• AZ-Sen: Rep. Jeff Flake, long known for his non-insane stance on immigration, has bluntly announced that he's flip-flopping. Just like John McCain before him, Flake says he no longer supports comprehensive immigration reform and now just wants to discuss border security. Clearly, Flake is terrified of getting teabagged in the senatorial primary, even though he doesn't have any actual opponents yet. I suspect that Rep. Trent Franks (or someone else with strong movement conservative bona fides) will get into the race, though, and I doubt that Flake's last-minute conversion will incline the teabaggers to forgive him.
And I also wonder if it might not tick off his patrons at the Club for Growth, who just proudly announced that they've raised $350K for him. The CfG is backed by people and organizations who are what you'd call "cheap labor conservatives." That is, they prefer to see a steady flow of illegal immigrants because they represent a ready pool of workers they can cheaply exploit. The kind of immigration reform that Flake once favored also pleased his corporate masters, because it would have created a temporary worker program-almost as good, but blessed by the law! I doubt that the CfG, which pushed Flake hard to get into the race (and immediately endorsed him once he did) will abandon ship over this offense, but maybe they'll start focusing their energies on more reliable stooges.
• FL-Sen: I'm really glad that Mike Haridopolos is the only announced Republican candidate of any note because he's such a walking train-wreck (if you can visualize such a thing)-almost every new story about him is yet another disaster. His eye for optics is particularly atrocious: In his role as President of the state Senate, he just removed a piece of ethics legislation from the body's agenda-despite having co-sponsored the very same bill last year. Even better, you may recall that Haridopolos was just admonished by the Senate for failing to properly disclose his finances on required forms. I love this guy!
• MI-Sen: A Republican firm who seems to be affiliated with ex-Rep. (and potential candidate) Pete Hoekstra, Strategic National, released bits and pieces of a survey to Dave Catanese. They claim that Dem Sen. Debbie Stabenow's approval rating is just 30-38, in contrast with PPP's poll from yesterday which had her at 46-39. The only head-to-head they released showed Hoekstra trailing just 41-38 (PPP has him back 50-38). To Strategic National's credit (by the way, we'd never heard of this firm until this year), they released their sample makeup. To their discredit, the sample was 46 R, 44 D & 10 I. In other words, from Mars.
• NM-Sen: Could Greg Sowards be the next Christine O'Donnell or Joe Miller? I'd be shocked if you've ever heard of this teabagger, but he did spent $300K of his own money to get pasted in the NM-02 primary in 2008. (He also has a fucking funny URL-just Google his name.) With "moderate" Heather Wilson the only big-time candidate in the race so far, a surprising number of winger outfits are giving Sowards a look: He's in DC visiting with Jim DeMint's people and the Tea Party Express, among others. Sowards also appeared to get under Rep. Steve Pearce's skin by saying he didn't think Pearce would run for the Senate again. Click the link for Pearce's prickly response.
• NV-Sen: Rep. Shelley Berkley (D) will be keynoting the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in rural Churchill County this Friday, which either means she's spreading out her feelers for a statewide run, just doing someone a favor, enjoys spending time way up in the northern part of the state, or absolutely nothing.
• OH-Gov: On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese, I saw John Kasich, and his poll numbers sucked. Quinnipiac sez he's at 30-46 approvals, while GOP-affiliated pollster We Ask America says he's at an astoundingly bad 35-58. Q also asked about SB5 (the anti-union bill) with a couple of different wordings; either way, voters are opposed.
• WV-Gov: State House Speaker Rick Thompson's been cleaning up with the union endorsements (teachers, AFL-CIO), and now he's racked up a huge one: the United Mine Workers of America.
• AK-AL: This story is so disturbing, I won't even attempt to summarize:
A Republican congressman from Alaska, who also is on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association, now is attempting to distance himself from a Fairbanks militia leader accused in a high-profile firearms, murder and kidnapping plot.
In April 2009, with a video camera rolling, Rep. Don Young signed a "Letter of Declaration" being circulated by the Second Amendment Task Force/Alaska Peacemakers Militia, led by Francis Schaeffer Cox. The "declaration" called on "sovereign Americans" to "alter or abolish" any government that tries to "further tax, restrict or register firearms" or prevents individuals from exercising their "God-given right to self-defense [that] precedes all human legislation."
• CA-36: Democracy for America, the activist organization that emerged from the Howard Dean campaign, is endorsing SoS Debra Bowen, though it's not clear what kind of support they plan on providing. DFA previously endorsed Bowen when she sought re-election to her current job last year.
• IL-10: Activist Ilya Sheyman posts a diary to Daily Kos, saying that he's "considering running" against Republican Bob Dold! in Illinois' 10th CD.
• OR-01: Blue Oregon scored quite the coup: I believe they are the first local print media outfit to get an interview with Rep. David Wu. They say they talked to him for an hour, and promise that they asked tough questions. The contents of the interview will appear in a multi-part series over the next day (just as soon as they finish transcribing). You can read part one and part two now.
• SC-05: I don't think anyone was expecting that ex-Rep. John Spratt, at age 68 and with 14 terms under his belt, would seek a rematch, and indeed he's not. At an emotional event to honor Spratt's many years of service, he said that he might teach, or join a DC think tank, but that whatever he does, "it'll be part-time." Godspeed.
• Campaign Committees: So it looks like the DCCC and NRCC are engaged in a minor skirmish, but with Rahm Emanuel gone, it seems like the Chicago Way means, you come at me with a butter knife, I come at you with a spork. Anyhow, the D-Trip announced it was targeting robocalls and a bit of other media at ten Republicans (click link for districts) regarding Social Security and Medicare, so the NRCC did the exact same thing, except about gas prices. The NRCC also released what it claims is are television ads (but what our friend Nathan Gonzales would call a "video press releases") against Heath Shuler and Nick Rahall. I'll bet the amount spent on these buys isn't enough to buy John Shimkus a meatball sub.
• California: The new chair of the CA GOP spazzed about the selection of Q2 Data and Research as the redistricting commission's map-drawing technical consultant, hollering that the firm has ties "to the Democrat Party." Zing! Only problem is that the commission (which of course includes Republicans) voted 13-0 to pick Q2.
• Maryland: Last year, Maryland passed new legislation requiring that, for the purposes of redistricting, the state count prisoners as residents where they last lived, rather than where they are serving their sentences. State agencies just certified a count of 22,000 prisoners, and while some Baltimore-area legislative districts gained a bit as a result, the overall effects were slight. (Side note: The US government refused to share "last known address" data concerning the 1,500 inmates incarcerated in Maryland's lone federal prison.) The only other states with similar legislation are Delaware and New York; while this information affects local as well as state redistricting efforts, congressional redistricting is based on US Census data, and I'm pretty sure these laws don't cover that.
• Virginia: Winners were announced in the college competition to redistrict the state of Virginia. You can find the maps at the link. I don't think they got any babka, though.
• FL-Sen: Here's one way the rich & powerful are different from you and me: You can, if you're GOP state Sen. Mike Haridopolos, manage to leave clients worth $100,000 of income and a house valued at $400,000 off of your financial disclosure forms and have it be judged "inadvertent." Here's another way: you get to have the people doing the judging be your friends. Indeed, the chair of the committee responsible for punishing Haridopolos, former FL GOP chair & state Sen. John Thrasher, had endorsed his senate bid just last month. When asked if he should have recused himself, Thrasher said, "Hell, no. I think that's a total political bunch of crap from the Democratic Party of Florida. They're used to losing, obviously." And what's half a million bucks between friends?
