• AZ-Sen: So what the heck happened with Trent Franks? The Arizona Guardian is reporting that the Republican Congressman had been promising people jobs on his pending Senate campaign, and that his people had even gone so far as to ensure proper media risers were available at the hotel where Franks was supposed to make his big announcement. Yet it all vanished in a heartbeat when Franks unexpectedly pulled the plug. Says the Guardian: "The good thing is, there's still another year-and-a-half to get the full story before the 2012 elections." Also, in case you haven't seen it yet, Dave Catanese penned a piece explaining the backstory on how he got burned by Franks' consultant. It just adds to all the weirdness.
• FL-Sen: Tucked inside that Quinnipiac poll which showed tough numbers for Obama was this nugget:
Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who like Obama is on the 2012 ballot, is in better shape, with a 47-26 percent approval rating, a 43-39 percent lead over an unidentified Republican and voters saying 43-35 percent that he deserves another term in the Senate.
• MI-Sen (PDF): A week or so ago, Republican-affiliated pollster Market Research Group offered some better-than-everyone-else approval ratings for Gov. Rick Snyder. Apparently, they also polled the Senate race at the same time, pitting Dem Debbie Stabenow against Some Dude Randy Hekman. Amusingly, the polling memo says the Senator has a "slim" 11-point lead over Hekman, 45-34. But the real problem is the sample, which is 26 R, 26 D, 43 I - in other words, nothing like reality.
MRG also polled a hypothetical state Supreme Court matchup between incumbent Supreme Court Justice Brian Zahra and former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, which had Zahra up 38-33. (Moving from the statehouse to the high court is not unheard of in Michigan.) Speaking of Granholm, she was supposedly under consideration to head up the Consumer Financial Protection Board but says she withdrew her name (and likes Elizabeth Warren for the job). It sounds like Granholm is keeping pretty busy, and the article notes she's teaching at UC Berkeley, so perhaps she's enjoying the weather out in Cali a bit more than back home. But Granholm is a former state AG and was even supposedly a possible Supreme Court pick, so perhaps a judicial run is plausible.
• PA-Sen: Sam Rohrer, the teabaggy ex-state Rep. who got pounded by Tom Corbett in the PA-Gov GOP primary last year, says he's "50-50" on running against Bob Casey this cycle. Rohrer has the perfect pedigree: He runs the Pennsylvania chapter of the malevolent David Koch front group Americans for Prosperity.
NBC 4's reporter-anchor Craig Melvin is a tall African-American. Which apparently led to this exchange with former Sen. George Allen, according to Melvin's Twitter account Tuesday night:
"For the 2nd time in 5 months, fmr. gov. and sen candidate George Allen asks me,"what position did you play?" I did not a play a sport."
Actually, I changed my mind. If you still don't think George Allen is a racist fuck, read this coda from ThinkProgress writer Lee Feng. And no, Allen didn't apologize - he offered a classic bullshit "I'm sorry if I offended you" response. That's bullshit.
Anyhow, Roanoke College released a poll of the race, showing Allen leading Tim Kaine by 45-32 - a rather different picture than what we saw from PPP. However, the WaPo ran an above-the-item update warning readers to be "cautious" about this survey because "[r]esults were adjusted only for gender, and the resulting sample is not representative of Virginia's racial composition, its age structure or regional population densities." It also looks like the horserace question was asked after about a bajillion issue-related questions (PDF), some of them kind of weird.
Finally, in Some Dude news... some other Some Dude (an African-American minister named Earl Jackson) decided to get into the GOP primary, a race with a lot of Some Dudes already in it.
• GA-Gov: PPP did a re-do poll in Georgia, too, and found Dem ex-Gov. Roy Barnes would edge actual Gov. Nathan Deal by a single point today, 46-45. Tom says that this isn't a case of voter disgust with Deal (he has pretty meh ratings, not downright radioactive ones like Scott Walker), but rather a clear sign of last year's enthusiasm gap that will forever haunt us. There's also a smorgasbord of other Peach State odds-and-ends at the link.
• KY-Gov: Gov. Steve Beshear (D) is out with his first radio ads of the campaign, touting his small-town roots, a week after his likely Republican opponent, David Williams, also went up on radio. Unlike Beshear, Williams faces a primary on May 17th, so he's also going up on cable TV with a new ad you can watch here. NWOTSOTB for any of these.
• MS-Gov: Turns out PPP did in fact test the Republican gubernatorial primary in Mississippi. Click through if you really, really care. (Hint: You won't.)
• UT-Gov: State Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, a teabagger fave to challenge immigration apostate Gary Herbert for the governor's mansion, says on Facebook that he has "no plans or intentions to run." (Yes, it would be more awesome if his name were Stephen Sandstorm.)
• WV-Gov: In case you weren't sure where all the players in the Democratic primary field stand on the ideology spectrum (something we'll be rectifying with a more in-depth post shortly), this is a helpful guidepost: Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin was endorsed by the WV Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber also endorsed the only two legit Republicans running, Betty Ireland and Bill Maloney.
• CA-26, CA-06: Assemblyman Anthony Portantino is getting some high-profile fundraising help: Steve Israel is coming out to Pacific Palisades this weekend for a breakfast event. The same piece also notes that Assemblyman Jared Huffman raised $120K for a federal account in Q1; Huffman is interested in 73-year-old Rep. Lynn Woolsey's seat, if she retires. Woolsey apparently will decide whether to seek another term by June.
• IL-08: I'm not exactly broken up by this news: Ex-Rep. Melissa Bean, whose race was the closest in the nation last year (she lost by 290 votes to a real piece of work), says she won't run again. She's now CEO of something called the Executives Club of Chicago, which doesn't really give off a man-of-the-people vibe, now does it?
• MI-09: If there's one guy repeatedly written off as a redistricting victim who I'd really love to see find a way to survive, it's Rep. Gary Peters. Despite what must have been an exhausting last several years raising money, the Michigan Dem wasted no time getting right back into the game, pulling in over $400K in Q1. He has half a mil on hand.
• NM-01: This Roll Call piece (also linked below in a redistricting item) mentions a few Dem names we hadn't discussed here before: state Rep. Al Park, Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver, and Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham, who lost the 2008 primary for this seat.
• NY-13: Ex-Rep. Mike McMahon will join the "government relations" (i.e., lobbying) group at a mid-sized NYC law firm. He's apparently being brought on as "counsel" status, rather than as a partner, so this could just be a way-station to allow him to pay the bills as he weighs a re-match... but of course, he risks getting hit with the lobbyist taint.
• PA-17: Activist Sheila Dow-Ford confirms the rumors that she's considering another run against Rep. Tim Holden, against whom she took 35% in the Democratic primary last year. Holden could get a bluer district when all is said and done, so a challenge from the left is a real possibility - but as Dow-Ford herself notes, others are interested, and I wouldn't be surprised if some bigger-name candidates got in if the seat became markedly more Dem.
• UT-02: Huh - I can't exactly accuse the Salt Lake Tribune of burying the lede, since they put this in the second graf, but Rep. Jim Matheson says he's waiting to see what the new district lines look like before deciding whether to run again, or instead if he'll seek statewide office. A statewide run doesn't seem like a particularly appealing escape hatch, but both Gov. Gary Herbert (see item above) and Sen. Orrin Hatch could wind up damaged by teabaggers, so you never know. A couple of other statewide offices Matheson could see (Treasurer, Auditor) are up as well.
Also, Some Dude Chuck Williams, an Air Force vet who lost a couple of GOP primaries for Congress... in California... says he plans to challenge Matheson for his House seat, and that he'll run regardless of where the lines get drawn.
• VA-11: Via FEC Kenobi, Some Dude Christopher Perkins just filed as a Republican to challenge Gerry Connolly. That's a pretty un-Google-able name, so I can't tell you much about him... though I do know his home is worth $743,130!
• WV-01: Freshman Rep. David McKinley (R), who won a close race last year, says he's raised over half a mil in the first quarter. Note, though, that he still has $670K in campaign debt from last cycle.
• Allegheny Co. Exec.: PoliticsPA, via Municipoll, has a race out on the Allegheny, PA County Executive's race. I'm gonna admit straight off the bat that I don't know the players here, but click through for details.
• IN-SoS: So a judge allowed a Dem challenge to SoS Charlie White's eligibility to serve in office to proceed, but really, you just need to read Bob Bobson's summary of where things stand - and where things will head now. (Bob's been doing an awesome job of staying on top of this oftentimes-complicated story, so pay attention to him.)
• Champaign, IL Mayor: Here's a nice little election result that we otherwise missed: The avowedly teabagging mayor of Champaign, Illinois was narrowly defeated by a political newcomer on Tuesday night, the first time, in fact, that he'd ever been opposed in 12 years in office. I'm a little surprised that the university town of Champaign would have elected such a wingnut in the first place, but this is still good news.
• Specials: Johnny Longtorso:
Democrat Kevin Johnson won a 5-point victory over Republican Sonny Sanders in South Carolina's HD-64.
