[Note: This year, we will be voting in municipal elections in cities throughout Clark County. Las Vegas will be voting for Mayor (Oscar Goodman is termed out) and three city council seats. Henderson and North Las Vegas will also be voting for three city council seats each. And all cities will also be voting for local judges. Clark County Elections only occur in even numbered years.
Carolyn Goodman is the wife of outgoing Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, the founder of the prestigious private Meadows School, and a registered Nonpartisan. Victor Chaltiel is the Republican being backed by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Larry Brown and Chris Giunchigliani are both Democrats and incumbent Clark County Commissioners.]
• CT-Sen: This is starting to sound like a broken record, but Rep. Joe Courtney is in the news again for saying that he's still vaguely interested in getting into the Dem Senate primary. At least he has a somewhat more definite timetable, saying he'll decide "by the end of this month."
• FL-Sen: Quinnipiac is out with its first Florida poll of the 2012 cycle, and it's remarkably similar to the other polling they've been doing so far this cycle (like OH and PA): they find a surprisingly high number of people with no opinion about the incumbent Democrat, and find him polling in the mid-40s on a generic ballot question, but still winning by an OK margin. Bill Nelson's specific numbers vs. Generic R are 41-36; his approvals are pretty good at 45/21 and his re-elect is 43/33. On a related note, Nelson has the most cash of any Dem heading into 2012, in what, if only by virtue of the state's population, may be 2012's most expensive Senate race; he has more than $3 million CoH.
• MA-Sen, MA-04: I was a little surprised to see Barney Frank's name even on the long list of potential candidates for the Massachusetts Senate race - he's 70 years old and, if for some reason there's a Democratic wave election in 2012 he could get his gavel back - so it's not unusual to see his announcement today that he's running for another term in the House in 2012.
• MN-Sen: Courtesy of Minnesota Public Radio, here's a long list of additional Republicans who aren't running for Senate in Minnesota. (The list of ones who are running would be more interesting but is much shorter, since it has zero names on it, with the possible exception of Harold Shudlick, who lost the 2006 Senate nomination with a proto-teabag candidacy.) Most notably it includes former state Rep. Laura Brod (who's apparently on the short list to become a Univ. of Minnesota Regent instead), but also state Sen. Julie Rosen, state Sen. David Hann, Hennepin Co. Sheriff Rich Stanek, attorney Ron Schutz, and Bill Guidera, who is the state party's finance chair but is employed as "lobbyist for News Corp." A Roll Call article from several weeks ago buried a few other "no thanks" too: businesswoman Susan Marvin, former T-Paw CoS Charlie Weaver, and former state Rep. Paul Kohls. (H/t Brian Valco.)
• MT-Sen, MT-AL: After a lot of rumors last week, it's official as of today: Republican Senate candidate Steve Daines is dropping down to the open seat House race, where he probably becomes something of a frontrunner (rather than a speed bump for Denny Rehberg). He can transfer over the $200K he raised for his Senate race. The Fix has some additional names who might consider the House race (in addition to Democratic state Rep. Franke Wilmer, who started floating her name several days ago): businessman Neil Livingstone and state Sen. Roy Brown for the GOP, and state Sen. minority whip Kim Gillan, state Sen. Larry Jent, up-and-coming state Sen. Kendall Van Dyk (netroots candidate, anybody?), or attorney Tyler Gernant.
• WI-Sen: Is this the opening salvo of the 2012 Senate race? It comes from a familiar face (one who lost the 1998 Senate general election and 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary), ex-Rep. and real estate development magnate Mark Neumann. He engaged in the traditional pre-announcement tactic of penning an op-ed attacking the incumbent, in this case Herb Kohl and his vote against HCR repeal. If so, it would set up the battle of the self-funders.
• WV-Sen: The NRSC is out with its first ad of the cycle, and they're getting right to work going after Joe Manchin, after he surprised at least some people by keeping ranks with the Dems and voting against HCR repeal. No trucker hats or plaid here... instead, they seem to be taking that "San Francisco values" (read: gay gay gay!) tack pioneered by Sam Graves in a notorious MO-06 ad in 2008, by comparing joined-at-the-hip pals Barack Obama and Joe Manchin to other legendary campy duos, like Sonny and Cher, and Siegfried and Roy.
• IN-Gov: Somebody's not waiting for Mike Pence to make his move on the Indiana governor's race! I say "somebody" because I really have no idea who this guy is, although he's one step up from Some Dude by virtue of having been a Hamilton County Commissioner. Jim Wallace is the first to actually say he'll seek the Republican nomination; he's touting his business background (as a consultant to health insurance companies).
• WV-Gov: I'm not sure I've ever seen such a chaotically-planned election before, but now the state House and Senate in West Virginia can't agree on what date they're going to set for the special election to replace Joe Manchin. The House moved it up to Sep. 13, but then the Senate's bill kept it at Oct. 4, which was the date proposed by Earl Ray Tomblin. At least they're in agreement on the primary date, June 20. (There's also a rundown on filings so far: the three Dems to file are the one's you'd expect (Tomblin, Natalie Tennant, and Rick Thompson), while in addition to two expected GOPers (Betty Ireland, Mark Sorsaia), there's also one whose name I hadn't heard before, state Del. Patrick Lane.
• FL-25: You know you're in for a short stay in the House when the Beltway media is already compiling lists of likely successors during your first month on the job. The Fix's list of possible Republicans who might pick up after David Rivera in the event of a resignation/expulsion includes state Sen. Anitere Flores, former state Sen. Alex Villalobos, state Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, Miami-Dade school board member Carlos Curbelo, and former state Rep. J.C. Planas.
