A relatively quiet night, but one deserving of a roundup nonetheless.
NC-Sen (D): It's been a long six weeks since the first round, where Elaine Marshall narrowly missed the threshold for a runoff by 4% with 36%. She picked up the endorsement of third-place finisher Ken Lewis (who scored 17%) in the meantime, countering the almost $200,000 put in on Cal Cunningham's behalf by the DSCC. The DSCC's efforts were again futile, with Marshall scoring a 60-40 victory. Given that Marshall won 57% of the head-to-head vote against Cuninngham in Round 1, this represents a 3% swing in her direction. DSCC Chair Bob Menendez put out a short statement in support of Marshall, who now goes on to face Richard Burr for the "cursed" seat that switches party every 6 years. (JMD)
NC-08 (R): It looks like D'Annunziana Jones can spend more time busting the Ark of the Covenant out of Area 51. Ex-broadcaster Harold Johnson beat the enriched plutonium-level crazy Tim D'Annunzio by a 61-39 margin despite being badly out-spent. This one will probably end up being a real race this fall, despite D'Annunzio's refusal to congratulate or endorse Johnson. (JL)
SC-Gov (R): Nikki Haley narrowly missed avoiding a runoff two weeks ago with 49%, but she sealed the deal with a convincing 65-35 victory over Gresham Barrett, who received 22%. Barrett's dog-whistling attempts - referring to himself as a Christian family man who "won't embarrass us" - didn't seem to work, only carrying three counties within his district. The result falls surprisingly along the fault lines from the first round - AG Henry McMaster, who received 17% threw his support to Haley, while LG Andre Bauer threw his 12% to Barrett. Haley will now face Democratic State Senator Vincent Sheheen. (JMD)
SC-01 (R): State Rep. Tim Scott is set to become the GOP's first African-American congressman since J.C. Watts, much to the relief of John Boehner and Scott's backers at the Club for Growth. Scott crushed attorney Paul Thurmond (the son of Strom) by a monstrous 68-32 margin, and faces a sub-par Democratic opponent in November. (JL)
SC-03 (R): The Club for Growth had a much closer shave in this district, where their preferred candidate, state Rep. Jeff Duncan, only beat the underfunded Richard Cash, an owner/operator of a fleet of ice cream trucks, by a 51-49 margin. Duncan will be the heavy favorite to win this 64% McCain in the general election. (JL)
SC-04 (R): Wow, what a pathetic loss. Incumbent Rep. Bob Inglis barely moved the needle from his 28% primary performance, finishing the night with just 29% of the vote to Spartanburg County Solicitor Trey Gowdy's whopping 71%. I wonder if we'll ever see what Bob Inglis 3.0 looks like. (JL)
UT-Sen (R): Tim Bridgewater had a 57-43 advantage in the third round of balloting at Utah's state GOP convention, but that didn't hold over into the primary. Tim Bridgewater was viewed as the favorite and was up in the one public poll of the race (Mike Lee was up in his internals), but Lee (the son of Reagan's solicitor general Rex) pulled out a narrow 51-49 victory over Bridgewater. Bridgewater had a narrow advantage along the heavily-populated Wasatch Front, but Lee more than offset this with his strength in Washington County (St. George) and the sparsely populated areas in between. (JMD)
UT-02 (D): Democrats had worried about some GOP involvement to bounce the moderate (and more electable) Jim Matheson by pushing for liberal activist and school teacher Claudia Wright but Matheson cruised to a 68-32 victory. Wright had denied Matheson the outright nod at the Democratic convention - presumably due to his 'no' vote on HCR - netting 45% of delegates, but among the wider primary electorate, she didn't fare as well. Matheson goes on to face former Southern SLCo State Rep. Morgan Philpot in his bid for a sixth term. (JMD)
Bonus Race: California!
CA SD-15 (special): California's 15th Senate district may get my vote for the nation's most beautiful legislative district, but the results here weren't too pretty. In a district that's D+5 at the presidential level, Republican state Assembly minority leader Sam Blakeslee finished ahead of Democratic ex-Assemblyman John Laird, 50-41. However, California special election law requires one to break 50% to avoid a runoff, and Blakeslee's 49.7% wasn't enough. So, all four candidates (including a Libertarian and an indie) will do the exact same thing again on Aug. 17, although tonight's results don't bode well for Laird turning things around during the replay. (C)
FL-Sen: Not unexpectedly, Charlie Crist vetoed a bill (passed by Flordia's Republican state lege and supported by anti-choice groups) which would have required women seeking an abortion to first get an ultrasound. Marco Rubio and Kendrick Meek both fired off press releases attacking Crist - the former for abandoning conservative principles, and the latter for trying to "run away" from his "anti-choice past."
