• FL-Sen: Do you remember Craig Miller? I barely do. He's the wealthy former steakhouse exec who was the Republican Plan C in the FL-24 primary last year... and in an amusing bit of synchronicity, came in third, behind now-Rep. Sandy Adams and the batshit nuts Karen Diebel. Hoping to fail upward, Miller is now looking at the Senate race and plans to decide "within the next few weeks." I have no idea what he thinks he niche might be, and it's not clear to me that he has the money to overwhelm the field.
• IN-Sen, IN-Gov: Former Rep. Tim Roemer says he's stepping down as ambassador to India. Could this presage a return to Hoosier politics? I'm skeptical, as Dems already have legit candidates lining up for both marquee statewide races. (And for what it's worth, an unnamed source told The Hill last month that Roemer wasn't likely to run for Senate.)
• MA-Sen: This is just weird. Despite repeatedly saying he isn't interested in running for Senate, Deval Patrick somehow keeps finding himself talking about the subject. This time, he said that he had talked with the President about other jobs, but wouldn't say whether Obama had asked him to run against Scott Brown. Patrick again said he doesn't want to run, and added: "I would say no to the president of the United States."
• ND-Sen: When the Club for Growth takes aim at an otherwise top-tier Republican candidate, you know you have premium-grade cat fud ready to be served. Le Club's target now is freshman Rep. Rick Berg, who went from a seemingly distant possibility to not-running-but-virtual-frontrunner status almost instantly a week ago. They're accusing Berg of being insufficiently pro-dystopia, i.e., not supporting enough cuts to federal government spending. I really hope they can find a dog... er... cat for this fight.
• NV-Sen: Sometimes PPP deliberately polls for the lulz, and sometimes, the lulz find them. In this case, it's the latter: Tom Jensen's band of merry robodialers found Dean Heller beating Sharron Angle in a hypothetical GOP primary by a score of... LOL... 84-8. ("El Exigente, what more could you want?" "Their names.") Meanwhile, on the Dem side, where there does appear to be an actual primary, Rep. Shelley Berkeley leads wealthy attorney Byron Georgiou by a 65-8 margin. Good times.
• PA-Sen: Apparently, there's two things Quinnipiac won't do: a) release sample compositions and b) test incumbents against hypothetical opponents whose names don't start with "Generic." Anyhow, Sen. Bob Casey has inched up to a 46-34 lead against "the Republican candidate." He was 45-35 two months ago.
• UT-Sen: Speaking of the Club for Growth, they just put out their 2010 scorecard, and Orrin Hatch's numbers really demonstrate the Club's power. Despite a lifetime score of 74% (30th among Senators in office last year), Hatch managed to rack up a 97% rating last year, tying him with several other Republicans for third place. What a difference a sword of Damocles makes.
• VA-Sen: Hmm. Ultra-wingnut Del. Bob Marshall's 2008 campaign manager just got hired by George Allen... and the dude didn't even tell his old boss first. Marshall's been looking at a possible Senate run, and I think he's the best hope (albeit not a great hope) we have of knocking off Allen in the GOP primary, but it's not clear what impact this will have on his plans. One positive tea-leaf: In response to the news, Marshall said, "You can tell who the candidates are not by where the consultants go, but where the volunteers go."
• PA-Gov: Uhh... did Gov. Tom Corbett just say that state universities sitting atop the Marcellus Shale should plug their budget gap by allowing exploitation of the natural gas reserves beneath them? Why yes he did. If you aren't familiar with the deeply fraught issue of hydraulic fracturing (also known as "hydrofracking" or just "fracking"), this NYT piece is a good place to start. Fracking is a devastatingly poisonous method of extracting gas, and Pennsylvania is at the epicenter of the fracking debate. Indeed, the EPA is investigating a fracking spill that took place there just last week. UPDATE: Hah, sheez. Corbett literally lifted this idea from an episode of Saved by the Bell! NOT kidding! Click the link!
• WV-Gov: Former Republican SoS Betty Ireland is finally out with her first TV ad, which I think has a weird soundtrack, odd staccato pacing, and (at least in the version her campaign posted to YouTube) crappy audio quality. I think she could definitely lose.
• AZ-06: Yesterday we noted that state House Speaker Kirk Adams was resigning his post. Later that day, he formally announced he was, as expected, running in the GOP primary in the open 6th CD. Retiring Sen. Jon Kyl immediately endorsed Adams, while Rep. Trent Franks endorsed Matt Salmon, who is also running for this post
• NV-02: Roll Call's Kyle Trygstad does a nice job digging up some facts about a 1954 special election to replace Nevada Sen. Pat McCarran, who passed away in September of that year. (If you've ever flown to Vegas, that's the guy the airport is named after.) There was some legal wrangling as to whether a special election was actually required, but once the state Supreme Court ruled yes, the parties selected their nominees by committee, not primary. That could possibly serve as precedent as SoS Ross Miller decides whether state law requires that parties choose their candidates, but Nevada's current statutes were revised only a decade ago, so the McCarran case may not be applicable.
• NY-23: A few weeks ago, the NRCC mocked a batch of miniscule radio ad buys by the DCCC and said: "At what point does a campaign committee blush when launching a 'paid advertising campaign?'" Apparently, that point must lie somewhere below $4,550, which is the amount the NRCC is spending on a tiny TV buy in Rep. Bill Owens' district. (It's some lame Pelosi-related attack.)
I'd also like to give some props to Steve Peoples of Roll Call for basically ignoring the contents of the ad and focusing on exactly what the NRCC is trying to accomplish here. I don't know if he wrote the headline, but it can't be what Republicans were hoping for: "NRCC Takes Turn With Small Ad Buy Targeting Earned Media." And in referring a radio ad against Rep. Mike Ross that we noted the other day, Peoples used the kind of language you might find on SSP, saying that the NRCC "convinced a local paper to write a story about the radio buy but refused at the time to disclose the size of the investment." (It turned out to be $2,550.) If you're going to write up a story like this, this is how it should be written.
• IN-SoS: The GOP-held state legislature has backed off a bit on attempting to rewrite the law in order to get around the Charlie White mess. (If this is the first you're hearing of the whole saga, I would suggest checking out our IN-SoS tag.) The proposed new law would give the governor the power to appoint replacement officers only on a prospective basis, so it won't affect the White situation. However, the legislation will still prevent the GOP from losing their major-party status (which was keyed to the SoS race) if the worst happens.
• NJ-St. Sen.: The legal wrangling over Democrat Carl Lewis's ballot eligibility has heated up quickly. Lewis has filed suits in both state and federal court, and a federal court judge has already ordered LG/SoS/Chris Christie goon Kim Guadagno to explain her decision booting Lewis from the ballot earlier this week. Lewis is still busy campaigning, and if he's ultimately declared eligible, I think all this rigmarole might wind up helping him, given that it's free media.
• Colorado: I'm guessing that Republicans are wishing state Sen. Greg Brophy hadn't cracked out of turn and admitted that proposed GOP maps had been deliberately "skewed to the right." That certainly won't help them when the entire matter winds up in court, which Republican state Rep. Don Coram acknowledged was inevitable anyway. In a bit worthy of Stephen Colbert, Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post writes: "Brophy said Republicans got nervous when they heard Democrats were pushing so-called competitive seats, which he said favor Democrats...." Ah, indeed, the facts do have a well-known liberal bias.
