• FL-Sen: I was pretty bored with reading the George LeMieux tea leaves even before his cuppa began brewing, but in case you're not me, the very-short-tenured former senator has been busy attending Lincoln Day dinners and meeting with GOP activists and potential donors. In beltway land, I think this upgrades him from "Lean Run" to "Likely Run."
• IN-Sen: Treasurer Richard Mourdock is trying to cause some trouble by saying that Gov. Mitch Daniels encouraged him to run against Dick Lugar in the GOP primary, while a Daniels spokesperson said the governor did no such thing. Daniels previously said he'd vote for Lugar, but didn't exactly endorse him. In other news, Mourdock says he expects to show $125K raised for his race in just a month of campaigning.
• KY-Gov: Dem Gov. Steve Beshear just punked his top opposition in this year's gubernatorial race, state Senate President David Williams, hard. Williams had insisted on broad spending cuts (including to education) as part of a Medicaid budget bill; the Democratic-controlled House had no interest in these cuts, but Williams refused any possible compromise. So House Dems (and rebellious House Republicans) passed the Williams bill anyway... I know, hang on ... but full-well expecting Beshear to use his line-item veto to strike the cuts. Then they adjourned, so that the vetoes couldn't get over-ridden. And that's exactly what happened, handing Williams a humiliating defeat.
• WI-Gov: I'm wondering which pollster will finally have the courage to report numbers to the THOUSANDTHS of a percent. For now, we'll have to content ourselves with Republican-affiliated pollster We Ask America, which bravely ignores all rules about significant digits and goes all the way to hundredths. They show what other polls are showing: that Scott Walker (like other loser Midwestern Republican governors) has crappy job approval ratings, in this case 43.71 to 54.87. YES DECIMALS.
• WV-Gov: The AP has a good run-down on which groups are endorsing whom in the gubernatorial race. On the Dem side, we've noted several of the big union heavy hitters, most of whom are backing state House Speaker Rick Thompson. But some important labor groups are supporting other candidates, like state Sen. Jeff Kessler (Fraternal Order of Police, nurses) and Treasurer John Perdue (teamsters, state troopers). Meanwhile, EMILY's List has endorsed SoS Natalie Tenant. The AP also tried to get candidates to cough up estimates of their fundraising figures (final reports are due Friday), but only acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin responded, saying he'd pulled in about a million bucks.
And speaking of Thompson, he's apparently the first on TV, with an ad touting his hardscrabble upbringing. By the way, SSP Southern Correspondent Trent Thompson notes that the soundtrack you hear is a Baptist hymn, which seems to be popular among Southern Dems (Bobby Bright featured this sort of thing in his advertising). (UPDATE: Actually, it's an actually an old Hank Williams gospel song that's commonly sung in churches.)
• CA-36: It looks like we have the final list of candidate filings for the special election. I count ten Democrats, six Republicans, five "nonpartisan," two Libertarians (splitter!), and one "Peace and Freedom" candidate. Also, Howard Dean just endorsed Debra Bowen, which is not too surprising given that his former organization, Democracy for America (run by Howard's brother Jim), also recently endorsed.
• CA-51: Apparently there had been vague rumors that Dem Rep. Bob Filner might run for mayor of San Diego... and now apparently Filner just went and announced he was in fact doing so in a totally off-hand remark after a screening of the film Freedom Riders. (Filner himself was one of the Mississippi Freedom Riders.) There's been some dispute over whether Filner's remarks were accurately conveyed, but oddly, Filner's office has refused to either confirm or deny the statement. Note that the race is in June of next year, so I believe Filner gets a free shot while keeping his House seat.
• TX-23: Not so fast, Quico! Gary Martin of the Houston Chronicle says that Dems are looking at a few potential challengers to freshman GOPer Quico Canseco, including state Rep. Joaquin Castro and Pete Gallego, and state Sen. Carlos Uresti. Ex-Rep. Ciro Rodriguez is also apparently weighing a rematch. While the borders of the 23rd will undoubtedly shift somewhat, it probably can't change a whole lot thanks to the VRA (it's 66% Hispanic), so this race could heat up earlier than many others.
• WI-01: Food service company owner and Kenosha County Supervisor Rob Zerban is apparently interested in challenging GOP Rep. Paul Ryan. Despite his leadership post and his inflexible conservatism, Ryan sits in a very swingish district that can't really be improved in redistricting for a variety of reasons.
• ME-St. Sen.: The Maine SoS has set May 10th as the date for a special election to fill the seat of state Sen. Larry Bliss (D). The reason for Bliss's resignation was certainly unusual and quite poignant: He couldn't find a job in Maine. State legislators work part-time and are only paid $13,000 a year. Bliss said that in the absence of other work, he'd been working as a "full-time" legislator and was really enjoying his job, but he could only find employment in California, prompting his resignation. Of course, this story really isn't that unusual at all, given how many people are still out of work and struggling terribly. Also of note: Bliss was one of only a handful of openly LGBT state legislators nationwide.
• PA-AG: Longtime Philly DA Lynne Abraham (D), who left office just last year, said she's considering a run for state AG, despite being 70 years old. (Devoted Swingnuts will recall that ex-Rep. Patrick Murphy is also thinking about a run.) Believe it or not, no Democrat has won the AG's office since it became an elected position in 1980.
• Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: Unnamed sources tell the National Review they've seen polling showing the race between incumbent Justice David Prosser and JoAnne Kloppenburg "near even."
• Census: Like in NYC, pols in Atlanta are wondering why the new Census numbers for their city are so much lower than expected - 420K vs. a projected 540K. Jacob Alperin-Sherrif (better known to you as DemocraticLuntz) has an excellent post comparing Census projections with actual numbers for cities between 100K and 1 million people. You need to click through for his must-see scatterplot. There is one massive outlier: Atlanta, which is more than six standard deviations away from the mean.
• Indiana: Despite total Republican control over the process, it's starting to look like the Indiana legislature won't finish their congressional map before the body adjourns on April 29th, largely because of a walk-out by Democrats which ground most work to a halt. But the Democrats just reached what they're saying is a favorable a deal with the Republicans, so perhaps the process will pick up again soon.
• Iowa: The state's independent redistricting panel will release the first draft of a new congressional map at 8:15 am local time on Thursday morning.
• Virginia: New maps for Congress, the state House and the state Senate could be released by the legislature today. Stay alert!
• AK-Sen: Is there anyone other than Joe Miller left who wants Joe Miller to keep contesting the Senate race? The state GOP organization is now saying it "stands ready to embrace Lisa Murkowski" as the winner of the race, despite her not having won its primary. I'm sure they were secretly ready all along to do so... recall that the person issuing the statement, state party chair Randy Ruedrich, was the guy that Joe Miller was trying to orchestrate a palace coup against, which got him fired from his Fairbanks borough job. I can't imagine much love lost between Ruedrich and Miller.
• IN-Sen: Richard Lugar, who just announced that he's running for re-election, is laying down a pretty big marker (and one that probably helped convince him to run again). He's out with an internal poll from American Viewpoint that, while it doesn't specifically poll the 2012 GOP Senate primary, shows him with huge approvals, though apparently among all voters and not just registered Republicans. He's at 66% favorable. Two of his potential GOP opponents, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock and state Sen. Mike Delph, have faves of 14% and 7% each.
