FL-Sen: Suffolk (10/14-17, likely voters, no trendlines):
Kendrick Meek (D): 22
Marco Rubio (R): 39
Charlie Crist (I): 31
FL-Gov: Suffolk (10/14-17, likely voters, no trendlines):
Alex Sink (D): 45
Rick Scott (R): 38
Misc.: In the AG race, Pam Bondi (R) leads Dan Gelber (D), 38-30. Also, a poll by Voter Survey Service (aka Susquehanna) for the right-wing Sunshine State News site has Adam Putnam (R) leading Scott Maddox (D) in the Ag Comm'r race, 40-35. Tea Party candidate Ira Chester takes 14%.
Tom Barrett (D): 41 (28)
Scott Walker (R): 50 (44)
Undecided: 6 (17)
Margins & Errors: The Fix publishes an alleged WA-Sen poll without either field dates or sample size... Bill Kristol (yeah, that Bill Kristol) claims he has his hands on an OH-10 poll - he has the n, but won't say the pollster's name, who paid for the poll, or when it was taken... Pollster.com has a PDF from ccAdvertising with numbers for WV-Sen, WV-01, and WV-03 - but not only does ccA report to hundredths of a percent, they get taken to the woodshed by Mark Blumenthal for refusing to divulge the poll's sponsor
• LA-Sen: That ginned-up internal poll that Chet Traylor released a few days ago (showing him within 12 of David Vitter) seems to have served its intended purpose, for what its worth: the contributions have started coming in at a much greater pace over the last few days. He pulled in $30K in three days, almost doubling up on the $42K he raised over the previous duration of his campaign (and most of which he blew on his new anti-Vitter radio ad). And this can't please Vitter, either: a local paper is reporting to Vitter's troublesome ex-aide, Brent Furer, traveled back from DC to Louisiana several times on the public's dime, at points that just happened to coincide with his various trials on charges of drunk driving.
• NV-Sen: Sharron Angle seems to be wandering all over the map in search of a position on Social Security privatization, one that's extreme enough to satisfy her teabagging core supporters but not so extreme that it scares off, y'know, old people. She's removed the words "transitioned out" from her website (regarding Social Security) but, when pushed yesterday, said that she hasn't changed her view that that's how she feels about it (despite running ads claiming that she wants to "save" Social Security).
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak, meet Raul Labrador? As you probably know, there's a common-sense rule of thumb that you don't release your internal polls unless they show you, y'know, ahead of your opponent. Nevertheless, somebody (unclear whether it was the DSCC or the Sestak camp) leaked NBC a Peter Yang internal of the race giving Pat Toomey a 2-point lead over Sestak, 46-44. Obviously, that's not designed to create a sense of Sestak's inevitable victory as most internals are designed to do, but it's pushback against this week's PPP poll, where the switch to LVs hurt Sestak's numbers, probably oriented toward letting contributors know that this race is still in play. The DSCC has also been nailing Toomey on the rather arcane issue of derivatives, which had a key role in inflating the asset bubble that popped and left all our faces covered in pink sticky goo in 2008. Somehow I doubt more than 1% of the nation can offer a cogent explanation of what derivatives (especially credit default swaps) do, but at any rate, they've tracked down three separate times when Toomey as Congressman, on the House floor, praised the use of derivatives, something he's lately tried to distance himself from.
• WA-Sen: We're up to 67% reporting in Washington, with the numbers not really having budged from Tuesday night (still 46 Patty Murray, 34 Dino Rossi, 12 Clint Didier), but more than three-quarters of the remaining precincts are in the Dem-friendly King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties, so look for some future budging. Meanwhile, here's a comparison that only true politics junkies will get... remember Fred Heineman? (The one-term Republican House member from NC-04 swept in in 1994, who then said that his $183,000 salary made him "lower-middle-class" and that the middle class extended up to $750K, and promptly got swept out in 1996.) Dino Rossi has apparently decided that he should be Washington's answer to Heineman, as he essentially said that one-third of Washingtonians make over $200K per year. More specifically, he said 2.5 million Washingtonians would benefit from keeping the Bush-era tax cuts for those making more than $200K/yr. (In reality, 105K households, or 1.6% of the state's population, fit that profile.)
