• DE-Sen: Christine O'Donnell's radio interview on a local station yesterday should answer any doubts about whether or not the new Tea Party fave is ready for prime time (the answer: she isn't). Mostly it's notable for how testy it got, but also for O'Donnell pushing back on rumors that Mike Castle is gay - rumors that apparently no one has ever heard until O'Donnell brought them up in the first place. At any rate, Castle isn't content to just stand back and let her dig her own hole: not wanting to fall into the Lisa Murkowski trap, his camp confirms that his last-minute pre-primary ad buy will be negative against O'Donnell. He also said he won't be debating with (or otherwise even talking to) O'Donnell... ordinarily a safe decision for a quasi-incumbent, but who knows, maybe a mid-debate implosion by O'Donnell would be all Castle needs to put this one away.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist's out with an internal today from Fredrick Polls, and while it gives him the lead, it's a small enough edge compared with his rather robust leads pre-Dem primary that it shouldn't fill anybody with much confidence about where his trendlines are headed. He leads Marco Rubio and Kendrick Meek 35-34-17. That comes against the backdrop of getting squeezed in both directions, with the NRSC "pledging" (I don't know what that means, but it's not actual reservations) $2.5 million for the race, and Meek airing a new radio ad going after Crist's GOP past, airing Crist's own words, including calling himself "pro-life" and a "Jeb Bush Republican." At least Crist is getting some backing from one rather unusual corner: state Sen. Al Lawson, who just lost the FL-02 primary to Allen Boyd, just endorsed Crist.
• NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov: Maybe I should've been patient yesterday instead of complaining about Quinnipiac's lack of New York primary numbers, because they rolled them out today. At any rate, they find, as I'd suspected, things tightening in the GOP gubernatorial primary: Rick Lazio leads Carl Paladino 47-35. ("Tightening" may not be the right word, as this is their first look at the NY-Gov primary, but it's what other pollsters have seen.) In the Senate special election, Joe DioGuardi leads David Malpass and Bruce Blakeman, 28-12-10. And in another sign that Democratic voters are only dimly aware that there's an election this year, fully 77% of Dem voters have no idea who they'll vote for in the Attorney General's race. Kathleen Rice leads Eric Schneiderman by a margin of 4-3. (That's not a typo.)
• WI-Sen: Ron Johnson has been outspending Russ Feingold 3-to-1 on the TV airwaves, which goes a long way to explaining why this is a tied race, but that may not matter much if he keeps stepping on his own free-market-fundamentalist message. Johnson found himself, in a recent radio interview, tying himself into knots by praising Communist China for having a more favorable investment climate for business than America, in part because of its "certainty." So, let's see... to stop America's descent into socialism, we need to become more like the Communists, because the path to freedom is actually through the kind of "certainty" that comes from a command economy? Finally, this is probably too little too late, but Terence Wall, the guy who dropped out in a huff from the GOP field after the state convention, is now publicly touting the idea of a write-in campaign in the upcoming primary. I don't know if he actually thinks he has a shot against a stumbling Johnson or is just engaged in some last-minute sour grapes.
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin continues to rake in the bucks in the West Virginia Senate special election. (Facing self-funding John Raese, the money issue is the main threat to Manchin... well, that, and the perilously low approvals for national Dems here.) He reported raising $393K last week, bringing his total to $1.5 million. Raese reported $717K, but $520K of that was self-funded, with only $22K from donors.
• AZ-Gov: This may not get much press in the wake of her amazing debate performance, but Jan Brewer is also engaged in an interesting strategy of retaliation, pulling her campaign ads off the local CBS affiliate, whose news department dared to question Brewer's relationship with a key advisor who's also connected to private prison company Corrections Corporation of America, which stands to make significant money incarcerating illegal immigrants rounded up under Arizona's SB 1070. That's not the same station whose reporter aggressively questioned Brewer post-debate last night... my advice to Brewer would be to go ahead and stop advertising on all local network affiliates as punishment. That'll show 'em!
• CO-Gov: This may be kind of repetitive, but Dan Maes againturned down calls to drop out of the race today, after former state Senate president John Andrews withdrew his endorsement and told him to get out. Andrews wasn't alone in the endorsement rescinding department: it looks like the whole ooops-no-I-actually-wasn't-an-undercover-cop-in-Kansas thing was the fridge too far for former GOP Senator Hank Brown, who is now saying he's "looking around" for a new candidate. Meanwhile, on the touchy subject of water law, maybe Maes should take a page from Scott McInnis and just plagiarize all his work on the subject, as at least that way he wouldn't appear completely ignorant of the law. He just introduced an entirely new water law doctrine with his proclamation that "If it starts in Colorado, it's our water" - ignoring the 7-state compact on use of Colorado River water and the whole concept of prior appropriation. As much as I'd like to see Jan Brewer using the Arizona National Guard to invade Colorado and reclaim its water, I don't think the courts would let it get to that point.
• FL-Gov: Alex Sink is expanding her current TV advertising buy, throwing another $600K into keeping her introductory spot on the air in a number of non-Miami markets. Oddly, Rick Scott has been taking the week off since the primary, at least from advertising.
