• CT-Sen: Remember how Linda McMahon was touting how the WWE dialed things back to "PG-rated" entertainment this decade? That didn't seem to take into account some corporate synergy between WWE and the Girls Gone Wild empire, who collaborated on a 2003 pay-per-view. My Left Nutmeg has the rundown on GGW's greatest legal hits, and also some compare and contrast with WWE's own most luridly misogynist moments from its pre-PG days.
• IN-Sen: Brad Ellsworth, after a few weeks in the dark, is going back on the air with an ad hitting Dan Coats on outsourcing, including his lobbying ties to job-shippers and his own NAFTA vote in the early 90s. However, it looks like this ad is coming out of the Ellsworth campaign coffers, as the DSCC (contrary to a brief flurry of reports) still doesn't seem to be buying any time here.
• MD-Sen: Washington Post (9/22-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
Barbara Mikulski (D): 61
Eric Wargotz (R): 29
Here's the Senate half of WaPo's last Maryland poll, with Barbara Mikulski looking like she might match the 65% she got in her 2004 re-election. Her lead is 59-24 among RVs, so Maryland, like many solidly blue states, has less of an enthusiasm gap problem than the swing states. Her opponent's problem is, naturally, name rec: he has 10/9 favorables, with 81% with no opinion.
• NV-Sen: Sharron Angle will be in Washington DC tomorrow, fundraising at the NRSC headquarters at a minimum-$500 event replete with many lobbyists and ex-Senators. If that causes a little head-spinning cognitive dissonance for you -- in the wake of revelations of her inexplicably tape-recorded summit with Tea Party candidate Scott Ashjian in which they both agree that the GOP has been corrupt since, oh, at least 1994 -- well, then, clearly you're not a Republican.
• CA-Gov: While Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown have actually gotten down to some debating lately, tomorrow's planned debate is suddenly off... and without any explanation it's by mutual agreement, not purely a Whitman pullout (while she retrenches in the wake of her illegal employment arrangement with her housekeeper). If you're wondering what the first poll of the race taken since the story broke looks like and whether it's hurting Whitman, well, there's a box called "Rasmussen" down at the bottom of the digest...
• CO-Gov: Here's a little more info on what happens to the Colorado GOP if Dan Maes doesn't reach 10% in the gubernatorial race. You probably know they get stuck in "minor party" status, which affects their ballot position in both 2012 and 2014. But (this is new, at least to me) it also has major fundraising ramifications for state legislative candidates in those cycles, halving what they can raise from individual donors.
• MA-Gov: Tim Cahill, whose right-leaning indie campaign lost its wheels months ago and last week seems to have lost most of its chassis as well too, still plans to go on the air with $1 million worth of attack ads (his only ads so far have been positive, which may explain why he's polling in the single digits). And here's the good news... he's going after Republican Charlie Baker. If he were to join Baker in training his guns only on Deval Patrick, that could be a problem, but he won't. (Makes me wonder if he was a Patrick plant all along? Probably not, but it'd be one of the greatest stories in the history of ratfucking if true.)
• NY-Gov: Now here's one big financial disparity, at least on paper. Andrew Cuomo's warchest, as of required reports last week, is more than $19 million CoH. That contrasts sharply with Carl Paladino's $209K. Of course, Paladino can write his own checks, and has promised to spend up to $10 million of his own money if necessary. (Even if he did, that'd still be a 2:1 disadvantage, with little likelihood of 'recouping' that money in the form of a win, so don't count on it.) Cuomo spent almost $3 million on TV ads in the last few weeks, so he's leaving nothing to chance.
• AL-02: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for DCCC (9/26-28, likely voters, 8/23-26 in parentheses):
Not a typo. The numbers seem to have stayed exactly the same over the last month, since GQR's previous internal on behalf of Bobby Bright. In this climate, consistency is good.