[On whether this seat was supposedly a Dem stronghold:]
I took another look at it; it's almost all of a county that Obama got around 56% in along with one or two precincts of an adjacent county, and it's about 50/50 white/black, so black turnout may have been low. So he just did a few points worse than Obama's numbers in 2008.
• Wisconsin Recall: Dems filed over 22,000 signatures to recall state Sen. Randy Hopper yesterday. Republicans claim they are close to filing petitions for Sen. Robert Wirch, one of the more endangered Dems on the list.
• WATN?: Ethan Hastert, son of ex-Speaker Denny the Hutt and victim of a genuinely impressive teabagger-fueled anybody-but-Ethan movement to deny him the GOP nomination in IL-14 last year, has managed to win elective office this year. He earned a council seat in the village of Elburn, IL, which has a population that is actually a few thousand smaller than my census tract. Don't call it a comeback!
• Arkansas: Total impasse: The state House rejected the state Senate's congressional redistricting plan, complementing the Senate's recent rejection of the House plan. Some procedural maneuvers may be used to try to get things moving forward again, which lawmakers are probably eager to do, since the legislative session was scheduled to end over a week ago.
• California: Look, it's basically impossible to find a law firm that knows anything about redistricting which has never had any prior political involvement. So I don't understand why it's coming as a surprise that Gibson Dunn, the firm hired by the redistricting commission, has a political fund and has used it to make donations. Oh wait, I think I do - it's because most (but by no means all) of those donations were made to Democrats, so the GOP is continuing its plan to do everything it can to "discredit" the entire process. It's especially silly, because the firm specifically tasked one Dem attorney and one Republican attorney to lead the effort... but then again, the GOP is especially silly.
• Louisiana: Nathan Gonzales has a good piece untangling the wreck that is Louisiana redistricting, and offering some insight into the behind-the-scenes process. I strongly encourage you to click through the link for the full flavor. (As an inducement, there's a bowl full of cat food inside.) Apparently, a compromise plan is in the works, but Nathan says that if an agreement isn't reached by next week, the lege will have to wait until next year to finish its work. (They can't call a special session?) Anyhow, like I say, read the whole thing.
• New Mexico: Though legislators won't hold a special session on redistricting until the fall, apparently a plan is brewing among Democrats to excise GOP-leaning Torrance County from the 1st CD. The problem, though, is that while Dems control the lege, Gov. Susana Martinez is, of course, a Republican - a very similar situation to the last round of map-drawing in 2001, which eventually ended up in court.
• Texas: You can play with various Texas map proposals at the link.
• Virginia: Two Virginia items. First, the House of Delegates approved the Republican gerrymander for that body, though most Democrats were actually stupid enough to vote in favor of the plan. (Hasn't anyone ever heard of a symbolic protest vote to at least signal to your supporters that you know you're getting the shaft, even if it's for the greater good?) Second, a (the?) congressional plan was released, and it's potentially not as bad as it could be. Have a look-see.
• 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%
Joe Sestak (D): 40 (34)
Pat Toomey (R): 42 (42)
Undecided: 16 (22)
Dan Onorato (D): 37 (33)
Tom Corbett (R): 43 (45)
Undecided: 19 (21)
Jack Wagner (D): 28 (29)
Tom Corbett (R): 47 (48)
Undecided: 23 (21)
Joe Hoeffel (D): 26 (28)
Tom Corbett (R): 49 (50)
Undecided: 22 (21)
Quinnipiac released the general election half of its sample today (note that they still aren't polling likely voters on November, despite their switch to LVs for the primary). Two big things leap out here: first, Joe Sestak has really turned the pro-Specter electability argument on its head. What seemed to hold him back earlier was his unknownness, which has changed now that he's actually advertising and increasing his profile. Sestak has pulled within 2 of Toomey, up from an 8 point gap, while Specter has lost ground vs. Toomey, currently a 7-point gap instead of April's 5. In addition, there are more persuadables left open in Sestak/Toomey. And second, while I'd just about written the gubernatorial race off for dead, it also seems like Dan Onorato is trying to make a race of this against Tom Corbett, as he too is getting better-known throughout the state. Onorato within 6 is the best result any pollster has seen so far.
Joe Sestak (D): 49
Arlen Specter (D-inc): 40
Dan Onorato (D): 46
Anthony Williams (D): 13
Jack Wagner (D): 9
Joe Hoeffel (D): 8
Suffolk weighs in with their first poll of the Pennsylvania race, and these are some attention-getting numbers: they find Joe Sestak up by 9 over Arlen Specter, by far the largest margin anyone has seen for him. They also have Dan Onorato at 46, which is the first time he's broken into the 40s against his multiple opponents. (Suffolk, as you may remember, was bang-on in predicting their home state in MA-Sen, but whiffed pretty badly on NJ-Gov, so you can decide how much weight to give this one.) They also looked at the GOP primaries, and like everyone else, found nothing to see here: Tom Corbett beats Sam Rohrer 58-20 and Pat Toomey beats Peg Luksik 60-9.
Muhlenberg College for Allentown Morning Call (pdf) (5/9-12, likely voters, 5/8-11 in parentheses):
Dan Onorato (D): 39 (37)
Anthony Williams (D): 14 (15)
Joe Hoeffel (D): 11 (8)
Jack Wagner (D): 9 (9)
Undecided: 27 (30)
There's little to report in today's Muhlenberg daily tracker. Specter and Sestak are still tied, although undecideds have ticked up a bit. Finally, at least one more poll is forthcoming: Research 2000 will have a poll out tomorrow, if not later tonight.
Dan Onorato (D): 38 (36)
Jack Wagner (D): 11 (8)
Anthony Williams (D): 10 (8)
Joe Hoeffel (D): 9 (9)
Undecided: 32 (37)
Quinnipiac is the first pollster out of many polls to find that Arlen Specter has a lead in the Democratic Senate primary (hard to believe, even a month ago, that I'd be saying those words). They've switched to a likely voter model, with May 18 fast approaching, but the main difference over the last few weeks is that Joe Sestak hit the airwaves hard, which seemed to upend this race. They also take a look at the sleepy GOP primaries, finding Tom Corbett beating Sam Rohrer 57-14 on the gubernatorial side and Pat Toomey beating Peg Luksik 60-9. (Remember when I thought that the squishy-on-abortion Toomey might face some trouble against single-issue pro-lifer Luksik, who was more of a force back in the 1990s, in the primary? Well, looks like I was wrong on that one.)
Franklin & Marshall (5/3-9, registered voters except likely voters for Dem Senate primary, 3/15-21 in parens):
Dan Onorato (D): 27 (11)
Jack Wagner (D): 5 (7)
Anthony Williams (D): 5 (4)
Joe Hoeffel (D): 4 (5)
Undecided: 57 (71)
Franklin & Marshall switches back to their choose-your-own-adventure approach, offering a choice of LV or RV numbers in the Democratic primary for the Senate. What's happening in the Dem primary mirrors what they've previously found in the general: that Specter wins among all registered voters, but loses among those actually likely to vote. Among RVs, Specter leads Sestak 38-29. (Note the huge margin of error on their Dem LV sample. The RV sample, which was the only way Governor primary numbers were reported, is down in the normal range, though.) F&M's numbers on the GOP primaries are Corbett 29, Rohrer 10, and Toomey 28, Luksik 1. (Yep, definitely not happening for Luksik this year.) They also include general election numbers, which show tightening vs. Toomey as the Dems are moving to front-of-mind thanks to their ad deluges.
Muhlenberg College for Allentown Morning Call (pdf) (5/8-11, likely voters, 5/7-10 in parentheses):
Dan Onorato (D): 37 (33)
Anthony Williams (D): 15 (15)
Jack Wagner (D): 9 (9)
Joe Hoeffel (D): 8 (10)
Undecided: 30 (34)
Finally, is there some Arlen-mentum in the daily Muhlenberg tracker? After Sestak peaking with a 5-point lead, now the duo are back to a tie today. Taking all the data together, I don't think you can call this anything but the deadest of dead heats.
• Election results: Yesterday's big event was the special election in FL-19, the first real electoral test after the passage of HCR. The allegedly massive opposition to healthcare reform on the part of the district's many seniors never really materialized. Democratic state Sen. Ted Deutch beat Republican Ed Lynch 62-35, with very little falloff from Obama's 65-34 performance in 2008. (Contrast that with John Garamendi's so-so 53-43 performance in November's CA-10 special election, a similarly 65-33 district in 2008.)
I should also pause to offer a little credit to Texas's Republicans, who voted for the less crazy candidates in the Board of Education and Supreme Court runoffs, and in a bigger surprise to me, for the Hispanic-surnamed candidates in the TX-17 and TX-23 runoffs (which, based on incumbent Victor Carrillo's trouncing in the Railroad Commissioner primary, seemed unlikely to happen). The NRCC has to be pleased to see the wealthier and less wingnutty Bill Flores and Quico Canseco emerge. Rep. Chet Edwards, however, is one guy who knows how to stand and fight, and he wasted no time hitting Flores hard and defining him as a carpetbagger in big oil's pocket.
