is majority-minority. It's about 54.5% "white" according to the Census, but that includes Hispanics who also identify as white, so the non-Hispanic white %age is almost certainly below 50%. (Some 19% of 8th CD residents identify as Hispanic, of any race.) Oops.
• Nevada: I'm not going to get into this one in too much detail (my brain can only hold so much redistricting-related information), but Nevada Republicans are now bitterly split over new maps that GOPers in the state Senate drew for the state Assembly. Why didn't the Assembly draw its own maps? They did, but the morons who drew them were advised not to release them because lawyers thought they didn't comply with the VRA. Meanwhile, Dems in both chambers worked together to release a joint set of plans. However, they still haven't released their congressional map. Anyhow, you can find more details under the "Related Documents" sections at both links.
• Oklahoma: Unsurprisingly, the map that the state House unanimously approved appears ready to sail through the state Senate, too. Shira Toeplitz suggested in her writeup (which is a few days old) that the new plan could be signed into law this week, but it hasn't actually been voted on by the full Senate as of this writing.
• Texas: The cat fud is ready to fly in Texas redistricting, where ruthless Republican leaders are prepared to run roughshod over their own incumbents in the aims of preserving and maximizing their advantage to the greatest extent possible. In other words, they're staying true to the spirit of Tom DeLay. In the abstract sense, it's a ruthlessness I admire, and I wish Dems would adopt it. In any case, I wouldn't be surprised if the final maps pass in spite of a lot of GOP defections - though maybe a few horse heads in a few beds will solve that problem.
• Virginia: I'm glad to see that Republicans in the state Senate are as happy to act like sheep as Democrats in the state House. The Democrats' new map passed yesterday by a 32-5 margin. Reading the linked article really makes me feel like this whole thing has been a grand kabuki, with Gov. Bob McDonnell playing everyone - even members of his own party - like puppets. McDonnell simply had to show he could extract a price from Democrats, and so he has. However, I note that the congressional map is now completely untethered from the legislative maps. If Democrats agree to an 8-3 map now, well, fuck them. Once McDonnell signs the lege plans into law, there's no going back, and there's no reason at all not to force the courts to draw a federal map.
• FL-Sen: It's official: Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, who filed paperwork last week, formally joined the GOP Senate field yesterday, making his announcement on right-wing radio host Mark Levin's show. Despite his establishment pedigree, Hasner has endeared himself to movement conservatives, hitting almost all of the right notes in what I call "Tribal Clef" - like so, but when you sing just the right tune to please the teabaggers. He was for Marco Rubio before it was cool, likes to hate on Muslims, and tried to push a state constitutional amendment that would let Florida "opt out" of card check should the Employee Free Choice Act ever pass. One odd thing, though, is his support for electric cars, something that Rush Limbaugh likes to mock as some liberal attempt at social engineering.
• MA-Sen: Activist Bob Massie has hired one-time Howard Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi. Trippi was once a netroots icon but really fell out of favor after he went to run the Senate campaign of zillionaire asshole Jeff Greene in Florida last year.
• ME-Sen: One possible Dem name we hadn't yet heard of as a possible challenger to Sen. Olympia Snow is state Sen. Phil Bartlett. Bartlett is just 32 years old, but will already be term-limited next year. (Maine seems to have a lot of very young legislators!) In the classic formulation, he says he's "not ruling out" a race.
• MO-Sen, MO-02: It's Apes-A-Poppin in the Missouri Senate race - and beyond. As Rep. Todd Akin inches closer to a senatorial run, teabagger favorite Ed Martin says he's thinking about running for Akin's potentially vacant seat, rather than competing against him in the Senate primary. Martin came close to beating Rep. Russ Carnahan in MO-03 last year, but that district is all but certain to get caved into Akin's present 2nd CD. Martin is a resident of St. Louis, though, so I'm not sure if he'd wind up in the new 2nd district (not that it necessarily matters).
Martin's newfound open-mindedness seems to come in response to a move by former state GOP chair Ann Wagner to create an exploratory committee for a possible run in whatever winds up being the successor to Akin's seat - again, assuming Akin runs for Senate, which Wagner thinks is "likely."
• NE-Sen: Ben Nelson told a Rotary Club gathering that he hasn't yet decided whether he'll run again in 2012. Also, help me out here, because I'm not understanding this: Is Nelson also saying in this article that he voted for healthcare reform because if he hadn't, a public option would have passed? I'm not getting this one at all.
• NM-Sen: Dem Hector Balderas, another candidate who telegraphed his intentions last week, also made his entry into his state's Senate primary official yesterday. He employed some good framing in his intro video:
Accountability and fiscal responsibility are not Republican words. And I'm tired of hearing them used as excuses to shortchange our children and break promises to our seniors.
As Sean Sullivan notes, he does take an indirect jab at Rep. Martin Heinrich, saying he doesn't have "the most connections in Washington" and that he "won't be the candidate of the lobbyists or the insiders." The contours of this race seem superficially akin to those in Connecticut, where a more powerful congressman is facing off against a (former) statewide elected official, but I'm hoping everyone keeps their noses clean here.
• NV-Sen: Silver State Dems are trying to do everything they can, it seems, to pressure Gov. Brian Sandoval into not appointing Rep. Dean Heller to John Ensign's soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat. I'm doubtful any of this will work (why should Sandoval care?), but if you're curious to see what Democrats are up to, click the link.
• IN-Gov: We're getting close to landing a pretty strong gubernatorial candidate in the Hoosier State. Former Dem state House Speaker John Gregg (whom we've mentioned in the past) says that he'll soon form an exploratory committee and that his "mind is made up." He's been pressing the flesh at Jefferson-Jackson dinners across the state lately, trying to re-build his name rec after a decade out of office. Still, with Mike Pence looking awfully lazy, I'm feeling perhaps a touch optimistic about this race.
• AR-04: The NRCC is airing a radio ad (I assume for peanuts) against Dem Rep. Mike Ross, attacking him for voting against all five budget proposals which came up for a vote in the House on April 15th. The main Republican Medicare-killing plan sponsored by Paul Ryan, the even crazier Republican Study Committee plan sponsored by Scott Garrett (which Dems almost tricked the GOP into passing), the Progressive Caucus plan sponsored by Raul Grijalva, the Congressional Black Caucus plan sponsored by Emanuel Cleaver, and I guess what you'd call the mainstream Democratic plan sponsored by Chris Van Hollen, which hasn't gotten a lot of attention.
So amusingly, the NRCC is trying to ding Ross for not voting for everything from Scott Garrett's vision for dystopia to a plan they'd readily denounce as neo-Stalinist. Ross should easily be able to turn this around and cast himself as an ardent defender of Medicare. (I'm sure I don't need to give him any pointers about wanking on the Grijalva or Cleaver plans.) They're also doing robocalls in another dozen or so seats held by other Dems who also voted against all five plans. Maybe this line of attack will work, but there are really very few districts left where it can.
• IN-08: Former six-term state Rep. Dave Crooks, who left office in 2008, says he's "pretty close to pulling the trigger" on a run against freshman Rep. Larry Bucshon. The 8th CD looks like it'll get made a touch more Democratic, something that Crooks acknowledges has figured in his plans. What's more, Bucshon so far has proven to be no great shakes - he had the poorest fundraising quarter of any congressman in Indiana. (Shades of John Hostettler, the last Republican to hold this seat before Bucshon?) I also like the fact that Crooks is already coming out hard against the Ryan plan.