• MT-Sen, MT-Gov, MT-AL: A firm called NSON Opinion Strategy took a poll of all three Montana races for the a conservative radio host, Aaron Flint of the Northern News Network, and a conservative consulting firm, 47 North Communications. Note that despite our very early point in the cycle, they tested likely voters. Anyhow, they found Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) narrowly leading Sen. Jon Tester, 47-44, in the senate race. In the open house race, they have Republican Steve Daines on top of Dem Frankie Wilmer, 31-22 (and obviously a ton of undecideds). Incidentally, Rehberg just endorsed Daines, the only announced Republican candidate so far.
NSON also checked on the gubernatorial primaries for both parties, but there's no suggestion of an oversample, and I'm not in the habit of reporting polls where the n is in the vicinity of 200, so you'll have to click through if you want the numbers.
• NV-Sen: I, like you, had been wondering why in the hell Harry Reid would randomly start talking about outlawing prostitution in Nevada. But when I saw that John Ensign felt compelled to weigh in in response - he's fer it! - I wondered if Reid might be playing a very clever deep game. Goading Ensign into running his mouth off about whoring is a pretty good trick, if you ask me.
• WA-Gov: This seems like a pretty unlikely move, what with AG Rob McKenna ready to pounce (and even Rep. Dave Reichert supposedly weighing a run), but another Republican might get into the mix. Businessman and Seattle Port Commission President Bill Bryant won't even go so far as to say he's "considering" the race; rather, he's "listening" to people who have "urged" him to look at the race.
• CA-23: A great catch by Aaron Blake: Republican former LG Abel Maldonado filed paperwork with the FEC to run in Dem Rep. Lois Capps' district. While it would be a hell of a feat for a Republican to win here - Obama won 65% of the vote here - the proverbial "source close to" Maldonado says the candidate is "pretty confident that redistricting will change that district enough" to make it competitive. We'll see.
• CA-26: It looks like we're finally getting the upgrade we need to successfully challenge Rep. David Dreier, and we have term limits to thank. Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, who is termed out in 2012, will kick off his campaign next week. As per the above, it's pretty ballsy to start running when you can't even know where you'll be running, but unlike Maldonado, Portantino is getting off to a real start, complete with fundraiser.
• CA-36: Has anyone of any stature endorsed Debra Bowen yet? I have no idea, because her website is still just a freakin' splash page. And I ask because two more members of Congress just endorsed Janice Hahn: Loretta Sanchez and Laura Richardson. Endorsements don't typically mean a lot, but in this case, Hahn has really piled together an impressive roster in a very short time, which indicates her level of influence is quite strong. Meanwhile, I'm not even sure what Bowen is up to - search for her name on Google News (be sure to sort by date) and you won't find much about her, but you'll see plenty of stories about Hahn.
• FL-22: Hmm. So much for keeping his recruiting plans on the DL. Steve Israel's in South Florida this week, talking with potential candidates about taking on Lunatic-in-Chief Allen West next year. It sounds like Israel's met with ex-Rep. Ron Klein, whom West beat in November, as well as Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon, and a guy named Patrick Murphy (no, not that Patrick Murphy), a construction executive. Israel also said he wants to talk to West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel, who is term-limited.
• NY-26: You can try to dump your gnarly tins of leftover Scozzafava-brand cat fud into a landfill, but the stench will forever linger on. The Albany Project has this awesome catch: Republican nominee Jane Corwin made the terrible, terrible error of donating $1,000 to Dede Scozzafava during her most ill-fated of congressional runs. Oh, the agony!
• OR-01: Two newspapers have already called for Rep. David Wu's resignation: The Daily Astorian and the Eugene Register Guard, which is actually the second-largest paper in the state. Can the Oregonian be far behind? So far, though, while the chair of the Oregon GOP seems to be calling for Wu to step down, fellow Dem politicians have been very circumspect, and Wu himself said he has no interest in leaving.
• TX-15: This might help explain why Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D) has missed so many votes (40% so far): Earlier this month, he declared bankruptcy, on account of loan guarantees he made to his family's meat company. The company itself declared bankruptcy in 2008, and though he was paid as a consultant from 2002 to 2007, Hinojosa has said he does not have managerial control over the firm.
• UT-02: Jim Matheson is on a bit of a sticky wicket. If the GOP cracks Democratic Salt Lake City when they draw their new maps, he could potentially survive - after all, he's represented a brutal district for a decade now. But he could be given a super-red district which also includes a lot of new territory, setting him back to square one-and-a-half. Alternately, the Republicans could pack Dem voters into a single district that would actually be fairly blue - in which case the conservative Matheson might find himself vulnerable to a more liberal challenger, particularly thanks to Utah's convention nomination process. (Recall that Matheson only pulled 55% at last year's convention against Some Dude Claudia Wright.) One such challenger might be former SLC Mayor Rocky Anderson, who told Aaron Blake he wouldn't rule out such a run, if the district were suitable.
• National Journal: It looks like the NJ's senate ratings are out (though I'm not sure the complete list is publicly available yet). And guess who is tied for most conservative senator? The circle is now complete. When John McCain left us, he was but the maverick. Now he is the hackster.
• Tea Party Express: Open Secrets has an interesting analysis in which they show that no fewer than twenty different federal PACs sprang into being last cycle, but that fully 96% of all money raised was hauled in by just a single entity, the Tea Party Express. But even more fascinating to me are TPX's final numbers. They donated $37K directly to candidates and spent $2.7 million on independent expenditures, but raised an amazing $7.6. That means that almost five million dollars went... where exactly?
• WI St. Assembly: Mark your calendars: Widely-beloved Gov. Scott Walker has set May 3rd as the date for special elections for three now-vacant Republican-held Assembly seats. (All three dudes just took jobs in the Walker administration.) The open seats are the 60th, 83rd and 94th. That last one could be interesting. Obama won only 38% & 35% of the vote in the first two districts respectively, but he took 55% in the 94th. The GOP has a 57-38 edge in the Assembly, though, so we have a long way to claw back.
AK-Sen: Man, we are seriously close! Just $195 away from our goal of raising $2,400 for Dem Scott McAdams in the topsy-turvy Alaska senate race. We have 64 contributors right now - I'd love to see us get to 70 before all is said and done. And if we hit our target now, you get to stop seeing nags from me!
DE-Sen: One final (?) independent expenditure report from the Tea Party Express, good for another $20K of media on Christine O'Donnell's behalf. Damn this one ought to be exciting tonight.
CA-Gov: Gah, this is just unspinnably bad. Meg Whitman releases an ad featuring footage of Bill Clinton attacking Jerry Brown in the 1992 presidential primary, so what does Brown do? He calls Clinton a liar - and manages to make a crack about Monica freakin' Lewinsky. (Talk about stuck in a time warp.) After a day, Brown finally apologized.
FL-Gov: Alex Sink secured endorsed from two top law enforcement groups: the Fraternal Order of Police and the Police Benevolent Association. Her campaign says it's the first time in two decades both orgs have endorsed a Dem (the FOP hasn't does so in 16 years).
KS-Gov: Live by the bailout, die by the bailout. Dem Tom Holland smacked Republican Sam Brownback during a recent debate for supporting a $200 billion bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - leaving Brownback to sputter that he voted against the bailout. Well, yeah, he voted against the infamous TARP. But Holland had him dead-to-rights on a separate vote, from July of 2008, which did in fact provide money to prop up the two government-sponsored mortgage enterprises.
ME-Gov: Watch GOP nominee Paul LePage get seriously testy when reporters ask him about the fact that his wife received homestead tax exemptions for properties in both Maine and Florida in 2009. (More details here.)
FL-02: Hah! This is why it pays to keep good records! Republican Steve Southerland claimed on a radio show that he had never donated money to Allen Boyd - so Boyd's campaign dug up a $100 check from 1997 (!) that Southerland had made out to Boyd. Nice work!
