CT-Sen: Obama alert! The POTUS is going to do a fundraiser in Stamford for Dick Blumenthal on Sept. 16th, the same day he was already scheduled to do a DNC event in Greenwich. Sorry to get all emo on you again, but if even Dick Blumenthal needs Obama's help....
DE-Sen: It's the battle of the sketchy polls! The Tea Party Express is touting a survey which supposedly shows Mike Castle up just 44-38 in the Republican primary over Christine O'Donnell. (Actually, they say Castle is at "43.7%" - too many significant digits is a classic sign of sketchiness.) Meanwhile, the Fix claims that "Internal GOP polling conducted last week showed Castle with a margin of nearly 20 points over O'Donnell." Anyhow, the TPX has no plans to evacuate in their moment of... well, we'll see if it's their moment of triumph... despite a surge of new questions about O'Donnell's fitness as a candidate. Among other things: Former aides say she never paid promised salaries on her 2008 campaign against Joe Biden, and she just received her degree from Farleigh Dickinson University last week, despite having attended 17 years ago and having repeatedly described herself as a graduate. Come on, baby, hold together!
IL-Sen: Amanda Terkel has spotted a trend among Mark Kirk's public statements: He can't shut up about the economic crisis in Greece - and Terkel thinks Kirk is attempting to link Alexi Giannoulias (who is of Greek descent) to the meltdown. Perhaps most egregious is Kirk's statement that while he "wore a U.S. Navy uniform, Alexi Giannoulias wore a basketball uniform in Greece." Really? That last part is relevant? A pretty ugly example of "othering."
LA-Sen: A little bit of Cajun-flavored cat fud: Gov. Bobby Jindal won't endorse Sen. David Vitter in his re-election campaign. Jindal claims he doesn't get involved in federal races, but WDSU has two very recent examples to the contrary. Anyhow, I can't think of too many sitting governors who haven't endorsed same-party, same-state senators, can you?
NH-Sen: Finally, a survey of the severely under-polled GOP senate primary in New Hampshire - though it's from Republican pollster Magellan, who likes to do Rasmussen-style one-day samples (a methodology that I think it's fair to say is not a best practice). Anyhow, here are the results (9/1, likely voters, May in parens):
UT-Sen: The battle for Orrin Hatch's senate seat - which won't take place until 2012 - is already getting ugly. Hatch is claiming that freshman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (who, you'll recall, already knocked off one sitting incumbent at a state convention in 2008) promised him he wouldn't challenge him next cycle. Chaffetz says he only pledged not to run against Sen. Bob Bennett, who of course already lost earlier this year. A Hatch spokesbot took off the gloves in response, saying: "Senator Hatch takes very seriously the principle of keeping his word. Of course, I suppose Jason can break it any time he wants to."
WV-Sen: Robert Byrd's family is excoriating self-funding Republican John Raese for using a photo of Dem Joe Manchin and President Obama that was taken at Byrd's memorial service earlier this year in an attack ad. Raese's campaign manager said, "That's a stock photo. We had no idea it was from the memorial service." Well, now you know.
AZ-Gov: Does this statement remind you of O.J. Simpson's ill-fated "hypothetical" book, If I Did It? Because that was the first thing I thought of:
"That was an error, if I said that," Brewer said about beheadings occurring in Arizona.
AZ-01: Ann Kirkpatrick is out with her first ad of the cycle, a pretty dull positive spot about how she donated 5% of her congressional salary... national treasury... opposed bailout... etc., etc. Ordinarily I'd just relegate this to our ad roundup at the bottom of the digest, but I also wanted to point out this great observation from SSP's own Johnny Longtorso: namely, the fact that the Navajo Nation (the largest Indian tribe in the United States) is holding its presidential election this fall, which may help Kirkpatrick on the turnout front. (Indians vote heavily Dem.) According to Wikipedia, some 130,000 Navajo live within the nation's boundaries in Arizona (it also includes parts of Utah and New Mexico), almost all of which is contained within the 1st CD.
