• CA-Sen: Russian law enforcement officers raided Hewlett-Packard's Moscow offices today, as part of an investigation into whether HP paid millions in bribes to the Russian government to win a large contract. Why are we leading with this story today? Guess who was CEO of HP in 2003, when the contract was executed? That's right... Carly Fiorina.
• CO-Sen: Ken Buck, the right-wing Weld County DA who's become a fave of the teabagger set (to the extent that establishment GOPer Jane Norton isn't even looking to compete at the activist-dominated state assembly), just received the endorsement of hard-right starmaker Jim DeMint. (Buck's last quarter wasn't that impressive, though: $219K raised, $417K CoH.)
• CT-Sen: Here's an indication of the savvy investment skills that got Linda McMahon to the top. She revealed that she self-financed another $8 million this quarter, bringing her total self-funding all cycle to $14 million. (She also raised $37K from others.) What was the return on her gigantic investment? Now she's down a mere 25-or-so points to a guy who speaks in 10-minute-long run-on sentences. Meanwhile, ex-Rep. Rob Simmons, who has to rely on the kindness of strangers instead, has seen his fundraising get drier in a post-Chris Dodd environment; he raised only $550K last quarter.
• IN-Sen: Here's a big fat fundraising fail, although it may explain why he didn't see any shame in missing the reporting deadline. Republican ex-Sen. Dan Coats' comeback bid managed to pull in a whopping $379K last quarter. (He has $331K CoH.)
• MO-Sen: Roy Blunt is doubling down on the stingy: he reiterated his desire to repeal HCR, even the part about making sure that people with preexisting conditions are able to get coverage. He also lost another skirmish in the perception battle today, as Robin Carnahan narrowly outraised him for the first quarter, $1.5 million to $1.3 million.
• NH-Sen, NH-01: In the New Hampshire Senate race, Kelly Ayotte and Paul Hodes are pretty closely matched fundraising-wise: she raised $671K in Q1 with $1.3 million CoH, while he raised $665K with $1.7 million CoH. Ayotte's GOP primary opponent, William Binnie, raised $400K from donors even though he's mostly focused on self-funding; he's sitting on $1.7 million CoH, despite having been advertising constantly. In the 1st, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, never much of a fundraiser, had a so-so quarter; she raised $168K and sits on $485K.
• NV-Sen: Although she's been dwindling in the polls, don't quite count out former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle yet. The Tea Party Express endorsed the one-time Club for Growth favorite in the GOP Senate primary.
• PA-Sen: Arlen Specter continues to be the cash king in the Pennsylvania Senate race, now sitting on a $9 million warchest, but he was substantially outraised by Pat Toomey in the last quarter. Specter raised $1.1 million in the first quarter, half of Toomey's haul.
• GA-Gov, GA-Sen: It's strange we've been dropping the ball on mentioning this poll for almost a week now, as it's good news for Democrats. Research 2000 polled the general election in the Georgia gubernatorial race, and found ex-Gov. Roy Barnes narrowly ahead in all three configurations. He leads expected GOP nominee Insurance Comm. John Oxendine, 45-42, ex-Rep. Nathan Deal 44-42, and ex-SoS Karen Handel 44-43. AG Thurbert Baker, if he somehow gets the Dem nod, loses 48-36 to Oxendine, 48-35 to Deal, and 49-35 to Handel. Over in the Senate race, GOP incumbent Johnny Isakson looks pretty safe: he beats Baker 50-34 and Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond 53-26 (not that either one is planning to run).
• ME-Gov: Good news for Dems turned into bad over the course of a few days; social conservative Michael Heath (former head of the Maine Family Policy Council) launched an independent bid earlier this week (which would only serve to hurt the GOP), then did an about face and pulled the plug on it today. There's already one prominent indie candidate in the race, environmental lawyer Eliot Cutler, who seems poised to draw more from Dems than the GOP.
• OR-Gov: Here's a camera-ready moment from last night's debate between Democratic party candidates John Kitzhaber and Bill Bradbury at the University of Oregon. In response to calls of "is there a doctor in the house?" when an elderly audience member started having a seizure, Kitzhaber (a former emergency room doctor) hopped down from the podium, stabilized him, and once an ambulance had arrived, resumed debating.
• CA-03: Ami Bera continues to do well on the fundraising front; he raised $380K in the first quarter, and is sitting on $977K CoH as he prepares for a tough challenge to Republican Rep. Dan Lungren.
• DE-AL: We're going to have a big-dollar race in the at-large seat in Delaware, which just had the entry of two different Republicans with the capacity to self-finance large sums. Democratic ex-LG John Carney is working hard to stay in the same ballpark; he raised $255K in the first quarter and sits on $675K.
• FL-08: Could we still see The Devil vs. Daniel Webster? Rep. Alan Grayson repelled the socially conservative former state Senator many months ago, forcing the NRCC to scramble to find a lesser replacement (businessman Bruce O'Donoghue seems to be their preferred pick, although state Rep. Kurt Kelly is also in the race). But now people close to Webster say he's giving some consideration to getting back in the race (apparently undaunted by Grayson's huge Q1 haul). Insiders seem to think that's unlikely, though, given the late date.
• FL-19: Congratulations to our newest Democratic Congressperson, Rep. Ted Deutch. The winner of Tuesday's special election was sworn in this afternoon.
• NY-01: The battle of the rich guys is on, in the GOP primary in the 1st. Facing well-connected Randy Altschuler, Chris Cox (son of state chair Ed Cox, and grandson of Richard Nixon) whipped out his own large balance sheet. He raised $735K for the quarter, and has $624K CoH. (Cox loaned himself $500K.)
• NY-20: Republican Chris Gibson seems to have finally locked down the GOP slot in the 20th, but he has a deep hole to dig his way out of, against Rep. Scott Murphy's seven-digit warchest. Gibson raised $109K and has $92K CoH.
• OH-13: Wealthy car dealer Tom Ganley is moving even more of his own money into his uphill race against Rep. Betty Sutton. He loaned himself another $2 million (although apparently his cupboard was bare before he did so, as now his CoH is also $2 million). Sutton, seeming caught off-guard by Ganley's entry, raised only $135K and is sitting on $281K.
• PA-06: Rep. Jim Gerlach raised $500K in his first quarter, after his belated decision to come back for his old job; he only has $335K CoH, though. Democratic opponent Doug Pike raised $225K but has $1.2 million CoH. (No word yet from his primary opponent, Manan Trivedi.)
• PA-07: Republican ex-US Attorney Pat Meehan continues to have a fundraising edge over Democratic state Rep. Bryan Lentz in the open seat in the 7th; Meehan raised $340K and has $855K CoH, while Lentz raised $235K and has $610K CoH.
• PA-08: Ex-Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick put up showy numbers a few days ago in his quest to get his seat back, but Rep. Patrick Murphy surpassed Fitzpatrick's $510K. Murphy raised $586K and has $1.3 million CoH.
• PA-11: Finally, in Pennsylvania, Rep. Paul Kanjorski had a decent quarter, raising $260K (less than Lou Barletta's $300K, but Kanjo has a mammoth CoH advantage, sitting on $1.2 million. Kanjorski's Democratic primary rival Corey O'Brien has quite the burn rate: he raised $115K this quarter, but has only $47K CoH.
• Teabaggers: The Tea Party Express also issued a full target list today (no gun sights on their districts, though), and as befits their role as the corporate arm of the teabaggers, their goals aren't that much different from those of the NRSC and NRCC. Top targets are (with the odd toss-in exception of Barney Frank) just the usual names considered most likely to lose, making it easy for them to claim they claimed some scalps come November: Harry Reid, Blanche Lincoln, Betsy Markey, Tom Perriello, and so on. They also list some heroes, and in the interest of bipartisan cover, they actually included a Democrat. In what's not a surprise, it was ID-01's Walt Minnick. (Wouldn't it be ironic if their endorsement actually helped Minnick, likely to face a very close race this year, squeak by?) Also, on the teabagger front, Some Dude over at Salon looks at Tea Partier demographics and the roots of their resentments.
• Election results: Yesterday's big event was the special election in FL-19, the first real electoral test after the passage of HCR. The allegedly massive opposition to healthcare reform on the part of the district's many seniors never really materialized. Democratic state Sen. Ted Deutch beat Republican Ed Lynch 62-35, with very little falloff from Obama's 65-34 performance in 2008. (Contrast that with John Garamendi's so-so 53-43 performance in November's CA-10 special election, a similarly 65-33 district in 2008.)
I should also pause to offer a little credit to Texas's Republicans, who voted for the less crazy candidates in the Board of Education and Supreme Court runoffs, and in a bigger surprise to me, for the Hispanic-surnamed candidates in the TX-17 and TX-23 runoffs (which, based on incumbent Victor Carrillo's trouncing in the Railroad Commissioner primary, seemed unlikely to happen). The NRCC has to be pleased to see the wealthier and less wingnutty Bill Flores and Quico Canseco emerge. Rep. Chet Edwards, however, is one guy who knows how to stand and fight, and he wasted no time hitting Flores hard and defining him as a carpetbagger in big oil's pocket.
One other leftover issue from last night: two races in California, as expected, are headed to runoffs. In Republican-held SD-12, Republican Assemblyman Bill Emmerson will face off against Democrat Justin Blake (the GOPers combined got more than 60% of the vote, so this is a likely hold), while in safely-Democratic AD-43, Democratic lawyer Mike Gatto will face off with Republican Sunder Ramani to replace now-LA city councilor Paul Krekorian. Gatto seemed to shoot the gap in this heavily Armenian-American district after the two Armenian candidates, Chahe Keuroghelian and Nayiri Nahabedian, nuked each other.
• AR-Sen: Bill Halter's primary campaign gained more momentum, as he picked up an endorsement from the Alliance for Retired Americans, pleased with his time as a Social Security Administration official. One group that really isn't getting on board with Halter, though, is the Berry family; first outgoing Rep. Marion Berry dissed Halter, and now his son, Mitch, is head of a group, Arkansans for Common Sense, that's running ads attacking Halter on the Social Security front. (Are there any Arkansans who are actually against common sense?)
• CO-Sen: Looks like GOP establishment candidate Jane Norton sees the handwriting on the wall and is taking a page from Democrat Michael Bennet's book: not able to rely on getting on the ballot via activist-dominated convention (where teabagger-fueled Ken Buck seems likely to triumph), she's making plans to qualify by finding 1,500 signatures in each of the state's seven congressional districts. Speaking of Bennet, he's still the fundraising kingpin in this race; he just announced he raised $1.4 million last quarter, well ahead of Norton's $816K.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist may have sounded Shermanesque last week in his determination not to switch to an Independent bid for Governor, but apparently now there's increasing moves within his inner circle to move in that direction. Unnamed advisors are floating the idea to the WSJ today.