• OR-Gov: John Kitzhaber has finally decided to go negative on Chris Dudley... it might be too little too late, but at least he's recognizing what he needs to do (as recently as last week, he negged a DGA ad that went negative on Dudley... and this is the first time he's aired a negative ad since 1994). The ad attacks Dudley for having "never managed anything" and never "shown much interest in Oregon" before (as seen in his decision to live in income-tax-free Washington while playing for the Trail Blazers).
• CT-04: Republican state Sen. Dan Debicella offers up a recent internal poll, via National Research. It has him within 4 points of Rep. Jim Himes, trailing 42-38 (the same 4-point margin seen in the recent round of AAF polling).
• FL-25: Here's an offensive opportunity for House Dems that nobody should be writing off. Joe Garcia posted a lead in a recent internal poll (taken in wake of the primary, and revelations about various unsavory moments from Republican opponent David Rivera's past) for his campaign. Garcia leads by 4 points in the poll from Benenson, 40-36 (with 5 for the Tea Party candidate and 1 for the Whig).
• MO-03: Republican challenger Ed Martin got the endorsement of the Missouri Farm Bureau, a change from their backing of Russ Carnahan in previous cycles. Carnahan didn't show up for his meeting with the Farm Bureau, although it's unclear whether that's why he didn't get endorsed or if he felt the endorsement was already lost.
• NH-02: EMILY's List, Planned Parenthood, and NARAL are all coordinating their efforts in favor of Ann McLane Kuster ahead of the Dem primary in the 2nd, where's she's running against Katrina Swett, who has supported parental notification laws. In addition to a joint rally, they're sending out a joint mailer together.
• PA-12: The NRCC is out with a poll, via POS, of the 12th, giving Tim Burns a small lead in his rematch against special election victor Mark Critz. Burns leads 48-43, quite the reversal from Critz's 53-45 win in May. (Bear in mind that POS's final released poll before that election gave Burns a 2-point lead.)
• AK-Sen: Scott McAdams (D) 44%, Joe Miller (R) 50%
• FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 44%, Rick Scott (R) 45%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 46%, Dino Rossi (R) 48%
• AR-Sen: As predicted, labor doesn't look like it's going to kiss and make up with Blanche Lincoln. The SEIU says it won't back Lincoln in November, if nothing else, seeing as how they have races with better odds elsewhere that they need to deal with. PPP's Tom Jensen reinforces that point in a piece entitled "Write Off Lincoln," listing a handful of total sleeper races where the polls have been better for Dems than Arkansas.
• CT-Sen: Campaigns don't usually release internal polls showing them down by 13 points, but when all the public pollsters are showing you down by more than 20 after your blockbuster move failed and it's a last ditch effort to get contributors to not write you off, I suppose it makes sense. A Moore Information poll finds Linda McMahon trailing Richard Blumethal "only" 51-38.
• IL-Sen: Glad to see that the mainstream environmental groups are starting to see the big picture of how Washington works instead of reflexively endorsing moderate Republicans who occasionally pantomime throwing them a bone (see also Reichert, Dave). The Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters, who've backed Mark Kirk in the past in his House races, will be going with Alexi Giannoulias instead this year.
• NH-Sen: This seemed more like a cry for attention than a well-thought-out campaign pre-announcement when it happened last week. So it's not surprising to hear that whistleblower/former state Securities chief Mark Connolly, after floating his name last week, has decided against running against Paul Hodes in the Dem Senate primary. (The same link also has a list of filings for New Hampshire's state Senate... although Blue Hampshire has that data in helpful table form. Most notable: a troubling Dem-held open seat in a R+4 district.)
• SC-Sen: That didn't take long at all, for the Democrats' baffling new Senatorial nominee, Alvin Greene, to slide into Scott Lee Cohen territory. With revelations this morning that he's facing felony obscenity charges, the state party is calling on Greene to drop out of the race. Mother Jones has some more detail on Greene that really plumbs the depths of his sheer unpreparedness for what he's gotten himself into. I have no idea whether he's a GOP plant (who got fronted the $10K filing fee to be a speed bump for Vic Rawl and wound up winning instead) or just a naif who accidentally wandered into the corridors of power, "Being There"-style, but either way, it makes for a great story.
• AL-Gov: It's official; Robert Bentley finished in 2nd place in the GOP gubernatorial primary, earning him a spot in the primary, and, as expected, Tim James will file for a recount. AG Troy King just issued an AG opinion clarifying the whole issue of whether an automatic recount applies here: no, it doesn't apply to primaries, so James is responsible for the cost of the recount himself. James still plans to do it, though, despite the cost of at least $300K.
• MI-Gov: Republican AG Mike Cox got endorsements from two key GOP power brokers: from the state Chamber of Commerce, and also from Dick and Betsy DeVos. I was a little surprised that the Grand Rapids-based Amway cult leaders didn't go with their in-house western Michigan U.S. Rep., Pete Hoekstra, but Hoekstra claims not to be surprised, probably suggestive of some interpersonal tension with the DeVos family.
• MN-Gov: Here's one more place the SEIU won't get involved: the DFL gubernatorial primary in Minnesota. All three contenders seem to be friendly with labor, so the SEIU didn't seem to want to play favorites in a field that's basically a tossup.
• OR-Gov: Now this is odd... while Oregon has a rather New England-influenced politics, there's no track record of quirky moderate independents running and winning there. Nevertheless, prominent local attorney John DiLorenzo is reporting a $150K loan from himself to his exploratory committee, in apparent preparation for a gubernatorial run.