AZ-08: You know how the WWF tried to become the WWE? Well, true hardcore wingnuts aren't content with (the bad kind of) SSP - they want SSE: Social Security elimination. Given how toxic this is in the real world (i.e., for the 99.999% of people who have never heard of John Galt), it's no wonder that Republican nominee Jesse Kelly now say he wants to "protect" Social Security. Good luck getting past statements like this one, from just last year: "If you have any ideas on that, I'm all ears. I would love to eliminate the program."
IA-01: This doesn't seem like a positive sign to me. Bruce Braley is going on the air with an ad (watch it here) hitting back against an outside group's attack ad - not something a candidate in an apparently "Safe D" race ordinarily feels a need to do. The group, American Future Fund, is accusing Braley of "supporting" the Park51 community center, though Braley has taken the standard "don't wanna deal with it" approach of calling it a local zoning issue for NYC. On the flipside, I'll take it as a good sign that Braley doesn't plan to get Martha Coakley'd. (Though doesn't it sound like Braley's "I approve this message" was recorded via cell phone? Does that mean the ad was rushed on to the air?) NWOTSOTB for Braley, though AAF claims it has spent $50K and plans to spend more.
IN-03: A common theme rears its head once more: A Republican rails loudly against bailouts, but it turns out he's been the beneficiary of government largesse himself. In this case, Dem Tom Hayhurst has been attacking GOPer Marlin Stutzman for accepting $180K in agricultural subsidies since 1995. But as the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports, just last month Stutzman said: "It's time to get rid of farm subsidies. The subsidies only manipulate the market."
KS-04: You know, we always love reporting on cat fud for cat fud's sake. Sometimes it's just a whiff, but other times, the cat fud can really stink up a race. Case in point: Mike Pompeo, a top competitor for GOP Dickbag of the Year, wasn't endorsed by any of the candidates he beat in the Republican primary, and even refused to return phone calls from his opponents. Now, the cats are coming home to roost, because one of those opponents, rich guy Wink Hartman, is considering re-entering the race on the Libertarian Party line. (The Lib candidate dropped out of the race for health reasons.) Hartman, who spent almost $1.6 million of his own money on the primary, notably includes among his reasons for wanting to get back in the game the fact that Pompeo "misrepresented Hartman's pro-life position and residency." The Libertarians have until Sept. 20th to decide whether to tap Hartman. In any event, this could provide a huge boost to Dem Raj Goyle, who appears to be in a surprisingly good position to stage an upset.
LA-03: In an unusual move, the Louisiana state Republican Party has formally endorsed Jeff Landry over Hunt Downer in the runoff. State parties don't typically take sides in primaries like this, but it sounds like the powers that be are eager to see Downer bail, rather than prolong the race all the way until October 3rd. I personally suspect that Downer has no chance in the second round, and I think he'll wind up playing Kevin Calvey to Landry's Jim Lankford. (Check out our OK-05 tag if the analogy isn't ringing any bells.)
NC-11: Heh - looks like Heath Shuler's suggesting he could run for Speaker of the House, clearly as a way to distance himself from Nancy Pelosi. Shuler also claimed that cats eventually turn into dogs.
NH-02: Nice - progressive fave Ann McLane Kuster raised $223K in her pre-primary report (7/1-8/25), totally kicking the asses of all the other major candidates (Katrina Swett (D): $37K, Charlie Bass (R): $57K, Jennifer Horn (R): $39K). As for cash, it goes Kuster: $450K, Swett: $798K, Bass: $312K, Horn: $32K. Even better news: Kuster is touting an internal poll from the Mellman Group showing her with a commanding 47-24 lead over Swett in the primary, which is Sept. 14th.
NY-20, NY-23: Rahm Emanuel is headlining a joint fundraiser on Sept. 19th for two upstate Dems: Scott Murphy of the 20th CD and Bill Owens of the 23rd. Murphy has $1.5 million on hand but Owens has only $600K.
