• CA-26: More eliminationist rhetoric from the right (not that they'll ever cease): Anthony Portantino, the Democratic Assemblyman running against Rep. David Dreier, is featured on some second amendment-related Old West-style "WANTED" poster.
• LA-02: Daily Kingfish says that Public Service Commissioner Lambert Boissiere III (son of a former state senator of the same name) is rumored to be interested in a primary challenge to Rep. Cedric Richmond in the newly-redrawn 2nd CD. The post points out that Bossiere's PSC district has a lot of overlap with the new borders of the 2nd, including a dog-leg up to the Baton Rouge area. (Bossiere, like Richmond, is also African-American.)
• NH-02: It's nothing like the town hall craziness of 2009, but it's nice to see idiots like Charlie Bass take heat in public forums for voting for Paul Ryan's Medicare-killing budget. Pretty pathetic political instincts on the Bassmaster's part. This vote will haunt him - and it's already haunting several other colleagues, like Bob Dold!, Lou Barletta, and Paul Ryan himself.
• NM-01: Oh no. I really had hoped we were done with Marty Chavez, but the maddening former Albuquerque mayor is apparently considering a run to replace Martin Heinrich, and is even supposedly meeting with the DCCC. The good news, though, is that ex-LG (and 2010 gubernatorial nominee) Diane Denish is also thinking about entering the race. This could be a very crowded primary.
• NV-02: You know Jon Ralston is enjoying this one. After a report came out in the Las Vegas Review-Journal (which Ralston not-so-affectionately refers to as a "newspaper," in scare quotes every time) that state GOP chair Mark Amodei was planning to seek the 2nd CD seat being vacated by Dean Heller, Ralston spoke with Amodei who says he didn't announce anything. In the LVRJ piece (which oddly quotes Amodei himself, so I don't know how they got the story wrong), Amodei also said that Republican state Sen. Greg Brower told him he also planned to join the race (and Ralston confirms via Twitter.)
Of course, who knows what's going to happen with this seat, given the unsettled legal questions about how a special election should be conducted if Gov. Brian Sandoval taps Heller for John Ensign's soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat.
• TN-06: I wonder what's up with Diane Black. The GOP frosh gave her own campaign two-thirds of a million bucks in Q1 - not a loan, an outright donation. I'm guessing that she's trying to ward off a potential primary challenge, given that she won the open-seat Republican primary last year with just 31% of the vote (her two nearest competitors both got 30%, so there must have been much gnashing of teeth).
• NJ-St. Sen.: An administrative law judge ruled that Olympian Carl Lewis, who is running as a Democrat, does indeed meet state residency requirements. However, it sounds like Republicans plan to appeal this ruling.
• WI Recall: All sorts of recall news. First up, Dem state Rep. Fred Clark says he'll challenge Luther Olsen in the expected recall election, another strong get for Team Blue. Democrats also filed a huge 30,000 signatures against their fifth recall target, Alberta Darling. That leaves just three eligible Republicans left: Rob Cowles, Glenn Grothman, and Mary Lazich, the latter two of whom are in very red districts (so I wouldn't be surprised if they don't get hit with a recall).
Republicans also finally filed signatures against three Democrats: Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin, and Robert Wirch. Democrats, though, charged that the GOP's petition-gathering efforts were sloppy and flawed, and vowed to challenge the signatures.
• California: California's new independent redistricting commission is set to release a draft set of maps by June 10th, with final maps due on August 15th (after a period of public comment).
• Colorado: Things don't seem to be going so swimmingly in Colorado's attempt to go back to the redistricting drawing board, with a special committee begging for more time to finish a new set of maps. The Republican co-chair says he thinks they can produce new plans in 10 days, but as Al Swearengen says, announcing your plans is a good way to hear god laugh.
Meanwhile, Gov. John Hickenlooper sounds like he has no intention of vetoing any map that the legislature sends him. Since Dems control one body and Republicans the other, this means they'll have to produce a compromise map - or no map at all, and kick it to the courts. I think Hick's hands-off approach (which is totally in-character for him) increases the likelihood of the latter, because it eliminates a key piece of Dem leverage which could be used to force an agreement.
• Missouri: Utterly embarrassing: Barely more than a day after finally agreeing to a conference committee to resolve differences between Republicans in the state House and Senate, work has ground to a halt, and nothing more will happen until Tuesday. One state Rep. offered this hilariously nonsensical assessment: "I think we're close, but obviously we're far." Meanwhile, the House passed a new map this morning that supposedly tries to address some Senate concerns, but given that there is no actual agreement, I'm guessing this is just a negotiating tactic.
• New Jersey: Teabaggers are suing to block implementation of NJ's new legislative map. It's not quite clear what the grounds are, but WNYC summarizes: "The suit alleges that the commission over-packed the southern half of the state and 'illegally split Newark and Jersey City from three districts each to two.'"
• Louisiana: The state House submitted its own map to the DoJ for pre-clearance, which I believe makes it the first such plan to go before Justice this cycle. The hotly-contested congressional map, though, has yet to be sent in.
• Victims: Dave Wasserman and Julia Edwards try their hand at the most likely redistricting victims this cycle, with separate lists for the 10 most endangered Democrats and Republicans.
• FL-Sen, FL-Gov: Suffolk University does a little poking around in the Sunshine State and finds that Sen. Bill Nelson winds up with rather good 43-24 favorables (including strong 30-39 marks among Republicans). Rick Scott, though, not so good... he's gasping at 32-47 overall. (President Obama stands at 48-44.) Suffolk also tested the GOP Senate primary (see Q.14 on p. 3), but no one scores higher than 7% in their kitchen sink head-to-head hypothetical, so I can't say it's worth very much.