Connecticut: According to the Greenwich Time, Dem state House Speaker Christopher Donovan has his eye on Rep. Chris Murphy's open 5th CD, and would very much like to have the blue stronghold of Bridgeport drawn into it. That would remove it from Rep. Jim Himes's district, but if you look at a map, it's rather hard to envision this happening without doing a lot of reshuffling. Of course, anything is possible, but given how minor CT's population deviations are, a serious reconfiguration of the map would seem to be uncalled for.
• Indiana: The Hoosier State is poised to become the fourth to finalize a redistricting map. The Republican-held state legislature has given its approval to a new plan, which now goes to GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels for his signature.
• Massachusetts: A seemingly clever bit of politics by Scott Brown, but there's a "but." Brown sent a letter to the state legislature's redistricting committee, advocating for a majority-minority congressional seat to be drawn in the Suffolk County region, and also to press for more maj-min districts in the state lege. Who knows whether the idiots in the legislature will listen to him, but Brown of course is simultaneously pushing for new district lines which will ultimately favor Republicans (by packing minorities) and, more importantly, he gets to look like he's protecting minority interests, all at no cost to himself.
Here's the "but": Brown doesn't seem to know what he's talking about. Rep. Mike Capuano, who would be most affected by Brown's proposal, fired back, saying his 8th CD already is majority-minority. It's about 54.5% "white" according to the Census, but that includes Hispanics who also identify as white, so the non-Hispanic white %age is almost certainly below 50%. (Some 19% of 8th CD residents identify as Hispanic, of any race.) Oops.
• Nevada: I'm not going to get into this one in too much detail (my brain can only hold so much redistricting-related information), but Nevada Republicans are now bitterly split over new maps that GOPers in the state Senate drew for the state Assembly. Why didn't the Assembly draw its own maps? They did, but the morons who drew them were advised not to release them because lawyers thought they didn't comply with the VRA. Meanwhile, Dems in both chambers worked together to release a joint set of plans. However, they still haven't released their congressional map. Anyhow, you can find more details under the "Related Documents" sections at both links.
• Oklahoma: Unsurprisingly, the map that the state House unanimously approved appears ready to sail through the state Senate, too. Shira Toeplitz suggested in her writeup (which is a few days old) that the new plan could be signed into law this week, but it hasn't actually been voted on by the full Senate as of this writing.
• Texas: The cat fud is ready to fly in Texas redistricting, where ruthless Republican leaders are prepared to run roughshod over their own incumbents in the aims of preserving and maximizing their advantage to the greatest extent possible. In other words, they're staying true to the spirit of Tom DeLay. In the abstract sense, it's a ruthlessness I admire, and I wish Dems would adopt it. In any case, I wouldn't be surprised if the final maps pass in spite of a lot of GOP defections - though maybe a few horse heads in a few beds will solve that problem.
• Virginia: I'm glad to see that Republicans in the state Senate are as happy to act like sheep as Democrats in the state House. The Democrats' new map passed yesterday by a 32-5 margin. Reading the linked article really makes me feel like this whole thing has been a grand kabuki, with Gov. Bob McDonnell playing everyone - even members of his own party - like puppets. McDonnell simply had to show he could extract a price from Democrats, and so he has. However, I note that the congressional map is now completely untethered from the legislative maps. If Democrats agree to an 8-3 map now, well, fuck them. Once McDonnell signs the lege plans into law, there's no going back, and there's no reason at all not to force the courts to draw a federal map.
• FL-Sen: George LeMieux is unsurprisingly trying to distance himself from the label "Charlie Crist Republican," but all I can say is... good luck with that. The Miami Herald has a lengthy look at just how close the two men were, and while Crist himself won't say a word against LeMieux, other former staffers are more than happy to detail just how tight their working relationship was.
• MA-Sen: Hey, Richie Neal: Shut the fuck up. Seriously. What is it with Democratic congressmen from Massachusetts who love to crack out of turn? First Barney Frank, and now this crap. And yeah, you'll have to click the link if you want to know what I'm worked up about.
• TX-Sen: Over at Burnt Orange Report, Karl-Thomas Musselman, a long-time friend of SSP, has a good piece about Democrats' flawed strategies in Texas statewide races over the last decade, and how Team Blue should approach things differently going forward.
• IA-Gov: In a way, this might be the roughest "do-over" poll of all. Former Dem Gov. Chet Culver lost by double digits last fall, the worst performance of any incumbent governor, yet even he now beats Terry Branstad 48-46 in a hypothetical PPP rematch.
• PA-Gov: GOP Gov. Tom Corbett's disapproval rating has soared in the past couple of months. He was at 39-11 in February, and is now at 39-37, according to Quinnipiac. I guess this means not a single new person in the state of PA grew to approve of Corbett in two months!
• AZ-06, AZ-Sen: It's getting hard to keep track of what Republican Russell Pearce's plans are. The author of Arizona's notorious immigration law supposedly was out of the running for the open Senate seat, was heavily talked up for the open 6th CD, then was talked down for it, and is now saying he's leaving both doors open. He says he wants to stay on through the end of the 2012 legislative session, though, and Arizona has a resign-to-run law, so who knows.
On the other hand, House Speaker Kirk Adams just announced that he will resign from the legislature, which can only mean he's gearing up for a run in the 6th. (We've mentioned his name a couple of times before as a possibility.) It's going to be a crowded GOP primary, as the field already includes ex-Rep. Matt Salmon (who used to hold this seat, more or less) and former state Senate majority leader Chuck Gray.
• IA-04: These are statewide numbers, but still interesting: Steve King is the least-popular member of Iowa's congressional delegation, with 27-34 favorables. Christie Vilsack, meanwhile, is at 38-23. Certainly these scores within the new fourth district would look different, but unless there is some wild base of support for King in northwest Iowa, I can't see how you wouldn't prefer to have Vilsack's numbers.
• NC-11: Asheville City Councilman Cecil Bothwell says he'll challenge Rep. Health Shuler in the Democratic primary next year. Shuler, thanks to his vote against healthcare reform, took just 61% in a primary last year against Aixa Wilson, who did not even file any FEC reports.
• ND-AL: With a Rick Berg run for Senate looking likely, people are starting to look at filling his at-large House seat. On the Republican side, state House Majority Leader Al Carlson said he's considering a race. Other possible names, according to the linked piece, are state Sen. Tony Grindberg and Tax Commissioner Cory Fong. I wonder if PSC Commish Brian Kalk might slide down from the Senate race, too.
• NV-02: Oh well, I can't always be right! Sharron Angle shot down an unsourced rumor in the LVRJ that she'd run as an independent in the special election to replace Dean Heller if she isn't chosen as the GOP nominee. (She won't be.)
• NY-13: Now it's Mike Grimm's turn to tell his side of the story about his instantly notorious nightclub incident from 1999. Meanwhile, NYC Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio is calling on the NYPD and DoJ to release their records from their investigations of the matter. Not really sure why DeBlas, of all people, is inserting himself into this one, except perhaps to try to take a GOP scalp as he eyes the 2013 mayoral race.
• OR-01: Here's another interesting bit of sub-text to the whole David Wu saga: Nike. The sneaker company has apparently never forgiven Wu for his vote against a bill that would have expanded trade with China back in 2000, and Nike's chairman endorsed Republican Rob Cornilles last year. (The company also donated to him via their PAC.) It'll probably be easier to get rid of Wu in the Democratic primary, though, so Nike may decide to get involved yet again.
Rep. Rick Berg is very seriously considering a run for Senate in North Dakota and is even likely to make the race, according to sources close to the freshman Congressman.