PA-06: A nasty bit of racial ugliness from the campaign of Jim Gerlach. Said a spokesman about Dem opponent Manan Trivedi: "The only one who has played the race card here is him, by going to Indian-American groups to raise money."
SC-02: The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating Rep. Joe Wilson's trips abroad - at least thirty over the last eight years - and his per diem spending habits. Wilson is a prolific traveler on the taxpayer's dime, ranking 29th among current House members and 39th among 734 members who've served since 1994, according to The State. Wilson has tried to downplay prior reports of the probe, claiming it was only about $12 spent on some cheap mementos from Afghanistan, but that's evidently not the case. Meanwhile, Dem Rob Miller has a new ad out hitting Wilson for his support of CAFTA. Check it out - I think it's pretty effective.
VA-05: In a move that vaguely brings to mind Carl Mumpower, teabagger Jeffrey Clark said he'd withdraw from the race if the party or parties responsible for disseminating information about his financial history came forward to claim responsibility. Dem Tom Perriello's campaign said it wasn't them, but Republican Rob Hurt wouldn't say anything, so Clark says he's staying in the race. Feel the Mumpower!
OH-AG: Wrapping up some odds-and-ends from their recent Ohio poll, PPP find ex-Sen. Mike DeWine leading incumbent Dem AG Richard Cordray 44-40.
DCCC: Another day, another triage story. This time, the NYT claims that "party leaders are preparing a brutal triage of their own members in hopes of saving enough seats to keep a slim grip on the majority." And while they don't have an actual quote from him, the Times claims Chris Van Hollen "conceded" that Dems "would ultimately cut loose members who had not gained ground." In response, reports The Hill:
Van Hollen released a statement saying that the story "erroneously" said that the DCCC would redirect resources to two dozen viable campaigns if a review in the next two weeks showed that vulnerables weren't gaining ground.
I have to wonder: Did the NYT really get Van Hollen wrong here, or is CVH deliberately trying to send mixed messages in order to motivate his troops through fear?
• CO-Sen: Republican candidate Ken Buck has a couple pieces of good news today: one, he's the recipient of $172K in independent expenditures from mysterious conservative group Americans for Job Security. And two, Jim DeMint's coming to town on July 8 to stump on Buck's behalf
• NE-Sen: Ironically, on the same day that he was the deciding vote in the Senate's failure to extend unemployment benefits, Ben Nelson announced that he won't be making an appearance in the unemployment lines himself in 2012. He confirmed that he plans to run for re-election.
• SC-Sen: The profile of Lindsey Graham in the New York Times magazine is well worth a read. While it serves to make me like him a little more, I've gotta wonder if he's even going to bother running (or at least running as a Republican) when he's up again in 2014, considering it's just going to tick off the teabaggers even more. He derides the Tea Partiers, saying they'll be gone in a few years, "chortling" that Ronald Reagan would have a hard time getting elected as a Republican today... and also has a good laugh at the rumors about his sexual orientation, instead of, y'know, punching the interviewer in the nose or something unequivocally manly like that.
• WI-Sen, WI-Gov: PPP rolls out a last batch of numbers from their Wisconsin sample, looking at the Republican primaries in the Senate and gubernatorial races and seeing them as foregone conclusions. On the governor's side, Milwaukee Co. Executive (and legendary 60's crooner) Scott Walker leads ex-Rep. Mark Neumann 58-19, while in the Senate race, Ron Johnson leads Dave Westlake 49-11.
• WV-Sen: OK, so the rumor today is that things are still on for a 2012 special election to replace Robert Byrd, not a 2010 one as suggested yesterday. Gov. Joe Manchin and Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin are sending signals that they won't call for a legislative special session to shift the election date to this year, despite the decision by SoS Natalie Tennant to have it in 2012.
• AL-Gov: Here's one more politican trapped in the semantic quicksand that seems to be developing around the issue of stateside service during Vietnam. Alabama GOP runoff contestant Robert Bentley has drawn some heat for the words "Hospital commander" and "Vietnam War" appearing on-screen in one of his TV ads. Bentley was ranking medical doctor at Pope AFB (in North Carolina) during the Vietnam era, although he didn't serve physically in Vietnam.