• NE-Sen: Dem Sen. Ben Nelson says he raised over $1 million in Q1 and has $2.3 million on hand.
• NJ-Sen: Dem Sen. Bob Menendez apparently raised $1.6 million in Q1 and had about $4 million on hand.
• NV-Sen: Interesting: Aaron Blake is telling his WaPo colleague Felicia Sonmez that the DSCC is formally endorsing Rep. Shelley Berkley in her bid for Senate. This is probably a message to Byron Georgiou that he might want to think about finding something else to do.
• PA-Sen: Dem Sen. Bob Casey took in $1.1 million in Q1 and has over $2.1 million on hand.
• PA-Gov: Tom Jensen loves the re-do polls, and so do we, of course. This time, it's Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, who would lose in a hypothetical rematch to Dan Onorato by a 49-44 margin. Corbett's job approvals are at a sucky 34-44, which is interesting because unlikely the other Republican governors PPP's been testing, Corbett hasn't been caught at ground zero in labor-related disputes or (ala Rick Scott) in endless conflagrations with legislators in his own party.
• RI-Gov: Brand-new Gov. Lincoln Chafee says he might run as a Dem if he seeks re-election in 2014 - and also says he might not endorse President Obama for re-election. At first I imagined he was trying to preserver wankerish "moderate" credentials, but if you read the linked article, you'll see he actually criticizes Obama from the left for giving away too much in the recent government shutdown showdown.
• IA-03: Could the truly crazy Rep. Steve King really be scoping out a potential run in the proposed new 3rd CD? King, as you know, would be thrown into a new 4th CD with fellow Republican Tom Latham if Iowa's new maps pass into law, as expected. That's not a particularly appealing choice, but would a matchup with Dem Rep. Leonard Boswell in the new 3rd be any better? Blogger desmoinesdem, who lives in the 3rd, says she received a robocall from King asking if she supported a "total repeal of Obamacare." Another commenter at Bleeding Heartland says he, too, received the same call - but he's in the new 2nd, so it may just be that King is trying to raise money from Obama haters throughout the state. (The call included options for offering to donate to King.)
• LA-03, LA-07: With Louisiana's new maps becoming law (see bullet below in Redistricting Roundup), the big issue now is what happens between Republican Reps. Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry. The CW has long been that Landry, a teabagger who beat an establishment GOPer for the seat, would be left out in the cold. But I'm starting to wonder if maybe the knives will be out for Boustany instead. Boustany, you'll recall, very nearly derailed the entire redistricting process late in the day, prompting all five other Republican congressmen to ask that mapmaking be delayed for an entire year. An angry state legislature refused to entertain that possibility, but there was still a lot of ill will toward Boustany. Indeed, Rep. John Fleming said of Boustany last week: "I don't feel like I can trust anything he says. Everything he told me, he reneged on." In any event, Boustany says he raised a not-especially-impressive $230K in Q1. I'll be very curious to see what Landry took in.
• MT-AL: Republican businessman Steve Daines announced he raised almost $200K and will report $330K on hand as he pursues Rep. Denny Rehberg's open seat. Dem state Rep. Franke Wilmer said she's only raised $10K so far, but adds that she hasn't been able to fundraise as much as she'd like because she's in the middle of the legislative session.
• NV-02: Now things are getting interesting. Retired USS Cole Commander Kirk Lippold officially announced his entrance into the race for Dean Heller's open seat, making him the second Republican to get in. I say it's interesting because we might soon have at least three serious (well, "serious") candidates in the race, giving Sharron Angle a plausible shot of capturing her party's nomination. (The other expected entrant is Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, who said he'll wait until the legislative session ends in June to announce.)
• NY-26: Dem Kathy Hochul has a new ad up touting her leadership in the War on Tollbooths. It's actually her third ad; her second is an attack ad, going after Republican Jane Corwin for being a phony on spending cuts. NWOTSOTB.
• PA-11, PA-17: Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien, who staged a rather unsuccessful primary challenge to now-ex-Rep. Paul Kanjorski last year in PA-11, basically ruled out another run for Congress, and said he definitely won't challenge Rep. Tim Holden in a primary if Lackawanna gets drawn into Holden's 17th CD.
• DCCC, NRCC: Despite having gotten its ass kicked last year and having sixty fewer members to lean on for donations, the DCCC had a monster first quarter, raised $19.6 million and cutting its debt by more than half, from $17.3 million to just $8 mil. By comparison, the NRCC took in just $18.1 million and has the same amount of debt - but it started off with much less. Republicans have twice our cash-on-hand, though ($9 mil to $4.6 mil). We'll bring you a full chart with all the committee numbers once they all report.
• VETO: I don't really have a good place to put this, but you just gotta click the link and check out the pics of Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer vetoing a bunch of Republican legislation. Pure awesome.
• Iowa: Both houses of the state lege have now approved Iowa's new maps by very broad margins, and they go to Gov. Terry Branstad for his signature - or veto. He has three days to decide, but it would be quite the bombshell if he chose to nuke things at this stage, especially since he's said he hasn't heard a "compelling reason to reject" the plans. Also, a great data point from Greg Giroux:
Braley now reps 48% of population in proposed CD1, Loebsack 54% of CD2, Boswell 57% of CD3, Latham 50%/King 47% of CD4
• Louisiana: Gov. Bobby Jindal signed his state's much-fought-over new maps into law yesterday, and now they go to the Dept. of Justice for pre-clearance. The Legislative Black Caucus says it will oppose the maps (citing problems with all three: state House, state Senate, and congressional) and ask the DoJ to deny approval. However, the chair of the Legislative Democratic Caucus says " "Nothing jumps out at me and says [preclearance] will be a problem." Needless to say, quite a lot of folks at SSP disagree! Once the maps are submitted (likely in the next few weeks), Justice has 60 days to make a decision.
