DE-Sen: Interesting - Mike Castle isn't ruling out a write-in bid. If he does pull the trigger, let's see if the NRSC and the Senate GOP caucus have the stomach to tell Castle to fuck off. It'd be a great test of their will - and their willingness to embrace Christine O'Donnell.
FL-Sen: Al Gore Alert! In a rare sighting on the campaign trail, Al Gore (still my president!) will headline a rally for Kendrick Meek in Tampa on September 30th. Have we seen Gore do events for any other candidates this cycle?
KY-Sen: Objectively pro-methamphetamine senate candidate Rand Paul keeps running into trouble over his views on drugs. Republican Clay County Sherriff Kevin Johnson endorsed Paul after Paul told him he supported Operation UNITE, a federally-funded anti-drug task force. Paul's hostility to UNITE, though, is what's gotten him into hot water in the first place - and amazingly enough, when asked to confirm his pledge to Johnson, Paul's campaign refused to back it up! I had always hoped/prayed/expected that Rand Paul was such a hardcore libertarian that he'd rigidly - and publicly - cling to beliefs that halfway-competent politicians would be smart enough to elide, deny, or just plain hide. I just figured it would be something like the gold standard, not, you know, meth.
Surprisingly, Paul hassmelled the glove belonging to a very different interest group, the neocons. They mistrust Paul's views on Israel and probably just on the general concept of randomly invading countries and killing people.
AR-Gov: That Ipsos poll which showed Blanche Lincoln "only" 14 points into her political grave also has a gubernatorial component. Dem Gov. Mike Beebe is beating Republican Jim Keet by a 55-37 margin among LVs. You want an enthusiasm gap? Beebe wins 58-30 among RVs. (It was 57-35 among RVs back in July.)
CO-Gov: God, I love the smell of ratfucking in the morning. So, we all know about Scott McInnis's now-legendary implosion thanks to his plagiarism/theft scandal, but Democrats had a big hand in consigning him to the dustbin of history. It turns out that a group called the Colorado Freedom Fund spent half a million bucks on ads blistering McInnis during the primary, in order to help bolster Dan Maes. The DGA was a big contributor to this effort, chipping in $150K, while unions and wealthy philanthropist Pat Stryker gave the rest. Excellent fucking work, guys.
MN-Gov: The RGA is funneling $428K to a pro-Tom Emmer group, while the DGA sent a quarter mil to an org helping Dem Mark Dayton.
TX-Gov: Rick Perry may not be the suckiest suck who ever sucked, but you'll have to agree that he is pretty sucky. The Texas Farm Bureau finally agrees, too. Though they've always endorsed him in the past (and have always endorsed Republicans for governor), they're giving up on his sorry ass this year and staying neutral in the race. (They previously endorsed Kay Bailey Hutchison against him in the primary.) It probably didn't help that a Perry spokesman, in an attempt to bolster his boss's teabagger/secessionista cred, derided the bureau as "an insurance company that supported the bailout."
IL-14: We could call this the Hypocrisy State Project and still have tons to write about. The latest chapter in this never-ending saga is penned by Republican Randy Hultgren, who was responsible for marketing his investment firm's funds. One of the firm's offerings invested entirely in bailout-backed securities, which were described by one Wall Streeter as "an incredibly free lunch." This is a two-fer, because this fund was also based in the Cayman Islands, to take advantage of lax tax laws, of course.
MA-10: Massachusetts, at least, is one place where Republicans still need to run away from their own party in order to be electable. So it's no surprise to see Jeffrey Perry declare that he doesn't want Sarah Palin showing up in his district. (Don't worry, bud, I think you're safe.) Of course, Perry isn't exactly from the non-crazy wing of the Republican Party (to the extent there still is such a thing), since he has teabagger ties himself.
MI-07: Rossman Group/Team Telcom (9/20, likely voters, no trendlines):
Mark Schauer (D-inc): 38
Tim Walberg (R): 42
NY-18: This interview with Jim Russell - remember him from yesterday? the guy whose writings have been favorably cited by the KKK? - is just brutal. He doesn't disavow anything. So we've gotta ask: Why isn't the press giving this guy the Alvin Greene treatment? After all, Greene's weirdest idea was to sell bobblehead dolls. Russell thinks there are too many Jews. Anyhow, the Westchester GOP is trying to get Russell off the ballot through legal means, and they say if they can't, they'll run a write-in candidate.
NY-19: A judge ruled against a group trying to knock Nan Hayworth off the Independence Party line for a lack of valid signatures. Hayworth gets to keep the line, while incumbent John Hall has the Working Families line.
NY-23: With the vote count all but completed, it looks like Matt Doheny is (still) the winner of the Republican primary, but Doug Hoffman ain't conceding yet. I guess he feels burned after what happened in the special election, where he tried to "un-concede" after some counting errors emerged (but still lost anyway). The vote count does not officially get certified until the 27th, but Doheny could declare victory (and/or Hoffman could concede) before then. Hoffman still hasn't said anything about how vigorously (if at all) he plans to wage war from the Conservative Party line.
PA-10: Another day, another NRA endorsement for a Dem. Chris Carney is the latest in a string of mostly-conservative Democrats to rack up the group's support, even though they labeled him a "true enemy" of guns just four years ago.
TN-09: Heh - the Memphis Flyer commissioned a poll by Yacoubian Research, which found Steve Cohen leading Charlotte Bergmann 66-23. There were only 205 respondents, and note that we previously flagged a Yacoubian poll of the primary for attempting to screen voters by asking them if they lived in the 9th CD - how many people actually know what district they live in, by number? But whatever, Steve Cohen ain't losing.
VA-09: Rick Boucher successfully got an ad by Americans for Job Security pulled off the air for making a misleading statements. The ad said "Rick Boucher supports Nancy Pelosi 96 percent of the time," but this claim was based on the Washington Post's "party voting" score, which Boucher rightly argued does not measure "support for Pelosi." (A good time to remind folks that it's much, much easier to get third-party ads yanked because stations are liable for defamation when they run these ads. Media outlets are immune from liability for candidate ads.)
SSP TV (by James L.):
LA-Sen: "Diaper" David Vitter hits Charlie Melancon for attending a fundraiser in Canada, of all places.
AR-01: Chad Causey's latest spot takes a shotgun approach to messaging, touting his heritage, his support for a balanced budget amendment and a paycut for Congress, while hitting Republican Rick Crawford over the bad kind of SSP and for his support of a 23% national sales tax
FL-22: Allen West takes on Ron Klein over a Florida Democratic Party mailer that boneheadedly revealed West's Social Security number
GA-08: Dem Rep. Jim Marshall goes heavy negative on GOP state Rep. Austin Scott on immigration - not once, but twice
MI-07: GOP douche Tim Walberg says that Dem Rep. Mark Schauer is spending America into ruin, and also makes the dubious claim that he "strongly supports" Social Security. The ad, a coordinated expenditure partially paid for by the RNC, is airing in the Lansing media market and cost $85,000.
