AK-Sen: Joe Miller is taking a vow of omertà, insisting that he simply won't answer any more questions about his personal background. He's also taking a page right out of the Sarah Palin playbook, whining that he's been the victim of "journalist impropriety," and making up stories about reporters gaining access to his "confidential file," in "violation of the law." I despairingly think that Miller won't pay the price for this that he ought to - look at Rick Perry, who refuses to meet with newspaper editorial boards, as an example.
Also of note: Miller is trying to unring that Seventeenther bell a bit - but not really. His stance now is that a constitutional amendment to eliminate the direct election of senators is not "practical," but sure sounds like he'd love to do it if he could. What a weirdo.
NV-Sen: Clinton alert! The Big Dog will be in Nevada today to campaign with Harry Reid.
WV-Sen: Clinton alert (retroactive)! Bill Clinton was in Morgantown yesterday, campaigning for Joe Manchin. He made a point of saying that the "hick-y" ad "burns me up."
KS-Gov: This creeptastic story is finally getting some play in the Kansas gubernatorial race. Back around 2002 or so, Sam Brownback was roommates in Washington, DC with a radical cleric named Lou Engle. You might remember Engle as the Talibangelist who led a "prayer" rally in Uganda right when the country was debating passage of a bill which would have implemented the death penalty for homosexuals. Though he later tried to distance himself from the measure, at the time, Engle "praised the country's 'courage' and 'righteousness' in promoting the bill. In the past, Engle has also donated to Brownback's campaigns, and Brownback has done events with him as recently as last year. Seemingly caught off-guard by all this, the Brownback campaign had no statement in response.
NY-Gov: When you've lost Rudy Giuliani... His Dingusness attacked fellow Republican Carl Paladino over his anti-gay remarks, calling them "highly offensive" and saying Paladino should apologize. Not really sure what Rudy's angle is here, though.
TN-Gov: Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Haslam poured in another $2.8 million of his own money in the third quarter, for $4.3 mil total. He's also raised a pretty amazing $12.5 million from outside donors, all told; combined, this apparently makes for a new Tennessee record. (Recall that Haslam had a very competitive GOP primary.) Dem Mike McWherter hasn't released 3Q nums yet, but he's raised just a fraction of what Haslam has.
FL-22: Barack Obama did a fundraiser last night at the home of former NBA great Alonzo Mourning (which we mentioned to you back in SSP Amazing Digest #88). The event raised a million bucks, split between the Ron Klein campaign and the DNC. In attendance were Miami Heat players Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade (but not LeBron James), as well as Magic Johnson.
ME-02: Looks like Jason Levesque is going to have to beg his mom for rides to campaign rallies: the Republican just got his license suspended, after three speeding convictions in the past year. Lifetime, he has 18 driving-related convictions (including nine for speeding), and his licenses has been suspended three times.
NV-03: Joe Heck has a serious problem wrapped around his neck like a twenty-pound goiter. It's called Sharron Angle, and he just doesn't know what do with it. When asked directly by a voter whether he planned to vote for his own party's senate nominee, Heck responded: "I'm waiting to see all of the evidence before I make my choice."
NY-01: Biden alert! The VPOTUS is coming to NYC to do a fundraiser for Tim Bishop on Oct. 26th. Seems awfully late in the game to be raising scratch, but I suppose a Biden event is such a sure thing that Bishop can max out the campaign credit cards against the expected take.
OH-09: As he watches his candidacy circle the drain, Rich Iott lashed out at the top-ranking Jewish Republican in the Milky Way, Eric Cantor, who had repudiated him a day earlier:
"I think that Representative Cantor did what so many career politicians do. He reacted before he had all the facts. He didn't know the whole story. He didn't understand what historical reenacting is all about, or the education side of it. And he just made a decision without all the facts. My opponent here is cut out of the same cloth. Those are the people who passed the health care bill before they knew what was in it. The same folks who passed the stimulus bill...."
Because comparing the minority whip to Democrats is a good idea for a Republican candidate with a future, right? Anyhow, for those of you who perhaps wanted to hold out hope that Iott was just some weird LARPer (but I repeat myself), please review this paragraph taken from the website of his fellow Nazi re-enactors:
Nazi Germany had no problem in recruiting the multitudes of volunteers willing to lay down their lives to ensure a "New and Free Europe", free of the threat of Communism. National Socialism was seen by many in Holland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and other eastern European and Balkan countries as the protector of personal freedom and their very way of life, despite the true underlying totalitarian (and quite twisted, in most cases) nature of the movement. Regardless, thousands upon thousands of valiant men died defending their respective countries in the name of a better tomorrow. We salute these idealists; no matter how unsavory the Nazi government was, the front-line soldiers of the Waffen-SS (in particular the foreign volunteers) gave their lives for their loved ones and a basic desire to be free.
OR-04: There's no direct quote here, but the Douglas County News-Review reports that Rep. Peter DeFazio "says he favors replacing Pelosi as speaker if Democrats retain their majority." DeFazio has long had an antagonistic relationship with Pelosi, most recently coming to a head with his refusal to vote for the stimulus, allegedly from the left.
OR-05: These Republicans have no respect for Godwin's Law, do they? Speaking of the healthcare reform bill, Scott Bruun said:
"From a social perspective, it's right up there, I would argue - probably the fugitive slave law was worse. But still, the healthcare bill was pretty darn bad."
The Fugitive Slave Act, which "required any runaway slaves who had escaped their bondage and were living free in the Northern states be returned to their owners" - and was one of the causes of the Civil War. Right on!
PA-03, PA-12: Biden alert (retroactive)! The VPOTUS did a fundraiser in Pittsburgh with both Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper and Mark Critz in attendance. The Hill makes a big deal out of the fact that this event didn't take place in Critz's district - but I'm just going to guess that there are a lot more wealthy Dems in the P'burgh area than in the 12th CD.
PA-06: Can an internal ever be too good? Well, you tell me if you believe this Susquehanna survey that Jim Gerlach is touting, which has him up by a massive 61-31 spread. Still, now would be a good time for Manan Trivedi or the DCCC to show us something different.
PA-11: If Paul Kanjorski somehow, improbably, survives once more, he will owe his fortune yet again to the realtors, who have already spent three-quarters of a million on ads on his behalf, after spending a million bucks last time.
Polltopia: Time to help PPP pick their next state to poll.
FL-Gov: In a move we've seen a few times this cycle, Alex Sink is trying out the long-form political ad, this time with a 2-minute spot detailing Rick Scott's Medicare fraud and his attempts to hide from it
WA-08: In her third ad, Suzan DelBene hits Reichert on raising taxes & shipping jobs overseas
AFSCME: Throws down $750K against Republican roofer Reid Ribble (WI-08) and $628K against GOPer Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08)
NRA: Almost $3 million in senate buys (here & here)
AR-Sen: John Boozman says that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will be coming to Little Rock to stump for him next month.
CO-Sen: Ex-Lt. Gov. Jane Norton is attempting to rebut some ugly public polling with an internal of her own from Public Opinion Strategies. Norton's survey has her up 39-33 in the GOP primary against Weld County DA Ken Buck, but a SurveyUSA poll taken last week showed her getting killed, 53-37.
FL-Sen: Rep. Kendrick Meek and zillionaire asshole Jeff Greene had a seriously feisty debate the other night. I cannot do it justice by summarizing, so I encourage you read the Palm Beach Post's account. Also of note, Greene is taking a page from the John Kasich playbook and refusing to make his tax returns public. In a display of leadership, he said disclosure was his wife's call - who said "hell no" when asked by reporters if she would do so.
LA-Sen: As Crisitunity noted, Rep. Charlie Melancon has a real crisitunity to deal with vis-a-vis the gulf oil spill, and it's been interesting watching the issue play out on the campaign trail. Melancon may have gotten a gift with a federal district court judge's ruling against the offshore drilling moratorium (something Melancon opposes), but contrary to his wishes, the Obama administration will indeed appeal.