• ND-Sen, NM-Sen: This Politico article doesn't actually contain any hard facts that are newsworthy, but it does contain one alarming sentence, that both Kent Conrad and Jeff Bingaman are "weighing retirement" (without anything beyond that). Conrad and Bingaman, though both long-timers, are still in their early 60s. Buried deep in the article is also a throwaway line that Jon Kyl is also the subject of retirement "speculation."
• NJ-Sen: That tea party push to have a recall election for Bob Menendez (despite, of course, the universally accepted legal principle that you can't recall federal officials) seems to have finally died, courtesy of the New Jersey Supreme Court. I'm just surprised the case rose that far through the courts before, y'know, someone thought to crack open their 1L Con Law textbook, but the bright side is that every dollar right-wingers spend on pointless appellate legal fees is a dollar not spent on actually electing somebody. Menendez is up for a regularly scheduled election in 2012, anyway.
• NV-Sen: Everyone seems in a fit of instant nostalgia for Sharron Angle today, with the revelation that in the course of the campaign she said "Sometimes dictators have good ideas" (in reference to Augusto Pinochet and privatized pension systems), and the leaked release of the ad that she cut that never got released, probably because it takes a minute to make a point that should take five seconds and because the 70s-disaster-flick-style overacting overshadows any possible message. (You can click here to see the ad, bearing in mind that it opens in Windows Media Player.) The real news that got leaked today that might impact the 2012 race, though, is that none other than John Ensign helped Sharron Angle prep for her debate by playing the part of Harry Reid. I wonder if that'll be the last nail in the coffin for the reputed Reid/Ensign non-aggression pact?
• RI-Sen: Add one more potential name to the roster for a Republican challenger to Sheldon Whitehouse: the state's GOP chair, Giovanni Cicione (who has been encouraging outgoing Gov. Don Carcieri to run, as well as floating his own name as a last resort), is touting John Robitaille as a possible candidate. Robitaille (Carcieri's former communications director) performed above expectations in the gubernatorial race in which he was supposed to be a sacrificial lamb, finishing second (though helped along by Frank Caprio's last-minute implosion).
• VA-Sen (pdf): PPP's Virginia Senate poll had a GOP primary portion that just got released separately; right now, George Allen is the consensus pick, although that may have more to do with the ex-Gov. and ex-Sen.'s broad name rec compared with the rest of the field. Allen is at 46, with the very-unlikely-to-run Eric Cantor at 18, right-wing AG Ken Cuccinelli at 16, Lt. Gov. Bill Boling and ex-Rep. Tom Davis both at 4, and state Del. Bob Marshall (who almost sneaked into the 2008 Senate nomination) at 2.
• NY-01, NY-25: Good news in the 1st, bad news in the 25th. Tim Bishop has made up some ground, as of the second day of absentee counting. Bishop picked up 108 votes on Randy Altschuler, cutting Altschuler's lead down to 275, and that's with Smithtown, Altschuler's strongest area, having almost entirely reported. Bishop's strongest turf is East Hampton, which will begin counting tomorrow. Ann Marie Buerkle, however, gained a small amount of ground in the 25th, contrary to expectations. Her lead is up to 824 votes, after a batch of small batch (230) of challenged ballots from Monroe County got opened and counted. The county to watch, though, will be Onondaga County, which is Dan Maffei's base and where 7,000 absentees are yet to be counted.
• Redistricting: There are three different redistricting articles out today that are worth a read. One is about Texas, where it seems like the GOP is extended about as far as it can go (thanks to victories in TX-23 and likely TX-27); compounding the problem there is something that I've been pointing out for years, which is that at least two, possibly three, of its expected four new seats are going to have to be VRA seats, seeing as how the vast majority of Texas's growth in the past decade has been among Hispanics. Trying to limit the creation of new Hispanic-majority seats will only make it harder to protect Quico Canseco and Blake Farenthold.
There's also a piece looking at Nevada, more specifically the fight within the Dem-controlled legislature about for whom to tailor NV-04 (which will probably be a Dem-leaning suburban district, conceding a GOP-leaning NV-03 to Joe Heck). Both state Senate majority leader Steven Horsford and new state Assembly speaker John Oceguera have their eyes on the new seat. Finally, there are questions in Florida about just who's behind the lawsuit, fronted by a bipartisan coalition of Mario Diaz-Balart and Corrine Brown, to stop implementation of Amendment 6, the one bright spot from Florida on Election Day (a new initiative that makes gerrymandering more difficult). The Orlando Sentinel traces the money trail back to a number of state legislators' groups, including one led by GOP state Sen. Don Gaetz, the guy who... big surprise... is tasked with leading redistricting for the state Senate.
Rather unusually, Suffolk included Blumenthal & Malloy twice in their head-to-head questions: once as the Dem candidate, and once as the Working Families Party candidate. Each got about 3-4% as the WFP candidate. I've never seen a pollster do this in New York, where the practice of fusion voting is best known.
IL-Gov (PPP): Pat Quinn (D-inc) 41 (35), Bill Brady (R) 42 (42)
FL-22 (Susquehanna for Sunshine State News): Ron Klein (D-inc) 44, Allen West (R) 47
MA-04 (Fleming & Associates for WPRI): Barney Frank (D-inc) 49, Sean Bielat (R) 37
MD-01 (Monmouth): Frank Kratovil (D-inc) 42, Andy Harris (R) 53
MI-03 (EPIC/MRA): Pat Miles (D) 37, Justin Amash (R) 46
MN-01 (Grove Insight (D) for Project New West): Tim Walz (D-inc) 50, Randy Demmer (R) 34
MS-04 (Tarrance Group (R) for Steven Palazzo): Gene Taylor (D-inc) 41, Steven Palazzo (R) 43
NC-11 (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (D) for DCCC): Heath Shuler (D-inc) 54, Jeff Miller 39
NM-02 (Tarrance Group (R) for Steve Pearce): Harry Teague (D-inc) 41, Steve Pearce (R) 50
NY-20 (Public Opinion Strategies (R) for Chris Gibson): Scott Murphy (D-inc) 42, Chris Gibson 44
OR-05 (SurveyUSA for KATU-TV): Kurt Schrader (D-inc) 41, Scott Bruun (R) 51
Note: Among the 10% who have already voted, Schrader leads 47-46. This continues a pattern we've seen in other SUSA polls (and also some, but not all, of the early voting numbers by party registration).
PA-06 (Monmouth): Manan Trivedi (D) 44, Jim Gerlach (R-inc) 54
PA-17 (Susquehanna for ABC27 News): Tim Holden (D-inc) 58, Justin Argall (R) 28
AK-Sen: Word is out about two forthcoming ad buys in Alaska: Lisa Murkowski is going up on radio and TV (NWOTSOTB), while Scott McAdams just threw down what Smart Media Group is calling "a partial buy of $48K in broadcast."
Meanwhile, I don't really give a fuck what John Kyl thinks, but it's nice to see that he's sweating the possibility that a Murkowski write-in campaign makes it less likely the GOP will hold on to the seat. (As an aside, don't you wish Dems had handled Lieberman like this? Indeed, Republicans are supposedly weighing whether to strip Murkowski of her committee assignments.) But maybe Kyl is just being the idiot he always is, because a Republican source tells The Hill that internal polling "indicates Murkowski's write-in bid takes an equal amount of support from Democrat Scott McAdams as it does Miller." For once in my life, I hope Kyl is right!