• SC-Gov: I don't think the RGA could tip its hand any further than it did last night, all but endorsing Nikki Haley, who still has to get past a runoff against Gresham Barrett, saying "the voters made a clear choice" and "the outcome is certain." Barrett, for his part, is brushing that off and continuing to fight on.
• VT-Gov: You may remember Anthony Pollina, who ran as a Progressive and then independent in several gubernatorial races, going as far as to finish 2nd in 2008. Good news for Vermont Dems: Pollina isn't making a third-party bid, or even running for governor at all this year; instead, he's running for a state Senate seat. Also, it sounds like the local Dems and Progressives are getting smarter about not canceling each other out, as they plan to avail themselves more of "fusion voting" this year. (H/t terje; the whole comment is well worth a read.)
• AR-01: With the ink barely dry on Chad Causey's victory in the Dem runoff, the Rick Crawford campaign released an internal poll showing them with a lead over Causey. The poll by POS gives the GOP nominee a 40-34 lead. While the district has a strong Dem tradition, Obama's 54% disapproval in the district gives Crawford an opening.
• IN-03: There's a tally of 15 different Republicans seeking the GOP nod for the special election to replace the recently-resigned Mark Souder; the local GOP will meet on Saturday to choose somebody. The most prominent name is state Sen. Marlin Stutzman, who recently lost the IN-Sen primary, but the list also includes IN-03 primary loser Bob Thomas, two state Reps., Randy Borror and Wes Culver, and even a local TV anchor, Ryan Elijah.
• IN-09: Biden alert! The fundraiser-in-chief has added Baron Hill to his list of beneficiaries, and will be appearing on his behalf in Jeffersonville on June 28.
• PA-12: For his rematch against now-Rep. Mark Critz, Tim Burns is going to try a different campaign manager. Having lost by 9 in the special after seeming to lose the ground war, he parted ways with former chief Tadd Rupp.
• NRSC: John Cornyn admits that the NRSC's wide playing field this November isn't all good news, because their limited resources (currently $17.1 million) will be stretched thin. Somewhere Dino Rossi is thinking "Now he tells me..."
• Polltopia: Maybe the biggest story that people are following today is the quick decision, in the wake of the AR-Sen runoff polls (as well as MA-Sen, PA-12, and the AL-Gov D primary...), by Daily Kos to part ways with hired pollster Research 2000. However, Markos says the decision was more based on 538's aggregate pollster ratings than any one poll. There's no word yet on which pollster will be wearing the orange in the future. Mark Blumenthal has more on the decision, including R2K head Del Ali's response.
• AR-Sen: Labor seems quite keen to finish the job against Blanche Lincoln in the runoff; the AFSCME just anted up $1.4 million for the coming weeks. This includes not just an IE blitz on the state's inexpensive airwaves, but also 30 staffers on the ground, with a particular emphasis on driving up African-American turnout. Meanwhile, Mark Blumenthal took an in-depth look at the AR-Sen poll released yesterday by DFA giving Bill Halter the lead; he had some of the same issues with question order that we did.
• KS-Sen: Rep. Jerry Moran is out with an internal poll from POS that gives him a dominant lead over fellow Rep. Todd Tiahrt in the GOP primary for the open Senate seat. Moran leads 53-27, including a similar 51-33 among those who are "favorable" to the Tea Party movement (despite Moran being somewhat more moderate than the social conservative Tiahrt... Moran's appeal to them may be that Tiahrt is one of those pork-hugging Appropriators).
• KY-Sen: Quickest post-primary implosion ever? Rand Paul, after getting bogged down by questions yesterday over his feelings about the Civil Rights Act, dug his hole even deeper on the Rachel Maddow show last night. He tried to walk that back today on safer turf on Laura Ingraham's show, saying that he would have voted for it in 1964 and wouldn't support repeal of anti-discrimination laws today, although he also said that it was a political mistake to go on a liberal talk show in the first place. Democrats like John Yarmuth and Jim Clyburn are still going on the offensive, while Republican leaders like Jim DeMint and John Cornyn are busy mumbling "no comment." Even Jeff Sessions is backpedaling. Nate Silver is circumspect about how much damage this may have actually caused Paul in Kentucky, but casts some very suspicious eyes in the direction of Rasmussen's new poll of the race today.
• NV-Sen: Busgate seems to be the second half of Sue Lowden's quick one-two punch to her own nose. Having been called out that her name is on the donated campaign bus's title (despite previous contentions that it was leased), she's now admitting that she "misspoke" about her bus. The FEC is starting to take up the matter.
• PA-Sen: Biden alert! Looks like the White House is eager to move past that whole Arlen Specter endorsement, as the Vice-President (and Scranton favorite son) is gearing up to campaign on behalf of Joe Sestak.
• WA-Sen: I'm just getting more and more confused about the state of the Republican field, as Sarah Palin, out of pretty much nowhere, gave an endorsey-supporty-type thing in favor of Clint Didier today. Is this a shot across Dino Rossi's bow to keep him from jumping in (which is locally rumored to be imminent), an endorsement after finding out that Rossi isn't getting in (which competing local rumors also assert), or just Palin marching to the beat of her own off-kilter drum? Didier, in case you've forgotten, is a long-ago NFL player turned rancher who, of the various GOP detritus in the race right now, has been the one most loudly reaching out to the teabaggers. The Rossi-friendly Seattle Times must see him as at least something of a threat, as they recently tried to smack him down with a piece on the hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal farm subsidies Didier has enjoyed.