NV-Sen: Jon Ralston, one of Nevada's top political analysts, points out that Sharron Angle has been touting an endorsement on her website from a bunch of lunatics called the "Declaration Alliance." They're a birther outfit, and Ralston has been trying to get Angle on the record as to whether she shares their views - but, says Ralston, "She no longer answers her voicemail, and her press secretary's voicemail is full." I'm sure Ralston'll ask her all about this next week, when he interviews her on his TV show. Here are a couple of other things he ought to bring up: Angle's statements that unemployed folks have been "spoiled" by government "entitlement" - and that bringing jobs to Nevada wouldn't be, well, her job as senator. This should be a fun interview!
OH-Gov: As Dave Catanese says, on the campaign trail, "a candidate's humble upbringing is almost always safe from attack." So you really have to wonder why in the fuck John Kasich thought it would be a good idea to mock Ted Strickland's background, braying about his opponent: "Having grown up in a chicken shack on Duck Run, he has all but ignored our cities' economies and their workers." Not that you needed it, but even more evidence that Kasich is a grade-A schmuck with a tin ear: He told Alan Colmes he would not be "singing in any chorus for LeBron James" to help keep the NBA uber-star Ohio' #1 Citizen in Cleveland. Christ, what an asshole!
NV-Gov: Anjeanette Damon of the Las Vegas Sun says that Rory Reid may be going up on the air with TV ads as soon as today - but that's it. No further details on the nature of the ad, where it might run, or, of course, the size of the buy.
AR-01: Tim Wooldridge is doing everything in his power to convince 1st CD Democrats that they were right to select Chad Causey as their nominee instead of him. He's still refusing to endorse Causey, and in an interview with Politico, he had kind words for Rick Crawford, the GOP nominee, calling him a "fine fella." With Dems like these....
FL-06: Will Joe Barton be the next Joe Wilson? Or will he become... well, I just can't think of a single Republican in recent memory who has been exorcised by the party for saying something outrageous. Which suggests to me that, in fact, GOP rank-and-file are probably cheering Barton for having the "guts" to say the quiet part loud. Indeed, Dave Weigel points to several Republicans who have been aping Barton's "shakedown" language.) Anyhow, Barton's doing a fundraiser for Cliff Stearns next week, so it'll be interesting to see what kind of draw Smokey Joe will be. Stearns doesn't face any meaningful opposition in this 56% McCain district and has $2.5 million on hand, so I wonder why Barton is doing him the favor in the first place.
KY-03: Todd Lally, the GOP nominee in the 3rd CD, said that fellow Kentuckian Mitch McConnell told him to go twist when he asked for fundraising help. But not to worry - Rand Paul to the rescue! The libertarian freakazoid will apparently do two events with Lally this summer, something I'm sure will play well back in Louisville.
MI-03: Retiring Rep. Vern Ehlers endorsed businessman and former Kent County Commissioner Steve Heacock to succeed him, but pledged to support whomever wins the August 3rd GOP primary. Also in the race are state Sen. Bill Hardiman, state Rep. Justin Amash, attorney Louise Johnson, and Air Force vet Bob Overbeek. Amash recently dinged Heacock for copying and pasting position statements from other Republicans (like Paul Ryan and fellow Michigander Dave Camp) and posting them on his website without attribution. (Heacock has since taken them down.)
MI-07: After a local Republican club announced that Rudy Giuliani would be doing a fundraiser for ex-Rep. Tim Walberg, Brian Rooney (Walberg's primary opponent) pounced, citing Giuliani's squishiness on abortion. Rooney's camp must have been pleased to make the hit, since Walberg had previously zinged Rooney for failing to show up at an anti-abortion group event a few months ago. In any case, Walberg is now saying no, no, no - there was never going to be a Rudy fundraiser in the first place (though his campaign manager said they'd like to do something in the future).
MO-07: Missouri Right to Life endorsed self-funding businessman Billy Long, citing unhappiness with the voting record of state Sens. Gary Nodler and Jack Goodman, the other two major candidates in the race to succeed Roy Blunt. This is a 63% McCain district, though, and we have no real candidate, so any cat fud here is for entertainment purposes only.
WATN: Former Rep. Don Cazayoux was unanimously confirmed as the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana by the Senate yesterday. Here's wishing Cazayoux - who is only 46 - a successful tenure and, hopefully, a return to electoral politics some day.
DE-Sen: Biden alert? Dem senate candidate Chris Coons says a Biden fundraiser is "in the works." I sure hope so! I think Coons is a sleeper candidate, and it would be ridic for Biden not to help a fellow Dem out in his own state (which is just outside of DC, anyhow).
NV-Sen: It may be too late to save her fricasseed campaign, but Sue Lowden has an over-the-top ad out hitting Sharron Angle for her support of a Scientology-backed plan to offer massage therapy to recovering drug addicts. Be sure to check out the cameo of a certain couch-jumping Top Gun star at about 20 seconds in.
NY-Sen-B: So as you know if you're a faithful SSP reader, the state GOP put two dudes on their ballot line for the September primary: Bruce Blakeman and David Malpass. They did not include ex-Rep. Joe DioGuardi, but (and this is a big "but," DioGuardi did score the Conservative Party's ballot line all to himself. Though DioGuardi says he'll try to petition his way on to the GOP ballot, Republicans don't seem to have a lot of faith in him becoming their nominee, and they want to avoid a split ticket. So Conservative chair Mike Long got a bunch of calls asking him to bounce DioGuardi from his party's line, but he refused, pointing out that DioGuardi got 70% of the vote at the Conservative convention. Ah, the New York GOP - still a train wreck.
ID-Gov: The Idaho Statesman has a pretty good profile on Dem gubernatorial nominee Keith Allred, who is running a surprisingly vigorous (and decently-funded) campaign against the not-so-hot incumbent Butch Otter. The most interesting detail is the fact that the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, a chamber-of-commerce-type big business lobby, is already attacking Allred - not something you usually bother doing with an un-serious candidate.
SC-Gov: Rudy Giuliani jumped in with a last-minute endorsement of AG Henry McMaster yesterday - though note that the unlovable loser finished sixth in the South Carolina primary in 2008. (Though Joe Lieberman reassured him that it was actually an eleventy-way tie for fifth.) And in a seriously weird last-minute desperation move, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer released, uh, well... you'd expect me to say "released a poll," right? Nope - he released the results of a polygraph test (!), which he claims show he had no involvement in the various Nikki Haley affair allegations. Talk about protesting a wee bit too much, huh?
AL-05: A douchey move from a douchey guy: Bud Cramer, the Democrat who held this seat before giving way to Parker Griffith, is not "ready to endorse any candidate for Congress" - even though, you know, we have a nominee (Steve Raby). Cramer actually pulled this same shit last cycle after he announced his retirement, dithering for several weeks before finally endorsing Griffith. Back then, Cramer suggested he might endorse a Republican - and I guess he finally got his wish when Griffith switched parties. Jesus, though - do the right thing already.
FL-24: Former Winter Park Commissioner Karen Diebel scored an endorsement from Mike Huckabee in her bid to become the GOP nominee against Rep. Suzanne Kosmas.
MA-10: Republican Jeffrey Perry has been under fire for his oversight of a police officer under his command while Perry was a police sergeant in the early 1990s. The officer, Scott Flanagan, was ultimately fired and pled guilty for illegal strip-searching a 16-year-old girl. Now, the Cape Cod Times reports that Perry's own accounts of the incident and its aftermath are contradicted by police records from the time. In an earlier interview, Perry suggested that he had acted with alacrity in handling the situation, but now it appears he waited 24 hours to write up the officer, and almost a week to take a statement from a witness to the search.
NC-08: Heh, he actually went ahead and did it. Weapons-grade wingnut Tim D'Annunzio launched a defamation suit against his runoff opponent, Harold Johnson, for a "radio ad targeting D'Annunzio for his 'life of drugs, crime and time served in prison' and for supposedly failing to pay an employer payroll tax, having tax liens, and withholding child support." D'Annunzio had previously threatened to sue the chair of the NC GOP, but this is so much more fun.
NY-13: Rep. Mike McMahon scored the endorsement of the Independence Party, which means he'll have their ballot line in November (something he didn't have last cycle). And while he won't get the support Working Families Party thanks to his "no" vote on healthcare, the WFP isn't expected to nominate any kind of challenger, so their line will likely remain blank in this race - thus avoiding a split of the left-leaning vote. A Dem primary challenge at this point also looks remote. Meanwhile, McMahon raised $140K at a fundraiser hosted by none other than Mike Bloomberg. He was also expected to take in some $90K at an Anthony Weiner event, which was also slated to feature Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro, a Conservative.