MO-Sen: Global Strategy Group for the Missouri Democratic Party (9-14/18, likely voters, no trendlines, includes leaners):
Robin Carnahan (D): 39
Roy Blunt (R): 43
Jerry Beck (C): 3
Jonathan Dine (L): 3
AK-Gov: NEA-Alaska, the biggest union in the state, just endorsed Dem Ethan Berkowitz for governor. And Bill Walker, the Republican primary loser who is still considering a write-in bid, is holding out the possibility of a Berko endorsement as well.
FL-22: The ghost of Casey Stengel is smacking his forehead and asking, once more, "Can't anybody here play this game?" The Florida Democratic Party sent out a mailer hitting Allen West over his tax liens... but the managed to include his full Social Security number. Oy.
IN-09: Reid Wilson claims there's a dispute between the IE arm of the DCCC and main HQ... but there isn't a single quote in the piece, not even an anonymous one. Though the IE wing has cancelled ad buys on behalf of Baron Hill in mid-October, supposedly the "coordinated" arm "believes Hill is still deserving of spending." I have no reason to doubt Reid, but if his source at main D-Trip wanted to get this message out there, this is a damn oblique way to do it - but maybe he or she was scared of accusations of "coordination via the media." Anyhow, it all just shows how dumb these rules against coordination are.
KY-06: The Mellman Group for Ben Chandler (9/13-14, likely voters):
Ben Chandler (D-inc): 53
Andy Barr (R): 33
This is the first poll that Chandler has released, though his campaign teased earlier in the summer that their internal from June gave Chandler a "strong double-digit lead".
MI-03: This open-seat race hasn't gotten a lot of attention, but Dem Patrick Miles just rolled out an impressive list of Republican endorsements, including a couple of former county GOP chairs... and two daughters of retiring Rep. Vern Ehlers! Based on the comments in the article, I get the distinct feeling that Republican Justin Amash must be a seriously unlikable dude for this many of his fellow party members to want to diss him so thoroughly. By the way, Amash's fundraising has been unimpressive (just $380K), and he has less than half the cash of Miles ($227K to $112K).
NE-02: Biden Alert! The VPOTUS is coming to Omaha on Sept. 30th to headline a fundraiser for Dem Tom White. I'm gonna guess that Republican Rep. Lee Terry might have a harder time than most in tying White to the Obama administration, though, given that Terry put out flyers in the 2008 cycle touting his support from mythical "Obama-Terry voters."
NY-18: Wow, the NY GOP sure is good at producing pariah leper candidates these days, huh? Republican Jim Russell, running against Nita Lowey, penned an essay for the racist Occidental Quarterly in support of ethnic and religious segregation a few years ago - but that description is way too anodyne to do his piece justice. For instance, he approvingly quotes T.S. Eliot, who said, among other things: "What is still more important is unity of religious background; and reasons of race and culture combine to make any large number of free-thinking Jews undesirable." Click through to Maggie Haberman's piece for a much larger selection of choice quotes. Also note that the Westchester County GOP endorsed Russell in July, after another candidate dropped out.
TX-23: What a fucking idiot: Republican Quico Canseco blanketed San Antonio with door-hangers that claimed Rep. Ciro Rodriguez voted in favor of TARP. But, uh, he didn't. In fact, he voted against the bailout twice. Seriously, how fucking hard is it to Google this shit?
WA-03: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for Denny Heck (9/7-9, likely voters, no trendlines):
We say "no trendlines" because we don't know the precise top lines from GQR's previously poll for Heck (conducted in June), though we do know from Roll Call's write up that Heck trailed Herrera by 7 points in that one.
FL-Gov: Alex Sink's latest ad uses the words of local newspaper editorials against scumbag Republican Rick Scott's campaign platform, while also touting her economic ideas. And, hey, some WOTSOTB: She's spending $800K on the ad.
AZ-05: One Harry Mitchell spot touts his fight against Congressional pay raises; another touts his support from three apparently reg'lar Republicans (but oddly leaves off the "I approve" message - is this not a broadcast ad?)
AZ-08: Gabby Giffords hangs Jesse Kelly on the "flat tax" with his own words in support of a 23% national sales tax. I personally love going after Republicans on this issue because the dumb fucks who support this have to sputter that no, but, really, actually, what we mean is... ah, who gives a fuck what they mean.
KS-03: An anodyne spot from Republican Kevin Yoder (people shouting "We're Yoder Voters!"); and another pretty blah ad about small businesses (featuring a black-and-white photo of Pelosi without even mentioning her by name - odd)
KY-03: John Yarmuth updates an effective ad from his 2008 campaign, featuring a disabled Navy veteran narrating about Yarmuth's support for vets (ad is "expected to run for a week on all the networks in Louisville")
MD-01: Frank Kratovil also has a good ad hitting Andy Harris on the national 23% sales tax (see AZ-08 above)
NY-20: A pretty clever ad from Scott Murphy, responding to attacks on his vote in favor of healthcare reform by pointing out some of the most popular parts of the bill, like closing the Medicare "donut hole"
AR-Sen, AR-01: Bill Clinton is heading back home to Arkansas to do events for Blanche Lincoln (probably not a good use of resources) and Chad Causey (better use of resources). Incidentally, Politico notes that Causey's primary opponent, Tim Wooldridge, still has yet to endorse him. Jeez.
DE-Sen: It's official: The Tea Party Express has spooked Mike Castle into going up on the air before the primary, to a six-figure tune. In fact, the Hotline's Jeremy Jacobs has an unusual level of detail on the nature of the buy, noting that "Castle has purchased $113K worth of airtime for Aug. 31 to Sept. 6 in the Salisbury, MD, media market," as well as "$26K worth of time on cable in New Castle County and $42K on radio."
NH-Sen: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is throwing down for a big buy against Paul Hodes. As the Hotline notes, the Chamber's FEC filing says they're spending $1 million, but apparently the buy is for less - a spokesbot will only say that it's "sizable." You can see their ad at the link.
AK-Gov: Republican Bill Walker, who held Gov. Sean Parnell to just 50% in the GOP primary while taking 33% himself, is talking to the Alaska Independence Party about filling their ballot line, since the AIP's nominee, Don Wright, has withdrawn from the race. Remember that in 1994, Dem Tony Knowles very narrowly won the gubernatorial race because an AIP candidate split the right-wing vote, taking 13%.
FL-Gov: I'm not sure whether these are new names or not, but Alex Sink is trying to stick it to Rick Scott by putting out a list of ten Republican elected officials in central and south Florida who have endorsed her campaign. Speaking of Scott, he's reportedly going to tap state Rep. Jennifer Carroll, an African American legislator from the Jacksonville area, to be his running mate.
NM-Gov: Local blog New Mexico FBIHOP has two new ads, one each from Republican Susana Martinez and Dem Diane Denish. NWOTSOTB in either case.
AZ-03: Dem Jon Hulburd is hitting noted d-bag Ben Quayle where it hurts: on Christian radio. Politico has the audio of the ad, which of course references TheDirty.com, but NWOTSOTB.
CA-47: Ya know, usually when we do an Obama Alert! or a Biden Alert! we're at least a little bit excited at the prospect that the (V)POTUS is doing an event for some Dem or other. But once in a while, it just makes me nervous. This is one of those occasions. Joe Biden is headlining a fundraiser for Rep. Loretta Sanchez in DC on Sept. 15th. I'm thinking a rating change might be in order here soon.
MD-01: Dem Frank Kratovil is up with his first ad of the season. NWOTSOTB.