• IN-Sen: Dan Coats seems to be having more trouble making the transition from the free-wheelin' world of high-stakes lobbying back to the humdrum electoral politics world, where you actually have to follow the rules and stuff. He's 10 days overdue on filing his finance disclosure reports with the FEC. One note that the Beltway press seemed to miss though: his main GOP primary opponent, ex-Rep. John Hostettler hasn't made his filing yet either. (Of course, fundraising was never Hostettler's strong suit. Or even his weak suit.)
• NC-Sen (pdf): PPP issued its latest installment in polls of the Senate general election in its home state. Maybe the biggest surprise is that incumbent Republican Richard Burr's approvals are just continuing to fall; he's currently at 32/41 (while likeliest opponent Elaine Marshall is in positive territory at 19/11). Also encouraging, I suppose, is that the actual human Democrats are starting to draw even with Generic D (while previous polls have had Generic D far outpacing them), showing they're getting better-defined. Burr leads Generic D 43-38, while he leads Marshall 43-37, and leads both Cal Cunningham and Kenneth Lewis 43-35.
• NY-Sen-B: With ex-Gov. George Pataki's phantom interest in this race finally having been dispelled, Swing State Project is removing this race from its "Races to Watch" list.
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): One more poll in the rapidly-becoming-overpolled Pennsylvania Senate race, this time from Republican pollster Susequehanna. They use an LV model, and find Pat Toomey with a 48-38 lead over Arlen Specter. Of more immediate consequence, they find Specter leading Joe Sestak 42-28 in the Dem primary. They also polled both primaries in the gubernatorial race, finding Dan Onorato seeming to break away from the ill-defined pack among the Dems. Onorato is at 32, followed by Joe Hoeffel at 13, Jack Wagner at 6, and Anthony Williams at 4. Tom Corbett beats down Sam Rohrer on the GOP side, 50-7. After marshaling his resources, Specter is finally starting to open fire; he's up with his first TV ad of the cycle starting today.
• WI-Sen: The only thing that's sure is that Tommy Thompson likes to see his name in the press. There's been a lot of conflicting reporting about Tommy Thompson today, with many outlets running with the story that he's decided against running for Senate (that all traces back to one leak to a local TV station, although it sounds like Politico got some confirmation from an anonymous GOP source). Other outlets are emphasizing that Thompson's spokesperson says that Thompson hasn't made a final decision, though. Either way, Thompson will be announcing his plans at a Tea Party rally tomorrow in Madison, so our pain will be ended tomorrow one way or the other.
• MA-Gov: Here's more evidence for my expectation that Dem-turned-indie Tim Cahill will be running to the right (or at least to the incoherent-angry-working-class-Catholic-guy-position) of the Republican in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race this year. He's appearing at today's Tea Party rally on Boston Common today, the same one with Sarah Palin that Scott Brown ditched (although MA-10 candidate Joe Malone and GOP gubernatorial underdog Christy Mihos will be there). Likely GOP gubernatorial nominee Charlie Baker (from the party's old-school moderate WASP tradition) decided against attending, probably out of fears that he might get jostled by some ruffian and spill some of his gin and tonic on his white Bermuda shorts.
• MN-Gov: Two blasts from the past in the Minnesota gubernatorial race. Walter Mondale weighed in in favor of Democratic state House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, while a guy I've never heard of named Al Quie, who claims to have been governor from 1979 to 1983, endorsed Republican Marty Seifert.
• NE-Gov: Via press release, the campaign for Democratic candidate Mark Lakers let us know that he took in $314K, impressive considering his late entry to the campaign.
• AL-07: State Rep. Earl Hilliard Jr. got an endorsement from the United Steelworkers, a union that seems to still have a lot of clout in Birmingham, once a major steel town.
• AZ-03: Now here's some news I didn't expect: the fundraising champ in the 3rd isn't one of the many state legislators running here, but rather attorney (and vice-presidential progeny) Ben Quayle. He pulled in $550K in the first quarter, thanks no doubt to family connections. There are a couple other self-funders in the race too, but the elected officials seem to be lagging: case in point, well-known ex-state Sen. Pamela Gorman, who raised only $37K and ends with $23K CoH.
• FL-24: Rep. Suzanne Kosmas announced a haul of $260K for the first quarter. That's less than the $340K reported by her likely GOP opponent, steakhouse mogul Craig Miller (although a slab of his money was apparently carved out of his own personal funds); Kosmas has a big CoH advantage, though, sitting on more than $1 million.
• GA-07: Retiring Republican Rep. John Linder didn't look far to endorse a replacement for him: he gave his nod to his former chief of staff, Rob Woodall.
• HI-01: Sen. Dan Inouye just transferred $100K of his money to the DCCC, despite appearances that they're actively backing Ed Case, rather than Colleen Hanabusa, who has the support of Inouye (and pretty much everyone else in the local Democratic establishment). Inouye has apparently been working behind the scenes, including reaching out to Nancy Pelosi, to get the DCCC to dial back their Case support, so maybe the cash infusion will give him a little more leverage. (Inouye is sitting on $3.2 million and faces little if any opposition this year.)
• IN-03: Nice fundraising numbers from Democrat Tom Hayhurst, who ran a surprisingly close race against Rep. Mark Souder in 2006 and is back for another try. Hayhurst has racked up $234K CoH, more than Souder ($99K in the first quarter).
• IN-05: Politico has a look at Rep. Dan Burton's difficult primary in the 5th, in Indianapolis's dark-red suburbs. While Burton may actually be safer this year compared with 2008 (since he has four opponents instead of just one), the article traces the roots of the local GOP's discontent with him, and also shows the magnitude of his collapse in support: only 2 of the 11 local party organizations are supporting Burton this time.
• MO-08: Another Dem in a dark-red seat who keeps impressing everybody with his tenacity is Tommy Sowers. The veteran and college instructor, who's challenging Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, raised $295K in the first quarter and is now sitting on $675K CoH.
• NM-02: Ex-Rep. Steve Pearce can write himself his own checks if he needs to, but he may not need to at this rate. Pearce raised $277K in the first quarter, and now sits on $708K. Democratic Rep. Harry Teague hasn't reported yet, but in the duel of wealthy oil guys, he can self-fund too if need be.
• NY-14: With Democratic primary challenger Reshma Saujani having some success on the financial front, Rep. Carolyn Maloney got some top-tier help from Barack Obama, who endorsed her and sent out a fundraising appeal on her behalf.
• PA-11: If this doesn't wake up Rep. Paul Kanjorski from his nap, I don't know what will. Three-time Republican opponent Lou Barletta raised $300K in the first quarter. An important caveat: there was no mention of cash on hand, which is telling because Barletta was still saddled with a lot of debt from his 2008 campaign when he decided to run again. (UPDATE: Barletta's CoH is now $205K.)
• PA-17: Republican state Sen. David Argall raised a tolerable but not-too-impressive $125K in the first quarter. He'll need more than that to battle Rep. Tim Holden, who, if nothing else, has great survival skills (he had the worst district of any freshman who survived 1994, and then survived a 2002 gerrymander designed to rub him out). In fact, he'll need more than that just for his primary; heretofore unknown GOP opponent ex-Marine Frank Ryan raised $70K in the first quarter.
• Redistricting: Maryland beat out New York to be the first state in the nation to enact legislation that will, in terms of redistricting, treat prisoners as residents of their last known address, rather than where they're incarcerated (and thus move the center of gravity back toward the cities from the countryside). Also, on the redistricting front, if there's one group of people who are the target audience for a whole movie about redistricting (Gerrymandering), it's the crowd at SSP. The film's director has a diary up, touting its release in two weeks at the Tribeca Film Festival.
• Special elections/Runoffs: Believe it or not, it's a busy election night tonight. Top of the list is the special election in FL-19, where the successor to Robert Wexler will be chosen. In this D+15 district in the more middle-class parts of the Gold Coast, the Democrat, state Sen. Ted Deutch, is heavily favored. The parties haven't gotten involved, and Republican Ed Lynch (who lost a lopsided decision to Wexler in 2008) is hamstrung by the presence of independent right-wing candidate Jim McCormick.
It's runoff day in Texas, with almost all the action on the GOP side. TX-17, between self-funder Bill Flores and 2008 candidate Rob Curnock, and TX-23, between self-funder Quico Canseco and ex-CIA agent William Hurd, are the marquee races as far as the U.S. House goes. There are also some GOP runoffs in some state House races, an interesting mixed bag of open seat succession races, teabaggish challenges to GOP incumbents, and challenges to vulnerable Dems. Finally, there's a culture war clash between just-very conservative and super-duper conservative in two statewide contests: one for the Supreme Court (with Rick Green, the former state Rep. known for punching the guy who beat him in 2002, representing Team Crazy), and one for the Board of Education (between Marsha Farney and Brian Russell, with Russell the movement conservative here).
Finally, there's some state legislature action in Massachusetts, California, and Florida. Primaries for two state Senate seats are in Massachusetts, the ones held by now-Sen. Scott Brown and now-disgraced Anthony Gallucio. This is the de facto election in Gallucio's dark-blue seat, seeing as how no Republicans are running, but the winner between state Rep. Lida Harkins and doctor Peter Smulowitz in the Dem primary will face off against GOP state Rep. Richard Ross on May 11 to succeed Brown. In California, there are two legislative specials; using the California system, each one will likely head to a runoff (unless someone in the cluttered fields breaks 50%). Both seats will likely turn out to be holds: SD-37 is in Republican exurban Riverside County, while AD-43 is in Democratic Glendale in LA County. And in the Florida Panhandle, dark-red HD-04 should be an easy Republican hold.
• AR-Sen: Looks like Blanche Lincoln picked the wrong week to stop acting like a Democrat. She got seriously outraised by Bill Halter in the first quarter, earning $1.3 million (Halter got $2 mil). She also spent more than she earned, running a blitz of TV ads, probably to the tune of $2 million, as her cash on hand dropped $700K --although it's still a high $4.7 million. Still no word yet from the race's key Republicans.
• CA-Sen: Carly Fiorina filled in the last blank in the California Senate race; her fundraising total for the first quarter was $1.7 million, edging out Tom Campbell (who pulled in $1.6 million). Both GOPers lagged Barbara Boxer's $2.4 million.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist is still trying to find something that'll stick to Marco Rubio, and he's trying again to link ex-state House speaker Rubio to some of the other less savory elements among legislative leadership. He's up with a new ad trying Rubio to another former speaker, Ray Sansom, who's currently under indictment for charges of falsifying state budget items.