NY-29: Judge David Larimer of the Western District of New York ruled against Republicans who were seeking to force Gov. David Paterson to call the special election for this vacant seat earlier than November, saying Paterson was empowered to call it for the fall. An appeal to the Second Circuit is possible, but no word yet on whether one is planned.
CA-SoS: I guess maybe we were too busy laughing when we first heard stories that Orly Taitz was running for California Secretary of State to bother writing it up... but not only is she on the ballot, the CA GOP is worried she might win the primary! She's running against Damon Dunn, another ex-NFLer (what is with those guys running for office this year?), but Dunn's deliberately ignored her rather than attack. The Republicans have little chance against Dem incumbent Debra Bowen, but Orly as their nominee would be a nice, months-long goiter for them to deal with.
Blue Dogs: I think I agree with everything Chris Bowers says in this post.
Games: Several folks in comments were recommending a new game called Congress Forever the other day, where you battle for control of the House and Senate. I haven't tried it yet, but it looks like the perfect nerd timewaster.
Polling: Nate Silver just released the latest version of his pollster ratings, which analyzes a truly massive data set of "4,670 distinct polls from 264 distinct pollsters covering 869 distinct electoral contests" going all the way back to 1998. He lays out his methodology in a separate post, which is a must-read. Also, that gang of polling maniacs over at PPP are soliciting your votes again: The choices this time are LA, MA, PA, WA or WI.
Redistricting: Politico has a piece out which claims that Republicans are lagging in the race to raise money and set up legal groups to wage the coming round of redistricting battles. I'm a little skeptical, because the article says that Republicans are hurting thanks to a lack of soft money in the post-McCain Feingold world - but if anything, Dems were known as the party most dependent on soft money before campaign finance reform passed. Still, P'Co suggests that Dems are more organized because of some top-down control being exercised by the Obama political operation.
• FL-Sen: That bell is tolling pretty loudly for Charlie Crist right about now, although it's unclear today whether it spells a switch to an independent Senate bid (keep your fingers crossed) or an exit (if only temporarily) from politics. Crist's camp has pulled all of its GOP-primary-related ads from Florida television. Florida junior Senator/Crist errand boy George LeMieux is downplaying this, saying no switch is imminent, but the NRSC is leaning on Crist even more heavily than before, trying to disabuse their endorsee of the idea of an indie bid.
• IN-Sen: I wonder if this will boost John Hostettler with his fundraising by hooking him up with a national base, or if he's going to be more Peter Schiff than Rand Paul in the end? The former Rep., in his run for the GOP nomination in Indiana, now has the endorsement of Rep. Ron Paul, bringing together two of the very few GOPers to vote against the Iraq War. Meanwhile, state Sen. Marlin Stutzman, the dark-horse third-wheel in the GOP derby, is hitting the TV airwaves with an introductory ad, banking much of his small warchest on getting his name rec out of the basement with the primary only weeks away.
• KS-Sen: Rep. Mike Pence weighed in on the GOP field in Kansas, endorsing Rep. Todd Tiahrt over fellow Rep. Jerry Moran. There's something of a social/fiscal conservative split on this race, where social conservatives love Tiahrt but fiscal hawks don't, based on his long career on the goodie-doling Appropriations Committee. If nothing else, it's interesting to see Pence, who tries to have a foot in each camp, choose sides, as he gears up for a possible presidential bid. Meanwhile, Moran is going up with his first TV spot, with a big buy in the Kansas City market.
• KY-Sen: More tasty cat fud in Kentucky, where Rudy Giuliani just endorsed Trey Grayson and, in doing so, slammed the bejesus out of Rand Paul on the 9/11 front, saying that Grayson "is not part of the 'blame America first' crowd that wants to bestow the rights of U.S. citizens on terrorists and point fingers at America for somehow causing 9/11." Just the kind of softening-up of Paul we need for the general election.
• NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov: Siena's latest poll of the Empire State doesn't contain any big surprises; even David Paterson's 17/83 job rating isn't that surprising anymore. In their first look at the post-George Pataki Senate landscape, they find that Kirsten Gillibrand is cruising against all of her seemingly interchangeable third-tier opposition; she beats Joe DioGuardi 46-27, Bruce Blakeman 46-26, and David Malpass 46-24. DioGuardi, apparently with the name rec that comes with a celebrity daughter (or maybe it's from the two terms in Congress in the 1980s), has the edge in a Pataki-free GOP primary, winning with 24 to 7 for Blakeman and 5 for Malpass. On the gubernatorial side, Andrew Cuomo fares even better than Gillibrand, beating Rick Lazio 61-24, Steve Levy 58-23, and Carl Paladino 64-19. Lazio still has the edge in the GOP primary, at 29 with 15 for Levy and 13 for Paladino.
• WA-Sen: Strange that it takes a foul-mouthed blogger to notice the clues that Dino Rossi isn't running that the Beltway press seems oblivious to. Goldy notices that minor candidate Chris Widener, another personal friend of Rossi, is saying the same thing as state Sen. Don Benton: if he's running, why the hell isn't he doing me the favor of calling me up and telling me to get out of the way? (Well, maybe because he's a jerk?) Even more telling is that another minor GOP candidate, former NFL player Clint Didier, has commercial real estate mogul Kemper Freeman (one of Rossi's big-name donors and a major insider player in the state GOP), as his campaign chair.
• FL-Gov: I'm wondering if Bill McCollum's lead role in the pursuit of the GOP AGs' lawsuit over HCR is suddenly taking a toll on him (voters are opposed to the suit by a 54-40 margin), or if Quinnipiac got an unusually Dem-friendly sample (it's the same one that found Kendrick Meek with 4 of Marco Rubio in a head-to-head, and Obama gets a 48/46 approval). Either way, Quinnipiac has the nicest numbers we've seen out of the Florida gubernatorial race in a while. McCollum leads Democratic state CFO Alex Sink by just 40-36. McCollum leads state Sen. Paula Dockery 56-7 in the GOP primary; Sink leads Dockery 37-28.
• MD-Gov: Usually when a heavyweight jumps into the field, the random odds and ends get out, but the opposite happened in Maryland. Shortly after Bob Ehrlich got in, little-known rich guy Brian Murphy just announced his candidacy today. Murphy will be running against Ehrlich from the right and has the support of former state GOP chair James Pelura. Murphy also got a vote of confidence from former state Del. Carmen Amedori, who dropped her long-shot bid against Barbara Mikulski to sign on as Murphy's Lt. Governor running mate.
• CA-36: At the state convention, incumbent Rep. Jane Harman managed to ward off Marci Winograd's attempts to deny Harman the state party's endorsement. After a floor fight, Harman won the endorsement with a 599-417 vote. The two will still face off in the Democratic primary (in a rematch of 2006).
• GA-09: Here's a problem for Georgia Dems: they lost their only candidate in the 9th, pastor Mike Freeman. His name will still remain on the ballot for the May 11 special election to replace Nathan Deal, but he leaves behind a hole for the general election. Not that the absence of a Dem in this R+28 district would be noticed much, though.
• MA-09: Rep. Stephen Lynch has dodged a primary challenge so far, following his vote against HCR, but it seems like organized labor has found a candidacy that might stick. Mac d'Alessandro, a regional director for the SEIU, says he'll take a shot at Lynch in the Democratic primary, although he has only a couple weeks to round up the necessary 2,000 signatures.
• MN-01: The Republicans had their endorsement convention for the 1st District and gave their nod to state Rep. Randy Demmer. While Demmer is hardly anyone's idea of a moderate, he's less polarizing than his main rival, former state Rep. Allen Quist (a Michele Bachmann ally). Quist sounds like he'll honor the endorsement and not run in the primary.
• MN-02: On the Dem side, though, former state Rep. Shelley Madore has decided to keep running in the primary even though the DFL endorsement went to Dan Powers.
• NH-01: In a surprise to almost no one, Sean Mahoney (who made a big show of quitting his committee position on the RNC recently, ostensibly to protest Michael Steele) announced that he's going to run in the GOP primary in the 1st for the right to take on Rep. Carol Shea-Porter. The primary that looked like a victory lap for former Manchester mayor Frank Guinta last year is now a four-way bar brawl instead.