MI-15: John Dingell goes negative on Republican Rob Steele over his support from the wretched hive of scum and villainy that is Wall Street, while Steele has gone up with an ad of his own touting his record as a physician and poking Dingell over spending
NC-02: Dem Rep. Bob Etheridge's latest ad features the testimonials of locals who say that Etheridge saved their jobs
OH-12: Dem Paula Brooks touts her record on the Franklin County Commission while spilling marbles all over her kitchen island
OR-05: GOPer Scott Bruun will stop the spending... except when it comes to restoring Medicare cuts, apparently
SC-02: Libruhl Rob Miller and libruhl Nancy Pelosi will liberally kill all your jobs; meanwhile, Joe Wilson still sounds like he uses a speech synthesizer instead of a functional set of vocal cords. Seriously, what a creepy-sounding asshole.
VA-09: Republican Morgan Griffith plays a clip of Barack Obama saying "I love Rick Boucher" - four times in thirty seconds
The main event of last night was the Republican gubernatorial primary, which ended surprisingly quickly, with a convincing victory by Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam. Haslam, the ostensible 'moderate' in the race, benefited from not only his lots of his own money, but also from having the moderate side to himself and a conservative pile-up in opposition (and the fact that Tennessee has no runoffs). He defeated Rep. Zach Wamp and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey 47-29-22. (In one more parallel to the Michigan governor primary, Wamp, who said in his concession speech that "The best candidate doesn't always win," can now compete with Rep. Peter Hoekstra as to which one can be the douchiest loser.) Haslam is certainly favored against Dem Mike McWherter in November.
In the House races, there were extremely close GOP primaries in the TN-03 and TN-06 open seats In the 3rd, the somewhat less objectionable Chuck Fleischmann beat former state party chair Robin Smith 30-28. In the 6th, Diane Black won with 31, over fellow state Sen. Jim Tracy and crazed Islamophobe Lou Ann Zelenik (with both at 30). Black faces Dem Brett Carter, who won a similarly close race.
Two other GOP primaries were less close. In TN-08, for the right to face Roy Herron to succeed retiring John Tanner, Stephen Fincher won a surprisingly convincing victory over two self-funders, Ron Kirkland and George Flinn, 48-24-24. And in potential sleeper race TN-04, to face Lincoln Davis, Scott DesJarlais beat Jack Bailey 37-27.
The very last race card may have been played in TN-09. In the third straight slime-covered Dem primary here that was all about race, embarrassing former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton came up woefully short in his quest (predicated almost entirely on Herenton being black and Cohen being white, in a black-majority district) to unseat Rep. Steve Cohen, by a 79-21 margin. Somehow I don't think this'll be the last primary Cohen ever sees, but hopefully they'll be about something other than race in the future.
Finally, the 15 minutes of fame for Basil Marceaux -- whose flag has 49 stars because he'll be dead in the cold cold ground before he recognizes Missourah -- seem to be up, as the viral video hero got 0% in the Republican TN-Gov primary and 1% in the TN-03 primary.
• TN-Gov (R): Bill Haslam hopes to bulls-eye a Wamp rat tonight (and Ron Ramsey for good measure). The Knoxville mayor is generally regarded as the frontrunner in the Republican gubernatorial field, in both polling and fundraising (much of which came out of his own pocket). Rep. Zach Wamp and Ramsey (the Lt. Governor) are further back in the polls, and trying to out-conservative each other in their messaging. In fact, this is starting to look like a replay of the Michigan GOP primary earlier this week, with the self-funding 'moderate' (to the extent that Haslam apparently once signed off on a tax increase, and isn't as demagogic as the others) benefiting from a brawl between multiple conservatives.. and also in that while polling has shown Dem nominee Mike McWherter competitive against the conservative candidates, he matches up much less well against Haslam. There's also a wild card in the form of viral video star Basil Marceaux, whose late-surging candidacy may make some inroads among the anti-traffic-stop, pro-immuning crowd. (C)
• TN-03 (R): Like Peter Hoekstra in MI-02, the joy of watching one of the House's most execrable members (Zach Wamp, in this case) give up his seat for a gubernatorial primary faceplant is tempered somewhat by the knowledge that he'll be replaced by someone just as nasty. There are 11 GOPers in this primary, but it's really only a two-person race, between Club for Growth-backed former GOP state party chair Robin Smith and attorney, radio talk show host, and Mike Huckabee ally Chuck Fleischmann. (Smith, you might recall, was the GOP chair during the 2008 campaign, who released the infamous "Anti-Semites for Obama" press release that had him in African tribal garb. (C)
• TN-04 (R): We don't have much intel on the Republican primary here, where the main contestants are attorney Jack Bailey, and physician Scott DesJarlais, but it's worth keeping an eye on, as the victor will go on to face Rep. Lincoln Davis. Davis isn't high on anyone's target list, but in a big enough wave could get swept away just by virtue of his R+13 district. Bailey has a bit of a fundraising edge, probably thanks to connections from his former work as a Hill staffer. (C)
• TN-06 (R): Let the fur fly in this Middle Tennessee district currently held by outgoing Democrat Bart Gordon. The field counts eight Republicans, with three serious contenders in former Rutherford County GOP chair Lou Ann Zelenik, state Senator Jim Tracy from the southern part of the district, and state Senator Diane Black, who represents two northern counties in the district. The mad dash, of course, is for the right, whether its immigration or misuse of government resources. Black released an internal that had her leading at 41% and Zelenik and Tracy mired in the twenties at 22 and 20, respectively. Look for sharp geographic distinctions here tonight, with each candidate having a different base in this rural-exurban district. (JMD)
• TN-08 (R): For the open seat of outgoing Dem John Tanner, five Republicans have jumped into the fray. The three frontrunners -- agribusinessman Steve Fincher, Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn, and doctor Ron Kirkland -- have been busy bashing each other to bits. All sorts of accusations have been thrown around -- Flinn's been attacked for owning a hip-hop station in Memphis, while Fincher's caught flak for voting in the Democratic primary for local offices in May, and Kirkland's on the defensive for steering contributions to Democrats in the past. All three are have significant warchests to play with (Fincher $421k cash-on-hand, Flinn $275k with the ability to self-fund, Kirkland $223k). So who's going to emerge from this bare-knucle brawl? Fincher's the NRCC's preferred candidate, and a recent poll had him leading with 32 to Kirkland's 23 and Flinn's 21. This race is largely in the air (not that presumptive Dem. nominee Roy Herron's complaining), though unfortunately, we'll know the winner of this fight tonight, as Tennessee has no runoffs. (JMD)
• TN-09 (D): Two years ago, Nikki Tinker's campaign against incumbent Dem. Steve Cohen was infuriating; this time, former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton's campaign is just laughable. Whether it's claiming he'll beat Cohen 3:1, losing the CBC's endorsement to Cohen, or having less than 1/47th of Cohen's cash-on-hand, Herenton's campaign really makes you wonder. Let the mockery begin. (JMD)
UPDATE: Polls close at 8 pm ET/7 pm CT (the state is in both time zones, but apparently closing times are coordinated). As always, if you have predictions, let us know in the comments.