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias is lagging Mark Kirk on the cash front; he raised $1.2 million last quarter, compared with Kirk's $2.2 million. Giannoulias didn't release cash on hand figures, which may not be too impressive either considering that he had to fight through a competitive primary.
• NC-Sen (pdf): PPP looked at the primaries only in the North Carolina Senate race (they're on May 4). On the Dem side, former state Sen. Cal Cunningham is still within striking distance of SoS Elaine Marshall; she leads Cunningham 23-17, with Kenneth Lewis at 9 and 5% for assorted minor candidates. (Last month, Marshall led Cunningham and Lewis 20-16-11.) On the GOP side, Richard Burr is at 67%, with his closest competition, Brad Jones, at 7.
• NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov: Quinnipiac finds a lot of same-ol'-same-ol' in the Empire State: Andrew Cuomo crushing, and Kirsten Gillibrand crushing anyone non-Pataki. Gillibrand trails non-candidate George Pataki 45-40 but leads actual candidate Bruce Blakeman 47-25 (none of the other third-tier GOPers get polled); she's also sporting her highest-ever approvals, at 47/25. (Pataki beats Blakeman in a GOP primary, 64-15.) On the Governor's side, Rick Lazio is still poised to be GOP nominee; he leads Steve Levy and Carl Paladino 34-11-11 (note that the poll was in the field prior to the whole bestiality thing). Andrew Cuomo dispatches Lazio 55-26, Levy 57-24, and Paladino 60-24.
• OH-Sen: I'd assumed Lee Fisher had been on the air before, but he's just now launching his first TV spots of his campaign with the primary only weeks away (apparently marshaling his resources for the general). Fisher also pulled down the endorsement of Cleveland mayor Frank Johnson, although he didn't gain the backing of his own home town's Democratic party (in Shaker Heights), which instead declined to endorse.
• PA-Sen: Here's a bit of a surprise: Joe Sestak succeeded in his ballot challenge, getting last-minute conservadem entrant Joe Vod Varka kicked out of the Democratic primary, setting up a two-man fight against Arlen Specter. If Sestak's going to have any hope of knocking off Specter, he'll need to consolidate every anti-Specter vote (and also not have the Slovak-American vote -- a big segment in western Pennsylvania -- split).
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold had a successful fundraising quarter, considering right now he's only running against the specter of Tommy Thompson. Feingold earned $1.34 million, leaving him with $4.26 million CoH.
• FL-Gov: Rick Scott has decided, rather belatedly, to throw his hat in the ring in the Republican field in the Governor's race. If the name's familiar, he's a former hospital-industry businessman who funded much of the initial anti-HCR astroturfing efforts via his organization Conservatives for Patient Rights. He's sound teabaggish themes about establishment candidate AG Bill McCollum (despite McCollum taking the lead on the GOP AGs' anti-HCR lawsuit). Considering that state Sen. Paula Dockery is already trying to run against McCollum from the right and getting no traction, it's hard to see Scott going anywhere with this, though.
• NM-Gov: Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, the lone Dem in the race, is dominating the fundraising front; she raised $1.1 million in the six-month reporting period and has $2.6 million CoH. Among the GOPers, former state party chair Allen Weh leads both in money raised ($691K, although $500K was a personal loan) and CoH ($544K). Dona Ana County DA Susana Martinez raised $428K and sits on $364K CoH.
• PA-Gov: Here's a blow to, well, everybody in the Democratic field; after not being able to find two-thirds support for anybody, the AFL-CIO won't be endorsing any particular candidate in the Dem primary. Former Philadephia city controller Jonathan Saidel got their Lt. Gov. endorsement.
• AL-05: Party-switching Rep. Parker Griffith (most recently in the news for forgetting his party-switch and billing the DCCC for expenditures) surprised his GOP primary opponents at a debate by asking them sign a unity pledge that the losers of the primary would campaign for the winner in November. No thanks, said both Mo Brooks and Les Philip.
• DE-AL: Looks like wealthy self-funder Michelle Rollins, the NRCC's preferred recruit in the race, has some competition on the big bucks front in the GOP primary. Real estate developer Glen Urquhart just announced that he has $512K in his account (of course, $500K of that came from his own pocket).
• FL-08: Alan Grayson had another big fundraising quarter, thanks in large part to netroots moneybombing (especially his March event which brought in $500K). He raised $803K in the last three months, bringing his CoH total to $1.5 million (along with the possibility of writing checks to himself).
• HI-01: CQ has an interesting piece on HI-01 that focuses primarily on just how difficult it is (especially for "mainland" pollsters) to poll in Hawaii. With only two polls of this race having seen light of day so far, the main takeaway may be that anyone's guess is as good as mine where the race stands.
• MI-01: One of the top Republicans on everyone's candidate list for the newly-opened seat in MI-01 has said that he won't run. State House minority leader Kevin Elsenheimer said he won't run, even though he's termed out of the House and needs something else to do. (Elsenheimer, from the Traverse City area, is disadvantaged by not coming from the Upper Peninsula portion of the district.)
• MS-04: Here's one other eye-catching fundraising note: a Dem incumbent who got outraised by Republican opposition previously considered inconsequential. Rep. Gene Taylor raised $41K and has $221K CoH, while GOP state Rep. Steven Palazzo raised $125K and has at least $100K CoH. Let's hope Taylor doesn't hit the "snooze" button for another quarter. National Journal's latest fundraising outline also has noteworthy numbers from Charlie Dent (PA-15), Dan Debicella (CT-04), and Rick Crawford (AR-01).
• Redistricting: With the Fair Districts redistricting initiative seeming destined to make the ballot in Florida, now the Republican-controlled legislature is trying to get its own redistricting initiative on the ballot, in an apparent effort to clarify (or gut) the Fair Districts proposals. The Senate's proposal deals with the thorny questions of VRA-mandated districts and communities of interest, which aren't addressed in satisfactory manner by the original initiatives, which forbid designing districts in a manner that is favorable to one party or the other.
• Demographics: Josh Goodman has an interesting look at population change in Texas, similar to some work we've done at SSP over the last few years; he finds that while Texas's largest counties are becoming swingier, its fastest-growing counties are still pretty solidly Republican (although the growth in these counties is in demographics that aren't likely Republican). Of course, the parts of the state that are becoming less and less of the state, percentage-wise -- the rural parts -- have become even more conservative than the fast-growing exurbs, so in a way that's progress too.
IL-Sen: Have I mentioned lately that Mark Kirk is an utter wiener? No? Well, Mark Kirk is an utterly predictable wiener. After charging gung-ho in the direction of "Repeal!", Kirk has decided to quickly drop his push to roll back healthcare reform, preferring instead to remind everyone how expensive it is.
NV-Sen: Here's some bitter tea for fans of right-wing vote-splitting. It appears that Tea Party candidate Scott Ashjian is facing criminal charges for theft relating to bad checks he allegedly wrote for his asphalt business. Ashjian won't have to withdraw his candidacy if arrested, but headlines like these can't help him syphon off any substantial amount of votes from the GOP's flank.
PA-Sen: Arlen Specter landed a huge endorsement in his primary battle against Joe Sestak yesterday, with the news that the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO has elected to back the five-term incumbent.
TX-Sen: Kay Bailey Hutchison will announce her future plans in San Antonio this morning, flanked by Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn. I think it's probably a safe guess to say that she's likely going to serve out the remainder of her term, despite her many promises otherwise.
FL-Gov: Republican Bill McCollum leads Democrat Alex Sink by 49-34 according to the latest Mason-Dixon poll of the race.
GA-Gov: 31 douchebags Republican state legislators have signed a resolution calling for the impeachment of Democratic AG Thurbert Baker after his refusal to challenge the constitutionality of the recent healthcare reform legislation. Baker, who has been struggling in the polls for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination against ex-Gov. Roy Barnes, is probably enjoying the free publicity, if nothing else.
MA-Gov: State Treasurer Tim Cahill got busted for sending out a mass fundraising solicitation for his Independent gubernatorial bid to state legislators from his official e-mail account, which is a violation of Massachusetts campaign finance rules.
MD-Gov: Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich confirmed on Tuesday that he will attempt a comeback against Democrat Martin O'Malley this year.
AR-01: This one ranks pretty low on the list of unexpected political news. Retiring Democratic Rep. Marion Berry will endorse his former chief of staff, Chad Causey, for the Dem nomination to succeed him. Causey also recently picked up the support of the Arkansas AFL-CIO.
FL-19: At least one of these things may strain your credulity. Republican Ed Lynch, running in the April 13 special election to replace Democrat Robert Wexler in the House, says that his fundraising has seen "probably a thousand percent increase" since Congress passed healthcare reform, and that "polling we've done" shows him ahead of Democrat Ted Deutch. Of course, his campaign isn't coming forward with any evidence of the existence of any such polls.
GA-12: Republican Ray McKinney, a nuclear power project manager who lost the GOP primary in 2008 for the right to take on John Barrow, says that he's going to try again this year. McKinney joins Thunderbolt Fire Chief Carl Smith, retired businessman Mike Horner, activist Jeanne Seaver and restaurant owner George Brady in the GOP primary.
MI-13: Metro Detroit pastor Glenn Plummer, the founder of the African American Christian Television Network, has announced that he'll challenge Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick in the Democratic primary, joining state Sen. Hansen Clarke for a three-way race. Don't expect Plummer to be a progressive choice, though: he freely admits that he voted for Bush in 2004, spoke to a GOP convention that same year, and has also used his pulpit to argue in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Yuck.
MO-03: Rusty Wallace -- not the NASCAR champion, but a CAD technician and avid teabagger -- will join the highly-touted Ed Martin in the Republican primary for the right to upset Dem Rep. Russ Carnahan.
MO-07: It looks like a couple of high profile candidates have slipped under the wire for the race to fill the seat of Senatorial aspirant Roy Blunt. Ex-state Rep. Steve Hunter will become the ninth GOP candidate in the mix, which some local observers suspect may be a ploy from one of the other candidates to syphon off votes from state Sen. Gary Noodler, who shares Hunter's regional base. For the Democrats, Scott Eckersley, an attorney who served in ex-Gov. Matt Blunt's administration, also filed to run for this R+17 seat. Eckersley settled a wrongful termination lawsuit with the state last year after alleging that he was dismissed for raising questions within the administration over the destruction of controversial state e-mails. Eckersley isn't committed to a run, though, and said he filed in order to keep his options open.
NV-03: Ex-state Sen. Joe Heck (R) is leading Democratic frosh Rep. Dina Titus by 40-35, according to a new internal poll conducted by Wilson Research Strategies for Heck's campaign.