• FL-Gov: Now the supposed hero of 9/11 has RINO cooties, too? Rick Scott's camp sent out press releases yesterday attacking opponent Bill McCollum for having supported "pro-abortion, pro-homosexual" Giuliani for President, back in those heady days of, say, 2007, when it was assumed that Giuliani was going to steamroller everyone else in the Florida primary.
• MD-Gov: Republican ex-Gov. Bob Ehrlich picked a running mate for his 2010 campaign, and, no, he's not giving Michael Steele his old job back. He picked Mary Kane, who was the SoS under Ehrlich (an appointed position in Maryland). She's from Montgomery County, suggesting he sees the route to 50%+1 through this increasingly-blue suburb.
• OR-Gov (pdf): Republican pollster Magellan is quickly becoming one of the most prolific purveyors of public polls, this time with a look at the gubernatorial race in Oregon. They join the consensus that this is a deadlocked race right now; they find Republican Chris Dudley leading Democrat John Kitzhaber by a paper-thin 41-40 margin. Dudley has 41-27 support among independents. They also offer an interesting breakdown by CD; it's OR-04 that's keeping Dudley in this, giving him a 44-38 edge, while predictably, Kitzhaber dominates in OR-01 and OR-03, Dudley sweeps OR-02, and they fight to a tie in OR-05.
• WY-Gov: OMG! Stop the presses! Veteran character actor and widely trusted commercial pitchman for products for old people (and Wyoming resident) Wilford Brimley has made an endorsement in the GOP gubernatorial primary. He's backing state Auditor Rita Meyer. No word on whether he was won over by her pro-oatmeal stances.
• NJ-07: There's an internal poll out from a Democrat? Not only that, but it's from one who's been totally off the radar, as national Dems seem to have ceded the 7th to freshman GOPer Leonard Lance. While the "informed ballot" numbers are the ones getting promoted (we at SSP think informed ballot questions are good... for us to poop on), there are legitimate toplines in there too, with Lance leading Ed Potosnak by a not-so-imposing 43-30. Lance also has a weak 31/46 re-elect number in the Garin Hart Yang poll.
• NM-02: Construction liens seem to be the common cold of political scandals, but Democratic freshman Harry Teague is in an uphill battle to retain his GOP-leaning seat and probably wouldn't like any bad PR. He personally, and the four oil and gas industry companies he controls, are facing a civil lawsuit over failure to repay loans to purchase equipment.
• Ohio: PPP has some odds and ends left over from their Ohio sample. Two items are on the bad news side of the ledger, although only barely: a generic House ballot test for Ohio (where there are at least five competitive Democratic holds) has Republicans leading Democrats 44-43, and GOP ex-Sen. Mike DeWine is leading appointed Democratic AG Richard Cordray 44-41 in the Attorney General's race. (Screw that; what about SoS race numbers?) The good news is that Sherrod Brown's favorables have rebounded quite a bit since PPP's last poll; he's now at 38/38.
• NRCC: More expectations management from the NRCC? After previous pronouncements that John Boehner was looking to pick up 436 100 seats, now he's sending out a fundraising e-mail that touts a 39-seat pickup as their target.
• RGA: Haley Barbour's rolling around in a trough full of money today: the Republican Governors Association hauled in $19 million in the last fundraising quarter. Also suggesting that GOP fundraising is kicking into higher gear, American Crossroads, the Karl Rove venture that earned a whopping $200 in May, had a much better June: they raised $8.5 million.
• AZ-Sen: This has to be a bit of disappointment for J.D. Hayworth, as he mounts a right-wing primary challenge to John McCain: South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, who's been active in endorsing insurgent candidates in GOP primaries and whose stamp of approval has become the gold standard for aspiring wingnuts, has declined to get involved in the Arizona primary.