• MS-LG: With Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant the likeliest person to become Mississippi Governor in 2011, the jockeying to become Lt. Gov in 2011 (and thus probably become Governor in 2019) is underway. Republican state Treasurer Tate Reeves is the first to announce his bid.
• DCCC/Crossroads: The announcement that they were targeting 19 vulnerable Republicans this early in the cycle was a good move for the DCCC, but a lot of the wind subsequently went out of their sails when it was revealed (courtesy of Nathan Gonzales) that the effort was really more of a press release backed up by tiny radio ad buys, with a total of about $10,000 spent, working out to about $500 per member (and as low as $114 in VA-05, which is a cheap market, but still...). That was met by a retaliatory buy from the Karl Rove-linked GOP dark money outfit American Crossroads, where the clearly telegraphed subtext was "You're broke; we have money." They spent $90,000 to air radio ads in those same markets, which at less than $5,000 per member is still chicken feed but, in terms of The Math, noticeably larger. Of course, that $114 is a pretty good return on investment, if it got Robert Hurt publicly backpedaling on just how much he wants to cut infrastructure spending.
• Mayors: The Las Vegas mayoral race just took an interesting turn yesterday, when former school board president (and more notably, wife of outgoing mayor-for-life Oscar Goodman) Carol Goodman reversed course and said that she would, in fact, run for mayor. By virtue of name rec, that may catapult her to the front of the line.
• Redistricting: This may be our first-ever episode of Swingnuts in the News, but Josh Goodman (now writing for Stateline) has an interview with Dave Bradlee (of Dave's Redistricting App fame) in his new article on the rise of DIY redistricting in general. (He also briefly cites abgin's now-legendary map of New York state.) He also points out that at least two states, Idaho and Florida, will make similar applications available online for tinkerers, as well as the Public Mapping Project's efforts to create a more comprehensive public service.
• Census: The 2010 data for Louisiana, Missisippi, New Jersey, and Virginia is out... at least in cumbersome FTP form. American FactFinder won't have the data until later today or tomorrow. (Looks like Dave Wasserman's already cracked open the data and has tweeted one interesting tidbit: New Orleans' population came in 29.1% lower than 2000, and even 3.1% below the 2009 ACS estimate.
• CT-Sen: Rep. Chris Murphy has been studiously avoiding saying he's running for Senate, but seems to be dancing up to the edge of it more. He tells the Hartford Courant that he's "interested" and that his decision will be "independent" of whether or not Joe Lieberman decides to run for another term. Murphy's also claiming the backing of 2010 Lt. Gov. candidate Mary Glassman. Murphy may have a large hurdle to clear even before getting to take on Lieberman, though; here's another reminder that Rep. Joe Courtney is still scoping out the Senate race too. Dem insiders and labor leaders are conflicted, with the differences between the two more stylistic than ideological, and are, at this point, mostly just hoping to avoid a divisive primary.
• FL-Sen: The Republicans have their first big-name candidate to go up against Bill Nelson, although several more seem likely to get in: state Senate president Mike Haridopolos hasn't formally announced, but unveiled his operation yesterday, kicking off his fundraising efforts and launching his website. For what it's worth (not worth much, since Nelson is a thoroughly-known statewide figure at this point) Nelson and Haridopolos share the same geographical turf on the Space Coast.
• HI-Sen: An interview with Mufi Hannemann, now decamped to the private sector, raises the question of the 2012 Senate race. Hannemann says that octogenarian Dan Akaka has indicated to him that he'll run again, and he would never run against Akaka, but would "look at it" if there were an opening instead.
• MA-Sen: We've already seen the mayors of some of Massachusetts's cities cited as potential candidates (especially Newton's Setti Warren), but here's another one to keep in mind: Salem mayor Kim Driscoll, who has been asking around about the race. Two other mayors get cited in the piece as additional down-in-the-weeds possibilities for the Dems: New Bedford's Scott Lang and Fitchburg's Lisa Wong.
• PA-Sen: The magic 8-ball is telling us that Mark Schweiker's odds of running for Senate are pretty hazy at this point. The ex-Gov. just took on a "senior advisor" role (read: lobbyist) at a major law firm, which isn't usually the action of a likely candidate for something.
• TX-Sen: The big question today seems to be who all will pile into the overstuffed clown car that will be the GOP field to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison (who announced her retirement yesterday). Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has already said he's in (which may have surprised some people who thought he was more interested in becoming Governor instead... although those who know Texas politics know that being Governor is actually a step down from being Lt. Governor). Lots of sources today have long lists of all the potential candidates, with the one from the Texas Tribune probably the most thorough, with the other "high" probability GOPers besides Dewhurst being Elizabeth Ames Jones (the mama grizzly), Michael Williams (the teabaggers' fave), Roger Williams (the business candidate), and the state's former solicitor general, Ted Cruz. One other interesting bit of news is that right-wing kingmaker Jim DeMint, who has been squarely behind Michael Williams so far, is branching out his support, also expressing an interest in Cruz (probably at the best of social conservatives, who seem particularly fond of Cruz).
As for the Dems, most of the news has been prominent potential candidates saying "I'm not touching this one." That includes former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk and former Houston mayor Bill White, both of whom have already lost statewide. While John Sharp is expected to run (though he hasn't said anything official since KBH's announcement), some Dems are already casting an eager eye toward San Antonio mayor Julian Castro, an up-and-comer who they think may be ready for prime time, calling the charismatic 30-something the Dems' "Marco Rubio." Other fallback options might include recently defeated ex-Rep. Chet Edwards, or two state Sens., Kirk Watson and Leticia van de Putte, who both were briefly speculation-subjects for last year's gubernatorial race.