NJ-12: The so-called "Emergency Committee for Israel," led by jerkass extraordinaire Michael Goldfarb and backed by lunatics like Bill Kristol and Gary Bauer, is now targeting Rep. Rush Holt with their latest bullshit. Holt, for his part, is fighting back, calling the ads "blatant lies" and trying to convince cable companies to pull them.
ND-AL: A break for Rep. Earl Pomeroy: The House's Office of Congressional Ethics said earlier this week that they were dropping an investigation into Pomeroy's fundraising practices.
NY-01: If anything saves Tim Bishop's bacon, it might be the fact that the Republican primary has been a festering pit of raw sewage, with outraged attacks traded among Bishop's GOP rivals daily - or more often. In fact, the three-way nature of the race seems to have tripled the likelihood of open warfare at any given moment - and it also makes things damn confusing at times. Anyhow, it looks like Chris Cox is hitting Randy Altschuler for failing to show up to a debate... but then the third dude, George Demos, also had a staffer show up at Altschuler's offices and catch him on camera, right when the debate was supposed to start. Meanwhile, Cox also won a court ruling allowing him to fight Altschuler for the Conservative Party nomination, but he'll have to run as a write-in.
NY-13: Another nasty New York primary also continues to get nastier. Local establishment fave Michael Allegretti keeps piling on attacks against Mike Grimm, the golden boy of national GOP figures like Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. Among other things, Allegretti is pointing out that Grimm has never voted in a single Republican primary in the 13th CD.
OH-17: Jim Traficant got beamed back on to the ballot yesterday, running as an independent. He'll face Dem Rep. Tim Ryan and Republican Jim Graham, who has raised bupkes.
PA-15: PA2010 is reporting that Dem John Callahan is going up on the air with his first ad, perhaps as early as today. NWOTSOTB, and we also don't have a link to the ad yet, but we'll try to bring it to you once it's public.
TX-23: Republican Quico Canseco is refusing to meet with the editorial board of the San Antonio Express-News, claiming they have an "inherent bias" in favor of Dem Rep. Ciro Rodriguez. Only problem: The paper endorsed the last two Republicans who ran against Ciro.
WI-07: Republican Sean Duffy is finally scrambling on to the air with a positive bio spot. Dem Julie Lassa was up with her first ad last week, and the DCCC made its first independent expenditure (anywhere in the nation) here earlier this week. NWOTSOTB, though CQ notes the ad will air "in the Wausau-Rhinelander, Duluth-Superior, Minneapolis-St. Paul and LaCrosse-Eau Claire markets".
WV-03: Republican Spike Maynard is out with a new ad (watch it here) in which he says he wants to "stop the Obama-Rahall-Pelosi war on coal." That a serious mouthful, dude. (James Hell sez: "He should add Rand Paul to the list!") Anyhow, props to the Charleston Daily Mail for these details: "The ad is the first of two ads that will be released by Maynard's campaign as part of a $100,000 ad buy in the Beckley-Bluefield and Charleston-Huntington TV markets."
For Nick Rahall's part, he's apparently going to go on the radio with biographical spots to "familiarize folks with the congressman and his record." Uh, the guy has been in office since before I was born. The paper also reports that Rahall "is expected to run TV ads starting in late September." Can't say I love that pace.
Cat Fud: Think Progress has carefully stacked up an entire pallet's worth of cat fud tins in one of those lovely supermarket displays. They've assembled a long list of Republican primary losers who have refused to endorse the winners. I can think of two more off the top of my head: Pamela Gorman, who didn't want to catch Ben Quayle's cooties in AZ-03, and of course Lisa Murkowski, who maybe kinda sorta doesn't feel all that warmly about the guy who just called her a whore (or a john, take your pick) before the ballot counting was even over. Recall any others?
DSCC/DCCC: This is actually the same link that I got all emo about in that CA-47 item up above, but anyhow, uh, Obama Alert! The POTUS will be in NYC on September 22nd to do a joint event for the two congressional party committees.
• KY-Sen: The online "moneybomb" technique seemed to help Rand Paul get a lot of traction in the early months of the Republican primary, but his latest few scheduled moneybombs have been fizzles. Yesterday's was a case in point: $258K is still a lot of dough for two days, but it was far short of the planned $400K. (And every penny counts: Paul reported only $319K CoH at the end of June.) Are Paulists feeling tapped out these days, or are his early-adopting libertarian-minded nationwide fans chafing that he's increasingly parting ways with his dad and becoming more of an NRSC sock puppet? (As seen just today with their divergence over Cordoba House.)
• PA-Sen: Two pieces of good news in Pennsylvania: first, Joe Sestak is rolling out an endorsement from Chuck Hagel, the former GOP Senator from Nebraska who was on the short list for an Obama cabinet position. Not that Hagel is probably a household name in the Keystone State, but it certainly burnishes Sestak's bipartisan (and military) cred. Also, the DSCC is planning to spend even more on this race, letting Sestak, presumably, keep marshaling his resources for a big late push (the kind that helped him shoot past Arlen Specter in the closing weeks in the primary). They're spending $546K on broadcast media this week, on top of $494K last week; the DSCC's total spending and reservations so far in this race amount to $4.4 million.
• WI-Sen: Hmmm, maybe all that sunspot and Greenland stuff actually started to stick. Republican wingnut candidate Ron Johnson is trying to undo the crazy on his various climate change comments, offering the usual last refuge of the pathetic walkback, that his remarks were "taken out context." Johnson is also trying to walk back his previous support for elimination of the home mortgage interest deduction, about as popular a provision of the tax code as there is. If you wanted to simultaneously set back both the entire real estate business and the middle class by several decades, eliminating the home mortgage interest deduction would be a good way to do it.
• IL-Gov: The exodus from the field of broken dreams that is the Pat Quinn camp just continues. Today, the departee is CoS Jerry Stermer, and while it isn't a rancorous departure (as was the case with Quinn breaking it off with David Axelrod's media firm last week), he is resigning to avoid being a distraction with an ethics investigation (over whether he sent political e-mails from his government account) hanging overhead. With Quinn seemingly circling the drain, that ain't gonna help.
• AZ-05: In the "ooops, spoke too soon" department, presumed Republican primary frontrunner David Schweikert opted for a last-minute ad buy for $14K on cable, apparently worried that he was losing momentum going into tomorrow's primary. Last week, his camp had said he was so far ahead they were just going to go dark and start saving money for the general. Meanwhile, next door in AZ-03, Steve Moak, the only candidate who rivals Ben Quayle on the money front, is out with a new ad hitting Quayle over his pseudonymous tenure writing for the website that was the precursor to TheDirty.com.
• FL-24: Wow, Craig Miller actually went there: he sent out a last-minute mailer going after the widely-known, but not yet broached in the campaign context, issue of GOP primary opponent Karen Diebel's mental stability. Maybe he'd been planning to do a last-minute boom-lowering all along, but it seems kind of strange, as Miller's millions have seemed to have the race locked down, not requiring him to get his hands dirty. Was there a last minute Diebel surge (she's been attacking him on being too soft on immigration)?
• TX-23: Republican challenger Quico Canseco is out with an internal poll, via OnMessage, giving him a small lead over incumbent Dem Rep. Ciro Rodriguez. The poll gives Canseco a 43-37 lead, a turnaround from Rodriguez's lead of 48-45 in a Canseco poll from June.