• CA-Sen: Bringing to the table the business acumen and keen understanding of the law that made her such a smashing success at Hewlett-Packard, Carly Fiorina put forth a worst-case scenario solution for the cash-strapped state of California: declaring bankruptcy. One slight problem here: while municipalities may, states can't declare bankruptcy.
• IN-Sen: Former Sen. Dan Coats made his official announcement during a radio interview today, saying he's "answering the call" to challenge Evan Bayh. Coats said he's "off and running," and by running, that means his staffers are running madly around the state trying to round up at least 500 signatures in each congressional district before the Feb. 16 filing deadline; so far, he has turned in no signatures at all (and his efforts may be greatly hampered by this week's spell of inclement weather). At a more general level, Politico has a story today titled "The Nuking of Dan Coats," a retrospective of all the damage Coats has sustained last week as the Dems (gunshy about a repeat of their asleep-at-the-wheel Massachusetts election) pounced quickly and rolled out pushback-free hit after hit on Coats's lobbying past and residency.
• CA-Gov: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown is sitting on more than $12 million, which would be enough to annihilate everyone and everything in sight in most states. But in freakishly-expensive California and facing billionaire Meg Whitman, who can cut herself a $20 million check the way most of us reach into the change jar on the way to the store, he needs a little outside help. He's getting that from "Level the Playing Field 2010," a coalition of unions and wealthy donors who are launching a $20 million independent expenditure effort of their own, to keep Whitman from dominating the airwaves here in the slow season.
• MI-Gov: This is kind of surprising, considering that she'd been getting a disproportionate share of the gubernatorial buzz, some not-so-subtle encouragement from inside the Beltway, and a primary lead in recent polling. Denise Ilitch, UM regent and one-time pro sports magnate & pizza baroness, decided today against a run for the Democratic nod. She pointed to the late date, saying there was too much catching-up to do at this point, although she said she'd be interested in running for something in the future. This means the Democratic field is likely to be centrist state House speaker Andy Dillon and populist Lansing mayor Virg Bernero going mano-a-mano.
• NY-Gov: You can tell it's not shaping up to be a good week when it starts out with having to point out that, no, you're not resigning. David Paterson batted down rumors about forthcoming resignation in the face of an allegedly-emerging sex scandal (which so far has yet to emerge), but something even more ominous is looming on the horizon: federal prosecutors are starting to look into alleged misdeeds related to awarding gambling contracts at the Aqueduct racetrack in Queens. The angle may be that the recipient, Aqueduct Entertainment Group, includes ex-Rep. Floyd Flake, still a prominent black leader in Queens and one who'd been pondering endorsing Andrew Cuomo instead in a primary, and that the contract may have been intended to curry Flake's favor.
• PA-Gov: Scranton mayor Chris Doherty may be looking for an exit, although he maintains he's staying in the Democratic primary field. Rumors have abounded that he's looking to downshift to the Lt. Governor position, and the decision by two locally prominent pols (Wilkes-Barre mayor Tom Leighton and Luzerne Co. Commissioner Maryanne Petrilla) to back rival Dan Onorato instead may hasten his decision. Doherty is also getting urged to drop down to the state Senate, in order to hold the Scranton-area seat being vacated this year by Senate minority leader Robert Mellow (who just announced his retirement) after decades in the Senate. (However, SD-22 is Democratic-leaning and probably doesn't need someone of Doherty's stature to hold it.)
• RI-Gov: I'm not exactly sure where the rumors that Democratic state treasurer Frank Caprio was considering a switch to an independent or even Republican run for governor (presumably in order to avoid an irritating primary with more liberal AG Patrick Lynch, although polls have given Caprio the edge in that primary) were coming from, but Caprio tamped them down, confirming he's staying on board as a Democrat. At any rate, regardless of how things sort out, it looks like Rhode Island will have a governor next year who's in favor of gay marriage: Caprio, Lynch, and independent candidate Lincoln Chafee have all pledged to sign it into law. (Republican candidate John Robitaille won't, although even he's in favor of civil unions; polls have shown him to be an electoral non-factor though.)
