• Alaska: Last night's biggest story wound up being the Alaska GOP Senate primary, where Lisa Murkowski is on track to being the second sitting Senator to get bounced by the tea partiers, via the previously little-known Joe Miller. Miller leads Murkowski by 2,000 votes (51-49), although with about a dozen precincts outstanding and then at least 7,600 absentee ballots to be counted, we won't know anything for sure until possibly Sep. 8. With the outcome uncertain, Murkowski isn't conceding, but is already sounding sour-grapesy, sending some bad vibes in the direction of Miller-endorsing Sarah Palin. The winner will face off against Sitka mayor Scott McAdams, the Dem winner who suddenly finds himself in a potentially competitive race. (The DSCC is already out with a press release this morning hitting Miller's extremism, but they haven't said anything about McAdams yet.)
Also in the Last Frontier, the gubernatorial race shaped up as expected, with incumbent GOPer Sean Parnell (who got promoted to the job when Palin did the resigny-quitty thing) facing off against former Dem state House minority leader Ethan Berkowitz. Both won their primaries with smaller than expected numbers, though (with each receiving 49% of the vote).
• Arizona: Good news! For John McCain! He won his primary against J.D. Hayworth by a crushing margin -- 56-32 -- and all for the low, low cost of only his very soul (and tens of millions of dollars). He'll face off against Rodney Glassman in the Senate primary; the former Tucson vice-mayor won a crowded Dem field with 35% of the vote.
There was one lone surprise among the four contested GOP House primaries, and that was in AZ-08, where 31-year-old teabagging veteran Jesse Kelly upset former state Sen. (and establishment pick) Jonathan Paton, 49-41. Maybe the result in AZ-03 was a surprise too, given the underwhelming last few weeks of his campaign, but money and family name rec managed to push Ben Quayle to a dazzling 23% victory in a 10-person field. Democratic opponent Jon Hulburd welcomed Quayle to the field in withering terms:
This election is now between Jon Hulburd and Brock Landers. It's between a young man who fabricated a family, degraded women, and then tried to lie about it, and a small businessman and father of five who has been dedicated to his community...
In AZ-01, as expected, the victor was dentist Paul Gosar (at 31%), and in AZ-05, former Maricopa Co. Treasurer David Schweikert gets his rematch against Rep. Harry Mitchell (winning with 39%).
• Florida: For Florida Democrats, the GOP gubernatorial primary was truly the Best of Both Worlds (sorry, I just can't get off the Peter Garrett thing). They could face off against a vociferously evil, Medicare-defrauding centimillionaire, or against an unpalatable dweeb with a long track record of losing elections, both of whom had turned each other radioactive with unprecedented levels of saturation negative advertising. In the end, the creepy rich guy won (spending $2.70 $84 per vote en route to a 46-43 win), advancing in thoroughly pre-defined form to face Democrat Alex Sink, left unscathed from her primary. McCollum has conceded without endorsing Scott, amidst the planned "unity rally" having already been scrapped several days in advance of the primary.
The Democrats own version of the GOP primary, in their Senate primary, turned out to not be so momentous; Kendrick Meek beat hard-partying billionaire Jeff Greene 57-31, and will try to wade into the general election battle between Charlie Crist (strangely still mum on how he'd caucus) and Marco Rubio. The most interesting House primary in the state was also one of the few Dem ones: Allen Boyd barely held off Al Lawson in a primary challenge from the left-ish in FL-02, winning 51-49 as Lawson rallied African-American voters. He'll face GOPer Steve Southerland in November. The FL-17 primary, to replace Kendrick Meek, was a relatively easy win for state Sen. Frederica Wilson, who got 35% to take over this safe blue seat. (Those sad over Regina Thomas's loss in GA-12 can at least take some comfort in that Wilson will be bringing her own crazy hat collection with her to the House.)
The tightest GOP House primary was in FL-24, where state Rep. Sandy Adams, basically that field's third wheel, made her way through the wreckage left by Craig Miller and Karen Diebel's attacks on each other to win with 30% of the vote, by a 560-vote margin (no AP call and no concession, though); Adams faces freshman Rep. Suzanne Kosmas. Daniel Webster won with 40% of the vote in the GOP primary in FL-08, for the right to face Rep. Alan Grayson in what's likely to be the nation's most over-the-top House race. And in FL-25, state Rep. David Rivera won the GOP primary in this open seat race with 62% despite late-breaking allegations of, well, everything; he'll face Dem Joe Garcia.
• Oklahoma: In the fourth case (along with AZ-08, FL-08, and FL-24) last night of the NRCC not getting their preferred and/or expected candidate (not that it matters much in this red district), social conservative Jim Lankford beat Club for Growther Kevin Calvey in the OK-05 runoff, by a wide 65-35 margin.
• Vermont: The night's most refreshing primary -- one that was extremely civil and where one of the key issues was just how much each participant supported Vermont's possible move to single-payer health care -- also turned out to be its closest. With every precinct reporting this morning, state Sen. Peter Shumlin has a 190-vote lead over ex-LG Doug Racine, who in turn has a 494-vote lead on SoS Deb Markowitz. Shumlin has more or less declared victory, and will face Republican LG Brian Dubie.
• AK-Gov (R/D): Anything other than slam-dunk wins tonight for incumbent Gov. Sean Parnell and ex-state House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz would have to be considered a surprise. Parnell has led his two highest-profile challengers, ex-state House Speaker Ralph Samuels and attorney and ex-Valdez Mayor Bill Walker by huge margins, as has Berkowitz against state Sen. Hollis "October Surprise" French. (JL)
• AK-Sen (R): Could Lisa Murkowski bite it in a intra-party challenge from little-known attorney Joe Miller? In Miller's corner are the Palins, Mike Huckabee, and a half-million from the Tea Party Express. In her corner, Murkowski has the backing of about 1.9 million dead presidents, and a 62-30 lead over Miller in a late July Ivan Moore poll. Of course, that was before the TPX started unloading, but the odds are always long for Some Dudes... (JL)
• AZ-Sen (R): This looked like it was going to be one of the all-time great Republican primary slugfests when it first appeared on the horizon: Mr. Maverick himself, John McCain, versus fiery conservative ex-Rep.-turned-radio-talk-show-host J.D. Hayworth. Some of the initial polling, in fact, was fairly close, before the novelty wore off... but then the novelty wore off, and we were left with three basic realities: a) John McCain had a ton more money than Hayworth and was willing to use it, b) John McCain had absolutely no shame about taking all that Maverick stuff, throwing it in the trash can along with many of his previous policy positions, and remaking himself as a right-wing ideologue in order to survive his primary, and c) J.D. Hayworth is a complete and total clown. The turning point seemed to be the revelation in June that Hayworth had shilled for a Matthew Lesko-style free-government-money infomercial, which destroyed any remaining credibility he may have still had. Polling from July gave McCain leads ranging from 20 to over 40 points. (C)
• AZ-Sen (D): At this point, the Democratic Senate primary in Arizona looks a good bit more unpredictable than the Republican one. The seeming frontrunner is former Tucson vice-mayor Rodney Glassman, a former Raul Grijalva aide and a young up-and-comer with some family money as well. Glassman seemed to have the field to himself after the NRSC's desired candidate, wealthy businesswoman Nan Stockholm Walden, begged off... but once the specter of a race against J.D. Hayworth instead of John McCain appeared, some other late entrants arrived, most notably civil rights activist Randy Parraz and former state Rep. Cathy Eden. What little polling we've seen of this race (a Rasmussen poll from July and a Parraz internal) has given Glassman the lead, but he didn't rise above 20% in either poll. More-frequent polling of the general election has actually given Glassman a good chance against Hayworth... but unfortunately, a McCain match is looking much likelier. (C)