• NY-24: Rep. Mike Arcuri is, all of a sudden, sounding kind of Stupak-ish in the wake of his getting bruised by all ends of the spectrum after his ill-advised 'yes' to 'no' switch on HCR; he won't commit to running for re-election just yet. Either he's particularly thin-skinned and vindictive about getting his widdle feewings hurt, or he's looking at some particularly unappetizing polling numbers, especially if the Working Families Party runs someone against him.
FL-Sen: Rudy & Rubio, together at last. Giuliani will become the latest johnny-come-lately to endorse Marco.
GA-Sen: Johnny Isakson, who had been hospitalized twice in one week, is now back home.
KY-Sen: Weirdo Rand Paul is launching a 1,000-point ad buy (that's big) attacking Trey Grayson as a pro-bailout insider too cozy with DC. The primary is about six weeks away. On the Dem side, The Lexington Herald-Leader reviewed state records and found that Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo has spent four times as much taxpayer money on travel, hotels and meals as AG Jack Conway. Mongiardo has also racked up expenses for the security detail that travels with him (Conway doesn't have security).
NV-Sen: Jon Ralston says that federal investigators are looking to nail John Ensign for "structuring," which is "a broad term that refers to the crime of creating financial transactions to evade reporting requirements." Ensign, you'll recall, had his parents give a $96,000 "gift" to his mistress instead of reporting it as a severance payment. The DoJ is moving very methodically, though, ever-mindful of the wretchedly botched prosecution of ex-Sen. Ted Stevens (which was thrown out on appeal due to prosecutorial misconduct.)
SD-Sen: Ugh. Not only did no Democrats file to run against John Thune, but he's become the first senator in South Dakota history to run without major-party opposition. My advice to John Thune: Save your $6 million warchest for a 2012 presidential run.
UT-Sen: Sen. Bob Bennett and his Republican challengers faced off in a debate last Friday, which saw Bennett defend earmarks and get attacked for supporting an individual mandate to buy health insurance. The GOP state convention, which will choose a nominee, is May 8th.
AL-Gov: Hah - Artur Davis, fresh off his vote against healthcare reform, is now pushing a petition on his website attacking Alabama state legislators who voted to "obstruct" the new bill.
IA-Gov: Republican pollster Magellan Data and Mapping Strategies has a survey of the Iowa gubernatorial race, showing Terry Branstand crushing incumbent Dem Chet Culver 50 to 34. Culver leads Bob Vander Plaats 40-39 and Rod Roberts 38-32. It's unclear to me whether Magellan was polling for fun or if this was on behalf of a client.
MA-Gov: Politico has a piece describing the extraordinary efforts Obama's political team is making to help Gov. Deval Patrick win re-election. Patrick has visited the White House half a dozen times over the past year, and he's the only office-seeker so far (other than Harry Reid) to have a fundraiser headlined by the president himself.
PA-Gov: The Philadelphia Daily News obtained an interesting strategy memo penned by the campaign of Dem Dan Onorato. Apparently, Onorato was prepared to challenge the signatures of opponents Joe Hoeffel and Anthony Williams. However, since Hoeffel didn't move to challenge Williams' signatures, Onorato's campaign apparently decided it was better to leave both of them alone, figuring it would be better to have two candidates from the Philly region in the race rather than one. (Onorato hails from Western PA.)
UT-Gov: Salt Lake County Mayor and Dem gubernatorial candidate Peter Corroon says he raised more than $360,000 since the start of the year. No word yet on GOP Gov. Gary Herbert's haul.
AL-03: Dems found someone to replace Josh Segall on the ballot at the last minute: Montgomery native Steve Segrest, who lost to GOPer Kay Ivey in the Treasurer's race in 2006. Segrest comes from a political family: His father served in the Alabama House and his grandfather, Napoleon Broward, was elected governor... of Florida... in 1905. In some other Alabama news, state Sen. Jim Preuitt, who had long been on the outs with the Democrats, switched parties to the GOP.
FL-08: GOP Bruce O'Donoghue says he raised $300K since joining the race, and has a similar amount on hand. O'Donoghue's camp says that this sum does not include any self-donations.
NH-01, NH-02: Dem Ann McLane Kuster, seeking Paul Hodes' open seat in NH-02, says she raised $285K in Q1, and apparently has made a record haul from New Hampshire residents. Supposedly Katrina Swett will announce a bigger haul, but no numbers yet. Meanwhile, GOPer Frank Guinta, running in NH-01, supposedly raised $250K, including $100K of his own money. (Guinta's fundraising had been pretty sucky prior to this.)
NY-19: The Republican field to take on Dem Rep. John Hall still seems very unsettled. Ophthalmologist Nan Hayworth has gotten a lot of love from the NRCC, but a broad swath of the GOP establishment in the 19th CD doesn't seem to feel similarly, and she faces several strong opponents. One of them, former Pentagon analyst Kristia Cavere, says she raised $200K in Q1 & will soon convert her exploratory committee into the real thing. Meanwhile, ex-Tuxedo Mayor David McFadden says he's raised about $100K. He also says that if he doesn't win the party's nomination at the May convention, he'll drop out.
PA-07: Dem Bryan Lentz is challenging the validity of GOP opponent Pat Meehan's signatures. As we noted previously, Lentz is also questioning the impartiality of the investigator, which happens to be Republican AG Tom Corbett's office. Lentz now has a new arrow in his quiver: Some of the same people who circulated petitions for Meehan also did so for Corbett. Even better, it looks like some local GOP leaders may have signed false affidavits saying they personally gathered signatures, even though others may have actually carried the petitions.
SD-AL: Physician Kevin Weiland had planned to challenge Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in the Democratic primary after she voted "no" on healthcare. But Weiland pulled out at the last minute, after receiving calls from Steny Hoyer, and Chris Van Hollen. He also spoke with Herseth Sandlin herself, and reportedly "negotiated an assurance from Herseth Sandlin that she would reconnect with her Democratic base in South Dakota and never vote for a repeal of the health care plan." Doesn't sound like much. He also apparently cheesed off one-time Obama strategist Steve Hildebrand, who declined to run himself but worked overtime to help Weiland gather signatures (he only had a week in which to do it) to qualify for the ballot.
TN-06: Another veteran is entering this open-seat race on the Democratic side. Brett Carter, an attorney and TN National Guardsman who served in Iraq, joins Marine Capt. Ben Leming in the Dem field.
TN-08: Things are really starting to get hot in the GOP primary in Tennessee's 8th CD. The Republican establishment isn't just stumping for agribusiness magnate Steve Fincher - they're actively attacking his opposition. Georgia Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, whose trip to Fincher's district we noted in an earlier digest, slammed physician Ron Kirkland for allegedly being wobbly on the healthcare reform bill and for his past support of Democrats. (Kirkland previously said he liked most of what was in the bill, except for the public option - and when he was chair of the American Medical Group Association when they made donations to Max Baucus.) Kirkland is no random teabagger pushover, which is why he's drawing fire. This could be an unusually interesting primary.
TX-17: The Texas Tribune takes a look at the two Republicans in a run-off for the privilege of facing Dem Chet Edwards in the fall: 2008 nominee Rob Curnock and oil exec Bill Flores. Here's an interesting detail: Flores voted in the Democratic presidential primary in 2008, supposedly "casting his ballot against Barack Obama." That's some cute spin, but if he voted for Hillary Clinton (he won't say), I don't really see how that helps him. But in any event, Flores outraised Curnock by a huge margin, $214K to $16K, in newly-filed pre-runoff FEC reports.
WA-03: Ex-state Rep. Denny Heck (D) says he raised $350K in the first quarter (including $150K of his own money), leaving him with $530K on hand.
Census: There's a bill pending in both houses of the NY state legislature that would require counting prison inmates as part of their home communities, rather than upstate, where most prisons are located. Given how dysfunctional the lege is, though, there's no telling if this badly-needed reform will actually see the light of day.
Fundraising: GOP bigs are hitting the trail on behalf of their brethren during the congressional recess. John Boehner is helping Californians Mary Bono Mack and Ken Calvert, Pete Sessions is helping Illinoisans Randy Hultgren and Adam Kinzinger, and a bunch of other top Republicans are also putting their backs into things.