FL-08: Tea Party candidate Peg Dunmire is out with her first TV ad of the cycle - notable, of course, because you don't often see third-party candidates on the air (especially two months out from election day), and also because Dunmire has claimed she plans to put $250,000 of her own cash into the race.
IL-14: Idiot: GOPer Randy Hultgren made two separate contributions (totaling $2,000) to his federal campaign committee... from his state campaign committee. That, my friends, is not allowed (and which is why Hultgren is returning the money).
MI-01 (PDF): Republican Dan Benishek is touting an internal poll from TargetPoint Consulting, showing him with a 54-31 lead over Dem Gary McDowell. The polling memo is written in a pretty grossly sycophantic way, and my spidey sense is twigged enough for me to wonder if the ballot test was asked up top, or after some axe-grindy "issue" questions.
TN-04: Republican Scott DesJarlais is touting an internal poll from Public Opinion Strategies, showing him four points behind Dem Rep. Lincoln Davis, 45-41. Note to TargetPoint Consulting: This is how a polling memorandum should look.
DCCC: Reid Wilson has a detailed report on the D-Trip shifting ad money around, but really, it doesn't sound very good to me. In the waning days of WWII, my dad (in Poland) would tune in to Nazi-censored radio reports about the German troops "consolidating their positions" or "shifting to more strategically advantageous territory," etc. It was all bullshit-speak code for "we're retreating." So you tell me if you think the DCCC is reducing its ad buys in Arizona because vulnerable Dems there "are running stronger than expected campaigns," or if that, too, is bullshit. Similarly, should we be happy that the Dems are cancelling buys in North Dakota? Of course, those radio broadcasts my dad listened to were in fact good news....
Chicago-Mayor: I don't know if we'll be able to keep up with what I'm sure will be an avalanche of candidacy announcements, but former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun says she's throwing her hat in the ring for the Chicago mayor's race.
SSP-TV (written by James L.):
AL-02: The DCCC, as part of its huge $1.2 million ad reservation on behalf of Dem Bobby Bright, is hitting Martha Roby for being funded by "special interests working to privatize Medicare." The ad is no longer publicly available on YouTube, though.
AZ-01: Rogue dentist Paul Gosar hits Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick over spending in irritatingly-produced ad
AZ-05: David Schweikert attacks Harry Mitchell on taxes, bailouts, the stimulus, and (ironically) negative ads
AZ-08: Republican Jesse Kelly dubiously claims that he's running to protect Social Security (despite last year saying: "I would love to eliminate the program.")
CT-04: Dan Debicella goes after sophomore Dem Rep. Jim Himes on the usual GOP complaints
FL-22: Allen West hides the crazy in his new ad, instead hitting Dem Rep. Ron Klein on the economy
HI-01: Democrat Colleen Hanabusa reintroduces herself to voters
IA-03: GOPer Brad Zaun calls fans of government shrinkage to join his campaign
IL-10: Bob Dold! points the finger at Cap and Trade and Healthcare Reform for economic malaise
NM-02: Steve Pearce says he'll create jobs somehow
MI-07: Mark Schauer gets a bunch of angry seniors to berate ex-Rep. Tim Walberg over his scary views on Social Security. I like this one.
MO-03: Republican Ed Martin airs his first ad touting his efforts to save jobs
OH-01: Dem Steve Driehaus says that Steve Chabot won't stand up to the Tea Party
SC-02: Joe Wilson, via a retired General, hits Democrat Rob Miller on receiving fundraising assistance from MoveOn.org. His second ad touts his job platform. On a related note, Joe Wilson has a startlingly robotic voice - he sounds like something a Macintosh LC 630's speech synthesizer would be spitting out in 1994.
UT-02: Republican Morgan Philpot urges change in his first spot, and says that he's gonna "wear this sucker out" in ad #2
WI-08: Roofing contractor Reid Ribble touts his record of teaching high school volleyball
AK-Sen: As of Friday, Lisa Murkowski was saying that she still hasn't made a decision about whether to pursue a write-in bid. At least one major Republican is opposed to the idea: Sen. John Cornyn says that Murkowski would have to quit her job as vice chair of the NRSC if she goes the third-party route. I also wonder if her Senate committee spots might be in jeopardy, too. Anyhow, Eric Ostermeier of the University of Minnesota's excellent Smart Politics blog has a good post on the history of write-in campaigns in the Land of the Midnight Sun. In eight statewide contests, the best-ever score in a senate race was 17%, and 26% in a gubernatorial race. I actually think those numbers aren't bad at all!
DE-Sen: While everyone's still abuzz about last night's poll numbers, there's some other DE-Sen news worth reporting. For one, the NRA endorsed Christine O'Donnell. For another, so did Sen. Jim DeMint, Kingmaker of Loons. For yet another, Sarah Palin recorded a robocall for O'Donnell, playing up their shared sense of victimhood.
Meanwhile, The Hill says that the Tea Party Express has spent some $300K on radio and TV ads on O'Donnell's behalf, but it's a little hard to double-check that since TPX's FEC filings seem to use, shall we say, "new math." Finally, a reporter asked Mike Castle if he'd pursue an independent bid if he lost the primary. (DE's laws are apparently similar to Alaska's in this regard.) Castle was surprisingly non-committal, saying he'd "have to give it thought."
GA-Sen: Big Dog Alert (retroactive)! Bill Clinton was in Atlanta late last week to do a fundraiser for Labor Comm'r Michael Thurmond, the Dem senate nominee challenging GOPer Johnny Isakson. Thurmond, as you'd expect, was a big-time Hillary Clinton supporter.
IA-Sen: Chuck Grassley, making a play for the dirty old man vote, had this to say when asked why he didn't once look at opponent Roxanne Conlin during a recent debate:
"I wish you had told me because I would have been very happy to look at her. She's a very nice looking woman."
NH-Sen: The New Hampshire Union Leader has been combing through a batch of emails released by the NH attorney general's office pursuant to a freedom of information request, and they've turned up a doozy: Then-AG Kelly Ayotte used her official email account to discuss campaign strategy with a guy who later became one of her consultants. In better news for Ayotte, Sarah Palin recorded a robocall for her, too (see DE-Sen item above), but man is this imagery getting crazy: She calls Ayotte a "Granite Grizzly." Zuh? Anyhow, Jim DeMint's also decided to get involved here (again, see DE-Sen), endorsing surging wingnut Ovide Lamontagne.
NV-Sen: Jon Ralston has the complete tick-tock on how he got Harry Reid and Sharron Angle to agree to a debate on his show - only to have Angle, in a spasm of campaign dysfunction, pull out, despite being the one to throw down the challenge to Reid in the first place.
AK-Gov: Anchorage attorney Bill Walker, who drew about 30% in his primary against Gov. Sean Parnell (thanks to $300K in self-funding), says he's still waiting to see if either the Alaskan Independence Party or Libertarian Party candidates withdraw from the race. If there's a drop-out by Wednesday, Walker could take that spot for the general election.
HI-Gov: A new robopoll by Aloha Vote (taken for online news service Civil Beat) shows ex-Rep. Neil Abercrombie beating Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann by 48-31 in the Democratic primary. That's a pretty different picture from a Ward Research survey a few weeks ago which had Abercrombie leading just 49-44.
NY-Gov: It's been a long time since anyone has come out with any interesting statewide poll numbers in New York, but with just days to go before the primary, Siena has finally managed to surprise us (well, sorta): They show scuzzbucket businessman Carl Paladino in a dead heat with ex-Rep. Rick Lazio, trailing just 43-42. In mid-August, Lazio had a 43-30 lead, so this is all Paladino surge. The rest of the numbers (which test the senate races) are all meh - click the link if you want `em.