NY-29: Local Democrats still haven't settled on a nominee for the special election in this upstate New York district, but at least we now know the names of six of the potential candidates:
The interviewed candidates include Southern Tier native Matthew Zeller, former Allegany County District 4 Legislator Michael McCormick, David Nachbar, a former state Senate candidate and businessman from Pittsford, Rush-Henrietta Central School District teacher David Rose, and Assemblyman David Koon, D-Perinton. Mary Wilmot, an aide to Gov. David Paterson, was the lone women interviewed.
PA-10: I never thought I'd say this, but why can't we have more Dems like Chris Carney? After harshly criticizing Sarah Palin for putting his House district in literal cross hairs, Carney defended his HCR vote to a local TV station:
"You can't vote worried about your career, you have to vote the right way," Carney said. "You have to vote your conscience and for me this was a vote of conscience."
SC-05: John Spratt is a true hero. Just a day after filing for re-election in the face of persistent retirement rumors fueled by NRCC schemers and beltway natterers, Spratt has announced that he's been diagnosed with early stage Parkinson's disease. Spratt insists that his symptoms are mild and that his condition won't impede his ability to serve in Congress -- or run a vigorous re-election race.
SD-AL: Physician Kevin Weiland has dropped his plans to challenge Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in the Democratic primary, citing his concern for party unity. Weiland issued a joint press release with Herseth Sandlin announcing the news, and based his decision partly on assurances from Herseth Sandlin that she would not vote to repeal healthcare reform. (Hat-tip: doug tuttle)
TN-06: Democrats have finally found a candidate to run for the seat held by retiring Democratic Rep. Bart Gordon. Marine Capt. Ben Leming, an Iraq War veteran, received permission from the secretary of the Navy to file his candidacy. However, Leming can't actively campaign until his active duty ends on May 1st.
WA-01: This seat isn't on anyone's radar, but Republican businessman James Watkins recently released an internal poll, conducted by Moore Information, showing him trailing Democrat Jay Inslee by 41-27.
WI-03: Is this what state Sen. Dan Kapanke signed up for when he decided to run for Congress against Democrat Ron Kind? Kapanke jumped into the race with much fanfare in the anticipation that Kind would bail on the race to run for Governor. That didn't happen, and now Kapanke is facing a primary from ex-banker Bruce Evers, who has some truly wild ideas on constraining government spending.
• Election Results: With 99.1% of precincts reporting (97 remain, apparently mostly in Cook County), both sides of the governor's race remain too close to call. Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn has declared victory, sitting on a 7,000 vote lead (50.4%-49.6%) and with the remaining precincts in Cook County likely to go his way, although Dan Hynes hasn't conceded yet. On the GOP side, we're looking most likely at a recount, as state Sen. Bill Brady leads fellow state Sen. Kirk Dillard currently by a 751-vote margin (20.3%-20.2%), as they both squeaked past the two presumed frontrunners, former state party chair Andy McKenna and former AG Jim Ryan. The fact that the remaining votes are from Cook County, however, may be poised to help the moderate suburbs-based Dillard, though, rather than the conservative downstate Brady, so this race seems likely to get even closer (Nate Silver actually projects a one-vote victory for Brady based on broader Cook County trends). Recount procedures make it sound like a protracted process - an initial vote tally won't happen until March 5, and then the process "could take months to complete" - giving Quinn a big headstart on whoever the GOP victor turns out to be.
As expected, Alexi Giannoulias and Mark Kirk are the Senate nominees, although both won their races with somewhat underwhelming percentages (39% for Giannoulias, and 57% for Kirk, who could have been in more trouble had the teabagging right coalesced behind one person in particular). Conservatives did triumph over establishment candidates in several GOP House primaries, though, as Bob Dold! beat state Rep. Beth Coulson in the 10th, and state Sen. Randy Hultgren beat Ethan Hastert in the 14th.
In Florida, as expected, state Sen. Ted Deutch easily won the special election primary to succeed Rep. Robert Wexler, beating former Broward Co. Commissioner Ben Graber 86-15. It looks like he'll face Republican Ed Lynch (the 2008 nominee), who defeated Joe Budd by only 46 votes (but with only 8,000 total GOP votes, that's outside the margin for an automatic recount). And here's a surprise out of Kentucky: Democrats picked up a state House seat in the dark-red HD 24, which was recently vacated when Republican Jimmy Higdon got promoted to the state Senate in another special election. Terry Mills won, 54-46, based on an overwhelming edge (89-11) on his home turf of Marion County, reminding us that, at the end of the day, all politics is local.
Finally, last night was caucus and straw poll night in Minnesota. Only 80% of precincts have reported yet - I guess they go to bed early in Minnesota - but the straw poll in the Democratic governor's race points to only a lot of chaos at this point. Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak led with 21.8%, followed closely by state House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher at 20.2%. However, "uncommitted" is a solid 3rd at 15%, there are five other candidates who managed to break 5% (John Marty, Tom Rukavina, Paul Thissen, Matt Entenza, and Tom Bakk), and ex-Sen. Mark Dayton doesn't even seem to be bothering with the whole process, planning on going straight to the primary, so there's not much clarity on how the field will shake out. The GOP field seems much more clear-cut, where former state House minority leader Marty Seifert beat state Rep. Tom Emmer 50-39, with the rest of the field in the low single digits.
• AZ-Sen: With the imminent entry of ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth into the Republican primary against John McCain, we're already looking at dueling internal polls. McCain offers up a poll from POS, giving him a 59-30 lead over Hayworth. Hayworth has his own poll from McLaughlin, which, not surprisingly, shows him much closer, trailing 49-33.
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek, NASCAR dad? Meek plans to call attention to his campaign by shelling out to be the lead sponsor of Mike Wallace's car in an upcoming race at Daytona.
• IN-Sen: With the surprising announcement by ex-Sen. Dan Coats last night that he's interested in a comeback and would start seeking the signatures to qualify for the Indiana GOP nod, the oppo pretty much writes itself. For starters, Coats can't even sign his own petition - he's been a registered voter in Virginia for more than a decade, not Indiana. And what's he been doing for much of that time? Lobbying... for King & Spalding, on behalf of nice people like the Carlyle Group and Bank of America. The Plum Line also points to Coats accusing Bill Clinton of "wagging the dog" when he started going after al-Qaeda in 1998, allegedly to distract the press from his peccadilloes... and we all know how that turned out.
• ND-Sen: Democrats have, well, somebody ready to go if ex-AG Heidi Heitkamp doesn't get into the Senate race to replace retiring Byron Dorgan. State Sen. Tracy Potter, who represents Bismarck, will be announcing his candidacy on Friday. Other potential candidates seem to be holding back, waiting to see what Heitkamp does; she's been strangely silent since initially expressing interest in the seat last month.
• NY-Sen-B: Quinnipiac's first poll of the New York Senate race after the Harold Ford Jr. boomlet began finds, well, pretty much what everyone else has found: Kirsten Gillibrand beats him by a wide margin but doesn't break 50%. Gillibrand beats 36-18, with Jonathan Tasini at 4. Quinnipiac also tests general election matchups against Republican port commissioner Bruce Blakeman (they don't even bother testing ex-Gov. George Pataki, who doesn't seem to be making any moves to get into the race). Gillibrand beats Blakeman 44-27, and Ford beats him 35-26. Gillibrand is slowly gaining some more name rec, up to a 42/28 approval. Blakeman may not have the GOP primary to himself, though, as a strange blast from the past is re-emerging to say he's interested in the race: ex-Rep. Joseph DioGuardi. In case the name doesn't ring a bell, DioGuardi served in the House representing Westchester County from 1984 to 1988, when he was defeated by Nita Lowey.
• NY-Gov: The same Quinnipiac sample looks at the governor's race, finding huge approval gaps between Andrew Cuomo (54/16) and David Paterson (34/49). Cuomo wins the Democratic primary 55-23. Cuomo beats Rick Lazio 57-25, while Lazio manages to get past Paterson 40-39. There's also one other bit of good news for Cuomo (who's seemed gunshy about taking on Paterson, perhaps out of bad memories of his race against Carl McCall). The poll asked if his candidacy would be "racially divisive," and respondents answered "no" by an 80-14 margin, including 73-22 among African-Americans. Marist (pdf) also just released the gubernatorial half of its recent Senate poll, finding generally similar numbers. Cuomo wins the primary 70-23. Cuomo beats Lazio 64-27, while Lazio edges Paterson 46-43.
• TN-Gov: Add one more candidate running for higher office who's publicly copped to being birther-curious: Lt. Gov. (and GOP gubernatorial candidate) Ron Ramsey. Not having made much of an impression in terms of polling (where Rep. Zach Wamp has an edge) or fundraising (where Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam is cleaning up), this seems like the most attention Ramsey has gotten so far.
• TX-Gov: Here's more evidence that the Texas GOP gubernatorial primary may be headed for a runoff: the new Rasmussen poll of the primary doesn't have anyone coming even close to 50%. Incumbent Rick Perry leads at 44, with Kay Bailey Hutchison lagging at 29, and Paulist insurgent Debra Medina all the way up to 14 on the strength of some buzz coming out of her debate performances. KBH may be counting on a runoff as her only way left to salvage this race, but somehow it seems like, in a runoff, Medina votes are a lot likely to gravitate toward the secession-invoking Perry rather than consummate DC insider Hutchison. In the general, all three defeat Democratic ex-Houston mayor Bill White, although, as one would expect, KBH puts up the biggest margin: 49-36. Perry wins 48-39, while Medina wins by only 41-38.
• AR-02: One of the non-Tim Griffin candidates in the Republican field, David Meeks, dropped out of the race today, probably realizing he was in over his head with the kind of attention open seat races get. One other candidate, restaurant owner Scott Wallace remains, and he may well carry the teabagger flag against Beltway creature Griffin. Realizing the best way to win this is by painting Griffin as insider, the DCCC is turning their attention to Griffin's past as GOP behind-the-scenes fixer, calling attention to his efforts at voter suppression. Over in the diaries, ARDem takes a look at the developing Dem field, which currently contains state House speaker Robbie Wills, liberal state Sen. Joyce Elliott, and retiring Vic Snyder's chief of staff, David Boling. It won't contain, however, Little Rock mayor Mike Stodola, or Public Service Commissioner Paul Suskie, who had seemed to be laying the groundwork for a run.
• CA-12, CA-AG: False alarm: Rep. Jackie Speier is staying put in the 12th District, where's she been in place for only a couple years. Rumors that she was about to move over to the state AG's race had many of the state legislators on the Peninsula angling to replace her.