• AZ-01 (R): Eight Republicans have jumped into the race for the right to challenge freshman Dem Ann Kirkpatrick. Notably, rogue dentist Paul Gosar has spent the most, but the field also includes former State Senate majority leader Rusty Bowers and 2008 nominee Sydney Hay (whose abysmal campaign netted her a 56-40 defeat). Gosar seems to have most of the establishment support, including endorsements from the Grizzly Momma and (even though the district doesn't enter it) Maricopa County Sheriff and xenophobe extraordinaire Joe Arpaio. Gosar's internal polling has him in the lead, ahead of Hay by a 30-10 margin. Primary voters would be doing themselves a favor by not nominating Hay; we'll see if Gosar can live up to his polling. (JMD)
• AZ-03 (R): Crowded GOP primaries seem to be the norm in Arizona, with a 10-man field for the open seat of retiring GOPer John Shadegg. Several qualify beyond Some Dude status, including former northern Phoenix State Rep. Sam Crump, former State Senator Pamela Gorman (who represented the same district as Crump), former northern Phoenix/Scottsdale State Senator Jim Waring, attorney Paulina Morris, Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker, and Parker's predecessor as Mayor, Ed Winkler. The two largest warchests, however, belong to Ben "Son of Potatoe" Quayle and self-funding businessman Steve Moak. Moak and Quayle have gone hard after each other, with recent revelations about Quayle's history with what eventually became TheDirty.com taking their toll and Quayle's responses being, perhaps hereditarily, ineffectual. Moak seems ready to occupy the vacuum that Quayle's implosion has left, but the sheer number of credible candidates leaves room for surprise. (JMD)
• AZ-05 (R): Two-term Dem Harry Mitchell will face one of five GOPers, a field that includes a rematch between 2008 candidates David Schweikert and Susan Bitter Smith. Schweikert prevailed then by a 1,000-vote margin out of 48,000 cast and went on to a 53-44 loss to Mitchell. Complicating this rematch are other credible candidates in doctor Chris Salvino and self-funded businessman Jim Ward, both of whom have outraised and outspent Bitter Smith. Schweikert seems to have assumed frontrunner status, going as far as cancelling his last-minute ad buy...before opting in for one again. Will Schweikert's hubris come to haunt him today? (JMD)
• AZ-08 (R): In a common pattern that we've seen this cycle, the primary for the right to challenge sophomore Dem Gabby Giffords has a clear establishment v. outsider rift. However, there is only one teabagger here, Jesse Kelly, who squares off against the "establishment's" former Tucson-area State Senator, Jonathan Paton. Perhaps owing to the fact that there's only one teabaggish-type here, Kelly seems to be favored against Paton, posting a hefty 36-17 lead in recent polling. However, this poll was taken before third wheel Brian Miller headed for the exit, endorsing Paton on his way out. Given Miller's low share of support and Kelly's sole claim to the Holy Teabag, we might finally see the upset of an NRCC golden child here. (JMD)
• FL-Gov (R): All good things must indeed come to an end - and I am going to be very sad when this primary is over. Until mid-April of this year, Bill McCollum, the colorless, unlikeable, ambiguously hairpieced state AG and former House impeachment manager, at least had one thing to keep his sorry ass happy at night: He was guaranteed to be the Republican nominee for governor of Florida. Then, a funny thing happened: Zillionaire asshole Rick Scott decided he wanted the nod more - a whole lot more. In fact, about $40 million more, which is what he and allied groups (aka his wife's checkbook) have spent on the race. McCollum and his allies (if you can imagine such a thing), undoubtedly stunned to have to start spending so early, have fired back, but they've only mustered some $14 million. (Check out this great graphic of both camps' spending.)
Anyhow, this race has gone more negative than googolplex divided by minus one. There isn't much consensus among pollsters on how much damage has been done to both candidates (some show McCollum with worse favorables, others show Scott deep in the doghouse), but I'm going to guess the answer is "a lot." There's also some divergence over who the frontrunner actually is. For a while there, Billy Mac's toplines utterly bombed - you can almost see him in his kitchen, sobbing into his cornflakes, as your eyes traverse that mid-July nosedive. But the problem with zillionaire assholes is that it's very hard for them to stop being zillionaire assholes, and they've also probably done quite a few somethings to deserve that reputation in the first place. McCollum's hit Scott hard over his ultra-shady past in the healthcare business, and while we can't say for sure, it seems to have turned the race around. Most recent polls have show McCollum taking back the lead, with PPP's seven-point Scott lead the main outlier.
It's hard to know whom to root for, though. Do we take Scott, with his deeply tarnished background but willingness to spend every last dime, or McCollum, with his coffers depleted but less scandal-plagued and still the establishment favorite? I think we have to be happy no matter what happens. And either way, I can hear the sound of that cat fud tin popping open: McCollum's already saying it would be "very difficult" for him to endorse Scott should he lose. Let's only hope Scott is willing to return the favor! Anyhow, this one was definitely a primary for the ages. God bless you, Florida Republicans. (D)
• FL-Sen (D): Forget the actual Democratic candidates in this race -- the real star of the summer-long Florida Democratic primary saga was not a person, but an inanimate object: Summerwind, the notorious party yacht belonging to billionaire scuzzball Jeff Greene (also known as the Levi Johnston of boats). If there was one factor that helped turn this race upside-down, it was the steady barrage of drug-fueled, vomit-caked, and used condom-strewn stories of Jeff Greene's adventures on the high seas. Those stories, along with a barrage of hits against Greene's shady practices as a derivatives pioneer, have completely stunted Greene's momentum and returned the lead to congressman Kendrick Meek. A Meek primary win undoubtedly complicates things for Charlie Crist, who has to hope that he can marginalize the Democratic nominee in order to drink their milkshake steal their votes in November, but three-way races are notoriously difficult to forecast. (Oh, and as a footnote, technically, ex-Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre is still in this race, but his campaign has been totally eclipsed by the Jeff Greene freakshow.) (JL)
• FL-02 (D/R): Despite that Rep. Allen Boyd is a pretty entrenched Blue Dog facing a potentially hard race in November in this GOP-leaning Panhandle district, the real race to watch tonight is the Democratic primary. Boyd faces a challenge from the left from term-limited state Senate majority leader Al Lawson. Lawson isn't a raging liberal himself (and, unlike many Dem primary challenges this year, Boyd deprived him of a key piece of ammo by voting "yes" on the second round of health care reform), but he's hoping that the fact that the district's Democratic electorate, which is substantially African-American, can keep him competitive with the much-better-funded Boyd. Lawson posted a small lead in an internal poll way back in Nov. 2009, but we haven't heard any polling details about the primary since then. The likeliest GOP nominee is funeral home owner Steve Southerland, whose fundraising has been adequate enough for the NRCC's Young Guns program and who even put out an internal also showing him leading Boyd. However, there are four other even-less-known GOPers standing in Southerland's way in the primary (with David Scholl the best fundraiser of the bunch, although even he hasn't broken into the six digits). (C)
• FL-05 (R): I don't know about you, but I've got a bad case of Cat Scratch Fever, and there's only one cure... a primary victory tonight by the Rock 'n' Roll Sheriff, the Hernando County Madman, the Ten Terrible Fingers of Local Law Enforcement: Richard Nugent. Current Republican Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, facing only an uneventful challenge from teabagger Jason Sager (whose impetus for getting into the race was Brown-Waite's support for Dede Scozzafava!), unexpectedly bailed out on filing day, letting her designated successor Nugent pick up the flag and sneak into office without a top-drawer Republican opponent, of which there are potentially many in this red district. Nugent still has to get past Sager, though; we'll have to see if Sager is beneficiary of people's discontent over the "selection process." (C)