• CO-Sen: Andrew Romanoff, who's had seeming trouble articulating a motivation for his primary campaign against appointee Michael Bennet (other than "it was my turn"), still seems like he's confident in his chances of winning the primary. He just doubled down by selling his house and lending the $325K proceeds to his campaign (or maybe he was just eager to sell the dump, anyway). Romanoff had $464K CoH on June 30, but most of that has been gobbled up by ad buys. Also on the ad front in Colorado, the shadowy, Ken Buck-backing 501(c)(4) Americans for Job Security is out with another anti-Jane Norton ad, attacking her over her support for anti-TABOR Proposition C.
• DE-Sen: Christine O'Donnell, the forgotten right-winger in the Delaware GOP primary against Rep. Mike Castle, keeps hitting wingnut paydirt. Having already secured the Susan B. Anthony List endorsement, she's now getting backing from two more of the engines pulling the crazy train: the Tea Party Express (the corporate astroturf umbrella org for the teabaggers), and Concerned Women for America (Phyllis Schlafly's group). The Politico article includes a litany of O'Donnell's baggage as rattled off by Delaware's GOP state party chair, so it seems like the establishment is taking note and starting to push back.
• FL-Sen: Well, that was fast; I guess when you have a few hundred million dollars at your disposal, you can whip up ads pretty quickly (or just have a couple extra sitting in the can, ready to go). With Kendrick Meek having launched his first Dem primary ad yesterday, a negative ad against Jeff Greene, today Greene hit back with two different anti-Meek ads. One focuses on Meek's family connections to a corrupt developer, and the other focuses on the cigar-maker carveout from SCHIP. As always, NWOTSOB.
• KY-Sen: The Jack Conway camp has leaked Daily Kos an internal from Benenson giving them a 44-44 tie with Rand Paul, and a 48-46 lead over Paul with leaners pushed. The poll's a little stale, having been taken June 26-29, but it's good news; if nothing else, it's confirmation for the most recent PPP poll, which also saw a tie. We have a copy of the full memo here. Another small reason for optimism in the Bluegrass State: there's word of a new (and apparently nameless, for now) 527 headed by former progressive Democratic '08 Senate candidate Andrew Horne, that will be playing in the Kentucky race. They have $2 million pledged by various business leaders to work with, and they've lined up Anzalone Liszt and Zata|3 to work for them.
• FL-Gov: Taking a page from Raul Labrador, Bill McCollum's out with an internal. His own poll from McLaughlin & Associates finds him trailing Rick Scott 37-31. (The polling memo actually has the audacity to ask, "Why hasn't Rick Scott done better?")
• MD-Gov: Local pollster Gonzales Research is out with their second look at the Maryland gubernatorial race; they find a 45-42 lead for Martin O'Malley over Robert Ehrlich, which very closely echoes the PPP poll from a few weeks ago. Their trendlines go back to January, when a Ehrlich re-run was only vaguely being discussed; then, O'Malley had a 9-point lead.
• MN-Gov: Fundraising reports in Minnesota were due yesterday. GOPer Tom Emmer might well need to use that giant jar of pennies he had dumped on his table in order to buy some ad time, as he's lagging on the financial front. Emmer has less than $300K CoH and raised under $800K in the first six months of the year, while DFL endorsee Margaret Anderson Kelliher has $385K CoH and raised about $1 million. Kelliher, however, still might not get out of her primary against two rich guys: Matt Entenza raised $360K during that period but also loaned himself $3.5 million (and spent $3.9 million, mostly on TV ads). Mark Dayton hasn't filed yet.
• OR-Gov: Republican Chris Dudley is padding his financial advantage over John Kitzhaber in Oregon's gubernatorial race: he's raised $850K since the May 18 primary, compared with $269K for Kitzhaber. Dudley has raised $2.6 million all cycle long, compared with Kitz's $1.7 million. (One historical note, though: Ted Kulongoski was easily re-elected in 2006 despite being outspent by opponent Ron Saxton and his $7 million.) Much of Dudley's money seems to be coming in from out-of-state, as the former NBA player and current financial advisor is getting a lot of Wall Street and sports industry money. Interestingly, the timber industry, usually a Republican force in the state, is staying largely on the sidelines this election, as they're fairly friendly with Kitzhaber.
• TN-Gov: Having nowhere to go in the GOP primary polls but up, Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey is going the out-and-proud Islamophobe route. Spurred on by the ongoing controversy over the construction of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Ramsey, in response to a question at an appearance, said, "You could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion or is it a nationality, way of life or cult, whatever you want to call it."
• ID-01: Raul Labrador, a conspicuous absence from the NRCC's anyone-with-a-pulse Young Guns program, says that he "opted out" of the Young Guns. (Yeah... just like I "opted out" of junior prom.) He didn't give a specific reason why, although tensions between him and the NRCC have been high.
• MN-03: I'm not exactly sure why Jim Meffert thought it was a good idea to release this internal, but I guess he needed to let people know that he's actually contesting this thing. His poll (no mention of the pollster in the article) finds him trailing freshman GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen 44-27, with 7% for an IP candidate. The number he'd probably like us to focus on is that Paulsen has only a 33% re-elect (although only 12% say they're a definite "no").
• MN-06: Seems like Johnny Law doesn't like Michele Bachmann's particularly freaky brand of law and order: the state's police union, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, just gave its endorsement to Dem Tarryl Clark in the 6th.
• RI-01: The American Federation of Teachers, having just endorsed indie Lincoln Chafee instead of Dem Frank Caprio, also went for unconventional with their 1st District endorsement. They went for young up-and-comer state Rep. David Segal, who's tried to stake out the most progressive turf in the Dem primary, instead of Providence mayor and presumed frontrunner David Cicilline.
• TN-09: On top of having gotten SSP's annual John Hostettler Award for outstanding performance at filing quarterly reports (for failing to electronically file his FEC report on time, despite having only $19K CoH), Willie Herenton got a much worse piece of news: the Congressional Black Caucus either doesn't think much of his chances, or think much of him. Although they wouldn't let Steve Cohen join their club in 2007, they did just endorse him, and sent $5,000 his way.