• MT-Gov: Here's one more Republican candidate for the open seat gubernatorial race, where the field is dominated by ex-Rep. Rick Hill but two state Senators are also in the mix. Jim O'Hara is an elected official, although it barely gets him out of Some Dude territory: he's a Chouteau County Commissioner (population approximately 5,000).
• WA-Gov: Chris Gregoire's popularity in Washington seems to be keeping on dwindling; a recent Elway poll put her at just 38/61, worse than her position before the 2010 election. While nobody's really expecting her to run for a technically-possible third term, it's likely she won't announce her plans until after the legislative session is done in order to avoid being a lame duck and have some clout instead.
• MA-06: Rep. John Tierney's wife, Patrice, was sentenced to 30 days in jail for aiding and abetting filing of false tax returns (on behalf of her fugitive brother). This is worth a mention here only because it could weigh on Tierney in terms of retirement or drawing a legitimate challenger for 2012, although this mini-scandal has been in the news for months and didn't seem to have caused of an impression in 2010 (although Tierney's kooky opponent probably wasn't in a position to capitalize).
• WA-St. House: There's legislation afoot in Washington that could dramatically change the way the state House is set up. Currently, each of the state's 49 legislative districts elect one senator and two representatives (meaning each Washingtonian has three state legislators to keep track of, instead of two). The proposed changes would move Washington toward the more conventional system of 98 individually-districted House districts, which would give each Rep. half as many constituents and in theory make them more accessible. There's no indication, though, of whether this has the backing to go anywhere or if it's just one Rep.'s personal hobby horse.
• Mayors: One of the higher-profile mayoral races up for grabs this November will be in Las Vegas, although it's doubtful any of the contenders will have the high profile of termed-out, outgoing mayor Oscar Goodman. (Any reporter writing about Goodman is required by law to refer to him as "colorful" in the first paragraph.) It seems pretty wide open, but three candidates who are already jockeying for position include Clark Co. Commissioner Larry Brown, city councilor Steve Ross, and Chamber of Commerce president Katherine Duncan.
• Redistricting: Here's a nice promise from Pennsylvania Republican state Senate president Dominic Pileggi regarding transparency in the redistricting process this year. He says that he's planning a website that will offer "voter data, past district maps... and proposed maps when time allows." Easy access to that kind of data ought to get a whole lot of SSPers salivating, but bear in mind that, for now, simply remains a promise. (Also, bear in mind that Pennsylvania has an odd system, where state legislative boundaries are drawn by a bipartisan commission but congressional boundaries are drawn directly by the legislature, subject to the governor's veto. The GOP, rather inconveniently for us, just took over the trifecta for the first time since, oh, the last redistricting.)
Ross Miller (D): 34
Dean Heller (R): 46
Want to make sure Democrats win the 2012 Senate race in Nevada? Find a way to make sure that John Ensign is the GOP nominee. Conversely, want to make sure Democrats lose? Find a way to make sure that Dean Heller is the nominee. At least that's the initial takeaway from today's PPP poll. The general electorate seems to loathe Ensign, giving him 35/50 approvals (way below those of Harry Reid, who's at 46/50), and 56% say he shouldn't run again in 2012 (compared to 29% who say he should). Heller, by contrast, has 46/23 favorables; the only Dem who competes with that is Oscar Goodman, at 45/21. Shelley Berkley, generally thought to be the Dems' strongest contender here, has the narrowest fave/unfave spread of any Dem, at only 34/29.
You might remember that in November PPP came out with a poll of the GOP primary, showing Ensign surprisingly far ahead of Heller (and Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki as well), 45-37. So, we might be able to hope for Ensign salvaging his primary (and thus boosting Dem hopes for the general). The primary, of course, still has several ways to not happen... Heller has sent many a conflicted message, happy with his new committee assignments in the House, but on the other hand, many with their finger on the local political pulse seem sure that Ensign won't even bother trying to run. Jon Ralston, in fact, is out with another piece today predicting just that; his scenario is that midway through the year Ensign is likely to announce he won't run again, Heller will run to replace him, and the biggest fireworks will be in the NV-02 primary to replace Heller, potentially pitting Krolicki against Sharron Angle.
• CO-Sen: So since the last time we checked in, Ken Buck royally stepped in it not just once, but twice. First, he made the argument that voters should opt for him and not Jane Norton because "he doesn't wear high heels." (It was by way of arguing that, instead, he wears cowboy boots with actual bullshit on them, but the gender card was pretty clear. And Norton's response was easy to write, and was on the air almost instantaneously. It probably played at least something of a role in today's decision by Arizona governor Jan Brewer, amassing her own clutch of Mama Rattlesnakes, to extend an endorsement to Norton.) Then second, it came out over the weekend that on June 11, Buck was overheard referring to Tea Partiers (or at least the birthers among them) as "dumbasses." (Compounding the unforced nature of the error was that he was joking around with his Democratic tracker while saying it!) Buck was out with the inevitable apology to the teabaggers within the day. (Y'know, for a bunch of self-styled tough guys, they sure do get their feelings hurt easily.)
• CT-Sen: Despite his blowing through a large chunk of his remaining cash on hand in a baffling ad urging people to vote in the Republican primary (although not specifically for him), Rob Simmons is still maintaining that he's not currently a candidate for the Senate. He considers his $350K ad buy as something like "public service announcements."
• FL-Sen: Must be nice to have Jeff Greene's money! Concerned observers are a bit troubled by the close correlation between his hiring of DNC member Jon Ausman as a consultant, and his next-day endorsement of Greene's campaign. Greene has spent $6 million of his own money on the race so far, which apparently is a drop in the bucket for him, as he's been content to ignore a $1.87 million fine from the government of Belize that's outstanding against him, after he crashed his 145-foot yacht into a sensitive coral reef there.