• GA-04: In the wake of an internal from Rep. Hank Johnson showing him crushing his three opponents in the Dem primary in this solidly-blue district in Atlanta's suburbs, one of those opponents got out of the way: DeKalb Co. Commissioner Lee May. May is an ally of former DeKalb Co. CEO Vernon Jones, so it's possible that he's getting out of the way primarily so that Jones can get a bigger share of the non-Johnson vote.
• MA-10: With the general sense that this is the most vulnerable district in Massachusetts (as seen with its votes in the Senate special election last month), Republicans are taking more of an interest in challenging Rep. William Delahunt in this usually-ignored seat. Former state treasurer Joe Malone is probably the biggest name to express interest, but at least one other credible contender, state Rep. Jeffrey Perry, is already announcing his candidacy. State Sen. Robert Hedlund is also expressing some interest.
• NJ-07: One big hole in the Dems' recruitment schedule has been the 7th, narrowly won by freshman GOP Rep. Leonard Lance in 2008. They've managed to fill the gap with Ed Potosnak, who's elevated slightly above Some Dude status by the full Rolodex he brings with him after working for a number of years as a Hill staffer for Rep. Mike Honda.
• PA-11: Lackawanna Co. Commissioner Corey O'Brien has a compelling argument for why he should win the primary in the 11th: he says Rep. Paul Kanjorski has "zero" chance of defeating Republican Lou Barletta in their third face-off, citing Kanjorski's low approval ratings. O'Brien has been fundraising well ($180K last quarter, not far from Kanjo's $237K) and recently hit the airwaves with a small cable buy for his first TV spot.
• CA-LG: Is San Francisco mayor (and gubernatorial race dropout) Gavin Newsom actually thinking about a run for the dead-end job that is California's #2? Officially he's not interested, but he hasn't said no, and a new public poll from Tulchin gives him a big lead in a hypothetical LG primary, with Newsom at 33 against the two declared candidates: Los Angeles city councilor Janice Hahn at 17 and state Sen. Dean Florez at 15. Meanwhile, the state Senate this week takes up the issue of filling the current vacancy in the LG's chair (vacated by now-Rep. John Garamendi); there's actually talk of blocking Ahnold appointee state Sen. Abel Maldonado, despite that getting the moderate Republican Maldonado out of his seat would open up his Dem-leaning district for a takeover and help push the Dem edge in the Senate toward the magic 2/3s mark.
• CT-AG: The story of Susan Bysiewicz just gets stranger and stranger; she decided that rather than run for governor, she'd prefer to run for AG, but now the job's current occupant, Richard Blumenthal, says that possibly she can't. An AG opinion interprets state law requiring ten years of legal practice as unclear and urges a declaratory ruling on Bysiewicz's case from a court. Bysiewicz, for her part, said she won't seek the declaratory ruling and is simply plowing ahead with her AG campaign, although it's possible one of the other candidates in the race might force the issue in the courts.
• Polltopia: The skepticism toward those SurveyUSA polls commissioned by Firedoglake continues to grow, this time from political science professor and frequent Pollster.com contributor Alan Abramowitz. His gravest concerns are with the leading questions in the issues portions of the poll on health care reform, but he also points to serious problems with the samples' compositions that we were quick to flag. He observes that the samples deeply underrepresent younger votes, and that the youth subsets are so small that there's no good way to "weight up" younger voters to a more proportionate level.
• AZ-Sen: Ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth has made it pretty clear already that he's taking on John McCain in the Republican Senate primary, and now he's made it official when he's going to make it official. The launch date for his campaign: Feb. 15.
• CT-Sen, CT-02: Ex-Rep. Rob Simmons did a whole lot of bobbing and weaving when an interviewer yesterday kept pressing him on the issue of whether he'd consider dropping down to run for his old House seat again (although a spokesperson followed up afterwards, saying he will not running for anything else, "period"). The idea has to be tempting to Simmons, though, who just watched his Senate dreams vaporize with Democratic AG Richard Blumenthal's entry, and who may by enviously eyeing efforts by some of the other 2006 victims (like Mike Fitzpatrick) to turn back the clock.
• KS-Sen: There's still six months to go before their Republican Senate primary, but time's running out for Rep. Todd Tiahrt to make a move against fellow Rep. Jerry Moran. Moran leads this month's SurveyUSA poll 40-33 (two months ago Tiahrt pulled within 3, but that's the closest he's been). Moran is currently up 38-23 in the state's northeast, which will be the decisive region (as they each have their respective districts already locked down).
• NV-Sen: File this under "it's bad news even if you have to be out there repeatedly saying this," but Harry Reid again denied (this time to Las Vegas political reporter Jon Ralston) that he'd drop out of his fizzling Senate race to make way for a different candidate. On the GOP side, one potential opponent, Sue Lowden, is up with her first TV spot, a soft-focus biographical ad. Taking note of these developments, no doubt, are Dick Durbin and Charles Schumer; insiders are observing that the two of them are both busy doling out campaign cash to their colleagues in order to build loyalties for what looks like the fight to be the next majority leader.
• NY-Sen-B: In case you missed it, last night's point-by-point dismantling of Harold Ford Jr. by Stephen Colbert is a must-see. It clearly wasn't the coming-out gala that Ford had envisioned.
• UT-Sen: The establishment is riding to the rescue for Bob Bennett, who could be threatened in this year's primary if the teabagging rabble somehow coalesced behind one of his many opponents. The NRSC just handed $43K to Bennett's campaign (an important sign to other institutional contributors), and Newt Gingrich is headlining a big-bucks fundraiser for Bennett.
• CA-Gov: Republican pollster McLaughlin & Associates (apparently not working on behalf of any of the candidates) released a poll of the Republican gubernatorial primary, finding zillionairess Meg Whitman leading zillionaire Steve Poizner, 39-12. Apparently they were in the field when Tom Campbell bailed out, as they also offer up a three-way head-to-head, which was 31 Whitman, 17 Campbell, 5 Poizner.
• CT-Gov: A couple comings and goings in Connecticut today: as expected, Danbury mayor Mark Boughton got in the Republican field. On the Democratic side, state Sen. Gary LeBeau, who'd been polling in the low single digits, dropped out. In a moment of unusual honesty for a politician, LeBeau said, "The state has no idea who Gary LeBeau is."
• OR-Gov: This is a bit of a surprise, but in the wake of Al Gore's endorsement, it's certainly an indication that ex-SoS Bill Bradbury (something of an underdog in the Democratic primary against ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber) has some powerful friends back in DC. Howard Dean will appear at several fundraisers for Bradbury in Oregon next week.
• FL-08: Here's another surprise: brash 20-something real estate developer Armando Gutierrez dropped out of the GOP field in the 8th, despite having attracted a lot of favorable buzz and even picked up a few endorsements from members of Florida's House delegation. The national party never warmed up to him, though, seemingly put off by his line-crashing, and he may have finally gotten the message, between the NRCC's preferred pick, businessman Bruce O'Donoghue, officially filing yesterday, and the endorsement by neighboring Rep. Cliff Stearns of yet another Republican in the crowded field, state Rep. Kurt Kelly.
• FL-19: In all the madness over the Illinois primaries today, it's been almost universally forgotten that the primary in the safely-blue 19th to replace resigned Rep. Robert Wexler is also today. It's hardly worth a look, though, as state Sen. Ted Deutch pretty much has it locked down, having raised many times more money than anyone else and nailed down the establishment endorsements. Former Broward Co. Commissioner Ben Graber is the only other candidate of note.
• IN-04: Despite the advantages that his statewide profile brings him, SoS Todd Rokita won't have the GOP field to replace retiring Rep. Steve Buyer to himself. He'll have to face state Sen. Brandt Hershman too. Hershman has one key advantage himself: he works as an aide to Buyer, and has Buyer's backing.
• NV-03: Here's some good news for ex-state Sen. Joe Heck: he just got $10K to go toward his campaign against vulnerable Dem freshman Rep. Dina Titus. The bad news is: that $10K came from the PAC of John Ensign, who just won't stop trying to make himself useful to Nevada's other Republicans despite the fact that he's about as popular as shingles right now. But then Heck got some more good news: he won't face a seriously contested primary, as self-funding businessman Rob Lauer dropped his teabaggish challenge to Heck to run for SoS instead.
• NY-13: A lot of people are asking who Michael Grimm is, after he banked over $300K last quarter to go up against Democratic Rep. Michael McMahon. He's a former FBI agent, who apparently has a lot of friends in high places... in places outside of his district. Only $3,500 of that amount came from within the actual district, and $2,000 of that was from Staten Island Republican guru Guy Molinari.
• NY-14: Live by the primary challenge, die by the primary challenge. Rep. Carolyn Maloney now faces one of her own, a well-funded challenge from the apparent right from 30-something attorney Reshma Saujani, who has previously raised serious dollars within the Indian-American community for other Democratic candidates. Saujani, believe it or not, is running on an unashamedly pro-Wall Street platform (although this is maybe the one district in the country where that might still work).
• PA-06: Two more prominent local Democrats who had endorsed Doug Pike when he was the only game in town have switched their endorsements to Manan Trivedi instead. Significantly, they're both in Berks County (which is also where Trivedi is from, and which is where Dems have tended to run the weakest in the district in the past): Reading mayor Tom McMahon and Berks Co. Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt.
• TN-01: Would you believe that there's a Republican who lost in one of the wave elections who isn't running for something this year? However, before you get too excited, it's ex-Rep. David Davis, who'd been mulling a third matchup against Rep. Phil Roe, who knocked him off in a GOP primary in this super-red district in eastern Tennessee. The not-insane Roe may be the best we can hope for in this district, especially compared with Davis, who'd been making outreach to the local teabaggers in preparation for another run.
• WV-03: A credible challenger to Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall sneaked under the rope at the filing deadline: former state Supreme Court justice Elliott Maynard. Maynard was, until recently, a Democrat, but switched parties pushed along largely by his perception of Democrats' anti-coal environmental policies (and no doubt also influenced by West Virginia's reddish turn over the last decade).
• OH-SoS: This was painless and easy: not only did a more progressive alternative to conservative state Rep. Jennifer Garrison get into the Secretary of State race - Franklin Co. Court Clerk Maryellen O'Shaughnessy - but she won't even face a contested primary. Getting the message that her establishment support was practically nil, Garrison got out of the race. Meanwhile, on the Republican side, the GOP establishment seems to have settled the trouble it was having finding a replacement Auditor candidate after Mary Taylor ditched the job to run for Lt. Governor. They got Delaware Co. Prosecutor Kevin Yost to switch over from the AG's race, where he was facing ex-Sen. Mike DeWine in a primary. That caused a lot of consternation among the state's right-wingers, though - they were looking forward to Yost picking off the unacceptably moderate (and generally underwhelming) DeWine in the primary. Both the SoS and Auditor positions are key from a redistricting perspective, as along with the Governor they control the state's legislative redistricting process.