• Ads: Bobby Bright's out with his first ad, in AL-02. SSP southern correspondent Trent Thompson's description of the ad says it all, so I'll just quote him: ""Bobby" voted against everything Obama. Also, he kisses a baby." Ben Chandler is also out with an ad in KY-06, touting his saving the local VA Hospital. Finally, Rick Boucher's GOP opponent, Morgan Griffith, is also out with a new TV spot, reminding you that he's a conservative. (As an interesting ethno-linguistic observation, one clear indicator that VA-09 is an Appalachian district, not a Southern district, is that Griffith cites "Warshington" as being the source of all our problems.) NWOTSOTB, in all three cases.
• We Ask America: The quirky little Republican-linked pollster that could, We Ask America, is out with an array of polls in Illinois (the state where they're based). They find Mark Kirk leading Alexi Giannoulias 39-33, but they also look at three House races. In fact, they looked at these races back in March, so we now have trendlines. In IL-11, they find Adam Kinzinger leading Debbie Halvorson 52-32 (down from an already bad 42-30); in IL-14, they have Randy Hultgren leading Bill Foster 44-37 (also down, from 38-36). The good news: they have Dan Seals leading Bob Dold! in IL-10, 43-40 (Seals led 40-37 in March, so he's holding his own). We've also discovered a few recent WAA odds and ends that we didn't cover earlier: they also see Roy Blunt leading Robin Carnahan 47-43 in MO-Sen, and see Sean Duffy leading 42-33 over Julie Lassa in WI-07.
• AL-Sen: William Barnes (D) 28%, Richard Shelby (R-inc) 60%
• AR-Gov: Mike Beebe (D-inc) 53%, Jim Keet (R) 33%
• MD-Sen: Barbara Mikulski (D-inc) 55%, Eric Wargotz (R) 39%
• TX-Gov: Bill White (D) 41%, Rick Perry (R-inc) 49%
Jerry Brown (D): 39
Meg Whitman (R): 46
CO-Sen: It looks like Ken Buck's efforts to distance himself from his earlier efforts to distance himself from Tom Tancredo's recent declaration that Barack Obama is the "greatest threat to the United States today" have hit a bit of a snag. A local FOX News affiliate has obtained audio of Buck in the middle of a major facepalm a day after Tancredo first made his controversial remarks at a Buck rally: "I can't believe that guy opened his mouth." Whoops! See, this is the thing with running a successful primary campaign in today's Republican Party: you either have to fully embrace the crazy, or become Charlie Crist.
KS-04: Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates for Mike Pompeo (7/6-8, likely voters, May in parens):
Mike Pompeo (R): 27 (19)
Wink Hartman (R): 21 (38)
Jean Schodorf (R): 13 (13)
Jim Anderson (R): 4 (5)
Cedric Richmond (D): 26
Joe Cao (R-inc): 51
Cao being in the lead is probably correct (though I have my doubts as to the extent of the lead), given that no one really knows who Cedric Richmond, a state representative, is. Hopefully we'll see more general election polling once Richmond and fellow state Rep. Juan LaFonta fully engage their primary campaigns.
MI-13: Incumbent Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick is losing by 27-19 to one of her Democratic primary opponents, state Sen. Hansen Clarke, according to a poll released last month. The only problem, though, is that this poll, conducted by some firm called Practical Political Consulting on behalf of Inside Michigan Politics, has an absurdly small sample (n=137), meaning that the margin of error on this sucker is a monkey-fuck ridiculous 8.4%.
MS-01: Dem Rep. Travis Childers accepted the "Spirit of Enterprise Award" last week from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in recognition of being a "friend of business for the entire country". It's another conservative score for Childers, who's also earned the endorsements of the NRA and the National Right to Life.
NY-13: Democrat Mike McMahon may yet face a primary... for the Independence Party nomination. '09 NYC city council candidate John Tabacco says he's laying the groundwork for a bid, and will base his decision to run on the amount of signatures his volunteers can gather.
TX-23: It just wouldn't be a congressional race without a story of some rich fuck running for office with a limo full of tax liens. KT over at Burnt Orange Report shares the news that Republican candidate Francisco "Quico" Canseco has been hit with over $700,000 worth of "federal, state and mechanics liens over unpaid payroll taxes and contracting fees since the early 1980s".
• CA-Sen: Business Week is out with an interesting list of all the Silicon Valley CEOs who are backing Barbara Boxer... or maybe more to the point, the ones who aren't backing Carly Fiorina, being in the best possible position to evaluate her legacy of fail at HP. Pro-Boxer names include Yahoo's Jerry Yang, Oracle's Larry Ellison, and even Cisco's John Chambers.
• FL-Sen: Well, if nothing else, maybe this'll help Marco Rubio's teabaggin' average-guy cred: like so many other Americans, he's facing foreclosure on his home. Well, make that "one of" his homes, so maybe that's not so average. Court documents show he's facing a foreclosure suit on a house he co-owns in Tallahassee along with FL-25 candidate David Rivera. Rubio contends that he and Rivera just paid off the $9K delinquency yesterday (after Politico started asking questions).
• NV-Sen: So here's why the GOP is keeping Sharron Angle under wraps while giving her the Eliza Doolittle treatment behind the scenes: an impromptu interview with a KLAS TV reporter turned into Angle getting tied into knots over Social Security "transitioning out" and then cutting the interview short when getting asked about UN withdrawal. It was followed up by a denunciation from a nameless campaign spokesperson who called the reporter "an idiot" and "another term that can't be repeated." Meanwhile, the whole massage/sauna thing keeps being an issue, with Angle now saying that the wacky rehabilitation program that she backed has nothing to do with Scientology... it's a natural homeopathic method that just happens to have been developed by L. Ron Hubbard.
• WA-Sen: Here's some more momentum for Clint Didier's tea-flavored campaign: Sarah Palin is doubling down on her backing. He'll be getting at least two appearances with her, who previously endorsed him before Dino Rossi's entry into the race. He also got some sort-of good news from the NRSC, saying that they promised (having gotten burned on the Crist/Rubio and Norton/Buck fronts) that they wouldn't take any sides until there was actually a nominee. (He also took a few whacks at the EPA in the interview, fed up with their "unburdensome regulations.")
• MD-Gov: I'm not sure what Brian Murphy, the random right-wing businessman who's running in the GOP primary against Bob Ehrlich, had in mind when he released this internal poll, taken for him by a polling company called Polling Company; it shows him trailing Dem incumbent Martin O'Malley 44-25. The more interesting number is that Ehrlich trails O'Malley by only 1, 44-43. Perhaps the most salient number (the Ehrlich/Murphy matchup) doesn't even get mentioned. Gee, I wonder why?
• OK-Gov: The newest Sooner poll has Republican Rep. Mary Fallin looking large and in charge in the open-seat gubernatorial race. Fallin leads state Sen. Randy Brogdon 59-10 in the GOP primary, and leads both Democrats by double-digits: 50-35 against AG Drew Edmondson and 49-36 against LG Jari Askins. The Dem primary is super-close, with Edmondson leading Askins only 37-36. Want to see a Dem win this race? Make sure Brodgon somehow wins the GOP primary. Edmondson leads Brogdon 41-40, while Askins leads 44-36.
• AL-07: Terri Sewell is out with an internal poll (from Anzalone Liszt) giving her a lead coming out of the primary and heading into the runoff against Shelia Smoot. Sewell, who's the only candidate who's done much advertising, now claims a 53-33 lead over Smoot (after winning the primary with an 8-pt. margin). The difference maker is that Smoot Sewell is winning the majority (48-38) of backers of third-place finisher Earl Hilliard Jr. (Hilliard has said he won't be endorsing either one in the runoff.)