• AL-Gov: A little more information is surfacing on that shadowy birther group, the New Sons of Liberty, that's been promising to dump seven figures in advertising into the Republican gubernatorial field. The group has a website up now, and it lists a real-world address that's the same as Concerned Women for America, a group who've been supportive of Roy Moore in the past.
• GA-Gov: Insider Advantage has another look at the Republican gubernatorial primary in Georgia. They don't see much of note, other than a bit of a Deal uptick: Insurance Comm. John Oxendine is at 23, followed by ex-Rep. Nathan Deal at 15, ex-Sos Karen Handel at 14, Eric Johnson at 5, Jeff Chapman at 2, and Ray McBerry at 2. (April's poll had Oxendine at 26, Handel at 18, and Deal at 9.)
• MA-Gov: Grace Ross, the other Dem in the primary (and the 2006 Green Party candidate), has had to pull the plug on her candidacy, lacking the signatures to qualify. Incumbent Deval Patrick, whose political fortunes seem to keep improving, has the Dem field to himself now.
• NY-Gov: Suddenly, there's a fourth candidate in the GOP gubernatorial race. In a year with no Mumpowers or Terbolizards, this guy may be the winner for this cycle's best name: M. Myers Mermel. He's a Westchester County businessman who had been running for Lt. Governor and reportedly had locked down many county chairs' support in that race but inexplicably decided to go for the upgrade. This comes on top of word that state GOP chair Ed Cox, worried that the Steve Levy thing may have blown up in his face, has been trying to lure yet another guy into the race: recently-confirmed state Dept. of Economic Development head Dennis Mullen. Frontruner ex-Rep. Rick Lazio is undeterred, naming his running mate today: Greg Edwards, the county executive in tiny (by NY standards) upstate Chautauqua County.
• AL-07: Terri Sewell, the one candidate in the race with money, is out with an internal poll from Anzalone-Liszt showing a three-way dead heat. Sewell is tied with Jefferson Co. Commissioner Shelia Smoot at 22 apiece, with state Rep. Earl Hilliard Jr. at 20. Attorney Martha Bozeman is at 7. By contrast, a Smoot poll from April had Smoot in the lead, at 33, to Hilliard's 28 and Sewell's 9. The intervening event? Sewell hit the TV airwaves; she's likely to be the only candidate able to do so.
• AR-01: This is charming: when a state Rep., Tim Wooldridge (one of the two contestants in the Democratic runoff in the 1st) proposed a bill changing the method of execution in Arkansas to public hanging. Now, granted, several other states do allow hanging as alternate method (both blue states, oddly enough), but public hanging?
• LA-03: Hunt Downer, the former state House speaker, has been acting candidate-like for a while, but is finally making it official, filing the paperwork to run in the Republican primary in this Dem-held open seat. Downer seems like the favorite (in the primary and general) thanks to name rec, although he'll need to get by attorney Jeff Landry in the primary, who has a financial advantage and claims an internal poll from April giving him a 13-point lead over Downer.
• NY-15: There's one more Dem looking to take out long-long-time Rep. Charlie Rangel, who's looking vulnerable in a primary thanks to ethics woes. Craig Schley, a former Rangel intern, announced he's running (he also ran against Rangel in 2008). With the field already split by Vince Morgan and Jonathan Tasini (UPDATE: and Adam Clayton Powell IV), though, that may just wind up getting Rangel elected again.
• PA-12: PPP has more interesting crosstab information from PA-12, showing the difference candidate quality, and appropriateness for the district, can make. Tim Burns had 27/52 favorability among self-declared "moderates," while Mark Critz had 67/27 favorables. (Guess who won?) Compare that with Scott Brown in Massachusetts, who had 62/31 favorability among moderates. And here's an interesting tidbit: the NRCC spent fully one-tenth of its cash on hand on PA-12. (In order to get spanked.)
• VA-02: A lot of Republicans who've lent support to Scott Rigell in the primary in the 2nd may be wondering what they're getting themselves into, as more detail on his contributions record comes out. Not only did he give money to Barack Obama in 2008 (as has been known for a while), but he also contributed to Mark Warner and in 2002 gave $10,000 to a referendum campaign that would have raised sales taxes in the Hampton Roads area. If he hadn't already kissed Tea Party support goodbye, it's gone now.
• Turnout: The WaPo has interesting turnout data in Arkansas and Pennsylvania. Arkansas turnout, juiced by the competitive Senate campaigns, was actually higher than the 2008 presidential primary.
• House GOP: That highly-touted ban on earmarks imposed on its members by the House GOP leadership? Yeah, turns out that's just kind of more of a "moratorium" now. One that's set to expire in January, so they can resume appropriating away once the election's over.
• CA-Sen: Good news for Tom Campbell, in the form of the Senate half of M4's poll of the California GOP primary: he leads Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore, 33-28-15. (Of course, with his plans to briefly go dark to conserve funds, that gives Fiorina a chance to play catchup when the margin's not that big.) Bad news for Campbell, though: the NRA has him in its metaphorical crosshairs, sending out a mailer to members attacking Campbell and, while not endorsing, offering kind words for Fiorina and DeVore.