• AL-Sen: William Barnes (D) 29%, Richard Shelby (R-inc) 59%
• AZ-Sen (D): Rodney Glassman (D) 15%, Cathy Eden (D) 11%, Randy Parraz (D) 10%, John Dougherty (D) 7%
• CO-Sen: Andrew Romanoff (D) 40%, Jane Norton (R) 44%
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 39%, Jane Norton (R) 48%
• CO-Sen: Andrew Romanoff (D) 42%, Ken Buck (R) 48%
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 42%, Ken Buck (R) 48%
• MA-Gov: Deval Patrick (D-inc) 38%, Charlie Baker (R) 32%, Tim Cahill (I) 17%
• AR-Sen (pdf): One more poll added to Blanche Lincoln's woes today. It's from Republican pollster Magellan, and unlike a number of their polls lately that have been sua sponte, this one is on behalf of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network. It gives John Boozman a 60-29 lead over Lincoln. Lincoln decided to put a stop to the string of polls showing her DOA, by (taking a page from Raul Labrador here) releasing her own internal from Benenson showing her, well, only a little bit dead. It has her trailing Boozman "only" 45-36, with 6 going to indie Trevor Drown.
• KS-Sen, KS-Gov: SurveyUSA looks at the statewide primaries in Kansas yet again, and, as usual, finds Rep. Jerry Moran with a big lead over fellow Rep. Todd Tiahrt in the GOP Senate primary, 50-36 (which is actually an improvement for Tiahrt; the last SUSA poll was 53-33). College professor Lisa Johnston continues to lead the Dem Senate primary at 23, with 14 for Charles Schollenberger and 12 for state Sen. David Haley. The GOP gubernatorial primary continues to be a non-event, with Sam Brownback leading Joan Heffington 73-19.
• NE-Sen (pdf): Magellan, on behalf of JCN, is also out with a poll of the 2012 Senate race, presumably intended to scare Ben Nelson into voting against Elena Kagan. At this rate, it may not matter how he votes on Kagan or anything else: if he runs again, Nelson is losing to GOP Gov. Dave Heineman 58-28.
• NH-Sen: The Paul Hodes campaign continues to hit Kelly Ayotte over her being asleep at the switch on mortgage fraud with another ad on the topic. It's a $100K ad buy, and it's going up in Boston, meaning that it'll hit a lot of eyeballs (but also that that $100K gets burned through pretty quickly).
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak has been fighting with local TV stations over them airing an ad from a conservative group attacking him on Israel policy. Now he's getting some backing from liberal Israel policy group J Street, who are running a new TV spot saying he "consistently votes for aid to Israel." NWOTSOTB, but it is running "in major media markets."
• SC-Sen: Green, not Greene? The Columbia area AFL-CIO must not have been impressed with Alvin Greene's first major policy speech last weekend, because now they've rolled out their endorsement of Green Party candidate Tom Clements instead.
• WI-Sen (pdf): But wait, there's more! With your purchase of these fine AR-Sen and NE-Sen polls, you also get a bonus WI-Sen poll, perfect for triggering one of Russ Feingold's patented flashes of maverickiness. Magellan, on behalf, of JCN, also finds Feingold leading Ron Johnson 45-43.
• CT-Gov: Dan Malloy got the endorsement of the six state affiliates of the SEIU in Connecticut, a key union endorsement. Ned Lamont isn't hurting for union backing, though; he has the support of the Connecticut Education Association, the UAW, and the UFCW.
• MI-Gov: The Detroit News poll from yesterday also had a Democratic primary component to it. They find, with only weeks to go, Undecided still in the lead at 40. Andy Dillon leads Virg Bernero 34-25. 44% of respondents haven't heard of Bernero, while 26% don't know Dillon. On the GOP side, this may give some more moderate cred to Rick Snyder: he got the endorsement of ex-Rep. Joe Schwarz, who had briefly considered an independent run for Governor himself.
• MT-Gov: GOPers already have a candidate for Governor in 2012 in Montana, where Brian Schweitzer is termed out. Republican former state Senate minority leader Corey Stapleton just announced his bid. The article mentions some other possibilities too, including long-ago ex-Rep. Rick Hill on the GOP side. AG Steve Bullock may be the Dems' best bet.
• FL-02: Politico has a profile of Rep. Allen Boyd, who's getting squeezed both left and right as he first faces state Sen. Al Lawson in the Dem primary and then faces funeral home owner Steve Southerland. Boyd's response? To play "offense," including going negative in TV ads against Lawson. Boyd's already spent $1.9 million this cycle, and still has many times more CoH than his two opponents together.
• NY-15: Buried deep in a Hill article about how Chuck Schumer is still standing up for Charles Rangel when no one else will, kicking him a $10K check for his re-election, is a noteworthy poll of the Dem primary. The poll was conducted by PPP, and was paid for by Democrats.com; it finds Rangel with a not-very-imposing lead of 39-21 over Adam Clayton Powell IV in the primary.
• NY-23: After being the flavor of the month for, well, a month or so prior to last fall's NY-23 special election, Doug Hoffman seems to have fallen off most people's radars. He wants you to know he's still around, though, and just released an internal poll from McLaughlin & Associates that gives him a sizable lead over Matt Doheny (who has most of the local GOP establishment backing) in the GOP primary. He leads Doheny 52-20. Bear in mind, of course, that Hoffman already has the Conservative line and Doheny has the IP line, meaning they're going to meet in the general election (and spoil each other's days) either way.
• TN-09: Finally, here's a poll of the Dem primary in the 9th. It looks like former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton is having the same trouble playing the race card that Nikki Tinker did in 2008; he's trailing Steve Cohen by a 65-15 margin. The poll's not an internal, taken by Yacoubian Research for WMC-TV, but there's one reason to raise an eyebrow at it: it screens voters by asking them if they're in the 9th District (and how many people in the real world know the number of their congressional district?).
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 53%, Linda McMahon (R) 40%
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 52%, Peter Schiff (R) 34%
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 52%, Rob Simmons (R) 38%
• ID-Sen: Tom Sullivan (D) 27%, Mike Crapo (R-inc) 64%
• ME-Gov: Libby Mitchell (D) 31%, Paul LePage (R) 39%, Eliot Cutler (I) 15%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 39%, Rob Portman (R) 45%
FL-Sen: Charlie Crist raised $1.8 million last quarter - better than Kendrick Meek, but quite a bit behind Marco Rubio's stellar pace. Still, considering there was a chance that Crist's fundraising could take a major hit after his party switch, this strikes me as a pretty decent haul.