• IA-01: If, like me, you've been wondering why AFF is pouring $800K into the race against Bruce Braley in the 1st, which no observer has taken much interest in or seen any smoke coming from, well, now you have an answer: Sandy Grenier is the head of AFF. She's also running for state Senate in her spare time... in Iowa. In other words, she's pouring money into a race that's her own personal hobby horse, at the expense of other races that are actually competitive. (And that's not even the main point of the article... it turns out that Grenier, like so many other members of the current wave of GOP candidates, is a big believer in sucker-punching the government with one hand even as you take money from it with the other. Her family has received over $935K in farm subsidies over the last 15 years.)
• NY-20: Grove Insight for DCCC (9/28-30, likely voters, no trendlines):
Scott Murphy (D-inc): 51
Chris Gibson (R): 38
We haven't seen an internal in this district until now. While the numbers are nice, this actually isn't as good as Siena's poll of the district mid-September, which put Murphy up 54-37.
• WV-03: Anzalone Liszt for Nick Rahall (9/27-29, likely voters, no trendlines):
Nick Rahall (D-inc): 59
Spike Maynard (R): 34
With the DCCC out with a poll a couple weeks ago giving Rahall a 55-37 lead (and even that round of AFF polls showing him up by 16), I think it may be time to stop discussing this race as competitive. What's most remarkable here is that the Dems manage to have a 47-37 edge on the generic ballot question, and Maynard (a controversial ex-state Supreme Court justice) still manages to underperform that low bar.
• DCCC: Now who's copping out on their DCCC dues payments? CQ finds that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has been particularly remiss on making its payments, with only junior leadership member Xavier Becerra having paid all his dues as of the Aug. 24 tally. (Two more, including CHC chair Nydia Velazquez, report having paid up since then.) Some members cite failure to move immigration reform as a reason for holding out and giving directly to cooperative individual Reps instead.
• AL-St. Sen.: Despite having a 25-10 20-15 Democratic edge in the Alabama state Senate, many observers are thinking it's high on the list of legislative chambers that could flip this year, given a perfect storm of local and national dynamics. And this isn't going to help: 4 different members of the 35-person body got snared in a federal probe of a bingo operation. One is a retiring Republican, but the others are a Dem running in a tossup seat, a Dem running in a safe seat, and an independent running for re-election who was expected to caucus with Dems next session (Harri Anne Smith, whom you might remember from the AL-02 2008 GOP primary). This scandal looks like it'll drive the legislative race conversation in the state for the remaining weeks.
• NY-St. Sen.: There are four more polls from Siena of state Senate races in New York, showing two pretty safe incumbents (one from each party) but two open seats in true tossup territory. The safe-ish incumbents are Dem David Valesky in SD-40 (beating Andrew Russo 50-40) and GOPer James Alesi in SD-55 (beating Mary Wilmot 55-35). The other two races seem close mostly because of their screwy circumstances. In the Hudson Valley's GOP-held SD-40, GOPer Greg Ball (an inflammatory teabagger out of step with a district more amenable to moderate GOPers) leads Dem Michael Kaplowitz 45-44. And in Buffalo-area Dem-held SD-58, GOPer Jack Quinn (not the ex-Rep., but a relative) leads at 42, but that's because Tim Kennedy (on the Dem and Con lines) is at 39 and William Stachowski (whom Kennedy beat in the Dem primary) is at 12 on the WFP and IP lines.
• State legislatures: At SSP, we're always about finding ways for you to maximize the leverage you get out of your political contributions, and there's no better way to do that than through giving at the state legislative level, where a little money can go a long way (especially a lot of vulnerable chambers and redistricting looming.) The DLCC is out with its second list of Essential races, in the contests they consider important ones in the quest to hold important legislative chambers.
One other resource you should check out is the "Win Big By Thinking Small" ActBlue page, courtesy of Progressive Kick. They have 18 different progressives in important state legislative races all in one place. (One name you might remember is Patsy Keever, who ran in NC-11 in 2004.)