• CT-Sen: This is going to make it a lot easier for Richard Blumenthal to make the case that the "in Vietnam" controversy is something of a cheap shot. A longer-form video release of the appearance (provided, ironically, by the Linda McMahon campaign, undercutting their own hatchet job) where the offending phrase occurred have him correctly referring to having "served in the military, during the Vietnam era" in the very same speech. That's not stopping Vietnam vet Rob Simmons, who, sensing an opening, has rolled out web advertising with "Blumenthal Lied About Vietnam" in very large letters.
Blumenthal is getting more explicit backing from Democratic bigwigs now, as his mea culpa/attempt to get back on the offense seems to have had the desired effect. Rep. Chris Murphy, the likeliest guy to pick up the pieces if Blumenthal had to bail out, offered his unqualified support; so too did Howard Dean. And here's one thing that's actually good about Rasmussen's one-day, no-callback samples: they can strike fast. They polled Connecticut, and while the trendlines aren't appealing, they find Blumenthal still beating McMahon even in the heat of the moment before the story has had time to digest, and beating the other, unmoneyed GOP opponents by pretty wide margins. Markos has some really nice pushback against Rasmussen in general, today, asking why they always poll quickly when there's the potential for a good Republican narrative but not when the narrative doesn't fit (as seen in their failure to poll the Sorta Super-Tuesday primaries).
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist has been trying to woo union support, starting with a speech at the state AFL-CIO convention this weekend. It's another indication that he's trying to move squarely onto Kendrick Meek's turf and monopolize as much of the left-of-center vote as he can, now that he's free from his GOP shackles. Meanwhile, quixotic Democratic candidate Jeff Greene has apparently been seen wooing Ukrainian strippers, in 2005 on his 145-foot yacht while cruising the Black Sea. Not so, claims his campaign spokesperson; he was busy traveling with his rabbi at the time instead.
• KY-Sen: In case you needed one more data point on how thin-skinned Rand Paul and how likely a meltdown from him is at some point before November, here's an anecdote from last night: he refused to take the customary concession call from Trey Grayson, at least according to the Grayson camp.
• NC-Sen: Here's a big score for Elaine Marshall: Third-place finisher Kenneth Lewis gave his backing to Marshall in her runoff against Cal Cunningham. This move isn't so surprising, given that Lewis's supporters, like Rep. Eva Clayton, were already gravitating toward Marshall, but it ought to steer much of Lewis's African-American and youth base in her direction as well.
• NV-Sen: Three items, all of which are very, very bad for Sue Lowden. First, the Club for Growth finally weighed into the Senate primary, and they backed right-winger Sharron Angle (maybe not that surprising, since they backed her in the 2006 primary for NV-02). That ought to give Angle a further shot of adrenaline, though, on top of her Tea Party Express endorsement and polling momentum. Lowden is also still bogged down in controversy over her luxury bus, doubling-down on her claims that use of the $100K vehicle was leased despite also having stated elsewhere that the bus was "donated" (which means it would have needed to be reported as an in-kind contribution). That's nothing, though, compared to the (by my count) quintupling-down on Chickens-for-Checkups, simultaneously trying to fight top Nevada journo Jon Ralston on the fact that, yes, people are bartering for health care while trying to claim that she never actually said anything about Chickencare at all.
• NY-Sen-B: The only GOP big name left who hadn't said anything definitive about participating in the GOP Senate primary for the right to get creamed by Kirsten Gillibrand finally said a public "no." Orange County Executive Ed Diana said he'll stick with his current job, to which he was elected in November to a third term.
• UT-Sen: Looks like that teabaggers' victory in Utah might be short-lived. Bob Bennett seems to be more interested than before in running as a write-in in the general (where, despite the complex dynamics of a write-in campaign, he faces better odds with the broader electorate than with the narrow slice of extremists running the GOP convention). We may know tomorrow what his plans are, as he emphasized "Stay tuned tomorrow."
• WA-Sen: If Dino Rossi really is still interested in running for Senate, this isn't a particularly good way of showing it. Rossi is scheduled to make a blockbuster appearance on May 25... to give opening remarks at a dinnertime seminar for local real estate investors focusing on strategies for profiting off foreclosures. Because nothing says "I'm a man of the people" than knowing all the ins and outs of how to profit off the people's misery.
• AL-Gov: Artur Davis is out with an internal poll, that seems mostly oriented toward countering the sense that he's losing ground among his African-American base. The poll shows Davis leading Democratic primary rival Ron Sparks 46-33. It also shows Davis leading 50-25 among African-Americans (despite the defections of some prominent local black groups), while trailing Sparks 42-41 among whites.
• FL-Gov: Bill McCollum is going to have to start taking moneybags Rick Scott seriously, and he's striking hard, sending out a press release calling him an "embarrassment" and a "fraud," presumably in reference to allegations leveled against Scott's health care firm. Scott's ginormous introductory ad buy is now estimating at $6.3 million.
• KS-Gov: Sam Brownback is drawing some heat for taking things out of context. Now, politicians take things out of context all the time, but his sleight-of-hand in attempting to fight efforts to more tightly regulate the business of car loans to military members may be a fridge too far.