KY-Sen: We've mentioned this before, but now the Louisville Courier-Journal has a lengthy piece looking at Rand Paul's renegade ophthalmology certification organization, called the National Board of Opthalmology. It turns out that the American Board of Medical Specialties - the meta-group which certifies this country's certifying organizations - doesn't recognize Paul's concoction. Rather, they recognize the American Board of Ophthalmology, from whom Paul used to have a certification, but which he let lapse some years ago.
SC-Sen: So now even the White House is weighing in on the mysterious primary victory of Alvin Greene, with senior advisor David Axelrod saying he thinks Green's win "doesn't appear" legitimate. This widespread establishment skepticism may enoucrage loser Vic Rawl to file a formal protest with the state Democratic Party, something he has until noon today to do. The party could void the result if it found serious flaws, but state chair Carol Fowler says something like that is "pretty rare." And Nathan Gonzales also makes a good point: Greene may have spent $0 on this race, but Rawl didn't spent a whole lot more - just $45K.
UT-Sen (pdf): Wilson Research Strategies for Mike Lee (6/10, likely voters):
Mike Lee (R): 39
Tim Bridgewater (R): 30
AL-Gov: This seems a little odd: lame duck AG Troy King (who just lost the GOP primary) issued an advisory opinion saying that the July 13th Republican gubernatorial runoff ballot should feature the names of Bradley Byrne and Robert Bentley - even if third-place finisher Tim James displaces Bentley in a planned recount. King advises that another runoff take place if James's recount is successful.
MI-Gov: Fifth CD Rep. Dale Kildee endorsed Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero in the Democratic primary, the first member of the House from Michigan to weigh in in the gubernatorial race. His nephew Dan Kildee, who considered running himself, also got behind Bernero.
NH-Gov: Democratic Gov. John Lynch formally filed for re-election last Friday. He's seeking a fourth consecutive two-year term, something no one has won before in New Hampshire history. A piece in the Laconia Citizen looks at the challenges Lynch faces in achieving this goal.
OH-Gov: Gov. Ted Strickland reported raising $1.3 million between April 23rd and June 10th, giving him $7.7 million cash-on-hand and $11.5 million raised for the entire campaign (which his camp says is a record). Politico also says that Strickland has raised more than any other Dem governor seeking re-election, but note that only seven fall into this category. Meanwhile, Republican John Kasich raised the same amount but has $5.7 million on hand.
UT-Gov: Ah, timing is everything in politics. Just four days after Gov. Gary Hebert called for more oil drilling in Utah, a Chevron pipeline burst a leak, spilling 500 barrels oil into Salt Lake City's Red Butte Creek, forcing the closure of the city's biggest park. (Click the link for a pic. More here.)
AR-01: The link is behind a paywall, so we don't have much to go on, but apparently Tim Wooldridge is "hedging" on an endorsement of Chad Causey, the man who beat him in the runoff last week. Let's hope this changes soon.
AR-02: Also behind a paywall (at the Hotline) is this tidbit that state Sen. Joyce Elliott (D) said she "doesn't know" whether she'd support Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. Elliott, who has a liberal reputation, probably has some re-positioning to do to remain competitive in this race, but is acting Pelosi-agnostic really plausible? Even Mike Oliverio eventually backed down from this perch - and he's infinitely more conservative than Elliott.
CT-04: A supporter of Dan Debicella says her name fraudulently appeared on a nominating petition for rival Tom Herrmann, who is also seeking the GOP nod to take on Rep. Jim Himes in the fall. Stories like this don't tend to have much legs, though, unless there turns out to be widespread fraud.
GA-09: Representative-elect Tom Graves (R) will be sworn in to the House later today. Note that the two other remaining vacancies in the House - NY-29 and IN-03, both the product of resignations due to scandal - will not be filled until November. Also, Graves is not out of the woods yet, as he still faces a regular July 20th primary for the fall general election.
