• CT-Sen, CT-Gov: OK, we can probably scratch Republican ex-Ambassador and rich guy Tom Foley from the list of likely Republican candidates for Joe Lieberman's Senate seat, if only by virtue of the fact that he's rhetorically moving himself up to the front of the line for the 2014 gubernatorial race (which would be a rematch against Dan Malloy). He says he'll keep intact his political operation from last time, where he lost narrowly. Meanwhile, I can't see this ever becoming reality, but a little wish-listing can't hurt: Connecticut liberals are already starting a draft movement to get the newly-available Keith Olbermann to think about running for the Senate seat.
• MI-Sen: The idea of Saul Anuzis (the state's former GOP party chair, and recent RNC election loser) stepping out from behind the curtain and running for Senate still seems a little odd, but it sounds like he's moving that way, dropping more public statements of interest and apparently polling the field now too. Meanwhile, this isn't really Senate related unless Debbie Stabenow mysteriously decided to retire and a Dem replacement was needed (and even then it probably isn't a good idea, considering how unpopular she became), but ex-Gov. Jennifer Granholm says she's permanently done with politics and moving on to academia with a new position at UC-Berkeley's school of public policy.
• MO-Sen: Ed Martin (whose main claim to fame is that he lost in MO-03 last year) has been doing everything he can to stay in the public eye, and it seems there's a method to his madness: he seems to be moving more decisively toward a Senate run. That seems a likely route toward getting flattened by someone known statewide like Jim Talent or Sarah Steelman, but he probably figures he has a couple advantages: one, if Talent doesn't run, Martin would be the only GOP primary candidate from the state's largest media market (St. Louis), and two, Martin is tight with the state's tea party grassroots, and while the Beltway astroturf types like the Club for Growth are big on Steelman, the actual teabagger boots on the ground have a lot of antipathy toward Steelman and are looking elsewhere.
• NJ-Sen: There are lots of politicians who are able to get away with having one penis reference in their names, but it seems like too much to overcome for someone with two penis references in his name. At any rate, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson is considering the race, although insiders concede he isn't likely to go for it. Johnson has been a major Republican donor for years, and, as of yesterday, has some more time on his hands to consider the race.
• NV-Sen: More signs that John Ensign is moving full speed ahead on running for re-election: he's convened a meeting of his re-election steering committee for Feb. 1. The invitation for the meeting (to be held at the NRSC) comes from his main fundraisers (indicating that, yes, he still has fundraisers working for him).
• VA-Sen: I suppose George Allen making it official that he's running for Senate is big news, but we've known this for a week; it's gotten so meta that there have been leaks about upcoming leaks about his candidacy. At any rate, he actually sent out his official e-mail announcement to supporters today and unveiled a new fully operational website for his Senate campaign. Jim Webb's folks simply say that Webb's decision about whether or not to run for another term will happen sometime "this quarter."
• KY-Gov: When Jefferson Co. Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw started making noises about running for the GOP nomination in Kentucky, I assumed she was trying to leverage her way into getting the field cleared for her for a lower statewide office, but it looks like she's actually following through on her long shot gubernatorial bid, which pits her in the primary against establishment fave David Williams and tea party-backed businessman Phil Moffett. Filing deadlines in Kentucky are tomorrow, so the field looks pretty set. (Dem incumbent Steve Beshear has only some token opposition in the Dem primary, and I'm not making this up: scrap metal dealer Otis Hensley.)
• MS-Gov: Even if SoS Delbert Hosemann doesn't follow through on rumored plans to run for Governor, we'll still have at least one candidate with a name that seems to have emerged straight from a Faulkner novel: Pearl River County Supervisor Hudson Holliday. He officially joined the field in the GOP primary, where he seems like he'll be the third wheel against Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant and businessman Dave Dennis.
• NH-Gov: We already have a poll out of the Republican primary field in the 2012 gubernatorial race, from a never-heard-of-'em-before firm called Strategic National. It looks like Ovide Lamontagne, if he's interested, may get a second whack at the governorship (remember he was the 1996 candidate, before falling off the map for a long time before re-emerging to almost win the 2010 GOP Senate primary); he leads the field at 37, with losing '10 candidate John Stephen at 14, state Sen. and ex-Rep. Jeb Bradley at 13, and Manchester mayor Ted Gatsas at 4.
• CT-05: Here are a few more Republican names that have bubbled up, that might get into the field in the now-open seat in the 5th, beyond the obvious re-run from state Sen. Jim Sam Caligiuri. Both the losers in the 2010 primary are also likely to run again, ex-Rob Simmons aide Justin Bernier and rich guy Mark Greenberg. State Sen. Andrew Roraback is also saying he's interested, while another state Sen., Rob Kane, is sounding pretty lukewarm about it.
• MI-09: Ex-state Rep. Rocky Raczkowski says he's planning on a rematch against Rep. Gary Peters, after losing narrowly in 2010. However, Raczkowski openly realizes he has some potential problems there (that go beyond his own weaknesses as a candidate): Peters may not have a district left to run in, either. With Michigan losing a seat, Republicans controlling the process, the bulk of the state's depopulation happening in the Detroit area, and the probable need to keep having two Detroit-area VRA seats, Peters is the likeliest target. (On the other hand, Peters could find himself drawn into a seat stretching across Detroit's northern suburbs with Sandy Levin, which might prompt the elderly Levin to retire, and that seat probably would be much more Dem-friendly than Peters' old seat.)
• NY-25: This strikes us as a disappointing move, given that he defended his progressive voting record pretty strongly during his campaign (although, unfortunately, most strongly in his concession statement): ex-Rep. Dan Maffei has taken a position with post-partisan centrist group Third Way. (Although, if nothing else, it points to the paucity of truly left-leaning think tanks and non-profits where Dems can park themselves and stay engaged within the Beltway for several years; there's no shortage of Heritages and Catos on the right, but this may have been the best option Maffei could find.) No indication on whether Maffei intends to make a 2012 rematch (although he'll probably want to wait to see whether the 25th winds up being the upstate district that gets chopped).
• UT-02: This may give a clue to the GOP's plans for redistricting (where their choices are to create four GOP seats in what may risk being a dummymander, or to decide to tolerate Jim Matheson's continued existence and create a Dem vote sink for him to strengthen their other districts). Incoming state GOP chair Thomas Wright has two goals for the cycle: raise $1 million, and beat "that rascal Jim Matheson." (At least he didn't call him a scalawag or a mugwump. Them's fightin' words.)
• CT-St. Leg.: There's a total of nine special elections pending in the upcoming months in both houses of Connecticut's legislature, all of which are seats that were previously held by Democrats (with eight of them heading off to join the Malloy administration and one of them heading to jail). To my eye (looking at the very helpful map provided by the Hartford Courant), these all look like they're in Dem-friendly areas (with the possible exceptions of HD-36 and HD-101?), but Republicans are hopeful they can make some gains somewhere.
• PA-St. Sen.: The fields have been picked (by the party committees in Berks County) for the upcoming special election to replace Michael O'Pake in the light-blue SD-11. Dems, as expected, picked former Berks County Commissioner Judy Schwank, while the GOP picked Berks County Register of Wills Larry Medaglia. (Interestingly, PA-06 loser Manan Trivedi was one of the other names considered for the Dems.) The Mar. 25 election theoretically will be a big test of whether the state GOP has any more continued momentum in SE Pennsylvania suburbs after their gains in November, although there are rumors of polling showing the locally-well-known Schwank leading in the 20-point realm against all potential opponents.