• Missouri: New redistricting plans, crafted by the Republican-controlled legislature, are getting closer to Dem Gov. Jay Nixon's desk, but he hasn't yet said whether he'll veto them. Republicans sound divided as to what they think Nixon will do. To over-ride a veto, they'd have to bring a few wayward members of their own team back into the fold, and buy off a couple of Dems. I suspect they can pull that off.
• Oklahoma: Just call it No Drama Oklahoma - so far, anyway. A state House committee passed a new map (PDF here), and the district lines for OK's five CDs have barely changed. (Helpfully, the map shows both the old lines and the new boundaries, so you can see just how minimal the differences are. It's still possible, though, that the Senate or the governor could try to push a plan which screws the state's lone Dem, Dan Boren. But it seems like legislators are more concerned with re-doing their own maps.
• Texas: They might be our mortal enemies, but the folks who draw the lines in the Lonestar State share our penchant for ruthlessness when it comes to map-making. Like a mother eagle shoving her own babies out of her nest, Republicans in the legislature are dealing with the problem of unwanted teabaggers by drawing them out of their districts - and into districts with one another. Indeed, a plan by the chair of the state House redistricting committee would pit no fewer than 14 Republicans against one another, allowing the GOP to create a whole mess of new open seats in other areas. This isn't cat fud so much as it is the cat stuffing her mangiest kittens into the dryer herself.
• Virginia: Bill Bartell of the Virginian-Pilot takes a detailed look at what the Democratic plan to turn the 4th CD into a majority-black district would mean, particularly for the seat's current inhabitant, GOP Rep. Randy Forbes.
• AK-Sen: When Norm Coleman... the man who has pretty much set all current standards for pointlessly dragging out an election for partisan purposes... is telling you to pack it in, believe me, it's time to pack it in. The ex-Sen. from Minnesota is the latest GOPer to tell Joe Miller to stop the madness. (What's his angle? He may have designs on behind-the-scenes Beltway leadership, possibly RNC chair, and with that in mind would probably like to discourage nonsensical R-on-R courtroom violence.)
• IL-Sen: The 59-41 Dem edge in the Senate drops to 58-42 for the rest of the lame duck session today, as Rep. Mark Kirk gets sworn in as the newest member. (Illinois, of course, was the only of the special election seats that flipped to the GOP.)
• IN-Sen: This NYT story doesn't really have any new specifics about Richard Lugar's upcoming teabagging that you don't already know, but it has a spectacular quote from former Missouri Sen. John Danforth, another Republican who occupied the same pretty-conservative-but-not-a-jerk-about-it space as Lugar:
If Dick Lugar... having served five terms in the U.S. Senate and being the most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy, is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.
• MA-Sen: The Boston Globe takes a look back at Deval Patrick's reelection town-by-town, and also wonders what it may mean for Scott Brown's first re-election battle in 2012. Patrick, for instance, won back many of the larger blue-collar (and usually Democratic) communities like Lowell and Quincy that Brown won. The question for 2012, though, is: how much of Brown's initial success was unique to Brown (more charismatic than your garden-variety blue-blood Republican like Charlie Baker), and, by contrast, how much of that was unique to the turnout model produced by the special election?
• MD-Sen: Republicans may already be settling on a favorite for the Maryland Senate race in 2012, and they're considering the same strategy as 2006, running an African-American against Ben Cardin. (In '06, recall, Michael Steele, well, still lost badly, but made the race more competitive than Maryland is used to.) There's a lot of buzz surrounding Charles Lollar, who just ran against Steny Hoyer in MD-05 and apparently wowed a lot of people on the stump. Of course, he also lost 64-35, but, well, you've gotta start somewhere. (Eric Wargotz, who just lost to Barb Mikulski, is also reportedly interested in trying again.)
• MO-Sen: The Beltway seems abuzz about a potential Claire McCaskill/Jim Talent rematch (thanks to McCaskill tweeting about her random airport meet-up with Talent, no doubt), but the missing part of the story seems to be that Talent, if he runs, could be walking right into a juicy establishment/tea party battle. Ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who lost a feisty gubernatorial primary in 2008 and threatened a 2010 primary run against Roy Blunt, has been turning up the volume on a potential run too. Ed Martin, last seen losing narrowly in MO-03, has also become the subject of some speculation. One unlikely run at this point, though, is former Ambassador to Luxembourg (which is code for "very wealthy donor") Ann Wagner, who has been linked to the Senate race but just announced a bid for RNC chair instead this morning.
• NJ-Sen: When did Bob Menendez's numbers start to look like Richard Burr's? A poll from Fairleigh Dickinson (favorables only, no head-to-heads) finds vast indifference about the Garden State's junior Senator. At least he's above water, with 31/25 faves, but 29% are unsure and 15% have never heard of him.
• NM-Sen: Jeff Bingaman, assuming he runs again, is already facing his first GOP opponent, although one from the Some Dude end of the spectrum. William English ran (apparently in the GOP primary) for the open NM-02 seat in 2002, although he seems best known for saying controversial things in his local newspaper, perhaps most notably that Barack Obama "literally amounts to an African dictator."
• TX-Sen: Yet more names are surfacing on the GOP side for possible primary challenges to Kay Bailey Hutchison: today, it's Houston-area state Sen. Dan Patrick.