• CA-Gov: Here's an iceberg in the way for the serene cruise of the Queen Meg: activists at a convention of state conservatives this weekend plan a rude welcome for her. They plan to lambaste her on her non-extreme positions on an Arizona-style immigration law in California, and her support for greenhouse gas-limiting Proposition 19 23. Also, here's some quantitative evidence for something that I've long suspected: Whitman has so oversaturated the airwaves with advertising that it went well past the point of having its desired effect and is now just getting people pissed off at her. A Jerry Brown staffer leaked that nugget from internal polling, finding that her own advertising has helped Whitman with 8% of voters and hurt her with 27% of voters.
• IA-03: Hot on the heels of the David Rivera story in FL-25, here's another uncomfortable blast from the past for another Republican House candidate: records reveal that Brad Zaun, the GOP's nominee against Leonard Boswell, had to be told by West Des Moines police to stay away from his ex-girlfriend after a late night visit to her house to pound on her windows and call her names.
• MO-03, MO-04: Odd little pollster We Ask America seems to be entering another period of being prolific, as now they're out with a couple House polls from the underserved state of Missouri. They find Russ Carnahan fairly comfortable against Republican challenger Ed Martin in the 3rd, leading 48-39, but find veteran Dem Ike Skelton in a tighter race in the 4th, leading Vicky Hartzler 45-42. Skelton still draws the support of 27% of Republicans and 37% of indies, crucial to surviving this dark-red district.
• CfG: The Club for Growth is starting to switch gears from primaries (where they seem to have had a more productive run this year than in previous cyles) to the general. They've endorsed four Republican challengers who all cleared the primary bar: Stephen Fincher in TN-08, Todd Young in IN-09, Mick Mulvaney in SC-05, and Tim Griffin in AR-02.
• Ads: The most attention-grabbing ad today seems to be from Indiana Dem Joe Donnelly, who already tried to distanced himself from "the Washington crowd" in his previous ad. Now he's basically thrown in the towel on trying to fight the messaging war and just start running with Republican memes, touting his opposition in his newest ad to "Nancy Pelosi's energy tax." Other ads worth checking out today include an RGA ad for Duke Aiona in HI-Gov, a Joyce Elliott ad in AR-02, a Michelle Rollins spot in DE-AL, and a Mike McIntyre ad in NC-07.
Joyce Elliott (D): 35
Tim Griffin (R): 52
Lance Levi (I): 3
Lewis Kennedy (G): 1
Oof. The story is in the favorables: Griffin, who won his two-way primary back in May without a runoff, has a net favorable rating of 53-21. Elliott, who slogged through two rough rounds of primary balloting, is underwater at 32-45. Griffin even leads in Dem-friendly Pulaski County, which was one of those rare spots in Arkansas that voted for Barack Obama back in 2008.
The NRCC is already telegraphing that they consider this race in the bag, going so far as to highlight the open seat race in Arkansas' 1st CD as a target for ad dollars this fall while signaling that they're prepared to let Griffin stand on his own.
NV-Sen: An interesting tidbit from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which Jon Ralston rightly knocks them for burying: Former Rep. Barbara Vucanovich, the first and only Republican woman to hold federal office in Nevada, says she isn't sure whether she can support Sharron Angle, and might just vote "none of the above."
WI-Sen: Former GOP candidate Terrence Wall is claiming that teabagging richie rich Ron Johnson engaged in "bribery" to win the state Republican convention in May - where "bribery" is characterized as, apparently, paying for some delegate hotel rooms. Johnson denies the allegations, and even his remaining opponent, Dave Westlake, isn't buying them either.
WV-Sen: Sen. Robert Byrd, age 92, was admitted to the hospital over the weekend and is said to be "seriously ill" by his staff. We of course extend our wishes for his recovery.
AZ-Gov: While she has some distance to go before she reaches Sharron Angle or Rand Paul levels of foot-in-mouth disease, I think Jan Brewer is going to be one of those Republicans who really helps us by not knowing how to shut up. Case in point: She said on CNN this weekend that "the majority of the people that are coming to Arizona and trespassing are now becoming drug mules."
CT-Gov: Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley is busy explaining two arrests in his past, both involving vehicular incidents. (Click the link for full details.) No charges were filed in either incident.