• State parties: One of the big stories over the weekend was that assorted tea partiers won three of the four state GOP chair races that were being contested. Maybe the most attention-getting one, because of '12 presidential implications, was the victory of Jack Kimball (who lost the '10 gubernatorial primary to John Stephen) over the Sununu dynasty's handpicked choice, Juliana Bergeron, in New Hampshire. However, the win of talk radio host Kirby Wilbur over incumbent Luke Esser in Washington also has substantial implications, inasmuch as former state Sen. Esser was a key ally of Rob McKenna (they both hail from suburban Bellevue and are among the last remnants of the state's moderate establishment tradition), and this may presage increased willpower on the right to mount a strong primary challenge to McKenna in the '12 gubernatorial race, despite the near-certainty that McKenna is the only Republican capable of winning the general election. Arizona also elected Tom Morrissey (against the wishes of both John McCain and Jon Kyl!). Oregon was the only state to buck the trend, electing Allen Alley (a moderate who lost the '10 gubernatorial primary, although he actually got most of the tea party support in that primary against the also-moderate-but-vapid Chris Dudley, geriatric John Lim, and laughable Bill Sizemore, and still seemed to have some goodwill reserves among that set).
• Voter suppression: With Wisconsin and Minnesota's Republican-held legislatures moving to maintain their power (by making it more difficult for Democrats to vote for Democrats, by imposing strict voter ID laws), the floodgates seem to be opening, indicating that the GOP's main priority isn't jobs but fighting the nonexistent rising tide of alleged voter fraud. Similar legislation is now emerging in legislatures in Texas, Kansas, and Iowa. It's also becoming clearer that a voter ID law is just one step in the process in Wisconsin where the ultimate goal is elimination of Wisconsin's fairly unique (and Dem-friendly) quirk of allowing same-day registration.
• AK-Sen: All signs are now pointing toward a Lisa Murkowski write-in bid, although nothing is official yet. But she's inviting supporters to a "campaign kickoff" tonight, which are certainly not the words of someone ready to go gently into that good night. She seems undeterred by the fact that the Tea Party Express already fired a shot across her bow yesterday, warning her to be a "good team member" and saying they'll resume spending money against her if she does. Meanwhile, hilarious and slightly damning news on the Joe Miller front, as it turns out that he, like so many other teabagger candidates this year, was a recipient of $14K in farm subsidies over the decade for a thousand acres of land he owned near Fairbanks. Y'know, subsidies from the federal government that he hates so much, in order to pay for the otherwise-unprofitable way of life that he chose. (Can you even grow anything near Fairbanks? That may be the most surprising part of the story to me.)
• DE-Sen: Christine O'Donnell and Chris Coons faced off in their first appearance together, and O'Donnell seemed to be doing a lot of rhetorical distancing from the O'Donnell that had existed up until Tuesday. Meanwhile, O'Donnell is now facing the wrath of multiple ex-aides, all willing to dish to Politico on the trainwrecks that were previous O'Donnell campaigns.
• IL-Sen: Illinois-based Republican-linked robo-pollster We Ask America is out with their second poll of the IL-Sen race, giving Mark Kirk a 39-36 link over Alexi Giannoulias. That's better than their previous offering, which gave Kirk a 6-point edge.
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold's "Cheddarbomb" sounds like it was very successful, bringing in at least $435K in one day's worth of contributions.
• AR-Gov: With yesterday's PPP NH-Gov poll, I think it's now safe to say that Mike Beebe is officially the nation's safest Democratic incumbent governor this year. The gubernatorial half of yesterday's Mason-Dixon poll on behalf of Arkansas News Service is out, and Beebe leads Republican challenger Jim Keet by 21 points, 54-33. (One other very important detail: currently, Beebe has $2.5 million CoH, while Keet has $9,000.) Given the state's turn to the red this cycle, Dems should be glad that they aren't defending an open seat here, though, as in the open Lt. Governor race, Dem state Sen. Shane Broadway is barely leading Some Dude (Mark Darr) 36-34.
• CA-Gov: Well, my cynicism has been eased a bit, I guess: Bill Clinton will be giving Jerry Brown the full endorsee treatment and not just throwing him a bone, including stumping on his behalf (and Gavin Newsom's behalf too) in mid-October.
• HI-Gov: It feels like the primary season wrapped up on Tuesday, but there's one last race that needs to be previewed: the Democratic gubernatorial primary in Hawaii, which will be settled in their regularly scheduled election tomorrow. The race pits ex-Rep. Neil Abercrombie against former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann in what's literally a clash of titans (the 72-year-old Abercrombie can bench-press 272 lbs., while former basketball player Hannemann is 6'7"). Hannemann seems to running a bit to Abercrombie's right, at least on social issues, and Abercrombie seems to have the late momentum based on polling and fundraising. The linked WaPo article points to some intriguing behind the scenes drama (with Dan Inouye behind Hannemann and Ed Case behind Abercrombie) and the racial resentments stirred by the race (Abercrombie is white, Hannemann is Samoan).
• NM-Gov: The DGA is keeping the pressure on in New Mexico, hitting Susana Martinez again on staff bonuses and sweetheart deals. Bill Clinton, who's increasingly turning out to be the #1 Dem surrogate on the stump this cycle, is also now scheduled to stump on Diane Denish's behalf on Oct. 14 in the heavily-Latino northern town of Espanola.
• NY-Gov: This may be the dumbest idea in the history of political advertising: send intentionally bad-smelling mailers to people's houses. Carl Paladino is trying to make the point that "something smells" in Albany, but there has to be a smarter way to do it than invading people's houses to intentionally physically sicken them.
• CO-04: Hot on the heels of the NRA backing John Salazar next door in the 3rd, now they're also endorsing Democratic freshman Betsy Markey in the similarly rural, reddish 4th.
• MI-09: There's a poll out in the 9th from a previously unknown (to us) pollster (The Rossman Group/Team Telcom) giving Rocky Raczkowski a small lead over Dem freshman Gary Peters, 45-41. Thanks to Paleo in the comments, we know that the Rossman Group is a PR firm associated with state-level GOP operative Audrey Perricone, so salt this one as you see fit.
• NY-23: All that hoping paid off, and now the cat is now officially in the dryer! A replay of the special election is on, as Doug Hoffman, who narrowly lost the GOP primary to Matt Doheny, is saying that he is going to stick with the Conservative Line no matter what. (More accurately, Conservative party chair Michael Long, who's basically been Hoffman's puppetmaster for the last year, is the one saying that.)
• TN-04: Sure, we've all been accused of harassment, intimidation, and physical abuse, but... oh, wait. We haven't? Well, Republican candidate Scott DesJarlais was accused by his ex-wife of all of that, in divorce filings from a decade ago. It's unclear how much this'll affect the direction of the race, though; buried deep in the Roll Call article is word of a late August internal poll on Lincoln Davis's behalf (released in response to a DesJarlais internal showing him within 4 of Davis), giving Davis a 51-40 lead. (No word on who Davis's pollster is.)
• Mayors: Primary-defeated Dem incumbent Adrian Fenty somehow won the Republican mayoral primary. There wasn't a candidate, and Fenty got more write-in votes than anyone else. It didn't sound like Fenty was interested in turning coats and running again under the GOP aegis, and now the DC BoE is arguing that he couldn't anyway, as he would have had to be a member of the Republican Party as of the election date.
• IE Tracker:
• MO-Sen: $124K from Commonsense Ten against Roy Blunt
• WV-01: $439K from American Future Fund against Mike Oliverio
• NC-02, VA-09: $341K from Americans for Job Security against Bob Etheridge, $431K against Rick Boucher
• AL-02: $414K from AFF against Bobby Bright
• SC-05: $191K from AFF against John Spratt
• NJ-03: $170K from AFF against John Adler
• MI-01: $304K from AFF against Gary McDowell
• GA-08: $346K from AFF against Jim Marshall
• MI-07: $501K from AFF against Mark Schauer
• SSP TV:
• PA-Sen: The DSCC rides to Joe Sestak's rescue with an ad tying Pat Toomey to George Bush's deficit-swelling tax policies, while the Club for Growth tries to walk a delicate balance, thanking Sestak for his military service before laying into his voting record
• AZ-Gov: Terry Goddard's out with not one but three different ads using footage of Jan Brewer's tongue-tied performance at last month's debate, one of which focuses on her unproven allegations about headless bodies in the desert (and ending with the tagline "Is this the best Arizona can do?")
