Rather unusually, Suffolk included Blumenthal & Malloy twice in their head-to-head questions: once as the Dem candidate, and once as the Working Families Party candidate. Each got about 3-4% as the WFP candidate. I've never seen a pollster do this in New York, where the practice of fusion voting is best known.
IL-Gov (PPP): Pat Quinn (D-inc) 41 (35), Bill Brady (R) 42 (42)
FL-22 (Susquehanna for Sunshine State News): Ron Klein (D-inc) 44, Allen West (R) 47
MA-04 (Fleming & Associates for WPRI): Barney Frank (D-inc) 49, Sean Bielat (R) 37
MD-01 (Monmouth): Frank Kratovil (D-inc) 42, Andy Harris (R) 53
MI-03 (EPIC/MRA): Pat Miles (D) 37, Justin Amash (R) 46
MN-01 (Grove Insight (D) for Project New West): Tim Walz (D-inc) 50, Randy Demmer (R) 34
MS-04 (Tarrance Group (R) for Steven Palazzo): Gene Taylor (D-inc) 41, Steven Palazzo (R) 43
NC-11 (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (D) for DCCC): Heath Shuler (D-inc) 54, Jeff Miller 39
NM-02 (Tarrance Group (R) for Steve Pearce): Harry Teague (D-inc) 41, Steve Pearce (R) 50
NY-20 (Public Opinion Strategies (R) for Chris Gibson): Scott Murphy (D-inc) 42, Chris Gibson 44
OR-05 (SurveyUSA for KATU-TV): Kurt Schrader (D-inc) 41, Scott Bruun (R) 51
Note: Among the 10% who have already voted, Schrader leads 47-46. This continues a pattern we've seen in other SUSA polls (and also some, but not all, of the early voting numbers by party registration).
PA-06 (Monmouth): Manan Trivedi (D) 44, Jim Gerlach (R-inc) 54
PA-17 (Susquehanna for ABC27 News): Tim Holden (D-inc) 58, Justin Argall (R) 28
• AK-Sen: Joe Miller finally fessed up to what we told you about last week (concerning farmland he owned in Alaska): he's a hypocrite on the farm subsidy issue, having gladly accepted them while railing against them. This time, it's about a different parcel of farmland in Kansas that he owned before moving to Alaska, receiving $7K in GOVERNMENT HANDOUTS FOR LAZY UNPRODUCTIVE PEOPLE WHO'VE MADE BAD LIFESTYLE CHOICES!!!1! between the years 1990 and 1997. And check out the excuse he offers: "This was back in the '90s, the situation the country was in was far different than now." (Uh huh... when some guy named Bill Clinton was running a surplus.)
• DE-Sen: Whoops. Prior to getting their establishment asses handed them to them on the end of a mob-wielded pitchfork, the Delaware state GOP filed a FEC complaint against Christine O'Donnell for illegal campaign coordination with and excessive contributions from the Tea Party Express. Now that they're saddled with her as the nominee, the FEC is telling them no-backsies, and that they can't withdraw the complaint... the complaint against their own nominee.
• NC-Sen: And now it's Richard Burr's turn in the hypocrisy dunk tank. An announcement of 240 new jobs and a $130 million expansion at Cree Inc. in Durham is drawing four major Democrats and Richard Burr to celebrate. Burr, unlike the Democrats, though, did not support the stimulus package that, y'know, was behind that expansion.
• NV-Sen: John Ensign may not even survive till the general election in 2012, if Jon Ralston's tweet is to be believed. John Chachas, the little-known self-funder who barely made a ripple in the overcrowded 2010 GOP Senate field but who seems likely to do better in a one-on-one, is saying he may run against Ensign in two years.
Michael Thurmond (D): 33
Johnny Isakson (R-inc): 52
While this isn't as nice as the InsiderAdvantage poll showing the race tied in the wake of disclosures about Nathan Deal's financial disarray, Mason-Dixon does show a close race. This appears to be their first poll of the Barnes/Deal matchup, so there's no sense of whether things have tightened.
• RI-Gov: Faced with the choice between a labor-friendly indie candidate and a Democrat whom they endorsed for state Treasurer four years ago, the AFL-CIO finally decided to punt, and endorse neither Lincoln Chafee nor Frank Caprio, remaining neutral. Recall that Chafee got SEIU and nurses' union backing yesterday.