According to the GOP sources, the Republican had no plans to seek higher office until Sen. Kent Conrad's (D) decision to retire and subsequent encouragement from supporters in the state forced Berg to re-evaluate his options. ...
Some of Berg's former colleagues in the state Legislature are circulating and signing a letter encouraging him to run. The letter is also signed by state Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, who was a potential Senate candidate, and other statewide officials.
Berg was just elected to the House last November, but he'd instantly be the front-runner if he got into the race. This news might also help explain why Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk's fundraising was so abysmal: If powerful Republicans have been working to get Berg in the race, then it makes sense that they'd snub Kalk, even though he was the only person who'd expressed real interest in the race so far.
As Nathan notes, though the state does officially hold primaries, the GOP nomination is really decided, Minnesota-style, at a party convention, where Berg would have the inside track. (He beat former GOP state chair Kevin Cramer at last year's convention.) So it's hard to see Kalk (or anyone else) sticking it out if Berg gets in. And Dems still don't have a candidate. This is going to be a very tough race for us if Berg makes the leap, but of course it will open up his at-large House seat at the same time.
• ND-Sen: North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk will announce his formal entry into the Senate race to replace Kent Conrad tomorrow. Kalk, a Republican, raised a really lame $32K in Q1.
• NM-Sen, NM-03: Facing an already-crowded primary field and the prospect of giving up a safe House seat, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan said yesterday that he won't seek the Democratic nod to replace Jeff Bingaman in the Senate.
• OH-Sen: I think we didn't spot this mid-April poll from GOP pollster Wenzel Strategies until now... but definitely take it with something stronger than mere salt. For one thing, they've regularly done polls for WorldNetDaily (I mean, seriously?), and for another, they released a seriously weird-ass poll last cycle that purported to show Rep. Norm Dicks losing to a perennial candidate. (Dicks won by 16.)
But even if you didn't know all that, you'd have to laugh at their absurd spin: They call Sherrod Brown's favorables "dangerous" and his re-elects "disastrous"... even though his head-to-head margin is 49-36 over Ken Blackwell, 50-36 against Mary Taylor, and 48-33 paired with Josh Mandel. In a Republican poll! Anyhow, if you want to chase this one all the way down the rabbit hole, Wenzel also had a component testing the anti-union legislation called SB5, which will very likely appear on the ballot this fall (people want it repealed by a 51-38 spread).
• WI-Gov: Another recall poll from another not-especially-prominent pollster. Republican polling firm Etheridge & Associates (based out of Tennessee) found 44% in favor of recalling Walker and 51% opposed. They also put Walker head-to-head with a real candidate (which is what would happen in a recall election) and found him tied with Russ Feingold at 48 apiece.
• ND-AL: This is a very good report from Kristen Daum, who writes the "Flickertales" blog for the Fargo-Moorhead Forum. She nails freshman GOP Rep. Rick Berg on two counts: First, last year Berg ran heavily on the theme that Earl Pomeroy was mostly relying on out-of-state money while he, Berg, was raking it in from North Dakotans. Well, with the Q1 reports in, Daum observes that about 80% of Berg's campaign cash is now coming from interests outside of ND, including quite a bit from DC. Better still, Berg's staff claimed he hasn't held any fundraisers or solicited contributions... but the Sunlight Foundation's "Party Time" website scrounged up a copy of an invite to high-dollar event held on Berg's behalf by Eric Cantor and a couple of PACs. Whoops!
• NY-13: I'm not even going to summarize what's at the link, except to say it's a truly explosive story about GOP freshman Mike Grimm. Just click and read it.
• WI-01: Businessman Rob Zerban is already running against Rep. Paul Ryan, but The Fix suggests another possible Democratic name: state Sen. Chris Larson.
• Americans United: That Americans United for Change ad buy against four Republicans we mentioned yesterday apparent totals $35K. That's at least in the ballpark of real money, and I'm very glad to see groups like AUFC and House Majority PAC start doing these thousand-papercuts sort of campaigns early.
• Polling & Demographics: Ben Smith has an interesting little exchange between a couple of pollsters with experience in working with the Latino community. One, André Pineda (who has polled for Obama, among others), says he thinks that pollsters who gather Hispanic samples by relying on surnames miss a lot of Hispanics who don't have such names, typically because their families have lived in the US longer. These voters, says Pineda, lean more to the right than newer immigrants. But Matt Barreto of the Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity and Race says that Pineda's estimates are "way off base." Barreto says only 5-10% of Hispanics do not have Hispanic surnames, whereas Pineda's memo suggests that the number is far higher.
• Town Halls: Want to see if your member of Congress is having a town hall during this recess so that you can go and give them what for? MoveOn has a tool that lets you plug in your ZIP code and find town halls near you.
• Voter Suppression: Unsurprisingly, the Florida legislature is moving forward with a big election law bill that's principally designed to suppress the Democratic vote, as always in the name of preventing VOTER FRAUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111111. Changes include shortening the early voting period, adding onerous restrictions on third-party groups which register voters, and preventing voters from changing their addresses at the poll (something which Florida has allowed for forty years). Republicans are also moving forward with bills that would eliminate payroll deductions for union dues, force unions to get each member's permission before spending money on elections, and make it harder for trial lawyers to bring medical malpractice cases. In short, as one Democratic lawmaker put it, it's the entire GOP wish list.
• Florida: This is sorta interesting. One Florida lawmaker on the legislature's redistricting committee is telling his fellow legislators not to talk to him about redistricting - at all. The new "Fair Districts" law says that districts can't be drawn to favor or disfavor incumbents, so mapmakers are concerned that if their colleagues start telling them about how they'd like to see the lines crafted, that could later be used as evidence in court.
• Virginia: And so it goes: A week after saying he wouldn't change a thing about his party's map, Dem Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw now says of Gov. Bob McDonnell: "We are talking to him. We are trying to meet all of his concerns." I can't see how this is going to end well for Democrats, who now seem to face a choice between a crappy gerrymander in the Senate and a court-drawn map... and I guess would prefer the former, based on Saslaw's hints. Sigh.
Meanwhile, Republicans are apparently pretty pissed at McDonnell for vetoing their plans, supposedly with almost no warning, but there's a lot that doesn't add up here. For one, the article says that the legislature doesn't have enough votes to over-ride McDonnell's veto, but that's simply not true. If House Republicans really wanted their map badly enough, they could have prevailed on their counterparts in the Senate to vote for the package deal, ensuring it was safe from McDonnell's veto pen.
For the governor's part, he's also full of shit. His spokesman said that he would have preferred the House and Senate maps had been sent to the governor in separate bills, but jeez, this is classic "born yesterday" crap. There's no way the Senate would have given away its one piece of leverage like that. Still, it does sound like the Republican anger at McDonnell is quite real (and not just limited to redistricting), which means a serious derail is not impossible. So maybe there's still a way for Saslaw to snatch something other than defeat from the jaws of... defeat.
• Utah: The state will apparently make redistricting software available to citizens on its website, but the linked article isn't very clear where that will happen. Any ideas?
• FL-Sen: A group of Holocaust survivors - now very elderly, of course - plan to protest Sen. Bill Nelson's fundraiser with Barack Obama this week. The survivors say that Nelson promised to push legislation which would allow them to directly sue insurance companies who have withheld payments on life insurance policies sold before World War II. Nelson claims he only promised to hold a hearing on such a bill (which has been introduced in the House in the past).