In any event, Crooks says he's likely to make a formal announcement in the next 30 days, which would be a very good get for Team Blue. Warrick County Democratic Party Terry White is already in the race (which we noted previously), and former state Rep. Trent Van Haaften (who ran last year) is also still weighing a run.
• MN-08: Democrats have finally landed a challenger to the really meager Rep. Chip Cravaack: Daniel Fanning, the deputy state director for Sen. Al Franken and an Iraq war vet. I suspect that this will not be the last word on the Dem primary field, though. UPDATE: Seems I read the article a little too hastily. Fanning is just saying he's likely to run. He hasn't officially declared.
• NV-02: Speaking of Dean Heller (see NV-Sen bullet above), Sharron Angle is supposedly threatening to do exactly what I predicted she would, which is run an independent campaign in the free-for-all special election to replace Heller if she isn't tapped by the Republican Party. However, this "news" comes from the Las Vegas Review-Journal "newspaper" (as Jon Ralston would put it), and they admit it's nothing more than a rumor, calling it "the word circulating Monday."
Here's something that's not mere rumor: Dem Assemblywoman Debbie Smith says she won't run in any special in NV-02. We do still have other options here, though, like Treasurer Kate Marshall.
• NY-26: The first candidate-on-candidate Medicare attack ad belongs to Kathy Hochul, who nails Republican Jane Corwin for her support of the Ryan budget plan. The Fix says the buy is for 1,000 points, which is substantial. If I were Hochul, I'd hit this theme and little else for the next four weeks.
• OR-01: Whoa. After a couple months of nothing doing, it looks like the Democratic jalopy is about to start getting very full. Former state Sen. Ryan Deckert is now the third Dem to get in or near the race to unseat Rep. David Wu, and current state Sen. Suzanne Bonamici is the fourth, with both saying they are "considering" a run. Guys, you realize what happens when everyone piles into this rustbucket, right? Former Jeff Merkley state director Jon Isaacs says he thinks Wu can probably score from 35-45% of the vote, which means that unseating him will be very hard with more than one opponent. I'm inclined to agree.
• TX-14: LOL, I guess we have to put Ron Paul on the 2012 House Open Seat Watch now.
• NJ-St. Sen.: Even though an administrative judge already said he could run, Republican Secretary of State Kim Guadagno ruled that Carl Lewis is ineligible to appear on the ballot this November as a Democrat. It just so happens that Guadagno is also the Lt. Gov., which means, of course, she's under Chris Christie's considerable thumb. Why does this matter? Because Lewis had the temerity to insult the thin-skinned Don Christeone when he decided to run for office while also pursuing a plan to develop a state youth athletic program under the governor's auspices. That plan now sleeps with the fishes, and Guadagno's latest move amounts to delivering the dead carp wrapped in newspaper. Fortunately, Lewis says he'll appeal.
• WI Recall: Good news for Dem state Sens. Lena Taylor and Fred Risser: The deadline for the GOP to submit recall petitions for them came and went with nary a whisper. Meanwhile, Democrats plan to file signatures against a sixth (and probably final) Republican, Rob Cowles, this week.
• Colorado: Any attempts at bipartisan compromise have totally fallen apart at this point, with the GOP saying they'll produce a new plan of their own in response to the Democrats' announcement they they'll introduce a new map. With the legislature split, I have to believe this will head to court, unless the Dems can present something that the GOP fears less than the prospect of a judge-drawn map.
• Missouri: Republicans are still scrambling to try to create a new map that both the House and Senate can agree on in time to put it on Gov. Jay Nixon's desk and be able to schedule a veto over-ride before the current legislative session ends on May 13. The problem is that today is really the last day they can squeeze this in. Nixon has 15 days to review any bill he gets). It would take quite a breakthrough for this to happen, and lawmakers are apparently worried that if they have to wait until September to try an over-ride, Nixon will have the chance to sway wobbly legislators to his side. The GOP's redistricting chair says: "If you're term-limited out and looking for a job, the governor can dangle something in front of you." Dangle away, Jay!
• Virginia: Oh god. This is just not a headline I wanted to see: "Senate opens bipartisan negotiations on redistricting." Dems claim they "won't negotiate away our majority," but what does that mean? The Democratic majority in the state Senate is already cut pretty close to the bone, so I don't see how they have much room to give. At least if they go with a court-drawn map instead, they get a) a better map in the House even if they risk a worse map in the Senate and b) a shot at a second set of elections in 2012 with Obama at the top of the ticket - and fighting hard for VA, you can be sure. But if they play nice with Gov. Bob McDonnell, they could wind up with something resembling a dummymander. I'm pretty worried.
• FL-Sen, FL-Gov: Suffolk University does a little poking around in the Sunshine State and finds that Sen. Bill Nelson winds up with rather good 43-24 favorables (including strong 30-39 marks among Republicans). Rick Scott, though, not so good... he's gasping at 32-47 overall. (President Obama stands at 48-44.) Suffolk also tested the GOP Senate primary (see Q.14 on p. 3), but no one scores higher than 7% in their kitchen sink head-to-head hypothetical, so I can't say it's worth very much.
• NE-Sen: Dem Sen. Ben Nelson says he raised over $1 million in Q1 and has $2.3 million on hand.
• NJ-Sen: Dem Sen. Bob Menendez apparently raised $1.6 million in Q1 and had about $4 million on hand.
• NV-Sen: Interesting: Aaron Blake is telling his WaPo colleague Felicia Sonmez that the DSCC is formally endorsing Rep. Shelley Berkley in her bid for Senate. This is probably a message to Byron Georgiou that he might want to think about finding something else to do.
• PA-Sen: Dem Sen. Bob Casey took in $1.1 million in Q1 and has over $2.1 million on hand.
• PA-Gov: Tom Jensen loves the re-do polls, and so do we, of course. This time, it's Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, who would lose in a hypothetical rematch to Dan Onorato by a 49-44 margin. Corbett's job approvals are at a sucky 34-44, which is interesting because unlikely the other Republican governors PPP's been testing, Corbett hasn't been caught at ground zero in labor-related disputes or (ala Rick Scott) in endless conflagrations with legislators in his own party.
• RI-Gov: Brand-new Gov. Lincoln Chafee says he might run as a Dem if he seeks re-election in 2014 - and also says he might not endorse President Obama for re-election. At first I imagined he was trying to preserver wankerish "moderate" credentials, but if you read the linked article, you'll see he actually criticizes Obama from the left for giving away too much in the recent government shutdown showdown.
• IA-03: Could the truly crazy Rep. Steve King really be scoping out a potential run in the proposed new 3rd CD? King, as you know, would be thrown into a new 4th CD with fellow Republican Tom Latham if Iowa's new maps pass into law, as expected. That's not a particularly appealing choice, but would a matchup with Dem Rep. Leonard Boswell in the new 3rd be any better? Blogger desmoinesdem, who lives in the 3rd, says she received a robocall from King asking if she supported a "total repeal of Obamacare." Another commenter at Bleeding Heartland says he, too, received the same call - but he's in the new 2nd, so it may just be that King is trying to raise money from Obama haters throughout the state. (The call included options for offering to donate to King.)