MD-01: Looks like Andy Harris has gone, at least, birther-curious. During a recent radio appearance, Harris refused to dismiss a caller's accusation that Barack Obama's U.S. citizenship is "false", saying that he doesn't know why all the details on Obama's birth certificate are "being hidden". (J)
MS-01: Kumbaya, my lord, kumbaya. There seem to be no hurt feelings in this GOP primary, after all. After initially refusing to endorse primary winner Alan Nunnelee, former Fox News commentator Angela McGlowan has endorsed his campaign in an email to her supporters. Second-place finisher Henry Ross also threw his endorsement to Nunnelee, making the circle complete and activating the powers of Captain Planet. (J)
NC-08: Mountain of Crazy Tim D'Annunzio has upped his personal investment in his bid for the GOP nomination against Larry Kissell to $1.3 million. Harold Johnson, the guy whom the NRCC desperately wants to see win the primary, is getting out-gunned; he only raised $49K in the pre-runoff period, and is getting outspent by a greater than 2-1 margin. (J)
NY-24: The Oneida County District Attorney's office is investigating quid pro quo allegations surrounging a 2008 donation that Republican candidate Richard Hanna made to the Oneida County Independence Party. (J)
SC-01: Politico's Alex Isenstadt tweets that House GOP leaders are "launching [a] full scale effort for Tim Scott", the African-American state Rep. who's locked in a runoff with legacy candidate Paul Thurmond. Karl Rove himself is even cutting a check for Scott. (J)
UT-02: Dem Rep. Jim Matheson certainly doesn't appear to be taking any chances in his first-ever primary against retired teacher/activist Claudia Wright. Matheson's pre-primary FEC filing shows that his campaign has brought in $142K and spent nearly $467K since Wright shocked Matheson by forcing a primary at the May Democratic convention, leaving the incumbent with just over a million in the bank. Wright, for her part, only raised $15K during that time, and spent $17K. (J)
WA-02: Moose alert! Sarah Palin gave her latest Twitter endorsement to Snohomish County councilman John Koster, who's seeking a rematch against Democratic Rep. Rick Larsen. Koster faces absolute nutball John Carmack in the Republican primary. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of Carmack's website. (J)
• NC-Sen: The newest Elon University poll of North Carolina finds that, as with most pollsters, that Richard Burr is strangely anonymous for a Senator: he has a favorable of 34/17. His best-known Democratic competitor, SoS Elaine Marshall, is at 18/8. The poll doesn't contain head-to-heads, and also, bear in mind that it only polls "residents," not even registered voters, which would explain the super-low awareness.
• TX-Sen: 20 of Texas's Republican House members wrote a letter to Kay Bailey Hutchison, asking her to reconsider and stay on as Senator. (Recall that she planned to resign once she was done "fighting health care.") I wonder if the letter was signed by Joe Barton, who was pretty public about his desire to take over that seat back when a resignation seemed likelier.
• UT-Sen: Tonight's the night we get our first hard impression of what degree of trouble Bob Bennett is in. Tonight are neighborhood caucuses, where delegates to the state convention are elected. A particularly ultra-conservative-skewing convention could pose some trouble to Bennett, although with so many GOP challengers, it seems likely no one will hit the 60% mark at the convention needed to avoid a primary.
• CT-Gov: You might recognize these numbers from last week; we've been waiting for Quinnipiac to release general election numbers in the Governor's race but they just don't seem to be forthcoming, so here are their primary numbers. On the Dem side, Ned Lamont is leading at 28, followed by former Stamford mayor Dan Malloy at 18, Mary Glassman at 4, Rudy Marconi at 2, and Juan Figueroa at 1. (Susan Bysiewicz has a big edge over George Jepsen, 54-10, in the AG primary, despite concerns about her eligibility for the job.) On the GOP side, Tom Foley is dominating at 30, followed by Lt. Gov Michael Fedele collapsing down to 4, Danbury mayor Mark Boughton at 4, ex-Rep. Larry DeNardis at 2, and Oz Griebel and Jeff Wright at 2.
• CA-Gov: Wondering how Meg Whitman pulled into a huge lead in the primary and a small lead in the general in California governor's race? She's spent a mind-boggling $27 million on her race so far this year (for a total of $46 million), compared with Steve Poizner's $3 million and Jerry Brown's $142K.