In other NY-Gov news, the Working Families Party decided to endorse Andrew Cuomo, and Cuomo - who had kept the WFP at arms' length for a long time - accepted. A federal investigation of the WFP was recently dropped, which seemingly helped smooth things. The party was in a very tough spot, though, as without Cuomo on their ballot spot, there was no real path for them to get the 50,000 votes they needed to avoid losing their ballot line. So I'm guessing there may be more to this story.
"John Salazar, it's time to come home," Tipton said as he opened the debate. "It's 9/11. Let's roll."
FL-25: Another mystery teabagger has (not really) come out of the woodwork. Roly Arrojo is running on the Florida Tea Party line, and it seems no one knows a thing about him, except for the fact that he hasn't filed any FEC reports - except for a Statement of Candidacy in which he identified himself as a Democrat. Republicans are suggesting this is a Dem put-up job, but Joe Garcia's camp is of course denying any knowledge of this guy. Interestingly, so is the head of the FL Tea Party!
ND-AL: I know, it sounds like parody, but Republican Rick Berg has a great idea: Drill for oil in North Dakota's Theodore Roosevelt National Park! Not only is it, of course, illegal to do so, but it's also a fucking national park!
NY-13: Republican Michael Allegretti just got bounced from the new teabaggish Taxpayers Party line, thanks to a lack of sufficient signatures. Rival Mike Grimm already has the Conservative line, come hell or high water.
NY-15: Of all people, Mayor Mike Bloomberg wound up recording a robocall for Rep. Charlie Rangel.
PA-08 (PDF): Yikes. Sophomore Dem Patrick Murphy just put out an internal from the Global Strategy Group showing him up by a mere 47-43 margin over the man he beat in 2006, Republican Mike Fitzpatrick. This is scary.
VA-05: The Weiner Watch continues: Republican Rob Hurt has already skipped two debates, and now he's announced he's skipping a third. Weiner!
Chicago-Mayor: Outgoing Chicago Mayor Richard Daley says he won't make an endorsement in the race to succeed him.
NY-AG (PDF): Siena also released some final attorney general numbers, finding Eric Schneiderman narrowly in the lead at 25, with Kathleen Rice nipping his heels at 23. Sean Coffey is at 13, Richard Brodsky at 7, and Eric Dinallo at 4. The race has continued to get nasty in its final days, with Rice putting out a TV ad trying to link Schneiderman to scumbag state Sen. Pedro Espada, while a Schneiderman spot hits Rice for only becoming a Democrat in 2005.
DCCC: Blah blah blah, Dems not paying their DCCC dues. It's old news, and I'm beyond sick of these stories, but not (only) for the reason you might expect. Oh yeah, I'm pissed at the schmucks who are holding out on their party for no discernible reason, but I'm also frustrated with the DCCC. We've repeatedly told them we want to help them raise money from their members - the netroots is not all-powerful, but we can bring some pressure on stingy Dems. But the DCCC steadfastly refuses to share their dues spreadsheet with us - even though they have no problem sharing it with the likes of Politico, and even though they actually promised to give us a copy at Netroots Nation. Not just obnoxious, but weirdly self-defeating.
KY-06: NRCC ($96K on anti-Ben Chandler ads and polls from two different firms)
More generally, the NRCC's IE arm said that it would go up with anti-Dem ads in eight districts (though no IE reports have yet been filed): AZ-01, AL-02, FL-02, MS-01, TN-08, TX-17, VA-05 & WI-07. A representative ad is available at the link.
CT-Sen: Obama alert! The POTUS is going to do a fundraiser in Stamford for Dick Blumenthal on Sept. 16th, the same day he was already scheduled to do a DNC event in Greenwich. Sorry to get all emo on you again, but if even Dick Blumenthal needs Obama's help....
DE-Sen: It's the battle of the sketchy polls! The Tea Party Express is touting a survey which supposedly shows Mike Castle up just 44-38 in the Republican primary over Christine O'Donnell. (Actually, they say Castle is at "43.7%" - too many significant digits is a classic sign of sketchiness.) Meanwhile, the Fix claims that "Internal GOP polling conducted last week showed Castle with a margin of nearly 20 points over O'Donnell." Anyhow, the TPX has no plans to evacuate in their moment of... well, we'll see if it's their moment of triumph... despite a surge of new questions about O'Donnell's fitness as a candidate. Among other things: Former aides say she never paid promised salaries on her 2008 campaign against Joe Biden, and she just received her degree from Farleigh Dickinson University last week, despite having attended 17 years ago and having repeatedly described herself as a graduate. Come on, baby, hold together!
IL-Sen: Amanda Terkel has spotted a trend among Mark Kirk's public statements: He can't shut up about the economic crisis in Greece - and Terkel thinks Kirk is attempting to link Alexi Giannoulias (who is of Greek descent) to the meltdown. Perhaps most egregious is Kirk's statement that while he "wore a U.S. Navy uniform, Alexi Giannoulias wore a basketball uniform in Greece." Really? That last part is relevant? A pretty ugly example of "othering."
LA-Sen: A little bit of Cajun-flavored cat fud: Gov. Bobby Jindal won't endorse Sen. David Vitter in his re-election campaign. Jindal claims he doesn't get involved in federal races, but WDSU has two very recent examples to the contrary. Anyhow, I can't think of too many sitting governors who haven't endorsed same-party, same-state senators, can you?
NH-Sen: Finally, a survey of the severely under-polled GOP senate primary in New Hampshire - though it's from Republican pollster Magellan, who likes to do Rasmussen-style one-day samples (a methodology that I think it's fair to say is not a best practice). Anyhow, here are the results (9/1, likely voters, May in parens):
UT-Sen: The battle for Orrin Hatch's senate seat - which won't take place until 2012 - is already getting ugly. Hatch is claiming that freshman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (who, you'll recall, already knocked off one sitting incumbent at a state convention in 2008) promised him he wouldn't challenge him next cycle. Chaffetz says he only pledged not to run against Sen. Bob Bennett, who of course already lost earlier this year. A Hatch spokesbot took off the gloves in response, saying: "Senator Hatch takes very seriously the principle of keeping his word. Of course, I suppose Jason can break it any time he wants to."
WV-Sen: Robert Byrd's family is excoriating self-funding Republican John Raese for using a photo of Dem Joe Manchin and President Obama that was taken at Byrd's memorial service earlier this year in an attack ad. Raese's campaign manager said, "That's a stock photo. We had no idea it was from the memorial service." Well, now you know.
AZ-Gov: Does this statement remind you of O.J. Simpson's ill-fated "hypothetical" book, If I Did It? Because that was the first thing I thought of:
"That was an error, if I said that," Brewer said about beheadings occurring in Arizona.
AZ-01: Ann Kirkpatrick is out with her first ad of the cycle, a pretty dull positive spot about how she donated 5% of her congressional salary... national treasury... opposed bailout... etc., etc. Ordinarily I'd just relegate this to our ad roundup at the bottom of the digest, but I also wanted to point out this great observation from SSP's own Johnny Longtorso: namely, the fact that the Navajo Nation (the largest Indian tribe in the United States) is holding its presidential election this fall, which may help Kirkpatrick on the turnout front. (Indians vote heavily Dem.) According to Wikipedia, some 130,000 Navajo live within the nation's boundaries in Arizona (it also includes parts of Utah and New Mexico), almost all of which is contained within the 1st CD.
AZ-08: You know how the WWF tried to become the WWE? Well, true hardcore wingnuts aren't content with (the bad kind of) SSP - they want SSE: Social Security elimination. Given how toxic this is in the real world (i.e., for the 99.999% of people who have never heard of John Galt), it's no wonder that Republican nominee Jesse Kelly now say he wants to "protect" Social Security. Good luck getting past statements like this one, from just last year: "If you have any ideas on that, I'm all ears. I would love to eliminate the program."