• KS-Gov: The Kansas Moderate Majority PAC runs an anti-Sam Brownback ad hitting him on the flat tax, while Brownback is out with two ads of his own
• MI-Gov: Virg Bernero's on the air, hitting Rick Sndyer for outsourcing jobs while he was head of Gateway
• ID-01: Walt Minnick actually hits Raul Labrador for being too soft on illegal immigrants, saying it's "good business" for Labrador's immigration law practice
• MI-01: 2 ads from Gary McDowell, one about cleaning up the Great Lakes and one hitting Dan Benishek on Social Security privatization
• TX-17: Chet Edwards is doing the distancing-from-DC-Democrats game in his newest ad
• WA-08: Suzan DelBene's first TV ad starts negative against Dave Reichert, hitting him on his financial reform vote and on earmarks, of all things
• IN-Sen: Brad Ellsworth (D) 34%, Dan Coats (R) 50%
• MA-Gov: Deval Patrick (D-inc) 45%, Charlie Baker (R) 42%, Tim Cahill (I) 5%
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold (D-inc) 44%, Ron Johnson (R) 51%
(Note: That may be my name in the by-line, but this post was written entirely by SSP Blogfather DavidNYC.)
AK-Sen: David Drucker reports that Lisa Murkowski has $1.8 million on-hand in her pre-primary FEC report, meaning she's spent at least $600K (and probably more) since the end of June in her race against upstart Joe Miller (whose fundraising has been meager at best). And that's a lot of money for Alaska.
AZ-Sen: John McCain's final (or near-final) TV ad links J.D. Hayworth directly to Jack Abramoff, something his campaign has done for a while, but the first time McCain's actually gone on the air with the attack. NWOTSOTB.
CO-Sen: Politico takes a good look at the backstory to that New York Times piece about Michael Bennet's involvement in potentially questionable exotic financing deals the Denver public school system bought into during his tenure as its boss. The story was explicitly fed to NYT reporter Gretchen Morgenstern by Jeannie Kaplan, a prominent backer and fundraiser for Andrew Romanoff - a conflict the Times failed to mention in its initial writeup.
NV-Sen: We'll stop telling you about all the crazy shit Sharron Angle says just as soon as we get tired of doing so - which will be never:
"I think we get confused a little bit. Our healthcare system is the best in the world. There's nothing wrong with our healthcare system. Our doctors are the best," says Angle.
A couple other Angle items: (1) She's pledged not to accept PAC money from companies which provide health benefits to gay partners, but of course she's taking their cash anyway. (2) After declaring that Obama wants to "make government our God," she's gone and accused Harry Reid of injecting religion into the race, saying Angle was merely "discussing her religion." Uh huh.
PA-Sen, PA-07, PA-08: Buncha similar stories coming out of the Keystone State today. In the senate race, Dem Joe Sestak is trying to oust Green Party candidate Mel Packer from the ballot. In the 7th CD, GOPer Pat Meehan is attempting to boot teabagger Jim Schneller from the ticket. And in the 8th CD, PoliticsPA says that indy Tom Lingenfelter's candidacy is also being challenged, presumably by the Mike Fitzpatrick campaign, seeing as Lingenfelter was helped on to the ballot by Patrick Murphy supporters.
TN-Gov: The list of candidates in America who would be well-served by burnishing a John Kerry-esque profile is very, very short - and the Republican nominee for governor in Tennessee ain't on it. So you can understand why GOPer Bill Haslam has been taking some heat for the time he's spent vacationing in Nantucket over the years. Just call him the first wine-track Republican!
CO-04, NM-02: Defenders of Wildlife is pledging to help thwart Cory Gardner and Steve Pearce in their races against Reps. Betsy Markey and Harry Teague. Though the group hasn't said how much they'll spend this year, they threw in over a million bucks to help Markey defeat ex-Rep. Marilyn Musgrave last cycle. They didn't get involved in NM-02 last time, but they did spend six figures on behalf of Martin Heinrich in NM-01.
KS-04: Ah, nothing tastier than day-old cat fud - the smell just lingers in the air, doesn't it? The second-, third-, and fourth-place finishers in the Republican primary are all holding off on endorsing winner Mike Pompeo. Jean Schodorf, Wink Hartman, and Jim Anderson are all saying that they "haven't had any contact with Pompeo since before election day." Schodorf even left a congratulatory message for Pompeo, who didn't bother calling back. He sounds like an utter dickbag, which means he'll fit in perfectly in the GOP caucus if he wins in November.
MI-01: With 16 of 31 counties having completed their re-canvass, surgeon Dan Benishek claims he leads state Sen. Jason Allen by 18 votes in this ultra-tight race. Once this process is over, then the candidates can ask for a recount, while Dem state Rep. Gary McDowell does a happy dance.
MI-09: At a recent fundraiser for Rocky Raczkowski, Phyllis Schlafly offered these bon mots:
Do you know what the second-biggest demographic group that voted for Obama - obviously the blacks were the biggest demographic group. But do you all know what was the second-biggest? Unmarried women, 70% of unmarried women, voted for Obama, and this is because when you kick your husband out, you've got to have big brother government to be your provider.
Rocky tried to distance himself from Schlafly's comments, describing himself as "gender blind." Which I guess makes him bisexual.
NY-23: DUIs seem to come up with depressing frequency on the campaign trail, but BUIs? No, that's not a typo - that's Boating Under the Influence. Yep, GOPer Matt Doheny was charged with the offense not once but twice back in 2004, and on the first occasion, he was combative enough to get handcuffed by the police.
OH-18: The NRCC is shopping around a poll, taken by On Message, Inc., which purportedly shows Rep. Zack Space tied with GOPer Bob Gibbs at 43 apiece. The Space campaign had an interesting response. A spokesman said: "It doesn't square with what we know. And we're not going to be head faked into releasing anything on our side." Keep this quote in mind when you wonder why more Democrats haven't released internal polls. I'm not saying this year isn't going to be awful for us (I'm sure it will be), but there are strategic reasons to play your cards close to the vest. For instance, while an ugly, un-countered internal can be deadly for a challenger's fundraising, someone like Space doesn't have to be worried that donors will no longer take him seriously because of this poll.
TN-08: Dem Roy Herron released his first TV ad of the general election campaign, even before they finished counting the votes in the GOP primary. In the spot, he calls himself a "truck-driving, shotgun-shooting, Bible-reading, crime-fighting, family-loving country boy." NWOTSOTB.
• AK-Sen: Wow, now we've got Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin working in harmony in at least one place: Huckabee just endorsed Joe Miller, the little-known right-wing challenger to Lisa Murkowski in the GOP Senate primary.
• AZ-Sen: J.D. Hayworth is out with a new ad in a last-ditch effort to make up some ground on John McCain, and he's relying on time-honored tradition of pulling a few of his opponents' words out of context. In this case, he swipes the passage "I chose lying" from McCain's 2002 audiobook, although in the book it was talking about the South Carolina confederate flag controversy, and Hayworth just slaps it down in an ad about immigration. The ad buy is for $365K.
• CA-Sen: This isn't a surprise in terms of which of the candidates they endorsed, but it might be interesting that the Chamber of Commerce decided there was enough of a shot in this race for them to weigh in. They're backing Carly Fiorina in the California Senate race, based on, y'know, her long track record of success at Hewlett-Packard.
• FL-Sen: A Mason-Dixon poll released late last week gives some hope to Kendrick Meek, who other polls had shown had fallen behind billionaire weirdo Jeff Greene in the Democratic primary. Their poll (conducted for "Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association") gives Meek a 33-29 lead. Greene's main problem seems to be that the press keeps on doing stories about, well, all those things that Greene has been doing for the last couple decades; yesterday the St. Petersburg Times looked at Greene's involvement in a California condo deal that belies his claims that he was a high-level investor and not involved in any of the myriad ground-level predatory lending transactions that, when all added together, helped create the real estate asset bubble. Greene's defense? "I don't follow what happens after the sale.... All I care about is that I get my money." Finally, whether Greene or Meek wins the primary, one more problem they'll have to deal with is the movement of prominent Democratic money to indie Charlie Crist. Pollster Mark Penn hasn't been anyone's image of a reliable or useful Democrat lately, but he is at least a prominent Democrat; he's now raising for Crist.