• OR-Gov: Former Portland Trail Blazer Chris Dudley is the first candidate to hit the TV airwaves in the Oregon governor's race so far, touting his "outsider" credentials.
• PA-Gov: AG Tom Corbett, who oh just coincidentally happens to be running for Governor this year, finally got a conviction in the Bonusgate investigation, against former state Rep. Mike Veon and several of his staffers. The timing is certainly helpful to Corbett, for whom the investigation has been dragging out and the possibility of mistrials (or no convictions before November) was starting to loom. Trials against several other former Democratic House leaders, including GOPer John Perzel and Dem Bill DeWeese, are still in the pipeline.
• WY-Gov: The Democrats are about to land a gubernatorial candidate: attorney Paul Hickey, who plans an announcement later this week. If the name is familiar, he's the son of former Governor J.J. Hickey. Democratic State Sen. Mike Massie hasn't ruled out a run yet either, although he may run for one of the statewide offices.
• IL-11: Here's one more district that hasn't been high on people's watch lists but will need to be monitored, at least if a new internal poll from Republican pollster POS is to be believed. They find their patron, Adam Kinzinger, leading freshman Rep. Debbie Halvorson 44-38.
• MA-09: With primary challenges moving onto the radar against HCR "no" votes Jason Altmire and Mike Arcuri, another one may be taking shape: Needham Town Meeting member (and, well, college classmate of mine) Harmony Wu has pulled papers for the race and is gauging local sentiment for a primary run against Stephen Lynch.
• NY-01: Whoever faces off against Tim Bishop for the Republicans is going to have to fight through an arduous primary to get there. Any hopes of an easy coronation for Randy Altschuler seem to have vaporized, as now Chris Cox (Republican party insider and Nixon grandson) is setting his own Wall Street-powered fundraising operation in motion. And a 3rd option, former SEC prosecutor George Demos, has had his own fundraising success.
• NY-20: One more Republican, Queensbury town supervisor Dan Stec, bailed out of the field today, suggesting that the GOP is finally coalescing behind retired Col. Chris Gibson as a standard-bearer against freshman Dem Rep. Scott Murphy, in what's one of their slowest races to take shape.
• OK-05: Finally, we have a Democrat on tap for the open seat race in Oklahoma's dark-red 5th, where there's already a half-dozen GOPers jousting. Tom Guild is secretary of the Oklahoma County Democratic Party, and was a poli sci professor at Univ. of Central Oklahoma for many years.
• PA-11: Things got easier for Lou Barletta in the race in the 11th, where his Republican primary challenger, Chris Paige dropped out, citing family concerns. Paige, an attorney, was underfunded but had delivered some surprisingly-hard hits to Barletta, especially on Barletta's signature issue of immigration.
• SC-01: The Club for Growth weighed into another GOP primary in a reddish open seat, endorsing state Rep. Tim Scott. Scott faces off in the primary against several well-known last names: Carroll Campbell III and Paul Thurmond.
• HCR: The Republican pivot from health care reform to health care repeal has some implications in the gubernatorial races. Rep. Peter Hoekstra is going full-on repeal, stopping by Sunday's teabagger rally to pledge to fight that battle. It's also showing up in a number of races where the Republican AG is running for Governor and joined the multi-AG suit against HCR on easily-rebuttable 10th Amendment grounds (hint to teabaggers: read Scalia's opinion in Raich) - many in dark-red states where it probably helps more than hurts (like Henry McMaster in South Carolina). There are a few blue state AGs involved, though, like Tom Corbett (although he probably feels like he has a safety cushion to do so, thanks to his Bonusgate-related popularity). Most puzzling, though, is Washington's Rob McKenna, who got where he is only by acting moderate. Throwing off his well-maintained moderate mask and joining forces with the wackjob likes of Ken Cuccinelli seems like a weird gamble for his widely-expected 2012 run, where success is utterly dependent on making inroads among suburban moderates.