Redistricting: Former DCCC nat'l field director Casey O'Shea will replace Brian Smoot as head of the National Democratic Redistricting Trust. Smoot is leaving to head up the DSCC's independent expenditure arm. (And O'Shea and Smoot are consulting partners.)
WATN: Dede Scozzafava says she's working on a memoir about last year's special election race. Can't wait to read it! She also says she's unsure about whether she'll seek reelection to her seat in the Assembly this year.
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Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani is expected to announce Tuesday he is not running for U.S. Senate or anything else in 2010, effectively ending his storied - and often stormy - electoral career, The Daily News has learned.
The announcement, at which he'll also endorse Republican Rick Lazio for governor, marks the end of a year-long political dance by Giuliani, who mulled bids for governor and then Senate before backing away from both.
Well, that leaves John Cornyn holding a big bowl of nothing over at the NRSC. Will the Republicans manage to put forth a challenger to Gillibrand with a modicum of credibility, or will all their huffing and puffing add up to naught when it really counts next year?
• NY-Sen-B: Will he or won't he? The New York Daily News gets in touch with Rudy Giuliani's friends and confidants to take the pulse of his ethereal Senatorial aspirations. The totally shocking consensus: Expect Rudy to quietly exit the electoral stage. Meanwhile, ex-NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson refuses to rule out a primary challenge to Kirsten Gillibrand.
• IA-Gov: Former GOP Gov. Terry Branstad will formally launch his campaign to topple Democrat Chet Culver in January. Branstad also recently gave Christian Fong, a Cedar Rapids insurance company exec who was briefly in the running for Governor himself earlier in the year, a thorough sniff test. Branstad is rumored to be interested in tapping Fong to be his running mate.
• IN-Gov/IN-09: It looks like we can close the book on one of the sillier NRCC-promoted retirement "rumors" of the holiday season, as Dem Rep. Baron Hill said on Saturday that he's running for another term. However, Hill confirms that he's giving a gubernatorial bid in 2012 a long look. That might not be a bad idea for him; with redistricting looming around the corner, there's a very real possibility that state Republicans will skunk up his district beyond recognition.
• FL-08: Frosh Dem Rep. Alan Grayson, continuing his quest to bring great ideas back to Congress, has filed a request with the Department of Justice to investigate and jail Republican activist Angie Langley for setting up the Grayson-themed "mycongressmanisnuts.com" website. Apparently, Grayson is upset that Langley is implying that she's one of his constituents. Somehow, I suspect that all that Grayson is accomplishing here is giving "mycongressmanisnuts.com" more opportunities to be plugged in the media.
• NC-05: Local radio host Billy Kennedy, a former member of the NC Democratic Party executive committee, is "seriously considering" challenging Teabagger Queen Virginia Foxx after being urged to look at the race by local activists.
• TN-06: While Democrats have yet to find a warm body to replace retiring Rep. Bart Gordon, the GOP primary between state Sens. Diane Black and Jim Tracy is producing some early friction. Black was forced to apologize on Friday for sending out a fundraising email under a government template that included her legislative contact information and an implied list of endorsements from GOP leaders -- including Tracy himself. (Former Rutherford County GOP Chair Lou Ann Zelenik is also in the race, proudly reppin' the lunatic wing of the GOP.)
• VA-02: Rep. Glenn Nye the Incumbent Guy, one of the ripest targets of the Democratic class of 2008, has shed a challenger, though it was one of his more inconsequential opponents. Attorney Chuck Smith, a former Marine, has dropped out of the race and endorsed automotive executive Scott Rigell in the GOP primary.
• AR-Sen: Shortest Senate campaign ever. Former Arkansas Farm Bureau president Stanley Reed, about one week into his campaign, dropped out today, citing health reasons. Reed, with his resume and connections, was considered a very credible candidate when stacked up against the rest of the ragtag band of misfits running for the GOP. On the Dem side comes the intriguing news that the SEIU is paying down Lt. Gov. Bill Halter's campaign debt. Daily Kos's Jed seems optimistic that the SEIU is facilitating a primary run against Blanche Lincoln (they said he "has a very bright political future," although not specifically referencing the Senate race), although, considering there were rumors that the SEIU's anti-Gilbert Baker ad was interpreted as a sign to Lincoln that they had her back (in exchange for her cooperation on an HCR cloture vote), it's also possible this could be a carrot from the SEIU to Halter to stay out of the primary. This one's worth keeping an eye on.
• AZ-Sen: This might be a clue that there's some growing substance to the rumors that ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth is gearing up for a primary run against John McCain. He's in Washington DC this week, meeting with potential supporters including conservative advocacy group Citizens United.
• CT-Sen: I'm not sure how much sway former Democratic state party chair Ed Marcus has over Chris Dodd or anybody else, but he's gone on the record advocating that Dodd hang it up and make way for Richard Blumenthal. Dodd's people responded that Marcus has some sort of old grudge against Dodd.
• KY-Sen: Um, whoops. Rand Paul's campaign manager Chris Hightower had to resign his post yesterday after local blog Barefoot and Progressive found racist comments on Hightower's MySpace page (and also video of performances by Hightower's death metal band... gotta love those crazy libertarians). (Wait... MySpace? Srsly?) Primary rival Trey Grayson's campaign wasted no time jumping on this, adding some fuel to their argument that Paul isn't coming from mainstream Republican turf.
• IL-Gov: Rasmussen added some gubernatorial numbers to their Illinois sample, finding fairly comfortable leads for both incumbent Pat Quinn and Dem comptroller Dan Hynes against their Republican opposition. It wouldn't be a Rasmussen poll without something inexplicable in it, though, and this time it's the decision not to poll former AG Jim Ryan, who's probably the Republican field's frontrunner. Still, Quinn beats state party chair Andy McKenna 41-33, state Sen. Bill Brady 45-30, and state Sen. Kirk Dillard 41-30, while Hynes beats McKenna 43-30, Brady 46-27, and Dillard 42-29. Interesting to see Hynes overperforming Quinn in the general, even as Hynes looks unlikely to make it out of the primary; that may have to do with some Blago-related stench coming off of Quinn (Blago's ex-LG, although they had absolutely nothing to do with each other), or just the reversal of positions, where the former reformer Quinn is now the insider and the well-connected Hynes is now the outsider. In the Dem primary, long-time SoS Jesse White threw his endorsement to Quinn. The Dem field also shrank to only Quinn and Hynes as the two minor candidates were vanquished; attorney Ed Scanlon was knocked off the ballot, while activist Dock Walls withdrew.
• NY-Gov: It had looked like Erie County Exec Chris Collins had gaffed his way out of contention for a possible run for the GOP gubernatorial nomination (after a bizarre tirade against Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver). But with Rudy Giuliani pretty clearly out of the field and ex-Rep. Rick Lazio exciting absolutely nobody, it looks like Collins may still take a whack at it. He just hired a campaign consulting firm run by a former Giuliani aide.
• IL-10: One of the four GOPers in the field in the 10th, Bill Cadigan, has dropped out; without state Rep. Beth Coulson's name rec or the money of Dick Green or Bob Dold, he really didn't have a foot in the door. Speaking of Bob Dold, Bob Dold is now on the air with a TV spot touting Bob Dold's conservative economic views. Bob Dold!
• MN-06: If there's someone out there who seems like she'd be one of those crazy bosses, it's Rep. Michele Bachmann. She's had a terrible time holding onto chiefs of staff, and now she's facing a rupture with her entire fundraising group, described as a "defection" (although it's not clear where they're defecting to).
• NH-02: This isn't going to endear ex-Rep. Charlie Bass to the teabag set, as he seeks to reclaim his seat. Bass just got a $2,500 check from NRCC chair Pete Sessions' PAC. The anti-establishment right already has to be inclined to support right-wing radio talker Jennifer Horn over the moderate Bass.
• OH-15: Ex-state Sen. (and 2008 loser) Steve Stivers won't get the GOP primary to himself; he's facing a challenge from the right from John Adams, who's labeling himself as the "conservative alternative." Stivers also faces third-party right-winger David Ryon in the general, similar to what hamstrung him last time and let Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy squeak into office.