• MA-Sen: I really have to believe Deval Patrick just shot his mouth off in that National Journal interview, and has probably earned himself a few glares from would-be Democratic challengers to Sen. Scott Brown the next time they see him. Now Alan Khazei, whom Patrick said was "for sure" in the race, is - like Newton Mayor Setti Warren - saying that he's merely "looking at it carefully" but hasn't made a decision yet. Meanwhile, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll tells the Boston Phoenix that she is at least several weeks away from a decision, and that a Warren entry wouldn't impact her.
And speaking of another Warren, some top Republicans have been saying kinder things about Elizabeth Warren's chances of becoming the permanent director of the Consumer Financial Protection Board. Of course, House Financial Services chair Spencer Bachus doesn't get a vote, but he thinks that "the Senate may approve" a Warren nomination (if one were to be made). If this came to pass, it would almost certainly remove Warren from any possibility of running for the senate.
• ND-Sen, ND-AL: Freshman Rep. Rick Berg hasn't ruled out a run for Kent Conrad's now-open senate seat, and Eric Cantor seems to think he might make the leap. The House's no. 2 Republican said of Berg: " "I'm trying to convince him to make sure he stays in the House right now."
• NM-Sen: From the horse's mouth - which is where I prefer to get my news: Dem state Auditor Hector Balderas confirmed reports that he is looking at Jeff Bingaman's open senate seat, saying he's been talking to the DSCC and is "strongly considering entering" the race.
• VA-Sen: Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart (god that is a mouthful) sounds like he's dialing himself out of any possible senate run. He says he's going to seek re-election to his current post this fall, and will "possibly" make a decision on whether to seek Jim Webb's open seat "early next year." He's seriously going to enter a competitive primary against Felix Allen no earlier than January of 2012? Shah.
• NC-Gov: Tom Jensen tells me something I always love to hear: an establishment Republican might have tea-related problems. In particular, PPP's latest poll has 43% of GOPers saying they'd prefer someone more conservative than former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, while 29% firmly support him. Of course, I think probably 20% of Republicans would say they want someone more conservative than Republican Jesus. But McCrory does have something of a libruhl track record (like I've said, it's hard to be a super-conservative mayor), including support for socialist, freedom-destroying light rail for his hometown. Tom points out that McCrory won his 2008 primary with less than 50% of the vote "against a weak field" - but this time around, no one's really emerged from the woodwork to challenge him. Yet.
• WI-Gov: Tom also has the rest of the goods on PPP's WI-Gov poll, which consistently shows small pro-labor margins on a variety of unions vs. Walker questions (and larger margins on questions of general collective bargaining rights). On the question of recall, it's an exact 48-48 split.
• AZ-06: We missed the news a couple of weeks ago that former GOP state senate majority leader Chuck Gray said he was entering the race to succeed Jeff Flake (who of course is running to succeed Jon Kyl). One other Republican name considering the race is the current Speaker of the state House, Kirk Adams.
• CA-36: AFSCME's California political arm, called "California PEOPLE," is endorsing Janice Hahn, making them the latest in a string of labor unions to do so. Meanwhile, Debra Bowen tweeted that she could fit into her daughter's jeans.
• IL-01: Roll Call takes a detailed look at the personal finances of Rep. Bobby Rush, who has been the defendant in nearly two dozen mostly debt-related lawsuits since the 1980s - and who has somewhat questionably left off all of these cases and debts from the financial disclosure forms he's obligated to file as a member of Congress. While this isn't the first time the media has examined Rush's finances, this strikes me as the sort of thing that could make the incumbent vulnerable to a primary challenge, especially since his district will have to take on a bunch of new territory to compensate for population loss.
• NY-10: The New York Observer offers an interesting profile of Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who hasn't ruled out a primary challenge to Rep. Ed Towns (D), and who apparently has been ramping up his political activity of late.
• OR-01: Steny Hoyer (still the no. 2 Dem in the House) says it's "premature" to talk about a David Wu resignation. But surely he wants this problem to go away, right? Also of note, The Hill observes that Wu only had $7,500 in campaign cash at the start of the year, versus $61K in debt. Can't imagine he's finding a lot of willing donors these days.
• PA-04: PA state Dem chair Jim Burn says he thinks Rep. Jason Altmire could face a primary challenge from the left next year, but admits he hasn't heard of any actual, you know, names being circulated. Anyhow, who even knows what this district will look like.
• Las Vegas Mayor: Jon Ralston has obtained a poll taken for a group of realtors showing Carolyn Goodman (I) at 30%, Larry Brown (D) at 17%, and Chris Giuchigliani (D) at 11%, with other candidates in the single digits. Note that this poll asked a TON of issue-y questions before finally getting to the horserace in Q15. Also, as Ralston pointed out on the Tweeter, this poll was taken a few weeks ago, before the TV air wars were joined.
Census: Couple of cool census-related mapping widgets. The Journal Star of Nebraska lets you drill down to see population change by county for each state where data's been released so far. The Chicago Tribune offers a Google Maps-based interface which lets you drill down to see individual census blocks across the entire state of Illinois.
• Crossroads: Announcing fundraising goals is easy, which is why I usually don't remark on them. But when Crossroads GPS/American Crossroads, the satanic spawn of Karl Rove, says it plans to raise $120 million to destroy America, I pay attention - and I worry, because they probably really, really mean it.
Votes: There've been a couple of interesting votes with Republican outliers in the House recently. One was the stopgap spending bill that cut $4 billion in spending over the next two weeks; six Republicans defected on that one, including freshman teabagger Justin Amash, Michele Bachmann, and a few other true believers. (Walter Jones was probably the exception there.) On the flipside, seven GOPers voted against denying funding for Planned Parenthood - click the link for the list.
On the same topic, Politico has an interesting-looking vote study out on the GOP freshman, seeing how often they vote together as a group. Unfortunately, as per usual with the likes of Politico and similar organizations, I can't see that they've posted the full list anywhere - they just offer a few tidbits. (Why go to all that trouble if you don't even want to share all your numbers?) Anyhow, the aforementioned Justin Amash, who I guess really wants to take teabagging to new heights, has voted against his class more often than anyone else, 30% of the time. But the next three guys on the list are all semi-moderate New Yorkers - Chris Gibson, Mike Grimm, and Richard Hanna.
• WATN?: Sometimes I just need to channel my inner Holden Caulfield and declare: what a phony. After flatly saying the one thing he wouldn't be doing after retiring from the senate was lobbying, ex-Sen. Chris Dodd just took a job as... a lobbyist, for everyone's second-favorite intellectual property goliath, the MPAA. (I'm gonna assume the RIAA is still first.) Anyhow, check out the amusing Twitter hashtag #ChrisDoddMovies for some lulz.
• Polltopia: Go tell PPP where to poll. Don't let the Paultards win!
• Redistricting: A Columbia Law School class is trying to create "an internet depository for nonpartisan congressional maps for the entire country." I thought the SSP diaries section already was one! Anyhow, click the link if you are interested in submitting your work.
• NJ-12: I have seen the last, best hope of mankind, and his name is Rush Holt. In a major blow against Skynet Watson, the rocket scientist-turned-congressman defeated the Jeopardy-playing robot by a score of $8,600 to $6,200. The losing contestant, Rep. Jim Himes, was seen being turned into fuel to power the Matrix.