• LA-03, LA-07: With Louisiana's new maps becoming law (see bullet below in Redistricting Roundup), the big issue now is what happens between Republican Reps. Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry. The CW has long been that Landry, a teabagger who beat an establishment GOPer for the seat, would be left out in the cold. But I'm starting to wonder if maybe the knives will be out for Boustany instead. Boustany, you'll recall, very nearly derailed the entire redistricting process late in the day, prompting all five other Republican congressmen to ask that mapmaking be delayed for an entire year. An angry state legislature refused to entertain that possibility, but there was still a lot of ill will toward Boustany. Indeed, Rep. John Fleming said of Boustany last week: "I don't feel like I can trust anything he says. Everything he told me, he reneged on." In any event, Boustany says he raised a not-especially-impressive $230K in Q1. I'll be very curious to see what Landry took in.
• MT-AL: Republican businessman Steve Daines announced he raised almost $200K and will report $330K on hand as he pursues Rep. Denny Rehberg's open seat. Dem state Rep. Franke Wilmer said she's only raised $10K so far, but adds that she hasn't been able to fundraise as much as she'd like because she's in the middle of the legislative session.
• NV-02: Now things are getting interesting. Retired USS Cole Commander Kirk Lippold officially announced his entrance into the race for Dean Heller's open seat, making him the second Republican to get in. I say it's interesting because we might soon have at least three serious (well, "serious") candidates in the race, giving Sharron Angle a plausible shot of capturing her party's nomination. (The other expected entrant is Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, who said he'll wait until the legislative session ends in June to announce.)
• NY-26: Dem Kathy Hochul has a new ad up touting her leadership in the War on Tollbooths. It's actually her third ad; her second is an attack ad, going after Republican Jane Corwin for being a phony on spending cuts. NWOTSOTB.
• PA-11, PA-17: Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien, who staged a rather unsuccessful primary challenge to now-ex-Rep. Paul Kanjorski last year in PA-11, basically ruled out another run for Congress, and said he definitely won't challenge Rep. Tim Holden in a primary if Lackawanna gets drawn into Holden's 17th CD.
• DCCC, NRCC: Despite having gotten its ass kicked last year and having sixty fewer members to lean on for donations, the DCCC had a monster first quarter, raised $19.6 million and cutting its debt by more than half, from $17.3 million to just $8 mil. By comparison, the NRCC took in just $18.1 million and has the same amount of debt - but it started off with much less. Republicans have twice our cash-on-hand, though ($9 mil to $4.6 mil). We'll bring you a full chart with all the committee numbers once they all report.
• VETO: I don't really have a good place to put this, but you just gotta click the link and check out the pics of Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer vetoing a bunch of Republican legislation. Pure awesome.
• Iowa: Both houses of the state lege have now approved Iowa's new maps by very broad margins, and they go to Gov. Terry Branstad for his signature - or veto. He has three days to decide, but it would be quite the bombshell if he chose to nuke things at this stage, especially since he's said he hasn't heard a "compelling reason to reject" the plans. Also, a great data point from Greg Giroux:
Braley now reps 48% of population in proposed CD1, Loebsack 54% of CD2, Boswell 57% of CD3, Latham 50%/King 47% of CD4
• Louisiana: Gov. Bobby Jindal signed his state's much-fought-over new maps into law yesterday, and now they go to the Dept. of Justice for pre-clearance. The Legislative Black Caucus says it will oppose the maps (citing problems with all three: state House, state Senate, and congressional) and ask the DoJ to deny approval. However, the chair of the Legislative Democratic Caucus says " "Nothing jumps out at me and says [preclearance] will be a problem." Needless to say, quite a lot of folks at SSP disagree! Once the maps are submitted (likely in the next few weeks), Justice has 60 days to make a decision.
• Missouri: New redistricting plans, crafted by the Republican-controlled legislature, are getting closer to Dem Gov. Jay Nixon's desk, but he hasn't yet said whether he'll veto them. Republicans sound divided as to what they think Nixon will do. To over-ride a veto, they'd have to bring a few wayward members of their own team back into the fold, and buy off a couple of Dems. I suspect they can pull that off.
• Oklahoma: Just call it No Drama Oklahoma - so far, anyway. A state House committee passed a new map (PDF here), and the district lines for OK's five CDs have barely changed. (Helpfully, the map shows both the old lines and the new boundaries, so you can see just how minimal the differences are. It's still possible, though, that the Senate or the governor could try to push a plan which screws the state's lone Dem, Dan Boren. But it seems like legislators are more concerned with re-doing their own maps.
• Texas: They might be our mortal enemies, but the folks who draw the lines in the Lonestar State share our penchant for ruthlessness when it comes to map-making. Like a mother eagle shoving her own babies out of her nest, Republicans in the legislature are dealing with the problem of unwanted teabaggers by drawing them out of their districts - and into districts with one another. Indeed, a plan by the chair of the state House redistricting committee would pit no fewer than 14 Republicans against one another, allowing the GOP to create a whole mess of new open seats in other areas. This isn't cat fud so much as it is the cat stuffing her mangiest kittens into the dryer herself.
• Virginia: Bill Bartell of the Virginian-Pilot takes a detailed look at what the Democratic plan to turn the 4th CD into a majority-black district would mean, particularly for the seat's current inhabitant, GOP Rep. Randy Forbes.
• AZ-Sen: Rep. Jeff Flake, long known for his non-insane stance on immigration, has bluntly announced that he's flip-flopping. Just like John McCain before him, Flake says he no longer supports comprehensive immigration reform and now just wants to discuss border security. Clearly, Flake is terrified of getting teabagged in the senatorial primary, even though he doesn't have any actual opponents yet. I suspect that Rep. Trent Franks (or someone else with strong movement conservative bona fides) will get into the race, though, and I doubt that Flake's last-minute conversion will incline the teabaggers to forgive him.
And I also wonder if it might not tick off his patrons at the Club for Growth, who just proudly announced that they've raised $350K for him. The CfG is backed by people and organizations who are what you'd call "cheap labor conservatives." That is, they prefer to see a steady flow of illegal immigrants because they represent a ready pool of workers they can cheaply exploit. The kind of immigration reform that Flake once favored also pleased his corporate masters, because it would have created a temporary worker program-almost as good, but blessed by the law! I doubt that the CfG, which pushed Flake hard to get into the race (and immediately endorsed him once he did) will abandon ship over this offense, but maybe they'll start focusing their energies on more reliable stooges.
• FL-Sen: I'm really glad that Mike Haridopolos is the only announced Republican candidate of any note because he's such a walking train-wreck (if you can visualize such a thing)-almost every new story about him is yet another disaster. His eye for optics is particularly atrocious: In his role as President of the state Senate, he just removed a piece of ethics legislation from the body's agenda-despite having co-sponsored the very same bill last year. Even better, you may recall that Haridopolos was just admonished by the Senate for failing to properly disclose his finances on required forms. I love this guy!
• MI-Sen: A Republican firm who seems to be affiliated with ex-Rep. (and potential candidate) Pete Hoekstra, Strategic National, released bits and pieces of a survey to Dave Catanese. They claim that Dem Sen. Debbie Stabenow's approval rating is just 30-38, in contrast with PPP's poll from yesterday which had her at 46-39. The only head-to-head they released showed Hoekstra trailing just 41-38 (PPP has him back 50-38). To Strategic National's credit (by the way, we'd never heard of this firm until this year), they released their sample makeup. To their discredit, the sample was 46 R, 44 D & 10 I. In other words, from Mars.