• VA-Sen: Corey Stewart is the Prince William County Supervisor and a likely candidate in the GOP Senate primary, if his latest pronouncements are any indication. He's started firing shots across the bow of presumptive favorite George Allen's comeback, saying he had a "mediocre" Senate record and that his base has moved on.
• MN-Gov: The recount of the 2.1 million ballots in the Minnesota gubernatorial race officially kicks off today. You probably already know the candidates, but the Star-Tribune today profiles the really key players at this juncture: the lawyers. One of them, interestingly, is Eric Magnuson, who you may remember from the 2008-09 recount as state supreme court chief justice and head of the canvassing board; having left the court, now he's on Tom Emmer's team.
• WV-Gov: It's still not clear when the election will even occur (to set a permanent replacement for Joe Manchin), but acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin isn't going to get a free pass in the Dem primary, facing likely opposition from two of the people most actively involved in establishing when that election will happen. Both SoS Natalie Tennant and state House speaker Rick Thompson are eyeing the race, with Thompson "planning" to run and Tennant "seriously considering."
• CA-20: Look for a likely rematch in the 20th, which turned into one of the nation's closest races this year. Andy Vidak "promises" he'll try again vs. Jim Costa in 2012, although if he couldn't make it this year, the odds of him getting over the hump in a presidential year model seem even slimmer. (Unless, of course, the boundaries of the 20th get changed by the citizens' commission, but the VRA is likely to keep compelling a Hispanic-majority Fresno-to-Bakersfield district.)
• CA-45: Further south, Palm Springs mayor Steve Pougnet is another potential rematch. The Democrat already filed for a 2012 campaign, although he says he hasn't ruled another race in or out and is establishing the committee to settle up some unpaid bills from his 2010 race.
• CT-05: And here's one more: Justin Bernier, who was initially the GOP's preferred candidate in the primary in the 5th but got shoved over after Sam Caligiuri dropped down from the Senate race, is saying he's considering another run in 2012 (motivated in part by the likelihood of an open seat with Chris Murphy's likely Senate run).
• PA-11: Don't assume that Corey O'Brien is going to be the Dem nominee in the effort to take back the 11th in 2012, as there's a long list of possible contenders on the bench in this bluish seat. At the top is Scranton mayor (and, briefly, gubernatorial candidate) Chris Doherty, but other names you might see are Wilkes-Barre mayor Tom Leighton, former Pittston mayor (and Paul Kanjorski crony) Michael Lombardo, state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, Wilkes-Barre solicitor William Vinsko, and new state Sen. John Yudichak.
• California: Finally, those of you not living on the West Coast may be unaware that there are parts of the country where the Republicans are the ones in "what did we do wrong?" soul-searching mode. The WaPo looks at the epicenter of that, in California (where they didn't pick up any House seats, lost all the statewide races, and even lost ground in the state legislature), where local GOPers are flummoxed by the state's changing demographics.
(General h/t to Brian Valco, bearer of many of today's links.)
• AK-Sen: The big news out of Alaska is that Joe Miller is now suing to disenfranchise bad spellers. It's probably his only path to victory, forcing the state to adhere to a strict absolutely-spelled-correctly standard for "Lisa Murkowski" instead of a looser standard of analyzing voter intent. Miller's lawyer is asking a federal judge for a hearing this afternoon, seeing as how the state is planning to begin the process of checking and counting the 92,000 write-in ballots cast. Miller did get a leg up from the absentee count (of 27,000 additional ballots) issued yesterday, though. Murkowski went into yesterday leading by 13,439 votes (a 7% spread) and came out leading by 11,333 (a 5% spread). That's not the end of the absentee and early-vote count, either; another 12,000 remain to be counted, on top of all the write-in analysis.
• MA-Sen: I wonder just what the heck Marty Meehan is planning to do with his millions of dollars ($4.5 mil -- compare that with likely candidate Mike Capuano's $91K CoH!) in cash on hand, currently getting moldy in some bank vault. The ex-Rep. and current university president deferred on yet another Senate run, saying he won't challenge Scott Brown in 2012. At any rate, even with the most-loaded potential challenger out (short of Some Millionaire showing up and swamping the race with self-funding), the Beltway CW still is still treating Scott Brown as the most endangered GOPer for 2012, and that seems to have gotten amplified with the generally-strong top-to-bottom performance of Dems last week in the Bay State, suggesting that the Senate special election may have operated in its own little unusual vacuum.
• ME-Sen: Turnabout's fair play, I guess. With the DC press trying to drum up some drama out of (possibly non-existent) GOP overtures to get Joe Manchin and Ben Nelson to switch parties, now there's word from, uh, somebody about Dem outreach to Olympia Snowe to get her to switch (and avoid a likely teabagging in a 2012 GOP primary).
• MT-Sen: We mentioned businessman and losing 2008 Lt. Gov. candidate Steve Daines yesterday as a potential challenger to Jon Tester, and it looks like he's already moving full speed ahead. He'll be announcing his bid this Saturday.
• NE-Sen: Right on cue, here's the first Republican-sponsored poll of the 2012 cycle showing Ben Nelson in deep shit. The poll, commissioned by the state Republican party from Voter/Consumer Research, finds Nelson trailing the one announced candidate, AG Jon Bruning, by a 50-35 margin. (He also trails Generic R 42-32, and Gov. Dave Heineman 59-31, although Heineman has already said he's not running.) Interestingly, he's still above water on his approvals, which are 50/41... but it's a red enough state that that may not be enough to save him.