• AL-05: Suddenly the floodgates are open in the 5th for Democratic challengers to former Dem Parker Griffith. Taze Shepard and Mitchell Howie both confirmed they'll run yesterday, and now a third person has stepped forward: Steve Raby, a political consultant whose biggest claim to fame is a long stint as the chief of staff to Sen. Howell Heflin. A fourth possible candidate, former Huntsville school board president David Blair, however, said that he won't get involved in the race. The filing deadline isn't until April 2.
• CA-11: The establishment seems to be coming together behind attorney David Harmer as their pick in the GOP primary in the 11th, where there's a wide assortment of Republicans, some of whom can self-fund, but none with an electoral background. Harmer, you'll recall, ran in the special election in the much-bluer 10th last year and overperformed the district's lean against then-Lt. Gov. John Garamendi. Harmer just got the endorsement of Reps. Wally Herger and Buck McKeon, as well as CA-11's 2008 loser, former Assemblyman Dean Andal.
• CT-04: Ex-Rep. Chris Shays is starting to seem like he wants to run for something this year, seeing as how Republican fortunes are improving. He'd previously been linked with a gubernatorial run, but today's rumor has him interested in a rematch against Rep. Jim Himes, who knocked him out in 2008. Shays would be a more imposing foe than the state Senators currently in the GOP field, but would still have an uphill run against the district's D+5 lean.
• MA-AG: If politicians had to have professional licenses in order to practice, Martha Coakley's would have been revoked for gross political malpractice. Instead, though, she's free to run for re-election... and that's just what she's announced that she's doing.
• OH-AG: A Republican internal poll from Newhouse gives ex-Sen. Mike DeWine a sizable edge over incumbent Democratic Richard Cordary in the Ohio AG's race, 50-32. That's actually plausible, as DeWine, who spent two terms as Senator, has much greater name recognition than Cordray, who filled in mid-term in the wake of Marc Dann's resignation.
• NY-St. Sen.: The state Senate actually sacked up and did it: they expelled Hiram Monserrate, several months after his assault conviction. The vote was 53-8. A special election has been called for March 16 (in which Monserrate plans to run anyway); the compressed timetable is largely because Monserrate's absence means the Dems are down to only a 31-30 edge in the Senate, making it impossible for the Dems to move legislation on party lines (as bills need 32 votes to pass).
• NY-St. Ass.: Bad news for suburban New York Democrats, who lost two separate Assembly seats in special elections last night (although one, in Suffolk County, is close enough that it could be salvaged through absentee ballots). The victory of Republican Robert Castelli in AD-89, centered on White Plains in affluent Westchester County, may be particularly alarming for Democrats, especially when coupled with the surprise loss of Westchester Co. Exec Andy Spano in November. It's a bellwether-ish but generally Dem-leaning part of suburbia, and if it's turning right, that could endanger state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (complicating Dem plans to expand the Senate majority) and possibly even NY-19 Rep. John Hall (who represents a further north, but more conservative, part of Westchester as part of his district). Assembly control, however, is hardly hanging in the balance: Dems now control the chamber 105-42-3.
• FL-Sen: Looks like Charlie Crist has decided that, despite mediocre polling and worse fundraising from Marco Rubio, he's facing a bigger threat in the primary than he is in the general. Crist came out in opposition to the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor yesterday, trying to shore up what remains of his conservative bona fides.
• IL-Sen/Gov: Here's an explanation for why Chris Kennedy has been dawdling on declaring for the Illinois Senate primary: he's considering whether or not to jump over to the Governor's race instead. This seems very odd... not that he'd have a good chance in either race, but it seems like he'd have a better shot in a primary in an open seat race against Alexi Giannoulias, who has some vulnerabilities, than against Pat Quinn, who's fairly popular and has the benefits of incumbency. Apparently Giannoulias's fundraising scared him off.
• MO-Sen: Here's an interesting tidbit out of Missouri, suggesting that former Treasurer Sarah Steelman is getting less and less likely to run in the GOP primary. Jeff Roe, who ran Steelman's 2008 campaign, has started working for Rep. Roy Blunt. Blunt still faces a primary challenge from state Sen. Chuck Purgason, though, but he doesn't pose the same level of threat that Steelman would.