IA-01: This doesn't seem like a positive sign to me. Bruce Braley is going on the air with an ad (watch it here) hitting back against an outside group's attack ad - not something a candidate in an apparently "Safe D" race ordinarily feels a need to do. The group, American Future Fund, is accusing Braley of "supporting" the Park51 community center, though Braley has taken the standard "don't wanna deal with it" approach of calling it a local zoning issue for NYC. On the flipside, I'll take it as a good sign that Braley doesn't plan to get Martha Coakley'd. (Though doesn't it sound like Braley's "I approve this message" was recorded via cell phone? Does that mean the ad was rushed on to the air?) NWOTSOTB for Braley, though AAF claims it has spent $50K and plans to spend more.
IN-03: A common theme rears its head once more: A Republican rails loudly against bailouts, but it turns out he's been the beneficiary of government largesse himself. In this case, Dem Tom Hayhurst has been attacking GOPer Marlin Stutzman for accepting $180K in agricultural subsidies since 1995. But as the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports, just last month Stutzman said: "It's time to get rid of farm subsidies. The subsidies only manipulate the market."
KS-04: You know, we always love reporting on cat fud for cat fud's sake. Sometimes it's just a whiff, but other times, the cat fud can really stink up a race. Case in point: Mike Pompeo, a top competitor for GOP Dickbag of the Year, wasn't endorsed by any of the candidates he beat in the Republican primary, and even refused to return phone calls from his opponents. Now, the cats are coming home to roost, because one of those opponents, rich guy Wink Hartman, is considering re-entering the race on the Libertarian Party line. (The Lib candidate dropped out of the race for health reasons.) Hartman, who spent almost $1.6 million of his own money on the primary, notably includes among his reasons for wanting to get back in the game the fact that Pompeo "misrepresented Hartman's pro-life position and residency." The Libertarians have until Sept. 20th to decide whether to tap Hartman. In any event, this could provide a huge boost to Dem Raj Goyle, who appears to be in a surprisingly good position to stage an upset.
LA-03: In an unusual move, the Louisiana state Republican Party has formally endorsed Jeff Landry over Hunt Downer in the runoff. State parties don't typically take sides in primaries like this, but it sounds like the powers that be are eager to see Downer bail, rather than prolong the race all the way until October 3rd. I personally suspect that Downer has no chance in the second round, and I think he'll wind up playing Kevin Calvey to Landry's Jim Lankford. (Check out our OK-05 tag if the analogy isn't ringing any bells.)
NC-11: Heh - looks like Heath Shuler's suggesting he could run for Speaker of the House, clearly as a way to distance himself from Nancy Pelosi. Shuler also claimed that cats eventually turn into dogs.
NH-02: Nice - progressive fave Ann McLane Kuster raised $223K in her pre-primary report (7/1-8/25), totally kicking the asses of all the other major candidates (Katrina Swett (D): $37K, Charlie Bass (R): $57K, Jennifer Horn (R): $39K). As for cash, it goes Kuster: $450K, Swett: $798K, Bass: $312K, Horn: $32K. Even better news: Kuster is touting an internal poll from the Mellman Group showing her with a commanding 47-24 lead over Swett in the primary, which is Sept. 14th.
NY-20, NY-23: Rahm Emanuel is headlining a joint fundraiser on Sept. 19th for two upstate Dems: Scott Murphy of the 20th CD and Bill Owens of the 23rd. Murphy has $1.5 million on hand but Owens has only $600K.
PA-06: A nasty bit of racial ugliness from the campaign of Jim Gerlach. Said a spokesman about Dem opponent Manan Trivedi: "The only one who has played the race card here is him, by going to Indian-American groups to raise money."
SC-02: The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating Rep. Joe Wilson's trips abroad - at least thirty over the last eight years - and his per diem spending habits. Wilson is a prolific traveler on the taxpayer's dime, ranking 29th among current House members and 39th among 734 members who've served since 1994, according to The State. Wilson has tried to downplay prior reports of the probe, claiming it was only about $12 spent on some cheap mementos from Afghanistan, but that's evidently not the case. Meanwhile, Dem Rob Miller has a new ad out hitting Wilson for his support of CAFTA. Check it out - I think it's pretty effective.
VA-05: In a move that vaguely brings to mind Carl Mumpower, teabagger Jeffrey Clark said he'd withdraw from the race if the party or parties responsible for disseminating information about his financial history came forward to claim responsibility. Dem Tom Perriello's campaign said it wasn't them, but Republican Rob Hurt wouldn't say anything, so Clark says he's staying in the race. Feel the Mumpower!
OH-AG: Wrapping up some odds-and-ends from their recent Ohio poll, PPP find ex-Sen. Mike DeWine leading incumbent Dem AG Richard Cordray 44-40.
DCCC: Another day, another triage story. This time, the NYT claims that "party leaders are preparing a brutal triage of their own members in hopes of saving enough seats to keep a slim grip on the majority." And while they don't have an actual quote from him, the Times claims Chris Van Hollen "conceded" that Dems "would ultimately cut loose members who had not gained ground." In response, reports The Hill:
Van Hollen released a statement saying that the story "erroneously" said that the DCCC would redirect resources to two dozen viable campaigns if a review in the next two weeks showed that vulnerables weren't gaining ground.
I have to wonder: Did the NYT really get Van Hollen wrong here, or is CVH deliberately trying to send mixed messages in order to motivate his troops through fear?
AK-Sen: Joe Miller sure sounds like he's measuring the drapes here, doesn't he, with his talk about how much he'd "love" to serve on the Judiciary and Armed Services committees? Donate to Scott McAdams and help make sure we force Joe Miller to make a humiliating, droopy-dog run back to Neiman Marcus to return those curtains.
DE-Sen: Oh, I'm afraid the Tea Party Express will be QUITE operational by the time Mike Castle arrives! The NYT reports that the TPX is going up with five different ads (two TV and three radio) on behalf of Christine O'Donnell, and they have a rough cut of one of the TV spots (check the link). As for how big a buy we're talking, the TPX just filed its first independent expenditure report, for $46K. Their usual practice is to dribble things out in smallish reports one at a time - but don't worry, it'll snowball.
FL-Sen: Charlie Crist is spending over half a million on a new TV buy. We don't know what ads he'll be running, but the St. Petersburg Times has some pretty good info on where they'll appear (notably in Dem-leaning markets). Check the link for full details.
WI-Sen: GOPer Ron Johnson raised $1.2 million between July 1 and Aug. 25th, while Sen. Russ Feingold took in $920K. Johnson also loaned his campaign another $2.9 million out of his own coffers (which of course have been greatly bolstered over the years by government loans and grants to his plastics company). RonJo has been outspending Feingold, though, and has $1.6 mil in the bank compared to the senator's $3.1 mil.
FL-Gov: Alex Sink has a new ad, touching on the oil spill and calling for a diversification of Florida's economy. NWOTSOTB, but the spot is apparently airing in Florida's panhandle.
GA-Gov: Nathan Deal just performed a classic document dump - and not one that's likely to help him. He made public 28 years of his personal income tax returns, but none of this has anything to do with his auto salvage business which was the focus of a probe by the Office of Congressional Ethics.
CO-04: The House Race Hotline reports that the NRCC has reserved over $1 million in air time in the 4th CD. Let's see if they actually come through with all that scrilla, though.
FL-08: Put away your can openers - no cat fud here. All six of Dan Webster's Republican primary rivals have endorsed him, including teabagger Patricia Sullivan. However, Peg Dunmire is still in the race, on the actual Tea Party line.