• NM-Sen: Could Greg Sowards be the next Christine O'Donnell or Joe Miller? I'd be shocked if you've ever heard of this teabagger, but he did spent $300K of his own money to get pasted in the NM-02 primary in 2008. (He also has a fucking funny URL-just Google his name.) With "moderate" Heather Wilson the only big-time candidate in the race so far, a surprising number of winger outfits are giving Sowards a look: He's in DC visiting with Jim DeMint's people and the Tea Party Express, among others. Sowards also appeared to get under Rep. Steve Pearce's skin by saying he didn't think Pearce would run for the Senate again. Click the link for Pearce's prickly response.
• NV-Sen: Rep. Shelley Berkley (D) will be keynoting the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in rural Churchill County this Friday, which either means she's spreading out her feelers for a statewide run, just doing someone a favor, enjoys spending time way up in the northern part of the state, or absolutely nothing.
• OH-Gov: On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese, I saw John Kasich, and his poll numbers sucked. Quinnipiac sez he's at 30-46 approvals, while GOP-affiliated pollster We Ask America says he's at an astoundingly bad 35-58. Q also asked about SB5 (the anti-union bill) with a couple of different wordings; either way, voters are opposed.
• WV-Gov: State House Speaker Rick Thompson's been cleaning up with the union endorsements (teachers, AFL-CIO), and now he's racked up a huge one: the United Mine Workers of America.
• AK-AL: This story is so disturbing, I won't even attempt to summarize:
A Republican congressman from Alaska, who also is on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association, now is attempting to distance himself from a Fairbanks militia leader accused in a high-profile firearms, murder and kidnapping plot.
In April 2009, with a video camera rolling, Rep. Don Young signed a "Letter of Declaration" being circulated by the Second Amendment Task Force/Alaska Peacemakers Militia, led by Francis Schaeffer Cox. The "declaration" called on "sovereign Americans" to "alter or abolish" any government that tries to "further tax, restrict or register firearms" or prevents individuals from exercising their "God-given right to self-defense [that] precedes all human legislation."
• CA-36: Democracy for America, the activist organization that emerged from the Howard Dean campaign, is endorsing SoS Debra Bowen, though it's not clear what kind of support they plan on providing. DFA previously endorsed Bowen when she sought re-election to her current job last year.
• IL-10: Activist Ilya Sheyman posts a diary to Daily Kos, saying that he's "considering running" against Republican Bob Dold! in Illinois' 10th CD.
• OR-01: Blue Oregon scored quite the coup: I believe they are the first local print media outfit to get an interview with Rep. David Wu. They say they talked to him for an hour, and promise that they asked tough questions. The contents of the interview will appear in a multi-part series over the next day (just as soon as they finish transcribing). You can read part one and part two now.
• SC-05: I don't think anyone was expecting that ex-Rep. John Spratt, at age 68 and with 14 terms under his belt, would seek a rematch, and indeed he's not. At an emotional event to honor Spratt's many years of service, he said that he might teach, or join a DC think tank, but that whatever he does, "it'll be part-time." Godspeed.
• Campaign Committees: So it looks like the DCCC and NRCC are engaged in a minor skirmish, but with Rahm Emanuel gone, it seems like the Chicago Way means, you come at me with a butter knife, I come at you with a spork. Anyhow, the D-Trip announced it was targeting robocalls and a bit of other media at ten Republicans (click link for districts) regarding Social Security and Medicare, so the NRCC did the exact same thing, except about gas prices. The NRCC also released what it claims is are television ads (but what our friend Nathan Gonzales would call a "video press releases") against Heath Shuler and Nick Rahall. I'll bet the amount spent on these buys isn't enough to buy John Shimkus a meatball sub.
• California: The new chair of the CA GOP spazzed about the selection of Q2 Data and Research as the redistricting commission's map-drawing technical consultant, hollering that the firm has ties "to the Democrat Party." Zing! Only problem is that the commission (which of course includes Republicans) voted 13-0 to pick Q2.
• Maryland: Last year, Maryland passed new legislation requiring that, for the purposes of redistricting, the state count prisoners as residents where they last lived, rather than where they are serving their sentences. State agencies just certified a count of 22,000 prisoners, and while some Baltimore-area legislative districts gained a bit as a result, the overall effects were slight. (Side note: The US government refused to share "last known address" data concerning the 1,500 inmates incarcerated in Maryland's lone federal prison.) The only other states with similar legislation are Delaware and New York; while this information affects local as well as state redistricting efforts, congressional redistricting is based on US Census data, and I'm pretty sure these laws don't cover that.
• Virginia: Winners were announced in the college competition to redistrict the state of Virginia. You can find the maps at the link. I don't think they got any babka, though.
• OH-Sen: This is about as far from the horse's mouth as you can get (paging Goldy?): The Columbus Dispatch is simply asserting that Republican Treasurer Josh Mandel "is leaning toward a run for the U.S. Senate in 2012 and will make an announcement this spring." They don't even say, "according to sources"-is that supposed to be implied or something? Anyhow, I'll wait for Young Master Josh to confirm, seeing as no one else is reporting this.
• CA-Gov (PDF): The Field Poll has preliminary job approval ratings for Gov. Jerry Brown, who has a pretty sharp-looking 48-21 score in the early going. But don't get too excited: Guess who had 54-15 approvals at the same point in his first term? Yep, that'd be Gray Davis (scroll down to p. 3 for the completely historical picture).
• NC-Gov (PDF): I'll be honest, PPP's regular NC-Gov polls were starting to all run together in my head, but this time, Tom Jensen & the gang tried something different: they tested a bunch of alternatives to the very unpopular incumbent Dem, Bev Perdue. The sad news for Team Blue, though, is that even our best hope, AG Roy Cooper, still trails likely GOP nominee Pat McCrory by a 43-35 margin, though that's better than Perdue's 50-36 gap. State Sen. Dan Blue (trailing 48-28) and Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton (trailing 47-27) don't change the equation, either. I also seriously doubt that Cooper would run; he was courted for Senate in 2009 but declined early on. He seems pretty happy where he is and, at age 53, can still wait a bit before deciding to move up. (I'm guessing 2016 vs. McCrory would be a good matchup.)
• WA-Gov: This is kind of meh, but if you like your tea weak, drink up.
• FL-26: No, that's not a typo! It's just another super-genious catch by Greg Giroux. Lunatic Karen Diebel, last seen losing the FL-24 GOP primary to now-Rep. Sandy Adams, has filed to run for Congress once again. What's awesome about this is that Diebel has kicked her DeLorean up to 88 miles per hour, since her paperwork says she plans to run in the as-yet-uncreated twenty-sixth congressional district. Click the PDF for the documentary proof. This should be great. (Click here if you need a refresher on Diebel's batshittery, including the infamous Snakes in a Pool incident.)
• IN-02: Former Republican state Rep. Jackie Walorski, best known as Wacky Jackie, surprised no one in formally announcing she'd seek a rematch against Rep. Joe Donnelly, something she'd been toying with ever since her narrow loss last fall. (Walorski blames Donnelly's one-point escape on the five percent a Libertarian Party candidate managed to snag.) Of course, two huge, inter-related questions remain here: What will the 2nd CD look like after redistricting, and will Donnelly seek re-election or try his hand at higher office? Stay tuned... for a while.