• NH-Sen: This is a big surprise, as he's been pouring a lot of money into advertising (for his STEWARD organization, though, not as a candidate) and starting to build a staff. Anti-tax businessman Fred Tausch announced today that he won't be running in the GOP Senate primary after all (or for anything, including the House). Considering that he was lobbing bombs at AG Kelly Ayotte just a few days ago, this is a sudden change of heart. Former Board of Education member and 1996 gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne may still provide a challenge from the right, though.
• NY-Sen-B: Last night was the vaunted Bill Clinton/Carolyn Maloney fundraiser, which pulled in about $300K for Maloney's House account. Meanwhile, the Albany Project has an interesting catch in this race. It turns out that there was one question from the internal poll in May that gave Maloney a 34-32 lead over Kirsten Gillibrand that didn't get released to the public, and only came out in that City Hall News profile from a few days ago: "Asked whom they would vote for if they knew Gillibrand had the support of Schumer and Obama, people chose Gillibrand over Maloney 50-24."
• IA-Gov: A fifth candidate officially got into the GOP field in the Iowa governor's race yesterday: little-known state Rep. and pastor Rod Roberts, who represents a rural part of western Iowa. Roberts polled a whopping 1% in a poll last week by the Iowa Republican blog of the GOP primary field; the poll found Bob Vander Plaats leading the field with 46%, trailed by Chris Rants at 16%, and Paul McKinley and Christian Fong each at 3%. Incumbent Democratic Gov. Chet Culver defeats Vander Plaats 48-39 and Rants 46-36.
• NV-02: Ooops, back to square one in the 2nd. Douglas County school board president Cindy Trigg, who said she'd run against Rep. Dean Heller in 2010, has backed out, saying she needs to focus on the school board for now instead.
• NY-23: The NRCC has gone on the air in the 23rd, launching pre-emptive TV attacks on state Sen. Darrel Aubertine before he's even a declared candidate for the special election, for voting for new taxes in the state Senate. Meanwhile, word has leaked (perhaps from GOP rival Matt Doheny's camp) that moderate Republican Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava was in fact under consideration for the Democratic nomination, but that they were scared off by unpaid tax problems associated with her brother's business (for which she's listed as the COO).
• VA-11: Home inspection company owner Keith Fimian has decided on a rematch with Rep. Gerry Connolly in the now-blue 11th. Fimian, who can self-fund, lost the 2008 open seat race to Connolly, 55-43.
• NY-LG: A New York judge put the kibosh on David Paterson's appointment of Richard Ravitch as Lieutenant Governor, issuing a temporary injunction to stop it, saying the state constitution does not appear to permit appointment to fill a vacancy in that position. Still, even if the appointment never goes through, it looks like it may have succeeded for Paterson, in terms of forcing Pedro Espada's hand and breaking the state Senate deadlock.
• OH-AG: As was previously leaked, former Senator Mike DeWine announced today that he'll run for state Attorney General. He'll face off against Democratic incumbent Richard Cordray.
• Fonts: Ever wondered about the font that defined the Obama campaign in 2008? Here's a profile of that "uniquely American" sans-serif typeface, Gotham.
• NH-Sen: You may remember several weeks ago when John Sununu reassured the rabble that Kelly Ayotte was, in fact, a fire-breathing conservative. A recent hire, though, suggests she might be trying to position herself as a New England moderate -- she brought aboard Thomas Daffron for her campaign, a former Susan Collins consultant and CoS to William Cohen. Which, again, will only increase the likelihood of a Fred Tausch and/or Ovide Lamontagne challenge from the right.
• NY-Sen-B: Harry Reid weighed in on the New York Senate primary, endorsing Kirsten Gillibrand, calling her a "rising star in the Democratic caucus." Meanwhile, Joe Trippi, who's been working for the Carolyn Maloney campaign (for which he received $10K in the second quarter), got busted for one of blogging's cardinal sins when posting at HuffPo: not disclosing a paid relationship with a candidate.