One other leftover issue from last night: two races in California, as expected, are headed to runoffs. In Republican-held SD-12, Republican Assemblyman Bill Emmerson will face off against Democrat Justin Blake (the GOPers combined got more than 60% of the vote, so this is a likely hold), while in safely-Democratic AD-43, Democratic lawyer Mike Gatto will face off with Republican Sunder Ramani to replace now-LA city councilor Paul Krekorian. Gatto seemed to shoot the gap in this heavily Armenian-American district after the two Armenian candidates, Chahe Keuroghelian and Nayiri Nahabedian, nuked each other.
• AR-Sen: Bill Halter's primary campaign gained more momentum, as he picked up an endorsement from the Alliance for Retired Americans, pleased with his time as a Social Security Administration official. One group that really isn't getting on board with Halter, though, is the Berry family; first outgoing Rep. Marion Berry dissed Halter, and now his son, Mitch, is head of a group, Arkansans for Common Sense, that's running ads attacking Halter on the Social Security front. (Are there any Arkansans who are actually against common sense?)
• CO-Sen: Looks like GOP establishment candidate Jane Norton sees the handwriting on the wall and is taking a page from Democrat Michael Bennet's book: not able to rely on getting on the ballot via activist-dominated convention (where teabagger-fueled Ken Buck seems likely to triumph), she's making plans to qualify by finding 1,500 signatures in each of the state's seven congressional districts. Speaking of Bennet, he's still the fundraising kingpin in this race; he just announced he raised $1.4 million last quarter, well ahead of Norton's $816K.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist may have sounded Shermanesque last week in his determination not to switch to an Independent bid for Governor, but apparently now there's increasing moves within his inner circle to move in that direction. Unnamed advisors are floating the idea to the WSJ today.
• IN-Sen: Dan Coats seems to be having more trouble making the transition from the free-wheelin' world of high-stakes lobbying back to the humdrum electoral politics world, where you actually have to follow the rules and stuff. He's 10 days overdue on filing his finance disclosure reports with the FEC. One note that the Beltway press seemed to miss though: his main GOP primary opponent, ex-Rep. John Hostettler hasn't made his filing yet either. (Of course, fundraising was never Hostettler's strong suit. Or even his weak suit.)
• NC-Sen (pdf): PPP issued its latest installment in polls of the Senate general election in its home state. Maybe the biggest surprise is that incumbent Republican Richard Burr's approvals are just continuing to fall; he's currently at 32/41 (while likeliest opponent Elaine Marshall is in positive territory at 19/11). Also encouraging, I suppose, is that the actual human Democrats are starting to draw even with Generic D (while previous polls have had Generic D far outpacing them), showing they're getting better-defined. Burr leads Generic D 43-38, while he leads Marshall 43-37, and leads both Cal Cunningham and Kenneth Lewis 43-35.
• NY-Sen-B: With ex-Gov. George Pataki's phantom interest in this race finally having been dispelled, Swing State Project is removing this race from its "Races to Watch" list.
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): One more poll in the rapidly-becoming-overpolled Pennsylvania Senate race, this time from Republican pollster Susequehanna. They use an LV model, and find Pat Toomey with a 48-38 lead over Arlen Specter. Of more immediate consequence, they find Specter leading Joe Sestak 42-28 in the Dem primary. They also polled both primaries in the gubernatorial race, finding Dan Onorato seeming to break away from the ill-defined pack among the Dems. Onorato is at 32, followed by Joe Hoeffel at 13, Jack Wagner at 6, and Anthony Williams at 4. Tom Corbett beats down Sam Rohrer on the GOP side, 50-7. After marshaling his resources, Specter is finally starting to open fire; he's up with his first TV ad of the cycle starting today.
• WI-Sen: The only thing that's sure is that Tommy Thompson likes to see his name in the press. There's been a lot of conflicting reporting about Tommy Thompson today, with many outlets running with the story that he's decided against running for Senate (that all traces back to one leak to a local TV station, although it sounds like Politico got some confirmation from an anonymous GOP source). Other outlets are emphasizing that Thompson's spokesperson says that Thompson hasn't made a final decision, though. Either way, Thompson will be announcing his plans at a Tea Party rally tomorrow in Madison, so our pain will be ended tomorrow one way or the other.
• MA-Gov: Here's more evidence for my expectation that Dem-turned-indie Tim Cahill will be running to the right (or at least to the incoherent-angry-working-class-Catholic-guy-position) of the Republican in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race this year. He's appearing at today's Tea Party rally on Boston Common today, the same one with Sarah Palin that Scott Brown ditched (although MA-10 candidate Joe Malone and GOP gubernatorial underdog Christy Mihos will be there). Likely GOP gubernatorial nominee Charlie Baker (from the party's old-school moderate WASP tradition) decided against attending, probably out of fears that he might get jostled by some ruffian and spill some of his gin and tonic on his white Bermuda shorts.
• MN-Gov: Two blasts from the past in the Minnesota gubernatorial race. Walter Mondale weighed in in favor of Democratic state House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, while a guy I've never heard of named Al Quie, who claims to have been governor from 1979 to 1983, endorsed Republican Marty Seifert.
• NE-Gov: Via press release, the campaign for Democratic candidate Mark Lakers let us know that he took in $314K, impressive considering his late entry to the campaign.
• AL-07: State Rep. Earl Hilliard Jr. got an endorsement from the United Steelworkers, a union that seems to still have a lot of clout in Birmingham, once a major steel town.
• AZ-03: Now here's some news I didn't expect: the fundraising champ in the 3rd isn't one of the many state legislators running here, but rather attorney (and vice-presidential progeny) Ben Quayle. He pulled in $550K in the first quarter, thanks no doubt to family connections. There are a couple other self-funders in the race too, but the elected officials seem to be lagging: case in point, well-known ex-state Sen. Pamela Gorman, who raised only $37K and ends with $23K CoH.
• FL-24: Rep. Suzanne Kosmas announced a haul of $260K for the first quarter. That's less than the $340K reported by her likely GOP opponent, steakhouse mogul Craig Miller (although a slab of his money was apparently carved out of his own personal funds); Kosmas has a big CoH advantage, though, sitting on more than $1 million.
• GA-07: Retiring Republican Rep. John Linder didn't look far to endorse a replacement for him: he gave his nod to his former chief of staff, Rob Woodall.
• HI-01: Sen. Dan Inouye just transferred $100K of his money to the DCCC, despite appearances that they're actively backing Ed Case, rather than Colleen Hanabusa, who has the support of Inouye (and pretty much everyone else in the local Democratic establishment). Inouye has apparently been working behind the scenes, including reaching out to Nancy Pelosi, to get the DCCC to dial back their Case support, so maybe the cash infusion will give him a little more leverage. (Inouye is sitting on $3.2 million and faces little if any opposition this year.)
• IN-03: Nice fundraising numbers from Democrat Tom Hayhurst, who ran a surprisingly close race against Rep. Mark Souder in 2006 and is back for another try. Hayhurst has racked up $234K CoH, more than Souder ($99K in the first quarter).
• IN-05: Politico has a look at Rep. Dan Burton's difficult primary in the 5th, in Indianapolis's dark-red suburbs. While Burton may actually be safer this year compared with 2008 (since he has four opponents instead of just one), the article traces the roots of the local GOP's discontent with him, and also shows the magnitude of his collapse in support: only 2 of the 11 local party organizations are supporting Burton this time.
• MO-08: Another Dem in a dark-red seat who keeps impressing everybody with his tenacity is Tommy Sowers. The veteran and college instructor, who's challenging Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, raised $295K in the first quarter and is now sitting on $675K CoH.
• NM-02: Ex-Rep. Steve Pearce can write himself his own checks if he needs to, but he may not need to at this rate. Pearce raised $277K in the first quarter, and now sits on $708K. Democratic Rep. Harry Teague hasn't reported yet, but in the duel of wealthy oil guys, he can self-fund too if need be.
• NY-14: With Democratic primary challenger Reshma Saujani having some success on the financial front, Rep. Carolyn Maloney got some top-tier help from Barack Obama, who endorsed her and sent out a fundraising appeal on her behalf.
• PA-11: If this doesn't wake up Rep. Paul Kanjorski from his nap, I don't know what will. Three-time Republican opponent Lou Barletta raised $300K in the first quarter. An important caveat: there was no mention of cash on hand, which is telling because Barletta was still saddled with a lot of debt from his 2008 campaign when he decided to run again. (UPDATE: Barletta's CoH is now $205K.)
• PA-17: Republican state Sen. David Argall raised a tolerable but not-too-impressive $125K in the first quarter. He'll need more than that to battle Rep. Tim Holden, who, if nothing else, has great survival skills (he had the worst district of any freshman who survived 1994, and then survived a 2002 gerrymander designed to rub him out). In fact, he'll need more than that just for his primary; heretofore unknown GOP opponent ex-Marine Frank Ryan raised $70K in the first quarter.