• OH-17: Ex-Rep. (and ex-con) Jim Traficant is in the news again, sounding revved up to, well, yell and gesticulate a lot, as always. He's also still talking about another run for Congress, although he's not sure where. He said he'd circulate nominating petitions in three different districts. His former seat in the 17th is likeliest, although so too is the neighboring 6th.
• PA-10: The race in the 10th has been slow to take shape, compared with most other red-leaning districts held by Democrats. But with state Rep. Mike Peifer recently having announced he's interested in a race against Rep. Chris Carney, now someone else potentially higher up the food chain is checking it out too: former US Attorney Tom Marino, who already (wisely) passed on the race in 2008.
• PA-15: Here's one more district with teabagger troubles for the NRCC and the Republican establishment. Rep. Charlie Dent is facing his toughest challenge yet from Democratic mayor of Bethlehem John Callahan, and now comes word of a challenge in the GOP primary from 9/12 movement member Matthew Benol. There's also a third-party teabagger awaiting Dent in the general, Jake Towne.
• TN-06: State Sen. Jim Tracy seemed to have an early edge on securing the GOP nod in the now-open 6th, vacated recently by Democratic Rep. Bart Gordon. That was bolstered by his recent announcement that he'd already raised $100K in funds just this week, and that he'd gotten the endorsement of fellow state Sen. (and potential primary rival) Bill Ketron. However, he's got some competition from another fellow state Senator now: Diane Black announced that she's joining the race too. (Black is from suburban Gallatin, while Tracy is from more rural Shelbyville.)
• TN-08: Republican candidate Stephen Fincher had been successfully playing the "I'm just a humble farmer/gospel singer who's never even been to Washington" role for a while, it seems, but suddenly the teabaggers are turning their wrath on even him, too. They're taking an issue with his fundraising, as almost all of his money is coming from nearby farm families who've maxed-out on donations (which is a good sign, as his big haul so far was just him picking the low-hanging fruit; now the real test comes). What's alarming to the anti-pork crowd is that how deep in the pocket of Big Ag he seems to be; his supporters have received a cumulative $80,000,000 in farm subsidies, and Fincher himself has gotten $6,000,000 in farm subsidies over the years, including $800,000 in 2007 alone.
• WA-03: The Democratic field seems to be solidifying, with Olympia-area state Rep. Brendan Williams, a frequently-mentioned possible candidate, deciding against a run. With state Sen. Craig Pridemore and state Rep. Deb Wallace both in, the two main candidates are both from Vancouver instead. Also worth noting: peace activist Cheryl Crist is in the race for the Dems too. Crist primaried Brian Baird in 2008, doing well at the activist-dominated nominating convention but making little impact in the actual primary.
• GA-St. House: It's official; David Ralston is the new Republican speaker of Georgia's House, following the suicide attempt and resignation of former speaker Glenn Richardson. If you're looking for broader implications, it takes Ralston's name out of contention in the open seat in GA-09, where he'd been rumored to be interested in a run.
• Demographics: Josh Goodman does some neat number-tweaking, overlaying Census projections onto the 2008 presidential election to try and predict the 2052 election. Assuming that racial groups keep voting for the same parties at the same proportions, he projects 58-40 Democratic edge. Of course, that's easier said than done, as, for starters, Hispanics could return to their 2004-level GOP performance; also, as he points out, "Heck, in 40 years the Tea Party and the Green Party might be the major players in contesting the all-important cyborg vote."
• AR-Sen: State Sen. Kim Hendren got some early attention as the first entrant in the GOP field to take on Blanche Lincoln, but a few feet-in-mouth later, he doesn't seem to be taken seriously much anymore. He seems to be trying to fix that by loaning himself $200K for his campaign.
• AZ-Sen: A new poll from Republican pollster the Tarrance Group (paid for by Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America, presumably on John McCain's behalf, as it also did anti-J.D. Hayworth message testing) shows McCain faring much better in a potential Republican primary against ex-Rep. Hayworth than a Rasmussen poll did last month; they have McCain beating Hayworth 56-36, and with a 78/20 favorable. Also, Grant Woods, a former Arizona Attorney General (and more significantly, a former McCain chief of staff) filed an FEC complaint against Hayworth, accusing him of using his talk radio bullhorn to promote his potential candidacy.
• CO-Sen: Former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton is facing something of a teabagger deficit, having been ordained as the GOP establishment's candidate. But she's trying to make up for that with some red meat that pleasantly surprised members of the hard right she was appearing in front of: she advocated eliminating the Dept. of Education. (Actually, maybe that should be described as green meat, considering how long that moldy idea has been sitting on the shelf. Ask President Bob Dole how that one went over.)
• CT-Sen: Ralph Nader reiterated his interest to the Princeton University newspaper (his alma mater) in running as a Green in the Connecticut race, saying he's encouraged by the nation's anti-incumbent mood. The netroots' other least favorite person, Joe Lieberman, is heading the opposite direction: aware that any hope of winning a Democratic nomination in 2012 vaporized this week, he's now making noises about seeking the Republican nomination instead. One other 2010 note: Barack Obama plans to appear on NBC's "WWE Tribute to the Troops" special to deliver a tombstone piledriver to Linda McMahon. Ooops, actually, it looks like he's just delivering a holiday message to the troops.
• IL-Sen: It looks like all that pandering to the right wing is finally paying off for Rep. Mark Kirk; he got $5,000 from the Koch Industries PAC (Koch is one of the biggest funders of the right, including of operations like Freedom Works and the Cato Institute). It also got him a brief bit of praise from Sarah Palin via Twitter, after months of tugging at her sleeve for help. Erick Erickson still isn't buying what Kirk is selling, though, saying in his usual understated manner that Kirk "will knife [conservatives] in the chest with a smile once he gets to D.C."
• NV-Sen: This ought to just further rev up right-wingers who view former state GOP chair and former Miss New Jersey Sue Lowden as a RINO in the making. Turns out she claimed to be pro-choice when representing a Dem-leaning state Senate seat in the 1990s, while today she's claiming Roe v. Wade is a "bad decision." One more flip-flop that'll have to be dealt with, just like her previous support of Harry Reid.
• NY-Sen-B: Suffolk County Legislator Jon Cooper had been making noises about a primary challenge to Kirsten Gillibrand for many months, but apparently a face-to-face meeting with her was more than satisfactory to him, and he came out of it with an effusive endorsement of Gillibrand instead. And while we discussed the possibility of a William Thompson primary yesterday on the front page, there were also some other numbers from yesterday's Siena and Quinnipiac polls. Quinnipiac tested out Rudy Giuliani numbers, and found that on the off chance he runs, he'd beat both Gillibrand (50-40) and Thompson (52-36). Siena went with a whole bunch of permutations, finding Gillibrand losing to Giuliani 49-42, but beating ex-Gov. George Pataki (46-43) and Port Commissioner Bruce Blakeman (52-22). Thompson loses to both Giuliani (56-34) and Pataki (49-36) but beats Blakeman (40-23). They even tried out an improbable-looking GOP primary, finding Giuliani at 57 and Pataki at 26, followed by ex-state Sen. Michael Balboni at 7, Liz Feld at 6, and Blakeman at 4.
• SD-Sen: John Thune can consider himself safe for next year. He beats a Generic Dem 56-33 (fitting, since no one is running against him yet), and has approvals of 57/35. The only cloud on his horizon is that his constituents don't want him to run for President, by a 28/55 margin.
• FL-Gov: Rasmussen threw in a Florida gubernatorial race general election question to their Senate race sample (which leads to the question: are there going to be Meek/Crist and Meek/Rubio numbers forthcoming?). They find that Republican AG Bill McCollum has a small lead over Democratic CFO Alex Sink, 44-39, but that Sink has more room to grow (24% have no opinion of Sink vs. 16% for McCollum).
• KS-Gov: That didn't last long: the Kansas Dems thought they finally had a decent gubernatorial candidate in retired businessman Tom Wiggans, but he just ended his infant campaign. He cited trouble fundraising, although recent bad press about a settlement by his pharmaceutical company probably helped prompt his move too.