• CT-Sen: The Chris Murphy/Susan Bysiewicz primary still could turn into a chaotic battle royale, based on this week's indications. Rep. Joe Courtney is "leaning toward" the run (although that's not Courtney's own words, just another insider's interpretation), and says he'll have a decision soon. Ted Kennedy Jr. also doesn't have anything official to say, but he does seem to be stepping up his appearances around the state, including one in Bridgeport next week. One Dem we can probably rule out, though, is former state Treasurer and former Hartford deputy mayor Frank Borges, who disputed reports that he was looking into the race. Here's also one other Republican who might make the race who seems to have access to big fundraising pools, although it seems like he'd be starting in a big name rec hole against, say, Linda McMahon: state Sen. L. Scott Frantz, who represents wealthy Greenwich in the state's southwestern tip.
• MI-Sen: After sounding pretty thoroughly disinterested in his few public comments about the possibility of a Michigan Senate race, ex-Rep. and 2010 gubernatorial primary loser Peter Hoekstra is now publicly expressing some interest. He says that he's "considering it" and will make a decision in a few months. There's also a poll out of the GOP primary from GOP pollster Strategic National (no word on whose behalf the poll was taken) showing Hoekstra well in the lead, which may be prompting him to get more interested: he's at 33, with Terry Lynn Land at 15 and Saul Anuzis at all of 1, with 50% still undecided.
• ND-Sen: Rep. Rick Berg has been mentioned often as a potential GOP candidate for the open seat being vacated by Kent Conrad, and chatter seems to indicate the local party seems to have him at the top of the list in terms of someone to unite behind to avoid a divisive primary. Moving from the House to the Senate after only one term is still a pretty unusual move (although it may be less momentous in an at-large state). (In fact, here's a trivia question for you all, for which I don't know the answer: who was the last person to successfully jump to the Senate after only one term in the House? I can't even think of a one-termer getting his party's nomination since 1994, when Dem Sam Coppersmith ran and lost an open seat race in Arizona to Jon Kyl.) There's one other name bubbling up to add to the list of the ten-or-more Republicans already listed as possible candidates: Fargo-area state Sen. Tony Grindberg.
• NE-Sen: You might remember that the mysterious GOP dark money group American Future Fund ran some radio ads in North Dakota last month and Kent Conrad was announcing his retirement within a few weeks after that? Not that there's likely a causal relationship there, but maybe they're feeling like lightning might strike twice, and now they're running a similar ad against Ben Nelson in Nebraska.
• TX-Sen: San Antonio mayor Julian Castro had already given some vague statements of not intending to run for the Democratic nomination for the open Senate seat, but put a finer point on that today by announcing that he's kicking off his campaign for a second term as mayor. One Republican who has expressed some interest in the race but doesn't seem likely to run is Rep. Mike McCaul from TX-10; the likelier scenario, at least according to one expert, is that McCaul plans to run for state Attorney General in 2014, which will probably be vacated by current occupant Greg Abbott moving up to the Lt. Governor slot, presuming that David Dewhurst either becomes Senator or doesn't run again in '14.
• UT-Sen: You thought that Hasselbeck vs. Cromartie Twitter fight was exciting? That's got nothing on a good social media smackdown between rival right-wing astroturfers Club for Growth and Tea Party Express. In the wake of TPX head Sal Russo's comments yesterday praising Orrin Hatch, CfG just dissed TPX, saying they seem "to like Hatch's record in support of TARP, earmarks..." Roll Call has more on the Club's plans to go aggressively after Hatch. Russo also seems like he's getting undercut by his fellow TPX leader, Amy Kremer, who says that Hatch isn't off the hook yet and will be under their microscope for the cycle.
• VA-Sen: Jamie Radtke, the only person in the race so far offering a challenge from the right to presumed GOP frontrunner George Allen, let everyone know yesterday where she'd stand, putting in an appearance at the initial unveiling of the Senate Tea Party caucus (and its four members... or five if you count Pat Toomey, who was willing to speak to them but not join). Other interesting reading regarding Virginia is this profile of Jim Webb which doesn't offer many surprises but is a good overview of his ambivalence about the Senate race is pretty much in keeping with everything else about him. And buried in another boilerplate article is a pretty sharp smack at Allen from a fellow GOPer and the last person to successfully pivot from getting bounced out of the Senate to winning a later race (in 1988), Slade Gorton. Gorton says Allen, to win, will first need to apologize to voters, saying "I don't see anything from him about how he screwed up, even though he did."
• LA-Gov: See you later, Al Ater. After some semi-encouraging statements about a possible candidacy, the Democratic former Secretary of State now says he won't run for Governor this year. That still leaves the Dems without any sort of candidate to go against Bobby Jindal, with the clock definitely starting to tick louder.
• WV-Gov: Don't get too comfortable with the idea of a primary to pick the gubernatorial candidates in West Virginia (tentatively set for June 20); the legislature still has to enact that and there are some grumblings that it might not happen because of the expense involved, which would mean party conventions instead. That could give a boost to one of the less-known Democratic candidates who have stronger relations to organized labor, like House speaker Rick Thompson or treasurer John Perdue. The article also mentions a few other Republicans whose names are emerging in the race, most notably Putnam Co. Prosecutor Mark Sorasia (who'll be participating in an upcoming candidate forum), also mentioning former state Sen. Steve Harrison and state Del. Troy Andes.
• CT-05: The dance cards in the 5th district are definitely filling up. On the Democratic side, Audrey Blondin is saying that she'll run; she's a former Selectwoman from Litchfield, a member of the state party committee, and briefly ran for SoS in 2005. Also considering the Democratic primary is J. Paul Vance, the former leader of the Waterbury board of aldermen and a narrow loser to Michael Jarjura in the 2009 Dem mayoral primary. On the Republican side, Mike Clark is in; he's Farmington town council chair but he's best known for leading the FBI team that took down corrupt Gov. John Rowland, and was on Tom Foley's LG short-list. Several other possible names on the Republican field that are mentioned include state Sen. Kevin Witkos, Torrington mayor Ryan Bingham, and one possible heavyweight in the field (and the guy who actually was Foley's running mate), Danbury mayor Mark Boughton.
• FL-25: Freshman Rep. David Rivera seems to be in a world of trouble, with an entirely new angle on his corruption arising courtesy of an AP investigation: he paid himself nearly $60K in "unexplained" campaign reimbursements during his eight years in the state legislature. Between that and the already mounting investigation by Florida authorities and the FEC into potential payoffs from a dog track, there's apparently growing discontent with him behind the scenes in Republican leadership, who may be feeling pressure to make an example out of him as part of their "drain the swamp" promises (although Ethics Committee rules prevent them from using that vehicle, since they can't take up matters that are already under criminal investigation). Rumors persist that both parties are already sounding out candidates for a potential special election. He isn't getting much public support from John Boehner, whose only on-the-record comments are that he's taking a wait-and-see attitude on how things unfold.
• WI-01: Is this just a bit of monkeying around with Paul Ryan now that he's temporarily a celebrity, or are Dems seriously thinking about making a target out of him now that he's more notorious? (He's in what's currently an R+2 district, certainly within reach in a Dem-friendly year with a good candidate, and leads veteran House Republicans in terms of ideological out-of-whackness with his district lean... though that may have changed with the newest crop of teabaggers) At any rate, mailers are being sent out to voters in his district, having a bit of sport with his Medicare-voucherization proposals.
• Chicago mayor: We Ask America is out with another poll of the Chicago mayoral race (taken during the brief period when it looked like Rahm Emanuel might have been off the ballot). It looks like, as speculated, the whole debacle may have actually increased sympathy for Emanuel (with 72% of respondents saying his name should stay on the ballot), as this is the first poll to show him over the magic 50% mark that would help him avoid a runoff. He's at 52, with Gerry Chico at 14, Carol Mosely Braun at 11, and Miguel del Valle at 4. It also provides support for the theory that Chico, not Mosely Braun, would have been the chief beneficiary if Emanuel had gotten kicked off, as Chico led a Rahm-free option at 33, with Mosely Braun at 17 and del Valle at 7 (with 38 undecided).