• Redistricting: Maryland beat out New York to be the first state in the nation to enact legislation that will, in terms of redistricting, treat prisoners as residents of their last known address, rather than where they're incarcerated (and thus move the center of gravity back toward the cities from the countryside). Also, on the redistricting front, if there's one group of people who are the target audience for a whole movie about redistricting (Gerrymandering), it's the crowd at SSP. The film's director has a diary up, touting its release in two weeks at the Tribeca Film Festival.
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio seemed to beat Charlie Crist to the punch on calling for repeal of the health care reform bill passed over the weekend, but now the allegedly-moderate Crist is getting in on the act too, saying he opposes the entire bill and supports the lawsuit by Republican AGs (including Florida's Bill McCollum) against the package.
• KY-Sen: I really can't decide who I'd rather have in my corner. Rand Paul has the backing of lots of crackpots with computers and open wallets, as he had another online moneybomb yesterday to the tune of $262K. Trey Grayson, on the other hand, has the backing of establishment favorite... Dick Cheney?
• NY-Sen, NY-Sen-B: Earlier in the day, there were rumors that the state GOP in New York was desperately trying to get someone from the GOP field against Kirsten Gillibrand (which doesn't have any top-tier talent, but at least has a bunch of warm bodies) to switch over to the even more unenviable task of facing off against Chuck Schumer, where they've got nobody. Their favored candidate for that job seemed to be former Bush spokesperson Dan Senor. Maybe that rubbed Senor the wrong way, or maybe there's more to the story, but either way, that changed by mid-day today, as Senor suddenly said he not only wasn't running against Schumer but not running for anything, period, saying the timing wasn't right for him. (Well, maybe they'll have better luck getting David Malpass to switch over.)
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): More up-and-down numbers from Franklin & Marshall this month, as their latest look at the Senate race finds Pat Toomey beating Arlen Specter 33-29 among RVs. Last month, Specter (currently at a terrible 30/45 favorable) led by the same 33-29 margin. (Recall that for the last couple months, F&M was releasing separate numbers for RVs and LVs. They seem to have dropped that unwieldy formulation in favor of RVs only, for now.) They find Toomey beating Joe Sestak 27-19 in the general, Specter beating Sestak 32-12, and in the forgotten GOP primary, Toomey defeating pro-life activist Peg Luksik 30-4. They do only the primaries in the slow-to-take-shape Governor's race, finding Dan Onorato leading among Dems at 11, followed by Jack Wagner at 7, Joe Hoeffel at 5, and Anthony Williams at 4. Tom Corbett leads state Rep. Sam Rohrer 28-4 on the GOP side.
• UT-Sen: Last night was caucus night in Utah, where precincts chose delegates to the state convention which may or may not be Bob Bennett's Waterloo. It's hard to gauge, at this point, how things turned out for Bennett last night; the convention, which will determine whether he can avoid (or even make it to) a primary will be real proof. With filings closed in Utah, Democrats left a lot of seats unchallenged in the dark-red legislature, leaving 15 of 75 House seats and 2 of 15 Senate seats without Ds.
• WA-Sen: Dino Rossi was spotted in DC yesterday to meet with Michael Steele about a possible Senate run. He isn't expected to make a decision until close to the June 11 primary, though (which seems odd, since he'd be basically starting from scratch at that point to go against Patty Murray's mammoth war chest).
• IL-10: Bob Dold doesn't need this. Turns out that Dold, who cozied up to the teabaggers in his primary run and touted his opposition to abortion (in order to squeak past moderate state Rep. Beth Coulson), has turned on a dime and is now calling himself "pro-choice" and "a fiscal conservative and social moderate" in order to run against Dan Seals in the general in this D+6 district.
• MA-10: Republican flavor-of-the-month Scott Brown has weighed in on the GOP primary in the open seat in the 10th, not coincidentally the district where he fared the best in the special election. And he chose new over old, opting for state Rep. Jeff Perry instead of long-ago state Treasurer Joe Malone.
• MI-01: Connie Saltonstall's primary challenge to Bart Stupak may have lost some of its raison d'etre over the weekend, but it's still proceeding full speed ahead with some new supporters that may be able to make it rain money for her: Planned Parenthood and NARAL's PACs. NOW had previously endorsed Saltonstall as well.
• NJ-12: Scott Sipperelle, the random businessman running against Rush Holt in the D+5 12th, apparently has money to burn as he's already hitting the TV airwaves, with an ad blasting Holt for his health care vote. It's a cable buy, though (in case you were having visions of him blanketing the NYC and Philly markets), so it could be a tiny expenditure aimed at getting free media for all we know.
• SD-AL: Even with Scott Hildebrand having folded his hand quickly on a threatened Stephanie Herseth Sandlin primary challenge, it sounds like another less-known Dem is getting in on it. Rapid City doctor Kevin Weiland is sounding out a run.
• VA-05: "We've given the word 'mob' a bad name." The gas line at the Perriello household was mysteriously cut, after Rep. Tom Perriello's gutsy HCR vote. Um, oooops... that was the Bo Perriello household, as several local teabaggers mistakenly posted the Congressman's brother's address on their websites and urged protesters to stop by for a friendly visit. The guy who posted the address (and refused to take it down after finding out it was the wrong Perriello) is now publicly "shocked" that one of his ilk would resort to violence. Oh, and the FBI is investigating. Tom Perriello, on the other hand, displayed only sangfroid, saying "If the worst thing that happens is that special-interest groups spend millions of dollars against me and my most ardent opponents organize against me, it's hardly a 'cry me a river' moment - as long as people act civil and within the law."
• WV-01: In the choice between conservadem and even-more-conservadem in the Democratic primary in the 1st, it's becoming pretty clear which one is which: state GOP chair Douglas McKinney praised Alan Mollohan's opponent state Sen. Mike Oliverio, saying he "has always been a conservative guy. He votes with the Republican on committees. We've joked for years he needs to come over to the party who thinks like he does."
• HCR: Are some of the saner GOP members of Congress starting to come to their senses as the fog of war starts to dissipate? (Or are they just seeing the shift in the polls and engaging in some pre-emptive ass-covering?) The oft-blustery Rep. Pete King is urging his fellow GOPers to "get constructive" and "stop demonizing" health care reform and the Dems. And Chuck Grassley, almost single-handedly responsible for bogging the bill down and giving legs to the "Death Panel" lie in the August of Dems' discontent, is now happily talking up his own positive contributions to the bill, regarding tax-exempt hospitals.
• DNC: The DNC is wheeling out a seven-figure budget for running ads in the wake of health care's passage. It's two-pronged, with attack ads against vulnerable Republicans who voted "no" (I guess the "voted no" part is redundant): Mark Kirk, Jim Gerlach, Dave Reichert, Mike Castle, and Joe Cao. And "thank you" ads are planned for vulnerable Dems, tentatively including John Boccieri, Dennis Cardoza, Brad Ellsworth, Paul Hodes, Tim Walz, Bob Etheridge, Tom Perriello, Leonard Boswell, Betsy Markey, and Gerry Connolly.
• SARAH's List: Shortly after tweeting for her supporters not to retreat, but RELOAD, Sarah Palin's website posted a map with gunsights targeting 20 Representatives for her supporters to shoot. Or to work to defeat for re-election, I suppose. It's pretty much all the districts that went for McCain in 2008 and where there was a "yes" on HCR, without much regard for the race's actual vulnerability or whether it's an open seat: AR-02, AZ-01, AZ-05, AZ-08, CO-03, CO-04, FL-02, FL-24, IN-08, IN-09, ND-AL, OH-06, OH-16, PA-03, PA-10, SC-05, TN-06, VA-05, WV-01, and WV-03.
• Teabaggers: Quinnipiac released another poll showing the peril and promise of the teabagger movement for the GOP, as seen in the contrast between the basic generic ballot (44 R, 39 D) and one with a third-party element thrown in (36 D, 25 R, 15 T). Various commenters, like Ed Kilgore and TPM's Zachary Roth are paying close attention to the poll, wondering, as they've done in the past, if there really even is a new-and-different "Tea Party" movement or if it's just a new name for the most-extreme, riled-up part of the Republican Party that's always been there (through the militia movements of the 90s and the Birchers of the 60s).
• NRCC: The NRCC claims to have pulled in $7 million last night at their annual fundraising dinner. That's a lot of scratch, but bear in mind much of that's in "pledges," mostly from House members, some of whom haven't had a good track record of helping the NRCC in the past.
• Census: Two neat Census-related maps worth checking out. One is a constantly-updated real-time map at the Census website which shows the response rates by state and municipality so far. (While the national return rate so far is 16%, the best municipality return rate so far is the civic minded folks of Westside, Iowa at 74%. And despite the popular image of it being full of paranoid militia types living in the hills who would rather use fiat money than fill out a Census form, Montana has the best return rate of any state, at 33%.) The other map is much sadder, courtesy of the Prison Policy Initiative: it shows state-by-state how much distortion of districts occurs through the counting of prisoners where they're incarcerated rather than where they're actually from.