• NY-26: Janie's got an ad: Republican Jane Corwin is out with a second spot (her first was a bio ad) that hits themes as old as the hills: Dem Kathy Hochul wants to raise taxes, and she's a clone of Nancy Pelosi. NWOTSOTB, but the Corwin campaign claims that the ad is "is airing districtwide on broadcast," according to The Hill.
• OH-10: With his seat potentially headed for the carving board, Dennis Kucinich is obviously trying to win over as many friends as possible before the state legislature starts up the redistricting process. Kucinich said in an interview on Monday that President Obama's decision to order air strikes on Libya "would appear on its face to be an impeachable offense." (By the way, check out that PPP item up above - Kucinich has 27-40 favorables statewide.)
• PA-07: Now this is damn interesting. At that recent DCCC fundraiser in Philly we mentioned the other day, Steve Israel reportedly met with former Safe Schools Advocate Jack Stollsteimer about a potential run against freshman Rep. Pat Meehan, who took over Joe Sestak's old seat last cycle. Stollsteimer confirms he met with "party leaders," and says he's giving the race "serious consideration." But what makes all this so unusual is that Stollsteimer served as Meehan's press spokesperson for many years while Meehan was Delaware Co. DA and later U.S. Attorney! It's only been a few months, but Stollsteimer says he has "serious problems with what [Meehan]'s already done as our Congressman." Could be good!
• PA-08: That don't impress-a me much: the NRCC put out a press release attacking ex-Rep. Patrick Murphy for something or other, perhaps because they're concerned he might run for his old seat again. (That's possible, though he might also run for state AG.) But press releases are cheap, and who knows how many carbon-copy releases the NRCC put out, seeing as they don't put them all up on their website.
• LA-St. Sen.: They switch parties in Louisiana like Denny Hastert changes underwear-which is to say, not every day, but perhaps with some frequency. It should come as little surprise that the latest state legislator to don a not-so-fresh pair of tighty-whities is moving from D to R. But a diarist at Daily Kingfish points out that Norby Chabert (great name) isn't exactly some crusty Dixiecrat playing out the string-he's a freshman who has said publicly he voted for Obama, and was relentlessly attacked on that score during his first election campaign in 2009. It'll be interesting to see if the whole mess of recent converts like Chabert wind up getting teabagged to death.
• Philly Mayor: A judge denied Mayor Michael Nutter's request to remove wacky opponent Milton Street from the ballot, and Nutter said he would not appeal. (Nutter said that Street violated the city's residency requirements, which say you have to live in Philadelphia for three years before seeking office, because Street was serving out a sentence in a federal prison in Kentucky.)
• Wisconsin Recall: The RSLC-that's the Republican State Leadership Committee, the GOP equivalent of the DLCC-is going up with new television ads against Democratic state Sens. Jim Holperin and Dave Hansen, who sit in the two most Republican districts held by Dems and are the target of recall efforts. Neither district is really red, though-they were both lost by Kerry but won by Obama, making them more swingish than anything else. Politico notes that the RSLC has already been running ads against Holperin, and that the new buy is expect to cost $50K a week, while the anti-Hansen campaign will run "six figures over several weeks."
How is this for awesome, though? One Wisconsin totally busted the RSLC for using stock footage so fake, it was actually watermarked with the words "FILE FOOTAGE" in the bottom corner!
• Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: It was only a matter of time-and not that much. The WMC-Wisconsin's version of the Chamber of Commerce-is preparing to run ads in support of Republican David Prosser's campaign to stay on as justice. (I'm guessing these will be attack ads against JoAnne Kloppenburg.) Progressive groups are already on the air with a spot that equates Prosser with Gov. Scott Walker.
Meanwhile, in a candidate forum yesterday, Prosser's already infamous "I'll destroy you, bitch" comments of course came up-and he once again repeated his defense that, well, a bunch of women made him do it, by (as the AP put it) "ganging up on him." He also apparently failed to apologize for his remarks.
• Alaska: Yes, Alaska! While the state obviously doesn't have to worry about congressional redistricting, it does have to re-do its legislative maps. And believe it or not, the state actually has something of a Democratic gerrymander, since last time around, Dem Gov. Tony Knowles controlled key appointments to the panel responsible for producing new maps. This time, of course, Republicans control all the levers of power, so payback is expected.
• Maryland: MD has long been a popular target at SSP for redistricting plans, so I'm not sure there's much new here in Aaron Blake's latest state-by-state installment. But you geeks tell me!
• Mississippi: Dems in the state House voted to join that NAACP lawsuit I mentioned yesterday, which is seeking to enjoin the state from holding elections this year under the old district lines-something which could happen if the legislature stalemates on new maps, which is looking increasingly likely.
• AZ-Sen: Former GOP Rep. Matt Salmon says he's considering getting into the senate race. Salmon held current candidate Jeff Flake's seat in the House before losing the 2002 gubernatorial race against now-DHS chief Janet Napolitano. Speaking of Flake, he was one of only three House Republicans to vote against the GOP-backed spending bill which contained $60 billion in cuts. Teabagger eyebrows were raised, but Flake claims he voted against it from the right, saying it didn't go far enough.
• MA-Sen: Speaking of teabaggers, Scott Brown, when directly asked if he was one (okay, he was asked if he was a "tea partier"), said "No, I'm a Republican from Massachusetts"(and I drive a truck!). I maintain that a tea-fueled primary challenge to Brown is still possible.
• MO-Sen, MO-02: GOP Rep. Jo Ann Emerson says she won't try to challenge Sen. Claire McCaskill. Dave Catanese thinks that Emerson's "moderate profile" would have made it hard for her to win a primary. Also, former MO GOP chair Ann Wagner says she's still considering the race - but, interestingly, says she also might primary Rep. Todd Akin in MO-02.
• NV-Sen, NV-02: Major bummer, sports fans: Sharron Angle says she is NOT running for president, repeat NOT running for president! Hopefully, though, this means she'll go for the senate again, or possibly the 2nd CD.
• RI-Sen: Cranston Mayor Allan Fung says he won't seek the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, citing the huge fundraising hurdles he'd face.
• VA-Sen: Attorney David McCormick becomes the latest Some Dude to enter the GOP nomination battle for Virginia's open senate seat.
• WI-Gov: By now you may have already gotten wind of the AFL-CIO poll conducted by GQR on the battle in Wisconsin. It was actually two separate polls taken a few days apart, combined into one. The topline numbers for Gov. Scott Walker don't look good - 51% job disapproval, and underwater unfavorables to the tune of a 39-49 spread.
• CA-36: The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) released a poll on the Dem primary in the race to succeed soon-to-resign Rep. Jane Harman. The numbers, from PPP, show SoS Debra Bowen leading LA city councilor Janice Hahn 33-29, and just 21-20 without leaners. Obviously there are still tons of undecideds.
Hahn also released a poll of her own, taken by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates. She refused to release toplines, claiming only that she has a "five-point lead." Misleadingly, her poll memo says that "Hahn's lead is larger than the survey's margin of error." The MoE is ±4.9%, so technically, yes, her lead is literally "larger" than the MoE, but it's not "outside the MoE," which is the metric people are usually concerned with. The press release accompanying the memo also repeats an amusingly idiotic line of attack on PPP, saying the PCCC survey "is not reliable given the fact that it was conducted by a robo call, rather than by an actual researcher."