• KY-Sen: Will "I worship you, Aqua Buddha" become the newest political catchphrase that sweeps the nation? GQ has a hilarious (if somewhat disturbing) look back at Rand Paul's hellraising days at an undergrad at Baylor (a school from which, by the way, he doesn't have a bachelor's degree). It'll be interesting to see if this actually creates any blowback for Paul.
• WA-Sen: Interesting: another endorsement for the once-moderate Dino Rossi from another celebrity on the right in the Senate. Unlike Jim DeMint (whose backing he got last week), who has something of a fundraising network that comes with his endorsement, Tom Coburn (who just announced his support) just has cachet with right-wing fanboys. More evidence that Rossi, while publicly pretending to be focused only on the general, is scrambling to shore up his right flank before the Top 2 primary where he faces competition from various teabaggers, most significantly Sarah Palin-backed Clint Didier.
• FL-Gov: That Mason-Dixon poll had a Republican gubernatorial portion as well, and they do provide some confirmation for the sense that Bill McCollum is worming his way back into this thing, with not much time left on the clock. Rick Scott leads McCollum only 37-31. Worth noting: it doesn't seem to have anything to do with people taking notice of Scott's legacy of Medicare fraud at Columbia/HCA, but rather, McCollum consolidating the Republican Hispanic vote (where he leads 3-1), probably thanks to Scott's demagoguery on the immigration issue and McCollum's more even-handed stance. Meanwhile, not that Bud Chiles was gaining much momentum, but explaining this could be a big distraction: his former leadership of innocuous-sounding charity HOPE Worldwide, which it turns out is an arm of the cultish International Churches of Christ.
• IA-Gov: Social conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats ran a surprisingly close race against Terry Branstad in the GOP gubernatorial primary and then threatened an independent run when he didn't receive the proper amount of fealty post-primary. However, he announced last Friday that he won't attempt a third-party bid (which would probably give the advantage in the race back to Chet Culver). He'll focus his energies on defeating members of the Iowa Supreme Court, in retaliation for its gay marriage ruling.
• MN-Gov: If there's one campaign out there in need of a shakeup, it's Tom Emmer's, as polls have made clear that the GOP gubernatorial nominee's trajectory post-nomination has been aimed almost straight down. Old campaign manager Tom Mason departed for a farm upstate, replaced by former '08 Norm Coleman CM Cullen Sheehan.
• PA-Gov: Remember Sam Rohrer, the socially conservative state Rep. who persisted in the GOP primary against AG Tom Corbett (and lost big)? His supporters still haven't given up hope, and, although Pennsylvania law prohibits him from a ballot line in November, are now launching an independent write-in campaign for Rohrer. (Rohrer hasn't endorsed the idea, but isn't dissuading them either.) The write-in campaign is a particularly difficult beast, though, meaning that it's likely that Rohrer wouldn't pick up more than a couple percent, and the race would have to get closer than it currently is for that to harm Corbett's odds against Dem Dan Onorato.
• RI-Gov: Brown University is out with a poll on the Rhode Island gubernatorial race, and one thing is clear: no current Republican is going to win the race. Democratic state Treasurer Frank Caprio leads independent ex-Republican ex-Sen. Lincoln Chafee, by a bare 28-27 margin. For some reason, they seemed to poll the two Republicans jungle-style, but it really doesn't matter as both are non-factors: former Don Carcieri communications director John Robitaille is at 7 and ex-state Rep. Victor Moffitt is at 2.
• FL-08: Jeb! backs Web! Ex-gov. Jeb Bush cut an ad in support of ex-state Sen. Daniel Webster, who, with his dithering, managed to blow his early shot at consolidating GOP establishment support in the primary. Instead, he's one of many guys stuffed in the clown car, fighting for the right to oppose Rep. Alan Grayson.
• ID-01: The omission of Raul Labrador from the NRCC's Young Guns, which seems to admit any Republican who has enough opposable digits to successfully operate a telephone and call donors, seemed like it was becoming too embarrassing for even the NRCC's skilled writers to spin away. Labrador says he "changed his mind" and is now willing to join the entourage. Labrador, who has $69K, is only entering at the "On the Radar" level, though, the bottom of the pyramid.
• IL-14: State Sen. Randy Hultgren thought he struck some electoral gold when he found a contribution to Rep. Bill Foster from fellow Dem Maxine Waters for $1,000, which then demanded Foster give back. Unfortunately, there's something to be said for basic reading skills: the contribution wasn't to Bill Foster, but rather to former music industry exec Gary Foster, who's now head of a charitable org called Upliftment Jamaica. Naturally, the Hultgren camp blamed the FEC for forcing them to screw up.
• LA-02: Sen. Mary Landrieu announced her backing for state Rep. Cedric Richmond in the Dem primary in the 2nd, more evidence that the Dem establishment is trying to unite behind Richmond and put the squeeze on primary rival state Rep. Juan LaFonta.
• MI-09: As part of the transition from primary to general election, one item that's high on GOP nominee Rocky Raczkowski's to-do list is to walk back his previous birtherism. After telling Politico in a post-primary interview that he'd "love" to see Obama's birth certificate, he's now out with a statement that Politico took his out of context... without, of course, explaining what context such a comment should be taken in.
• OH-18: Stop the presses! (And hide the women!) Bill Clinton adviser turned Fox News talking head Dick Morris has announced he'll be making appearances on behalf of at least 40 Republican candidates this year. That includes a fundraiser for Rep. Zack Space's opponent, state Sen. Bob Gibbs, later this month.
• RI-01, RI-02: That Brown gubernatorial poll also looked at the Democratic primaries in the 1st and 2nd, although the margin of error is terribly high (7.4% in RI-01). In the 1st, Providence mayor David Cicilline is in command of the Dem field, leading former state party chair William Lynch 32-11 15, with 11 for businessman Anthony Gemma and 5 for state Rep. David Segal (who just got the local SEIU's backing, by the way). In the 2nd, Rep. Jim Langevin looks likely to weather his primary challenge with ease; he leads state Rep. Elizabeth Dennigan 55-12.
• SBA List: Anti-abortion group the Susan B. Anthony List has come out with polls of one open Senate race and three House races featuring Dem incumbents (where the common thread seems that all the Dems are anti-abortion), courtesy of that Republican pollster with the oh-so-creative name, The Polling Company. They find Dan Coats leading Brad Ellsworth 50-35 in the Indiana Senate race. The House races are an interesting mix of the good, the bad, and the so-so. For the good, Rep. Joe Donnelly seems to start on solid ground in IN-02, where he leads state Rep. Jackie Walorski 52-35. For the bad, Rep. Steve Driehaus may just be the most DOA of any House Democrat, as this is one more poll giving him a double-digit deficit against ex-Rep. Steve Chabot (51-41). And for the so-so, Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (last seen losing in a too-good-to-be-true internal from GOP opponent Mike Kelly) is leading Kelly by a pretty plausible 46-42.
• Blue Dogs: The Blue Dogs handed out a load of endorsements to Dem candidates, looking to replenish their soon-to-be-depleted ranks (thanks to a number of retirements, as well as many of their members being in many of the nation's most competitive races). Endorsees are Steve Raby in AL-05, Chad Causey in AR-01, Roy Herron in TN-08, Trent van Haaften in IN-08, and Stephene Moore in KS-03.
• DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 37%, Mike Castle (R) 49%
• DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 46%, Christine O'Donnell (R) 36%
• IA-Gov: Chet Culver (D-inc) 36%, Terry Branstad (R) 52%
• KS-Gov: Tom Holland (D) 34%, Sam Brownback (R) 57%
• NH-Sen: Paul Hodes (D) 38%, Kelly Ayotte (R) 51%
• NH-Sen: Paul Hodes (D) 40%, Bill Binnie (R) 46%
• SD-Gov: Scott Heidepriem (D) 27%, Dennis Daugaard (R) 59%
• SD-AL: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-inc) 42%, Kristi Noem (R) 51%
• KS-Sen: In this social conservative-fiscal conservative battle for the soul of the GOP, 1st CD Rep. Jerry Moran prevailed over 4th Cd Rep. Todd Tiahrt by a narrow 50-45 margin. Each won big in his home congressional district, but Moran narrowly carried the neutral territory in between. This represents somewhat of a win for would-be rightwing kingmaker Jim DeMint, who endorsed Moran... over would-be rightwing kingmaker Sarah Palin, who endorsed Tiahrt. Moran starts as the presumptive favorite over Dem Lisa Johnston, who won her primary with 31% of the vote over publisher Charles Schollenberger. (JMD)
• KS-01 (R): With the last poll of the race from SurveyUSA showing the top three contenders tied, Growther (and Dodge City-area state Sen.) Tim Huelskamp pulled away from fellow state Sen. Jim Barnett and real estate broker Tracey Mann, earning a more comfortable-than-expected 35-25 win over Barnett. Mann finished in third with 21. Huelskamp, of course, was expected to be the most conservative of the bunch. (JMD)
• KS-02 (R): Great White Dope Lynn Jenkins survived an under-the-radar teabagging from Atchison-area state sen. Dennis Pyle, who unabashedly ran at Jenkins' already-conservative right flank. Jenkins gets her name added to the list of weak performing incumbents, at 57%. (JMD)
• KS-03: As expected, faux-moderate Overland Park state Rep. Kevin Yoder easily clinched the GOP nomination for the seat of the retiring Dennis Moore. Despite having aligned himself with the conservative faction in the Kansas legislature, he still earned 44% in this Johnson County-based district, where the KS GOP internecine war has traditionally benefited Dems in the past up and down the ballot. Patricia Lightner finished second with 37%; Yoder goes on to face Moore's wife, Stephene Moore, who clinched her own nomination without much trouble. (JMD)
• KS-04: RNC Committeeman Mike Pompeo easily secured the GOP nomination to replace Todd Tiahrt, scoring 39% against the pro-choice Planned Parenthood endorsed Jean Schodorf with 24%; she narrowly edged out Wink Hartman, who earned 23% and had seat-buying tendencies unseen this side of Meg Whitman. Up-and-coming Wichita State Rep. Raj Goyle - who lagged in an earlier poll - was easily nominated on the Dem side with 80% of the vote. (JMD)
• MI-Gov: Given a pretty clear ideological choice, Democrats opted for the loudly populist Lansing mayor Virg Bernero over centrist state House speaker Andy Dillon, 59-41. Bernero, who trailed in most polls until the last couple weeks, benefited from a late push from organized labor. He'll face an uphill battle in November against GOP winner Rick Snyder. The sorta-moderate Snyder benefited from a three-way split among conservatives out of the four viable candidates. While it's nice to know that Michigan's governor won't be a nut and that Peter Hoekstra got sent packing, Snyder, with his moderate appeal, is probably the toughest matchup of all the GOPers for Bernero in November. (C)
• MI-01 (R): This wound up being the closest major race of the night, if not all cycle. Right now, physician Dan Benishek leads Jason Allen by 14 votes, 27,078-27,064. (Our final projection of the night was for Benishek by 10 votes, so we were way off.) Assuming Benishek's lead survives, he'll face Democratic state Rep. Gary McDowell for Bart Stupak's open seat. (Also worth noting: that Inside Michigan Politics poll that we derided for its small sample size foresaw a tie for Benishek and Allen, so they can feel vindicated too.) (C)
• MI-02 (R): Another close race happened in the Republican primary in the 2nd, to fill the dark-red open seat left by Peter Hoekstra. We may also be waiting a while before this race is formally resolved, as former state Rep. Bill Huizenga and former NFL player Jay Riemersma are both at 25%, with Huizenga with a 658-vote lead. State Sen. William Kuipers (22) and businessman Bill Cooper (19) were also competitive. (C)
• MI-03 (R): 30-year-old state Rep. Justin Amash, a favorite of the Club for Growth and local powerbroker Dick DeVos, won a surprisingly easy victory in the Republican primary over two less strident opponents, state Sen. Bill Hardiman and former Kent Co. Commissioner Steve Heacock, 40-24-26. There's been some speculation on whether the combination of hard-right Amash (in a district that Obama narrowly won, and that's only elected moderate Republicans like Vern Ehlers and, going way back, Gerald Ford) and well-connected Democratic opponent Patrick Miles might put this race on the map, but, well, probably not this year. (C)
• MI-06 (R): This race wasn't really too high on anyone's radar screens (we last mentioned it back in March), but incumbent Rep. Fred Upton was held to a surprisingly weak 57-43 primary win over ex-state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk, who was last seen getting badly pummeled by Carl Levin in 2008's Senate race. Hoogendyk ran on a full 'bagger platform, hitting Upton for his votes in favor of TARP, No Child Left Behind, and S-CHIP. Upton's performance certainly wasn't inspiring, especially considering he outspent Hoogendyk by an absurd margin. (JL)
• MI-07 (R): Rooney eats it! Ex-Rep/'08 loser Tim Walberg handily dispatched attorney and Steelers family grandson Brian Rooney by 58-32 margin. Walberg will now advance to a rematch against Democrat Mark Schauer, who I expect is pleased by this result. (JL)
• MI-09 (R): Ex-state Rep. Rocky Raczkowski won the right to take on frosh Dem Rep. Gary Peters in this slightly Dem-tilting suburban seat. Rocky beat ex-Rep. Joe Knollenberg's former chief of staff, Paul Welday, by a convincing 42-28 margin, meaning that you can add Raczkowski's name to the list of Base Connect clients who successfully withstood a well-funded primary challenge. (JL)
• MI-12 (D): Veteran Dem Rep. Sander Levin easily beat back a challenge from his right, creaming term-limited state Sen. Michael Switalski by a 76-24 spread. Nothing to see here, folks. (JL)
• MI-13 (D): Two years after escaping political death with her 39% primary win over a split field of credible challengers, Dem Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick finally bit the dust last night, losing her primary to state Sen. Hansen Clarke by a 47-41 margin. Cheeks Kilpatrick becomes the fourth House incumbent to lose a primary this year (after Parker Griffith, Alan Mollohan, and Bob Inglis), and Hansen Clarke, as noted in the comments by DCCyclone, is on track to become the first Democrat of (partial) South Asian descent to serve in Congress since Dalip Singh Saund in the 1950s. (JL)
• MO-Sen (R): The teabaggers' last stand in Missouri (which went so far as to include their turning against their own spiritual leader Michele Bachmann, for her support of Roy Blunt) really seemed to go nowhere in the Republican primary, as their man, state Sen. Chuck Purgason, never gained any traction. Establishment Rep. Roy Blunt won ridiculously easily over Purgason, 71-13. Blunt will face Democratic SoS Robin Carnahan in the general election, in one of the year's marquee Senate races. (C)
• MO-04 (R): Despite the local GOP establishment's preference for state Sen. Bill Stouffer, former state Rep. Vicki Hartzler emerged victorious from their air war, and won the right to challenge longtime Dem Ike Skelton by a fairly convincing 40-30 margin. If Hartzler's endorsements - including Reps. Marsha Blackburn (sigh of disgust), Virginia Foxx (evil grandmotherly sigh of disgust), and Jean Schmidt (nuclear waste-tinged sigh of disgust) - are predictive, we'd better hope for Ike to hold on. (JMD)
• MO-07 (R): In the race to fill the dark-red seat left behind by Roy Blunt, the winner was self-funding auctioneer Billy Long. (An auctioneer makes enough money to self-fund? His company's website doesn't exactly scream wealth... or having been updated since the Netscape era...) Overcoming a late attack from the mysterious Americans for Job Security, he defeated state Sens. Jack Goodman and Gary Nodler 37-29-14. (C)
Only the first in a month chock-full of primaries.