"CNN Money on May 13 reported that 'Raj Date ... agreed that the additional (Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection) regulation might cause some dealers to stop arranging loans," Brownback said in the letter.
But Brownback's letter did not include the rest of Date's comment, which was this, "There will be some dealers who say, 'If I have to play by an honest set [of] rules, then I can't be in this business anymore.' I'm not going to shed any tears for these dealers."
• MA-Gov: You may recall last week's Rasmussen MA-Gov poll where, in an effort to find some sort of good news, they found that, if liberal activist Grace Ross somehow beat incumbent Dem Deval Patrick in the primary, she would lost to GOPer Charlie Baker. Well, it's looking like Ross is in danger of not even making it onto the ballot. The state SoS says she has only a little more than half of the 10,000 signatures she needs; Ross promises an announcement tomorrow morning on her next step. (The upside for Patrick, if Ross qualifies for the primary though, would be $750K in public financing for his campaign, which he wouldn't be entitled to if he were running unopposed.)
• ME-Gov: There's been some ongoing controversy in the sleepy Maine governor's race about how Republican candidate Steve Abbott (former CoS to Susan Collins) wound up with GOP voter lists, but this is a strange turn: the state Republican party chair, Charlie Webster, is now saying that Abbott's camp flat-out "stole" it.
• GA-09: The special election to replace Nathan Deal (where GOPers Tom Graves and Lee Hawkins are in a runoff) seems to have winnowed the Republican field for the regularly-scheduled GOP primary, too. Former state Senate majority leader Bill Stephens has dropped out of contention in that field.
• HI-01: Even if something incredibly dramatic happens between now and Saturday's drop-dead date in the special election in the 1st, things are still pretty much cast in stone. In the all-mail in election, now 43% of all ballots sent out have been returned.
• IN-03: State Sen. Marlin Stutzman (whose name rec is sky-high right now after running fairly well in the GOP Senate primary against Dan Coats) says that he's going to strike while the iron is hot, and get into the race to replace resigning Rep. Mark Souder. Other GOPers confirming that they'll run include state Rep. Randy Borror, Ft. Wayne city councilor Liz Brown, and recent primary loser Phil Troyer. Another recent primary loser, Bob Thomas, is a potential candidate.
• OH-16: After having found an excuse to hide behind the door the last time Barack Obama came to Ohio, Rep. John Boccieri was proudly with him when he visited Youngstown yesterday. Perhaps he can sense a bit of a turning of the tide? Troublingly, though, Senate candidate Lee Fisher wasn't present.
• PA-12: PPP digs through the data from their last pre-election poll in the 12th and finds what may really have done the Republicans in. There's one entity in the district even more unpopular than Barack Obama (who had 30% approval), and that's Congressional Republicans, who were at a miserable 22/60. In nationalizing the election, Tim Burns tied himself to the nation's least favorite people of all.
• PA-19: After having surviving his primary last night despite publicly seeking another job, it looks like Rep. Todd Platts exposed himself to all that danger for no reason at all. Platts announced yesterday that the Obama administration had let him know that he wasn't going to be selected for the Government Accountability Office job he'd been angling for.
• CT-AG: Here's one of the weirdest career crash-and-burns I've seen lately: SoS Susan Bysiewicz went in a few months from likely next Governor to somehow not even eligible to run for the lower-tier job she dropped down to. Connecticut's Supreme Court unanimously ruled that she didn't meet the criteria for legal experience required to become AG, reversing a lower court's decision. Former Democratic state Sen. George Jepsen now has the AG job pretty much to himself. At any rate, with Bysiewicz now combing the "Help Wanted" section, that gives the Connecticut Dems a fallback plan for the Senate if Richard Blumenthal does need to bail out (although Bysiewicz may be seriously damaged at this point too).
• OR-St. House: Here are a couple races with interesting implications that I forgot to watch last night: two Republican state Reps. from the high-desert parts of Oregon (the state's Republican stronghold) committed the unthinkable heresy of not only bipartisanship but supporting tax increases to close the state's budget gap. Both Bob Jenson and Greg Smith survived their primaries, though, after teabaggers, right-to-lifers, and even their state House minority leader turned their wrath against them.
• Arizona: One other election result from last night that most people, us included, seemed to overlook was Proposition 100 in Arizona. In a surprise, at least to those people who think that it's a rabidly anti-tax year (which would be those people who didn't pay any attention to Measures 66 and 67 earlier this year in Oregon), the people of this red state voted by a fairly wide margin for a temporary sales tax increase as part of a package of changes to close the budget gap. It's a victory for Jan Brewer, actually, who backed the plan (perhaps feeling safer to do so, having solidified her position with her support for the "papers please" law).
• 1994: When you have a wave, a lot of dead wood washes up on the beach. Prompted by '94 alum Mark Souder's mini-scandal and resignation, Dana Milbank looks back at the wide array of scoundrels and rogues who were swept in in 1994.
• History: History's only barely on the side of Blanche Lincoln when it comes to runoffs. It turns out that the person who finishes first in a runoff wins 72% of the time, but when that's limited only to runoffs in primaries, the success rate is only 55%... and Lincoln's victory over Bill Halter last night was a particularly close one.