FL-Gov: Florida Republicans are drafting a new immigration law for their own state modeled after Arizona's. We're slotting this under the FL-Gov header because AG Bill McCollum's office is helping to write this new bill. (Florida has one of the largest Hispanic populations in the country, with 21% of the state claiming Hispanic origin.) Meanwhile, the St. Pete Times takes a lengthy look at Rick Scott's tenure at Columbia/HCA, the healthcare giant which engaged in massive fraud and eventually paid a record-setting $1.7 billion fine. Scott is trying to tout his experience as a CEO, but of course keeps attempting to distance himself from his former company. Ah, but what's a little two-faced bullshit on the campaign trail?
IA-Gov: Ah, the Republican Party never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. As desmoines dem chronicles at her blog, Bleeding Heartland (bookmark it), Terry Branstad was dealt a pretty ugly vote-of-not-a-lot-of-confidence at the GOP state convention this past Saturday. Even though Branstad nominated his own Lt. Gov. candidate (the largely unknown Kim Reynolds), a state rep. put Bob Vander Plaats' name into the hopper for the nod - and Branstad's pick squeaked by with just 56% of the delegate vote. (Vander Plaats, of course, ran against Branstad for the gubernatorial nomination, losing by only about 10 points despite huge disparities in name rec and money.) And just the day before, BVP said he still wasn't planning to support Brandsad, nor would he rule out an independent bid. Smell the cat fud, baby!
AR-02: I'm not really getting Joyce Elliott's messaging here. On the one hand, she's trying to tie former AG Tim Griffin to his one-time mentor, Karl Rove. On the other hand, she says she won't run a campaign against Washington, DC. So not only is her message muddled, but she's also unilaterally disarming. I hope she sees the error of her ways on this one.
MA-10: State Rep. Jeffrey Perry is touting an internal poll from Public Opinion Strategies showing him with a 41-25 lead in the GOP primary over ex-state Treasurer Joe Malone. Perry also claims to have favorables of 44% and unfavorables of just 1%....
VA-02: Sarah Palin is going to be in town for a wingnut event called the "Freedom Fest." But GOP nominee Scott Rigell won't attend - and his campaign is offering some made-up sounding b.s. about FEC regulations preventing him from going. Unsurprisingly, teabagger Kenny Golden is hitting Rigell for his failure to appear. Ironically, Rigell is claiming the fact that Golden wasn't offered equal time at the event is a reason he (Rigell) isn't going!
FL-Sen, FL-Gov: Florida Chamber of Commerce Political Institute and Cherry Communications (6/9-13, likely voters, no trendlines):
Rick Scott (R): 35
Bill McCollum (R): 30
Alex Sink (D): 26
Rick Scott (R): 30
Bud Chiles (I): 15
Alex Sink (D): 26
Bill McCollum (R): 31
Bud Chiles (I): 15
Kendrick Meek (D): 14
Marco Rubio (R): 31
Charlie Crist (I): 42
IL-Sen: Really gotta wonder what's going on here. The New York Times keeps digging into Mark Kirk's past and finds that the nursery school where he claimed to teach for a brief spell in 1981 "never, ever considered" Kirk a teacher, according to a leader of its affiliated church.
UT-Sen: Mike Lee has an internal poll, conducted by Wenzel Strategies, showing him with a 45-35 lead over Time Bridgewater in the GOP primary. However, an independent poll conducted by Dan Jones and Associates for the Deseret News & KSL-TV has almost opposite numbers: 42 Bridgewater, 33 Lee.
IA-Gov: Chet Culver is out with his first ad of the general election campaign, attacking ex-Gov. Terry Branstad for his dodgy fiscal stewardship of the state during his long tenure in the governor's mansion. No word on the size of the buy.
AR-02: Rove acolyte Tim Griffin is out with an internal poll from OnMessage showing him with a 50-34 lead over Joyce Elliott. He also announced the endorsement of weirdo D.C. Morrison - yeah, the guy who ran in the Democratic senate primary. Not really a surprise, though, since Morrison previously said he planned to support John Boozman in that race.
NY-23: Good news, everybody! I opened up the ballot box, and Schroedinger's cat fud is very much alive! In fact, there's a 100% chance of a right-wing split in NY-23 no matter what happens now. That's because the Independence Party gave their line to Matt Doheny, who is also seeking the Republican nomination. But of course, our old friend Doug Hoffman is also vying for the GOP nod - and he already has the Conservative Party's endorsement. This means that regardless of who wins the Republican primary, at least one ballot line will remain occupied by a legitimate Republican candidate.