• Republicans: If you haven't checked out the details of Research 2000's in-depth poll of the state of what Republicans believe today, please do. Although I'm not really still sure what to do with all this knowledge... except maybe acknowledge that you can't negotiate with such irrational actors.
• Redistricting: CQ's Josh Kurtz takes an interesting look at redistricting in California over the decades, as seen through the prism of a new book that covers the many ups and downs of legendary California Rep. Philip Burton. Will it be an incumbent protection map or an aggressive push, and how will the state's fast-growing Latino population be accommodated?
• AR-Sen: PPP's Tom Jensen has some interesting crosstabs from their AR-02 poll, which shed some light on Blanche Lincoln's unique set of problems. Lincoln generates only lukewarm enthusiasm from her base: Barack Obama gets a 78% approval among Dems in the district, Rep. Vic Snyder is at 75%, and Mark Pryor is at 61%, but Lincoln is at only 43%, with 30% of Dems thinking she's too conservative (although that may be coming to a head right now with her obstructionist role in the health care debate, which may not be much of an issue one year from now). Moving to the left, though, will cause her to lose votes with independents, though, among whom 49% think she's too liberal.
• CT-Sen, CT-05: Local GOP party poohbahs are sounding eager to push state Sen. Sam Caligiuri out of the Senate race, where he's rather, uh, underutilized, and into the 5th, for a race against Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy; Caligiuri says he'll consider it. Problem is, Justin Bernier is already running there, and has had some fundraising success and gotten NRCC "Young Gun" status; as you might expect, Bernier is crying foul.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist has been trying to hide from his previous stimulus support, but Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson has the goods on him, dragging out an old interview from spring in which Crist says "absolutely" he would have voted for the stimulus had he been in the Senate at the time. Here's one bit of good news for Crist, though; Marco Rubio's once-perfect A rating from the National Rifle Association is about to drop, thanks to Rubio's compromise (from back when he was House speaker) on the take-your-gun-to-work law that recently became law.
• IL-Sen: Former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman has an internal poll of his own now, and while it doesn't give numbers for the Dem primary matchup between Hoffman and frontrunner Alexi Giannoulias, it does point to some vulnerabilities for Giannoulias. The poll claims that without message-testing, GOP Rep. Mark Kirk leads Giannoulias 40-37 and leads Hoffman 40-30, but once positives and negatives are read, Kirk beats Giannoulias 47-30 and Hoffman beats Kirk 42-36. The negatives involve the Giannoulias family bank, which apparently has been connected to Tony Rezko. Meanwhile, Kirk took an embarrassing hit from the conservative Chicago Tribune editorial board, whose response to Kirk's flip-flopping and fearmongering on trying terrorists in New York boiled down to "Give us a break." Wondering why Kirk is so transparently turning into a right-winger? Kirk's looking increasingly nervous about erstwhile opponent Patrick Hughes, who is currently seeking out a Jim DeMint endorsement.
• KY-Sen, NH-Sen: The NRSC is claiming it's not getting involved in primary fights with fundraising, but you can't make party leadership's intentions any clearer than when Mitch McConnell hosts a fundraiser in New York on Dec. 7 for Trey Grayson and Kelly Ayotte. With both candidates facing mounting anti-establishment challenges, it seems like the bad publicity back home generated by these appearances -- more grist for the movement conservative mill -- might outweigh the financial benefit.
• NJ-Sen: Now that recently unemployed TV pundit Lou Dobbs has some time on his hands, he told Bill O'Reilly he's considering a run for the Senate in New Jersey. There isn't a seat available until 2012 (when Dobbs will be 67) -- he'd be going up against Bob Menendez that year. Dobbs vs. Menendez? Hmmm, you can't get any more weighed down with symbolism than that.
• SC-Sen: The county GOP in Berkeley County (in the Charleston suburbs) was prepared to have its own censure vote against Lindsey Graham, but they called off the vote after Graham's chief of staff promised to meet with them first.
• CA-Gov (pdf): Lots of people have taken notice that the Republican field in the governor's race isn't a diverse bunch: three sorta-moderates from Silicon Valley. San Jose State University took a poll of those who would seemingly know the candidates the best: Republican likely voters in "Silicon Valley" (Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, plus small parts of Alameda and Santa Cruz Counties). Perhaps thanks to Tom Campbell's tenure in the House representing much of this area, he has a wide lead, at 39%, compared with 11 for Meg Whitman and 7 for Steve Poizner.
• MI-Gov, MI-08: In case there was any doubt that Rep. Mike Rogers (the Michigan one) was going to run for re-election to his House seat and not for governor, we found a statement from way back in February to that effect. (H/t to Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, a blog devoted to all things MI-08.)
• MN-Gov: Rasmussen looks at the still-coalescing primary fields in the Minnesota governor's races, and seems to be finding very name-recognition-driven results right now. On the Democratic side, most of the votes are going to former Senator Mark Dayton and Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak; both poll at 30, trailed by state House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher at 8 and former state legislator Matt Entenza at 6. On the Republican side, ex-Sen. Norm Coleman dominates, with 50%; however, he's not in the race, at least not yet, and is probably the only name that people know. Among the rest of the rabble, former House minority leader Marty Seifert is doing the best, at 11, with 5 for Laura Brod and 1 for Tom Emmer.
• OR-Gov: Most people have already mentally ruled out Rep. Peter DeFazio from the governor's race, but he just said that he's still somewhat interested, and that he won't be making up his mind on it until... next March? He doesn't seem too concerned about the delay, as Oregon law would let him transfer over his federal dollars and he alludes to private polling showing him in a dead heat with John Kitzhaber. While I still doubt he'll follow through, that raises the question of who might fill a vacancy in OR-04; it's looking less and less like it would be Springfield's Republican mayor Sid Leiken, who was just fined $2,250 by the state for the phantom poll that may or may not have been conducted by Leiken's mom.
• TX-Gov: Little-known fact: Kay Bailey Hutchison, despite the seeming overall malaise in her campaign, has a big edge in endorsements from Texas House Republicans. She has the endorsements of 10 of 20 (including Kay Granger, Kenny Marchant, and Michael Burgess), perhaps indicative of Rick Perry's increasingly strident anti-Washington rhetoric. (Not that that will help much when the actual electorate is in an increasingly anti-establishment mood.) A couple other Dems are looking at the race: hair care magnate Farouk Shami (who's willing to bring his own money to the race) is officially launching his campaign on Thursday, while El Paso-based outgoing state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh is publicly weighing a run.
• FL-19: West Palm Beach mayor Lois Frankel, who would have been maybe the highest-profile possible primary challenger to state Sen. Ted Deutch in the upcoming special election in the 19th, has decided not to run. Deutch has been endorsed by outgoing Robert Wexler and has an increasingly clear path to the nomination. Meanwhile, the only GOPer looking interested in running in the dark-blue district is Ed Lynch, who lost to Wexler last year.
• IL-06: Here's a little more information about Benjamin Lowe, who's the only Dem running in the 6th against Peter Roskam. While he's something of a political unknown, it turns out he's well-connected in the religious left community as well as the green jobs movement. He's a graduate of evangelical Wheaton College (which is in the district) and has been active in the last few years in organizing students at other evangelical colleges on issues of environmental stewardship.
• NY-13: I don't know if anything can top last year's NY-13 race for political trainwrecks, but the Staten Island GOP may have gotten switched onto that same track again. Michael Allegretti, a 31-year old who caught attention for raising $200K for the race already, is a lawyer who also owns a share of the family business, Bayside Fuel and Oil -- which employed Gambino family capo Joe "Joe Butch" Corrao for several decades. Over $40K of Allegretti's contributions came from family members working for Bayside. To add to the made-for-TV drama: Allegretti's potential Republican primary opponent, Michael Grimm, was on the FBI squad charged with investigating said crime family.
• NY-19: Republican Greg Ball -- who puts the "Ass" in Assemblyman -- is out with an internal poll putting him within single digits of Rep. John Hall. Hall leads the Hall/Ball matchup, 48-43 -- although for some reason the poll was taken only in the portion of the district that's east of the Hudson River. Hall still has strong favorables, at 57/25, while Ball is at 40/28.
• NY-23: Recounting in NY-23 is still on track to see Rep. Bill Owens remain in the House; Doug Hoffman is down 2,951 votes with 6,123 left, so about the best he can hope for is to lose by about 2,000. The Hoffman saga just got weirder when yesterday Hoffman, goaded along by his patron Glenn Beck, unconceded on national TV -- yet today, his spokesperson un-un-conceded, not that any of that is legally binding, of course.
• NRCC: If the Republicans are going to make a serious dent in the Democratic edge in the House next year, they're going to have to refill the NRCC's coffers, which are still lagging the DCCC. Party leadership smacked down members in a closed-door session, trying to get them to pony up their $15K dues. The Hill also has an interesting profile of CA-22's Kevin McCarthy, an up-and-comer who's the NRCC recruitment chair now and likely to head the NRCC at some point in the near future. Turns out that McCarthy is quite the student of Rahm Emanuel.
• Mayors: SurveyUSA polls the runoff in the Atlanta mayor's race, and they have quite the reversal of fortune for Mary Norwood, who led all polls before November and finished first in the election. State Sen. Kasim Reed, who finished 2nd, now leads Norwood, 49-46. Reed leads 69-25 among African-American voters, indicating that he picked up almost all of 3rd-place finisher Lisa Borders' support.
• Special elections: Two legislative specials are on tap tonight. The big one is California's AD-72, a Republican-leaning seat in the OC left vacant by the resignation of Mike Duvall (who resigned in disgrace after bragging about his affair with a lobbyist). It seems to be mostly a contest between two GOPers, Orange County Supervisor Chris Norby and activist Linda Ackerman (who's been making much of Norby's four divorces). Since this is California, assuming one of the Republicans doesn't finish over 50%, it'll move on to another round where the top Republican faces off against Dem John MacMurray. Also, in Mississippi, there's a contest in Biloxi-based HD-117, to replace Republican state Rep. Michael Janus; candidates aren't identified by party on the special election ballot, but the contestants are Patrick Collins (who ran against Janus several times) and Scott DeLano.
• Redistricting: You might want to check out the website called "Redistricting the Nation," presented by GIS software company Avencia but full of fun widgets. Most interestingly, you can evaluate the compactness of any congressional district by four different criteria, and see the worst offenders in each category.