• Nassau Co. Exec: This may pretty much spell doom for any future political efforts by Republican Nassau Co. Exec Ed Mangano, who was elected in a narrow upset over Tom Suozzi in 2009. Mangano has, since then, closely stuck to the teabagger/underpants gnome playbook of governance (step 1: cut taxes; step 2: ???; step 3: profit!), and lo and behold, found his county government insolvent. The state government has been forced to step in and seize control of the finance in the county on Long Island, one of the nation's wealthiest.
• Redistricting: I can't see this going anywhere legislatively even if Dems still held the majority (and I'm not sure it would pass constitutional muster anyway), but Heath Shuler and Jim Cooper are introducing legislation in the House that would switch every state away from partisan redistricting to requiring use of a five-person bipartisan commission. (They're picking up the flag from fellow Blue Dog John Tanner, for whom this was a personal hobby horse for many years until he recently left the House, but they may also have some personal stake in wanting this to succeed, seeing as how they suddenly find themselves in states where the Republicans now control the trifecta.) Also, the public rumblings of worry from prominent Republicans about how the GOP isn't financially or mentally prepared for this round of redistricting (something that seems dramatically out of character for them) seem to keep coming, this time from Ed Gillespie.
• Voting: Montana seems to be taking a cue from its nearby neighbors Oregon and Washington, and moving toward a vote-by-mail system. The measure cleared the House and will soon move to the state Senate. Despite the fact that the GOP controls that chamber and this was a Democratic bill, there was enough Republican support to move it forward. (Studies have shown that vote-by-mail tends to noticeably increase participation by traditionally-Democratic constituencies that ordinarily aren't very likely voters.)
• FL-Sen: With everyone fixated on the three retirements in the Senate in the last week (although the Fix makes the good point this morning that by this point in the 2010 cycle, there had already been four retirements), Bill Nelson seems compelled to point out that he won't be one of them. In front of as many reporters as possible (at an AP gathering), he confirmed today that he's running again.
• MO-Sen, MO-06: Wow, this is out of nowhere (although I'm not sure whether this is going to have any legs beyond today), but potentially very interesting: Republican Rep. Sam Graves is suddenly expressing some interest in the Senate race, calling it a "great opportunity." He's been in the House since 2000 and is chair of the Small Business Committee, so giving that up would be a big move. He may be seeing the diminished likelihood of a Jim Talent run and sensing there's room for another establishmentarian-type candidate to go against the more tea-flavored Sarah Steelman. (This would open up MO-06 in the state's rural northwest, which was Dem-held before Graves but has shifted to the right, currently R+7; Dems tried to make it competitive in 2008 and didn't get any traction.)
• ND-Sen: Ready for a whole lot of names of people who might run for Senate? In fact, let me just blockquote the Bismarck Tribune, rather than transcribing it laboriously:
The list of Republicans whose names are being thrown out include Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, Rep. Rick Berg, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Tax Commissioner Cory Fong, Public Service Commissioners [Brian] Kalk and Kevin Cramer, Sen. John Hoeven's state director Shane Goettle, GOP state treasurer Bob Harms, and Great Plains Software developer Doug Burgum.
As for Democrats, names circulating include both [ex-state Sen. and radio host]Joel and [ex-AG] Heidi Heitkamp, former state Sen. Tracy Potter, USDA Rural Development Director Jasper Schneider, state Sen. Mac Schneider, U.S Attorney Tim Purdon, Conrad's state director Scott Stofferahn and former Byron Dorgan staffer Pam Gulleson, former agriculture commissioner Sara Vogel, former state Rep. Chris Griffin, State Sen. Tim Mathern of Fargo, Senate Minority Leader Ryan Taylor and even Earl Pomeroy.
The Bismarck Tribune article also gets a number of these people on record, although their comments are all various degrees of noncommittal. Kent Conrad tipped his hand a bit yesterday, giving nods in the Grand Forks Herald to both Heitkamps, as well as to Schneider. One other Dem who got mentioned a lot yesterday, Roger Johnson (the president of the National Farmers Union) has already said he's not interested. And in what's not a surprise, the Tea Partiers aren't happy with anyone of 'em (although some had some words of praise for Berg), but are still promising to "battle for control."
• VT-Sen: It looks like Republican state Auditor Tom Salmon's Facebook attacks on Bernie Sanders weren't just the work of a bored guy at work but, as many speculated, part of a coordinated plan to move toward a run against Sanders; he's now publicly saying that he he's interested in the race. Color me puzzled: why would Salmon (who was a Democrat until a year and a half ago) go after an entrenched institution like Sanders in 2012 when he could run for Gov. against Peter Shumlin, who's just getting situated and won by only a narrow margin in 2010?
• KY-Gov: This one gets filed straight to the Department of Foregone Conclusions, but it was made official today: Republican state Sen. president David Williams and Ag Comm. Richie Farmer filed their candidacy papers today, to go up against incumbent Dem Steve Beshear in November.
• WV-Gov: We're getting some pushback/clarification from Shelley Moore Capito's team regarding claims from gubernatorial candidate Betty Ireland that she wasn't going to run for Governor; a spokesperson says the only thing that's off the table is a run in the special election for Governor (which we know now will be held this November). She's still open to a bid for either Governor or Senate in 2012. Dave Catanese also wonders whether Capito's timeline is a little longer, i.e. a 2014 run against Jay Rockefeller (or for his open seat, if he retires, seeing as how he'll be 77 then). It's also looking like the candidates for November's special election will be picked by primary rather than by the parties; acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who was the main impediment to a 2011 election until yesterday's supreme court ruling, says he's working with SoS (and likely Dem primary opponent) Natalie Tennant to set special primaries in motion.
• NY-13: Ex-Rep. Mike McMahon seems to be laying groundwork for a rematch against Mike Grimm, who defeated him narrowly in 2010. He reached out to members of the Staten Island Democratic Association at a meeting last night.
• OR-01: Rep. David Wu has always struck people as a little odd (many of you probably remember his Klingons speech), but it seems like something has intensified lately, and it's starting to come out in the open. It's been revealed that in the last few months, he's lost a number of his key staffers amidst complaints about his public behavior, including his chief of staff (who left to join a Rep. with less seniority) and his communications director (who left without having another job lined up, which is even more highly unusual, especially in this economic climate). This chief fundraiser and chief pollster also say they don't plan to work with him any longer. This is a D+8 district with a robust Dem bench, which is good because this may be a difficult story for Wu to shake, especially given general rumblings of discontent with him that have been building over time.
• Mayors: Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter looks like he's in good shape for his 2011 re-election, according to a new poll from Municipoll. Nutter's at 47-39 against Generic D primary opponent, wins a three-way primary against Bill Green and Anthony Williams 46-21-18, and wins a three-way against Sam Katz and Williams 44-22-21. Interestingly (though consistent with the original coalition that elected him), Nutter has stronger support among whites (64% favorable) than he does among African-Americans, at 45%. (Nutter is black.) Nutter also just secured the support of the Laborers union. Even further down the weeds in Philly, Republican state Rep. (and, briefly, former speaker) Dennis O'Brien will run for a vacant city council seat in NE Philly. That's good news, because it might free up his state House seat and make any Dem attempt to retake the state House in 2012 easier, seeing as how his seat is one of the most Dem-leaning seats held by a Republican.