• FL-08 (R): Rep. Alan Grayson should be a tempting target, given his shoot-from-the-hip style and his freshman-in-a-swing-district status, but his huge stash of netroots cash seemed an active deterrent as the NRCC tried vainly to find a top-tier recruit. Eventually, they settled on businessman Bruce O'Donoghue, who had some self-funding potential, as their go-to guy. Unfortunately, one of the other guys they'd been unenthusiastically flirting with, social conservative state Rep. Kurt Kelly, decided he was going to get in anyway, and that was compounded by the fact that attorney/talk radio host Todd Long, who nearly beat then-Rep. Ric Keller in the '08 GOP primary, wasn't going away. Finally, the guy they wanted all along but who initially blew them off, state Sen. Daniel Webster, decided he wanted to run after all, but came back much too belatedly to clear the field or even get much of a fundraising foothold. Webster does have some key backers (Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush), but with not so much as a leaked internal of the primary from any of the players, there's no clue as to whether he'll emerge from tonight's primary. (C)
• FL-17 (D): This nine-way primary to succeed Kendrick Meek has largely been off the national radar - and that's too bad, because it probably represented a good chance for progressive groups to get involved, seeing as it's an 87% Obama district. In any event, the race features several elected officials, a local community figure, and one wealthy self-funder with a proverbial "colorful past," Rudy Moise. The only recent poll of the race was taken on behalf of a group supporting activist Marleine Bastien, which had her at 22, while state Sen. Frederica Wilson was at 21. Moise was back at 10, and Miami Gardens Mayor Shirley Gibson was at 9. No one (apart from Moise) has raised much, with state Rep. Yolly Robertson leading the pack at $336K. The Miami Herald has a helpful run-down on each of the candidates in this wide-open race. (D)
• FL-24 (R): National Republicans have run through a succession of favored candidates in this primary, starting with former Winter Park Commissioner Karen Diebel. Diebel turned out to be crazy (in a call to 911 a few years ago, she said political opponents placed a snake in her pool - and were spying on her home and hacking her computer), so attention turned to state Rep. Sandy Adams. Adams, however, turned out to be a sucky fundraiser, so the GOP recruited Ruth's Chris Steakhouse chief Craig Miller, a first-time candidate. Miller has self-funded less than you might have expected (only about $350K), which might explain his last-minute mailer attacking Diebel's sanity over the Snakes In A Pool incident. If Miller hasn't in fact sealed the deal, then race could be very much up in the air, especially since we haven't seen any recent polling. (D)
• FL-25 (R): State Rep. David Rivera, despite a week of horrible press, is still the favorite for the Republican nomination to succeed district-hopping GOP Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, but it will still be interesting to see if any of the ugly headlines will make a dent at the ballot box. First, we learned that Rivera once ran a truck off the road back in 2002 because it was carrying flyers printed for his opponent, in the hopes of preventing it from reaching the post office on time. Next, Rivera's Republican opponents have resurrected allegations that Rivera was involved in a domestic violence dispute. Damaging as stories like those may be, Rivera enjoys a huge fundraising lead over attorney Mariana "Marili" Cancio and Marine Corps veteran and public-relations consultant Paul Crespo. The real fireworks will have to wait for November, where the GOP nominee will face Tea Partier Roly Arrojo, Whig nominee (!!) Craig Porter, and '08 candidate Joe Garcia, who is the heavy favorite to beat union leader Luis Meurice for the Democratic nod tonight. (JL)
• OK-02 (R): The last we checked in on this race, underfunded GOPers Charles Thompson and Daniel Edmonds received 34% and 28% respectively, setting the stage for a runoff. Both candidates seem to have improved their financial position, with Edmonds now able to claim $1,300 in his campaign account and Thompson up to a whopping $13k! Given this, whoever stumbles out of the runoff tomorrow will end up quite the underdog to incumbent (and oft-frustrating) Dem Dan Boren. (JMD)
• OK-05 (R): In the first round, Christian camp director Jim Lankford edged out establishment pick former State Rep. Kevin Calvey, 34-32, a development that left some at NRCC headquarters scratching their heads. Third-place finisher State Rep. Mike Thompson, who earned 18%, has endorsed Lankford and not his former colleague. This just might give Lankford's more grassroots-oriented campaign the extra push it needs to overcome Calvey's financial advantage; since we last checked in, Calvey's plunked out $780k's to Lankfords $415k. While November in this district won't likely be exciting, true SwingNuts would never give up a chance to see egg on the NRCC's face. (JMD)
• VT-Gov (D): Democrats have a challenge ahead of them in knocking off reasonably well-liked Republican Brian Dubie in November, but they have a giant, five-way primary to get through first. The players include former Lt. Gov. Doug Racine, Secretary of State Deb Markowitz, state Sens. Peter Shumlin and Susan Bartlett, and ex-state Rep. Matt Dunne. Markowitz and Shumlin have had the strongest fundraising, while Bartlett has raised the least of the major players. Without any public polling of the Democratic primary -- or even a leaked internal -- it's impossible to say what will happen here. (JL)
CT-Sen: Linda McMahon has already spent at least $22 million on her senatorial bid - and though she has plans to shell out much more, she's already the fourth-largest self-funder of all time. The good news is that the top three are pretty uninspiring: Jon Corzine (NJ-Sen 2000: $60 million, 50.1% in general); Blair Hull (IL-Sen 2004: $29 million, 11% in primary); Michael Huffington (CA-Sen 1994: $28 million, 45% in general). Check out the second page of CQ's piece to see who rounds out the rest of the top 10. Only three actually won a seat in the Senate, and all of them served one term or less - by choice!
FL-Sen: Ah - live by the zillionaire asshole, die by the zillionaire asshole. Joe Trippi, who apparently thought he could make a buck by helping schmuckface Jeff Greene run negative ads against Kendrick Meek, has been axed. This is pretty unsurprising, in light of an in-depth story by the St. Pete Times which catalogs just how much of a jerkass Greene actually is. Here's a representative sample:
Adam Lambert worked as captain of Greene's 145-foot yacht, Summerwind, earlier this year.
"He has total disregard for anybody else,'' chuckled Lambert, who said he was Greene's 20th and 22nd Summerwind captain (No. 21 quit after a few hours with Greene).
"I don't think I ever once had an actual conversation with him. It was always, 'I should just get rid of you, what f------ good are you? You're just a f------ boat driver. You're the third-highest paid employee in my corporation and I should just get rid of you,' '' Lambert, 43, recalled by phone from a yacht in Croatia. "It didn't bother me. I just felt sorry for the man. He doesn't seem very happy."
Quite apropos of all this, Dave Catanese takes a look at the "band of others" which has come together to run Charlie Crist's campaign. Catanese says that Crist's team "is staffed by a collection of misfits who run the gamut from longtime loyalists to out-of-state hired guns. They have worked for Democrats, for Republicans and even for prominent independents. As with Crist, ideology appears to take a back seat to winning office."
MO-Sen: Mostly-failed teabagger Chuck Purgason has an internal poll out (at least, I think it's an internal) from Magellan Strategies... but that's not really the point. There are two super-huge problems with this poll. First off, there are literally zero undecideds - Purgason claims he's beating Dem Robin Carnahan 56-44. Secondly, releasing a general election poll just days before an almost hopeless primary looks extremely unserious. I don't give a damn about Purgason, but I don't think either of these issues make Magellan look particularly good.
GA-Gov: Barack Obama is visiting Atlanta to speak to a disabled veterans convention and to host a DNC fundraiser today, but Dem gubernatorial candidate Roy Barnes will be visiting other parts of the state. Several prominent Dems are planning to attend the events, including Labor Comm'r Michael Thurmond (our senate nominee), and Reps. David Scott and Sanford Bishop, the latter of whom has a competitive race this fall.