• IN-Sen: The Dan Coats rollout is turning into more of a field day for Democratic opposition researchers than the strike-fear-in-the-hearts-of-Democrats moment that Republicans may have hoped for. I'm not even sure what to lead off with... that Coats dissed his own state, saying that North Carolina, where he intended to retire, was a "better place" than Indiana (although Coats' spokesperson is now saying that Coats intends to "do his part" and sell his $1.8 million waterfront house in Wilmington, NC)... or that Coats has been active in lobbying on behalf of foreign powers, representing India himself, while his firm was lobbying on behalf of extremist hotbed Yemen. I'm starting to wonder if the GOP would actually be better off sticking with the somewhat nuttier and flakier John Hostettler, who isn't stepping aside for Coats. While Hostettler won't have Coats' Beltway money, he at least has the profile to keep the various right-wing weirdo elements (teabaggers, Paulists, the religious right) at fever pitch.
• NV-Sen: I'm not sure which is more of an overstuffed clown car: the Republican Senate field in Arkansas, or Nevada. It looks like one more GOPer may join the fun in Nevada: retired Navy commander Kirk Lippold, whose main claim to fame is commanding the USS Cole when it was attacked (in Yemen).
• NY-Sen: TV talking head and economic conservative Larry Kudlow is "80 or 90%" likely to run against Charles Schumer, according to Kudlow ally John Lakian. Even if he runs, though, it sounds like Kudlow is in no hurry to decide (he wants to keep his TV show as long as possible, which he'd have to give up if he became a candidate). This isn't the first time Kudlow, a veteran of the Reagan White House, has been the subject of Senate speculation; he was considered a Senate contender way back in the early 90s, before getting derailed by drug and alcohol problems.
• NY-Sen-B: Kirsten Gillibrand is taking aim at Harold Ford Jr.'s associations with Merrill Lynch and the Bank of America. Ford's camp has had little to say after Gillibrand called for Ford to disclose details of his Merrill Lynch bonuses. Ford, in the meantime, is busy comparing himself to Robert F. Kennedy. How? Well, the liberal establishment opposed him too... or at least Eleanor Roosevelt did... or at least she would have, if she hadn't in fact died several years before he ran for Senate.
• PA-Sen: Arlen Specter got the endorsement of the statewide Democratic party committee over the weekend, winning a solid majority of the votes, underscoring his establishment support. (Of course, one of his biggest establishment supporters, Ed Rendell, lost the state party's 2002 endorsement in the gubernatorial race to Bob Casey and went on to win the primary anyway.) Part of the proceedings was a feisty debate between Specter and Joe Sestak, with Specter going hard after Sestak's number of missed votes in the House recently.
• WA-Sen: Republicans got at least something of an upgrade in the Senate race against Patty Murray: long-time state Sen. Don Benton decided to get into the race. (The best they had so far was ex-NFL player and current teabagger Clint Didier.) Benton has represented the Vancouver suburbs for many years; in fact, his biggest claim to fame is narrowly losing the WA-03 open seat race to Brian Baird way back in 1998. In fact, I'm a little surprised he isn't looking to the again-open 3rd if he's going for an upgrade, where he would have a good chance at shoving aside the other less-known GOPers in the field, whereas he faces long odds against Murray unless things go completely kerflooey for the Democrats. Unfortunately, the race is a freebie for Benton; he isn't up for re-election in 2010, so Dems won't get a shot at his swingy Senate seat in LD 17. It remains to be seen whether Benton got an official behind-the-scenes green light after nobody better (Dino Rossi, Dave Reichert) was interested in the race, or just that Benton decided to roll the dice regardless.
• RI-Gov: A poll by Fleming & Associates on behalf of WPRI finds that a race between independent ex-Sen. Lincoln Chafee and Democratic state treasurer Frank Caprio is a dead heat: Chafee pulls in 31 and Caprio is at 30, with Republican candidate John Robitaille flailing at 13. AG Patrick Lynch, the other possible Dem nominee, doesn't fare as well; he loses to Chafee 34-23, with Robitaille at 18.
• HI-01: Hawaii Democrats have avoided a potential problem with the decision of state Sen. Will Espero not to get involved in the still-not-scheduled special election in the 1st. Under Hawaii law, the special election is an all-party, winner-take-all affair, so the worries have been that with two prominent Dems already in the race, a fractured field could allow Republican Charles Djou to sneak through (although the one poll of the race seems to disabuse us of that notion). Neil Abercrombie's resignation is now scheduled for Feb. 28.