ID-01: This is sorta weird. You remember that Vaughn Ward ripped off an Obama speech, right? Well, it turns out that he also ganked large chunks of a speech from Pat Meehan, too, who is running in PA-07. (At least Meehan's a Republican.) What's odd, though, is why is TV news station KTVB investigating this stuff now, weeks after Ward lost the GOP primary? Aren't there actual candidates worth reporting about?
UT-02: Those same media organizations (see UT-Sen item above) also had Dan Jones poll the 2nd CD, finding Rep. Jim Matheson leading Claudia Wright 52-33 in the Democratic primary. That's good for Matheson, but by no means great, given his almost comical spending advantage.
Talk Business, a multi-format Arkansas newsmagazine, is conducting a whole bunch of polling on the state's congressional primaries. They are using an outfit I'm not familiar with, with the memorable name of "The Political Firm." They look to be a Republican pollster, but I don't know if they have any skin in the game (or if Talk Business has any axe to grind).
In any event, Talk Business says all the polls were taken April 6-7th, were of registered voters (sort of an unusual choice, given that the primary is on May 18th), and are unweighted. TPF says it uses IVR (aka robopolls). Talk Business also promises two more rounds of polling before the primary.
Remember back when Marion Berry's retirement in the R+8, trending-the-wrong-direction AR-01 was going to hand one more vulnerable southern seat to the Republicans? Turns out... eh, not so much:
Arkansas' filing deadline passed Monday afternoon and while Republicans made a lot of noise about their chances in the 1st district in the days after Rep. Marion Berry (D) announced his retirement, all the sound and fury may have actually signified nothing....
In the end, the only Republican to join the contest after Berry announced his retirement was Princella Smith, a former congressional aide to freshman Louisiana Republican Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao.
Smith will face off against the equally unknown and untested Rick Crawford, an Army veteran, farm broadcaster and businessman who entered the race in May 2009.
Republicans had sought to get one of several state legislators into the race -- state Sens. Davy Carter or Johnny Key. However, both said no, leaving the GOP without a backup plan. Meanwhile, top-tier Democrats piled into the race in this historically-Democratic district, including state Sen. Steve Bryles, former state Sen. Tim Wooldridge, state Rep. David Cook, and Berry's former CoS, Chad Causey. Like PA-12, here's a district where the Democratic tradition and the disparity between the two parties' benches may just save our bacon despite an ominous trend at the presidential level.
Filing information about the rest of the Arkansas races is here. AR-02 is still a very vulnerable seat to Republican takeover, with former US Attorney Tim Griffin armed with lots of money and Beltway connections. Dems still have a top-tier recruit here, though, state House speaker Robbie Wills, so even here we're in Tossup territory. Mike Ross in AR-04 seems to have emerged with only bottom-rung opposition, so hopefully he can contribute some time and money to shoring up the other races in the state. Democratic State Sen. Shane Broadway also seems poised to hold onto the Lt. Governor seat being vacated by Bill Halter; he faces off against only a pastor and a pizza restaurant owner.
• 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.
• AR-Sen: Despite the seemingly imminent entry of Rep. John Boozman into the GOP field in the Arkansas Senate race, soon-to-be-former-frontrunner state Sen. Gilbert Baker says he's staying in the race. The alternative would be to run for Baker, who represents Little Rock suburbs, to run for the open seat in AR-02 instead - but there he'd face a tough primary against Beltway GOP favorite Tim Griffin, who's already established a solid fundraising foothold. (Some of the seven dwarves in the GOP field, who seem concentrated in the state's right-leaning northwest, may be interested in switching to Boozman's open seat in AR-03, though.) And unbelievably, yet another Republican is interested in getting in the Senate race: former NFL player Jim Lindsey is readying for a bid. Lindsey is a real estate developer and former University of Arkansas trustee.
• AZ-Sen: Sarah Palin is still dancin' with the one who brung her. She announced yesterday that she'll appear on behalf of John McCain, who plucked her from near-obscurity and is now needs a favor of his own as he's facing a primary challenge from the right from ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth. Needless to say, this provoked a lot of disappointment from her supporters among the teabagging set, who would prefer to see her stab McCain in the back and then field dress him.