So, the PA-12 special election is tomorrow, occurring in the Kerry-McCain district. Ironically, despite the failure of the Pennsylvania dummymander (the GOP having lost the 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, AND 10th since the 2002 remap and 2004 readjustment), this is yet another district where the GOP's intentions fell significantly short.
It's no secret that the 12th is quite the gerrymander, winding its way from Greene and Fayette County in the Southwest, through Washington County, with an arm through Somerset County, a large section of Johnstown and Cambria County (site of John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport, no less), another arm to pick up the college town of Indiana, three distinct sections of Allegheny and Westmoreland counties each (!!), and part of Armstrong County.
The 12th, however, is somewhat ancestrally Democratic - this was Joe Hoeffel's 4th best district in 2004, and turned out strong for Bob Casey. If you average the four federal statewide races since 2004 (Kerry v. Bush, Hoeffel v. Specter, Casey v. Santorum, and Obama v. McCain), the district's returned on average a Democratic performance of 51.3% to 46.2%.
We can visualize this as follows (click on images for larger versions):
The Democratic strength is concentrated in the southern bulb around Washington and along the Monongahela River south of Pittsburgh, as well as in Johnstown. Of course, connecting the two areas does require passing through some significantly Republican areas.
At risk of falling victim to the "Republican Heartland" fallacy, playing around with my new GIS toys, we can pull some NYT-style map goodness, with graduated circles:
In this map, the sheer Democratic dominance of Johnstown and the Monongahela River towns becomes even more evident.
So what does this all mean for tomorrow? Critz needs to do well in Murtha's old base in Cambria County, and hopefully stanch some of the Democratic bleeding in the southwestern half of the district.
As with Martha Coakley and Scott Brown, I also made an election-night model to predict results as they come in last night. It uses the similar uniform-swing assumptions (as compared to the 2004-2008 Democratic average) and accounts for possible variation within a given jurisdiction (this is necessary since counties here are much larger than towns in Massachusetts). I'm still fine-tuning the specifics, but expect that online sometime tomorrow afternoon!
AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln refuses to say whether she'd want Barack Obama to campaign with her - and for once, I can't blame her for being wishy-washy. She still managed to get in a dig at "the far left" in an interview with The Hill, which should really help her consolidate the base if she wins the primary. And graciously, she said that she wouldn't run as an independent if she were to lose the primary - which is good to know, since she only filed as a Dem. Meanwhile, the SEIU just threw down another $330K on TV ads and phonebanking to support Bill Halter.
DE-Sen: A good get for the Democrat: The Delaware State Education Association, a big teacher's union, has switched their endorsement from GOPer Mike Castle to Chris Coons. Though the DSEA has supported Castle in the past, they cited unhappiness over his votes against the stimulus (which had a lot of education money) and healthcare reform. Meanwhile, Castle secured his party's nomination with 70% of the vote at the GOP convention, but teabagger Christine O'Donnell pledged to fight on through the primary.
IN-Sen: Not that anyone expected otherwise, but Dem Rep. Brad Ellsworth was officially nominated by the state party, over joke candidate Bob Kern.
KY-Sen: A shadowy 527 organized by Lexington, Ky. "media specialist" Tim Isaac is running ads linking Rand Paul to absolutely batshit fucking insane radio host Alex Jones. (Paul appeared on the show a few times and kissed Jones's ass.) Probably too little, too late - and in this case, Isaac's refusal to announce the size of the buy is pretty glaring, since it seems like a blatant attempt to play local media. On the flipside, Paul said on Friday that he's pulling his attack ads from the air - which, given how little time there is before election day, again seems like a way to gin up some press coverage. I guess that's politics.
PA-Sen: An ugly late hit from Arlen Specter, which he prays doesn't make it back east: He's running web ads attacking Joe Sestak for his "F" rating from the NRA. Sestak doesn't have much time to raise hell about this, but this is obviously not a winning issue for Specter in Philly. Anyhow, Tuesday should be a barn-burner, with Specter and Sestak now tied at 44 apiece (with 11% undecided) in Muhlenberg's final tracking poll. (Kudos to Muhlenberg, btw, for what turned out to be a genius marketing move in providing this tracker.)
UT-Sen: Game on? Orrin Hatch is vowing to run for re-election in 2012, when, as the world is engulfed in flames foretold by a Mayan end-times prophecy, he'll be a spry 78. Will Jason Chaffetz seize the day, or let opportunity pass him by a second time? I also have to wonder if nervous incumbents will try to change the law regarding convention nominations before the next cycle rolls around, lest they become Bob Bennett Vol. II.
AL-Gov: Ron Sparks, as expected, just scored the endorsement of the Alabama Democratic Conference, the state's old black political organization. This means that he, and not African American primary opponent Artur Davis, has secured the backing of all four of Alabama's major black political groups. Pushing back against this unusual narrative, Davis announced endorsements from two fellow members of Congress: Jesse Jackson, Jr. and John Lewis, neither of whom represent Alabama (though Lewis was born there). Not sure this really helps Davis's "D.C." image.
CA-Gov: Steve Poizner, who has been making late headway in the polls, is finally airing some broadcast TV ads in the Bay Area, painting Meg Whitman as an apostate to the conservative movement. If I were a mouth-breather, I'd vote for him. As ever, no word on the size of the buy, but given how rich Poizner is, I'd guess it's substantial.