• NV-Sen: PPP is turning its attention to 2012 already, and its first poll is a juicy place to start: the GOP primary in Nevada. This is something of a surprise, at least upending the conventional wisdom: John Ensign has significant leads over both his highest-profile potential primary opponents. He beats Rep. Dean Heller 45-37, and Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki 55-27. Those leads may not hold up across a campaign, though, as Ensign has much higher name rec than either opponent. He's at 64/23 (remember, this is only Republicans in the sample, who, if David Vitter is any indication, are firm believers in the principle of IOKIYAR), while Heller is at 56/8 and Krolicki is at 45/9.
• RI-Sen: The names are also floating up for potential Republican challengers to Sheldon Whitehouse, with so-so approvals but not considered terribly vulnerable in his blue-state perch. State GOP chair Giovanni Cicione is publicly weighing a bid (although he's also saying that he's pushing outgoing Gov. Don Carcieri to make a bid, though he doesn't sound interested). Two other possibilities mentioned in the article include Warwick mayor Scott Avedisian and Cranston mayor Allen Fung.
• WV-Sen: This whole thing is getting a little too meta for me: with the perception out there of having gotten publicly burned on their attempts to get Joe Manchin to switch parties, now NRSC spokespersons are trying to say that the whole rumors of the outreach (which may or may not have actually happened) originated with the Manchin camp, so that he can bolster his bipartisan credentials. I can't decide whether the two camps are truly playing 3-D chess with each other or it's just devolved into high school mean-girls behavior at this point.
• CA-11, CA-20: Jerry McNerney keeps adding to his lead, making this one looking likely to get called soon. He's now up by 2,269 votes after a batch came in from blue Alameda County. We don't have any specific new numbers to report for you further south in the 20th, but the long-awaited dump of Fresno County ballots (where Jim Costa has led by a significant margin over Andy Vidak) is scheduled for later today, which is expected to push Costa into the lead (Vidak currently leads by only 145 right now, thanks to his home base of Kings County).
• FL-22: Allen West's hiring of a controversial talk show host as his chief of staff (payback for her constant boosterism of his campaign) is not only great fodder for the sheer litany of terrible things she's said (click the link for more), but it also may run into ethical and even FCC problems if she keeps her other job as radio host. The counsel for the House Committee on Standards of Ethical Conduct said the situation is "potentially problematic" because of conflicts of interest, and a different expert says it may also pave the way for demands for equal time on the air for whoever West's 2012 opponent is.
• PA-11: You may remember Corey O'Brien, the Lackawanna County Commissioner who lost the Dem primary in the 11th to Paul Kanjorski back in May. With the elderly Kanjorski not likely to try for a rematch, O'Brien looks to be in the driver's seat with regards to the Dem nomination for 2012 to go up against Lou Barletta in this D+4 district (though that's subject to the redistricting pen, of course). The buzz is he's a near-definite candidate, although he might face a primary bout with Scranton mayor (and, briefly, gubernatorial candidate) Chris Doherty.
• DCCC: In case you didn't know, lawyers get really expensive really fast. One of Chris Van Hollen's last acts as DCCC head is to send out a fundraising blast to donors, trying to round up $100K to cover potential recount activity in (according to him) nine different races.
• House: Nate Silver's new piece matches what I've seen a lot of in the comments (and my own perceptions, as well): the idea that 2012 should be a year of happy hunting for Dems in the House (although, especially with redistricting giving a boost to the GOP, a heavy lift to get back into the majority). The balance of mismatched seats has switched dramatically: now there are 12 Dems in seats that Obama lost (down from 50), and 55 GOPers in seats that Obama won (up from 28). Even if that's old news to you, the array of graphs is worth checking out.
• IA-St. Sen.: It looks like things have been finalized in Iowa, and the state Senate is at least one closely-decided legislative chamber that we pulled out of the fire. Democrat Tod Bowman's 71-vote victory in SD-13 gives the Dems 26-24 control over the body. (One other outstanding race, where the GOPer is narrowly leading, could also break for the Dems.) That leaves the Oregon state Senate as the chamber that's still probably the biggest question mark.
• Chicago mayor: We've been meaning for a while now to do a comprehensive who's-in-who's-out post about the mayoral race in Chicago, but here's a potentially big name that deserves immediate mention... if only because he's in the House, and if there's one thing SSP is all about at this point in the cycle, it's the Open Seat Watch. Rep. Danny Davis of IL-07 on Chicago's West Side (who'd previously flirted with and decided against a bid for Cook Co. Executive) is now expressing interest in the race, saying he's "ready to run." In a boost to his prospects, a coalition of black religious and community leaders that had previously supported ex-Sen. Carol Mosely Braun for the job has reversed course, and is now backing Davis.
Here's the last batch of 10 of the Hill House polls by Penn Schoen Berland. The sample periods were a mix of Oct. 16-19 and Oct. 19-21, with each sample with a 4.9% MoE. With previous rounds focusing on freshmen, open seats, and sophomores, this one deals with some of the most endangered veterans:
• CO-03: John Salazar (D-inc) 43%, Scott Tipton (R) 47%
• FL-02: Allen Boyd (D-inc) 38%, Steve Southerland 50%
• GA-08: Jim Marshall (D-inc) 37%, Austin Scott 50%
• IN-09: Baron Hill (D-inc) 46%, Todd Young (R) 44%
• IA-03: Leonard Boswell (D-inc) 49%, Brad Zaun (R) 37%
• ND-AL: Earl Pomeroy (D-inc) 45%, Rick Berg (R) 44%
• PA-11: Paul Kanjorski (D-inc) 43%, Lou Barletta (R) 48%
• SC-05: John Spratt (D-inc) 39%, Mick Mulvaney (R) 49%
• TX-17: Chet Edwards (D-inc) 40%, Bill Flores (R) 52%
So, 4 out of 10 isn't bad, considering the crowd we're looking at here (including the DOA-for-months Chet Edwards and Allen Boyd). Especially noteworthy is IA-03... who would have thought, even a few months ago, that chronically underperforming Leonard Boswell would be well on his way to re-election and possibly even not the most endangered Iowa Dem?