NY-Gov: Steve Levy has completed his transition from widely disliked xenophobic DINO to memorable Republican loser: He said he wouldn't seek the Independence Party's line this fall, and formally gave his backing to Rick Lazio. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Benjamin says a source tells her that another disgruntled Republican, the vile Carl Paladino, is doing the opposite - he's reconsidering his decision not to run on a third-party line and may run on his own "Taxpayers Party" line if he loses the GOP primary in September. Apparently, the teabaggers are taking the long view here, hoping that they can create a "true" conservative rival to the, ah, Conservative Party, even if that means helping Andrew Cuomo win the gubernatorial race.
WY-Gov: Mason-Dixon did a poll of the Wyoming gubernatorial primaries for the Casper Star-Tribune. On the GOP side, state Auditor Rita Meyer leads with 27, followed by former U.S. Attorney Matt Mead with 24, House Speaker Colin Simpson with 17, and former legislator and state Ag. Director Ron Micheli with 12. For Democrats, former state Dem chair Leslie Petersen leads pilot and former University of Wyoming football star Pete Gosar by a 30-22 margin.
FL-08: Franking - the privilege that allows members of Congress to mail out nominally "informational" materials to constituents at taxpayer expense - is one of those things that's usually a lame non-issue... until it's an issue. Incumbents have been pushing the boundaries of proper franking for centuries, and it rarely gets traction in campaigns, but I really wonder if Alan Grayson's gone too far with this one. He recently sent out a DVD to 100,000 homes in his district (at a cost of $73K) titled "Watch Congressman Grayson in Action!" featuring a few dozen clips of his greatest hits in office. Maybe the video will be popular, maybe no one will care, maybe some Republicans will howl and get ignored - we'll see.
IL-10 (PDF): It's a bit musty, but Mike Memoli got his hands on an internal poll from the Dan Seals campaign taken in mid-May by Anzalone-Liszt. The numbers are a damn sight better than most Dem internals, showing Seals with a 46-38 lead over Republican Bob Dold, and a 41-32 lead among independents. Despite the poll's age, I'd be surprised if things had changed a whole lot since then, given that the air war hasn't really been joined yet.
IL-13: Dem Scott Harper had apparently been trying to shop the results of an informed ballot test on a recent internal poll from Global Strategy Group but didn't seem to get many bites. So he finally decided to pull a Raul Labrador and release the proper toplines, despite their utter - almost extreme - suckitude. Rep. Judy Biggert leads Harper by a 55-29 margin. The most ridonc thing is that Biggert felt compelled to put out her own, not-exactly-dueling internal in response. I say that because the numbers in Biggert's survey (taken by American Viewpoint) show her up 61-28. This was really not a well-managed move by the Harper campaign.
KY-06: Republican Andy Barr, formerly a top legal aide to disgraced former Gov. Ernie Fletcher, is coming under fire for his shoddy handling of a response to a government records request under the state's equivalent to the Freedom of Information Act when he worked for Fletcher. In a 2007 report, then-AG Greg Stumbo (a Dem) said that Barr's failure to produce records on account of their alleged non-existence meant that he was responsible for "records mismanagement." However, Stumbo's office did not determine that Barr had actually violated the state open records law.
LA-02: The DCCC added state Rep. Cedric Richmond to its Red to Blue program on Friday. This tells me two things: First, the D-Trip doesn't think much of Richmond's primary challenger, fellow state Rep. Juan LaFonta. Second, DC Dems are concerned enough about Rep. Joe Cao's staying power that they're getting involved in a reasonably contested primary, something they have largely avoided this cycle. Now in fairness, Louisiana has a very late primary - August 28th - with an absurdly late runoff on October 2nd. So I can understand wanting to avoid a pressured one-month campaign. Still, this suggests to me that this race is not the "gimme" we might have once imagined.
NY-01: Stuck behind Newsday's paywall is a story which says that GOPer Christopher Cox has filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate fellow Republican Randy Altschuler's ballot petitions. This is exactly the kind of war that Democrats in New York have been hoping for. I can't wait to read more about it. And don't forget that there's a third candidate in the race, George Demos, who is being publicly slammed for alleged ethical lapses while he was an SEC attorney by a former supporter, John Catsimatidis. You may recall that Cox is engaged to Catsimatidis's daughter, which explains the old man's turnabout.
NY-15: You've probably already seen this, but Barack Obama said in an interview with CBS News that Charlie Rangel should "end his career with dignity." Really wonder if the old bull is going to keep fighting this thing.
NY-24: Mmm... donuts. The owner of a local donut shop, Michael Sadallah, filed a lawsuit trying to knock Republican Richard Hanna off the Independence Party line. Sadallah, an Independence Party member, has also donated to Rep. Mike Arcuri. Oral arguments are this week - good luck, dude!
OK-05: True Some Dude James Lankford just earned the endorsement of third-place finisher (and state Rep.) Mike Thompson, who scored 18% in the first round despite spending $900,000. Lankford took 34% and former state Rep. Kevin Calvey had 33%. Lankford and Calvey face off in an August 24th runoff.
Kansas: A rare bit of good news on the voter registration front: Over the last year in Kansas, "Democrats gained 11,260 voters, rising to 460,318; unaffiliated voters increased 38,764 to 490,395, and Republican ranks increased 3,189 to 744,975." Obviously, that's a pretty sizable edge for the GOP, but it's still nice to see Dem gains both in absolute numbers and percentages outstrip the Republicans - especially in such a red state, and especially in a year like this.
• CT-Sen: Now that was fast. Only days after his bizarre and probably hopeless parachuting back into the long-abandoned Connecticut Senate race, Rob Simmons just got the primary endorsement from the state's largest newspaper, the Hartford Courant. That's a pretty clear indicator of how they feel about Linda McMahon. Meanwhile, out in Crazy Town, former presidential candidate Steve Forbes weighed in, giving an endorsement to Paulist economist Peter Schiff.
• KY-Sen: Rogue ophthalmologist Rand Paul is certainly a glass-half-full (or mountain-half-still-there?) kind of guy. He's come out in favor of the environmentally destructive mountaintop removal method of coal mining, justifying it, true to form, with economics gobbledygook: "the land is of enhanced value, because now you can build on it." In fact, it's really just a branding problem: "I think they should name it something better."
• WA-Sen: Here's a rather unexpected endorsement: hard-right kingmaker Jim DeMint is coming out in favor of Dino Rossi, who was very much a moderate back when he ran for governor in 2004. I suppose Rossi taking the plunge as the first major Senate candidate to call for repeal of financial reform was enough for DeMint's satisfaction. I still have to wonder why Rossi would seek out this kind of endorsement, as it's certainly not going to help matters in the general election in this blue state; is he actually feeling enough heat from Sarah Palin-backed Clint Didier in the primary that he needs to go to the right-wing well?
• WI-Sen: If you've been following the Wisconsin Senate race, Ron Johnson has been vacillating all week on whether or not to sell his hundreds of thousands of dollars in BP stock and plow it into his campaign, move it into a blind trust, or just tape all his stock certificates together and use them to club baby seals. Now he's just saying he's going to sit on it and sell when market conditions are favorable -- not because it's the right thing to do, just because he wants a better profit on it.
• NH-Gov: PPP also has gubernatorial general election numbers are part of their New Hampshire sample. We'd been wondering if John Lynch, whose previous PPP numbers were kind of lukewarm, might be ready to sneak onto the list as Likely D, but today's numbers seem to suggest otherwise. (In fact, the once-unassailable Mike Beebe may now be likelier to fill that role.) Lynch's approvals are up to 52/36, and he leads his likeliest GOP opponent, ex-state HHS director John Stephen, 51-34. He also leads Jack Kimball 52-29, Karen Testerman 52-28, and Frank Emiro 48-28.