KS-Sen (R): The main event in Kansas is the GOP Senate primary; with underfunded Democratic opposition (and Kansas's many decades of sending only Republicans to the Senate), this basically determines its next Senator. It's a geographical and ideological battle between two of Kansas's four Representatives: Jerry Moran, who represents KS-01 across the state's empty western two-thirds, and Todd Tiahrt, from the Wichita-area KS-04. Moran, while no one's idea of a "moderate," doesn't have a hard-right reputation; yet, he's the preferred choice of many on the right (like Jim DeMint) because of his fiscal hawkishness and Tiahrt's role ladling out pork on Appropriations. Tiahrt is the favorite of the social conservatives, and boasts a Sarah Palin endorsement. Moran has led all polling, ranging by anywhere from 3 to 20 points, with Moran leading by 10 in SurveyUSA's final poll released yesterday. (C)
KS-Sen (D): Democrats have a primary here too, for the privilege of being a speed bump for Moran or Tiahrt in November. Retired newspaper publisher Charles Schollenberger was originally expected to be the nominee, then state Sen. David Haley showed up. However, professor Lisa Johnston has led the few polls of the race. (C)
KS-01 (R): In a CD that gave Barack Obama a mere 30% of its vote in 2008 (a high-water mark for Dems, considering Gore and Kerry languished in the 20s here), the only party with a keg and a boom box is on the Republican side of the fence -- and everyone's jumpin'. In a crowded field, the GOP primary for Moran's open seat is coming down to state Sen. Jim Barnett, realtor Tracey Mann, and Club For Growth favorite state Sen. Tim Huelskamp. SUSA's most recent poll had the trio tied at exactly 24% each -- a true three-way tossup. Barnett's probably the most "moderate" of the three, but the most at stake here is the difference between Very Conservative and Ultra Douchey Wingnut Conservative. (JL)
KS-03 (R): State Rep. Kevin Yoder has been labeled a moderate by the national press, which is curious due to his allegiance with the conservative factions of the Kansas state legislature. Whatever the case, it looks like he has a solid grip on the Republican nomination for the seat of retiring Dem Rep. Dennis Moore. As of mid-July, he's out-raised his conservative primary challenger, ex-state Rep. Patricia Lightner, by an 8-to-1 margin. The winner will square off against Stephene Moore, Dennis Moore's wife, this fall. (JL)
KS-04 (D): Will state Rep. Raj Goyle, a fundraising machine, get VicRawl'd? For a brief while, it looked like Goyle, one of the DCCC's few bright lights this cycle, was in serious danger of losing to Some Dude Robert Tillman, a retiree who has not filed a fundraising report with the FEC. It looks like Goyle successfully turned up the volume on his campaign, though, as SUSA's final poll of the primary gave Goyle a commanding 63-19 lead. (JL)
KS-04 (R): In the scramble to replace dry rub-flavored wingnut Todd Tiahrt, the most recent SUSA poll has given RNC committee member Mike Pompeo a 31-24 lead over state Sen. Jean Schodorf (who was actually endorsed by Planned Parenthood), with 21% going to carpetbagging businessman Wink Hartman, who has invested over $1.5 million of his own funds into his campaign. That represents something of a slide for Hartman and a surge for Schodorf, but there may not have been enough time left on the clock for Schodorf to steal this one. (JL)
MI-Gov (D): Pugnacious populist vs. smooth centrist. That's the easy alliterative description of the choice Democratic voters have, between Lansing mayor Virg Bernero and state House speaker Andy Dillon, in the gubernatorial primary. Bernero caught the eye of many on the left with his strong advocacy for government assistance to the automakers and has AFL-CIO backing (which includes the UAW), while the pro-life and business-friendly Dillon has had often strained relations with labor (although he does have some labor backing of his own, including the Teamsters). Dillon has led most polls thanks to better name rec in the Detroit area, but Bernero seems to have caught a late bounce and led this weekend's EPIC-MRA poll. (C)
MI-Gov (R): There are potentially four different candidates who could win the Republican gubernatorial primary. Rick Snyder, the former CEO of Gateway Computers who made a name for himself with his "one tough nerd" ad campaign, had a tiny lead in this weekend's EPIC-MRA poll, and may have a path to victory in that he basically has the moderate vote to himself (and is relying on crossover votes from indies in the open primary), while the others are all fighting over the conservative share. Rep. Peter Hoekstra and AG Mike Cox have traded polling leads back-and-forth throughout most of the campaign (with Hoekstra having a built-in advantage as the only western Michigan candidate), with Oakland Co. Sheriff Mike Bouchard always hanging back within striking distance. Michigan doesn't use runoffs, so whoever wins will be doing so with only about 30%. (C)
MI-01 (R): This race spent last year on no one's radar screen, but with Rep. Bart Stupak's surprise retirement, it attracted some additional Republican interest. Physician Dan Benishek was the only Republican running for the spot before Stupak's announcement. State Sen. Jason Allen got in afterwards, but Benishek stayed in. Allen has the "establishment" mantle here, but may be geographically hampered by being from the Traverse City area, not the Upper Peninsula. Benishek is opting for the "true conservative" route, pointing to Allen's insufficient hatred of labor. The lone poll of the primary found Allen and Benishek tied. (C)
MI-02 (R): The race to replace retiring Rep. Peter Hoekstra will no doubt find the torch being passed to another ultra-conservative Dutch-American, which should be no surprise, given the district's profile. The frontrunner appears to be former NFL tight end and Family Research Council executive Jay Riemersma, who raised more than twice the money of any other candidate and also a lead in the lone poll. He faces state Sen. Wayne Kuipers and former state Rep. Bill Huizenga. One potential wild card is businessman Bill Cooper, who's been reaching out to the Tea Partiers and who has a base in the Muskegon area, unlike the others, all from the district's population center of Ottawa County. (C)
MI-03 (R): Republican voters in the 3rd are choosing between three options to replace retiring Rep. Vern Ehlers: brash young state Rep. Justin Amash (who's the Tea Party fave, but also the protege of the DeVos family, the Republican power behind the throne in Michigan), termed-out state Sen. Bill Hardiman, and former Kent Co. Commissioner Steve Heacock. Amash had raised the most money, and has a narrow lead in the one poll of the race. Heacock is the most moderate in the field and has the backing of Ehlers and a number of other local politicians. (C)
MI-07 (R): Former Rep. Tim Walberg is attempting to make a comeback after his defeat at the hands of now Rep. Mark Schauer, but he'll have to get through attorney Brian (and grandson of Steelers owner Art) Rooney. Walberg is playing the social conservative angle as always, but has some surprising endorsements, including one Rudolph Giuliani. Rooney's playing the moderate angle somewhat, having garnered the endorsement of former Rep. Joe Schwarz, who Walberg primaried out in 2006; the Detroit Free Press has opted as well for Rooney. Walberg is no doubt out there, but he is winning the money race and this is a district that's booted a moderate at least once. (JMD)
MI-09 (R): Republicans sense an opportunity to knock off freshman Dem Gary Peters, with four candidates having jumped into the fray. The two frontrunners - former Farmington Hills State Rep. Andrew "Rocky" Raczkowski and former 9th CD Rep. Joe Knollenberg's former Chief of Staff Paul Welday (what a mouthful) - have gone after each other, trying to out-conservative the other. Raczkowski put out a poll in May giving him a 26-15 lead, but that was ages, a Detroit Free Press endorsement for Rocky, and at least $100k in TV ads ago; this race remains quite the tossup. (JMD)
MI-12 (D): What happens when you implement term limits? Politicians start playing musical chairs, of course. Term-limited state Senator Mickey Switalski of suburban Macomb County is challenging 14-term incumbent Sander (and older brother of US Senator Carl) Levin. Switalski - who's challenged his party in the state Senate - is hitting Levin from the right, emphasizing the deficit (eye roll) and "bipartisanship" (double eye roll). An ancient poll in March, which had Levin leading 62-14, and Switalski's $32k in cycle-to-date expenditures make it hard to imagine that he's getting much traction in this quixotic challenge. (JMD)