What's the overall damage? 31 of the total 42 Hill polls had Republicans in the lead, 4 ties, and 7 Dem leads. (Remember, 2 of those were GOP-held seats.) Mark Penn's take on what that means overall (remember, we're talking Mark Penn here, so take with salt as necessary):
"We didn't even poll in about 15 districts that are already too far gone for Democrats. So that, along with our entire series of polls, points to something in the range of a 50-seat gain for Republicans."
(I'm wondering what 15 he's talking about? Considering that they polled NH-01, TN-08, WA-03, WI-07, MI-01, AR-01, CO-04, IL-11, MD-01, NM-02, OH-15, PA-03, VA-02, and VA-05 earlier, that means I can count only AR-02, IN-08, LA-03, TN-06, NY-29, KS-03, and OH-01 in the "too far gone" category. Either he knows something about eight other races that nobody else does, or his math is a little fuzzy. Maybe he's counting FL-08 and WI-08, but even then he'd still owe us six more.)
• AK-Sen: I hope the Alaska journalist corps is fueled up on coffee and is ready to go on a week-long dumpster diving binge, because the mother lode just got opened up. A state superior court judge just ordered that Joe Miller's Fairbanks borough personnel records get released, saying the people's right to know trumps Miller's privacy concerns. The release won't happen until tomorrow, though, to allow time for an Alaska Supreme Court decision if necessary.
• CA-Sen: The polls can't seem to decide whether the California Senate race is tightening, loosening, or staying basically the same, but it was enough to finally get Carly Fiorina to do what the NRSC had probably hoped she would have done months ago: she put $1 million of her own money into the race. (She'd spent $5 mil of her own on the primary, but nothing since then.) On top of that, the NRSC is throwing an additional $3 million into the race for the last week, while Barbara Boxer is calling the bluff with $4 million from her account for ads of her own.
• NV-Sen: As we expected, Harry Reid's been keeping up a steady drip-drip of endorsements from prominent Republicans around Nevada. The most recent one: term-limited state Sen. Dean Rhoads, who represents almost all of the state (geographically) except Clark and Washoe Counties. (H/t LookingOver.)
• FL-Gov: Wow, Bill McCollum actually ate his own cat fud. With little time left on the clock, he swallowed any remnants of his pride and endorsed primary rival Rick Scott, the guy he swore he'd never endorse.
• RI-Gov: Interesting approach from a blue state Dem: Frank Caprio just told the President to "shove it," in reaction to Barack Obama's apparent decision not to endorse him when he was in Rhode Island today. Payback for Lincoln Chafee's Obama endorsement in '08? Or reverse payback for Caprio's reported flirting with a party switch? Or elaborate theater staged for Caprio's benefit, to help distance himself from the White House?
• OH-Gov: Obama and Biden alert! The Dynamic Duo are adding yet another campaign stop in Ohio, where saving Ted Strickland seems to be one of the White House's top priorities. On Sunday, both will appear with Strickland, and then there'll be a Biden/Strickland stop later in Toledo.
• CA-47: Um, maybe someone should tell Van Tran that taking a page from the Carl Paladino playbook isn't really a good idea right now... Tran's out with foul-smelling scratch-and-sniff mailers in the district, hitting Loretta Sanchez for the "stench of Washington."
• CO-04: Add one more body on the plague wagon: the DCCC brought out Betsy Markey on Friday. They announced that they won't be spending any more on the 4th this cycle. They'd previously drawn down their efforts here, but now they're fully pulling out. (If there's a bright spot, this is probably their last triage move... with one week left, there's really no time left to cut anyone else off.)
• FL-12: Is there a growing sense of Republican worry in this district? They shouldn't lose an R+5 district in this climate, but they have probably the most credible 3rd party Tea Party challenger anywhere here, in the form of an actual county commissioner, Randy Wilkinson, who internals polls have seen taking gobbling up double-digit vote shares. They're taking the problem seriously enough to have Newt Gingrich doing robocalling on behalf of GOP nominee Dennis Ross, suggesting that Wilkinson is a plant from next door's Alan Grayson.
• IN-02: Oooops. Jackie Walorski ran footage in a web video of a South Bend neighborhood as an example of a neighborhood "in ruin" from Democratic policies. The residents of the neighborhood are now deeply offended, saying their neighborhood is hardly ruined at all, and are demanding an apology.
• KS-03: In a more normal year, this might be enough to do some serious damage in a close race: just-released police records show that Kevin Yoder (the GOP's nominee here) refused to take a breath test during a 2009 traffic stop. He pled guilty to speeding, also received a citation for not taking the test, and it was left at that.
• MS-04: Look who's in a bit of a panic, and revealing his true stripes: Gene Taylor just let his district's voters know that he isn't one of those Demmycrats at all! Why, he even voted for John McCain in 2008, he says.
• PA-11: Bill Clinton's traveling schedule takes him to three blue-collar districts that were, in the '08 Dem primaries, some of the most die-hard Clinton districts anywhere, now all home to pitched battles. He's appearing in the 11th tomorrow in support of Paul Kanjorski (who we'd expected, a few months ago, to be the first Dem incumbent we wrote off, but who seems to still be in the thick of things). On Thursday, he also visits PA-03 and PA-15.