• AR-Sen: Bill Halter's netroots haul has crested $1 million, between MoveOn and ActBlue (led by the PCCC and Daily Kos). On top of all that, the Sierra Club is joining the fray, with its own attack ads against Blanche Lincoln over her attempts to limit EPA regulation. The ads don't mention Halter by name, though.
• AZ-Sen: John McCain is getting the newest GOP sensation, Scott Brown, to come to Arizona to stump for him. Because, you know, nothing says "Hey teabaggers, vote for me instead of J.D. Hayworth!" than bringing in the New England RINO who gladly took all the teabaggers' money and support and turned around and voted for a Democratic piece of legislation on his first week on the job.
• CO-Sen: Having seemingly scored big time with his public option letter (at least to the extent of raising his previously very low profile), Michael Bennet seems to be getting very ambitious. The freshman Senator just unveiled a comprehensive package of Senate reforms that he's authored that's aimed squarely at undoing the quagmire that the Senate has become, including filibuster reform, eliminating anonymous holds and private-sector earmarks, and barring lawmakers from lobbying... for life.
• KS-Sen: Rasmussen finds that (big surprise) all the action in the Kansas Senate race is the GOP primary (although they didn't bother polling the hotly-contested primary). Rather than test possible candidate state Sen. David Haley, they just take the "Generic D" route, and find both Reps. Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt beating G.D., 51-26 and 50-29 respectively.
• ND-Sen: The Dems' leading candidate for contesting the likely takeover of the open Senate seat in North Dakota by Republican Gov. John Hoeven decided against a run, probably sensing the long odds. Former AG Heidi Heitkamp said no (on her brother's radio show), although rumors suggest she's interested in running for Governor in 2012, meaning she probably wouldn't want a big defeat as people's last memory of her. State Sen. Tracy Potter is already in for the Dems, and businesswoman Kristin Hedger may also get in, as she said she'd defer only to Heitkamp.
• NY-Sen-B: Is Kirsten Gillibrand going to actually be able to waltz to re-election, or will some other moneybags celebrity pop out of the woodwork next week? After having sent Harold Ford Jr. packing, now billionaire publisher Mort Zuckerman decided against a Republican bid (couching it oddly, in that being a Senator would take up too much time from his actual day job). Zuckerman is wise to save his money, as Rasmussen finds Zuckerman losing to Gillibrand 47-36 (not as bad as Marist yesterday, but still not encouraging). Rasmussen also finds Gillibrand beating even George Pataki, 44-42 (although for some reason they don't poll actual candidate Bruce Blakeman).
• NY-Gov: When it rains, it pours, for David Paterson. The New York State Commission on Public Integrity just released its finding that he violated state ethics laws for securing World Series tickets for himself and friends and then falsely testifying under oath about it. That gets sent over to Andrew Cuomo's desk on top of the whole meshugas about the state police, which kept building today with the resignation of state police superintendent Harry Corbitt. Maurice Hinchey just publicly said what I'll bet most other New York Dems are privately thinking: he's glad he won't have to run with Paterson upticket from him.
Meanwhile, there's a ton of snap polling out today about Paterson, of varying degrees of badness for him. Quinnipiac finds his approval at an all-time low of 24/62, although voters say 61-31 he should finish his term rather than resign. SurveyUSA, however, finds a plurality for resignation: 47 say resign, 44 say stay. Rasmussen finds 28 say resign, 53 say stay. Rasmussen also threw in some numbers for the gubernatorial election in November, finding Cuomo winning against Republican Rick Lazio, 55-30. They also tested out gadflyish businessman Carl Paladino, who's made noises about running. With Paladino as the R, Cuomo wins 56-27, and with Paladino as an I, Cuomo is at 50, with 19 for Lazio and 15 for Paladino.
• OK-Gov: Here's a path for Democrats to win the Governor's race in Oklahoma, according to Rasmussen: find a way for state Sen. Randy Brogdon to win the GOP primary. Unfortunately, it seems like the very conservative Rep. Mary Fallin is well on her way to winning the primary against the ultra-conservative Brogdon. Fallin beats Democratic Lt. Gov. Jari Askins 51-37, and AG Drew Edmondson 51-36. Brodgon, however, loses to Askins 42-39 and beats Edmondson 42-41.
• PA-Gov: Quinnipiac released the gubernatorial half of its Pennsylvania poll, and Arlen Specter's bounce doesn't seem to have rubbed off much on the Democrats running for Governor... although their main problem, as always, seems to be that no one knows who they are. In the primary, "don't know" dominates at 59, followed by Dan Onorato is at 16, Jack Wagner at 11, Joe Hoeffel at 10, and Anthony Williams at 2. AG Tom Corbett has no problems on the GOP side, beating state Rep. Sam Rohrer 43-5. In head-to-heads, Corbett beats Onorato 42-32, Wagner 42-30, and Hoeffel 41-30.
• TN-Gov: Here's another state where it's still just too damn early to be polling the gubernatorial race. MTSU doesn't even bother with head-to-heads in the Tennessee race, but finds that Republican Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam (who's been spending heavily on advertising) has a bit of a leg up, in that he's the least unknown of the myriad candidates (19% of respondents were actually able to name him). Mike McWherter is the best known Dem (although that may be because he shares a last name with his dad the ex-Gov.).
• HI-01: We've gotten confirmation that the May 22 special election to replace resigned Rep. Neil Abercrombie will be an all mail-in affair, saving the state some money but possibly scrambling the parties' GOTV plans. This election and the special election in PA-12 four days earlier pose a quandary for the NRCC -- spend money they don't really have, in order to take advantage of what seems to be nationwide Republican momentum... or fess up that they really don't have much chance in either of these districts and save their money for November (or worse, spend the money and lose anyway, as with NY-20 and NY-23). NRCC spokesperson Paul Lindsey seems to telegraph which way the NRCC is leaning: "Considering that one district is the birthplace of President Obama and the other gives Democrats a voter registration advantage of more than 130,000, it is not lost on anyone that we face an incredible challenge in both races."
• NY-15: Charles Rangel has finally put down his gavel as Ways and Means chair, after he was found to have violated ethics rules. He says it's a temporary "leave of absence," but the House's presiding officer said "the resignation is accepted," suggesting something more permanent. This comes in the face of a growing wave of opposition within his own party, with a number of members returning his PAC money (ranging from the very vulnerable, like Walt Minnick, to the theoretically vulnerable, like Niki Tsongas). Also, perhaps symbolically important, it came after Artur Davis (running for Alabama governor) became the first CBC member to call for Rangel to give up his gavel.
• OK-02 (pdf): The 2nd seems like a strange choice of a place to poll, but I guess it's a good test case in terms of a Democratic Rep. in a dark-red district that hasn't been on anyone's radar screen as being vulnerable (in the face of utterly no-name challengers). True to form, Dan Boren doesn't have much to worry about this fall. He's having no trouble against his anonymous opponents, beating Dan Arnett 49-22, Daniel Edmonds 44-28, and Howard Houchen 48-26. (Teabagging independent Miki Booth pulls in 7 or 8 in each matchup.) Much of that has to do with the level of opposition, but Boren is the first incumbent Rep. PPP has found who's polling above 50 in terms of approval, at 51/33. Boren's occasional, um, departures from the party line can be better understood in terms of Barack Obama's disturbingly low 27/65 approval in the district.
• PA-11: Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien got some help from the left as he fights a primary battle against crusty Rep. Paul Kanjorski; he got the endorsement of two local unions: the Northeast Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council, and the Scranton Building and Construction Trades Council.
• PA-12: Bill Russell released an internal poll showing him beating Tim Burns in the GOP primary in the 12th. That's not really the newsworthy part; what's interesting is his internal pollster is Zogby. The pollster that everyone treated as an oracle in 2004 has been reduced to polling on behalf of BMW Direct's direct-mail-scam frontman? Lord, how the mighty have fallen.
• Census: Guess who's finally learned to love the Census? Michele Bachmann! Probably after some of her staffers showed her a puppet show spreadsheet showing how a combination of not enough residents in her district + a Democratic governor and legislature = no more MN-06. At any rate, she's planning to vote for a largely symbolic resolution to encourage Americans to participate in the Census.
• FL-Sen: There's one more poll of the GOP primary in the Florida Senate race, and it's even more dire for Charlie Crist than the Rasmussen poll from earlier in the week: Crist trails Marco Rubio 48-30, according to a poll commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce. (Remember that their previous poll, back in October, had Crist leading Rubio 44-30, and even that was considered something of a warning sign at the time.) Meanwhile, Jim DeMint seems to be actively goading Crist into switching parties - something he might want to be careful about, thinking back to that R2K poll showing that was Crist's best shot at being Florida's next Senator. (And Aaron Blake is certainly noticing that Crist is sounding more "independent," for what that's worth.) Finally, while Jeb Bush will probably never come right out and endorse Rubio over Crist, he's pretty much hitting us over the head with a sledgehammer as to how he feels about the race, saying that Crist's support of the stimulus was "unforgivable."