MI-13 (D): Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick stumbled across the finish line two years ago with 39% against two opponents who split the anti-Kilpatrick vote, and she's drawn five opponents this year. However, things seem to be a little different, with one of her challengers - State Senator Hansen Clarke, who represents a section of the city of Detroit, presenting himself as the clear not-Kilpatrick. While Cheeks Kilpatrick might take solace that her scandal-plagued son - former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick - is out of the news (and in state prison, no less), she ought to be worried that she's up against only one credible challenger. With several recent polls and the Detroit Free Press having given Clarke sizeable leads and an endorsement respectively, Cheeks Kilpatrick may very well find her name next to Alan Mollohan's and Parker Griffith's on the list of incumbents bounced in this year's primaries. (JMD)
MO-Sen (R): Back in the early days of teabagger ferment, when it seemed like those plucky little nutbars could take on the entire GOP empire themselves, it was at least plausible to imagine state Sen. Chuck Purgason giving Rep. Roy Blunt a run for his money. Alas, as we've learned, that's still the one thing you need in this world, even if you are fueled by the paranoid fury of a million mouthbreathers: money. And Purgason has none of it. Blunt has outspent him literally 100-to-1, and Purgason doesn't even have enough cash left over to treat his staff to Starbucks. Blunt may be a despised creature of the establishment, but like Mark Kirk, he should have no problem kicking teabagger ass. (D)
MO-04 (R): While something like a dozen Republicans signed up in the primary to face longtime Dem Rep. Ike Skelton, only two have raised money above the "surely you must be joking" level: state Sen. Bill Stouffer ($450K) and former state Rep. Vicky Hartzler ($500K). Both candidates are on the NRCC's Young Guns list, but the local establishment, apparently preferring Stouffer, tried to talk Hartzler out of the race back in March. That obviously didn't work, and in the last couple of weeks, both candidates have taken to the airwaves, with each accusing the other of raising taxes. This is definitely anybody's race. Hartzler's stronghold should be Cass County (the site of her old district), in CD 4's northwest corner. Stouffer hails from Saline County in the north-central part of the district, and his state senate district also covers Ray and Lafayette counties in the 4th. (D)
MO-07 (R): The primary in this dark-red district in southwestern Missouri is principally a three-way affair between self-funding auctioneer Billy Long and two state senators, Jack Goodman and Gary Nodler. Long has tried to wear the "true conservative" mantle (he's been endorsed by Mike Huckabee), but he's also been attacked by the shadowy Americans for Job Security as an earmark-happy member of a local airport's board of directors. Long fired back with an ad of his own, accusing both of his opponents of the same sin. There have actually been a bunch of internal polls of this race, but they mostly just show the top three candidates jumbled together somewhere around 20 points, plus or minus a few. Nodler hails from Jasper County on the Kansas border, while Goodman lives in adjacent Lawrence County, just to the east. Long, meanwhile, is from Springfield, MO, which is in the next county over, Greene. (D)
AR-Sen: While offering a commencement address at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Michelle Obama gave a shout-out to all the Democratic bigwigs sharing the dais with her: Gov. Mike Beebe, his wife Ginger, Sen. Blanche Lincoln, Sen. Mark Pryor and even state AG Bobby Dustin McDaniel. Everyone, that is, except for Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, who was also on stage. Stay classy, Michelle.
KS-Sen: The not-particularly pleasant GOP race to succeed Sam Brownback has gotten even uglier, with Rep. Todd Tiahrt accusing frontrunner Rep. Jerry Moran of pulling "a John Kerry" flip-flop on tax cuts. Moran, leading in the polls, has largely been sticking to a Rose Garden strategy and refusing to respond to Tiahrt's provocations.
NV-Sen: Sue Lowden's mom must have taught her as a child that if you pick at a scab repeatedly, it will heal faster. That can be the only explanation for Lowden's newest TV ad, in which she brings up the damn chicken business yet again!
PA-Sen: Joe Sestak now has a four-point lead over Arlen Specter in Muhlenberg's tracking poll, 46-42. A day earlier, Sestak took his first-ever lead in public polling in the tracker. Also, here's a good observation: Specter voted against Elana Kagan when she was nominated to be Solicitor General. Now that it looks like she's going to be tapped for the Supreme Court, he'll have to very publicly flip-flop on this one barely a week before the primary.
UT-Sen: As you probably saw by now, longtime Utah Sen. Bob Bennett was denied renomination at the GOP convention this past Saturday. Instead, businessman Tim Bridgewater and attorney Mike Lee will duke it out in a June 22nd primary. Lee seems to be the teabagger fave, as he immediately garnered Jim DeMint's endorsement once he made it past the third and final round of voting.
Meanwhile, Bennett is still holding out the possibility of waging a write-in campaign - which is not out of the question given that Utahns in general like him a lot more than Republican convention delegates. My understanding, though, is that he could only run as a write-in in the general election, not the primary.
Anyhow, while Bennett's never self-funded before (so far as I know), he is actually extremely wealthy, with assets potentially in excess of $30 million. If turnout is about 600K voters and a Dem can get a third of that, then Bennett only needs 200K to win a squeaker. On the flipside, John Cornyn is pledging to support the GOP nominee, and in modern times, I think only Strom Thurmond has gotten elected to the Senate via write-in. But nevermind all that - do it, Bob... for America!
FL-Gov: Surely by now you've heard about anti-gay activist George Rekers' European escapades with a young man he hired from a site called Rentboy. If not, read this now. The story just got a lot better, though, with word that Florida AG Bill McCollum once paid Rekers at least $60,000 to serve as an expert witness for the state's attempt to ban gay adoptions. Rekers' testimony was rejected by the judge as not credible, and the ban was found unconstitutional. All in a day's work!
KY-Gov: Kentucky's gubernatorial seat isn't up until 2011, but a trio of media outlets commissioned a poll from Research 2000 nonetheless. It finds Gov. Steve Beshear leading House Speaker Greg Stumbo in a hypothetical primary, 55-28. In the general election, it shows Beshear up 44-37 over GOP Ag. Comm'r Richie Farmer. Beshear's job approval is 46-43 and he has $1.9 million in the bank.
NY-Gov: Ordinarily, you need 25% of the weighted delegate vote at a state convention to qualify for the ballot in New York. But because Steve Levy is not yet a registered Republican, GOP rules require him to get 50%. It sounds, though, like there may be some movement afoot to more or less knock that requirement back down to 25%.
CT-05: Some Dude Kie Westby is dropping out of the crowded GOP race to take on Rep. Chris Murphy. Westby endorsed state Sen. Sam Caligiuri on his way out. Quite a few Republicans remain in this primary.
MD-04: State Del. Herman Taylor says he's challenging Rep. Donna Edwards in the Democratic primary. It sounds like Taylor might be taking Edwards on from the right, saying she's "out of touch with the business community" (those are the Maryland Gazette's words, not necessarily his). Meanwhile, it sure sounds like Edwards herself has gone native: Despite the fact that she owes her seat to a primary challenge, she now says "it would be 'very hard' for her to support a primary challenger like herself," according to The Nation. It never changes.
MI-09: Former state Rep. Rocky Raczkowski put out an internal poll showing him up 26-15 over businessman Paul Welday, with a whole lotta people undecided.
NY-23: Like some kind of Archie Comics love triangle involving Betty, Veronica, and Jughead, newcomer Matt Doheny is wooing the Club for Growth away from their former not-so-golden boy, Doug Hoffman. (The Club now says it's "hard to say" whom they will endorse, if anyone.) Maybe toss in Moose, too, since the Conservative Party is making it extra-interesting by sticking with Hoffman.
PA-12: This ain't good news for Team Blue: Dem Mark Critz reported having just $73K in the bank in his pre-election FEC report, while GOPer Tim Burns has $308K. I don't feel too good about this one.