• VA-05: If you weren't already sold on Tom Perriello's particular brand of awesome, check out the highlight reel of some of the best clips from his most recent debate with Rob Hurt.
• WA-06: Here's an internal poll that's a real head-scratcher, that requires a bit of explanation. Rob Cloud, the same doofus who runs against Norm Dicks every cycle (four times in a row now) and gets crushed, claims to have an internal poll out giving him a four-point lead over the long-time Dem. (Well, four if you do your own math. For some reason, the poll gave actual respondent totals only, 609 to 558 with 95 undecided. If that strange method doesn't by itself set off alarm bells, the polling firm is someone called Wenzel (out of Ohio), a company I'd only heard of once, when they polled OH-Gov and OH-Sen last year on behalf of Ohio Right to Life... but (h/t to quiller) it turns out have a regular gig as WorldNetDaily's pollster and have been responsible for extremely leading-question-rife polls about Barack Obama's citizenship. And on top of all that, Dicks won the Top 2 primary (the most reliable poll possible) with 57% of the vote, with a combined GOP vote share of 43% (of which Cloud got a pathetic 29%),which shouldn't imply much vulnerability. On the other hand, Dicks' district is "only" D+5, one of the least-blue districts that isn't home to an on-the-radar race... and moreover, Dicks has seemed pretty invisible as far as I can tell, compared with next-door neighbor Adam Smith who's in a similarly D+5 district but got a polling-related wake-up call and has been working his butt off lately. So, uh... who knows?
• NRCC: Eager to maximize last-minute take-over opportunities, the party of fiscal responsibility is throwing some more debt on the pile. The NRCC just took out a $20 million line of credit to fund some more late-in-the-game advertising.
• Dark Money: Just as the actual universe's mass is mostly composed of dark energy and dark matter, so too the political universe is apparently mostly composed of dark money these days. Hotline's Jeremy Jacobs has an excellent piece that pulls together all the GOP spending by shadowy third-party groups, fleshing out the IE picture greatly, and also showing a remarkable amount of avoidance of duplication of efforts in the districts. They couldn't actually be coordinating their efforts behind-the-scenes, you think? (Not that that's illegal, as far as I know.)
• IEs: Speaking of IEs, if you haven't been following spiderdem's weekly series over in the diaries regarding the back-and-forth battle of the independent expenditures between the DCCC and NRCC, you absolutely should. It rounds all the numbers up in one handy place, and puts them in the context of the probable lay of the land.
• SSP TV:
• AK-Sen: Here's that NRSC ad mentioned late last week, where they hit Scott McAdams in a preemptive attack to keep him from shooting the gap (and here's the SOTB: $75K)
• CA-Sen: No more giddy Carlyfornia Dreaming here, with a dour ad from the Fiorina camp hitting Barbara Boxer for California's dire economic straits
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio's closing statement is a plain talk-to-the-camera spot saying "Reclaim America!"
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold's out with the ad that he should have run about two months ago, making fun of Ron Johnson's whiteboard and platitudes
• NM-Gov: Susana Martinez makes the Diane Denish/Bill Richardson connection about as explicit as humanly possible in her new spot
• FL-22: Ron Klein seems to have finally moved away from Allen West's homeowners association liens, with the Outlaws gang connections too juicy even for him to ignore
• ID-01: Walt Minnick cites his independence and rags on Raul Labrador for getting his own last ad pulled for its bogusness
• MN-06: Taryl Clark hits Michele Bachmann for, well, being a "celebrity"
• VA-05: Robert Hurt goes after Tom Perriello for being a Washington insider
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 48%, Meg Whitman (R) 42%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 48%, Carly Fiorina (R) 46%
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 56%, Linda McMahon (R) 43%
• IN-Sen: Brad Ellsworth (D) 34%, Dan Coats (R) 52%
• MD-Gov: Martin O'Malley (D-inc) 52%, Bob Ehrlich (R) 42%
• ND-Sen: Tracy Potter (D) 25%, John Hoeven (R) 72%
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 45%, Tom Corbett (R) 50%
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D) 44%, Pat Toomey (R) 48%
• RI-Gov: Frank Caprio (D) 28%, John Robitaille (R) 25%, Lincoln Chafee (I) 35%
• SD-Gov: Scott Heidepriem (D) 36%, Dennis Daugaard (R) 55%
• TX-Gov: Bill White (D) 42%, Rick Perry (R-inc) 51%
AK-Sen: Joe Miller is taking a vow of omertà, insisting that he simply won't answer any more questions about his personal background. He's also taking a page right out of the Sarah Palin playbook, whining that he's been the victim of "journalist impropriety," and making up stories about reporters gaining access to his "confidential file," in "violation of the law." I despairingly think that Miller won't pay the price for this that he ought to - look at Rick Perry, who refuses to meet with newspaper editorial boards, as an example.
Also of note: Miller is trying to unring that Seventeenther bell a bit - but not really. His stance now is that a constitutional amendment to eliminate the direct election of senators is not "practical," but sure sounds like he'd love to do it if he could. What a weirdo.
NV-Sen: Clinton alert! The Big Dog will be in Nevada today to campaign with Harry Reid.
WV-Sen: Clinton alert (retroactive)! Bill Clinton was in Morgantown yesterday, campaigning for Joe Manchin. He made a point of saying that the "hick-y" ad "burns me up."