• KS-03: Democrats are pretty much at square one in trying to find a nominee to replace retiring Rep. Dennis Moore. Joe Reardon had been pretty much everyone's top pick, but Reardon, whose official title is "Mayor/CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas," won't run. With his mayoral predecessor, Carol Marinovich, also taking a pass, this R+3 seat seems on track to be one of the Dems' likeliest losses - although Reardon's demurral may open the door to a candidate from suburban Johnson County instead, which may still work out better since that's where most of the district's votes are.
• LA-03: "Entrepreneur" Chris Leopold filed to get into the GOP field in the open seat race in the 3rd, but what may be most noteworthy here is who all hasn't filed. Attorney Ravi Sangisetty is the only Dem, and while Leopold's entry brings the GOP field up to 4, the only elected official is state Rep. Nickie Monica. The GOP establishment still seems to be waiting on Hunt Downer, the former state House speaker and current assistant adjutant general of the state's National Guard. The problem is that few people seem interested in a two-year stint in the House, only to see the 3rd get vaporized due to Louisiana losing a seat for 2012.
• MS-01: Here's a strange development, considering how much effort the NRCC spent to clear the path for state Sen. Alan Nunnelee: Fox News commentator Angela McGlowan will be running in the GOP primary too. McGlowan kicked off her bid with an appearance at Teabag-o-rama in Nashville this weekend. It looks like the Republican establishment will be trying to prevent McGlowan from getting any traction, as they privately point to her various negatives: having lobbied for Steve Wynn's gambling empire (not a popular issue in this heavily evangelical area), and claiming an opposition research treasure trove from her past interviews. There's also a geographical problem: her base (not that a base really matters, as she's spent little time in the state in years) is the college town of Oxford, which puts her in neither bloc in terms of the Memphis suburbs/Tupelo split in the district.
• NH-01: Former NRC committee member Sean Mahoney, who had earlier thought about and then ruled out a run in the GOP field, is starting to sound interested again. Mahoney (who lost the NH-01 GOP primary in 2002 to Jeb Bradley) dropped out when the NRCC seemed content with Manchester mayor Frank Guinta, but with Guinta's star fading the wake of mediocre fundraising, he may sense an opening. Compounding that is the recent entry into the primary by businessman Rich Ashooh; Guinta and Ashooh are both from Manchester, so the Portsmouth-based Mahoney may think he can ride the geographical split to victory.
• PA-03: Democratic freshman Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper keeps attracting random money bags challengers, even as none of the district's elected Republicans seem interested in a promotion. Today it's yet another one of those freakin' ophthalmologists: Tom Trevorrow, who kicked off his campaign with $150K out of his own pocket and hired some expensive-sounding consultants.
• SC-01: A swap in races in South Carolina means that there's the plausible possibility of the Republicans having their first African-American House member since J.C. Watts retired. State Rep. Tim Scott dropped his bid to become the next Lt. Governor, and instead switched over to the open seat race in the 1st, where he'll face the scions of two prominent political families: Paul Thurmond, and Carroll "Tumpy" Campbell III.
• Minnesota: Minnesota lawmakers are moving up the primary date this fall, in order to better comply with federal law that requires overseas voters get at least 45 days to return their absentee ballots. They're planning to move the election from September, up to Aug. 10. (This is probably good, in terms of giving the winner of the DFL gubernatorial primary more time to recover from what's likely to be a giant clusterf@ck.)
• NRCC: The NRCC will unveil more changes to its "Young Guns" program this week, with 14 new entrants to its lowest tier ("On the Radar") and some promotions to higher tiers as well. They aren't releasing the full list yet, but some leaked names moving onto the list include state Rep. Scott Bruun in OR-05, former state Rep. David McKinley in WV-01, and ex-Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick in PA-08. We'll discuss this in more detail once the full list is available.
It looks like House Democrats aren't the only ones heading to the exits this year -- electorally-vulnerable Republicans can get in on the act, too! Cue up a retirement from an oh-so-unsurprising source: GOP Rep. Henry "Smokey" Brown. From the Politico:
Rep. Henry Brown, a five-term South Carolina Republican from a conservative-leaning district, has told associates he will his announce his retirement Monday, POLITICO has learned.
He will be making his announcement at a press conference tomorrow afternoon back in his coastal Carolina district
Brown survived a closer-than-expected re-election in 2008 and was already facing a primary challenge from Carroll Campbell III, the son of the former GOP governor and congressman.