• Minnesota: Two stories developing in Minnesota; one, the legal battle over 2012 redistricting has already begun, with Minnesota its first flashpoint. With the GOP controlling the legislature (but not the governorship), Dems have filed a suit seeking an injunction requiring legislators to submit proposed redistricting plans directly to the court (where they'll probably wind up anyway, regardless of how this suit goes). Also, Minnesota GOP legislators are seeking to emulate their next-door neighbors in Wisconsin in making it more difficult to vote, seeking to push a voter ID bill.
• Redistricting: You may remember some Republican laments from a few days ago about the apparent failure of their MAPS program to raise the money needed to coordinate redistricting at a national level; those fears seem to be spreading, including to ex-Rep. Tom Reynolds, who's spearheading the process for the GOP this year. Part of the problem seems to be that they spent so much money winning control of state legislatures in November that nothing was reserved for coordinating the subsequent redistricting. Nathan Gonzales also previews how state legislators from both parties are currently hunkering down in Washington learning (since many weren't in office in 2000) the redistricting process from the ground up; in particular, they're learning the new technologies (like GIS programs like Maptitude), which obviously have come a long way since the last round of redistricting.
• Census: Hats off to the Census Bureau, who, just in time to go with their upcoming onslaught of 2010 data, have launched a new and improved version of American FactFinder (the main research tool on their site), a significant improvement over the rather clumsy and unintuitive existing version. I wouldn't go so far as to call the new version intuitive either, but it makes multi-variable searches and customized maps much easier.
Here's the last batch of 10 of the Hill House polls by Penn Schoen Berland. The sample periods were a mix of Oct. 16-19 and Oct. 19-21, with each sample with a 4.9% MoE. With previous rounds focusing on freshmen, open seats, and sophomores, this one deals with some of the most endangered veterans:
• CO-03: John Salazar (D-inc) 43%, Scott Tipton (R) 47%
• FL-02: Allen Boyd (D-inc) 38%, Steve Southerland 50%
• GA-08: Jim Marshall (D-inc) 37%, Austin Scott 50%
• IN-09: Baron Hill (D-inc) 46%, Todd Young (R) 44%
• IA-03: Leonard Boswell (D-inc) 49%, Brad Zaun (R) 37%
• ND-AL: Earl Pomeroy (D-inc) 45%, Rick Berg (R) 44%
• PA-11: Paul Kanjorski (D-inc) 43%, Lou Barletta (R) 48%
• SC-05: John Spratt (D-inc) 39%, Mick Mulvaney (R) 49%
• TX-17: Chet Edwards (D-inc) 40%, Bill Flores (R) 52%
So, 4 out of 10 isn't bad, considering the crowd we're looking at here (including the DOA-for-months Chet Edwards and Allen Boyd). Especially noteworthy is IA-03... who would have thought, even a few months ago, that chronically underperforming Leonard Boswell would be well on his way to re-election and possibly even not the most endangered Iowa Dem?
What's the overall damage? 31 of the total 42 Hill polls had Republicans in the lead, 4 ties, and 7 Dem leads. (Remember, 2 of those were GOP-held seats.) Mark Penn's take on what that means overall (remember, we're talking Mark Penn here, so take with salt as necessary):
"We didn't even poll in about 15 districts that are already too far gone for Democrats. So that, along with our entire series of polls, points to something in the range of a 50-seat gain for Republicans."
(I'm wondering what 15 he's talking about? Considering that they polled NH-01, TN-08, WA-03, WI-07, MI-01, AR-01, CO-04, IL-11, MD-01, NM-02, OH-15, PA-03, VA-02, and VA-05 earlier, that means I can count only AR-02, IN-08, LA-03, TN-06, NY-29, KS-03, and OH-01 in the "too far gone" category. Either he knows something about eight other races that nobody else does, or his math is a little fuzzy. Maybe he's counting FL-08 and WI-08, but even then he'd still owe us six more.)
• AK-Sen: Congrats to Scott McAdams, who just cleared the McMillion hurdle with $1 million in fundraising so far. The majority of contributions were from Alaska, with 88% contributions of $200 or less.
• KY-Sen: Matt Taibbi's new Rolling Stone article as he works the Rand Paul beat is a must-read even if it doesn't have any revelations as freaky as the "Aqua Buddha" story, although there's some vague and anonymous racism from the newsletter that his snarky secret society put out. The prize-winning quote, though, deals with the Tea Partiers don't seem terribly phased by any of this:
("Well, I used to use that cologne myself," was the response of one Tea Partier to a question I posed about "Aqua Buddha")
• MO-Sen: American Crossroads has declared victory in Missouri, and is pulling out of advertising there, where Roy Blunt has a consistent but single-digit lead. (As for the actual party committees... well, it's probably not relevant, seeing as how Crossroads and its ilk have made them basically irrelevant this year.)
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid racked up a couple endorsements from the big-in-Nevada gaming industry, including PokerPAC. He also got the endorsement of the former chair of the RNC, Frank Fahrenkopf, who warned of the threat Sharron Angle (with her ties to anti-gambling Gary Bauer) might pose to the state's gaming industry.
• PA-Sen: Ah, sweet Schadenfreude. The Club for Growth is having to plug $1 million into the Pennsylvania Senate race in order to bail out their former boss, Pat Toomey.
• WI-Sen: Yet another story with Ron Johnson with his hand in the trough he so regularly decries: he says he's not quite sure how five of his employees (and 10 dependents) at his plastics firm Pacur wound up on BadgerCare, the state's health insurance program for the poor. That would seem to contradict previous statements from the Johnson camp that all Pacur full-time employees are covered by the company's plan.
• AZ-07, AZ-08: I know John McCain has refudiated all his old mavericky ways, but did he actually have to go so far as to violate his signature piece of mavericky legislation, the McCain-Feingold Act? He recently cut spots for GOP candidates in the 7th and 8th, in which he and Jon Kyl appeared, and paid for them out of Friends of John McCain (his campaign committee). Dems have filed FEC complaints against McCain, saying that if he coordinated with the Ruth McClung and Jesse Kelly campaigns, he would've been limited to $4,800 contributions to each (they'd be legal independent expenditures if there was truly no coordination).
• CO-03, CO-04: The gang-that-couldn't-shoot-straight strikes twice, in two different neighboring Old West districts. In the 3rd, an anti-abortion group has been hitting the airwaves attacking Ken Salazar. That's fine, but Ken Salazar is the Secretary of Interior. His brother (the one with the mustache) is John Salazar, the Rep. from the 3rd. OK, understandable, since they're brothers... but how do you explain the confusion in the 4th, where not just some outside group but the Cory Gardner campaign mixed up Betsy Markey with Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey? They accused her of voting for the Obama budget, which she didn't; that was the other Markey.
• FL-25: I don't know how far this will get, but give local Dems in south Florida credit for audaciousness. A Joe Garcia backer filed a lawsuit trying to get David Rivera removed from the ballot. The suit alleges that Rivera should be removed because of state election finance disclosure irregularities, concerning Rivera's mysterious claims of being a contractor to USAID despite USAID saying he wasn't. While they cite a comparable case where a state senate candidate was recently stricken from the ballot from similar problems, I'm wondering if it may be too late to do anything about that even if it succeeds on the merits (although if it only serves to move the USAID deception into the spotlight, that's good too).