• IN-Sen: While Baron Hill is continuing to let his interest in filling in as Senate candidate be known, DSCC head Bob Menendez seems to be moving full speed ahead on coronating fellow Rep. Brad Ellsworth, saying he "is going to be a great candidate." (In other Menendez news today, he's confirming that there aren't going to be any more Democratic retirements this cycle.) Meanwhile, Evan Bayh is trying to walk back his douchey comments delivered as he walked out the door last week about how the stimulus didn't create any new jobs (in the face of CBO estimates that indicated he was off by about 2 million). Now he's downgraded that to it's "probably largely true if limited to the last six months," whatever that means.
• KY-Sen (pdf): Who would've thought, even half a year ago, that Republican SoS Trey Grayson's biggest problem wouldn't be the general election but even getting out of the primary? Republican pollster Magellan (independent of either candidate) released a poll of the GOP primary, finding Rand Paul overwhelming Grayson, 44-23. Grayson and Paul are busy trading blows over coal, each accusing the other of being insufficiently pro-coal.
• NY-Sen-B: As the search goes on for a celebrity candidate for the Republican nomination to go up against Kirsten Gillibrand, a new name has just bubbled up that may leave some people scratching their heads: Dan Senor, the former Bush adviser (and husband to CNN's Campbell Brown). He's currently talking to "money types" about the race.
• PA-Sen: Franklin & Marshall's new poll of the Pennsylvania Senate race doesn't contain much good news for either Arlen Specter or Joe Sestak; they're both losing to ex-Rep. Pat Toomey, at least among likely voters. Specter trails Toomey 44-34 and Sestak is down by an even worse 38-20. However, they fare much better among registered voters, with Specter beating Toomey 33-29 and Toomey beating Sestak 25-22. (As far as trendlines go, last month Toomey and Specter were tied among RVs at 40 each, and Toomey led Specter 45-31 among LVs, so it's actually a bit of an improvement.) Specter has the edge in the Democratic primary, up 33 to 16 (little changed from 30-13 last month). Meanwhile, Toomey has tried publicly to put some distance between himself and his Wall Street past, but it's clear that he's privately still eager to take their money in order to fight his opponents' "populist" agenda. (Hmm... that may be the first time in history anyone has ever called Arlen Specter "populist.") Toomey's approach is just part of a larger movement, profiled in detail by the Washington Post, about how Wall Street contributions are increasingly flowing away from the Dems and back toward their usual friends in the GOP.
• CA-Gov: One more poll has Meg Whitman overwhelming Insurance Comm. Steve Poizner by a wide margin in the GOP primary: 60-12, suggesting that her ad blitz while the other candidates have stayed silent has paid off (for now). The poll was taken by M4 Strategies on behalf of the Small Business Action Committee (although it's not clear if they have a horse in the race).
• FL-Gov: There are dueling ads in the Florida governor's race already. In an indication of how topsy-turvy everybody's messaging has gotten in the last year, the RGA is attacking the Democratic candidate, Alex Sink, for being an elitist banker, while the Democrats are attacking Bill McCollum for voting for congressional pay raises and to lift the debt limit.
• IA-Gov: Ed Fallon, whom you may remember for his primary challenge to Rep. Leonard Boswell a few years ago, sounds like he's sniffing out the possibility of a primary challenge to Gov. Chet Culver now. Fallon says the party needs someone stronger than Culver (who's in bad position in the polls vis-à-vis Terry Branstad, although that has more to do with Branstad's strength than Culver's own approvals).
• PA-Gov: The same Franklin & Marshall poll doesn't look at general election matchups in the gubernatorial race, seeing as how the Democratic field is completely unsettled (although, given the Senate numbers and the lack of name rec for all the Dems, I wouldn't expect those numbers to be very appealing). At any rate, they find Tom Corbett on track to win the GOP nod, beating state Rep. Sam Rohrer 26-4. The Dem side is utterly dominated by "undecided," with Allegheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato, Auditor Jack Wagner, and ex-Rep. Joe Hoeffel all tied for the lead at 6. (That's not a misprint.) Scranton mayor Chris Doherty (who just dropped out) is at 4, with state Sen. Anthony Williams still in close striking distance at 1.
• RI-Gov: Here's one of the first definitive-sounding polls in a very interesting gubernatorial race, courtesy of Brown University. Ex-Sen. Lincoln Chafee seems to be in pole position in his independent bid, although his lead over Democratic state Treasurer Frank Caprio isn't that big: Chafee leads 34-28, with 12 for Republican John Robitaille. Chafee has a bigger lead over Democratic AG Patrick Lynch 32-17, with 13 for Robitaille. There are still a lot of undecideds in the Dem primary, but Caprio leads Lynch, 30-21.
• TX-Gov: Rasmussen takes what may be its last look at the Texas gubernatorial race before the primary next Tuesday. The real question may be shaping up to be whether Rick Perry can escape the primary without a runoff. Perry's in the lead with 48, with Kay Bailey Hutchison at 27 and Debra Medina at 16. (The last Rasmussen poll was three weeks ago, before both Medina's surge and then subsequent crash, so the numbers really aren't that different from that poll's 44-29-14.) Rasmussen also finds a competitive general election, with nice trendlines for Democratic candidate Bill White from the last poll. White loses to Rick Perry 47-41 (instead of 48-39), and loses to KBH 47-38, while beating Medina 47-37 (instead of losing to her 41-38, like last time). Kay Bailey Hutchison may have signaled that she's thrown in the towel, admitting in an AP interview that she's been flummoxed by Perry's success at casting her as a Washington insider. John Cornyn is now saying that he hopes KBH decides to stick around as a Senator "if" she loses the governor's race -- I don't think you have too much to worry about there, John.
• KS-01: SurveyUSA has a poll out of the GOP primary in a race that's gotten little attention: the election to fill the open seat left behind in the dark-red 1st by Rep. Jerry Moran's Senate run. At R+23, the only question is whether semi-wingnut or super-wingnut wins. It actually looks like semi-wingnut might win: state Sen. Jim Barnett (who seems more in Moran's mold) is leading fellow state Sen. Tim Huelskamp (the Club for Growth's endorsee) 23-16. Former Sam Brownback CoS Rob Wasinger is in 3rd place at 8.
• PA-06: Some cryptic comments from Lower Merion Twp. Commissioner Brian Gordon have him sounding like his short campaign in the 6th is about to come to an end (after he managed only 1 vote at the Chester Co. Democratic Party endorsement shindig where Manan Trivedi prevailed), with an eye toward another whack at Rep. Jim Gerlach in two years. He said "I'm either the last candidate out for 2010 or the earliest guy in for 2012."
• PA-12: Now we know the dates for the party meeting where the nominees for the May 18 special election in the 12th get picked. For the Dems, the state executive committee will pick a nominee on March 8. For the GOP, a convention held in Latrobe on March 11 will pick the nominee. One other Dem is also floating his name out there for the nod: former Cambria County Controller Albert Penska. Meanwhile, no one's quite sure what happens to the half a million dollars in campaign cash left behind by Rep. John Murtha. It looks like money reserved for the upcoming general election will need to be refunded, but the money in his leadership PAC is up for grabs.
• VA-05: I wonder if this presages an independent/Tea Party run by ex-Rep. Virgil Goode, or if he's just looking to keep his face in the news? Goode is planning to address a Lynchburg teabagger gathering next week. Goode, who briefly was an Independent in between being a Democrat and a Republican during his Congressional tenure, has already announced that he won't run for the Republican nomination again.
• VA-09: It sounds like Republican state House majority leader Morgan Griffith is pulling the trigger on a run against Rep. Rick Boucher in the 9th, and has the endorsement of the other two GOP legislators who'd considered the race. Boucher is already acting fast to shore up his right flank, touting his most recent endorsement from the NRA.
• WA-03: There's one less Republican in the GOP field in the 3rd, as Washougal mayor pro tem Jon Russell pulled out of the race and endorsed state Rep. Jaime Herrera. (Interestingly, businessman David Castillo, rather than Herrera, seems to have most of the endorsements from area politicians in this race, despite not being an elected official -- although he seems to have locked many of these endorsements down before Brian Baird retired and Herrera got in.) Russell is still looking to move up; he'll be running for the House seat in LD-18 vacated by Herrera.
• Blue Dogs: The Center for Responsive Politics takes a look at fundraising by the Blue Dogs, and finds that they easily outraise their more liberal counterparts among the Dems. The average Blue Dog raised $693K last year, $75K more than the average non-Blue Dog Democrat. Is it a question of them being more vulnerable and needing more money, or them being more corporate-friendly? Or more accurately, is it a question of them being more vulnerable and thus needing more money and thus needing to be more corporate-friendly in order to get money from the people who have money to give?
• Redistricting: In its ongoing series looking at redistricting battles in various states, the Rose Institute at Claremont McKenna College has a very thorough rundown of what all is at stake in Florida in the next few years. Complicating matters is the potential passage of a "Fair Districts" initiative that will be on the ballot this year (and seems to be on track to pass), which would restrict the parties' ability to gerrymander.