• IL-Sen: Continuing the boat-crashing theme, in case you've been living under a rock all weekend, the big news in Illinois is that Mark Kirk has gotten caught in yet another series of misrememberments, this time about his sailboat accident and subsequent Coast Guard rescue that supposedly got him devoted to public service. Turns out he at least got the being in a sailboat accident part right, but, unlike his own description of the events, he was rescued long before nightfall, he probably didn't swim for a mile because he was within half a mile of shore, and his core temperature certainly wasn't 82 because he would have lost consciousness long before getting to that point. Sensing a pattern here?
• KY-Sen: Rand Paul is re-affirming that he supports Mitch McConnell. Well, sort of. During his Fancy Farm appearance this weekend, he said he's going to vote for McConnell for leader, but almost immediately afterwards, reduced that to not seeing a reason why he wouldn't vote for him. Observers also noted that, in his earlier sorta-support for McConnell, he was implicitly dissing Sharron Angle as unlikely to win, by way of saying that Jack Conway's first action would be to vote for Harry Reid for majority leader (something that, of course, wouldn't happen if Reid weren't to get re-elected).
• NV-Sen: Sharron Angle's media policy can be summed up in one word: RUN! That's what she did when faced with questions from a six-months-pregnant reporter last week, who, in typical lamestream media fashion, insisted on asking some further questions after a three-minute speech of boilerplate on the estate tax. How presumptuous! Harry Reid got further good news, too, with the endorsement of Las Vegas mayor and relentless self-promoter Oscar Goodman, who called Reid "the man we go to get things done in the city." If there's one Nevadan having an even worse time than Angle, though, it's John Ensign; his one-time crony Tom Coburn just hung him out to dry, handing over e-mails from Ensign in the ongoing criminal investigation by the DOJ into l'affaire Hampton.
• WV-Sen: With filing closed in West Virginia, there are eleven GOPers fighting in the primary for the right to oppose Joe Manchin in the Senate special election. Most prominent, of course, is businessman John Raese, who lost the 2006 Senate race to Robert Byrd and is also something of an archenemy to the Moore/Capito family. The only other noteworthy GOPer is Mac Warner, who already lost the WV-01 primary this year (and whose brother, Monty Warner, was the 2004 GOP gubernatorial nominee, losing badly to Manchin). Raese punctuated his entry with some ill-advised and outdated ethnic humor, comparing the Italian-American Manchin to Tony Soprano. The NRSC, probably not liking any of its options here (and having gotten burned by some of its earlier interventions), says it isn't getting involved in the primary.
• CO-Gov: The rumor du jour last week was that the RGA was prepared to pull out of Colorado entirely -- and that was before this morning's confirmation that Tom Tancredo was going to jump into the race as an indie candidate in order to either leverage the GOP nomination or crash-land the whole operation. The RGA denied the rumors when they first came out, but the local GOPers working on the race are suddenly leaking e-mails that they're broke. And with Tancredo's bid today, suddenly his allies and core backers among the Tea Partiers are suddenly denouncing him, accusing him of being a likely spoiler, whether intentional or not. Bafflingly, Tancredo pushed back in the way most likely to rub them the wrong way, calling the teabaggers new members of the "establishment." Tancredo's getting some pushback from state party chair Dick Wadhams, too; TPM has audio of the literal screaming match between the two of them.
• FL-Gov: You may remember state Sen. Paula Dockery, who was running a futile campaign against Bill McCollum in the GOP gubernatorial primary until dropping out after getting totally eclipsed by Rick Scott. Well, now she's teaming up with Scott; she's stopping somewhere short of endorsing him, but is joining him on his bus tour, saying she share similar stances on the issues. (She can't be angling for a Lt. Gov. slot, as Florida elects its LG separately, so what her angle is, I don't know. UPDATE: Actually, commenters have corrected me on Florida's LG procedure, wherein the nominees pick running mates, so, yes, it does sound like she's angling for LG.) Also, while it isn't exactly about the horse race, here's a fascinating (at least to me) piece of backstory about Democratic candidate Alex Sink. Her slightly Asian appearance is because she's 1/8th Thai, and her great-grandfather was a well-known celebrity in the early 1800s: circus performer Chang Bunker, one-half of the original so-called "Siamese Twins."
• GA-Gov: Dueling (banjo) endorsements in the Georgia GOP gubernatorial runoff, and they seem to fit the overall media narratives about the two candidates. The suburbanized Karen Handel got Mitt Romney's endorsement, while the more hickory-smoked Nathan Deal got the backing of the NRA.
• OK-Gov (pdf): There's one more poll of the primaries in Oklahoma (to be decided tomorrow night), from the Republican firm of Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates, apparently on their own and not on anyone else's behalf. The results are pretty similar to this weekend's Sooner Poll: they see AG Drew Edmondson beating Lt. Gov. Jari Askins 38-27 on the Dem side, and Rep. Mary Fallin well ahead of state Sen. Randy Brogdon 50-22 on the GOP side. Askins did get one late-breaking endorsement, though, that's good as gold in this football-mad state: she got the backing of former OU and Dallas Cowboys head coach Barry Switzer. Switzer's backing is credited with helping Brad Henry win a come-from-behind victory in the 2002 Dem gubernatorial primary.
• OH-St. House: Here's something you don't see every day: a local article about a competitive state legislative chamber where you don't get just platitudes about the closeness, but actual detail about the most competitive races. Democrats currently control the state House 53-46 after picking it up in 2008, and it could revert back to the GOP this year. The Democratic seats on defense that they list are scattered among Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland suburbs, and Appalachian-flavored rural areas like Portsmouth and Zanesville.