IN-02: Joe Donnelly has a new spot out (NWOTSOTB), hitting Jackie Walorski for her support of a 23% national sales tax (as well as her desire to eliminate the home mortgage interest deduction). This issue is one that helped sink GOPer Tim Burns in the PA-12 special, so it has potency. I know that sometimes when Dems sink their teeth into this one, weenie liberals like to whine that what Republicans really mean is that they want to replace other taxes with this one. You know what? Let them make that argument. You don't need to make it for them.
IN-09: Republican Todd Young has a new ad out, featuring footage of Baron Hill imperiously telling a journalism student that she couldn't videotape a town hall. NWOTSOTB, but CQ notes that the spot is "currently airing only in the Louisville, Ky. market."
LA-02: With Al Franken acting, you know, senatorial, it looks like Joe Cao has decided to take up the mantle of Stuart Smalley. Sayeth Cao: "I love the president, and I believe he truly likes me." What a wiener.
MA-09: Labor activist Mac D'Alessandro scored the endorsement of NARAL in his primary bid against anti-choice incumbent Rep. Stephen Lynch. D'Alessandro raised $178K in the pre-primary period (7/1-8/25) and had $158K on hand for the stretch run. Lynch took in only $66K but had a million bucks in the bank.
NJ-03: Dem Rep. John Adler received the endorsement of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which did not back anyone in the race two years ago. They also say they'll provide financial help. (The Courier Post notes that the district includes Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.) Adler's also got a second negative spot out, hitting Republican Jon Runyan for his minimalist voting record. NWOTSOTB, and get a load of this stonewalling: "Campaign manager Geoff Mackler would not disclose the size of the buy, where the ads were committed to air or for how long they would air, saying he does not discuss strategy with reporters." But I don't think that should be the end of the story for a journalist. Hell, one of my jobs on a campaign I worked on in the 90s was to track down enemy ad buys. Reporters can do it, too. (And BTW, if you haven't seen Adler's first ad, I highly recommend you do so.)
NH-01, NH-02: John DiStaso has an asburd wealth of updates on New Hampshire's two House races, including word that Charlie Bass is set to release his first ad (watch it here), a $40,000 buy on New Hampshire TV. There's also news of a GOP primary poll in the 1st CD, taken by Cross Target on behalf of the right-wing group Americans for Prosperity. Sean Mahoney is at 33, Frank Guinta at 26, Rich Ashooh at 10, and Bob Bestani at 5. Mahoney's been out with a positive/negative ad comparing his record to Guinta's, making it clear that he thinks this poll is right about who the real contenders are. Guinta apparently has a new response ad coming this week.
NY-24: Mike Arcuri is up with a new ad, a positive bio spot. NWOTSOTB, though he has two slightly different versions, one of which is airing in Utica, the other Syracuse (see both here).
PA-07: A nice break for Dem Bryan Lentz: After a series of adverse rulings, Pat Meehan's campaign withdrew its legal challenge to the candidacy of Jim Schneller, a teabagger who petitioned his way on to the ballot... thanks to a lot of help from Lentz supporters.
PA-10: Interesting: Back when he was a US Attorney, Tom Marino served as a reference for a casino application for a man his office was investigating. In fact, the news was so explosive it led to the DOJ transferring the investigation to another office - and to Marino's resignation as USA. Back in May, though, Marino told a radio host that the DOJ had given him written permission to provide that reference, but he hasn't produced it (yet). Dem Chris Carney is hitting him for this, asking, "Where's the letter?"
WI-08: Steve Kagen is up with his first ad, and it's a good one. Among other things, he touts the fact that he has refused congressional health coverage until everyone in America has health insurance. He also refers to himself as "Dr. Steve Kagen," which is probably a helpful alternative to "Congressman" these days.
Enthusiasm Gap: Tom Jensen takes a look at a painful "what if" - as in, what if there were no enthusiasm gap between Democrats and Republicans this year? Among other things, he thinks Alex Sink would have a double-digit lead and that Elaine Marshall would be running slightly ahead of Richard Burr. But check out his full chart.
Dumping Ground: We've brought up some serious methodological issues in the past that we have with those zone-flooding American Action Fund House race polls, so it's best if we just confine the following to their own quarantine zone. (Those issues, by the way, included extremely aged samples and the fact that the GOP pollster, Ayres McHenry, asked respondents about their opinion of the healthcare bill right before diving into the topline match-ups.)
AZ-01: Ann Kirkpatrick (D-inc) 41%, Paul Gosar (R) 47%
AZ-05: Harry Mitchell (D-inc) 44%, David Schweikert (R) 50%
AZ-08: Gabby Giffords (D-inc) 46%, Jesse Kelly (R) 46%
CA-11: Jerry McNerney (D-inc) 44%, David Harmer (R) 45%
CA-47: Loretta Sanchez (D-inc) 45%, Van Tran (R) 43%
AR-Sen, AR-01: Bill Clinton is heading back home to Arkansas to do events for Blanche Lincoln (probably not a good use of resources) and Chad Causey (better use of resources). Incidentally, Politico notes that Causey's primary opponent, Tim Wooldridge, still has yet to endorse him. Jeez.
DE-Sen: It's official: The Tea Party Express has spooked Mike Castle into going up on the air before the primary, to a six-figure tune. In fact, the Hotline's Jeremy Jacobs has an unusual level of detail on the nature of the buy, noting that "Castle has purchased $113K worth of airtime for Aug. 31 to Sept. 6 in the Salisbury, MD, media market," as well as "$26K worth of time on cable in New Castle County and $42K on radio."
NH-Sen: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is throwing down for a big buy against Paul Hodes. As the Hotline notes, the Chamber's FEC filing says they're spending $1 million, but apparently the buy is for less - a spokesbot will only say that it's "sizable." You can see their ad at the link.
AK-Gov: Republican Bill Walker, who held Gov. Sean Parnell to just 50% in the GOP primary while taking 33% himself, is talking to the Alaska Independence Party about filling their ballot line, since the AIP's nominee, Don Wright, has withdrawn from the race. Remember that in 1994, Dem Tony Knowles very narrowly won the gubernatorial race because an AIP candidate split the right-wing vote, taking 13%.
FL-Gov: I'm not sure whether these are new names or not, but Alex Sink is trying to stick it to Rick Scott by putting out a list of ten Republican elected officials in central and south Florida who have endorsed her campaign. Speaking of Scott, he's reportedly going to tap state Rep. Jennifer Carroll, an African American legislator from the Jacksonville area, to be his running mate.
NM-Gov: Local blog New Mexico FBIHOP has two new ads, one each from Republican Susana Martinez and Dem Diane Denish. NWOTSOTB in either case.
AZ-03: Dem Jon Hulburd is hitting noted d-bag Ben Quayle where it hurts: on Christian radio. Politico has the audio of the ad, which of course references TheDirty.com, but NWOTSOTB.
CA-47: Ya know, usually when we do an Obama Alert! or a Biden Alert! we're at least a little bit excited at the prospect that the (V)POTUS is doing an event for some Dem or other. But once in a while, it just makes me nervous. This is one of those occasions. Joe Biden is headlining a fundraiser for Rep. Loretta Sanchez in DC on Sept. 15th. I'm thinking a rating change might be in order here soon.
MD-01: Dem Frank Kratovil is up with his first ad of the season. NWOTSOTB.
NJ-12: The so-called "Emergency Committee for Israel," led by jerkass extraordinaire Michael Goldfarb and backed by lunatics like Bill Kristol and Gary Bauer, is now targeting Rep. Rush Holt with their latest bullshit. Holt, for his part, is fighting back, calling the ads "blatant lies" and trying to convince cable companies to pull them.
ND-AL: A break for Rep. Earl Pomeroy: The House's Office of Congressional Ethics said earlier this week that they were dropping an investigation into Pomeroy's fundraising practices.