• AZ-Sen: This is good news! For J.D. Hayworth! The right-wing anti-immigrant vote in the GOP primary isn't going to be split. Minutemen co-founder Chris Simcox ended his bid and endorsed Hayworth, not having gotten much traction on the polling front even before Hayworth's entry. In a close race, though, Simcox's few percentage points could make all the difference for Hayworth. Bad news, for the GOP, though, is that Hayworth and John McCain are planning to go all Mutually Assured Destruction on each other in the primary, with Hayworth threatening that if McCain brings up Abramoff, he'll bring up the Keating 5. Dems really need a marquee candidate here to be poised to seize the smoldering ruins.
• CO-Sen: Andrew Romanoff is rolling out more endorsements, as he seems to be finally getting his primary challenge to Michael Bennet into gear in the wake of recent polling showing him outperforming Bennet in the general election. He's claiming the endorsement of more than two-thirds of the Democrats in the state House, including current majority leader Paul Weissman, as well as state Senate majority leader John Morse and former House speaker Ruben Valdez. Romanoff, of course, is a former House speaker himself, so he's got an 'in' with the legislative types.
• NV-Sen: I wonder if this is the break that'll save Harry Reid's butt in November? (Especially if Sue Lowden winds up winning the GOP nomination, as she's public enemy number 1 to the state's Paulists.) The "Tea Party" has filed a "Certificate of Existence" (where can I get one of those, for whenever people doubt that I exist?) in Nevada, and will have its own candidate on the ballot in November. Jon Ashjian will reportedly be their candidate; the question still remains just how big a bite he takes out of the Republican column, though. In addition, there will also be a Reform Party candidate on the ballot and as many as five independents.
• NY-Sen-B: Mort Zuckerman? Really? Maybe he's taking a page from friend Michael Bloomberg and realizing that, with enough money, any political office is within reach for a restless billionaire. The 72-year-old Daily News publisher and real estate baron is considering a race against Kirsten Gillibrand, although there's no indication of which party label he'd use. He's known as a Democrat, but it seems likely he'd pursue either an independent or Republican bid to avoid the Democratic primary (where Harold Ford Jr. already seems to be occupying the turf Zuckerman would need in order to win).
• CT-Gov: Here's the top facepalm news of the day: Ned Lamont has hired a campaign manager as he officially kicks off his gubernatorial campaign, and he hired Joe Abbey, last seen... wait for it... helming Creigh Deeds' campaign.
• FL-Gov: This doesn't sound very promising either, as the St. Petersburg Times looks at the growing sense of torpor surrounding the Alex Sink campaign. Sink has had little trouble fundraising and a so-so GOP opponent, but operatives are starting to worry she's walking a Martha Coakley-ish line on focusing on insider connections and with a lack of interest in mixing it up with voters or even developing a resonant message.
• PA-Gov: The GOP state party endorsements came with a lot less drama than the Democrats', seeing as how they've had their candidates locked down for most of a year. AG Tom Corbett easily got the endorsement for governor over state Rep. Sam Rohrer, which was widely expected although it still piqued Rohrer's handful of right-wing supporters. The most drama was actually for the #2 slot; Bucks County Commissioner Jim Cawley managed to win the Lt. Governor endorsement on the second ballot out of a crowded field. On the Democratic side, Philadelphia-based state Sen. Anthony Williams is still expressing some interest in the race, although he's set a very high bar for entry for himself. He's sitting $1 million already, and he says if he can get that figure up to $4 million in the next few weeks, he'll jump in.
• TX-Gov (pdf): There's yet another poll out of the Texas gubernatorial primaries, from a coalition of newspapers, most prominently the Austin American-Statesman. It's right in line with the other polls out recently, with Rick Perry at 45, Kay Bailey Hutchison at 29, and Debra Medina at 7. (They don't poll runoff matchups, or the Dem primary.) Houston mayor Bill White continues to make this a competitive race for the Dems in the general: he trails Perry 43-37, and Hutchison 42-34. Meanwhile, Debra Medina (who recently seemed to blunt any late momentum by revealing her truly kooky side) may have some good company, in the form of Democratic candidate Farouk Shami: he came out with some statements putting him in truther-curious territory as well. Shami is also about to announce the invention of a blow dryer that actually grows hair. (Why aim low, for merely Governor, if that's true? If it's really true, he's about to become a trillionaire.)
• AZ-03: I'm not sure if this is the family name you really want, when running for office, but a new candidate is in the GOP field in the open seat race in the 3rd: Ben Quayle. The 33-year-old attorney, who hasn't run for office before, is the son of former VP and frequent punchline Dan Quayle.
• FL-24: With the former CEO of the Ruth's Chris Steakhouse chain, Craig Miller, planning to run in the 24th, Democrats are spotlighting his opposition to tougher laws on drunk driving. (As a restauranteur, he would have a financial interest in getting that extra drink into his guests.) "Once 0.08 becomes law, why not 0.05 or 0.02?" he asked in a 2000 interview.
• MA-10: The William Delahunt retirement rumors aren't going away, and now Glenn Thrush points to a Delahunt-out/Joe Kennedy III-in/Delahunt-endorses-Kennedy master-plan in the works. Kennedy, a Barnstable County prosecuting attorney, isn't the only Kennedy of his generation who's a possible House candidate; Politico helpfully provides a scorecard of various other Kennedys who might run for higher office in the future. At any rate, even if Joe III doesn't wind up in the next Congress, it's likely Congress won't stay Kennedy-free for very long.
• OK-05: There's one less Oklahoma Republican in the primary for the open seat in dark-red OK-05. Corporation Commissioner Jeff Cloud cited non-life-threatening health concerns in dropping out of the race, although he plans to keep serving in his current job. Six different GOPers are in the field (perhaps most notably, former state Rep. Kevin Calvey), but no Dem has gotten in yet.
• PA-03: One other dropout from a crowded GOP field, this time for the right to take on Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper in the 3rd. Tom Trevorrow, an ophthalmologist who made a splashy entrance recently with a big serving of self-funding and some expensive consultant hires, ended his bid just as quickly, citing his father's illness.
• RI-01: A couple big names have already gotten into the race to replace retiring Rep. Patrick Kennedy, the biggest possibly being Providence's mayor David Cicilline (who surprised many by turning down a gubernatorial run this year). Cicilline would be the fourth openly-gay member of Congress, if elected. He'll have to get past William Lynch in the primary, though; Lynch, the brother of AG and gubernatorial candidate Patrick Lynch, just resigned as the state's Democratic party chair in order to run. Pretty much every prominent Democrat around is also listed as a possible candidate: Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts (who also decided against a gubernatorial run), ex-Rep. Bob Weygand (of RI-02, who lost the 2000 Senate race to Lincoln Chafee), ex-LG Charles Fogarty, and even state Rep. Betsy Dennigan, who's currently running a primary against Rep. James Langevin over in RI-02. (Rhode Island seems like Hawaii, where the boundaries between the two districts seem like they're of little practical importance.) On the GOP side, state Rep. John Loughlin is already in, while former Cranston mayor and Senate candidate Steven Laffey and state party chair Giovanni Cicione are also mentioned.
• TN-08: Everyone has pretty well coalesced around state Sen. (and until recently, gubernatorial candidate) Roy Herron to try to hold retiring Rep. John Tanner's seat. Democratic state Rep. Craig Fitzhugh just announced that he wouldn't run, and in a somewhat encouraging sign, said that his own polling showed that he wouldn't have trouble getting past the various Republicans seeking the seat in the R+3 (but historically Democratic) district. Instead, he didn't see a way past Herron in the primary.
• VA-05: PPP has some follow-up on its previous general election poll of VA-05, looking at the GOP primary, which has the potential to be one of the biggest flashpoints in the establishment/teabagger schism. For now, chalk this one up to the establishment: state Sen. Robert Hurt leads at 22 (leading among both moderates and conservatives), with Albemarle Co. Commissioner Ken Boyd at 12. The various members of the teabagging rabble all poll in the low single digits. With 51% still undecided, though, this is still anyone's game once the ad wars begin.
• CA-LG: So, Arnold Schwarzenegger dialed down his banana-republic dictator act from last week, deciding to resubmit Republican state Sen. Abel Maldonado for appointment as Lt. Governor, rather than deciding to swear him in despite not getting enough votes in the Assembly to confirm him. The legislature has another 90 days to decide what to do with him.
• AR-Sen: Despite the seemingly imminent entry of Rep. John Boozman into the GOP field in the Arkansas Senate race, soon-to-be-former-frontrunner state Sen. Gilbert Baker says he's staying in the race. The alternative would be to run for Baker, who represents Little Rock suburbs, to run for the open seat in AR-02 instead - but there he'd face a tough primary against Beltway GOP favorite Tim Griffin, who's already established a solid fundraising foothold. (Some of the seven dwarves in the GOP field, who seem concentrated in the state's right-leaning northwest, may be interested in switching to Boozman's open seat in AR-03, though.) And unbelievably, yet another Republican is interested in getting in the Senate race: former NFL player Jim Lindsey is readying for a bid. Lindsey is a real estate developer and former University of Arkansas trustee.