NV-Sen: Sharron Angle teabagged up quite a haul in the second quarter, taking in $2.6 million (with $2.3 million of that coming in the last six weeks or so, according to Aaron Blake). Even though she outraised Harry Reid, Jon Ralston points out that the Majority Leader has quite a bit more cash on hand than the Crazy Lady of Clown Town: $9 mil to $1.8 mil.
CO-Gov: The WSJ has a good piece gaming out the options for the GOP in terms of getting Scott McInnis out of the race, none of them particularly good. They can try to get both McInnis and rival Dan Maes to drop out and offer up a replacement candidate; they can hope McInnis wins the Aug. 10 primary and then push him to drop out; or they can put forward a write-in candidate in the primary. Maes is going nowhere, so option #1 is out, and a write-in at this late stage seems almost impossible. So perhaps their best bet is to ride McInnis for a few more weeks and then kick him to the curb. Good luck with that! Meanwhile, the RGA slammed earlier reports that it was abandoning McInnis, but as Mike Memoli points out, they didn't mention McInnis's name once in their press release.
NH-01: Former Manchester mayor Frank Guinta has been trying to paint himself as a peerless opponent of the stimulus, but it turns out that last year, he was complaining about the slow pace at which the state was collecting stimulus funds from the federal government. This problematic stance is getting some renewed attention now because of emails released by the state AG's office, which include a note from - of all people - GOP senate candidate Kelly Ayotte calling Guinta a "grandstander." Heh.
NH-02: I guess you'd have to say that Katrina Swett is objectively in favor of repealing gay marriage in the state of New Hampshire. A piece in the Nashua Telegraph is casting a renewed spotlight on the fact that Swett says she only supports civil unions, not marriage equality. That's a pretty strange position to take in a Democratic primary, especially considering that same-sex marriage is already the law of the land in the Granite State. Fortunately, she's not running for the state legislature - and hopefully this will help sink her Liebermanesque candidacy.
SC-05: Biden alert! The VPOTUS with the mostest is coming to Columbia on July 23rd to dedicate the Ernest Hollings Library at the University of South Carolina (named after the retired senator, a Biden pal). He'll also squeeze in a fundraiser with Rep. John Spratt.
TN-09: Willie Herenton, will you please go home now? Harold Ford, Sr., who used to hold this seat, has cut a radio ad for Rep. Steve Cohen, whom he's been backing over ex-Memphis mayor Willie Herenton. With Ford and President Obama in Cohen's corner, you've got to wonder who exactly Herenton is hoping will power him to victory.
• KY-Sen: Jack Conway is pulling in some big fundraising numbers now that Dems are seeing an opening here. He raised $1.4 million last quarter (although $400K of that was a loan from himself). That tops Rand Paul's $1.1 million raised, although Paul will point out that all of his haul came from donors. No word on either side's CoH.
• LA-Sen: It seems like the scandal that's emerged surrounding David Vitter's employment of violent aide Brent Furer was what pulled ex-state supreme court justice Chet Traylor into a last-minute credible challenge to Vitter in the GOP primary. Traylor says "if Vitter was in good shape, I wouldn't be running," and his camp says they'll be focusing on Vitter's "personal foibles" rather than ideological differences. In fact, Traylor's campaign manager (whom the Monroe local newspaper identifies as "sweet potato kingpin" Lev Dawson) says "I don't think there's a difference politically." Traylor also tells ABC News that many local GOP establishment figures urged his last-minute entry out of fears that Vitter may be too badly damaged politically to survive the general against Charlie Melancon. Meanwhile, we've all known that Vitter is quite willing to experiment with interesting new, um, practices, but as he seeks to move even further right in view of Traylor's challenge, he's now going birther-curious.
• NC-Sen: If there's a reason Richard Burr is able to hold on to the "cursed" seat this year, it's going to be his bank account. The GOP freshman Senator raised $1.9 million last quarter, and is sitting on $6.3 million CoH. While Elaine Marshall seems to have gotten a good fundraising boost after the Democratic runoff, she's likely to have only a fraction of that.
• SC-Sen: Be afraid. Be verrrrrrrrry afraid. (Alvin Greene is about to give his first formal speech as candidate, addressing a local NAACP chapter on Saturday.)
• WA-Sen: Here's the good news for Patty Murray: she had a $1.6 million quarter, which is a lot of money in the "other" Washington. She's sitting on $6.8 million CoH. The bad news is that conservative group American Action Network is spending $750K on a statewide buy for TV ads attacking Murray. The ad, continuing in Demon Sheep/Boxer Blimp impresario Fred Davis's avant-garde performance-art tradition, features various Joe and Jane Sixpacks lying in the dirt getting walked all over by an unseen figure in white tennis shoes.
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin's giving a little more clarity to his timeline in West Virginia. He says he expects to fill Robert Byrd's seat with a temporary appointment by "this Sunday," possibly as early as Friday if the special legislative session about the special election is done by then. He'll announce after that (probably by Monday) whether he intends to run in the special.
• CO-Gov: This is a surprisingly amateurish thing to get taken down over: the Denver Post has observed that a series of articles on water rights "written" by Republican ex-Rep. Scott McInnis as part of a 2005-06 fellowship were simply plagiarized from articles written twenty years earlier by Gregory Hobbs, who's now a Colorado Supreme Court justice. The foundation McInnis was working for would like the salary returned to them that they paid him. It's unclear how much damage this will do to McInnis, or how this stacks up compared with allegations of dishonesty leveled at Mark Kirk and Richard Blumenthal... but locked in a dead heat with John Hickenlooper, McInnis doesn't have any margin of error to shed a few points over character issues. (For what it's worth, RCP seems to think he's finished. Too bad the only GOP alternative, Dan Maes, is completely broke and in campaign-finance hot water.)
• IL-Gov: The DGA is out with a new ad running on Chicago area TV stations, trying to introduce the area's many residents to downstate state Sen. Bill Brady and disabuse them of any notion that he's the sort of GOP moderate that's typically occupied the state house over the last few decades. The ad points out his extreme positions on reproductive health and minimum wage.
• TN-Gov: Republican Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam is still the man with the money, although everybody's moved into the seven digits. Haslam has $2 million CoH, compared with Ron Ramsey's $1.35 million and Zach Wamp's $1.29 million. On the Dem side, Mike McWherter has $1.5 million CoH, having raised $315K last quarter.
• AR-01: Radio broadcaster Rick Crawford, the GOP nominee, has a small cash edge in the 1st, as Democrat Chad Causey's pretty depleted after having to go through a runoff. Crawford raised $131K post-primary and has $221K CoH. Causey raised $416K over the quarter, but spent $420K on the primary. No word on Causey's CoH (although I assume it's something higher than -$4K).