• AK-Gov: Sean Parnell isn't even Governor yet (he takes over on the 26th), and would-be rivals are already sizing him up. The former state House Speaker, John Harris, announced that he'll run against Parnell in the 2010 GOP primary. Which may seem odd, since Parnell is nowhere near as polarizing as predecessor Sarah Palin... but that may be exactly what's motivating the more combative Harris, as he may think the inoffensive Parnell is something of a pushover, as seen by Parnell's inability to close the deal against corrupt Don Young in the 2008 GOP House primary.
• MN-Gov: The field keeps growing, as two more Republicans made it official in the last couple days that they're candidates for the gubernatorial nomination next year: state Senator David Hann and former state Auditor Pat Anderson.
• NY-Gov: AG Andrew Cuomo's mouth may be saying that he's not running against David Paterson in next year's gubernatorial primary, but his wallet says otherwise. Cuomo raised $5.1 million in the last six months, which more than doubles up on Paterson, who raised $2.3 million in the same period.
• CO-04: The media war over cap-and-trade continues in CO-04 as well as in VA-05; the Environmental Defense Action Fund (paid for by green energy companies) is running a thank-you ad on TV in favor of Rep. Betsy Markey's cap-and-trade vote. She's already had a thank-you TV ad from Americans United for Change run in her favor, and been the target of NRCC robocalls as well (but no TV from them, at least yet).
• FL-10: More bad PR for Rep. Bill Young, whose bad fundraising quarter suggests he might be looking to cash in his chips. Young had to kill a $4 million earmark for St. Petersburg defense contractor Conax, after Conax was raided by federal agents several days ago. Conax has been a frequent recipient of the largesse of Young, the ranking Republican on Appropriations, to the tune of $28.5 million in earmarks since 2005. (Perhaps not coincidentally, Young received $123,000 in contributions in the last two years from defense contractors for whom he's seeking earmarks this year.)
• FL-13: With Rep. Vern Buchanan facing big legal questions over sketchy campaign finance practices, Dems need to have someone credible on deck here to capitalize in case Buchanan implodes. Looks like they've found a credible challenger: pastor and former Bradenton city councilor James Golden.
• MN-06: With local heavyweight state Sen. Tarryl Clark jumping into the Democratic field, 2008 candidate Elwyn Tinklenberg (who came within 3 points of unseating Rep. Michele Bachmann) is making noises that he may go all the way to the primary regardless of what Clark does. In most states, that wouldn't be the least bit surprising, but remember that Minnesota picks its DFL nominees by nominating endorsing convention prior to the primary and it's highly unusual to see contested primaries. With former UM regent Maureen Reed clearly also a serious candidate (based on her last fundraising quarter), this looks like it'll be dramatic.
• MS-03: So maybe you were wondering what was happening a year ago when thirty-something GOP rising star Rep. Chip Pickering, who'd been considered a likely successor to Trent Lott's Senate seat, instead of going for that or even running for re-election, simply dropped out of politics altogether. Well, turns out he was given an ultimatum by his mistress of choosing between her or politics (which, in rural Mississippi, would require continuing his sham marriage to his wife) -- and, somewhat unpredictably, he chose the mistress. The kicker? Pickering was, at the time, a resident of the now-infamous C Street townhouse, making him a roommate of John Ensign and ex-roomie of Mark Sanford.
• NY-23: Just a reminder, in case you were thinking of running for Congress: today is the deadline for Democratic applicants for the nomination in the open seat race in NY-23 to make their intentions known. Still no word on whether or not state Sen. Darrel Aubertine is planning to take the plunge or not.
• OH-AG: We finally have some confirmation about what "statewide" office former Sen. Mike DeWine was planning to run for. It's been leaked that next week he'll announce a run for Attorney General (and not Governor). He'll face Democratic incumbent Richard Cordray, who took over in mid-term from Marc Dann.