• AZ-05: There's a new internal out in the rematch in Arizona's 5th that founds its way across someone's desk at the Hill. It's from Democratic pollster Harstad Strategic Research and is apparently on behalf of the Harry Mitchell campaign, giving Mitchell a narrow lead over David Schweikert, 45-44 with 6 to the Libertarian candidate. That's kind of pushing the limits on when it's a good idea to release an internal, but with Schweikert having claimed an 8-point lead in his own internal and the DCCC's ambiguous pull-out announcement about this district triggering some alarms, Mitchell seemed to need to show he's still right in the thick of things.
UPDATE: The Mitchell campaign writes in to clarify that this isn't their internal poll (which the Hill had originally reported, then apparently deleted), but rather is on behalf of Project New West. Mitchell's up 51-29 among independents, which helps him prevail even in a sample that's slightly GOP-skewed (46% GOP, 30% Dem) You can see the polling memo here.
• LA-02: Anzalone-Liszt for Cedric Richmond (9/12-15, likely voters, no trendlines):
Cedric Richmond (D): 45
Joe Cao (R): 35
Here's the antidote to that bizarre Joe Cao internal from a few months back, that gave him a 25-point lead over Cedric Richmond. Even this Richmond internal, which has him up by 10, indicates that this isn't going to be a total cakewalk for the Dems, though; with only 35%, Cao is still way overperforming the GOP baseline in this district that went for Barack Obama with 75% of the vote in 2008.
• MN-01: Tim Walz picked up an endorsement from an unexpected corner yesterday. He got the backing of former Republican Senator David Durenberger, who support Walz's stance on "uniting people" but also his support for health care reform. (Durenberger is also supporting IP candidate Tom Horner in the governor's race.)
• PA-15: Muhlenberg College for the Allentown Morning Call (9-11/16, likely voters, 4/19-27 in parentheses):
John Callahan (D): 38 (33)
Charlie Dent (R-inc): 49 (45)
Jake Towne (I): 3 (?)
Undecided: 10 (22)
John Callahan's one of the best Dem challengers to a GOP incumbent this cycle, but he's got a lot of work ahead of him to make up that last 12 points against Charlie Dent.
• NRSC: Here's an interesting Roll Call dispatch from the front lines in the war between the NRSC and the Army of One known as Jim DeMint. DeMint is apparently dissatisfied with current NRSC allocations, and is moving money from his own personal stash to bolster Sharron Angle in Nevada ($156K) and Ken Buck in Colorado ($250K). The NRSC has reserved $3.2 million for Buck in TV time, more than any other candidate, so his concerns about Colorado may be misplaced.
• SSP TV:
• IL-Sen: The DSCC hits Mark Kirk for voting against unemployment extensions and minimum wage raises
• MO-Sen: Roy Blunt disappears down the meta rabbithole, with an attack ad about Robin Carnahan's attack ads
• NV-Sen: Can we just have Harry Reid handle the advertising for all our candidates? He turns up the heat even higher on Sharron Angle, saying she wants to privatize the VA and "end our promise to our veterans"
• IA-Gov: Two separate ads for Chet Culver, one featuring endorsements from his immediate family members, the other making the case that "hey, Iowa's not that bad off compared to all those other states"
• NM-Gov: Susana Martinez's ad is a positive bio spot recounting her early prosecuting days
• SC-Gov: Vince Sheheen's TV ad features a litany of reasons to be suspicious of Nikki Haley, recited by various average folks
• OH-16: The DCCC's newest spot is a tax-time two-fer, hitting Jim Renacci on supporting the 23% "fair tax" and on his own pile of back taxes owed
• OR-05: Kurt Schrader's newest is a testimonial from a thankful veteran
• TN-08: Roy Herron's newest ad hits Stephen Fincher mostly on his various campaign finance discrepancies of misfilings and mysterious loans
• WI-07: Julie Lassa's newest ad features criticism from a Sean Duffy underling from the DA's office in Ashland County, focusing on his neglect of that stepping-stone job
• AK-Sen: Scott McAdams (D) 25%, Joe Miller (R) 42%, Lisa Murkowski (W-I-inc) 27%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 47%, Carly Fiorina (R) 43%
• NY-Sen-B: Kirsten Gillibrand (D-inc) 49%, Joe DioGuardi (R) 39%
• RI-Gov: Frank Caprio (D) 30%, John Robitaille (R) 23%, Lincoln Chafee (I) 33%
• Rasmussen (appearing as Fox/Pulse):
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 45%, Meg Whitman (R) 45%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 47%, Carly Fiorina (R) 46%
• DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 54%, Christine O'Donnell (R) 39%
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid (D-inc) 45%, Sharron Angle (R) 46%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 41%, John Kasich (R) 47%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 36%, Rob Portman (R) 49%
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 39%, Tom Corbett (R) 49%
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D) 40%, Pat Toomey (R) 48%
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio seemed to beat Charlie Crist to the punch on calling for repeal of the health care reform bill passed over the weekend, but now the allegedly-moderate Crist is getting in on the act too, saying he opposes the entire bill and supports the lawsuit by Republican AGs (including Florida's Bill McCollum) against the package.