• OR-Init: Oregon stands out as the only west coast state that doesn't have an independent redistricting commission for state legislative seats. It looks like that's going to continue: a proposed initiative to create an independent commission of retired judges for redistricting didn't qualify for the ballot, after too many signatures turned out to be invalid. 2002 GOP governor candidate and bringer-of-the-crazy Kevin Mannix was the leader of the move, although he actually had some big money interests behind him this time (like Nike's Phil Knight).
• AZ-Sen (R): John McCain (R-inc) 54%, J.D. Hayworth (R) 34%
• ND-Sen: Tracy Potter (D) 22%, John Hoeven (R) 69%
• AR-Sen: Despite the seemingly imminent entry of Rep. John Boozman into the GOP field in the Arkansas Senate race, soon-to-be-former-frontrunner state Sen. Gilbert Baker says he's staying in the race. The alternative would be to run for Baker, who represents Little Rock suburbs, to run for the open seat in AR-02 instead - but there he'd face a tough primary against Beltway GOP favorite Tim Griffin, who's already established a solid fundraising foothold. (Some of the seven dwarves in the GOP field, who seem concentrated in the state's right-leaning northwest, may be interested in switching to Boozman's open seat in AR-03, though.) And unbelievably, yet another Republican is interested in getting in the Senate race: former NFL player Jim Lindsey is readying for a bid. Lindsey is a real estate developer and former University of Arkansas trustee.
• AZ-Sen: Sarah Palin is still dancin' with the one who brung her. She announced yesterday that she'll appear on behalf of John McCain, who plucked her from near-obscurity and is now needs a favor of his own as he's facing a primary challenge from the right from ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth. Needless to say, this provoked a lot of disappointment from her supporters among the teabagging set, who would prefer to see her stab McCain in the back and then field dress him.
• CO-Sen: With right-wingers filled with antipathy toward establishment choice ex-Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, there's been a lot of casting about for an alternative. Weld County DA Ken Buck seems more and more like he'll be that guy, as he's been making common cause with the Paulists, who are now planning to pay for a statewide advertising campaign on Buck's behalf. Meanwhile, on the Dem side, primary challenger Andrew Romanoff is trying to energize his sleepy campaign with a big hire - pollster Celinda Lake, whose previously sterling reputation got driven off a cliff with her handling of the Martha Coakley campaign.
• CT-Sen: There's not much left to see for the 2010 race, but everyone's thinking ahead to 2012, with the new rumor afoot that - with the Senate Kennedy-free for the first time in more than half a century - Ted Kennedy Jr. may run against Joe Lieberman in 2012. Lieberman himself is up to his usual asshattery, speculating out loud that he could conceive of becoming a Republican, and also saying that he might support Linda McMahon in the 2010 race... seeing as how Richard Blumenthal (tepidly) supported Lamont in the 2006 general while McMahon supported Lieberman. Apparently Lieberman learned his politics from watching the Godfather: it's not business. Just personal. (Lieberman also seems to be a believer in leaving the cannoli, and taking the guns.)
• FL-Sen: In the wake of new polling showing him falling behind Marco Rubio in the GOP Senate primary, the questions are getting louder about whether Charlie Crist might consider running as an independent instead. He said no to that idea... but people are noticing he didn't rule out switching parties altogether. With Crist appearing side-by-side with Barack Obama today in Florida (something he wouldn't consider doing if he saw any hope in trying to compete with Rubio - who just got the endorsement of ur-conservative Steve Forbes -- on conservative bona fides alone), could that actually be a consideration? If so, he'd need to switch parties by April 30.
• MA-Sen: There are a couple more retrospectives worth reading on Massachusetts, as people try to make sense of the mixed messages sent by exit polls (with one particularly intriguing tidbit: 52% of Scott Brown voters approved of Ted Kennedy's performance). Mark Blumenthal also looks at the shift in polling over the last few weeks, wondering again about the differing results gotten by live interviewers vs. robocallers, while also pointing to questions of how much pollsters' views of a race can actually change the overall momentum of the race (fundraising and perception-wise) and thus become a self-fulfilling prophecy. And get ready for the teabaggers' week-long love affair to end very soon: Scott Brown (who apparently has some self-preservation instincts) just served notice on the GOP that he won't always vote with them.
• ND-Sen: This isn't going to make the teabaggers any happier: Gov. John Hoeven, now running for the Senate, joined the Democratic Party in 1996 (at a time when he was head of North Dakota's state-owned bank), ditching them in 2000 for his gubernatorial run. With Hoeven already on their naughty list for his insufficiently anti-government stances, now he's just going to get more wrath.
• NH-Sen: Former AG Kelly Ayotte is wielding an internal poll by the Tarrance Group that gives her a big edge in the GOP primary against her challengers. She leads Ovide Lamontagne, coming at her from the right, 43-11. Random rich guys Bill Binnie and Jim Bender clock in at 5 and 3 apiece. No general election numbers were released.
• NV-Sen: One more disastrous poll for Harry Reid, which came out from Research 2000 a few days ago. This poll closely echoed one from PPP a few weeks ago that tested alternative Democrats, and finds that only Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman beats the Republicans (while Rep. Shelly Berkley and SoS Ross Miller don't fare much better than Reid). Unfortunately, this was all rendered moot a few days ago by Goodman's announcement that he wasn't going to run for either Governor or Senator. Reid loses 52-41 to Danny Tarkanian and 51-42 to Sue Lowden. Berkley loses 46-40 to Tarkanian and 45-40 to Lowden, while Miller loses 44-36 to Tarkanian and 43-37 to Lowden. Goodman beats Tarkanian 44-41 and Lowden 44-40. Rep. Dina Titus, facing a tough re-election of her own, doesn't seem to think much of Reid's chances anymore: she publicly said "Reid is done; he's going to lose."