• MO-04: More triage news... on the Republican side? Despite news of a Vicky Hartzler internal poll yesterday that showed a tied race, the NRCC is packing up, at least from the Kansas City market. I wonder if that has more to do with feeling neighboring KS-03 is locked down, as there are other smaller media markets in the 4th where they might still spend, but I think this has to count as at least a partial pullout.
• SD-AL: This is an interesting counterpoint to the anti-Pelosi (or at least Pelosi-skeptical) tide that seems to be rising among threatened Blue Dogs, including Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (who's in the skeptic camp): GOP challenger Kristi Noem is saying that if she wins her race, she's not sold yet on John Boehner as Republican leader, but would like to see who else might run. Recall that Noem previously politely told Sarah Palin to stay far away from her race, so this isn't the first time she's pantomimed independence.
• Early voting: There's been some buzz today about a CBS News story that says that Dems are doing better than expected in early voting, although it's kind of shy on actual numbers. It mentions that Dems have outpaced GOPers in early voting in Iowa, Maryland, North Carolina, and Clark Co., Nevada, while there's a Republican edge in Florida and Colorado. Jon Ralston, of course, has more data on Nevada, while Politico has some Iowa tidbits, involving early ballot requests in IA-03 (where 50% of requests are from Dems, but where Dems are 36% of the electorate) and IA-02 (51% of the requests, 38% of the electorate).
• SSP TV:
• CO-Sen: Women's Voices Women Vote Action Fund is out with a "high six-figure" buy in Colorado, with the first TV ad to take on Ken Buck's failure to prosecute that 2005 rape case (the "buyer's remorse" incident)
• KY-Sen: The DSCC hits Rand Paul on his support for the 23% sales (aka "fair") tax
• NV-Sen: Sharron Angle wonders how Harry Reid made all that money in her new ad (helpful fact from Jon Ralston: he was a millionaire even before he was in the House)
• WV-Sen: Outsourcing seems to be the hot button issue coming out of focus groups that works for the Dems these days, as the DSCC keeps hitting John Raese on it with their new spot
• AZ-03: Jon Hulburd has another TV ad against Ben Quayle, poking at his values and overall maturity
• HI-01: Colleen Hanabusa's new ad has a special guest star in the form of Barack Obama
• IN-09: The SEIU goes after Todd Young on Social Security privatization
• NH-01: Carol Shea-Porter, in her own ad, also works the SSP angle against Frank Guinta
• VA-05: Is the DCCC trying to drive up indie teabagger Jeffrey Clark's numbers? They're out with a spot hitting Robert Hurt for all the tax-raising he did in the state legislature
• IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) 37%, Bill Brady (R) 45%, Rich Whit(n)ey (G) 2%, Scott Lee Cohen (I) 6%
• MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan (D) 43%, Roy Blunt (R) 52%
• ND-AL: Earl Pomeroy (D-inc) 42%, Rick Berg (R) 52%
• NY-Sen-B: Kirsten Gillibrand (D-inc) 54%, Joe DioGuardi (R) 33%
• SC-Gov: Vincent Sheheen (D) 38%, Nikki Haley (R) 47%
• CO-Sen: Ken Buck is running back to the middle, or at least the far right field instead of completely out of the ballpark, as he faces a close race in the general. He's backing down on his previous support of Colorado's "personhood" amendment (granting legal rights to embryos) that's on Colorado's ballot again, saying he's against it despite loudly touting it during his primary bid.
• NV-Sen: Observers are wondering if this is Sharron Angle's true chickens-for-checkups moment (in a campaign that's already littered with quotes that contend for that honor). A video from a 2009 tea party rally by a Dem tracker shows Angle taking issue with a recently passed Nevada state law requires insurance carriers to cover "autism." (And yes, she makes exaggerated air quotes while saying "autism.") I suppose she thinks it's nothing a good massage, sauna, and some aromatherapy can't fix.
• CO-Gov: While John Hickenlooper seems to skate toward the Governor's Mansion, Dan Maes and Tom Tancredo are descending even more comically into fighting to see who can garner a smaller share of the minority. Maes just called Tancredo "an illegal immigrant" (given Tanc's fixations, probably the single worst thing he could be called) in the gubernatorial race, seeing as how he "cheated his way in the back door."
• ID-01: Another day, another endorsement for Walt Minnick from another conservative organization looking to back one token Dem as a badge of bipartisanship. Today, he became the only Dem with the seal of approval from the Citizens Against Government Waste PAC.
• KY-06: Republican challenger Andy Barr, having been on the very wrong end of a couple Democratic polls in the last few weeks (giving Ben Chandler 20 and 14 point leads), comes out with his own internal to demonstrate that he's not that dead yet. His own poll, from the Tarrance Group, gives Chandler only a 49-42 lead, in the wake of Chandler attack ads tying Barr to his previous boss, disgraced ex-Gov. Ernie Fletcher.
• PA-08: Franklin & Marshall (9/14-19, likely voters, no trendlines):
Patrick Murphy (D-inc): 35
Mike Fitzpatrick (R): 49
It's unexpected to see Patrick Murphy, in the friendlier confines of the 8th, in worse shape than Kathy Dahlkemper in the 3rd (trailing narrowly in a different F&M poll with the same timeframe). He's down 46-36 among RVs.
• PA-11: The Realtors® ride to Paul Kanjorski's rescue yet again! I'm not sure why they have such love for Kanjo in particular among Dems, but today they're slapping down $243K on his behalf. Recall that they spent over $1.3 million saving his hide in 2008.
• TX-17: Wow, that's a big lead. Republican pollster OnMessage, on behalf of Bill Flores, gives their client a 55-36 lead over Dem incumbent Chet Edwards, over 9/19-20. I wonder if this'll motivate Edwards, who notoriously holds his cards close to his vest, to roll out a response (if he has one). The article also notes that AFF is going on the air in the district with a new ad tying Edwards to (gee, guess who) Nancy Pelosi.
• DSCC: Reid Wilson has three new big buys from the DSCC in key states: $335K in Colorado, $235K in Illinois, and $470K in Pennsylvania.
• Redistricting: Here's an interesting piece from Josh Goodman, for those of you among us who like looking at long lists of population figures. (I know I do.) It suggests that the redistricting axe is going to have to fall hardest on rural areas, which is a positive note for Dems; Census data (based on the 2009 ACS... you're going to have to wait a few more months for 2010 data!) shows that the almost all of nation's largest cities have grown (some remarkably so) or at least held steady.
• SSP TV:
• CA-Sen: Carly Fiorina calls Barbara Boxer "arrogant," citing her notorious examination of Brig. Gen. Michael Walsh
• NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo has a target-rich environment for negative ads with Carl Paladino; one hit from his new ad includes Paladino's job creation record (or lack thereof)
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland belatedly tries out "You want angry? I'll give you angry!"
• OR-Gov: The SEIU hits Chris Dudley on his proposed income tax cuts for the wealthy
• PA-06: Manan Trivedi does the jujitsu move on Jim Gerlach's hits on his residency, pointing he was busy, y'know, serving the military overseas during the years in question
• AJS: Americans for Job Securities targets four Dem-held seats with cookie-cutter neg ads: IN-08, OH-18, PA-04, and PA-07.
• AL-Gov: Ron Sparks (D) 35%, Robert Bentley (R) 55%
• GA-Gov: Roy Barnes (D) 39%, Nathan Deal (R) 45%, John Monds (L) 5%
• MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan (D) 44%, Roy Blunt (R) 52%
• ND-AL: Earl Pomeroy (D-inc) 45%, Rick Berg (R) 48%