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid just got gifted some serious help in the Nevada governor's race (and having seen him on the stump at Netroots Nation, he's going to need all the help he can get...), via a gaffe from Brian Sandoval. Sandoval has denied previous allegations that he'd said on TV that his kids didn't look Hispanic, but now Univision has dug up the tape. Perhaps even more troublesome for Sandoval: he said that in the context of his kids' appearance being why he was not worried about his kids being racially profiled under Arizona's new law.
• NY-Gov: Unfortunately, Carl Paladino has confirmed that no cat fud will be served in the general election in November (not that Andrew Cuomo, polling over 60%, needs any shenanigans to win). Paladino says he won't puruse a third-party bid on the yet-to-be-named teabagger ballot line if he loses the GOP gubernatorial primary to newly-minted Islamophobe Rick Lazio.
• AZ-03: John McCain waded into the overstuffed GOP primary field in the race to replace retiring Rep. John Shadegg to flag a favorite. He's backing state Sen. Jim Waring. McCain had his choice of endorsers to pay back (Waring, as well as Vernon Parker and Ben Quayle, are supporting McCain, while Sam Crump is the only out-and-proud J.D. Hayworth backer in the field).
• CA-47: While there's nothing really newsworthy going on the 47th, Politico has a very interesting look below the surface at this forgotten race in a demographically-complex district. Both Loretta Sanchez and GOP challenger Van Tran seem aware that the Vietnamese minority in this low-turnout Hispanic-majority district is the district's electoral linchpin.
• DE-AL: Michelle Rollins was supposed to be the moderate in the GOP field in Delaware, but the wealthy philanthropist seems to be going the full Sharron Angle. She joined the swelling Republican ranks of candidates saying that extending unemployment benefits just takes away people's motivations to go out and get real jobs.
• FL-08: The main story here may be that Zogby, the pollster ubiquitous in 2004 and once though to be in the Dems' pocket, is now reduced to doing internal polls for low-priority GOP House candidates? Anyway, they did a poll on behalf of attorney/talk show host Todd Long (the guy who almost successfully primaried Ric Keller in 2008). Long's poll gives him a 46-38 lead over Rep. Alan Grayson. Of course, Long isn't a likely bet to emerge from the primary (which he shares with ex-state Sen. Daniel Webster, state Rep. Kurt Kelly, and rich guy Bruce O'Donoghue), and there's no mention of primary numbers.
• IN-03: If this were two years ago, an open seat in the 3rd (especially with 2006 candidate Tom Hayhurst on board) might have been a good pickup opportunity. Not so this year, apparently. GOP nominee state Sen. Marlin Stutzman is out with an internal from American Viewpoint giving him a 56-29 lead. Hayhurst has the financial advantage, though, and may be able to use that to make up at least some of that ground.
• KS-04: SurveyUSA has one last pre-primary look at the primary races in the 4th. There's a lot of movement in the 4th, where businessman Wink Hartman seems to be rapidly deflating (as the carpetbagging issue may have gotten some traction) and moderate state Sen. Jean Schodorf is quickly gaining (as people realize the other candidates are all wackos). RNC committee member Mike Pompeo is still in the lead, though, at 31. Schodorf is at 24 (up 8) and Hartman at 21 (down 8), with 13 for Jim Anderson. On the Dem side, state Rep. Raj Goyle's ad blitz seems to have had its desired effect, which was to raise his name rec and prevent him from getting VicRawl'd. (Ah, sweet memories of 2008.) Having trailed Some Dude Robert Tillman in the previous SUSA poll, Goyle now leads 63-19.
• KY-03: This race seemed to move onto the map (albeit just barely) with Republican Todd Lally having narrowly outraised Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth last quarter. Yarmuth seems to be acting quickly to squelch any sense that he's in unusual trouble, though, rolling out an internal from Cooper & Secrest that gives him a 58-32 lead over Lally.
• OK-05: Everyone in the Beltway seems to be wondering a) what the heck went wrong with state Rep. Kevin Calvey, who was deemed frontrunner in the GOP primary in the 5th based on his Club for Growth and American Conservative Union backing, but finished second, and b) who the heck is James Lankford? The youth camp director and newbie to politics won thanks to grassroots mobilizing in the social conservative community. At any rate, this sets up a GOP runoff that's similar to a number of others we've seen in southern states: a faceoff between the CfG and Mike Huckabee (a Lankford endorser) sub-wings of the right wing.
• DCCC: Here's an interesting piece from National Journal that runs the DCCC's list of 60-some districts for ad buys through some demographic sifting. It's based on "quadrants" developed by Ronald Brownstein (which are pretty simple, really, just education and racial diversity -- we've been working behind the scenes here at SSP on something similar but more sophisticated, which hopefully will see the light someday soon). As you might expect, most of the vulnerable seats, and the DCCC's ad buys are in the low-education, low-diversity (i.e. mostly white) districts, which is where Obama tended to perform the weakest in 2008.
• IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) 37%, Bill Brady (R) 44%
• MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan (D) 43%, Roy Blunt (R) 49%
• OR-Sen: Ron Wyden (D-inc) 51%, Jim Huffman (R) 35%
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold (D-inc) 46%, Ron Johnson (R) 48%
On the Rasmussen front, it's also worth checking out Chris Bowers' latest Senate projections at Open Left. He ran separate Rasmussen-free and Rasmussen-included versions, and the difference is remarkable.
The roundup, of last night's unexpectedly exciting results.
OK-Gov (D): Incumbent LG Jari Askins pulled out a razor-thin win over incumbent Attorney General Drew Edmondson, despite Edmondson's polling lead before the election. Football coaching legend Barry Switzer's endorsement of Brad Henry 8 years ago is sometimes credited with Henry's come-from-behind win, and perhaps the same applies this time around?
OK-Gov (R): No surprise in the GOP gubernatorial race, where 5th CD Rep. Mary Fallin scored 55% against three opponents - this is eerily close to Ernest Istook (Fallin's predecessor)'s 55% haul in 2006. Regardless of who wins in November, Oklahoma will have its first female governor in 2011.
OK-01 (R): John Sullivan drew five challengers in his bid for re-election, with presumably some discontent on his right flank. Sullivan's 62% performance puts him quite in line with other underwhelming incumbent performances this cycle.
OK-02 (D)/(R): Incumbent Dan Boren easily dispatched State Senator Jim Wilson by a 76-24 margin. Wilson lost the counties in his own district 36-64, and the rest of the district by an even wider 78-22 margin. Boren will face one of the two underfunded GOPers who moved onto the runoff, Charles Thompson or Daniel Edmonds. Given that neither Thompson nor Edmonds has even one measly K in their campaign accounts, Boren should be a lock for re-election in November.
OK-05 (D)/(R): On the GOP side, Christian camp director Jim Lankford and former state Rep. (and 2006 candidate) Kevin Calvey will move onto the runoff, having earned 34% and 32% respectively. State Rep. Mike Thompson - despite having the largest campaign warchest - came in third with 18%. The winner of that runoff will be heavily favored against Democrat Billy Coyle, a veteran and attorney, in this R+13 district.
A relatively low-key week in primaries; with just Oklahoma on tap.
Predictions? Toss 'em in the comments; polls close at 7pm Central (8pm Eastern).
OK-Gov (D): The race is on to replace term-limited Dem Brad Henry, with Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins and Attorney General Drew Edmondson running to hold this one for team Blue. Both are statewide elected officials (LG in Oklahoma is elected separately) and have their street cred, but the two recent polls of this race have given Edmondson a 49-33 and a 38-27 lead. As we mentioned in yesterday's digest, Askins just scored a big endorsement from former OU football coach Barry Switzer, but Edmondson still retains the advantage here.