• CO-04: With Corey Gardner having released his financial numbers, it's clear Betsy Markey has the money edge for now. His $377K raised last quarter is still pretty impressive, but it's less than Markey raised, and Gardner's $763K CoH is about half of Markey's $1.5 million.
• FL-25: Joe Garcia reports raising $700K last quarter, including $230K in online contributions (thanks, netroots!). He still lags behind likely GOP nominee David Rivera, though.
• NH-02: Of the candidates in the 2nd, Ann McLane Kuster (another netroots project) was the big raiser. She pulled in $316K, for $745K CoH. Fellow Dem Katrina Swett raised $188K, but has more CoH at $1.15 million. GOPer Charlie Bass leads in the polls but not at the bank: he raised $170K, for $360K CoH.
• NJ-03: Freshman Democratic Rep. John Adler is out with an internal poll that has him sprinting for the end zone while Jon Runyan limps along behind: the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll gives Adler a 51-34 lead over Runyan, with 12 to independent teabagger Peter DeStefano (I'd imagine that lead would tighten as the DeStefano share shrinks). Runyan raised $501K last quarter (a bit more than Adler's $415K), but $301K was from donors and the other $200K was from himself. Runyan seemed to burn a lot on his surviving his primary, though; he's sitting on $472K CoH compared with Adler's more than $2 million.
• NV-03: Rep. Dina Titus is in good shape financially (less so, poll-wise). The freshman Dem raised $426K and has $1.2 million CoH.
• PA-04, PA-17: Keystone State Blue Dogs Jason Altmire and Tim Holden posted good numbers. Altmire raised more than $300K in May and June and is sitting on $1.4 million CoH. Holden raised $213K in that period and is sitting on $885K CoH, which isn't huge but far more than David Argall (who had $70K before the primary he barely survived) is likely to have.
• TN-09: Here's a big score for Steve Cohen, facing a primary from former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton that's, as is usually the case in the 9th, all about the race card. Cohen just got an endorsement from prominent African-American politician Barack Obama, as well as financial backing from several key House CBC members (John Lewis, Alcee Hastings, William Clay) apparently unenthused with the specter of the potentially-embarrassing Herenton joining their ranks.
• CO-Sen: Andrew Romanoff (D) 42%, Jane Norton (R) 44%
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 40%, Jane Norton (R) 47%
• CO-Sen: Andrew Romanoff (D) 42%, Ken Buck (R) 47%
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 39%, Ken Buck (R) 48%
• MD-Sen: Barbara Mikulski (D-inc) 58%, Eric Wargotz (R) 33%
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid (D-inc) 43%, Sharron Angle (R) 46%
If you're Scott Rasmussen, what do you like to do on your day off? Well, you might like to go on a cruise. A cruise for fans of conservative magazine National Review, as their all-expenses-paid guest.
AZ-Sen: Another Democrat, businesswoman Nan Stockholm Walden, is taking a look at the Arizona Senate race. Walden, a former staffer for Bill Bradley and Pat Moynihan, seems like she might be able to bring a good chunk of her own cash to the table (at the very least, she seems well-connected). Right now, the highest-profile Dem in race is Tucson City Councilman Rodney Glassman.
NV-Sen: Coming home to roost? One of those DOJ subpoenas in the investigation of John Ensign has landed on the doorstep of the NRSC. Ensign, of course, was chair of the organization during its disastrous 2008-08 campaign cycle.
PA-Sen: Reid Wilson takes a look at the divergent poll numbers between Susquehanna (Toomey +6) and Research 2000 (Specter +6). Susquehanna relies on voter lists and doesn't weight; R2K uses random-digit dialing and does weight.
IA-Gov: I guess this is a little bit of good news for Gov. Chet Culver - the gadflyish Jonathan Narcisse won't challenge him in the Democratic primary.
NY-Gov: I guess we should tag all David Paterson stories as "News of the Weird." Yesterday, he bizarrely claimed that he was the NYT's source for the exceptionally damaging stories about his administration which have led to the resignation of many top staffers and many, many calls for his resignation. Now the Times is saying "not so" - that Paterson was most definitely not their source. So, so strange.
GA-07: GOP state Sen. Don Balfour, who was considered a leading contender for the GOP nomination to replace retiring Rep. John Linder, has ended his campaign. Balfour also indicated that he won't seek re-election to the state Senate. (JL)
PA-07: Heh - GOPer Pat Meehan's motion to dismiss Dem Bryan Lentz's challenge to his ballot petition signatures was rendered moot almost the instant after he filed it. Meehan tried to claim that Lentz hadn't followed proper court procedures in serving him with notice of the challenge, but the court issued its own order saying that Lentz still has plenty of time to do so. Whoops.
IL-Lt. Gov: Gov. Pat Quinn apparently has a preferred choice for a running mate, state Sen. Susan Garrett, who as luck would have it is not up for re-election herself this fall. The IL Dem state party will pick a replacement on March 27th.
Healthcare: Greg Sargent has a source at the AFL-CIO who says that leaders of the umbrella organization's member unions will be making "direct appeals" to the following Dems, implicitly backed up by the threat of a primary or third-party challenges:
Dennis Cardoza, Jim Costa, Daniel Lipinski, Stephen Lynch, Michael Michaud, James Oberstar, Steve Dreihaus, Charlie Wilson, Marcy Kaptur, John Boccieri, Zack Space, Tom Perriello, Jason Altmire, Christopher Carney, Paul Kanjorski, Tim Holden, Jerry Costello, Alan Mollohan, Nick Rahall, Kathy Dahlkemper
Polltopia: Speaking of voter lists (see PA-Sen item above), Harry Enten at Pollster.com chides the NYT for claiming that it doesn't publish polls which sample from voter lists (like that Chamber of Commerce healthcare poll). Yet on the very same day it made that claim, the Times cited the results of the recent CA-Sen Field poll in another article... and Field uses, well, voter lists. At SSP, we have a simpler rule: Don't publish concern troll bullshit.
NRCC: Classic - the NRCC is touting ads its running against Dems undecided on healthcare, but they are spending just $3,900 per district. That gets you, what, a 30-second spot at 3am on the Smithsonian Channel, sandwiched between infomercials for the Flowbee and the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie? Props to the Hotline for unmasking this (typical) chicanery.
Passings: Memphis Rep. Steve Cohen gave a tribute yesterday on the floor of the House to the life of SSP hero and Big Star frontman Alex Chilton, who sadly passed away on Wednesday. (JL)
• Volunteering: Marriage/partnership equality campaigns in three states are looking for help down the home stretch. The best part is, you don't even have to leave your chair - all three organizations are looking for folks to make calls to help get out the vote. So if you'd like to help, follow the links for Maine, Washington state, and Kalamazoo, Michigan. The folks in Kalamazoo are also looking for in-person volunteers - click here if you are in the area. (D)
• CT-Sen: With Joe Lieberman back to his usual self-promoting mavericky ways, vis a vis the public option, and with the netroots worked up into a lather, it's a perfect time for Ned Lamont to step back into the spotlight. The 2006 Democratic primary winner attacked Lieberman's statements, although he sounded interested but noncommital about the idea of a 2012 rematch.