• FL-Sen: There's probably no good way to spin the firing of the head spinner: after weeks of unending bad press, Charlie Crist has decided the solution is to fire his long-time communication director, Erin Isaac. (Isaac contends that she left on her own, and the timing has nothing to do with Crist's collapse.)
• IL-Sen, OH-Sen: Two little-known, never-been-elected rich guys are going on the air with TV spots in their respective Senate primaries: Democratic attorney Jacob Meister in Illinois, and Republican auto dealer Tom Ganley in Ohio. Meister may not have much hope in a field with three prominent candidates, but Ganley is trying to gain traction among the anti-establishment right against consummate insider pick Rob Portman in a two-way GOP primary fight. (Ganley's buy is reportedly only for $60K, so it seems more oriented toward generating media buzz than actually reaching lots of eyeballs, though.)
• NC-Sen: Rep. Bob Etheridge still sounds genuinely undecided about whether to get into the Senate race or not, but he's now promising a decision by the end of the week. The DSCC is actively courting Etheridge, despite the presence of SoS Elaine Marshall in the race. Meanwhile, two other possible contenders are circling, watching, and waiting: former Lt. Gov. Dennis Wicker says he may run if Etheridge doesn't, and outgoing Chapel Hill mayor Kevin Foy is still considering the race, saying he'll decide by the end of the month.
• SC-Sen: Ouch! Lindsey Graham just got a pretty strong repudiation from the local GOP in one of the state's largest counties, Charleston County. They unanimously voted to censure Graham over his cooperation with Democrats and moderate GOPers. Graham isn't up until 2014, but it certainly doesn't bode well for his next primary.
• CO-Gov: Josh Penry's jump out of the Colorado governor's GOP primary may have been more of a push. Big-time GOP funder Phil Anschutz is reported to have personally contacted Penry to let him know that he'd be on the receiving end of the 501(c)(4) that he'd created to target anyone opposing establishment candidate ex-Rep. Scott McInnis. (Of course, with news of this having leaked out, that seems likely to just further enrage the teabaggy right and lead them to find a hard-right replacement who, unlike Penry, isn't worried about having his brand besmirched for future runs. Could Tom Tancredo be that man?)
• CT-Gov: For about the zillionth time in his career, Democratic AG Richard Blumenthal decided not to run for a promotion; he says he won't get involved in the newly-minted open seat gubernatorial race. However, Blumenthal did nothing to quash rumors that he's waiting to take on Joe Lieberman in 2012, saying "stay tuned." Meanwhile, Paulist financial guru Peter Schiff, currently running for the GOP Senate nod, confirmed that he won't be leaping over to the gubernatorial race, either.
• SC-Gov: Fervently anti-tax state Rep. Nikki Haley has been a key Mark Sanford ally in the legislature, but she's been lagging in the GOP gubernatorial primary race. A Mark Sanford endorsement would be poison at this point, though, so the Sanfords paid her back with a slightly-less-poisonous endorsement from Jenny Sanford instead. Still doesn't really sound like the kind of endorsement you want to tout, though.
• FL-08: Republican leaders are increasingly sour on the candidacy of 28 year-old businessman Armando Gutierrez Jr., who is "pissing people off a lot" with his bare-knuckle style. The NRCC is still hoping to recruit a solid challenger to go up against "colorful" Dem Rep. Alan Grayson after months of recruitment mishaps, and the current batch of names being bandied about include businessman Bruce O'Donoghue, state Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, and state Rep. Kurt Kelly. Gutierrez, however, seems to be doing all he can to make the GOP primary an unpleasant proposition. (J)
• FL-19: The Democratic primary in the upcoming special election to replace Robert Wexler is shaping up to be a real snoozefest. Former State Rep. Irving Slosberg, who lost a bitter 2006 state Senate primary to Ted Deutsch, announced yesterday that he won't be running and that he's endorsing Deutch. (Slosberg probably has his eye on Deutch's soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat.)
• ID-01: With state Rep. Ken Robert's dropout in the 1st, Vaughn Ward had the GOP field to himself for only a couple hours before another state Rep., Raul Labrador, said that he'll get in instead. Meanwhile, ex-Rep. Bill Sali has been speaking before conservative groups and is still considering an attempt at a rematch with Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick, and says he'll decide by the end of the month.
• NJ-03: Democratic freshman Rep. John Adler has been seemingly running scared despite the Republicans not having recruited anyone in this swingy R+1 district, probably helped along by Chris Christie's huge numbers last week in Ocean County. Republicans think they have the right guy to flatten Adler: former Philadelphia Eagles lineman Jon Runyan. Runyan isn't retired but not on any team's roster either, and is "considering" the race.
• NY-24: He lost narrowly in 2008 to Democratic Rep. Mike Arcuri, and now businessman Richard Hanna is making candidate-type noises again, with a press release attacking Arcuri's health care reform vote. Hanna is thinking about another run; Republicans don't seem to have any other strong candidates on tap in this R+2 district.
• SD-AL: Republican State Rep. Shantel Krebs decided against a run against Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in 2010. She was facing a cluttered field, with Secretary of State Chris Nelson and state Rep. Blake Curd already in the GOP primary.
• Nassau Co. Exec: So I was wrong about the Seattle mayor's race being the last one to be called: the Nassau County Executive race is now in mid-recount, and Republican challenger Ed Mangano has a paper-thin (24 votes) lead over Democratic incumbent Tom Suozzi. Democratic Nassau County Legislator Dave Meijas (who you might remember from NY-03 in 2006) is also in a recount.
• VA-St. House: The last House of Delegates race in Virginia was finally called; Republican Ron Villaneuva was certified the victor in the Virginia Beach-based 21st over incumbent Dem Bobby Mathieson by a 13-vote margin, although the race is likely to go to a recount by Mathieson's request.
• WA-St. Sen.: Democratic State Sen. Fred Jarrett was picked by new King Co. Executive Dow Constantine (who defeated Jarrett in the primary) to be the Deputy Executive. Jarrett will need to resign from the Senate to do so, creating a vacancy in this Bellevue-based, historically Republican but recently very Democratic seat. In Washington, though, legislative vacancies are filled by appointment by the county council (Democratic-controlled in King County, as you might expect), so there won't be a special election, and the appointee will serve until (his or her probable re-election in) Nov. 2010.
• Generic Ballot: Everyone in the punditsphere seems abuzz today that Gallup suddenly shows a 4-pt GOP edge in the generic House ballot, a big swing from the previous D+2 edge. (Most other pollsters show a mid-single-digits Dem edge, like Pew at D+5 today.) Real Clear Politics points out an important caveat: the last time the GOP led the Gallup House ballot was September 2008, and you all remember how that election played out. Another poll today is perhaps more interesting: Winthrop University polled just the Old South states, and finds a 47-42 edge for the Republicans in the generic House ballot in the south. Initially that may not seem good, but remember that most of the state's reddest districts are contained in the south, so, after accounting for the heavily-concentrated wingnuts, this probably extrapolates out to a Dem edge still present in southern swing districts.
• Public option: With the prospect of an opt-out public option looming large, the topic of whether to opt out is poised to become a hot issue in gubernatorial races in red states next year. Several states already have opt-out legislation proposed, although it remains to be seen whether any would actually go through with it (when considering how many states turned down stimulus funds in the end despite gubernatorial grandstanding... or how many states have decided to opt out of Medicaid, as they're able to do).
• WATN?: Congratulations to Charlie Brown, who has accepted a position in the Dept. of Homeland Security. Unfortunately, this means Brown won't be back for another kick at the football in CA-04.
• CA-Sen: The Carlyfornia Dreaming commenced today, as former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina officially announced her bid for the GOP Senate nomination. In a development that's both DeLightful and DeLovely as the GOP barrels headlong into civil war, though, SC Sen. Jim DeMint endorsed GOP Assemblyman Chuck DeVore in the GOP primary, in his ongoing quest to have a Senate caucus of 30 pure Republicans.
• DE-Sen: Also on the GOP civil war front, the movement/establishment split is even spilling over into Delaware, which most pundits look at as the GOP's closest to a sure thing. Conservative activist Christine O'Donnell, who lost badly to Joe Biden last year, will stay in the GOP field with or without Castle. O'Donnell is sitting on $2K CoH, along with $24K in debts from her previous run.
• IL-Sen: Also on the GOP civil war front, one of Rep. Mark Kirk's minor-league GOP primary opponents -- not Patrick Hughes, but even lower down the food chain: Eric Wallace -- is looking at Doug Hoffman and saying "That could be me!" Wallace is dropping out of the GOP field and planning to run as an independent -- which could conceivably tip the race to Alexi Giannoulias in a close contest. Kirk, sensing trouble brewing on his right flank, is asking for help from an unlikely source (based on his attacks on her inexperience during the 2008 election). He's asking queen teabagger Sarah Palin for her endorsement!
• NH-Sen: Also on the GOP civil war front, wealthy businessman William Binnie made official his run for the GOP nod in New Hampshire's Senate race. Sounds like lots of Granite Staters aren't buying GOP establishment candidate Kelly Ayotte's smoke-and-mirrors campaign.
• OH-Sen: Finally, one item from what passes for the Democratic civil war. DSCC chair Bob Menendez all-but-endorsed Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher in Ohio, by mentioning only him in Ohio when talking about pickup prospects. Fisher faces a primary (for the time being) against underfunded SoS Jennifer Brunner.
• CT-Gov: It looks like Ned Lamont, who beat and then lost to Joe Lieberman in 2006, is going to take a whack at the Connecticut gubernatorial race. Lamont just formed an exploratory committee; he'll face an uphill fight just to get out of the primary, though, against SoS Susan Bysiewicz.
• FL-Gov: So many Kennedys, so little time. Yet another random member of the Kennedy clan is considering a quixotic run for office; this time it's Maria Shriver's brother Anthony Shriver (founder of a disabilities-related nonprofit), considering a race in the Democratic gubernatorial primary (which Alex Sink already seems to have locked down).
• NY-Gov: If there's any doubt that AG Andrew Cuomo is gearing up for a gubernatorial run next year, Cuomo will be holding a big fundraiser in Washington in several weeks, hosted by DC power couple Tony and Heather Podesta.
• CO-04: While state House minority whip Cory Gardner seemed to have impeccable conservative bona fides (running against freshman Dem Rep. Betsy Markey), there's some new information that calls that into question: it turns out in 1998 he was an active volunteer for Democrat Susan Kirkpatrick, who ran against then-Rep. Bob Schaffer in the 4th. (He even gave the seconding nominating speech for her at the Dem convention in the 4th.) In his defense, Gardner claims he was raised a Democrat, but became a Republican convert in college -- but he graduated from college in 1997. Looks like the teabaggers have one more insufficiently pure specimen to add to their hunting list.