• NY-Sen-B: One other Research 2000 poll to talk about: they looked at the Democratic primary in New York, and find about what everyone else has found. Kirsten Gillibrand leads ex-Rep. Harold Ford Jr. by a 41-27 margin (with 3 for Jonathan Tasini), looking solid but still with a ton of undecideds. This also exists merely at the level of rumor, but with the potential presence of Ford scrambling things for the ever-so-briefly-thought-to-be-safe Gillibrand, sources say that Democratic Rep. Steve Israel (who got dissuaded from a primary challenge) and Republican ex-Gov. George Pataki (who hasn't sounded interested until now) are both giving the race a little more consideration.
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): Franklin & Marshall's previous polls in Pennsylvania have tended to have unusually high undecideds, suggesting that they don't do any pushing of leaners at all - but this may have reached an all-time high with their new poll. Most notably, they find Allegeheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato completely dominating the Democratic gubernatorial primary... at 10% (more than doubling up on Jack Wagner, Joe Hoeffel, and Chris Doherty, all at 4)! They also find similarly low numbers in the Senate race, where Republican ex-Rep. Pat Toomey leads incumbent Dem Arlen Specter 45-31 and Rep. Joe Sestak 41-19 (?!?), and where Specter beats Sestak in the primary 30-13. (They didn't do a general election poll in the Governor's race, but find Republican AG Tom Corbett leading his remaining rival, state Rep. Sam Rohrer, 23-5 in the primary.)
• UT-Sen: The Mason-Dixon poll that gave us some (not so good) gubernatorial results also threw in some vague questions about the Senate race too. Incumbent Bob Bennett leads a Generic R in the primary, 46-27, and a Generic D 53-26 in the general. Nevertheless, Bennett drew yet another primary opponent, albeit someone seemingly of the Some Dude variety: local businessman Christopher Stout.
• WI-Sen: Wherever there's a vacillating Republican needing convincing to get into a Senate race, there's Rasmussen. (Whaddya wanna bet they have a Patty Murray/Dave Reichert poll in the field right now?) Contrary to PPP's view of the race, Rasmussen finds ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson leading incumbent Dem Russ Feingold, 47-43. They find Feingold with a perplexingly low 47/48 approval.
• CT-Gov: Is ex-Rep. Chris Shays looking to get into the Governor's race? Suddenly, it sounds like he's at least thinking about it, saying he'd like to do it but not sure if it's feasible. He's currently in Washington as head of the Wartime Contracting Commission, meaning he'd need to re-establish his Connecticut residency, but given his long-time popularity in his district (which eventually got too blue for him to hold) he might have a leg up on the so-so GOPers already in the field.
• FL-Gov: Quinnipiac released the gubernatorial half of its Florida poll yesterday, finding that Republican AG Bill McCollum has a somewhat bigger lead on Democratic CFO Alex Sink, 41-31 (McCollum led 36-32 in October). Sink leads state Sen. Paula Dockery 35-29, but considering that McCollum leads Dockery 44-6 in the GOP primary, that configuration doesn't seem likely.
• MI-Gov: Two guys who had been unlikely candidates for the Democratic nomination for Governor both announced they wouldn't run. Rep. Bart Stupak is the big name to say "no," which is good as far as the DCCC is concerned, as he's needed to hold down the fort in his R+3 district. The other is Detroit Pistons head of basketball operations Joe Dumars, who probably realized he'd get pretty banged up out there without Bill Laimbeer to run interference for him. One other interesting rumor of who might run, though, is ex-Rep. Joe Schwarz, the GOP moderate who got bounced out in a 2006 Club for Growth-fueled primary by Tim Walberg. And get this... he's talking about running as an independent. Could he actually peel off enough center-right votes for the Dems to salvage this race?
• NY-Gov: Research 2000's New York poll also looked at the Democratic gubernatorial primary, finding AG Andrew Cuomo defeating incumbent David Paterson, 63-19. Paterson is laboring under 34/54 approvals. The GOP primary to see who gets flattened by Cuomo is looking pretty uneventful: Erie Co. Exec Chris Collins, who continued to express vague interest despite having gaffed his way out of contention several months ago, finally pulled the plug on his exploratory committee. That leaves ex-Rep. Rick Lazio as the only major GOPer in the race, to few people's enthusiasm.
• TX-Gov: Looks like Gov. Rick Perry isn't much of a fan of the librul media, or at least he realizes that his key demographics aren't really the newspaper-reading types. He's decided not to sit for editorial board interviews prior to their pre-primary endorsements.
• MA-Sen: With last night's Suffolk poll, there really can't be any doubt any more that the Massachusetts Senate race qualifies as a "Toss Up," so we're changing our rating to reflect that. There's still room for skepticism on whether Scott Brown can in fact pull it out, given not only the difficulty of pinning down a likely voter universe in a rapidly-fluctuating special election, but also the Democrats' structural advantages on the ground in the Bay State. (The Democrats have the advantage of labor and local machines long-skilled at rousting out voters and getting them to the polls, while it's questionable whether the Republicans have, given their long neglect of the state, any ground troops to deploy here, or even up-to-date, refined voter databases.) Nevertheless, given what can actually be quantified, right now the polls balance out to more or less a tie, and that's how we have to treat the race.