• FL-Sen: Here's another sign that the Charlie Crist camp is starting to take the Marco Rubio threat more seriously. They've launched an anti-Rubio website, TruthAboutRubio.com.
• KS-Sen: Oklahoma's Jim Inhofe endorsed Rep. Todd Tiahrt in the GOP primary in the open seat Senate race in Kansas. Inhofe seems to be the first sitting senator to endorse Tiahrt (although Rick Santorum already did); several senators (John McCain, John Thune, and Inhofe's colleague Tom Coburn) have already endorsed the less hardline Rep. Jerry Moran.
• MA-Sen: Rep. Niki Tsongas (the only woman in the Massachusetts House delegation) endorsed AG Martha Coakley in the Dem primary for the upcoming Senate special election. It's Coakley's first endorsement from a House member; four other House members have gotten behind Rep. Michael Capuano.
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): Franklin & Marshall has another poll of the Pennsylvania races out, and like a lot of other pollsters, they're finding that people aren't very enthused about Arlen Specter, and are getting even less enthusiastic, giving him a 28/46 favorable (down from 35/42 in August), and a 23/66 reading on the "deserves re-election" question. Specter currently leads ex-Rep. Pat Toomey 33-31 (down from 37-29 in August), and beats Rep. Joe Sestak in the Dem primary 30-18 (down from 37-11). Sestak loses to Toomey, 28-20. F&M also look at the gubernatorial primaries (no general matchups, though). AG Tom Corbett leads on the GOP side over Rep. Jim Gerlach, 30-8, while the Dem field plays out: 10 for Allegheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato, 9 from Auditor Jack Wagner, 6 for ex-Rep. Joe Hoeffel, 3 for Tom Knox, and 3 for Scranton mayor Chris Doherty.
• SD-Sen: Democrats may turn to an old family name for a Senate candidate against John Thune: Mark McGovern, the 37-year-old grandson of former Senator and presidential candidate George McGovern. McGovern is state director for Repower America, a clean energy advocacy group, and was state director for the 2008 Obama campaign.
• CT-Gov: The campaign for Democratic SoS Susan Bysiewicz is making references to an internal poll that has her trailing by only 6 to the once-thought-unassailable Jodi Rell in 2010, 47-41. (And that assumes Rell runs -- given her fundraising, and now the possibility of a hard race, she may not be on track to do so.) The poll also finds Bysiewicz overperforming Stamford mayor Dan Malloy (who loses to Rell 52-31), and beating Malloy in the primary, 44-12.
• SC-Gov: An impeachment resolution against Mark Sanford was introduced today by Republican state Rep. Greg Dellenny during the brief special session. However, fellow Republican speaker Bobby Harrell ruled it out of order, as outside the scope of the special session. It'll have to wait until January.
• VA-Gov (pdf): Looks like we'll have to wait another day (and probably a lot longer than that) for signs of life in the Virginia gubernatorial race. Virginia Commonwealth issued their first poll of the race, giving Bob McDonnell a 54-36 edge over Creigh Deeds (51-33 without leaners pushed). Rasmussen chimes in with similar numbers at 54-41 for McDonnell (finding a spreading McDonnell lead like most pollsters; two weeks ago they had it at 50-43). Pollster.com's regression line has the overall total moving today to the exact same result: 54-41.
• TX-Gov: Maybe this falls under the category of an endorsement you don't really want to tout, but Kay Bailey Hutchison needs every vote she can get in what looks like a tight GOP primary with incumbent Gov. Rick Perry. KBH secured the endorsement of Dick Cheney today.
• CA-19: I'm still not sure what conservative Rep. George Radanovich did to wrong the local GOP, but the hunt goes on for an even more conservative Republican to challenge him in the primary. One possible challenger is former Fresno mayor Jim Patterson, who's looking for a new political gig. (Patterson ran for Congress in 2002 in then-new CA-21, losing the GOP primary to Devin Nunes.) Patterson may also be interested in replacing termed-out Mike Villines in the state Assembly.
• FL-08: Buried in a longer Politico piece titled, appropriately, "Rivals shy away from Alan Grayson" are three more potential Republican challengers: first-term state Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, attorney Will McBride (who lost the 2006 Senate primary to Katherine Harris), and businessman Bruce O'Donoghue. O'Donoghue, who's close to Mel Martinez, sounds like the likeliest of those three to run.
• NY-23: Big money continues to flow into the 23rd on the pro-Bill Owens side, with another $245K from the DCCC, and $200K from the AFSCME. MoveOn.org has also started flogging this race in its fundraising e-mails, saying that it's a chance to rebuke the Palin/teabagger wing of the GOPers. Meanwhile, Doug Hoffman continues to rack up the endorsements from people that no one in the 23rd has ever heard of: South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, and even Oklahoma House candidate Kevin Calvey and California Senate candidate Chuck DeVore. RNC chair Michael Steele is still standing by Dede Scozzafava, though.
• TN-09: It looks like former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton may self-destruct before Rep. Steve Cohen even lays into him in the Dem primary in the 9th. Herenton is reportedly the target of a criminal probe by the local US Attorney's office focusing on "personal business transactions" during his time as mayor. Herenton, naturally, is calling the investigation politically-motivated.
• VA-02: Here's a screwup for Ben Loyola, one of the Republicans jostling to take on freshman Dem Rep. Glenn Nye and one who made a big self-funding impact last quarter. Loyola may have low-balled estimates of the value of a division of his company that he sold to a Swedish firm, at best a disclosure violation in terms of reporting his net worth, and at worst an illegal campaign contribution.
• EMILY's List: EMILY's List added four Democratic House members to its list of endorsees. Three are swing-district freshmen (Debbie Halvorson, Ann Kirkpatrick, and Dina Titus), and the other one is the perpetually shaky Carol Shea-Porter.
• WA-Init: A slew of polls out of Washington yesterday and today, containing good news. UW's Washington Poll finds that R-71 (a referendum in favor of expanded domestic partnership) is passing 57-38, while I-1033 (the latest TABOR-style anti-tax initiative from initiative huckster Tim Eyman) is failing 40-49. These numbers are confirmed by SurveyUSA, which finds R-71 passing 50-43, and I-1033 going down 38-50. The Washington Poll also looks at the King County Executive race, which (though ostensibly nonpartisan) sees Democratic county councilor Dow Constantine beating Republican former news anchor Susan Hutchison 47-34 -- they don't have trendlines, and the only comparison point is SurveyUSA, who last showed Hutchison with a surprising 47-42 lead, so this one still bears watching. The Washington Poll finds Joe Mallahan leading Mike McGinn in the Seattle mayor's race, 44-36.