• CO-Sen: With right-wingers filled with antipathy toward establishment choice ex-Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, there's been a lot of casting about for an alternative. Weld County DA Ken Buck seems more and more like he'll be that guy, as he's been making common cause with the Paulists, who are now planning to pay for a statewide advertising campaign on Buck's behalf. Meanwhile, on the Dem side, primary challenger Andrew Romanoff is trying to energize his sleepy campaign with a big hire - pollster Celinda Lake, whose previously sterling reputation got driven off a cliff with her handling of the Martha Coakley campaign.
• CT-Sen: There's not much left to see for the 2010 race, but everyone's thinking ahead to 2012, with the new rumor afoot that - with the Senate Kennedy-free for the first time in more than half a century - Ted Kennedy Jr. may run against Joe Lieberman in 2012. Lieberman himself is up to his usual asshattery, speculating out loud that he could conceive of becoming a Republican, and also saying that he might support Linda McMahon in the 2010 race... seeing as how Richard Blumenthal (tepidly) supported Lamont in the 2006 general while McMahon supported Lieberman. Apparently Lieberman learned his politics from watching the Godfather: it's not business. Just personal. (Lieberman also seems to be a believer in leaving the cannoli, and taking the guns.)
• FL-Sen: In the wake of new polling showing him falling behind Marco Rubio in the GOP Senate primary, the questions are getting louder about whether Charlie Crist might consider running as an independent instead. He said no to that idea... but people are noticing he didn't rule out switching parties altogether. With Crist appearing side-by-side with Barack Obama today in Florida (something he wouldn't consider doing if he saw any hope in trying to compete with Rubio - who just got the endorsement of ur-conservative Steve Forbes -- on conservative bona fides alone), could that actually be a consideration? If so, he'd need to switch parties by April 30.
• MA-Sen: There are a couple more retrospectives worth reading on Massachusetts, as people try to make sense of the mixed messages sent by exit polls (with one particularly intriguing tidbit: 52% of Scott Brown voters approved of Ted Kennedy's performance). Mark Blumenthal also looks at the shift in polling over the last few weeks, wondering again about the differing results gotten by live interviewers vs. robocallers, while also pointing to questions of how much pollsters' views of a race can actually change the overall momentum of the race (fundraising and perception-wise) and thus become a self-fulfilling prophecy. And get ready for the teabaggers' week-long love affair to end very soon: Scott Brown (who apparently has some self-preservation instincts) just served notice on the GOP that he won't always vote with them.
• ND-Sen: This isn't going to make the teabaggers any happier: Gov. John Hoeven, now running for the Senate, joined the Democratic Party in 1996 (at a time when he was head of North Dakota's state-owned bank), ditching them in 2000 for his gubernatorial run. With Hoeven already on their naughty list for his insufficiently anti-government stances, now he's just going to get more wrath.
• NH-Sen: Former AG Kelly Ayotte is wielding an internal poll by the Tarrance Group that gives her a big edge in the GOP primary against her challengers. She leads Ovide Lamontagne, coming at her from the right, 43-11. Random rich guys Bill Binnie and Jim Bender clock in at 5 and 3 apiece. No general election numbers were released.
• NV-Sen: One more disastrous poll for Harry Reid, which came out from Research 2000 a few days ago. This poll closely echoed one from PPP a few weeks ago that tested alternative Democrats, and finds that only Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman beats the Republicans (while Rep. Shelly Berkley and SoS Ross Miller don't fare much better than Reid). Unfortunately, this was all rendered moot a few days ago by Goodman's announcement that he wasn't going to run for either Governor or Senator. Reid loses 52-41 to Danny Tarkanian and 51-42 to Sue Lowden. Berkley loses 46-40 to Tarkanian and 45-40 to Lowden, while Miller loses 44-36 to Tarkanian and 43-37 to Lowden. Goodman beats Tarkanian 44-41 and Lowden 44-40. Rep. Dina Titus, facing a tough re-election of her own, doesn't seem to think much of Reid's chances anymore: she publicly said "Reid is done; he's going to lose."