UT-02: In case you missed it, Dem Rep. Jim Matheson is being forced into his first-ever primary come June 22nd, thanks to the vote taken at the state's Democratic convention this past weekend. Retired teacher Claudia Wright nabbed 45% of the delegates on Saturday, clearing the 40% hurdle to get her name on the primary ballot. The winner will take on ex-state Rep. Morgan Philpot, who has raised just $27K so far. Wright has raised $9K, while Matheson has taken in a million bucks and has $1.4 mil on hand.
WV-01: I was wondering when this was going to happen: The DCCC has finally sent some help to Rep. Alan Mollohan, who faces a stiff primary challenge from the right in the form of state Sen. Mike Oliverio. The election is tomorrow, though, so I wonder if, Coakley-style, this assistance is going to be too little, too late. While I carry no brief for Mollohan, he is almost certainly better than Oliverio, who is buddy-buddy with the state GOP.
Meanwhile, on the GOP side, the cat fud is flying fast and furious. Attorney Mac Warner says he won't support ex-state Rep. David McKinley if he wins the nomination, claiming McKinley's "gone way over the line in personal attacks and distortions of the truth." (Welcome to politics, bub.) In general, the primary has been very negative, with much of the fire aimed at McKinley.
New Jersey: A New Jersey appellate court dinged Chris Christie's attempt to unilaterally restrict campaign contributions by unions, saying that legislation would instead be required.
Polling: Tom Jensen, who has penned many dour but accurate notes about the rough shape Dems find themselves in this cycle, draws together some surprising threads and finds recent good polling news for Team Blue in five senate races.
An all-House digest today - and it's an hour earlier than usual! Remember, today is primary day in IN, NC & OH, so be sure to check out SSP's handy election guide.
AL-07: Attorney Terri Sewell, who is probably the candidate ideologically closest to outgoing Rep. Artur Davis, is going up with a TV ad buy in Montgomery and Birmingham which will stay up through the primary (which is a month from now). No word on the size of the buy, though.
CT-02: Republicans are courting former television news anchor Janet Peckinpaugh to run against Rep. Joe Courtney, who has luckily skated by without much in the way of opposition this cycle. Peckinpaugh says she's considering it. She was most recently seen shilling for a now-defunct mortgage company in deceptive, TV news-like ads, clearly trading on her reputation as a newsreader. The company, Lend America, shut down in December after it was placed under federal investigation.
FL-12: After screwing up the establishment's efforts to clear the GOP primary field for ex-state Rep. Dennis Ross by jumping into the race, Polk County Comm'r Randy Wilkinson is bidding adieu to the Republican Party. Instead, he's going to run as the Tea Party candidate (there's an actual Tea Party in Florida, just like the Whigs). Wilkinson has raised very little money - his FEC reports are a mess, and he seems to like filing them in hand-written form, so he doesn't even appear in their electronic database.
FL-21: What a bummer - zero Dems filed in the open 21st CD, which means that Mario Diaz-Balart will automatically inherit his brother Lincoln's seat. I can't really blame folks too much, though, as Florida has especially onerous ballot access requirements. If you don't petition on, you have to pay a filing fee, which is an insane $10,000+.
HI-01: The DCCC threw down another $70K for negative ads against Charles Djou.
ID-01, OH-15: We mentioned the other day that GOPer Steve Stivers, busy with a rematch against Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy in OH-15, said he favors repealing the 17th amendment - the one which gives citizens the right to vote for their senators (rather than having them be appointed by state legislatures). Well, after taking a lot of much-deserved heat, he's backed off that fantasy. But his would-be colleague, Vaughn Ward, is taking up the mantle. Ward, running against Rep. Walt Minnick in ID-01, offered a rationale worthy of Miss Teen South Carolina, saying "When you look at how come state's rights have been so abrogated, it's because of things like the 17th Amendment that has taken away those rights from our states." Yuh huh. Exactly.
IL-08: Just click the link and read about the greatest political implosion of the entire cycle. (Thankfully, it's the bad guys.) More here, here, and here.
KS-03: Along with Joe Garcia (see yesterday's morning digest), the DCCC added another candidate to their Red to Blue list, Stephene Moore, who is the wife of retiring Rep. Dennis Moore.
MA-10: State Rep. Jeff Perry, running for Bill Delahunt's open seat, scored an endorsement from ex-MA Gov. Mitt Romney. Perry, who was also previously endorsed by Sen. Scott Brown, has a primary against ex-state Treasurer Joe Malone. Malone has some baggage-related cooties, which probably explains Perry's run of good fortune.
MD-01 (PDF): Public Opinion Strategies (R) for Americans for Prosperity (R) (4/25-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
Frank Kratovil (D-inc): 36
Andy Harris (R): 39
Richard Davis (L): 6
Two things about this poll: First off, in contravention of appropriate practice, POS asked all kinds of axe-grindy issue questions ("Gov. O'Malley raised taxes by $1.3 billion") before getting to the horserace question. This does damage to POS's reputation as a supposedly respectable pollster. Secondly, the weird thing is that Harris switched pollsters - and his last survey, from the Tarrance Group back in November, had him up by a whopping 52-39. While it's not a proper trendline, you gotta wonder - is Harris slipping? Or is he getting snowed by his various pollsters? (Update: D'oh! Our mistake -- this poll was not done for Harris, but actually the right-wing consortium of douches known as the Americans for Prosperity.)
MI-01: Dem state Rep. Joel Sheltrown, who got into the race to replace Bart Stupak just a few weeks ago, is bowing out.
MI-09: Self-funder Gene Goodman is dropping out of the race to take on Rep. Gary Peters, despite having loaned his campaign $450K. That leaves ex-state Rep. Andrew "Rocky" Raczkowski and former Oakland County GOP Chair Paul Welday in the running, both of whom have had unimpressive fundraising - and in fact, Rocky is yet another victim (albeit a more minor one) of Base Connect.
Meanwhile, we missed a Welday internal poll from a couple of weeks ago (taken by Mitchell Research & Communications), which had Peters leading by just 44-43. The poll sampled just 300 LVs, though, and according to the Hotline, was in the field at two discontiguous times. Peters' camp attacked the poll's sample composition, but Steve Mitchell says he used the same methodology as he did in September of 2008, when (according to the article), " he declared Peters was going to defeat Joe Knollenberg." Is this hindsight proving to be 20/20? Mitchell's poll from back then had the race tied.
NY-13: Global Strategy Group (D) for Mike McMahon (4/7-11, likely voters, no trendlines):
Mike McMahon (D-inc): 56
Mike Allegretti (R): 24
Mike McMahon (D-inc): 56
Mike Grimm (R): 23
OH-09: Dem Rep. Marcy Kaptur, who is not really on anyone's radar in terms of having a competitive race, is nonetheless facing a moneybags challenger. Former Food Town CEO Rich Iott just dumped $319,000 into his campaign. Kaptur has over a million on hand, and the 9th CD voted 62% for Obama and 58% for Kerry.
PA-12: Anzalone-Liszt (D) for the DCCC (4/27-29, likely voters, no trendlines):
Mark Critz (D): 43
Tim Burns (R): 41
TN-08: A couple of disgusting low-lifes running for TN-08, Ron Kirkland and Randy Smith, had this delightful exchange at a candidate forum:
Kirkland, of Jackson, referred to his Army training during the Vietnam War and said: "I can tell you if there were any homosexuals in that group, they were taken care of in ways I can't describe to you."
Smith, a chef from Mercer who served in the Navy during the Gulf War, said: "I definitely wouldn't want to share a shower with a homosexual. We took care of that kind of stuff, just like (Kirkland) said."
These sick bastards have serious issues.
SD-AL: Heh - GOP state Rep. Kristi Noem has a biographical spot up on the air, talking about her return to her family farm after her father's death. The only problem is that she shot the ad in Texas - which became apparent given that the backdrop (a grove of leafy green trees) is something you can't really find in North South Dakota this time of year. Reminds me of when Bob Schaffer ran an ad pretending that Alaska's Mount McKinley was actually Colorado's famous Pikes Peak while running for CO-Sen in 2008.