KS-Gov: This creeptastic story is finally getting some play in the Kansas gubernatorial race. Back around 2002 or so, Sam Brownback was roommates in Washington, DC with a radical cleric named Lou Engle. You might remember Engle as the Talibangelist who led a "prayer" rally in Uganda right when the country was debating passage of a bill which would have implemented the death penalty for homosexuals. Though he later tried to distance himself from the measure, at the time, Engle "praised the country's 'courage' and 'righteousness' in promoting the bill. In the past, Engle has also donated to Brownback's campaigns, and Brownback has done events with him as recently as last year. Seemingly caught off-guard by all this, the Brownback campaign had no statement in response.
NY-Gov: When you've lost Rudy Giuliani... His Dingusness attacked fellow Republican Carl Paladino over his anti-gay remarks, calling them "highly offensive" and saying Paladino should apologize. Not really sure what Rudy's angle is here, though.
TN-Gov: Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Haslam poured in another $2.8 million of his own money in the third quarter, for $4.3 mil total. He's also raised a pretty amazing $12.5 million from outside donors, all told; combined, this apparently makes for a new Tennessee record. (Recall that Haslam had a very competitive GOP primary.) Dem Mike McWherter hasn't released 3Q nums yet, but he's raised just a fraction of what Haslam has.
FL-22: Barack Obama did a fundraiser last night at the home of former NBA great Alonzo Mourning (which we mentioned to you back in SSP Amazing Digest #88). The event raised a million bucks, split between the Ron Klein campaign and the DNC. In attendance were Miami Heat players Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade (but not LeBron James), as well as Magic Johnson.
ME-02: Looks like Jason Levesque is going to have to beg his mom for rides to campaign rallies: the Republican just got his license suspended, after three speeding convictions in the past year. Lifetime, he has 18 driving-related convictions (including nine for speeding), and his licenses has been suspended three times.
NV-03: Joe Heck has a serious problem wrapped around his neck like a twenty-pound goiter. It's called Sharron Angle, and he just doesn't know what do with it. When asked directly by a voter whether he planned to vote for his own party's senate nominee, Heck responded: "I'm waiting to see all of the evidence before I make my choice."
NY-01: Biden alert! The VPOTUS is coming to NYC to do a fundraiser for Tim Bishop on Oct. 26th. Seems awfully late in the game to be raising scratch, but I suppose a Biden event is such a sure thing that Bishop can max out the campaign credit cards against the expected take.
OH-09: As he watches his candidacy circle the drain, Rich Iott lashed out at the top-ranking Jewish Republican in the Milky Way, Eric Cantor, who had repudiated him a day earlier:
"I think that Representative Cantor did what so many career politicians do. He reacted before he had all the facts. He didn't know the whole story. He didn't understand what historical reenacting is all about, or the education side of it. And he just made a decision without all the facts. My opponent here is cut out of the same cloth. Those are the people who passed the health care bill before they knew what was in it. The same folks who passed the stimulus bill...."
Because comparing the minority whip to Democrats is a good idea for a Republican candidate with a future, right? Anyhow, for those of you who perhaps wanted to hold out hope that Iott was just some weird LARPer (but I repeat myself), please review this paragraph taken from the website of his fellow Nazi re-enactors:
Nazi Germany had no problem in recruiting the multitudes of volunteers willing to lay down their lives to ensure a "New and Free Europe", free of the threat of Communism. National Socialism was seen by many in Holland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and other eastern European and Balkan countries as the protector of personal freedom and their very way of life, despite the true underlying totalitarian (and quite twisted, in most cases) nature of the movement. Regardless, thousands upon thousands of valiant men died defending their respective countries in the name of a better tomorrow. We salute these idealists; no matter how unsavory the Nazi government was, the front-line soldiers of the Waffen-SS (in particular the foreign volunteers) gave their lives for their loved ones and a basic desire to be free.
OR-04: There's no direct quote here, but the Douglas County News-Review reports that Rep. Peter DeFazio "says he favors replacing Pelosi as speaker if Democrats retain their majority." DeFazio has long had an antagonistic relationship with Pelosi, most recently coming to a head with his refusal to vote for the stimulus, allegedly from the left.
OR-05: These Republicans have no respect for Godwin's Law, do they? Speaking of the healthcare reform bill, Scott Bruun said:
"From a social perspective, it's right up there, I would argue - probably the fugitive slave law was worse. But still, the healthcare bill was pretty darn bad."
The Fugitive Slave Act, which "required any runaway slaves who had escaped their bondage and were living free in the Northern states be returned to their owners" - and was one of the causes of the Civil War. Right on!
PA-03, PA-12: Biden alert (retroactive)! The VPOTUS did a fundraiser in Pittsburgh with both Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper and Mark Critz in attendance. The Hill makes a big deal out of the fact that this event didn't take place in Critz's district - but I'm just going to guess that there are a lot more wealthy Dems in the P'burgh area than in the 12th CD.
PA-06: Can an internal ever be too good? Well, you tell me if you believe this Susquehanna survey that Jim Gerlach is touting, which has him up by a massive 61-31 spread. Still, now would be a good time for Manan Trivedi or the DCCC to show us something different.
PA-11: If Paul Kanjorski somehow, improbably, survives once more, he will owe his fortune yet again to the realtors, who have already spent three-quarters of a million on ads on his behalf, after spending a million bucks last time.
Polltopia: Time to help PPP pick their next state to poll.
FL-Gov: In a move we've seen a few times this cycle, Alex Sink is trying out the long-form political ad, this time with a 2-minute spot detailing Rick Scott's Medicare fraud and his attempts to hide from it
WA-08: In her third ad, Suzan DelBene hits Reichert on raising taxes & shipping jobs overseas
AFSCME: Throws down $750K against Republican roofer Reid Ribble (WI-08) and $628K against GOPer Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08)
NRA: Almost $3 million in senate buys (here & here)