The breaking news du jour is that Barack Obama has finally agreed to head up to Massachusetts and stump for Martha Coakley on Sunday. Also, the Coakley campaign is rolling out a second ad for the weekend, to go with their ad showcasing the Vicki Kennedy endorsement; they're also running a populist-themed ad on Wall Street regulation (specifically, the rather narrow issue of the proposed bonus tax on banks). The ad deluge is being bolstered a League of Conservation Voters ad buy for $350K; on the third-party front, that's being countered by a pro-Brown ad buy for $500K from Americans for Job Security.
• CA-Sen: Yesterday I was musing about whether ex-Rep. Tom Campbell's entry into the GOP Senate primary hurt Carly Fiorina or Chuck DeVore more, and we already seem to have an answer. The Campbell camp is touting an internal poll showing them with a sizable lead over both Fiorina and DeVore in the primary: Campbell is at 31, with Fiorina at 15 and DeVore at 12. The few polls of the primary so far have shown Fiorina and DeVore deadlocked in the 20s, so maybe it's safe to say that Campbell hurts them each equally.
• FL-Sen: Which of these is not like the other? There's a new multi-candidate GOP fundraising PAC called the U.S. Senate Victory Committee, which benefits seven different Republicans: Kelly Ayotte, Roy Blunt, Jane Norton, Rob Portman, Rob Simmons, Pat Toomey... and Marco Rubio? Six establishment candidates, and one insurgent. Or is Rubio the new establishment?
• PPP (pdf): PPP looks all the way to 2012 as part of their wide-ranging Nevada survey, and finds that John Ensign may weather his whole giving-a-patronage-job-to-the-cuckolded-husband-of-his-mistress thing, if he runs again. Ensign trails Las Vegas mayor (but probable 2010 gubernatorial candidate) only Oscar Goodman 43-41, but leads Rep. Shelly Berkley 49-40 and SoS Ross Miller 47-36. Of course, Berkley and Miller aren't that well-known yet and would presumably gain ground in an active 2012 race, but again, more food for thought on the idea that Republicans really don't get the vapors over sex scandals after all, so long as they're perpetrated by Republicans.
• MN-Gov: The St. Paul Pioneer Press is out with a poll of Minnesota voters (by a pollster I've never heard of, Decision Resources Ltd.). The poll seemed most focused on the question of whether there should be public funding of the new Vikings stadium, but it did throw in (almost as an afterthought) something we haven't seen before: general election head-to-heads in the Governor's race. The numbers are pretty encouraging for the Democrats: ex-Sen. Mark Dayton leads ex-Sen. Norm Coleman 41-31, and state Rep. Marty Seifert (who, assuming Coleman doesn't get in, is the likeliest GOP nominee) 41-25. State House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher beats Coleman 33-31, and Pat Anderson (who dropped out of the race this week) 33-23. There weren't any numbers for Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak, another strong contender for the Dem nod. And yes, if you're wondering, this does take into account the potential spoiler role of Minnesota's Independence Party; IP candidates account for 11 to 13 percent of the vote in each of these trial heats. (H/t alphaaqua.)
• NH-Gov: One other gubernatorial poll has good news for Democrats, and it even comes from Rasmussen. They find incumbent Gov. John Lynch in safe position with 58/38 approvals and, against his no-name opponents, leading social conservative activist Karen Testerman 53-30 and businessman Jack Kimball 51-32.
• OH-Gov: Who knew that John Kasich had the power to transcend the boundaries of space and time? In an effort to court the GOP's restive base, Kasich said "I think I was in the Tea Party before there was a Tea Party."
• WY-Gov: One more big-name Republican (by Wyoming's small standards) is getting into the gubernatorial race, banking on the assumption that incumbent Dem Dave Freudenthal won't jump through the legal hoops necessary to run for a third term. Auditor Rita Meyer is getting into the race, where potential GOP primary rivals include former US Attorney Matt Mead and state House speaker Colin Simpson.
• AL-05: Rep. Parker Griffith is showing his true colors. The party-switcher has been turning away requests for refunds of contributions that don't meet the requirements buried in the fine print: he says he can't refund donations for the 2008 cycle, only the 2010 cycle, because the 2008 contributions were spent long ago.
• AR-02: Rep. Vic Snyder is in pretty dire shape, if a new poll from SurveyUSA is to be believed: he trails Republican candidate and former US Attorney Tim Griffin by a 56-39 margin. You may want to take this poll with a grain of salt, as it was paid for by Firedoglake, who seem to have an axe to grind in the health care reform debate, and the Snyder numbers seem to be less the main point than engaging in strangely-right-wing-sounding message-testing. The good news is that, even after a variety of anti-HCR arguments have been offered (and Nate Silver does a fine job of picking apart the survey), Snyder doesn't fare much worse (at 58-35); the bad news, though, is that the 56-39 topline question was asked before any of the litany of anti-HCR talking points, suggesting that, HCR or no, we have a major problem in Arkansas.
• AZ-03: Despite Jon Hulburd's surprising cash haul, he may have bigger company in the Democratic primary to replace recently-retired Republican Rep. John Shadegg. Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon is the subject of speculation; he had briefly considered a 2008 run against Shadegg before ruling it out, saying his post-mayoral future would be in the private sector, but all eyes are on what he does now. (Gordon lives slightly outside the district's boundaries.) On the GOP side, there's no clear frontrunner at all. State Rep. Sam Crump has already said he's running. Possible other candidates include state Treasurer Dean Martin (who would have to drop down from the gubernatorial bid he just launched this week), state Sens. Pamela Gorman and Jim Waring, Phoenix city councilor Peggy Neely, former ASU football star Andrew Walter, and, in a shocker, the co-founder of Taser International Inc., Tom Smith. Former state House speaker Jim Weiers has taken himself out of the running.