• NY-Gov: That same Quinnipiac sample also took a look at the New York Governor's race, finding a la Siena, that the resurrection of David Paterson (from DOA to slightly less DOA) continues apace. They find Paterson beating Republican ex-Rep. Rick Lazio, 41-37, and with an approval of 40/49 and favorable of 38/44. Paterson shouldn't break out the champagne, though, as he still loses a primary to Andrew Cuomo, 60-23, and Cuomo goes on to beat Lazio 62-22.
• CT-05: The former occupant of the 5th, ex-Rep. Nancy Johnson, endorsed state Sen. Sam Caligiuri to try and take the seat back for the GOP. The awkward part is, Caligiuri's primary opponent Justin Bernier is still touting Johnson's endorsement of him too. Johnson said that she did in fact back Bernier -- up until the moment Caligiuri (her 2002 campaign co-chair) got into the race.
• FL-08: I'm a little confused here, because it seemed like the GOP was desperately casting about for any sort of elected official to go up against Rep. Alan Grayson for a long time, and finally settled on businessman Bruce O'Donoghue... but now that all that sturm and drang is over, state Rep. Kurt Kelly says he's likely to get into the race against Grayson. Kelly's name rarely appeared on the list of potential candidates, leaving me to wonder why the NRCC didn't express any interest in him and whether they'll continue to back O'Donoghue here.
• HI-01: Hawaii may try something new in the wake of the realization that it doesn't have the money to hold a special election to replace resigning Rep. Neil Abercrombie. Elections officer Kevin Cronin says that he can't fight that feeling anymore that Hawaii may have to follow the lead of the northwestern states and conduct an all mail-in ballot. Meanwhile, ex-Rep. Ed Case isn't wasting any time; he's already hitting the airwaves with his first TV spot.
• KS-03: Despite party efforts to coalesce behind state Sen. Nick Jordan, we've definitely got a contested GOP primary in the open seat in the 3rd. State Rep. Kevin Yoder confirmed he's getting into the race.
• MD-01: What is this, the 80s? The NRCC is actually pulling out the "soft on crime" card as they road-test different lines of attack on freshman Rep. Frank Kratovil. Kratovil made his name as the Queen Anne's County state's attorney (and escaped previous "soft on crime" attacks last year in his first matchup against state Sen. Andy Harris), so they're trying to hit him on his strengths.
• NJ-07: One swing district with a freshman GOPer where the Dems have had no luck filling out their dance card is the wealthy suburban 7th. Without an elected officials interested in the race, Dems are looking at cumbersome-named Dem fundraiser Zenon Christodolou to go up against Rep. Leonard Lance.
• NY-23: A month after the fact, we finally have our official count from the special election in the 23rd (hence our finally calling our predictions contest!). Bill Owens got 73,137 votes (48.3%) to 69,553 (46.0%) for Doug Hoffman and 8,582 (5.7%) for Dede Scozzafava; the final count brought Hoffman a little closer.
• NC-08: With a lot of liberals feeling burned by freshman Rep. Larry Kissell's voting record since getting into the House, there's actually talk of a primary challenge happening. Chris Kouri, who ran for the seat in 2002 and surprised a better-known Dem in the primary before losing the general to Robin Hayes, is being courted by some in the district for another run. Kouri is the general counsel for the Lowe's Motor Speedway.
• PA-06: State Rep. Curt Schroder got an endorsement from a once-prominent conservative, ex-Rep. Bob Walker, a key Newt Gingrich henchman back in the day as well as an Elmer Fudd lookalike. Walker used to represent part of Chester County, much of which was contained in the 16th under the 1990s map. That didn't deter one more no-name Republican from getting in the already-crammed field: geologist Walt Hufford, who sits on the board of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and plans to run as a moderate.
• TN-01: Get ready for Roe v. Davis, part III. Ex-Rep. David Davis, narrowly beaten by Rep. Phil Roe in a GOP primary in this dark-red district in 2008, says to Politico that he's "strongly leaning" toward another matchup.
• TN-06: State Sen. Jim Tracy has a slight problem that could hurt him in his GOP primary in the open seat race to succeed Bart Gordon: in the 1990-2002 time period, he voted in six Democratic primaries (Tennessee voters can crossover in primaries) and only two GOP primaries. Of course, Tracy offers the defense that, in that part of the state, there was nothing to vote for but Democrats back then, but that's more grist for the teabagger mill as other candidates (like Lou Ann Zelenik) seek to woo the hard right.
• Retirements: A little more followup on the retirements front, in the wake of our front-page post yesterday: Rick Boucher and Allen Boyd have now confirmed with party leaders that they, too, will be back for re-election next year. (No surprise on Boyd, as he's already hitting the airwaves in his primary fight.) Lincoln Davis also reaffirmed his commitment, saying he's "running come hell or high water," and also saying he's not worried about the specter of GOP-controlled redistricting in 2012, saying he can't be put "in any more conservative district." (SSP's crack team of redistricters may disagree with him on that one!)
• House: Nancy Pelosi seems to be getting fed up with the Senate in many ways, and one smart way she's fighting back is saying that the House won't be going first on the tough votes anymore, and that she'll act on potentially divisive issues like EFCA and immigration reform only after the Senate has hashed it out. She has to be concerned with shielding her most vulnerable members from voting on tough votes like HCR and cap and trade only to see the legislation head into purgatory in the Senate.
• AR-Sen: We're up to eight Republicans packed into the GOP Senate field in Arkansas, none of whom are exactly top-tier but many of whom seem to have the capability to win both the primary and the general against Blanche Lincoln. The new guy is Stanley Reed, and although he hasn't held elective office before, he seems to have the insider connections to make a serious go of it: he is former president of the Arkansas Farm Bureau, and before that was chair of the Univ. of Arkansas Board of Trustees.
• CA-Sen/Gov: Here's an interesting rumor, courtesy of Chris Cillizza: moderate ex-Rep. Tom Campbell, probably the GOP's greatest threat in the general but an underfunded third-wheel in the gubernatorial primary, is considering moving over to the Senate race. Perhaps the news that Insurance Comm. Steve Poizner was planning to spend $15 million of his own moolah on his stalled gubernatorial bid was the last straw? It vaguely makes sense for Campbell (who has already run for Senate twice before, most recently in 2000), as he'd face off against underwhelming Carly Fiorina (who has lots of her own money, but no inclination to use it) and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, who has nothing but the wrath of the teabaggers powering him.
• IL-Sen: The Chicago Tribune has released polls of the primary fields in the Illinois Senate race, revealing no surprises but also still a lot of people left to make up their minds. The Democratic field finds Alexi Giannoulias in the lead at 31, with Cheryle Jackson within kind-of striking distance at 17, David Hoffman at 9, and free-spending attorney Jacob Meister at 1 (with 38% undecided). For the GOP, the most notable number may be that Patrick Hughes, who's gotten all the buzz as the guy behind whom all the right-wingers are coalescing, is actually getting nowhere at all. Hughes is at 3, tied with virtually unknown Kathleen Thomas (a former school board member from Springfield). Mark Kirk is at 41, but with 47% undecided, he still has a lot of selling to do. Speaking of which, the DSCC has a new website devoted solely to the man and his nonstop campaign-trail flip-flops: Two-Faced Kirk.
• IL-Gov: The same Chicago Tribune sample also looked at the gubernatorial primary fields. Incumbent Pat Quinn seems to be having little trouble on his path to the Dem nomination, beating Comptroller Dan Hynes 49-23. (Hynes may be second-guessing himself for getting into this race instead of the Senate field.) On the GOP side, it looks like former AG Jim Ryan (and 2002 loser) is in pole position despite his late entry to the race, thanks to being the only figure with statewide name rec. He's at 26, with state party chair Andy McKenna at 12, downstate state Sen. Bill Brady at 10, suburban state Sen. Kirk Dillard at 9, businessman Adam Andrzejewski at 6, and DuPage Co. Board President Bob Schillerstrom at 2.
• PA-Gov: Rasmussen's poll from last week of PA-Sen had a governor question too, and it shows all of the Dems getting thumped by Republican AG Tom Corbett. That probably has a lot to do with name recognition (Corbett gets his face in the news every day with Bonusgate, which is good for a bizarrely-high favorable of 59/18, while Auditor Jack Wagner is the only Dem with a statewide profile), but the Dems are starting out in a hole here once campaigning starts in earnest. Wagner fares best against Corbett, losing 43-30, while Corbett beats Allegheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato 44-28, ex-Rep. Joe Hoeffel 48-26, and Scranton mayor Chris Doherty 46-23.