NY-01: If anything saves Tim Bishop's bacon, it might be the fact that the Republican primary has been a festering pit of raw sewage, with outraged attacks traded among Bishop's GOP rivals daily - or more often. In fact, the three-way nature of the race seems to have tripled the likelihood of open warfare at any given moment - and it also makes things damn confusing at times. Anyhow, it looks like Chris Cox is hitting Randy Altschuler for failing to show up to a debate... but then the third dude, George Demos, also had a staffer show up at Altschuler's offices and catch him on camera, right when the debate was supposed to start. Meanwhile, Cox also won a court ruling allowing him to fight Altschuler for the Conservative Party nomination, but he'll have to run as a write-in.
NY-13: Another nasty New York primary also continues to get nastier. Local establishment fave Michael Allegretti keeps piling on attacks against Mike Grimm, the golden boy of national GOP figures like Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. Among other things, Allegretti is pointing out that Grimm has never voted in a single Republican primary in the 13th CD.
OH-17: Jim Traficant got beamed back on to the ballot yesterday, running as an independent. He'll face Dem Rep. Tim Ryan and Republican Jim Graham, who has raised bupkes.
PA-15: PA2010 is reporting that Dem John Callahan is going up on the air with his first ad, perhaps as early as today. NWOTSOTB, and we also don't have a link to the ad yet, but we'll try to bring it to you once it's public.
TX-23: Republican Quico Canseco is refusing to meet with the editorial board of the San Antonio Express-News, claiming they have an "inherent bias" in favor of Dem Rep. Ciro Rodriguez. Only problem: The paper endorsed the last two Republicans who ran against Ciro.
WI-07: Republican Sean Duffy is finally scrambling on to the air with a positive bio spot. Dem Julie Lassa was up with her first ad last week, and the DCCC made its first independent expenditure (anywhere in the nation) here earlier this week. NWOTSOTB, though CQ notes the ad will air "in the Wausau-Rhinelander, Duluth-Superior, Minneapolis-St. Paul and LaCrosse-Eau Claire markets".
WV-03: Republican Spike Maynard is out with a new ad (watch it here) in which he says he wants to "stop the Obama-Rahall-Pelosi war on coal." That a serious mouthful, dude. (James Hell sez: "He should add Rand Paul to the list!") Anyhow, props to the Charleston Daily Mail for these details: "The ad is the first of two ads that will be released by Maynard's campaign as part of a $100,000 ad buy in the Beckley-Bluefield and Charleston-Huntington TV markets."
For Nick Rahall's part, he's apparently going to go on the radio with biographical spots to "familiarize folks with the congressman and his record." Uh, the guy has been in office since before I was born. The paper also reports that Rahall "is expected to run TV ads starting in late September." Can't say I love that pace.
Cat Fud: Think Progress has carefully stacked up an entire pallet's worth of cat fud tins in one of those lovely supermarket displays. They've assembled a long list of Republican primary losers who have refused to endorse the winners. I can think of two more off the top of my head: Pamela Gorman, who didn't want to catch Ben Quayle's cooties in AZ-03, and of course Lisa Murkowski, who maybe kinda sorta doesn't feel all that warmly about the guy who just called her a whore (or a john, take your pick) before the ballot counting was even over. Recall any others?
DSCC/DCCC: This is actually the same link that I got all emo about in that CA-47 item up above, but anyhow, uh, Obama Alert! The POTUS will be in NYC on September 22nd to do a joint event for the two congressional party committees.
The Tea Party Express, which spent some $600,000 on Alaska Republican Joe Miller's primary challenge to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), says it's preparing to do the same on behalf of Christine O'Donnell (R) in Delaware. [...]
Tea Party Express spokesman Levi Russell said Monday that his organization is already cutting TV and radio ads in Delaware and expects to be on the air by the end of the week. Russell said he hopes to match the support the group offered in GOP primaries in Utah, Nevada and Alaska this year.
"All of our spending is dependent on the enthusiasm of the Tea Party Express members," Russell said. "It's up to that race and that candidate to capture their imagination."
As to whether O'Donnell has done that to this point, Russell admits "not quite yet." But he expressed confidence that the money will flood in over the coming days.
"I'm sure we'll be spending six figures in Delaware," Russell predicted.
After powering Mike Lee, Sharron Angle and Joe Miller to stunning primary victories (or, in Miller's case, a still-unconfirmed kill), the weight of the Tea Party Express' independent expenditures cannot be ignored.
Establishment Republicans in Delaware appear to be livid at this news (and O'Donnell's candidacy in general), with state GOP chair Tom Ross call O'Donnell "a perennial candidate who lacks the standing in Delaware to get elected to anything." The Politico recently profiled O'Donnell's long-shot bid, and she had some choice quotes on Castle, describing him as "not a church-friendly candidate" and "the most liberal Republican in the House" who could be toppled in a closed GOP primary. (Less savory was O'Donnell's campaign manager spouting off about Castle being a "70-year-old bad heart Republican.")
AK-Sen: Just an FYI: The Tea Party Express has now spent $550K on behalf of Joe Miller - quite a sum in a super-cheap state like Alaska. (That means they've poured in about $200K in just the last week.) Remember, the TPX is the organization that helped power Sharron Angle to victory. Knocking off an incumbent senator is a much bigger task than beating Chicken Lady, of course, but the teabaggers are determined to keep this one interesting. (Also, any day I get to write about Chicken Lady is a good day.)
KY-Sen: Rand Paul, subjecting himself to a rare press conference, announced his preferred way of combating drug abuse in Eastern Kentucky. Instead of using federal dollars, he prefers church-based options: "I like the fact that faith is involved, that religion - Christianity - is involved, and I'm not embarrassed to say so. You have to have innovative local solutions to problems." Paul still called for the end of earmarks to fund Operation UNITE, an anti-drug program, which caused some awkwardness for his host, Hopkins County Attorney Todd P'Pool, who has made use of UNITE himself. (And yes, that awesome name is NOT a typo.)
NH-Sen: Paul Hodes has a new ad up, featuring music he wrote himself, which continues a theme we've seen elsewhere - namely, referring to Congress as some kind of daycare center for overgrown children. I'm not really sure how effective this characterization really is, given that it's been incumbents who keep deploying it. Anyhow, NWOTSOTB, though the Hodes campaign tells us it's "a significant buy in both the Manchester and Boston media markets" that's going up on both broadcast and cable today.
OR-Gov: Good news for Dem John Kitzhaber: The Oregon Progressive Party declined to nominate a candidate for governor, meaning that there won't be anyone on the ballot running to Kitz's left. Jerry Wilson, creator of the Soloflex, had been hoping for the Prog nod, and says he may run a write-in campaign instead.
AZ-03: Just a day before the primary, Dan Quayle emerged from his undisclosed potatoe to pen an email on behalf of his embattled, pathetic spawn, Ben. At this point, though, nothing can undo the Shame of the Super-Son.
CA-52: Democrat Ray Lutz has ended his 11-day hunger strike, which he launched in an attempt to get Rep. Duncan Hunter to meet him for a series of debates. Hunter actually did say he'd meet for an Oct. 15th debate, though he claims he was planning to accept that date even before Lutz went on his strike. Lutz, of course, is claiming victory - and if this tactic really did have its intended effect, I wonder if we'll ever see anyone else try it again.
IA-03: Rep. Leonard Boswell's been hitting Republican Brad Zaun on his flip-floppery over agricultural subsidies, and it seems like he's landed a solid blow. In Iowa, anything less than maximal statism in support of the ethanol industry is usually a political sin, but Zaun couldn't help himself at a teabagger debate earlier this spring. Zaun related a conversation with a farmer, who asked him "What are you going to do for me and the biofuels industry?" Zaun's description of his own response: "Nothing." Boswell's put out his first radio ad of the cycle (NWOTSOTB) featuring this very quote.