• SSP TV:
• CT-Sen: The DSCC is out with an ad simply called "Bad" focusing on Linda McMahon as bad CEO of WWE; meanwhile, the McMahon camp is out with an ad calling Richard Blumenthal a liar for the nth time over his Vietnam service
• MD-Sen: Barbara Mikulski seems to have an easy race, but is still hitting the airwaves touting her education record
• OH-Gov: John Kasich says that 400,000 Ohio jobs were lost under Ted Strickland's watch (without, of course, guessing at how many of those job losses were proximally related to the devastation of the credit market in the wake of the collapse of Lehman Brothers)
• CA-03: Ami Bera hits Dan Lungren for using ethical loopholes to party with lobbyists in Hawaii
• FL-12: Faced with a state Rep. opponent, Dem Lori Edwards tries running against Tallahassee instead of Washington (and against big insurance, while she's at it), in what's definitely today's most cut-through-the-clutter ad
• PA-11: Paul Kanjorski keeps going to the well of how bad a mayor of Hazleton Lou Barletta was
• NRCC: The NRCC is out with freakin' 27 different ads today... you can see the full list at their blog, and even watch them if you have 13½ minutes of your life you don't want to get back
• AR-Gov: Mike Beebe (D-inc) 51%, Jim Keet (R) 41%
• AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln (D-inc) 37%, John Boozman (R) 55%
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 49%, Meg Whitman (R) 44%
• NM-Gov: Diane Denish (D) 41%, Susana Martinez (R) 51%
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 41%, Tom Corbett (R) 53%
• WY-Gov: Leslie Peterson (D) 25%, Matt Mead (R) 61%
CA-Sen: Just a day after President Obama did three fundraisers for her campaign, Sen. Barbara Boxer says she expects the POTUS to be back next month for another event in San Francisco.
FL-Sen: The US Attorney's Office, the FBI and the IRS are all investigating the possible misuse of credit cards by state Republican Party officials - a case which has already led to the indictment of former House Speaker Ray Sansom. In a separate investigation, the IRS is looking at Marco Rubio's tax records to see if he misused his party credit cards for personal expenses. Meanwhile, state Rep. Tom Grady becomes the latest Charlie Crist ally to pull away from the campaign.
PA-Sen: PoliticsPA says that, according to a source, Joe Sestak's week-long TV ad buy is "worth" $930,000. It's not clear to me whether that's how much Sestak is actually spending, though - it's possible to lock in lower rates by reserving time in advance, which his campaign may have done here (thus inflating the "worth" of the buy). Meanwhile, in an email to supporters, Sestak is decrying Arlen Specter's attacks on his service in the Navy as "Swift Boat-like."
ME-Gov: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (D) for Libby Mitchell (4/11-14, likely voters, no trendlines):
Libby Mitchell (D): 36
Steve Rowe (D): 16
Pat McGowan (D): 13
John Richardson (D): 4
Rosa Scarcelli (D): 3
If these names - all of whom are running in the Maine Democratic gubernatorial primary - aren't familiar to you, follow the link to the Hotline for some background details.
MN-Gov: Dem Matt Entenza is going up on the air with TV and radio ads after the DFL's statewide convention this weekend - but of course, no word on the size of the buy. Speaking of the convention, things are about to either get very interesting or a lot simpler in the MN gubernatorial race. Entenza and ex-Sen. Mark Dayton, who can both self-fund, are both saying they'll fight on through the primary, while the two apparent frontrunners, state House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, are pledging to abide by the convention's endorsement.
AL-05: Notorious turncoat Rep. Parker Griffith is still sitting on $20K that various Democratic lawmakers have given him, supposedly because they haven't asked for it back. This includes money from Rahm Emanuel, Nydia Velazquez, Rosa DeLauro and the retiring Bart Gordon, among others. Gordon, for what can only be bizarre, unspecified reasons, isn't asking for his money back. Rahm, since he's serving in the White House, won't make a formal request, but twists the knife, saying "Whether the contribution is returned or not will be left up to Rep. Griffith's conscience." As for the rest of you dudes, DEMAND YOUR MONEY BACK!