• Census: An independent analysis of the effect of the proposed David Vitter legislation that would only count U.S. citizens for purposes of reapportionment finds a very different looking House. California post-2010 would lose five House seats, and Texas would gain only one House seat (instead of the projected three). The proposed change would also spare Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania the expected loss of one seat each. (The study is worth a look also because it projects which states gain and lose seats according to normal rules, and also looks at which metro areas are experiencing 'brain drain.')
• AZ-Sen: Does the persistent rumor of a J.D. Hayworth primary challenge to John McCain boil down to nothing more than a Hayworth grudge against former key McCain aide Mark Salter (and thus a way for Hayworth to keep yanking McCain's chain)? That's what the Arizona Republic is proposing, pointing to a 2005 dust-up between Hayworth and Salter over immigration reform. Hayworth, for his part, says that "spite" would never fuel a primary bid.
• IL-Sen: GOP Rep. Mark Kirk is touting an internal poll taken for him by Magellan Data and Mapping Strategies that has him beating Democratic state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias in a Senate head-to-head, 42-35. It also shows Kirk in strong shape in the primary, leading developer Patrick Hughes (who seems to be cornering the wingnut vote) 61-3.
• KY-Sen: The allegedly third tape (although nobody seems to remember what the second one was) involving Lt. Gov. and Senate candidate Dan Mongiardo trashing his boss (and one of his few endorsers), Gov. Steve Beshear, has surfaced. This time, Mongiardo says people he talks to want to "yell" about Beshear and says, "It's like being married to a whore." This time it popped up directly on YouTube instead of on a Rand Paul fan blog.
• NV-Sen: Markos has an interesting observation, that may give some comfort to the Reid boys as they face an onslaught of bad polls. Democrats now have a registration edge of nearly 100,000 in Nevada, and it's growing: since February, Dems have added 4,860 while the GOP has added 1,549. In fact, this sad performance puts the GOP fourth, as both nonpartisan registration and the right-wing Independent American Party gained more new registrants.
• PA-Sen (pdf): One more poll from Dane & Associates via GrassrootsPA, and it gives narrow edges to both Arlen Specter and Joe Sestak over Republican ex-Rep. Pat Toomey in the 2010 Senate race (46-43 for Specter and 43-38 for Sestak). Worth noting: this is only the second poll (after that freaky Rasmussen poll in August) that shows Sestak performing better against Toomey than does Specter.
• TX-Sen, Gov: Kay Bailey Hutchison may be getting some cold feet about committing to a resignation date from the Senate. In response to questions on a conservative radio talk show, it's sounding like she's unlikely to resign her seat by year's end. However, she also doesn't sound like she'll stay in her seat all the way through to the gubernatorial primary election in March, saying "that's not what [she wants] to do." (Although it's understandable she may want to keep her day job if the whole being-governor thing doesn't work out.)
• NJ-Gov: PPP has its poll of the New Jersey gubernatorial race out, and like everyone else these days, they're seeing it as pure tossup. Chris Christie leads Jon Corzine 40-39, with 13 for independent Chris Daggett. (It's right in line with today's Pollster.com average of 41-40 for Christie.)That's tremendous progress for Corzine, who was down 44-35-13 last month. Also, it's worth noting that not only is Corzine dragging Christie down to his level but he's actually starting to improve his own favorables; he's up to 37/55, still terrible but better than last month's 32/60. The race will still depend on getting unlikely Dem voters to turn out; the likely voter pool went for Obama by only 4% last year, way off from the actual 15% margin. One last tidbit: the poll asks Daggett voters their second choice, and Christie wins that one 48-34 (suggesting that Daggett does more damage to Christie, but that Christie's best hope is to peel off some of the vacillating Daggett supporters).
• VA-Gov: Not much change in Virginia, where Rasmussen finds a 50-43 lead for Republican Bob McDonnell in that gubernatorial race. (This is right in line with today's Pollster.com average of 51-43.) Two weeks ago, Rasmussen found that McD led Creigh Deeds 51-42.
• FL-08: This seems kind of surprising, given freshman Rep. Alan Grayson's over-the-top invitations to rumble (or who knows... maybe being aggressive actually works to cow Republicans?). After a lot of public vacillating, it turns out that Republican former state Sen. Daniel Webster, considered the strongest contender to go up against Grayson, won't run. Rich guys Jerry Pierce and Armando Gutierrez Jr. are in the race, but the establishmenet Plan D (with Webster, state House speaker Larry Cretul, and Orange Co. Mayor Rich Crotty out) seems likely to fall to state Rep. Stephen Precourt, who expressed interest but said he'd defer to Webster.
• NC-11: Looks like businessman Jeff Miller declined for a good reason yesterday, as the GOP nailed down a stronger-sounding competitor to go up against Rep. Heath Shuler in the R+6 11th. Greg Newman, the mayor of Hendersonville (pop. 10,000 in 2000) since 2005, says he'll take on Shuler.
• SC-05: State Sen. Mick Mulvaney looks ready to launch his candidacy, most likely on the 17th at a GOP gathering in the district. He'll take on 27-year incumbent and House Budget chair John Spratt.
• TN-St. House: There's a small House special election in Tennessee tonight, with big stakes. HD 62, located in rural south central Tennessee (its major town is Shelbyville) was vacated by a Democrat, Curt Cobb, who resigned to take a better-paying job; Cobb's brother Ty is facing off against Republican Pat Marsh. It's GOP leaning territory, though (this is part of the 6th CD, which had a very sharp Democratic falloff in 2008). The stakes are high because the Democrats hold the chamber by a 1-vote margin, 50-49, thanks only to a power-sharing arrangement with renegade Republican Kent Williams who serves as the Speaker elected with Democratic votes. A Republican victory here could give control of the House back to the GOP, if they're able to reorganize in midterm. If the Republicans can control the state House and pick up the governor's office in 2010, they'll control the resdistricting trifecta.
• Mayors: One other election on the docket in Tennessee tonight Thursday: Shelby Co. Mayor A.C. Wharton is looking likely to become the new mayor in Memphis. Polling has him leading Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery by a wide margin. (There are 25 candidates in the race, including professional wrestler Jerry Lawler.) The mayoral job was vacated, of course, by long-time mayor Willie Herenton, who after several abortive attempts to resign in the past is leaving to challenge Rep. Steve Cohen in a primary.