• KY-Sen: I really can't decide who I'd rather have in my corner. Rand Paul has the backing of lots of crackpots with computers and open wallets, as he had another online moneybomb yesterday to the tune of $262K. Trey Grayson, on the other hand, has the backing of establishment favorite... Dick Cheney?
• NY-Sen, NY-Sen-B: Earlier in the day, there were rumors that the state GOP in New York was desperately trying to get someone from the GOP field against Kirsten Gillibrand (which doesn't have any top-tier talent, but at least has a bunch of warm bodies) to switch over to the even more unenviable task of facing off against Chuck Schumer, where they've got nobody. Their favored candidate for that job seemed to be former Bush spokesperson Dan Senor. Maybe that rubbed Senor the wrong way, or maybe there's more to the story, but either way, that changed by mid-day today, as Senor suddenly said he not only wasn't running against Schumer but not running for anything, period, saying the timing wasn't right for him. (Well, maybe they'll have better luck getting David Malpass to switch over.)
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): More up-and-down numbers from Franklin & Marshall this month, as their latest look at the Senate race finds Pat Toomey beating Arlen Specter 33-29 among RVs. Last month, Specter (currently at a terrible 30/45 favorable) led by the same 33-29 margin. (Recall that for the last couple months, F&M was releasing separate numbers for RVs and LVs. They seem to have dropped that unwieldy formulation in favor of RVs only, for now.) They find Toomey beating Joe Sestak 27-19 in the general, Specter beating Sestak 32-12, and in the forgotten GOP primary, Toomey defeating pro-life activist Peg Luksik 30-4. They do only the primaries in the slow-to-take-shape Governor's race, finding Dan Onorato leading among Dems at 11, followed by Jack Wagner at 7, Joe Hoeffel at 5, and Anthony Williams at 4. Tom Corbett leads state Rep. Sam Rohrer 28-4 on the GOP side.
• UT-Sen: Last night was caucus night in Utah, where precincts chose delegates to the state convention which may or may not be Bob Bennett's Waterloo. It's hard to gauge, at this point, how things turned out for Bennett last night; the convention, which will determine whether he can avoid (or even make it to) a primary will be real proof. With filings closed in Utah, Democrats left a lot of seats unchallenged in the dark-red legislature, leaving 15 of 75 House seats and 2 of 15 Senate seats without Ds.
• WA-Sen: Dino Rossi was spotted in DC yesterday to meet with Michael Steele about a possible Senate run. He isn't expected to make a decision until close to the June 11 primary, though (which seems odd, since he'd be basically starting from scratch at that point to go against Patty Murray's mammoth war chest).
• IL-10: Bob Dold doesn't need this. Turns out that Dold, who cozied up to the teabaggers in his primary run and touted his opposition to abortion (in order to squeak past moderate state Rep. Beth Coulson), has turned on a dime and is now calling himself "pro-choice" and "a fiscal conservative and social moderate" in order to run against Dan Seals in the general in this D+6 district.
• MA-10: Republican flavor-of-the-month Scott Brown has weighed in on the GOP primary in the open seat in the 10th, not coincidentally the district where he fared the best in the special election. And he chose new over old, opting for state Rep. Jeff Perry instead of long-ago state Treasurer Joe Malone.
• MI-01: Connie Saltonstall's primary challenge to Bart Stupak may have lost some of its raison d'etre over the weekend, but it's still proceeding full speed ahead with some new supporters that may be able to make it rain money for her: Planned Parenthood and NARAL's PACs. NOW had previously endorsed Saltonstall as well.