CA-19: SurveyUSA (4/16-19, likely voters, 3/15-17 in parens):
Jeff Denham (R): 27 (25)
Jim Patterson (R): 26 (26)
Richard Pombo (R): 16 (13)
Larry Westerlund (R): 6 (7)
Undecided: 25 (29)
Seriously, of all the races they could poll? I realize this is on behalf of a media client, but still.
DC-AL, UT-AL: Sigh. Legislation which would have given the District of Columbia an actual voting seat in the House is yet again being derailed. Republicans insist that any such bill also eviscerate any remaining gun control laws in the district, and they've frightened enough conservative Dems into supporting such an amendment that you can't have one (the voting rights bill) without the other (the gun provision). The pro-gun measure has become even more absurd, though, such that Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton asked Steny Hoyer to pull the bill altogether. On the Senate side, Orrin Hatch had spazzed about the fact that the bill's other sop to Republicans (a temporary extra seat for Utah) would have been at at-large district - he wants to be able to re-draw the lines (and presumably screw Dem Rep. Jim Matheson) - and said he was glad the bill got scuttled.
HI-01: The D-Trip just spent another $55K on a second negative TV ad attacking Charles Djou, which you can see here. Meanwhile, in light of recent polling showing this unusual jungle race to be incredibly tight, SSP is changing its rating from "Lean Dem" to "Tossup.
MI-01: Term-limited Dem state Rep. Gary McDowell will apparently run to succeed Bart Stupak. McDowell is from the Upper Peninsula, which Crisitunity aptly described as the district's "cultural center of gravity." One possible holdup, though, is that it sounds like McDowell may be willing to defer to former House Democratic Floor Leader Pat Gagliardi, who has not yet made up his mind.
NY-29: Dem Matthew Zeller, tapped by county leaders as the Democratic nominee in the (potential) special election to succeed Eric Massa, formally launched his campaign on Monday. However, it's starting to look like there won't be a special election after all, which means there will be a primary. If that winds up being the case, businessman David Nachbar (who withdrew his name from consideration for the special) has said he might run.
WV-01: Rep. Alan Mollohan is going on the air with a TV ad that attacks his primary opponent, state Sen. Mike Oliverio, "for his ties to a conservative-leaning organization of state legislators." Oliverio had previously launched an ad attacking Mollohan on ethical grounds. No word on the size of either buy.
Alaska: Alaska's state legislature voted to increase its size, by two seats in the Senate and four in the House. AK's population has tripled since statehood fifty years ago, but its lege had remained constant in numbers. What's more, its rural districts are enormous, and would have gotten even larger after redistricting as the population concentrates in the state's few big cities.
Polling: Reid Wilson, diving into recent FEC reports, notes that few Dems commissioned polls in the first quarter of this year - and among those who have, pretty much no one is sharing the data with the public. However, Reid doesn't say whether Republicans have spent similarly on internal polling in the past quarter, or how Q1 2010 compares with prior years.
RNC: God bless Michael Steele. Under his stewardship, the RNC decided to blow $340K to hold a big staff meeting in... Hawaii. Because that's both convenient and inexpensive. If Dems suffer anything less than an utter blowout this fall, we'll be able to thank Steele in no small part.
WATN?: Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who already served 99 days in jail for obstruction of justice (among other things), may be headed back to prison for probation violations (including hiding assets).
• PA-Sen: Seems like Joe Sestak cleared his Senate run with his family, as now he only has to run it by the Almighty: "It would take an act of God for me to not get in now," he said on Saturday. Meanwhile, the state's political establishment, led by Ed Rendell, feted Arlen Specter at the state party's quarterly meeting on Friday (with Sestak in attendance).
• FL-Sen: From sitting Senator to punchline in a few short years: Bob Smith's announcement that he's running for Senate again seemed to generate mostly just shrugs and giggles. Of course, part of the problem is that he's running in Florida instead of New Hampshire, where he looks to be barely a blip on the radar screen in the titanic Crist/Rubio faceoff. This may benefit Charlie Crist a bit by shaving off some of the die-hard conservative vote from Marco Rubio, but Smith in his announcement didn't even seem to have any ammunition to use against Rubio, saying only that he offers "strong political leadership" in contrast to Rubio's "wheeling and dealing." Meanwhile, Crist got hammered in a St. Petersburg Times editorial for his role in gutting Florida's growth management act, which damages his environmental credentials for the general.