• FL-08: I'm not even sure where to begin with this weird story, but apparently Bruce O'Donoghue, one of the various Republicans in the primary in the 8th, is accusing the Florida Tea Party of being in cahoots with Rep. Alan Grayson, to run Peg Dunmire on their line and split the conservative vote. He's pointing out connections between Grayson and local talk radio host and local Tea Party co-founder Doug Guetzloe, but both Grayson and Guetzloe say those connections aren't meaningful. Recall that the loudly liberal Grayson actually did appear at a teabaggers' rally last summer, but that seemed to mostly be about their common cause over the issue of auditing the Fed.
• NC-02: Here's a sign that maybe we don't need to take the Renee Ellmers campaign that seriously, at least not yet: her consultant, Carter Wrenn, is stepping on the NRCC's message management after having gotten gifted a video of Bobby Etheridge's freak-out with trackers. Despite the NRCC's protestations that they have no idea who these innocent "college students" are, Wrenn says that his own conversations with the NRCC indicate that they know who they are.
• TX-23: Another slightly stale GOP internal poll (this one by OnMessage, taken in mid-May) shows, big surprise, a competitive race in the 23rd. Incumbent Dem Ciro Rodriguez leads self-funding GOPer Quico Canseco 48-45. Given that internal polls tend to get released only when they show a candidate's best-case scenario, this may actually make me feel a little more confident about Rodriguez, whom we always knew was in for a rough ride this cycle. (H/t GOPVOTER.)
• VA-05: Huh, here's a rapid about-face from GOP nominee Robert Hurt. Last Saturday, he said he'd "absolutely" be willing to participate in three-way debates with not just Tom Perriello but also tea-flavored independent Jeffrey Clark. Perhaps Clark was wondering why Perriello seemed very pleased with that (or maybe somebody smarter about this stuff from the NRCC gave him a call and pointed out that Clark's votes are coming only out Hurt's column), but now he's reversed course and says he "cannot allow the important debate in this election to be sidetracked by a candidate who is not serious about his campaign."
• WV-03: Here's one other sketchy poll: an internal poll from the camp of Spike Maynard, the GOPer in the race, taken by somebody called Mark Blankenship Enterprises. (Steve Singiser wonders if there's any familial connection to Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, the travel buddy of Maynard, but this article seems to think not.) At any rate, long-time Rep. Nick Rahall leads Maynard 42-36.
• Facebook: Thanks for helping us smash through the completely arbitrary yet very important barrier of 500 fans! Keep the "likes" coming!
• Election results: Yesterday's big event was the special election in FL-19, the first real electoral test after the passage of HCR. The allegedly massive opposition to healthcare reform on the part of the district's many seniors never really materialized. Democratic state Sen. Ted Deutch beat Republican Ed Lynch 62-35, with very little falloff from Obama's 65-34 performance in 2008. (Contrast that with John Garamendi's so-so 53-43 performance in November's CA-10 special election, a similarly 65-33 district in 2008.)
I should also pause to offer a little credit to Texas's Republicans, who voted for the less crazy candidates in the Board of Education and Supreme Court runoffs, and in a bigger surprise to me, for the Hispanic-surnamed candidates in the TX-17 and TX-23 runoffs (which, based on incumbent Victor Carrillo's trouncing in the Railroad Commissioner primary, seemed unlikely to happen). The NRCC has to be pleased to see the wealthier and less wingnutty Bill Flores and Quico Canseco emerge. Rep. Chet Edwards, however, is one guy who knows how to stand and fight, and he wasted no time hitting Flores hard and defining him as a carpetbagger in big oil's pocket.
One other leftover issue from last night: two races in California, as expected, are headed to runoffs. In Republican-held SD-12, Republican Assemblyman Bill Emmerson will face off against Democrat Justin Blake (the GOPers combined got more than 60% of the vote, so this is a likely hold), while in safely-Democratic AD-43, Democratic lawyer Mike Gatto will face off with Republican Sunder Ramani to replace now-LA city councilor Paul Krekorian. Gatto seemed to shoot the gap in this heavily Armenian-American district after the two Armenian candidates, Chahe Keuroghelian and Nayiri Nahabedian, nuked each other.
• AR-Sen: Bill Halter's primary campaign gained more momentum, as he picked up an endorsement from the Alliance for Retired Americans, pleased with his time as a Social Security Administration official. One group that really isn't getting on board with Halter, though, is the Berry family; first outgoing Rep. Marion Berry dissed Halter, and now his son, Mitch, is head of a group, Arkansans for Common Sense, that's running ads attacking Halter on the Social Security front. (Are there any Arkansans who are actually against common sense?)
• CO-Sen: Looks like GOP establishment candidate Jane Norton sees the handwriting on the wall and is taking a page from Democrat Michael Bennet's book: not able to rely on getting on the ballot via activist-dominated convention (where teabagger-fueled Ken Buck seems likely to triumph), she's making plans to qualify by finding 1,500 signatures in each of the state's seven congressional districts. Speaking of Bennet, he's still the fundraising kingpin in this race; he just announced he raised $1.4 million last quarter, well ahead of Norton's $816K.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist may have sounded Shermanesque last week in his determination not to switch to an Independent bid for Governor, but apparently now there's increasing moves within his inner circle to move in that direction. Unnamed advisors are floating the idea to the WSJ today.
• IN-Sen: Dan Coats seems to be having more trouble making the transition from the free-wheelin' world of high-stakes lobbying back to the humdrum electoral politics world, where you actually have to follow the rules and stuff. He's 10 days overdue on filing his finance disclosure reports with the FEC. One note that the Beltway press seemed to miss though: his main GOP primary opponent, ex-Rep. John Hostettler hasn't made his filing yet either. (Of course, fundraising was never Hostettler's strong suit. Or even his weak suit.)
• NC-Sen (pdf): PPP issued its latest installment in polls of the Senate general election in its home state. Maybe the biggest surprise is that incumbent Republican Richard Burr's approvals are just continuing to fall; he's currently at 32/41 (while likeliest opponent Elaine Marshall is in positive territory at 19/11). Also encouraging, I suppose, is that the actual human Democrats are starting to draw even with Generic D (while previous polls have had Generic D far outpacing them), showing they're getting better-defined. Burr leads Generic D 43-38, while he leads Marshall 43-37, and leads both Cal Cunningham and Kenneth Lewis 43-35.
• NY-Sen-B: With ex-Gov. George Pataki's phantom interest in this race finally having been dispelled, Swing State Project is removing this race from its "Races to Watch" list.
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): One more poll in the rapidly-becoming-overpolled Pennsylvania Senate race, this time from Republican pollster Susequehanna. They use an LV model, and find Pat Toomey with a 48-38 lead over Arlen Specter. Of more immediate consequence, they find Specter leading Joe Sestak 42-28 in the Dem primary. They also polled both primaries in the gubernatorial race, finding Dan Onorato seeming to break away from the ill-defined pack among the Dems. Onorato is at 32, followed by Joe Hoeffel at 13, Jack Wagner at 6, and Anthony Williams at 4. Tom Corbett beats down Sam Rohrer on the GOP side, 50-7. After marshaling his resources, Specter is finally starting to open fire; he's up with his first TV ad of the cycle starting today.