One other detail: Hahn also just picked up the endorsement of new state Sen. Ted Lieu, who won a special election last week. Lieu's name had briefly surfaced as a possibility for the CA-36 race, too.
• CA-41: GOP Rep. Jerry Lewis, seventy-six years old and skipped over for key leadership roles after the GOP takeover of the House, won't say yet whether he'll seek an 18th term. Redistricting may play a big role here, as Lewis won't benefit from another incumbent protection plan, thanks to the new independent redistricting commission CA voters approved last fall.
• NY-14: Biden alert! The VPOTUS is in New York City today, doing a fundraiser to benefit both Rep. Carolyn Maloney and the DNC. A little surprised to see Maloney benefitting from this largesse, since Reshma Saujani said she won't try to primary Maloney again this cycle. (Then again, Reshma's already flip-flopped on that, so maybe she'll change her mind yet again.) I suppose it's possible that this district's lines will change enough to offer the possibility of a different primary challenger emerging, so this could be a defensive maneuver. Or it could just be a reward to a loyal backer.
• NY-24: Did Rep. Richard Hanna plagiarize a Cato Institute paper for an op-ed of his own in the Syracuse Post-Standard? Check it out and decide for yourself.
• NY-26: Carl Paladino, already on record as backing Jane Corwin's candidacy before she was tapped as the nominee, officially (re-)endorsed her. Some teabagger, Lenny Roberto, also endorsed Corwin, but there's always People's Front of Judean/Judean Popular Front splits between these guys.
Case in point: Iraq vet (and teabagger) David Bellavia's been calling local Conservative Party chair Ralph Lorigo, trying to scarf up the Cons' nomination. Crazy Jack Davis has been doing the same, but Lorigo didn't speak highly of him. Lorigo is responsible for Erie County, which carries the most weight in the 26th district. His Monroe County counterpart, Tom Cook, is the second biggest cheese, and says he's also gotten calls from Bellavia, Corwin, and, believe it or not, nominal Dem frontrunner Kathy Hochul. Cook didn't have kind words about Bellavia, but he noted the obvious truth: state party chair Michael Long is going to make all the decisions, and he appears to be leaning hard toward Corwin.
• OR-01: Rep. David Wu apologized for his behavior and said he's getting treatment (including medication) for whatever ails him... but that he has no plans to step down. Meanwhile, 2010 GOP challenger Rob Cornilles (who lost by 13 points last year) is being talked up for another run but hasn't decided yet.
• UT-02: The NRCC has an ad up (yes, already) attacking Jim Matheson over spending, but NWOTSOTB, so I'm guessing this is what Nathan Gonzales would call a "video press release."
• Philly Mayor: Wealthy businessman Tom Knox says he won't challenge Mayor Michael Nutter - and in fact, went ahead and endorse Nutter. It looks like the incumbent is probably set to cruise in the Democratic primary.
• Crossroads GPS: The Karl Rove dark money front group is launching a $450K radio ad buy, attacking a dozen Dems on spending and supporting ten Republicans. Full list at the link.
• FL-Sen: This probably isn't the way that GOP state Senate President Mike Haridopolos, acting very candidate-ish this week, wanted to kick off a Senate bid. He just had to settle with the state's Commission on Ethics, admitting to a litany of campaign finance violations for failing to properly fill out financial disclosure statements. As far as a penalty goes, though, expect a slap on the wrist; the state Senate's Rules Committee, rather than the Commission, actually assigns the penalty, and Rules is now led by Haridopolos's GOP Senate President predecessor, John Thrasher.
• PA-Sen: There's word of a rather Ron Johnson-style random rich guy interested in taking on Bob Casey Jr. in 2012: John Moran, who owns a logistics and warehousing company in central Pennsylvania and is willing to spend some of his own money to get elected. In other words, another federal-government-hater whose riches are largely dependent on an infrastructure put in place by the federal government (in this case, ex-Rep. Bud Shuster, who's pretty single-handedly responsible for the creation of central Pennsylvania's luxurious web of highways and the rise of trucking as the backbone of that area's economy). Also, if you want to look back at a comparison of the 2010 Senate race vs. the 2006 Senate race (where Casey was elected), Greg Giroux has a very interesting spreadsheet showing which counties had the biggest drops in vote percentages and raw vote numbers.
• RI-Sen: We mentioned a few weeks ago that John Robitaille, last seen coming close in the gubernatorial contest won by indie Lincoln Chafee, was on the wish list for a GOP Senate bid against Sheldon Whitehouse, and now he's saying out loud that he's "seriously considering" it. (Of course, Robitaille's closeness mostly had to do with a split in the left-of-center vote between Chafee and Dem candidate Frank Caprio, but let's just let the NRSC think they can win this one in hopes they spend some money here.)
• UT-Sen: It looks like Orrin Hatch is not only running for re-election in 2012 (where retirement had been considered a possibility for the septuagenarian, no doubt facing a serious teabagging this cycle), but ramping up for a fierce fight at the state nominating convention (which is where Bob Bennett lost, not even making it to the primary). One of his key allies, state GOP party chair Dave Hansen, is reportedly about to resign from that position and start working directly for Hatch's campaign.
• MN-Gov: Tom Emmer held a press conference today in the face of a winding-down recount where the numbers didn't budge, and instead of throwing in the towel, he said he's going to fight on to the end, and threatened to keep on fighting even after the end, alluding to the possibility of legal action over the ballot reconciliation issue (saying the recount was merely "a step in the process"). Meanwhile, seeking to be the ones wearing the white hats here, Mark Dayton's team said they'll withdraw all their remaining frivolous challenges. That's a total of only 42 challenges, though, as more than 98% of the frivolous challenges came from Emmer's team.
• NY-01: After another day of looking at challenged ballots, Tim Bishop continued to add to his lead. He netted another 12 votes, bringing his overall lead to 271 over Randy Altschuler. Challenges to a total of 174 ballots were dropped by both campaigns, leaving about 1,500.
• NY-15: Usually there isn't much speculation that a Governor is about to run for a U.S. House seat, unless it's an at-large state or the Governor has fallen way down the food chain. If you're talking about David Paterson, he may have fallen even further down the food chain than that, though (into dogcatcher realm). At any rate, Paterson quashed any speculation that he would run for Charles Rangel's seat (despite his dynastic links to the seat, as his dad, Basil Paterson, is a key ally to Rangel as two of the so-called "Gang of Four"). It's not entirely clear that Rangel won't still be running in 2012, considering how he seems to utterly lack the 'shame' gene, although Paterson suggested state Assemblyman Keith Wright and city councilor Inez Dickens as possible replacments.
• Committees: Both the NRSC and DSCC are starting the 2012 cycle from a place of parity: deep, deep in debt. The DSCC has $713K on hand and $6.7 million in debt, while the NRSC has $519K on hand and $6 million in debt. Even worse numbers are in the House: the DCCC has $19.4 million in debt and the NRCC has $12 million in debt.