• NY-Sen-B: Kirsten Gillibrand snagged two more endorsements from her former colleagues in New York's House delegation: Nydia Velazquez and Ed Towns. Rep. Carolyn Maloney continues to staff up for a potential challenge, though, and words comes that she's looking to hire Joe Trippi as strategist, and Mark Penn's polling firm (now there's an odd combination).
• IN-Sen: Indiana Republicans have located a challenger for Evan Bayh: 32-year-old state Senator Marlin Stutzman. While Stutzman probably doesn't have Bayh shaking in his boots, it seems like a way for him to grow his statewide profile for future endeavors.
• CA-Gov: Another California governor's poll bubbled up last week, from Probolsky Research for Capitol Weekly. They look only at the primary fields: former Governor Jerry Brown continues to lead the field at 24, while SF mayor Gavin Newsom is at 16 and LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is at 15. On the GOP side, "undecided" is running away with it, with 64%. Among the human candidates, here's a surprise: moderate ex-Rep. Tom Campbell leads at 13, leading the two more-highly-touted and richer candidates, ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman (10) and Insurance Comm. Steve Poizner (8).
• IA-03: Rep. Leonard Boswell may face a rematch with the guy he barely beat in the 1996 open seat race to take office: former state GOP chair Michael Mahaffey. IA-03 is a very different configuration now, though; it used to be a mostly rural district then, but now is centered on Des Moines (although Boswell still manages to find ways to get elected by narrow margins).
• TX-23: Rep. Ciro Rodriguez may face a primary challenge in 2010, from lawyer and Iraq vet Miguel Ortiz. Rodriguez and Ortiz are both from San Antonio, so Ortiz doesn't have the advantage of a geographical hook.
• FL-AG: State Senator (and former U.S. Senate candidate) Dan Gelber confirmed that he's running for Attorney General (against friend and fellow Senator Dave Aronberg). Gelber had also been considered for Lt. Gov., seemingly leaving Dems back at square one to fill that slot.
• FL-16: Speaking of Aronberg, with him out, St. Lucie County Commissioner Chris Craft seems to be DCCC's person of interest to take on freshman Rep. Tom Rooney. They've also talked to Craft's fellow Commissioner, Doug Coward.
• VA-Legislature: Here's another interesting look at our best chances of taking control of the Virginia House of Delegates in 2009, this time from our own diaries courtesy of Johnny Longtorso.
Then who would Gov. David Paterson appoint in her stead? Paterson needs to think about, among other things, a) removing potential threats to his governorship and b) earning some serious favors and goodwill. Picking AG Andrew Cuomo ships a contender off to DC, and would also let Paterson earn a second chit with an appointment to the Attorney General post.
Alternately (as Trapper John suggested to me), he could pick someone like Rep. Nydia Velazquez (NY-12), which might burnish his support among Hispanics and women. TJ also tossed out Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown as a dark-horse choice: young, African American, and from upstate. I in turn proposed ultra-dark-horse candidate DavidNYC, but I admit the odds of a second Jewish guy from New York City getting tapped to represent this state in the Senate are fairly slim.
There's still no shortage of names out there, of course. As always, who do you think Paterson would pick, and who should he pick?
Rep. Nydia Velazquez is the front-runner - for now, at least - to replace Hillary Clinton if she becomes the next secretary of state, a source close to Gov. Paterson said yesterday.
There are two other top contenders: Rep. Brian Higgins of Buffalo and Rep. Steve Israel of Long Island. Each would help Paterson with key constituencies when he makes his first run in 2010 for the post he inherited from disgraced Gov. Eliot Spitzer - upstaters in Higgins' case and suburbanites in Israel's.
Late Update (David): Looks like Clinton might actually accept, to my surprise. If true, let the games begin!