• AZ-Sen: Sarah Palin is still dancin' with the one who brung her. She announced yesterday that she'll appear on behalf of John McCain, who plucked her from near-obscurity and is now needs a favor of his own as he's facing a primary challenge from the right from ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth. Needless to say, this provoked a lot of disappointment from her supporters among the teabagging set, who would prefer to see her stab McCain in the back and then field dress him.
• CO-Sen: With right-wingers filled with antipathy toward establishment choice ex-Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, there's been a lot of casting about for an alternative. Weld County DA Ken Buck seems more and more like he'll be that guy, as he's been making common cause with the Paulists, who are now planning to pay for a statewide advertising campaign on Buck's behalf. Meanwhile, on the Dem side, primary challenger Andrew Romanoff is trying to energize his sleepy campaign with a big hire - pollster Celinda Lake, whose previously sterling reputation got driven off a cliff with her handling of the Martha Coakley campaign.
• CT-Sen: There's not much left to see for the 2010 race, but everyone's thinking ahead to 2012, with the new rumor afoot that - with the Senate Kennedy-free for the first time in more than half a century - Ted Kennedy Jr. may run against Joe Lieberman in 2012. Lieberman himself is up to his usual asshattery, speculating out loud that he could conceive of becoming a Republican, and also saying that he might support Linda McMahon in the 2010 race... seeing as how Richard Blumenthal (tepidly) supported Lamont in the 2006 general while McMahon supported Lieberman. Apparently Lieberman learned his politics from watching the Godfather: it's not business. Just personal. (Lieberman also seems to be a believer in leaving the cannoli, and taking the guns.)
• FL-Sen: In the wake of new polling showing him falling behind Marco Rubio in the GOP Senate primary, the questions are getting louder about whether Charlie Crist might consider running as an independent instead. He said no to that idea... but people are noticing he didn't rule out switching parties altogether. With Crist appearing side-by-side with Barack Obama today in Florida (something he wouldn't consider doing if he saw any hope in trying to compete with Rubio - who just got the endorsement of ur-conservative Steve Forbes -- on conservative bona fides alone), could that actually be a consideration? If so, he'd need to switch parties by April 30.
• MA-Sen: There are a couple more retrospectives worth reading on Massachusetts, as people try to make sense of the mixed messages sent by exit polls (with one particularly intriguing tidbit: 52% of Scott Brown voters approved of Ted Kennedy's performance). Mark Blumenthal also looks at the shift in polling over the last few weeks, wondering again about the differing results gotten by live interviewers vs. robocallers, while also pointing to questions of how much pollsters' views of a race can actually change the overall momentum of the race (fundraising and perception-wise) and thus become a self-fulfilling prophecy. And get ready for the teabaggers' week-long love affair to end very soon: Scott Brown (who apparently has some self-preservation instincts) just served notice on the GOP that he won't always vote with them.
• ND-Sen: This isn't going to make the teabaggers any happier: Gov. John Hoeven, now running for the Senate, joined the Democratic Party in 1996 (at a time when he was head of North Dakota's state-owned bank), ditching them in 2000 for his gubernatorial run. With Hoeven already on their naughty list for his insufficiently anti-government stances, now he's just going to get more wrath.
• NH-Sen: Former AG Kelly Ayotte is wielding an internal poll by the Tarrance Group that gives her a big edge in the GOP primary against her challengers. She leads Ovide Lamontagne, coming at her from the right, 43-11. Random rich guys Bill Binnie and Jim Bender clock in at 5 and 3 apiece. No general election numbers were released.
• NV-Sen: One more disastrous poll for Harry Reid, which came out from Research 2000 a few days ago. This poll closely echoed one from PPP a few weeks ago that tested alternative Democrats, and finds that only Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman beats the Republicans (while Rep. Shelly Berkley and SoS Ross Miller don't fare much better than Reid). Unfortunately, this was all rendered moot a few days ago by Goodman's announcement that he wasn't going to run for either Governor or Senator. Reid loses 52-41 to Danny Tarkanian and 51-42 to Sue Lowden. Berkley loses 46-40 to Tarkanian and 45-40 to Lowden, while Miller loses 44-36 to Tarkanian and 43-37 to Lowden. Goodman beats Tarkanian 44-41 and Lowden 44-40. Rep. Dina Titus, facing a tough re-election of her own, doesn't seem to think much of Reid's chances anymore: she publicly said "Reid is done; he's going to lose."
• NY-Sen-B: One other Research 2000 poll to talk about: they looked at the Democratic primary in New York, and find about what everyone else has found. Kirsten Gillibrand leads ex-Rep. Harold Ford Jr. by a 41-27 margin (with 3 for Jonathan Tasini), looking solid but still with a ton of undecideds. This also exists merely at the level of rumor, but with the potential presence of Ford scrambling things for the ever-so-briefly-thought-to-be-safe Gillibrand, sources say that Democratic Rep. Steve Israel (who got dissuaded from a primary challenge) and Republican ex-Gov. George Pataki (who hasn't sounded interested until now) are both giving the race a little more consideration.
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): Franklin & Marshall's previous polls in Pennsylvania have tended to have unusually high undecideds, suggesting that they don't do any pushing of leaners at all - but this may have reached an all-time high with their new poll. Most notably, they find Allegeheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato completely dominating the Democratic gubernatorial primary... at 10% (more than doubling up on Jack Wagner, Joe Hoeffel, and Chris Doherty, all at 4)! They also find similarly low numbers in the Senate race, where Republican ex-Rep. Pat Toomey leads incumbent Dem Arlen Specter 45-31 and Rep. Joe Sestak 41-19 (?!?), and where Specter beats Sestak in the primary 30-13. (They didn't do a general election poll in the Governor's race, but find Republican AG Tom Corbett leading his remaining rival, state Rep. Sam Rohrer, 23-5 in the primary.)
• UT-Sen: The Mason-Dixon poll that gave us some (not so good) gubernatorial results also threw in some vague questions about the Senate race too. Incumbent Bob Bennett leads a Generic R in the primary, 46-27, and a Generic D 53-26 in the general. Nevertheless, Bennett drew yet another primary opponent, albeit someone seemingly of the Some Dude variety: local businessman Christopher Stout.
• WI-Sen: Wherever there's a vacillating Republican needing convincing to get into a Senate race, there's Rasmussen. (Whaddya wanna bet they have a Patty Murray/Dave Reichert poll in the field right now?) Contrary to PPP's view of the race, Rasmussen finds ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson leading incumbent Dem Russ Feingold, 47-43. They find Feingold with a perplexingly low 47/48 approval.
• CT-Gov: Is ex-Rep. Chris Shays looking to get into the Governor's race? Suddenly, it sounds like he's at least thinking about it, saying he'd like to do it but not sure if it's feasible. He's currently in Washington as head of the Wartime Contracting Commission, meaning he'd need to re-establish his Connecticut residency, but given his long-time popularity in his district (which eventually got too blue for him to hold) he might have a leg up on the so-so GOPers already in the field.
• FL-Gov: Quinnipiac released the gubernatorial half of its Florida poll yesterday, finding that Republican AG Bill McCollum has a somewhat bigger lead on Democratic CFO Alex Sink, 41-31 (McCollum led 36-32 in October). Sink leads state Sen. Paula Dockery 35-29, but considering that McCollum leads Dockery 44-6 in the GOP primary, that configuration doesn't seem likely.
• MI-Gov: Two guys who had been unlikely candidates for the Democratic nomination for Governor both announced they wouldn't run. Rep. Bart Stupak is the big name to say "no," which is good as far as the DCCC is concerned, as he's needed to hold down the fort in his R+3 district. The other is Detroit Pistons head of basketball operations Joe Dumars, who probably realized he'd get pretty banged up out there without Bill Laimbeer to run interference for him. One other interesting rumor of who might run, though, is ex-Rep. Joe Schwarz, the GOP moderate who got bounced out in a 2006 Club for Growth-fueled primary by Tim Walberg. And get this... he's talking about running as an independent. Could he actually peel off enough center-right votes for the Dems to salvage this race?
• NY-Gov: Research 2000's New York poll also looked at the Democratic gubernatorial primary, finding AG Andrew Cuomo defeating incumbent David Paterson, 63-19. Paterson is laboring under 34/54 approvals. The GOP primary to see who gets flattened by Cuomo is looking pretty uneventful: Erie Co. Exec Chris Collins, who continued to express vague interest despite having gaffed his way out of contention several months ago, finally pulled the plug on his exploratory committee. That leaves ex-Rep. Rick Lazio as the only major GOPer in the race, to few people's enthusiasm.
• TX-Gov: Looks like Gov. Rick Perry isn't much of a fan of the librul media, or at least he realizes that his key demographics aren't really the newspaper-reading types. He's decided not to sit for editorial board interviews prior to their pre-primary endorsements.