OK-Gov (R): A congressperson from the 5th CD holding a sizeable lead over a lesser-known state official in the Republican primary? If this all seems a bit deja vu, it is. In 2006, then OK-05 Rep. Ernest Istook bested state Energy Secretary Bob Sullivan 55-31; now we see if Istook's successor Mary Fallin can repeat the feat against Tulsa-area State Senator Randy Brogdon. Recent polls suggest she will, pegging her lead at 56-18 and 50-22, respectively. There are also two Some Dudes in the race, which will go to a runoff in a month if Fallin can't claim 50%+1 tonight.
OK-02 (D): Dan Boren is one of the most conservative Dems in the 111th Congress, which has drawn him a challenger in Jim Wilson, a state senator from the northeastern part of the state. Wilson is hitting Boren hard from his left flank, but it's unlikely that's catching much traction in this conservative, though ancestrally Democratic, district. Wilson's own internal had him down 62-17. Boren isn't resting on his polling laurels though and has been on the airwaves; the question isn't whether he'll win, just by how much.
OK-02 (R): Boren's conservative voting record doesn't dissuade challengers; no fewer than six GOPers have stepped up to the plate. Three - Chester Falling, Charles Thompson and '08 loser Raymond Wickson - haven't needed to file FEC reports. Businessman Howard Houchen is the best funded of the three remaining (having a raised a whopping $70k...); rounding out the field are law student Dan Arnett ($9k raised) and rancher Daniel Edmonds ($23k). Given the sheer number of candidates here - none of whom are all that well known - a runoff is almost assured.
OK-05 (R): The field's crowded in the race to replace would-be Governor Mary Fallin as well. Two are familiar faces from the open seat race in 2006, doctor Johnny Roy (who scored 3% in 2006) and former State Rep. Kevin Calvey (10%). Other likely contenders include Christian camp director James Lankford, and a pair of State Reps, Mike Thompson of OKC and Shane Jett of more rural Pottawatomie County. A recent poll had Calvey at 28, Lankford at 20, Thompson 15, Jett at 6, and Roy at 2. That represents a surge for Lankford, but Thompson's $262k CoH (and $900k+ raised this cycle) can't be counted out. Two more round out the seven-man field, which will be narrowed to two before an almost-certain runoff.
Netroots Nation: In case you missed it, click the link to watch the video of our panel on the 2010 horserace from last Friday at Netroots Nation. It was a terrific, fast-paced panel and we were asked a broad range of questions on a ton of different races. Fun stuff! Also of interest, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner conducted a straw poll of convention-goers. They included one horserace-ish question, asking participants which race was their top priority this fall. 31% picked NV-Sen, followed by PA-Sen (25%), KY-Sen (21%), MN-06 (15%), and VA-05 (7%).
CA-Sen: The NRSC has reserved $1.75 million in ad time for Carly Fiorina - but remember, just cuz you reserve time doesn't mean you necessarily wind up buying it, so this could just be a feint.
FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek is up with his first ad, attacking zillionaire schmuckface Jeff Greene for his past run for Congress in California - as a Republican - and for the windfall he reaped by betting on a housing market collapse two years ago. Adam Smith of the St. Pete Times says the buy is for $420K, which he thinks is "pretty small" for the pretty big state of Florida.
IL-Sen: Mark Kirk is pulling a Pat Toomey. You'll recall that the ultra-conservative Pennsylvania senate candidate somewhat surprisingly endorsed Sonia Sotomayor's nomination for the Supreme Court. Now it's Kirk's turn to try to burnish his "moderate" credentials, so he's backing Elena Kagan.
Meanwhile, here's some new craziness: A federal district court judge just ordered a special election to fill the remaining months of Roland Burris's term, most likely to coincide with the regular election in November. Both Kirk and Dem Alexi Giannoulias have said they want to run in the special, and they probably won't have to face a primary, since the judge seems inclined to allow nominees to be picked by party committees. Politico points out a potentially huge angle to all of this: the FEC says that since the special would constitute a new election, the candidates would be able to raise fresh money for that race - meaning that Kirk and Giannoulias could hit up maxed-out donors once more.
PA-Sen: But wait! Pat Toomey isn't pulling a Pat Toomey! He's coming out against Elena Kagan.
WV-Sen: When early word came that Rep. Shelley Moore Capito wouldn't run for Robert Byrd's seat, we said that we'd move the race to Likely D. Capito made it official last Wednesday, so consider this move retroactive to that date.
MI-Gov: Bummer: Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has endorsed DLC Dem Andy Dillon, whom Dillon called a "kindred spirit." Given Bing's outsider status and short tenure, I suspect he's not quite a "machine" mayor, though, who can deliver wards on the turn of a heel.
MN-Gov: Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer continues to burnish his moron credentials. The other day, he declared that Minnesota should pass its own GI bill to help veterans. Good idea, right? So good, in fact, that the state actually passed such a law three years ago. Even better: Emmer, a state representative, voted against the bill!
RI-Gov: Linc Chafee won the endorsement of the 10,000-strong Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals, his first big union nod. The Projo says that the teachers had been favored to go to AG Patrick Lynch, but Lynch rather unexpectedly dropped out of the race not long ago, and evidently Dem Treasurer Frank Caprio didn't suit them.
SC-Gov: Nikki Haley, a member of the Strength Through Crippling Austerity wing of the Republican Party, is trying to soften (i.e., flip-flop) some of her less business-friendly stances. The AP explains her shifts on two issues: the infamous anti-tax pledge sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, and the bailout.
IL-17: Can an internal poll sometimes seem just too good? That's how I feel about this survey by Magellan Strategies for GOPer Bobby Schilling, which has him up 45-32 over Dem Rep. Phil Hare. YMMV.
NY-13: John McCain is endorsing former FBI agent Mike Grimm in the GOP primary. Grimm has faced hostility from the Republican establishment here, which has backed Michael Allegretti (whom Maggie Haberman delightfully refers to with the epithet "Bayside fuel heir"). Apparently, McCain (who has a race of his own to worry about) will both fundraise and campaign for Grimm, though no word yet on when. As for why he's getting involved, Haberman says it's because of his relationship with Rudy Giuliani and Guy Molinari, both of whom are supporting Grimm.
NY-15: Charlie Rangel's autobiography is titled "And I Haven't Had a Bad Day Since," referring to his service in the Korean War. Well, it sure seems like he's had more than a few bad days lately, with the latest batch coming in the last week. The House Ethics Committee declared on Thursday that Rangel had indeed committed transgressions and created a new panel to investigate further. In response, Indiana senate candidate Brad Ellsworth announced he would give to charity all the money he's received from Rangel (some $12K). Rep. Betty Sutton (OH-13) went one further, calling on Rangel to resign. For the record, Rangel disagrees with me, saying: "I'm not in a foxhole, I'm not surrounded by a million Chinese communists coming after me. Life is good. I'm 80 years old. I'm on my way to a parade."
OK-05: SoonerPoll.com has a survey out of the 5th CD Republican field, finding former state Rep. Kevin Calvey increasing his lead from 20 to 28 since the last test in March. Some Dude James Lankford is in second with 20, followed by 15 for state Rep. Mike Thompson, 6 for state Rep. Shane Jett, and a bunch of other Some Dudes bringing up the rear.
PA-15: This is what we call a good get: Bill Clinton will be coming to Salisbury Township for a fundraiser for John Callahan on August 10th. As is so often the case with the Big Dog, this is payback for Callahan's support of Hillary Clinton's presidential bid in 2008.
Willie W. Herenton, the former mayor, is accusing Steve Cohen, the white two-term United States representative, of "trying to act black." He tells voters in this majority-black city that they "need to come off that Cohen plantation and get on the Herenton freedom train."