• NY-Gov (pdf): Breaking! David Paterson is still in deep trouble. He's at 23/76 approval, and 19/65 re-elects. He loses the Democratic primary to Andrew Cuomo 67-23 (and opinion is certainly solidifying behind Cuomo: 50% want him to run for Governor, while 31% want him to run again for AG). The good news is that Paterson still beats hapless ex-Rep. Rick Lazio in the general, 42-40, while Cuomo beats Lazio 68-22. Siena doesn't look at Rudy Giuliani at all, making his disappearance from the governor's race pretty apparent. Siena also takes a look at the Comptroller's race (although without any William Thompson or Eliot Spitzer permutations), and find Dem Thomas DiNapoli beating GOPer John Faso, 40-24.
• RI-Gov: One state where the gubernatorial race looks less and less likely to go the Republicans' way is Rhode Island, where their only announced candidate, businessman Rory Smith, quietly backed out of the race on Friday afternoon, citing his "limited political experience and political network." Maybe state Rep. Joe Trillo could get coaxed back into the race for the GOP -- or they could just throw their backing behind former Sen. and former Republican Lincoln Chafee's independent bid (although based on his recent comments about the state party, it doesn't sound like he'd want anything to do with their backing).
• SC-Gov (pdf): One more gubernatorial poll, leftover from last week. PPP polled South Carolina, and found numbers very similar to Rasmussen's numbers from last week. Basically, Democrats need to hope for a matchup between Jim Rex (the Superintendent of Education, and only statewide Dem officeholder) and hard-partying, car-racing, plane-crashing Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer; Rex wins that matchup, 37-36. Dems lose every other permutation. Bauer manages to beat state Sen. Vincent Sheheen 38-33, and Robert Ford 37-33. AG Henry McMaster beats Rex 40-31, Sheheen 41-27, and Ford 42-27. And Rep. Gresham Barrett beats Rex 40-33, Sheheen 41-26, and Ford 42-28. (By way of comparison, Rasmussen finds Rex beating Bauer 36-35 and losing his other matchups.) PPP didn't poll the primaries, but based on favorables, McMaster may be the likeliest GOP nominee, at 30/20, compared with Barrett, little-known outside his district at 14/17, and Bauer, toxic at 22/43. PPP also ran a generic D ballot against GOP Sen. Jim DeMint, who has no-name opposition so far, finding DeMint winning 47-38.
• TX-Gov: As expected, Kinky Friedman ended his Democratic gubernatorial primary bid today. Friedman declined to endorse either Bill White (whose entry probably precipitated Friedman's exit) or Farouk Shami, despite some connections to Shami. What may not have been expected was that Friedman dropped down to the Agriculture Commissioner race, where he'll join fellow gubernatorial race refugee Hank Gilbert. While Friedman doesn't seem to have an agricultural background, he does have as an advisor and backer former Ag Comm. and populist pundit Jim Hightower.
• ID-01: I hadn't heard any rumblings about this happening, but in case anyone was wondering, Larry Grant (the former software exec who barely lost the 2006 ID-01 race to Bill Sali) said he wouldn't primary Democratic freshman Rep. Walt Minnick in 2010. Minnick has raised some hackles for being the most conservative member of the Democratic caucus (not that that shouldn't be a surprise in an R+18 district, but he's been taking that to extremes lately, leading the way to scrap the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency). Grant also denied that he'd be running in 2010 as a moderate Republican (conceivably to Minnick's left?), although he seemed to suggest that he could prevail against that field of wannabes, accusing Vaughn Ward of being a "Sarah Palin Republican" and Raul Labrador a "Bill Sali Republican." (I wonder what that would make Bill Sali, if he decided to jump in?)
• IL-10: In the Democratic primary clash in the open 10th, state Rep. Julie Hamos scored a big labor endorsement today, from the AFSCME.
• IL-14: Ethan Hastert a moderate? Either the apple falls far from the tree, or the Main Street Partnership is having to greatly expand their definition of "moderate" is order to stay relevant in a GOP intent on purging itself into oblivion. At any rate, the Main Streeters' PAC gave to Hastert (making clear where the ideological fault lines lie in his primary against state Sen. Randy Hultgren), along with OH-15's Steve Stivers, OH-16's Jim Renacci, and NH-02's Charlie Bass.
• KS-03: The specter of Republican civil war in the open seat race in Kansas's 3rd is abating, as state Sen. (and 2008 loser) Nick Jordan has the respect of both the moderate and conservative wings of the state's party. Maybe most significantly, state Sen. Jeff Colyer, from the fire-breathing camp, said today that he won't challenge Jordan in the primary. Moderate state Rep. Kevin Yoder is still exploring the race, though.
• PA-10: Sophomore Democratic Rep. Chris Carney has been one of the juiciest targets with only token Republican opposition, but the GOP may have found an elected official willing to take him on: state Rep. Michael Peifer, who represents a rural portion of the district.
• SC-01: Another Dem is in the hunt in the 1st, for the right to go up against Rep. Henry Brown (assuming he survives his primary). Retired Navy officer and accountant Dick Withington is getting in; his only political experience is losing a state Rep. race in 2004.
• TN-03: The open seat in the 3rd should be attracting at least some Democratic interest, but following the withdrawal of establishment candidate Paula Flowers last month, now even the race's Some Dude bailed out: businessman (and 2006 loser) Brent Benedict got out, citing family health concerns. A few other potentially-credible Democrats are now looking at the race, though, including Chattanooga city councilor Andrae McGary and Hamilton County Democratic party chair Jeff Brown.
• TX-10: Democratic businessman Jack McDonald has gotten lots of buzz for solid fundraising for a potential run against GOP Rep. Michael McCaul, who looks increasingly shaky in the demographically-changing 10th. Last week, he removed the "exploratory" part of his campaign account, making it official, although clearly he's been acting like a candidate all year.
• VA-05: The Virginia GOP decided on a primary, rather than a convention, to pick the person who takes on endangered freshman Rep. Tom Perriello in the 5th. In a weird way, the primary is better news for the party's establishment, as the conventions tend to be dominated by the extremists who pick pure but unelectable candidates (recall last year's Senate flap, where the decision to have a convention drove out moderate Rep. Tom Davis and left them with ex-Gov. Jim Gilmore). With their top contender, state Sen. Rob Hurt, coming from the sane wing of the party, that increases his odds of getting through to the general -- but the downside is that this may drive dissatisfied teabaggers to the third-party right-wing candidacy of Bradley Rees in the general.
• WA-03: A journeyman Democrat is considering the open seat race in the 3rd, potentially setting up a primary with early entrant state Rep. Deb Wallace. Denny Heck was a state Rep. in the 80s, lost a Superintendent of Education race, became Gov. Booth Gardner's chief of staff, and then founded TVW, the state's local equivalent of C-SPAN. The article also mentions a couple other Dems interested in the race not previously mentioned, including state Sen. Brian Hatfield.
• Mayors: In a runoff election that had an undercurrent of homophobia thanks to the involvement of outside groups, city controller Annise Parker won on Saturday, making Houston by far the largest city to ever elect an openly LGBT mayor. She defeated former city attorney Gene Locke 53-47.
• Redistricting: The Texas Tribune takes a look at the many moving parts in legislative redistricting post-2010 in Texas. Factors include whether the Dems will be able to pick up the state House next year (sounding less likely), and which state officials are on the Legislative Redistricting Board (which takes over if the legislature can't agree, which seems likely anyway since there's a 2/3s requirement for the maps to clear the Senate and the GOP is short of 2/3s there).
• Demographics: Governing Magazine has an interesting piece on Gwinnett County, Georgia, which is as good an example as any of how suburbs, even in some of the reddest states, are becoming bluer as they become more diverse thanks to immigration. Gwinnett County has fallen below 50% non-Hispanic white, and it gave Obama 44% of the vote last year.
• Polltopia: PPP is asking for help yet again on which congressional district to poll next. This time, it'll be a GOP-held district: Michele Bachmann's MN-06, Lee Terry's NE-02, or Pat Tiberi's OH-12.