• NY-Sen-B: One other Research 2000 poll to talk about: they looked at the Democratic primary in New York, and find about what everyone else has found. Kirsten Gillibrand leads ex-Rep. Harold Ford Jr. by a 41-27 margin (with 3 for Jonathan Tasini), looking solid but still with a ton of undecideds. This also exists merely at the level of rumor, but with the potential presence of Ford scrambling things for the ever-so-briefly-thought-to-be-safe Gillibrand, sources say that Democratic Rep. Steve Israel (who got dissuaded from a primary challenge) and Republican ex-Gov. George Pataki (who hasn't sounded interested until now) are both giving the race a little more consideration.
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): Franklin & Marshall's previous polls in Pennsylvania have tended to have unusually high undecideds, suggesting that they don't do any pushing of leaners at all - but this may have reached an all-time high with their new poll. Most notably, they find Allegeheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato completely dominating the Democratic gubernatorial primary... at 10% (more than doubling up on Jack Wagner, Joe Hoeffel, and Chris Doherty, all at 4)! They also find similarly low numbers in the Senate race, where Republican ex-Rep. Pat Toomey leads incumbent Dem Arlen Specter 45-31 and Rep. Joe Sestak 41-19 (?!?), and where Specter beats Sestak in the primary 30-13. (They didn't do a general election poll in the Governor's race, but find Republican AG Tom Corbett leading his remaining rival, state Rep. Sam Rohrer, 23-5 in the primary.)
• UT-Sen: The Mason-Dixon poll that gave us some (not so good) gubernatorial results also threw in some vague questions about the Senate race too. Incumbent Bob Bennett leads a Generic R in the primary, 46-27, and a Generic D 53-26 in the general. Nevertheless, Bennett drew yet another primary opponent, albeit someone seemingly of the Some Dude variety: local businessman Christopher Stout.
• WI-Sen: Wherever there's a vacillating Republican needing convincing to get into a Senate race, there's Rasmussen. (Whaddya wanna bet they have a Patty Murray/Dave Reichert poll in the field right now?) Contrary to PPP's view of the race, Rasmussen finds ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson leading incumbent Dem Russ Feingold, 47-43. They find Feingold with a perplexingly low 47/48 approval.
• CT-Gov: Is ex-Rep. Chris Shays looking to get into the Governor's race? Suddenly, it sounds like he's at least thinking about it, saying he'd like to do it but not sure if it's feasible. He's currently in Washington as head of the Wartime Contracting Commission, meaning he'd need to re-establish his Connecticut residency, but given his long-time popularity in his district (which eventually got too blue for him to hold) he might have a leg up on the so-so GOPers already in the field.
• FL-Gov: Quinnipiac released the gubernatorial half of its Florida poll yesterday, finding that Republican AG Bill McCollum has a somewhat bigger lead on Democratic CFO Alex Sink, 41-31 (McCollum led 36-32 in October). Sink leads state Sen. Paula Dockery 35-29, but considering that McCollum leads Dockery 44-6 in the GOP primary, that configuration doesn't seem likely.
• MI-Gov: Two guys who had been unlikely candidates for the Democratic nomination for Governor both announced they wouldn't run. Rep. Bart Stupak is the big name to say "no," which is good as far as the DCCC is concerned, as he's needed to hold down the fort in his R+3 district. The other is Detroit Pistons head of basketball operations Joe Dumars, who probably realized he'd get pretty banged up out there without Bill Laimbeer to run interference for him. One other interesting rumor of who might run, though, is ex-Rep. Joe Schwarz, the GOP moderate who got bounced out in a 2006 Club for Growth-fueled primary by Tim Walberg. And get this... he's talking about running as an independent. Could he actually peel off enough center-right votes for the Dems to salvage this race?
• NY-Gov: Research 2000's New York poll also looked at the Democratic gubernatorial primary, finding AG Andrew Cuomo defeating incumbent David Paterson, 63-19. Paterson is laboring under 34/54 approvals. The GOP primary to see who gets flattened by Cuomo is looking pretty uneventful: Erie Co. Exec Chris Collins, who continued to express vague interest despite having gaffed his way out of contention several months ago, finally pulled the plug on his exploratory committee. That leaves ex-Rep. Rick Lazio as the only major GOPer in the race, to few people's enthusiasm.
• TX-Gov: Looks like Gov. Rick Perry isn't much of a fan of the librul media, or at least he realizes that his key demographics aren't really the newspaper-reading types. He's decided not to sit for editorial board interviews prior to their pre-primary endorsements.