• NC-11: Businessman Jeff Miller has reversed course and will run against Democratic Blue Dog Rep. Heath Shuler in the 11th. Miller had been recruited to run, but decided against it; he'll have to face a primary against Hendersonville mayor Greg Newman, who got in after Miller initially declined.
• OH-15: The Ohio GOP is still searching for an Auditor candidate after Mary Taylor decided to run for Lt. Governor instead of re-election. Former state Sen. Steve Stivers has been asked to run for Auditor, but made clear he'll be staying in the race in the 15th (where he might actually have better odds, considering how close he came to Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy last time).
Harry Reid (D-inc): 42
Danny Tarkanian (R): 50
Harry Reid (D-inc): 41
Sue Lowden (R): 51
Shelly Berkley (D): 39
Danny Tarkanian (R): 47
Shelly Berkley (D): 38
Sue Lowden (R): 46
Oscar Goodman (D): 41
Danny Tarkanian (R): 41
Oscar Goodman (D): 42
Sue Lowden (R): 40
Ross Miller (D): 34
Danny Tarkanian (R): 45
Ross Miller (D): 34
Sue Lowden (R): 44
Pretty ugly stuff, all around. For the Harry Reid match-ups, PPP is basically on the same page as Rasmussen and Mason-Dixon. We've thought long and hard about this decision, but the choice, in the end, is unavoidable: this race is no longer a tossup. Much like Chris Dodd, Reid has been spending a significant amount of money on his re-election already, and he has no positive results to show for it. Voters know Harry Reid, and they just don't like him: his job performance rating is at a disastrous 36-58.
In our conversations with DC Democrats, they have always stressed that Harry Reid has one big advantage over his Republican opponents: he'll have an enormous amount of money at his disposal to nuke his competition. While it's true that Reid will have all the resources he needs (and then some), money won't buy him love, and the usual "But the Republicans are worse!" argument (while also true) will be more likely to fall on deaf ears in races like this one where Reid is vulnerable to voter ire over Senatorial process. I also expect that, once the GOP primary is settled out, enough resources will flow to the Republican nominee so that he or she will be able to make their case against Reid. This race started off bad, and the trend is only getting worse -- gaffes like Reid's leaked "Negro" comment the other day only serve as exclamation points on how much difficulty the Majority Leader is facing. SSP is moving our rating of this race from Tossup to Lean Republican.
Also disturbing is the fact that Reid's would-be Democratic successors, 1st CD Rep. Shelly Berkley, Secretary of State Ross Miller, and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman (who is actually now an Independent, but whatever), are also in tough races against Lowden and Tarkanian.
At this point, though, I would have to take any of the above options over Reid. The silver lining here is that Berkley and Miller are, amazingly enough, somehow just as (or more!) unknown than Lowden and Tarkanian. Berkley and Miller are met with 46% and 66% "Not Sure" opinion ratings, respectively, while Lowden gets 49% and Tarkanian 43%. On the flip side, a Reid retirement could also lead to the candidacy of 2nd CD Rep. Dean Heller, who could prove to be the most formidable opponent the GOP could run.
Danny Tarkanian (R): 28 (24)
Sue Lowden (R): 26 (25)
Sharron Angle (R): 14 (13)
Mark Amodei (R): 1 (1)
Bill Parson (R): 0 (1)
Robin Titus (R): 0 (1)
Mike Wiley (R): 0 (1)
John Chachas (R): 0 (1)
Undecided: 32 (33)
Purely numerically, things haven't changed much in the Nevada Senate race, with only minor fluctuations in the general and primary (although that fluctuation does move Danny Tarkanian ahead of Sue Lowden). A new feature is a matchup between Harry Reid and right-wing ex-Assemblywoman Sharron Angle; even that turns up as a loss for Reid, although not by as big a margin.
These numbers, however, predate Harry Reid's latest woes. The "stepping in it" of the title, of course, refers to allegations in the new book Game Change that Reid observed several years ago, in his best attempts to sound like a 19th-century linguistics professor, that Barack Obama lacked a "Negro dialect." It looks like Reid may weather this particular storm -- for instance, John Cornyn said that while he'd like Reid to resign, he doesn't actually expect him to do so -- but it can't help when you're in a difficult re-election fight if you have to put out fires like this and belabor talking points that reiterate that you're staying on as majority leader. With stories and comments (Chuck Todd, Nate Silver) popping up more and more wondering if Reid has crossed the event horizon from which he can't re-emerge from the black hole -- much as Chris Dodd seemed to do last month -- it'll be interesting to watch his next series of moves.
The LVRJ reports gubernatorial numbers separately:
Jim Gibbons (R-inc): 23 (18)
Brian Sandoval (R): 39 (39)
Michael Montadon (R): 7 (6)
Undecided: 31 (37)
Rory Reid (D): 20 (24)
Brian Sandoval (R): 35 (32)
Oscar Goodman (I): 33 (35)
Undecided: 12 (9)
Rory Reid (D): 24 (25)
Jim Gibbons (R-inc): 21 (25)
Oscar Goodman (I): 41 (38)
Undecided: 14 (12)
Things aren't looking any better for Reid Jr., who seems to still be losing ground against Republican Brian Sandoval (although he still beats incumbent GOP governor Jim Gibbons in a two-way, perhaps the least popular man in a state chock-full of terribly unpopular politicians). Democratic Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman -- who hasn't made any official plans one way or another, but apparently would run as an independent if he ran -- is competitive with Sandoval, although Sandoval noodges ahead in the three-way tossup.