Brown, who was nearly decapitated by Democrat Linda Ketner in 2008, was facing a potentially crowded primary from "Tumpy" Campbell, Mt. Pleasant Town Councilman Mark Fava, Isle of Palms councilman Ryan Buckhannon, and "frequent candidate" Katherine Jenerette. Attorney Paul Thurmond (Son of Strom) has also been in the mix as a potential GOP candidate.
Democrats have been making noises about seriously contesting this coastal R+10 district again this year, but it's unclear who will be the nominee. One of the leading contenders for the nomination, state Rep. Leon Stavrinakis, said that he would make a decision last July, but has since remained silent on the subject. Georgetown restauranteur Robert Dobbs, a political newcomer, is in. Robert Burton, a former South Carolina Housing, Finance, and Development Authority Commissioner and U.S. Air Force Colonel, is also in. Burton has a bit more political seasoning -- he lost a statewide race for SC Adjutant General in 1998. Retired navy officer and accountant Dick Withington rounds out the current primary field. Attorney Ashley Cooper, a former Fritz Hollings aide, has also been reportedly mulling the race. We'll see how this one shakes out.
UPDATE (Cristunity): Politico is rolling out lots of names of potential other Republicans in addition to the ones we've already mentioned. Most notable may be former Rep. Tommy Hartnett, who held the forerunner to this seat in the 80s. (Hartnett is 68, not much younger than the retiring Brown.) Other potential names listed by former state chair (and almost RNC chair) Katon Dawson include state Sen. Luke Rankin, state Rep. Chip Limehouse, and state Sen. Chip Campsen. The rumor mill also points to state Sen. Raymond Cleary, state Rep. Alan Clemmons, and... this seems like an out-of-the-box pick, but she may have emerged from last years' events with her personal popularity increased... first lady Jenny Sanford. Finally, on the Dem side, it's worth noting that restaurant owner Robert "Bob" Dobbs does have a political track record, as a former county commissioner -- unfortunately, that was in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin.
• CT-Sen: All the warning signs are there for Chris Dodd, and now a respected pollster confirms that even "Generic R" holds the incumbent well under 50%. In all likelihood, a serious race is in store here for Team Blue, so SSP is moving our rating on this race to "Likely Democrat." (D)
• CA-32: The Governator has finally set the dates for the special election to replace Hilda Solis in the House: July 14. But the key date to watch is May 19, when there will be a special primary for the seat. With a number of strong Dems in the race, including state Sen. Gil Cedillo and state Board of Equalization Chairwoman Judy Chu, the real action is in the primary in this D+17 district. (Candidates of all parties rumble in one primary, and if one candidate breaks 50%, there is no general. With a third solid Dem in the race, investment banker Emanuel Pleitez, breaking 50% will be difficult, setting up a likely general election between the top Dem and a sacrificial GOPer.) (J)
• SC-01: Looks like GOP Rep. Henry "Smoky" Brown might be facing a pretty crowded primary field in 2010. In addition to yesterday's news that Carroll "Tumpy" Campbell III would run against the crusty incumbent, Paul Thurmond, the son of the late Strom Thurmond, is now saying that he too is considering taking on Brown. (J)
• PA-Sen: Roll Call does some interesting number crunching, revealing just how bad a position Arlen Specter starts from in a GOP primary against Pat Toomey. The problem is that Specter beat Toomey by only 17,000 votes in 2004, but Republican enrollments in Philadelphia and its suburbs (Specter's base, and location of most of the state's moderate Republicans) have dropped by 83,412 since then. With a closed primary, Specter may have to rely on moderate ex-GOPers who switched parties in 2008 to switch back tactically for 2010 to save his bacon in the primary. (It's not unheard of: Ed Rendell wooed pro-choice Republicans to temporarily switch over for his 2002 gubernatorial primary against pro-life Bob Casey Jr.)
• CT-05: Connecticut's executive director of the state Office of Military Affairs (and former Rob Simmons aide) Justin Bernier has resigned his post. Bernier told the New Britain Herald that he's doing so in order to lay the groundwork for a run against Chris Murphy (who had little trouble disposing of state senator David Cappiello in 2008).
• Census: There wasn't much doubt that incoming Commerce Secretary Gary Locke would have command over the 2010 Census (rather than direct White House control), but the White House officially confirmed the arrangement today.