WI-03: State Sen. Dan Kapanke has an internal out from Public Opinion Strategies (memo here) which shows Dem Rep. Ron Kind up just 44-38.
• NC-Sen: The newest Elon University poll of North Carolina finds that, as with most pollsters, that Richard Burr is strangely anonymous for a Senator: he has a favorable of 34/17. His best-known Democratic competitor, SoS Elaine Marshall, is at 18/8. The poll doesn't contain head-to-heads, and also, bear in mind that it only polls "residents," not even registered voters, which would explain the super-low awareness.
• TX-Sen: 20 of Texas's Republican House members wrote a letter to Kay Bailey Hutchison, asking her to reconsider and stay on as Senator. (Recall that she planned to resign once she was done "fighting health care.") I wonder if the letter was signed by Joe Barton, who was pretty public about his desire to take over that seat back when a resignation seemed likelier.
• UT-Sen: Tonight's the night we get our first hard impression of what degree of trouble Bob Bennett is in. Tonight are neighborhood caucuses, where delegates to the state convention are elected. A particularly ultra-conservative-skewing convention could pose some trouble to Bennett, although with so many GOP challengers, it seems likely no one will hit the 60% mark at the convention needed to avoid a primary.
• CT-Gov: You might recognize these numbers from last week; we've been waiting for Quinnipiac to release general election numbers in the Governor's race but they just don't seem to be forthcoming, so here are their primary numbers. On the Dem side, Ned Lamont is leading at 28, followed by former Stamford mayor Dan Malloy at 18, Mary Glassman at 4, Rudy Marconi at 2, and Juan Figueroa at 1. (Susan Bysiewicz has a big edge over George Jepsen, 54-10, in the AG primary, despite concerns about her eligibility for the job.) On the GOP side, Tom Foley is dominating at 30, followed by Lt. Gov Michael Fedele collapsing down to 4, Danbury mayor Mark Boughton at 4, ex-Rep. Larry DeNardis at 2, and Oz Griebel and Jeff Wright at 2.
• CA-Gov: Wondering how Meg Whitman pulled into a huge lead in the primary and a small lead in the general in California governor's race? She's spent a mind-boggling $27 million on her race so far this year (for a total of $46 million), compared with Steve Poizner's $3 million and Jerry Brown's $142K.
• OR-Gov: Former Portland Trail Blazer Chris Dudley is the first candidate to hit the TV airwaves in the Oregon governor's race so far, touting his "outsider" credentials.
• PA-Gov: AG Tom Corbett, who oh just coincidentally happens to be running for Governor this year, finally got a conviction in the Bonusgate investigation, against former state Rep. Mike Veon and several of his staffers. The timing is certainly helpful to Corbett, for whom the investigation has been dragging out and the possibility of mistrials (or no convictions before November) was starting to loom. Trials against several other former Democratic House leaders, including GOPer John Perzel and Dem Bill DeWeese, are still in the pipeline.
• WY-Gov: The Democrats are about to land a gubernatorial candidate: attorney Paul Hickey, who plans an announcement later this week. If the name is familiar, he's the son of former Governor J.J. Hickey. Democratic State Sen. Mike Massie hasn't ruled out a run yet either, although he may run for one of the statewide offices.
• IL-11: Here's one more district that hasn't been high on people's watch lists but will need to be monitored, at least if a new internal poll from Republican pollster POS is to be believed. They find their patron, Adam Kinzinger, leading freshman Rep. Debbie Halvorson 44-38.
• MA-09: With primary challenges moving onto the radar against HCR "no" votes Jason Altmire and Mike Arcuri, another one may be taking shape: Needham Town Meeting member (and, well, college classmate of mine) Harmony Wu has pulled papers for the race and is gauging local sentiment for a primary run against Stephen Lynch.
• NY-01: Whoever faces off against Tim Bishop for the Republicans is going to have to fight through an arduous primary to get there. Any hopes of an easy coronation for Randy Altschuler seem to have vaporized, as now Chris Cox (Republican party insider and Nixon grandson) is setting his own Wall Street-powered fundraising operation in motion. And a 3rd option, former SEC prosecutor George Demos, has had his own fundraising success.
• NY-20: One more Republican, Queensbury town supervisor Dan Stec, bailed out of the field today, suggesting that the GOP is finally coalescing behind retired Col. Chris Gibson as a standard-bearer against freshman Dem Rep. Scott Murphy, in what's one of their slowest races to take shape.
• OK-05: Finally, we have a Democrat on tap for the open seat race in Oklahoma's dark-red 5th, where there's already a half-dozen GOPers jousting. Tom Guild is secretary of the Oklahoma County Democratic Party, and was a poli sci professor at Univ. of Central Oklahoma for many years.
• PA-11: Things got easier for Lou Barletta in the race in the 11th, where his Republican primary challenger, Chris Paige dropped out, citing family concerns. Paige, an attorney, was underfunded but had delivered some surprisingly-hard hits to Barletta, especially on Barletta's signature issue of immigration.
• SC-01: The Club for Growth weighed into another GOP primary in a reddish open seat, endorsing state Rep. Tim Scott. Scott faces off in the primary against several well-known last names: Carroll Campbell III and Paul Thurmond.
• HCR: The Republican pivot from health care reform to health care repeal has some implications in the gubernatorial races. Rep. Peter Hoekstra is going full-on repeal, stopping by Sunday's teabagger rally to pledge to fight that battle. It's also showing up in a number of races where the Republican AG is running for Governor and joined the multi-AG suit against HCR on easily-rebuttable 10th Amendment grounds (hint to teabaggers: read Scalia's opinion in Raich) - many in dark-red states where it probably helps more than hurts (like Henry McMaster in South Carolina). There are a few blue state AGs involved, though, like Tom Corbett (although he probably feels like he has a safety cushion to do so, thanks to his Bonusgate-related popularity). Most puzzling, though, is Washington's Rob McKenna, who got where he is only by acting moderate. Throwing off his well-maintained moderate mask and joining forces with the wackjob likes of Ken Cuccinelli seems like a weird gamble for his widely-expected 2012 run, where success is utterly dependent on making inroads among suburban moderates.
FL-08: Former hospital administrator Peg Dunmire has left the Republican Party and will officially challenge Alan Grayson as a member of Florida's new Tea Party.
GA-09: The special election for Nathan Deal's now-vacant seat has been set for April 27th. This is an all-party "jungle" election, with the winner needing 50% to win. If no one hits that mark, a runoff would be held on May 25th. With 11 Republicans and only one Democrat (former Navy chaplain Mike Freeman) running, is it completely insane to imagine...? Also note that Georgia has a "resign to run" rule, so folks who hold other offices will have to quit before getting into this race, setting off a domino chain of further special elections.
IN-05: Former state Rep. Luke Messer is on the air with a biographical tv spot. He's one of several Republicans challenging Rep. Dan Burton in the primary.
MA-05: Seven Republicans and four independents have lined up so far to take on Dem Rep. Niki Tsongas. Scott Brown won this district 56-43 in January.
NY-13: The Brooklyn Conservative Party has endorsed former FBI agent Mike Grimm. This has touched off another fight with Staten Island Conservatives who, as they did in 2008, seem inclined to endorse Democratic Rep. Mike McMahon. But back then, the Brooklyn Cons (who represent a much smaller part of the district) engineered a coup at the state party level with the backing of chair Michael Long in order to thwart the will of their SI counterparts. It looks like the same might happen again this cycle.
OK-05: SoonerPoll.com surveyed the GOP primary for the open 5th CD, which Rep. Mary Fallin is leaving to run for governor. They find former state Rep. Ken Calvey leading with 20, while state Rep. Mike Thompson is at 9 and "political newcomer" James Lankford is at 7. State Rep. Shane Jett, who just joined the field, was not included.