• MA-Sen: Well, that was a nice week off from forward-looking horse-race reporting. On to 2012: one of the first Dem names being floated as a potential challenger to Scott Brown is someone I'd never heard of till now, but who seems to have 'rock star' frequently appended to his name: Setti Warren, the mayor of the very affluent yet very liberal suburb of Newton. Warren, who is African-American, has been mayor of the city of 93,000 (which is 3% black) for only a year.
• NV-Sen: In case it just wasn't clear what an astoundingly well-handled re-election effort came from Harry Reid's camp this year, check out Jon Ralston's re-cap. He recounts how the groundwork was laid years ago, lopping off potential challengers until the weakest one was left standing, details the post-primary ad blast that defined Angle permanently, and also goes into how Reid's team never lost faith that their own internal polls (the same ones Ralston saw) were right and the public polls were wrong.
And then there's the 2012 race, already fascinating, with the first question being whether the unpopular and impoverished John Ensign even tries to run again. The LVRJ looks at the four top Dem contenders and six potential GOP challengers as well, including (could lightning strike twice?) Sharron Angle. The article also looks at potential musical chairs and open seats in the House, given the imminent creation of a Dem-leaning NV-04 and the possibility of multiple House members running for Senate.
• UT-Sen: One guy who shouldn't feel too confident going into 2012 is Orrin Hatch, despite his state's GOP lean: Bob Bennett's death by teabagging is a huge red flag, and now a poll from Mason-Dixon for the Salt Lake Tribune has him at a 40% re-elect, with 48% saying "someone else." (Of course, that 48% no doubt includes both Dems and Tea Partiers.) No head-to-head numbers in the general or primary, though.
• VA-Sen: Jim Webb has sounded notably ambivalent about the prospect of a run for re-election in 2012; it's also been evident in his fundraising so far. A recent interview has him still continuing that tone, say he's "still sorting that out" and seeing him venting about the White House.
• WV-Sen: I suspect this isn't likely to have the desired effect, but it certainly can't hurt them to ask: the GOP is already leaning on newly-elected West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin to change parties. They're offering him his pick of committee assignments (in the minority, natch) and citing the difficulty of running downticket from Obama in 2012 in WV.
• CA-Gov: Here's a nice bit of early perceptions-setting: Jerry Brown has ditched the offer of swank transition headquarters on Sacramento's K Street (apparently Sacto has its own K St. that serves a similar purpose?) in favor of keeping operations at his old campaign HQ in Oakland. Shades of the old Plymouth Duster from 35 years ago! (Although it's worth noting that the Duster, though considered an econobox at the time, today holds a minor place in the muscle car pantheon.)
• IN-Gov: So this Mike Pence for Governor thing may not be a done deal yet. Moving to Gov was clearly done with an eye toward an eventual run for President (as nobody, if you're not named James Garfield, gets elected Prez straight out of the House). But he still seems to be gauging the possibility of a 2012 run straight from the House, buoyed by his popularity at the last Value Voters Summit and the lack of a dominant player in the current GOP field. He says he'll make a decision by the end of the year.
• MT-Gov: This small state will have a big gubernatorial race in 2012, with Brian Schweitzer term-limited. Former Republican Rep.-at-large Rick Hill has just announced he's running; Hill served from 1997 to 2000 before retiring because of health issues which he says have been resolved. Two other GOPers, former state Sens. Corey Stapleton and Ken Miller, are also running; no Dem has thrown his hat in yet.
• KY-AG: This could be an interesting matchup, of the Senate race that could have been. The Kentucky off-year elections are in just one year, and Trey Grayson (the SoS, and loser of the GOP Senate primary) is looking for a promotion of sorts, to AG. That would put him up against Dem Jack Conway (loser of the Seante general), who presumably will be running for re-election.
• DGA: One committee that can feel pleased with its mild overperformance (not that -5 seats is a good thing, of course, especially what with the heartbreaker in Florida, but there was some definite beating of the spread going on here) is the DGA. Director Nathan Daschle lays it out in a memo that's worth reading if you need something to feel good about, pointing out that the GOP's gain is explicable purely by the races that the DGA didn't financially contest (KS, MI, OK, TN, and WY).
• Leadership: It looks like we can call off the Pete Sessions Deathwatch. He'll be back for another term at the helm of the NRCC (after abandoning plans to run for majority whip, which looks like it'll fall effortlessly to Kevin McCarthy). Whether he can maintain the NRCC's gains this next cycle will be the real test of Sessions' abilities; although he'll get some aid from redistricting, there's an awful lot of deadwood washed up on the beach that'll need protecting. Also, John Cornyn will almost certainly also be back at the NRSC, eager to finish what he got halfway through this cycle.
Meanwhile, as we mentioned last night, the DSCC chair is the hot potato that no one, even Charles Schumer, wants to hold. The main unresolved issue for the Dems is the minority whip race, which pits Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn against each other in the #2 spot on the truncated leadership ladder in the minority. Surpisingly, it seems like Hoyer may (despite what looks like Nancy Pelosi efforts to box him out) be able to pull this out, given some crossover support from many members of Pelosi's camp (notably Ed Markey and Jerry Nadler). Progressive Caucus leadership (like Lynn Woolsey and Raul Grijalva) has lined up behind Clyburn, though. Here's one weird suggestion for breaking the stalemate (from Jesse Jackson Jr.): both should get out of the whip race, and co-run the DCCC together (which, with Chris Van Hollen out, is also without a head right now).
Republican Renee Ellmers, who will likely face a recount in her bid to unseat Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.), appealed for help Thursday from the National Republican Congressional Committee.
The NRCC declined and Ellmers isn't happy about it.
The Republican said she asked the committee for help covering the costs related to a looming recount - Ellmers leads Etheridge by some 1,600 votes and earlier this week the incumbent signaled his intention to request a recount.
After elections officials discovered a counting error in one of the state's counties, the Republican's lead over Etheridge shrunk. The difference between the two is now less than 1 percent of the vote, enabling Etheridge to ask for a recount.
Now, the Ellmers campaign has always had a notoriously frosty relationship with the NRCC, but since when is that a valid reason to cut a seat loose? What the hell is going on here?
• AK-Sen: I hope the Alaska journalist corps is fueled up on coffee and is ready to go on a week-long dumpster diving binge, because the mother lode just got opened up. A state superior court judge just ordered that Joe Miller's Fairbanks borough personnel records get released, saying the people's right to know trumps Miller's privacy concerns. The release won't happen until tomorrow, though, to allow time for an Alaska Supreme Court decision if necessary.
• CA-Sen: The polls can't seem to decide whether the California Senate race is tightening, loosening, or staying basically the same, but it was enough to finally get Carly Fiorina to do what the NRSC had probably hoped she would have done months ago: she put $1 million of her own money into the race. (She'd spent $5 mil of her own on the primary, but nothing since then.) On top of that, the NRSC is throwing an additional $3 million into the race for the last week, while Barbara Boxer is calling the bluff with $4 million from her account for ads of her own.
• NV-Sen: As we expected, Harry Reid's been keeping up a steady drip-drip of endorsements from prominent Republicans around Nevada. The most recent one: term-limited state Sen. Dean Rhoads, who represents almost all of the state (geographically) except Clark and Washoe Counties. (H/t LookingOver.)
• FL-Gov: Wow, Bill McCollum actually ate his own cat fud. With little time left on the clock, he swallowed any remnants of his pride and endorsed primary rival Rick Scott, the guy he swore he'd never endorse.