• WI-Sen: The only thing that's sure is that Tommy Thompson likes to see his name in the press. There's been a lot of conflicting reporting about Tommy Thompson today, with many outlets running with the story that he's decided against running for Senate (that all traces back to one leak to a local TV station, although it sounds like Politico got some confirmation from an anonymous GOP source). Other outlets are emphasizing that Thompson's spokesperson says that Thompson hasn't made a final decision, though. Either way, Thompson will be announcing his plans at a Tea Party rally tomorrow in Madison, so our pain will be ended tomorrow one way or the other.
• MA-Gov: Here's more evidence for my expectation that Dem-turned-indie Tim Cahill will be running to the right (or at least to the incoherent-angry-working-class-Catholic-guy-position) of the Republican in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race this year. He's appearing at today's Tea Party rally on Boston Common today, the same one with Sarah Palin that Scott Brown ditched (although MA-10 candidate Joe Malone and GOP gubernatorial underdog Christy Mihos will be there). Likely GOP gubernatorial nominee Charlie Baker (from the party's old-school moderate WASP tradition) decided against attending, probably out of fears that he might get jostled by some ruffian and spill some of his gin and tonic on his white Bermuda shorts.
• MN-Gov: Two blasts from the past in the Minnesota gubernatorial race. Walter Mondale weighed in in favor of Democratic state House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, while a guy I've never heard of named Al Quie, who claims to have been governor from 1979 to 1983, endorsed Republican Marty Seifert.
• NE-Gov: Via press release, the campaign for Democratic candidate Mark Lakers let us know that he took in $314K, impressive considering his late entry to the campaign.
• AL-07: State Rep. Earl Hilliard Jr. got an endorsement from the United Steelworkers, a union that seems to still have a lot of clout in Birmingham, once a major steel town.
• AZ-03: Now here's some news I didn't expect: the fundraising champ in the 3rd isn't one of the many state legislators running here, but rather attorney (and vice-presidential progeny) Ben Quayle. He pulled in $550K in the first quarter, thanks no doubt to family connections. There are a couple other self-funders in the race too, but the elected officials seem to be lagging: case in point, well-known ex-state Sen. Pamela Gorman, who raised only $37K and ends with $23K CoH.
• FL-24: Rep. Suzanne Kosmas announced a haul of $260K for the first quarter. That's less than the $340K reported by her likely GOP opponent, steakhouse mogul Craig Miller (although a slab of his money was apparently carved out of his own personal funds); Kosmas has a big CoH advantage, though, sitting on more than $1 million.
• GA-07: Retiring Republican Rep. John Linder didn't look far to endorse a replacement for him: he gave his nod to his former chief of staff, Rob Woodall.
• HI-01: Sen. Dan Inouye just transferred $100K of his money to the DCCC, despite appearances that they're actively backing Ed Case, rather than Colleen Hanabusa, who has the support of Inouye (and pretty much everyone else in the local Democratic establishment). Inouye has apparently been working behind the scenes, including reaching out to Nancy Pelosi, to get the DCCC to dial back their Case support, so maybe the cash infusion will give him a little more leverage. (Inouye is sitting on $3.2 million and faces little if any opposition this year.)
• IN-03: Nice fundraising numbers from Democrat Tom Hayhurst, who ran a surprisingly close race against Rep. Mark Souder in 2006 and is back for another try. Hayhurst has racked up $234K CoH, more than Souder ($99K in the first quarter).
• IN-05: Politico has a look at Rep. Dan Burton's difficult primary in the 5th, in Indianapolis's dark-red suburbs. While Burton may actually be safer this year compared with 2008 (since he has four opponents instead of just one), the article traces the roots of the local GOP's discontent with him, and also shows the magnitude of his collapse in support: only 2 of the 11 local party organizations are supporting Burton this time.
• MO-08: Another Dem in a dark-red seat who keeps impressing everybody with his tenacity is Tommy Sowers. The veteran and college instructor, who's challenging Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, raised $295K in the first quarter and is now sitting on $675K CoH.
• NM-02: Ex-Rep. Steve Pearce can write himself his own checks if he needs to, but he may not need to at this rate. Pearce raised $277K in the first quarter, and now sits on $708K. Democratic Rep. Harry Teague hasn't reported yet, but in the duel of wealthy oil guys, he can self-fund too if need be.
• NY-14: With Democratic primary challenger Reshma Saujani having some success on the financial front, Rep. Carolyn Maloney got some top-tier help from Barack Obama, who endorsed her and sent out a fundraising appeal on her behalf.
• PA-11: If this doesn't wake up Rep. Paul Kanjorski from his nap, I don't know what will. Three-time Republican opponent Lou Barletta raised $300K in the first quarter. An important caveat: there was no mention of cash on hand, which is telling because Barletta was still saddled with a lot of debt from his 2008 campaign when he decided to run again. (UPDATE: Barletta's CoH is now $205K.)
• PA-17: Republican state Sen. David Argall raised a tolerable but not-too-impressive $125K in the first quarter. He'll need more than that to battle Rep. Tim Holden, who, if nothing else, has great survival skills (he had the worst district of any freshman who survived 1994, and then survived a 2002 gerrymander designed to rub him out). In fact, he'll need more than that just for his primary; heretofore unknown GOP opponent ex-Marine Frank Ryan raised $70K in the first quarter.
• Redistricting: Maryland beat out New York to be the first state in the nation to enact legislation that will, in terms of redistricting, treat prisoners as residents of their last known address, rather than where they're incarcerated (and thus move the center of gravity back toward the cities from the countryside). Also, on the redistricting front, if there's one group of people who are the target audience for a whole movie about redistricting (Gerrymandering), it's the crowd at SSP. The film's director has a diary up, touting its release in two weeks at the Tribeca Film Festival.
• Special elections/Runoffs: Believe it or not, it's a busy election night tonight. Top of the list is the special election in FL-19, where the successor to Robert Wexler will be chosen. In this D+15 district in the more middle-class parts of the Gold Coast, the Democrat, state Sen. Ted Deutch, is heavily favored. The parties haven't gotten involved, and Republican Ed Lynch (who lost a lopsided decision to Wexler in 2008) is hamstrung by the presence of independent right-wing candidate Jim McCormick.
It's runoff day in Texas, with almost all the action on the GOP side. TX-17, between self-funder Bill Flores and 2008 candidate Rob Curnock, and TX-23, between self-funder Quico Canseco and ex-CIA agent William Hurd, are the marquee races as far as the U.S. House goes. There are also some GOP runoffs in some state House races, an interesting mixed bag of open seat succession races, teabaggish challenges to GOP incumbents, and challenges to vulnerable Dems. Finally, there's a culture war clash between just-very conservative and super-duper conservative in two statewide contests: one for the Supreme Court (with Rick Green, the former state Rep. known for punching the guy who beat him in 2002, representing Team Crazy), and one for the Board of Education (between Marsha Farney and Brian Russell, with Russell the movement conservative here).
Finally, there's some state legislature action in Massachusetts, California, and Florida. Primaries for two state Senate seats are in Massachusetts, the ones held by now-Sen. Scott Brown and now-disgraced Anthony Gallucio. This is the de facto election in Gallucio's dark-blue seat, seeing as how no Republicans are running, but the winner between state Rep. Lida Harkins and doctor Peter Smulowitz in the Dem primary will face off against GOP state Rep. Richard Ross on May 11 to succeed Brown. In California, there are two legislative specials; using the California system, each one will likely head to a runoff (unless someone in the cluttered fields breaks 50%). Both seats will likely turn out to be holds: SD-37 is in Republican exurban Riverside County, while AD-43 is in Democratic Glendale in LA County. And in the Florida Panhandle, dark-red HD-04 should be an easy Republican hold.