PA-04: Could Jason Altmire get Arcuri'd? Thanks to his vote against the healthcare reform bill, Jack Shea, the president of the Allegheny County Labor Council, says he's considering a primary challenge. The problem is that Pennsylvania's filing deadline closed earlier this month, so Shea would have to run as a write-in. Alternately, he could run as an independent (indies have a much later filing deadline).
PA-19: Rep. Todd Platts is expected to be on a shortlist of four possible names to fill the top spot at the Government Accountability Office. The House and Senate are compiling this list and will send it to the White House "soon." President Obama can then select a nominee from this slate, or pick his own. Either way, his choice is subject to confirmation in the Senate.
RI-01: Retired Superior Court Judge Roy Pfeiffer is weighing a run for the now-open 1st CD as a Republican. The GOP actually already has a candidate here, state Rep. John Loughlin.
SD-AL: I'm unsurprised - Obama strategist Steve Hildebrand says he won't challenge Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in the Dem primary, even though she voted against healthcare reform.
TN-08: Roy Herron will have the Democratic field to himself: Educator and former John Tanner staffer Luther Mercer has dropped out, citing difficulties in fundraising. On the, well, non-Dem side, meanwhile, the knives are out for GOP frontrunner Stephen Fincher. Teabaggy independent Donn Janes is slamming Fincher for claiming to want to cut DC spending despite having been a big beneficiary of farm subsidies.
VA-05: Ex-Rep. Virgil Goode will appear at a fundraiser on the 25th for state Sen. Rob Hurt, who is seeking to reclaim Goode's seat for the Republicans. Hurt is the establishment favorite in this race, but the teabaggers truly seem to hate him and are determined not to let him win the primary. So it remains to be seen whether Goode can sprinkle him with winger fairy dust, or befoul him with DC stink lines.
WY-AL: Democrats have found a candidate to take on freshman Cynthia Lummis: David Wendt, president of the Jackson Hole Center for Global Affairs. Wendt specifically cited Lummis's vote against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and also congressional inaction on emissions, as reasons for his run.
Polltopia: The boys at PPP are choosing between AL, IL, MD & WA for their next poll, and you can go over there to vote. I can also tell you that R2K will have a WA poll out this week (as well as polls in AR and WI).
Passings: Fred Heineman, a one term congressman from North Carolina, passed away this past weekend at the age of 80. The Republican Heineman beat Dem Rep. David Price in the 1994 Republican Revolution, but Price won his seat right back in 1996. Heineman's brief tenure had a lot to do with how mind-bogglingly clueless he was, most infamously remarking:
"When I see a first-class individual who makes $80,000 a year, he's lower middle class. When I see someone who is making anywhere from $300,000 to $750,000, that's middle class. When I see anyone above that, that's upper middle class.
CA-Sen: No one does weird-ass like Carly Fiorina, who has another web video out that hails from the land of the bizarre.
CO-Sen: Seventh CD Rep. Ed Perlmutter has endorsed Sen. Michael Bennet over Andrew Romanoff in the Dem primary.
FL-Sen: It looks like Marco Rubio is finally starting to come in for some serious scrutiny. The St. Pete Times has a lengthy examination of the corporate money that has flowed Rubio's way, and the irregularities which have riddled his campaign finance reports.
IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias says he's going to return all campaign contributions from, as Politico puts it, "accused bank fraudster Nick Giannis and his family."
IN-Sen: Ah, this is good. Dan Coats is trying to run as hard as he can against the bailout... but back in 2008, he was lobbying the government on behalf of a hedge fund which owned 80% of Chrysler - a huge recipient of bailout funds. (He didn't do a very good job, it seems, considering that the fund, Cerberus, has its equity stake wiped out.) As Texas Dem astutely noted the moment Coats rumors started flying, "Usually retired senators get rich in some unseemly way that makes them unelectable in the future." Sure looks like the case here.
NY-Sen-B: I hope all those Democrats who supported Mike Bloomberg over the years are happy: The NYT has an in-depth look at Bloombo's hostility to Kirsten Gillibrand, and all the candidates he has tried to push into running against her. The latest is his own girlfriend, Diana Taylor. The Times fails to find any rational reason for why His Bloominess has chugged so much haterade, but devtob points out that they ignored a key item: Bloombo was a big backer of Caroline Kennedy, who of course was snubbed in favor of Gillibrand.
RI-Sen: Don't look to retiring Dem Rep. Patrick Kennedy to share any of his spoils with the DCCC. Calling his decision not to seek another term in the House more of a "sabbatical" than a retirement, Kennedy says he plans to transfer his $500K campaign purse into an interest-bearing account, just in case he should need it for a Senate campaign someday. This is total bullshit. (Thanks to SSPer Andrew for this one.) (JL)
ID-Gov: Dem Keith Allred has made it official. Allred, a former Harvard professor, had spent five years running a non-partisan "citizens group" called The Common Interest which he left to pursue a gubernatorial run.
MI-Gov: Virg Bernero locked down another big union endorsement: the AFL-CIO took a vote, and it was "overwhelming" (their words) in Bernero's favor. The United Auto Workers union, itself a member of the AFL-CIO, had already gotten behind Bernero, but now the entire umbrella organization (which also includes AFSCME, IBEW and AFT) is doing so. Bernero's been running exactly the sort of populist campaign his supporters would have hoped, lately proposing that Michigan establish a state-run bank, modeled after the Bank of North Dakota.
NM-Gov: Doña Ana County District Attorney Susana Martinez won the support of 47% of the delegates at the state GOP convention this past weekend, while former NM Republican Party chair Allen Weh pulled in 26%. Pete Domenici, Jr. took less than 5%, but still plans to file petitions to get on the ballot. Because Martinez and Weh got over 20%, they only have to file half as many signatures, but as Heath Haussamen points out, no candidate who hasn't scored 20% at the convention has ever come back to win the nomination.
OH-Gov: A voluminous auditor's report on the demise of Lehman Brothers was published last week, documenting all of the company's shady financial practices which led to its doom. Why does this matter to the Ohio governor's race? John Kasich was a managing partner at Lehman for several years, right up until the bitter end in 2008. Ted Strickland is putting some pointed questions to Kasich, whose response so far has been extremely feeble.
FL-08: Sarah Palin's gotten mixed up in the race to take on Rep. Alan Grayson, firing some broadsides at the Democrat during a recent trip to Orlando. Grayson did not let this challenge go unanswered.
KY-03: Tacked on to a Louisville mayoral poll, SUSA included a sort of unusually-worded question about Dem Rep. John Yarmuth's re-elects. They asked voters if they would vote for or against Yarmuth "no matter who else is on the ballot," with a not sure "until I know who else is on the ballot" option. Yarmuth scored 27-23-48. It still seems that Yarmuth's only challenger so far is a dude who owns a bunch of Pizza Huts.
NY-14: EMILY's List has finally done something right: They're endorsing Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a longtime advocate for women's issues, in her primary fight against Some Dude Reshma Saujani.
NY-23: After months of sounding pretty serious about a bid, state Assemblyman Will Barclay has decided to pass on a race against Dem Rep. Bill Owens. Barclay's exit greatly improves the chances of Club For Growth nutter Doug Hoffman in the GOP primary, where his main rival now appears to be investment banker Matt Doheny, who lost the special election nomination to Dede Scozzafava last fall. (JL)
OK-05: The Republican primary to succeed Mary Fallin in the House just gets bigger and bigger. State Rep. Shane Jett is now the sixth candidate in a field that includes state Rep. Mike Thompson, former state Rep. Kevin Calvey, and Some Other Dudes. (JL)
IL-Lt. Gov: The 38 members of the IL Dem central committee will hold interviews with prospective candidates around the state next week and then pick a replacement Lt. Gov. nominee on March 27.