• RI-Gov: Interesting approach from a blue state Dem: Frank Caprio just told the President to "shove it," in reaction to Barack Obama's apparent decision not to endorse him when he was in Rhode Island today. Payback for Lincoln Chafee's Obama endorsement in '08? Or reverse payback for Caprio's reported flirting with a party switch? Or elaborate theater staged for Caprio's benefit, to help distance himself from the White House?
• OH-Gov: Obama and Biden alert! The Dynamic Duo are adding yet another campaign stop in Ohio, where saving Ted Strickland seems to be one of the White House's top priorities. On Sunday, both will appear with Strickland, and then there'll be a Biden/Strickland stop later in Toledo.
• CA-47: Um, maybe someone should tell Van Tran that taking a page from the Carl Paladino playbook isn't really a good idea right now... Tran's out with foul-smelling scratch-and-sniff mailers in the district, hitting Loretta Sanchez for the "stench of Washington."
• CO-04: Add one more body on the plague wagon: the DCCC brought out Betsy Markey on Friday. They announced that they won't be spending any more on the 4th this cycle. They'd previously drawn down their efforts here, but now they're fully pulling out. (If there's a bright spot, this is probably their last triage move... with one week left, there's really no time left to cut anyone else off.)
• FL-12: Is there a growing sense of Republican worry in this district? They shouldn't lose an R+5 district in this climate, but they have probably the most credible 3rd party Tea Party challenger anywhere here, in the form of an actual county commissioner, Randy Wilkinson, who internals polls have seen taking gobbling up double-digit vote shares. They're taking the problem seriously enough to have Newt Gingrich doing robocalling on behalf of GOP nominee Dennis Ross, suggesting that Wilkinson is a plant from next door's Alan Grayson.
• IN-02: Oooops. Jackie Walorski ran footage in a web video of a South Bend neighborhood as an example of a neighborhood "in ruin" from Democratic policies. The residents of the neighborhood are now deeply offended, saying their neighborhood is hardly ruined at all, and are demanding an apology.
• KS-03: In a more normal year, this might be enough to do some serious damage in a close race: just-released police records show that Kevin Yoder (the GOP's nominee here) refused to take a breath test during a 2009 traffic stop. He pled guilty to speeding, also received a citation for not taking the test, and it was left at that.
• MS-04: Look who's in a bit of a panic, and revealing his true stripes: Gene Taylor just let his district's voters know that he isn't one of those Demmycrats at all! Why, he even voted for John McCain in 2008, he says.
• PA-11: Bill Clinton's traveling schedule takes him to three blue-collar districts that were, in the '08 Dem primaries, some of the most die-hard Clinton districts anywhere, now all home to pitched battles. He's appearing in the 11th tomorrow in support of Paul Kanjorski (who we'd expected, a few months ago, to be the first Dem incumbent we wrote off, but who seems to still be in the thick of things). On Thursday, he also visits PA-03 and PA-15.
• VA-05: If you weren't already sold on Tom Perriello's particular brand of awesome, check out the highlight reel of some of the best clips from his most recent debate with Rob Hurt.
• WA-06: Here's an internal poll that's a real head-scratcher, that requires a bit of explanation. Rob Cloud, the same doofus who runs against Norm Dicks every cycle (four times in a row now) and gets crushed, claims to have an internal poll out giving him a four-point lead over the long-time Dem. (Well, four if you do your own math. For some reason, the poll gave actual respondent totals only, 609 to 558 with 95 undecided. If that strange method doesn't by itself set off alarm bells, the polling firm is someone called Wenzel (out of Ohio), a company I'd only heard of once, when they polled OH-Gov and OH-Sen last year on behalf of Ohio Right to Life... but (h/t to quiller) it turns out have a regular gig as WorldNetDaily's pollster and have been responsible for extremely leading-question-rife polls about Barack Obama's citizenship. And on top of all that, Dicks won the Top 2 primary (the most reliable poll possible) with 57% of the vote, with a combined GOP vote share of 43% (of which Cloud got a pathetic 29%),which shouldn't imply much vulnerability. On the other hand, Dicks' district is "only" D+5, one of the least-blue districts that isn't home to an on-the-radar race... and moreover, Dicks has seemed pretty invisible as far as I can tell, compared with next-door neighbor Adam Smith who's in a similarly D+5 district but got a polling-related wake-up call and has been working his butt off lately. So, uh... who knows?
• NRCC: Eager to maximize last-minute take-over opportunities, the party of fiscal responsibility is throwing some more debt on the pile. The NRCC just took out a $20 million line of credit to fund some more late-in-the-game advertising.
• Dark Money: Just as the actual universe's mass is mostly composed of dark energy and dark matter, so too the political universe is apparently mostly composed of dark money these days. Hotline's Jeremy Jacobs has an excellent piece that pulls together all the GOP spending by shadowy third-party groups, fleshing out the IE picture greatly, and also showing a remarkable amount of avoidance of duplication of efforts in the districts. They couldn't actually be coordinating their efforts behind-the-scenes, you think? (Not that that's illegal, as far as I know.)
• IEs: Speaking of IEs, if you haven't been following spiderdem's weekly series over in the diaries regarding the back-and-forth battle of the independent expenditures between the DCCC and NRCC, you absolutely should. It rounds all the numbers up in one handy place, and puts them in the context of the probable lay of the land.
• SSP TV:
• AK-Sen: Here's that NRSC ad mentioned late last week, where they hit Scott McAdams in a preemptive attack to keep him from shooting the gap (and here's the SOTB: $75K)
• CA-Sen: No more giddy Carlyfornia Dreaming here, with a dour ad from the Fiorina camp hitting Barbara Boxer for California's dire economic straits
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio's closing statement is a plain talk-to-the-camera spot saying "Reclaim America!"
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold's out with the ad that he should have run about two months ago, making fun of Ron Johnson's whiteboard and platitudes
• NM-Gov: Susana Martinez makes the Diane Denish/Bill Richardson connection about as explicit as humanly possible in her new spot
• FL-22: Ron Klein seems to have finally moved away from Allen West's homeowners association liens, with the Outlaws gang connections too juicy even for him to ignore
• ID-01: Walt Minnick cites his independence and rags on Raul Labrador for getting his own last ad pulled for its bogusness
• MN-06: Taryl Clark hits Michele Bachmann for, well, being a "celebrity"
• VA-05: Robert Hurt goes after Tom Perriello for being a Washington insider
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 48%, Meg Whitman (R) 42%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 48%, Carly Fiorina (R) 46%
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 56%, Linda McMahon (R) 43%
• IN-Sen: Brad Ellsworth (D) 34%, Dan Coats (R) 52%
• MD-Gov: Martin O'Malley (D-inc) 52%, Bob Ehrlich (R) 42%
• ND-Sen: Tracy Potter (D) 25%, John Hoeven (R) 72%
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 45%, Tom Corbett (R) 50%
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D) 44%, Pat Toomey (R) 48%
• RI-Gov: Frank Caprio (D) 28%, John Robitaille (R) 25%, Lincoln Chafee (I) 35%
• SD-Gov: Scott Heidepriem (D) 36%, Dennis Daugaard (R) 55%
• TX-Gov: Bill White (D) 42%, Rick Perry (R-inc) 51%