FL-Gov: Lawton Chiles III, son of the late governor of the same name, apparently wants to challenge Alex Sink in the gubernatorial primary this year, according to people close to him. The filing deadline for state races is not until June 18th, though even if he gets in right now, Chiles would have a major financial gap to make up with Sink. Maybe the young he-coon thinks he got some walk in him?
NV-Gov: Man, this is just an absolutely brutal profile of GOP Gov. Jim Gibbons, who regularly disappeared Mark Sanford-like during the meltdown of 2008, when his state needed leadership most. Just read it.
AL-07: EMILY's List made a small independent expenditure (sub-$30K) for mailers and phonebanking on behalf of Terri Sewell. Someone from EMILY really needs to explain why they endorsed Wall Street attorney Sewell over the well-known progressive (and equally pro-choice) Shelia Smoot.
CA-19: God bless KFSN-TV! Without them, we wouldn't have yet another poll of the fascinating CA-19 primaries. Even the pollster notes: "Compared to identical SurveyUSA polls released one and two months ago, the contest is unchanged." I guess the good news is that Dick Pombo looks slated to lose.
DE-AL: As expected, wealthy heiress Michele Rollins won the GOP's nomination for Delaware's at-large House seat, though it took her two rounds of balloting at the state convention. However, opponent Glen Urquhart has pledged to stay in through the primary.
FL-22: Your liberal media: A local TV reporter, Angela Sachitano, has been covering the FL-22 race for WPTV... and has also been serving as an informal media advisor to whacked-out Republican Allen West. Her employer, of course, is saying there's no harm done, and that they've taken unspecified "appropriate action." Typical liberals!
HI-01: Sue Lowden would be proud: Charles Djou is busy spending time with his chickens, so he can count them before they hatch. Said Djou to Sean Miller of The Hill: "This election is pretty much over." Djou was later seen hanging out with a bunch of lazy grasshoppers who were scoffing at hard-working ants preparing for winter. You've also got to wonder why he's spending $88K on TV ads attacking (for the first time) Ed Case if this thing is "over."
ID-01: Hoo boy this is good! Republican Vaughn Ward, the supposed establishment favorite in the race, has fired his campaign manager just a week-and-a-half before the primary. (Though CQ's Greg Giroux tweets that Ward is now supposedly saying his CM quit.) Read the Politico's piece for a full account Ward's long string of failures - it's like he's been touched by the ghost of Bill Sali.
Still, Ward might yet win. An independent poll last week from Greg Smith & Associates showed Ward leading Raul Labrador in the primary, 34-16, but with 50% undecided. The general election numbers (PDF) are really weird, though - Smith tested Rep. Walt Minnick "jungle-style" against both Labrador and Ward together. Yeah, Idaho doesn't do their elections that way, so I don't get the choice, but in any event, Minnick was at 50% with both Republicans combining for 20%.
MA-05: Rep. Niki Tsongas, in a diary on Blue Mass Group, says that her quote in the NYT last week has been "misinterpreted" and that she "will always welcome President Obama to Massachusetts and the Fifth District." Good.
PA-06: Doug Pike sure must enjoy being in the apology business. For the zillionth time this campaign, he's had to walk something back. In this case, it's a misleading mailer he sent out claiming he'd been awarded a "100% pro-choice rating" by NARAL. Not so fast, says the group - we haven't endorsed anyone in this race. Egg, face, repeat.
PA-12: A Pittsburgh TV station yanked a Democratic ad attacking Tim Burns for supporting a national sales tax instead of income taxes. A conservative victory over rascally Dems? Not quite - the station, WPGH, is owned by Sinclair Broadcasting, who you might remember from 2004, when they forced their member stations to air a "documentary" swiftboating John Kerry just two weeks before election day.
SC-02: A sign of life from Dem Rob Miller's otherwise somnolent campaign? Miller has a poll out from Anzalone-Liszt showing Rep. Joe Wilson up 49-34. That might not seem like much to brag about, but Miller's making hay of the fact that he only has 34% name ID, and says that Wilson's incumbency is hurting him.
VT-AL: Retired 71-year-old businessman John Mitchell says he's joining the GOP field to take on Rep. Peter Welch. He joins conservative radio show host Paul Beaudry and businessman Keith Stern. It looks like none of these Republicans have yet raised a dime.
British Elections: I don't know about you, but the political spectrum across the pond always felt like Anarchy in the UK to me. Fortunately, SSP's EnglishLefty surfs to the rescue with a detailed explanation of the fault lines between the Labour Party (which just got turfed) and the Liberal Democrats (who've joined a coalition with the Tories). The ensuing comments are enlightening as well.
If Burns does pull out the victory on Tuesday night it will be more because of a continuing gap in interest between Democratic and Republican voters in the off year election than anything else. Critz is actually winning over more McCain voters (14%) than Burns is Obama voters (12%). This race is not an example of people who voted for Obama who are now unhappy with him and voting Republican. But those planning to vote on Tuesday report having voted for John McCain by 5 points in 2008, compared to his actual 1 point victory in the district. And among voters who say they're 'very excited' to vote in this election, Burns has a 60-38 lead.
In contrast, two other recent polls have given Critz a slight lead. It looks like we're heading for a photo finish here, sports fans.
Bonus finding: Sestak leads Specter by 44-35 among Democratic primary voters in the 12th District.