IL-11: Debbie Halvorson is getting a new campaign manager. Julie Merz, who has previously worked for Dennis Moore and Jim Matheson, is taking over for Travis Worl. It's always hard to say whether moves like this reflect campaign turmoil, a sign that the team is upgrading, or just natural turnover. The only tea leaf we have here is that Worl's departure was announced before Merz's hiring was.
LA-02: A good get for Cedric Richmond: New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu just gave the state legislator his endorsement yesterday. Richmond faces fellow state Rep. Juan LaFonta in the primary, which is this Saturday (note the unusual date).
NV-03: Republican media buying company Smart Media Group says that AFSCME has put down $240K for ads against GOPer Denny Joe Heck. The union hasn't filed an independent expenditure report yet, though.
NY-01: Republican George Demos is up with his first TV ad, attempting to out-conservative opponents Randy Altschuler and Ed Cox - and doing his best to make himself unelectable in the general election by painting himself as "pro-life." NWOTSOTB. Meanwhile, Altschuler succeeded in knocking Cox out of the Conservative Party primary, though Cox has vowed to appeal the judge's ruling.
NY-25: Republican (and Mama Grizzly) Ann Marie Buerkle says she won't rule out SSP - the bad kind of SSP, of course:
"There's so many options when it comes to privatization. I would have to look at each plan that's being proposed... but I would certainly consider looking at it."
AR-Sen: Mitch Berry, the son of retiring Dem Rep. Marion Berry, is stepping up his fight against Bill Halter's purported war on common sense. Berry's PAC, Arkansans For Common Sense, just filed a $150,000 media buy against Halter, bringing their total expenditures in this race to nearly $350K. (J)
NV-Sen: Salon notes that hard-charging teabagger Sharron Angle has been handing out her own newspaper-style pamphlet at campaign events, titled "The Angle Examiner." Underneath eye-grabbing headlines like "Reid Waterboarding the Economy" are photos of Angle in various action poses, including one in which she's firing her .44 Magnum, which she calls her "Dirty Harry Hand Cannon." Salon editorializes that "the breathless tone of its writing, and the very un-slick design, makes it seem like one more piece of evidence that Angle may not be quite ready for prime time."
Ready or not, Angle is getting some big help in the closing days of her insurgent campaign. The Club for Growth filed a half-million dollar expenditure report with the FEC, the bulk of which is being spent on direct mail and attack ads hitting front-runner Sue Lowden. At the same time, the Tea Party Express has upped their media buys supporting Angle by another $50K. (J)
AZ-Gov: Get a load of this tyranny. GOP Gov. Jan Brewer says that she "has removed" state AG Terry Goddard, a Democrat running against her this fall, from defending the state against possible litigation by the federal Department of Justice surrounding the state's "papers please" immigration law. Apparently, Brewer thinks that Goddard is "colluding" with the DoJ after learning that he met with DoJ lawyers shortly before they met with the governor's legal advisors. This is a routine practice for Justice Department attorneys when considering legal action against a state, but Brewer will have none of it. Goddard, for his part, insists that he will be "definitely defending the state" in any challenges to the law. (J)
NY-Gov: Ex-Rep. Rick Lazio scored the Conservative Party's endorsement, but he didn't exactly do it in fine fashion. Chairman Mike Long pushed the party convention a week ahead of the GOP confab, in the hopes of pressuring the Republicans to nominate Lazio instead of recent ex-Dem Steve Levy. But this move ruffled quite a few feathers, it seems, and supporters of Levy and ultra-creepbag Carl Paladino conspired to also put Erie County Conservative chair Ralph Lorigo on the ballot as well. This means that if Lorigo sees it through, Lazio could face a contested primary for the Conservative line. That would mean two different primaries for two different parties with two different sets of opponents for Lazio at the same time! I also have to wonder whether Long will also face backlash over his continued meddling in NY-23 as well. Ah, the Republicans: They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
CA-36: Not taking any chances, Dem Rep. Jane Harman is out with an incendiary ad against her primary opponent, activist Marcy Winograd. The ad, which began airing on local cable stations and FIOS last Thursday, hits Winograd for wanting to "kill the defense budget" and to "destroy Israel." Kudos to the Politico's Alex Isenstadt for inquiring about the size of the ad buy, but shame on the Harman campaign for declining to provide details. (J)
CA-42: Teabagging accountant Phil Liberatore pumped another $375K of his own cash into his race against GOP Rep. Gary Miller. Liberatore has now spent half a million trying to unseat Miller, who has spent "only" $337K. There are also a couple of Some Dudes in this race. The primary is June 8th.
FL-10: Even though the House ethics office cleared Bill Young in the PMA lobbying scandal back in February, a criminal investigation is apparently underway at the Justice Department. (You may recall that several lawmakers were accused of steering defense-related earmarks to PMA clients, in exchange for campaign donations.) Dem Charlie Justice seems to be overplaying his hand here (if he even has one), calling for Young to resign from office.
GA-09: Sure, anyone can file a lawsuit, but banks aren't Orly Taitz, and they usually only sue debtors when they mean it. So it's a bit startling to see that a local bank is suing Tom Graves, the leading candidate in the GA-09 runoff, to recover an unpaid $2.25 million business loan. They're also accusing him of fraudulently transferring some property in order to frustrate the bank's collection efforts. This sounds pretty serious, and could be a real game-changer. The second round of this special election is on June 8th, where Graves, a former state rep., faces Lee Hawkins, a former state senator. (Graves led 35-23 in the first round.)
ID-01: Walt Minnick just rolled out a list of 100 key supporters across his district, including a bunch of prominent Republican donors and elected officials, like some county commissioners and the former head of the National Cattleman's Beef Association. Whoo-eee!
IL-10: Biden alert! The VPOTUS will do a fundraiser for Dan Seals on June 21st in Chicago.
NC-08: It's always the sign of a successful campaign when the candidate starts threatening to sue members of his own party for defamation. That's what SSP fave Tim D'Annunzio is doing, claiming that the state GOP chair is spreading lies about him. Oh, and he wants $5 million. God speed, little Timmy!
NY-01: Bill Clinton will be doing a $2,400-a-head fundraiser for Rep. Tim Bishop in Manhattan this Thursday, while Henry Kissinger will be doing the same for Republican Chris Cox. (Cox is the grandson of Richard Nixon, who of course was BFF with Kissinger back in the day.) P.S. Note to CQ-Roll Call: There is no "furor" about this dumb Sestak job non-story.
SC-02: GOP Rep. Joe Wilson raised an unbelievable amount of cash after his infamous State of the Union outburst, and he's spending at an equally prodigious clip, too. Wilson's pre-primary fundraising report, filed with the FEC, indicates that his campaign brought in $190,000 in a six-week period following the end of March, but he also spent over $450,000 out of his war chest, leaving him with under $1.9 million cash-on-hand. All told, Wilson has spent a whopping $2 million on his re-election campaign already, despite not facing any primary opposition. (J)
UT-02: Rep. Jim Matheson scored the backing of the 18,000-strong Utah Education Association teachers union. It so happens that his primary opponent, Claudia Wright, has been a teacher for 30 years.
NRCC: A good observation by Steve Benen, who points out that the NRCC has recently begun lowballing expectations. While Republicans had for months been acting as though they were sure to retake the House, NRCC recruitment chair Kevin McCarthy has reduced his oddly specific takeover from 45 to 37 - just short of what the GOP would need for the majority. Benen wonders if the NRCC is playing a deep game here, trying to goad supporters into giving their all, lest they become complacent. But in the wake of PA-12 and other embarrassments in primaries, maybe the Republicans really have dialed back their hopes a bit.