• FL-08: The netroots love them some Alan Grayson. Nov. 2's online moneybomb event netted the Florida rabblerouser over $500,000, from over 13,000 contributions averaging $40 each. (The GOP also has an answer site up -- "mycongressmanisnuts.com," a nice third-grade response to "congressmanwithguts.com", as apparently "poopyhead.com" was already taken -- which so far has brought in $4,000.)
• FL-19: Charlie Crist has set a special election date for the election to replace resigning Rep. Robert Wexler (although there doesn't seem to be much drama here in this dark-blue district, as the wheels seem to be greased for state Sen. Ted Deutch). The primary will be Feb. 2, and the general will be April 6.
• KS-04: Republican state Sen. Susan Wagle was considered on the short list for the open seat being left behind by Rep. Todd Tiahrt, but yesterday she confirmed that she won't run for it next year.
• NY-23: The gift that keeps giving. Doug Hoffman is reportedly already sounding interested, via Twitter, in running again in the 23rd. (No clue as to what ballot lines he'd seek to run on.)
• PA-19: Here's a surprise: long-time Republican Rep. Todd Platts may be looking for an exit strategy. He's applying to become the Comptroller General, an appointed position at the top of the government's nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. Platts has been safe so far in his York-based R+12 district, but as a Main Street Republican, he's rather out-of-whack with his red turf and may suddenly not be relishing the thought of having teabaggers using him for target practice in 2010.
• NYC-Mayor: Well, somebody at the White House is feeling defensive over the decision not to get involved in the surprisingly-close mayoral race. When Rep. Anthony Weiner (who'd considered running) asked maybe if Obama should have helped out, an anonymous leaker snarled "Maybe Anthony Weiner should have manned-up and run against Michael Bloomberg."
• NRSC: Having gotten the message from the rabid teabagging hordes, NRSC head John Cornyn is announcing that the NRSC won't be spending money in any Republican primaries next year. The NRSC has endorsed in four primaries so far (Florida, Illinois, Missouri, and Pennsylvania), but it's sounding like they may not endorse in any more, either... Cornyn admits "Endorsements, frankly, are overrated. They can to some extent be a negative." Guess who is coming to play in GOP Senate primaries, though? That's right, the Club for Growth, who are now threatening involvement in Illinois and Connecticut, saying that the best Mark Kirk and newly-converted teabag-carrier Rob Simmons can hope for is to be "left alone."
• NRCC: Pete Sessions Deathwatch, Vol. 2? All over the punditosphere today are proclamations of the NRCC head as one of yesterday's top "losers," as the NRCC's special election losing streak had two more notches added to it. George Stephanopolous makes the case that Sessions actually managed to lose NY-23 twice, once with Scozzafava over the long haul, then over the weekend again with Hoffman.
• AZ-Sen: This is good news for John McCain... 's opponent. Rodney Glassman, Tucson city councilor, has formed an exploratory committee to vie for the 2010 Democratic Senate nomination. With the state's top-tier candidates avoiding the race, an up-and-comer looking to increase his statewide profile like Glassman is probably the best we'll do here. (H/t Nonpartisan.)
• CT-Sen: You just know that the moment pro wrestling CEO Linda McMahon launched her Senate run, the nation's Democratic opposition researchers all started doing a merry jig knowing how much work would be available for them. The first wave is already out, leading off with a clips reel of "PG-rated" (McMahon's words) WWE highlights including simulated rape and necrophilia. Meanwhile, newly minted teabagger ex-Rep. Rob Simmons, realizing that he doesn't have a lock on the necrophile vote any more, has continued his march to the right, begging forgiveness for his previous support of EFCA and cap and trade.
• FL-Sen: I always thought the idea of a Corrine Brown challenge to Kendrick Meek in the Democratic Senate primary was weird from the outset, but despite putting up some decent fundraising numbers in the third quarter, last Friday she pulled the plug on any bid. Rep. Brown will run for re-election in the dark-blue 3rd, where she's been since 1992.
Meanwhile, Charlie Crist is actually starting to sweat his once sure-thing Senate bid. Although no one has actually leaked it, rumors keep persisting about that Chamber of Commerce poll that has Crist posting only a 44-30 lead over Marco Rubio in the GOP primary. Also worrisome for the Crist camp: much of that $1 million that Rubio pulled in was from in-state small donors -- you know, the kind that actually vote -- rather than out-of-state movement conservative bigwigs. With that in mind, Crist is already tapping into his big cash stash, airing radio spots in the conservative Ft. Myers market touting his government-slashing abilities.
• IL-Sen: Departing (well, maybe) Rep. Danny Davis gave his endorsement in the Democratic primary to former Chicago Urban League head Cheryle Jackson, rather than to establishment candidate state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. Fellow Rep. Bobby Rush has already endorsed Jackson.
• KS-Sen: Dan Glickman, who teased Politico earlier this summer with some vague whispers of suggestions of hints that he might run for Senate, says he'll step down from his current gig (chairman of the MPAA) in September 2010. If he sticks to that timetable, that clearly puts him out of the running for any return to politics this cycle. At 64, and facing what is now an almost implacably red state back at home, Glickman sounds like he's done with elective office for good, saying he thinks he'll "end up in the nonprofit or academic world." (D)
• MA-Sen: Rep. Michael Capuano is way behind the polls of the actual voters, but he's closing in on a majority of the state's House delegation in his corner for the Democratic Senate special election nod. Today, Rep. Stephen Lynch, the state's least liberal House member and a surprise non-participant in the Senate primary, endorsed Capuano; he joins Reps. Jim McGovern, John Tierney, and Barney Frank.
• SC-Sen: Democratic attorney Chad McGowan made it official; he launched his Senate candidacy against Jim DeMint. He's the most credible candidate who has stepped up so far.
• IL-Gov: The Paul Simon Institute on Public Policy issued a poll last week of the Democratic gubernatorial primary, finding a lot of undecideds (and "someone elses") but that incumbent Pat Quinn leads state comptroller Dan Hynes 34-17.
• KS-Gov: Democratic state party chair Larry Gates squashed earlier rumors; he won't be getting into the gubernatorial race (or any statewide race), leaving the Dems still candidate-less.
• NJ-Gov: More golden admissions from Chris Christie, from a video recorded several years ago but released right now for maximum effect by Team Corzine. In Christie's words:
Listen, I plead guilty to having raised money for Governor George W. Bush because I thought he was the best person to be President of the United States. And I did it in a completely appropriate fashion and enthusiastically for the President....
There's no mystery to the fact that I was appointed to this job because, in part, I had a relationship with the President of the United States.
Anybody who receives a political appointment -- I am a political appointee -- there's going to be some measure of politics involved with that appointment.
And Christie may be sending the wrong message right now, as revelations fly about his luxurious travel overspending while US Attorney: now he's saying as Governor, his top advisers will be able to travel with fewer restrictions than under the current administration, at taxpayers' expense, naturally. Meanwhile, over the weekend Jon Corzine picked up the endorsement of the two biggest fish in the news pond, the New York Times and the Phildelphia Inquirer. (Christie can boast about the East Brunswick Home News Tribune, however.)
• VA-Gov: Speaking of endorsements, Creigh Deeds got the big one too, from the Washington Post, and in very unambiguous fashion as well (recall, of course, that the WaPo endorsement in the primary was the corner-turning moment for Deeds). Meanwhile, while it doesn't seem set in stone, there are reports that Barack Obama will campaign on Deeds' behalf after all.
• FL-08: With the current field against Rep. Alan Grayson looking pretty underwhelming, Republican Winter Park physician Ken Miller, who had been considering a run in the 24th (where the primary opposition is of a higher-caliber), has decided to move over to the 8th instead. Which isn't to say that the never-before-elected Miller seems terribly, uh, whelming.
• FL-19: One of the likeliest candidates to run for the seat being vacated by Robert Wexler has already declined the shot: state Sen. Jeremy Ring won't run. While he cited family concerns, he did also point to the fact that little of his district overlaps with the 19th. Fellow state Sen. Ted Deutch is starting to take on front-runner status.
• IN-07: Butler University professor and perennial candidate (including the 2004 Senate race against Evan Bayh) Marvin Scott is back, and this time he's going up against Rep. Andre Carson in the Indianapolis-based 7th.
• NY-23: The independent expenditures are flying in the 23rd, with $100K from the SEIU in favor of Bill Owens, $9,700 from the Club for Growth $9,500 from the Susan B. Anthony List, both on behalf of Conservative Doug Hoffman, and $123K from the NRCC against Owens (which includes $22K for a poll from aptly-named POS -- so if we don't see that soon, we'll know the NRCC doesn't like the results). The SEIU money is paying for anti-Dede Scozzafava radio spots, another blow for GOPer Scozzafava, who had been expected to get some labor support. Scozzafava did get the somewhat belated endorsement of Long Island's Rep. Peter King, though, one of the few other remaining labor-friendly GOPers. Finally, rumors abound in the rightosphere (starting with the Tolbert Report) that Mike Huckabee, who'll be addressing the state Conservative Party in Syracuse soon, won't actually be endorsing Hoffman.
• OH-02: Rep. Jean Schmidt, who had to beat back a primary challenge in 2008 from state Rep. Todd Brinkman, will face another primary bid from an elected official in 2010: Warren County Commissioner Mike Kilburn. Kilburn says "there's a movement to elect more conservative politicians to Washington." Because, uh, Schmidt isn't conservative enough?
• OK-05: A sort-of big name is getting into the field in the open seat race left behind by Rep. Mary Fallin (running for Oklahoma governor): Corporation Commissioner Jeff Cloud, who opened up his exploratory committee. He starts off lagging behind in fundraising, though, as state Rep. Mike Thompson and former state Sen. Kevin Calvey have already been running for a while now.
• Mayors: After a closer-than-expected primary, Boston mayor Tom Menino is still leading in the polls. The 16-year incumbent leads city councilor Michael Flaherty 52-32 in a Boston Globe poll (down from a 61-23 lead in a May poll).
• DSCC: Barack Obama seems like he's finally shifting into campaign mode. He'll be headlining a DSCC fundraiser in Miami next week.
• Voting Rights: After spending years as a political football that gets kicked around from bill to bill, it looks like the push to get Washington DC a full voting Representative is resurfacing again. This time, it may be attached to the 2010 defense appropriations bill. (Watch the Republicans vote against it anyway.)
• Fundraising: Pollster.com has some handy graphics displaying 3rd quarter receipts, expenditures, and cash on hand graphed against each other for Senate candidates. (We'll have our own Senate chart up today, hopefully; if you missed James's House chart over the weekend, it's here.)