• AR-Sen: Looks like Blanche Lincoln picked the wrong week to stop acting like a Democrat. She got seriously outraised by Bill Halter in the first quarter, earning $1.3 million (Halter got $2 mil). She also spent more than she earned, running a blitz of TV ads, probably to the tune of $2 million, as her cash on hand dropped $700K --although it's still a high $4.7 million. Still no word yet from the race's key Republicans.
• CA-Sen: Carly Fiorina filled in the last blank in the California Senate race; her fundraising total for the first quarter was $1.7 million, edging out Tom Campbell (who pulled in $1.6 million). Both GOPers lagged Barbara Boxer's $2.4 million.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist is still trying to find something that'll stick to Marco Rubio, and he's trying again to link ex-state House speaker Rubio to some of the other less savory elements among legislative leadership. He's up with a new ad trying Rubio to another former speaker, Ray Sansom, who's currently under indictment for charges of falsifying state budget items.
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias is lagging Mark Kirk on the cash front; he raised $1.2 million last quarter, compared with Kirk's $2.2 million. Giannoulias didn't release cash on hand figures, which may not be too impressive either considering that he had to fight through a competitive primary.
• NC-Sen (pdf): PPP looked at the primaries only in the North Carolina Senate race (they're on May 4). On the Dem side, former state Sen. Cal Cunningham is still within striking distance of SoS Elaine Marshall; she leads Cunningham 23-17, with Kenneth Lewis at 9 and 5% for assorted minor candidates. (Last month, Marshall led Cunningham and Lewis 20-16-11.) On the GOP side, Richard Burr is at 67%, with his closest competition, Brad Jones, at 7.
• NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov: Quinnipiac finds a lot of same-ol'-same-ol' in the Empire State: Andrew Cuomo crushing, and Kirsten Gillibrand crushing anyone non-Pataki. Gillibrand trails non-candidate George Pataki 45-40 but leads actual candidate Bruce Blakeman 47-25 (none of the other third-tier GOPers get polled); she's also sporting her highest-ever approvals, at 47/25. (Pataki beats Blakeman in a GOP primary, 64-15.) On the Governor's side, Rick Lazio is still poised to be GOP nominee; he leads Steve Levy and Carl Paladino 34-11-11 (note that the poll was in the field prior to the whole bestiality thing). Andrew Cuomo dispatches Lazio 55-26, Levy 57-24, and Paladino 60-24.
• OH-Sen: I'd assumed Lee Fisher had been on the air before, but he's just now launching his first TV spots of his campaign with the primary only weeks away (apparently marshaling his resources for the general). Fisher also pulled down the endorsement of Cleveland mayor Frank Johnson, although he didn't gain the backing of his own home town's Democratic party (in Shaker Heights), which instead declined to endorse.
• PA-Sen: Here's a bit of a surprise: Joe Sestak succeeded in his ballot challenge, getting last-minute conservadem entrant Joe Vod Varka kicked out of the Democratic primary, setting up a two-man fight against Arlen Specter. If Sestak's going to have any hope of knocking off Specter, he'll need to consolidate every anti-Specter vote (and also not have the Slovak-American vote -- a big segment in western Pennsylvania -- split).
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold had a successful fundraising quarter, considering right now he's only running against the specter of Tommy Thompson. Feingold earned $1.34 million, leaving him with $4.26 million CoH.
• FL-Gov: Rick Scott has decided, rather belatedly, to throw his hat in the ring in the Republican field in the Governor's race. If the name's familiar, he's a former hospital-industry businessman who funded much of the initial anti-HCR astroturfing efforts via his organization Conservatives for Patient Rights. He's sound teabaggish themes about establishment candidate AG Bill McCollum (despite McCollum taking the lead on the GOP AGs' anti-HCR lawsuit). Considering that state Sen. Paula Dockery is already trying to run against McCollum from the right and getting no traction, it's hard to see Scott going anywhere with this, though.
• NM-Gov: Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, the lone Dem in the race, is dominating the fundraising front; she raised $1.1 million in the six-month reporting period and has $2.6 million CoH. Among the GOPers, former state party chair Allen Weh leads both in money raised ($691K, although $500K was a personal loan) and CoH ($544K). Dona Ana County DA Susana Martinez raised $428K and sits on $364K CoH.
• PA-Gov: Here's a blow to, well, everybody in the Democratic field; after not being able to find two-thirds support for anybody, the AFL-CIO won't be endorsing any particular candidate in the Dem primary. Former Philadephia city controller Jonathan Saidel got their Lt. Gov. endorsement.
• AL-05: Party-switching Rep. Parker Griffith (most recently in the news for forgetting his party-switch and billing the DCCC for expenditures) surprised his GOP primary opponents at a debate by asking them sign a unity pledge that the losers of the primary would campaign for the winner in November. No thanks, said both Mo Brooks and Les Philip.
• DE-AL: Looks like wealthy self-funder Michelle Rollins, the NRCC's preferred recruit in the race, has some competition on the big bucks front in the GOP primary. Real estate developer Glen Urquhart just announced that he has $512K in his account (of course, $500K of that came from his own pocket).
• FL-08: Alan Grayson had another big fundraising quarter, thanks in large part to netroots moneybombing (especially his March event which brought in $500K). He raised $803K in the last three months, bringing his CoH total to $1.5 million (along with the possibility of writing checks to himself).
• HI-01: CQ has an interesting piece on HI-01 that focuses primarily on just how difficult it is (especially for "mainland" pollsters) to poll in Hawaii. With only two polls of this race having seen light of day so far, the main takeaway may be that anyone's guess is as good as mine where the race stands.
• MI-01: One of the top Republicans on everyone's candidate list for the newly-opened seat in MI-01 has said that he won't run. State House minority leader Kevin Elsenheimer said he won't run, even though he's termed out of the House and needs something else to do. (Elsenheimer, from the Traverse City area, is disadvantaged by not coming from the Upper Peninsula portion of the district.)
• MS-04: Here's one other eye-catching fundraising note: a Dem incumbent who got outraised by Republican opposition previously considered inconsequential. Rep. Gene Taylor raised $41K and has $221K CoH, while GOP state Rep. Steven Palazzo raised $125K and has at least $100K CoH. Let's hope Taylor doesn't hit the "snooze" button for another quarter. National Journal's latest fundraising outline also has noteworthy numbers from Charlie Dent (PA-15), Dan Debicella (CT-04), and Rick Crawford (AR-01).
• Redistricting: With the Fair Districts redistricting initiative seeming destined to make the ballot in Florida, now the Republican-controlled legislature is trying to get its own redistricting initiative on the ballot, in an apparent effort to clarify (or gut) the Fair Districts proposals. The Senate's proposal deals with the thorny questions of VRA-mandated districts and communities of interest, which aren't addressed in satisfactory manner by the original initiatives, which forbid designing districts in a manner that is favorable to one party or the other.
• Demographics: Josh Goodman has an interesting look at population change in Texas, similar to some work we've done at SSP over the last few years; he finds that while Texas's largest counties are becoming swingier, its fastest-growing counties are still pretty solidly Republican (although the growth in these counties is in demographics that aren't likely Republican). Of course, the parts of the state that are becoming less and less of the state, percentage-wise -- the rural parts -- have become even more conservative than the fast-growing exurbs, so in a way that's progress too.