• NJ-12: Scott Sipperelle, the random businessman running against Rush Holt in the D+5 12th, apparently has money to burn as he's already hitting the TV airwaves, with an ad blasting Holt for his health care vote. It's a cable buy, though (in case you were having visions of him blanketing the NYC and Philly markets), so it could be a tiny expenditure aimed at getting free media for all we know.
• SD-AL: Even with Scott Hildebrand having folded his hand quickly on a threatened Stephanie Herseth Sandlin primary challenge, it sounds like another less-known Dem is getting in on it. Rapid City doctor Kevin Weiland is sounding out a run.
• VA-05: "We've given the word 'mob' a bad name." The gas line at the Perriello household was mysteriously cut, after Rep. Tom Perriello's gutsy HCR vote. Um, oooops... that was the Bo Perriello household, as several local teabaggers mistakenly posted the Congressman's brother's address on their websites and urged protesters to stop by for a friendly visit. The guy who posted the address (and refused to take it down after finding out it was the wrong Perriello) is now publicly "shocked" that one of his ilk would resort to violence. Oh, and the FBI is investigating. Tom Perriello, on the other hand, displayed only sangfroid, saying "If the worst thing that happens is that special-interest groups spend millions of dollars against me and my most ardent opponents organize against me, it's hardly a 'cry me a river' moment - as long as people act civil and within the law."
• WV-01: In the choice between conservadem and even-more-conservadem in the Democratic primary in the 1st, it's becoming pretty clear which one is which: state GOP chair Douglas McKinney praised Alan Mollohan's opponent state Sen. Mike Oliverio, saying he "has always been a conservative guy. He votes with the Republican on committees. We've joked for years he needs to come over to the party who thinks like he does."
• HCR: Are some of the saner GOP members of Congress starting to come to their senses as the fog of war starts to dissipate? (Or are they just seeing the shift in the polls and engaging in some pre-emptive ass-covering?) The oft-blustery Rep. Pete King is urging his fellow GOPers to "get constructive" and "stop demonizing" health care reform and the Dems. And Chuck Grassley, almost single-handedly responsible for bogging the bill down and giving legs to the "Death Panel" lie in the August of Dems' discontent, is now happily talking up his own positive contributions to the bill, regarding tax-exempt hospitals.
• DNC: The DNC is wheeling out a seven-figure budget for running ads in the wake of health care's passage. It's two-pronged, with attack ads against vulnerable Republicans who voted "no" (I guess the "voted no" part is redundant): Mark Kirk, Jim Gerlach, Dave Reichert, Mike Castle, and Joe Cao. And "thank you" ads are planned for vulnerable Dems, tentatively including John Boccieri, Dennis Cardoza, Brad Ellsworth, Paul Hodes, Tim Walz, Bob Etheridge, Tom Perriello, Leonard Boswell, Betsy Markey, and Gerry Connolly.
• SARAH's List: Shortly after tweeting for her supporters not to retreat, but RELOAD, Sarah Palin's website posted a map with gunsights targeting 20 Representatives for her supporters to shoot. Or to work to defeat for re-election, I suppose. It's pretty much all the districts that went for McCain in 2008 and where there was a "yes" on HCR, without much regard for the race's actual vulnerability or whether it's an open seat: AR-02, AZ-01, AZ-05, AZ-08, CO-03, CO-04, FL-02, FL-24, IN-08, IN-09, ND-AL, OH-06, OH-16, PA-03, PA-10, SC-05, TN-06, VA-05, WV-01, and WV-03.
• Teabaggers: Quinnipiac released another poll showing the peril and promise of the teabagger movement for the GOP, as seen in the contrast between the basic generic ballot (44 R, 39 D) and one with a third-party element thrown in (36 D, 25 R, 15 T). Various commenters, like Ed Kilgore and TPM's Zachary Roth are paying close attention to the poll, wondering, as they've done in the past, if there really even is a new-and-different "Tea Party" movement or if it's just a new name for the most-extreme, riled-up part of the Republican Party that's always been there (through the militia movements of the 90s and the Birchers of the 60s).
• NRCC: The NRCC claims to have pulled in $7 million last night at their annual fundraising dinner. That's a lot of scratch, but bear in mind much of that's in "pledges," mostly from House members, some of whom haven't had a good track record of helping the NRCC in the past.
• Census: Two neat Census-related maps worth checking out. One is a constantly-updated real-time map at the Census website which shows the response rates by state and municipality so far. (While the national return rate so far is 16%, the best municipality return rate so far is the civic minded folks of Westside, Iowa at 74%. And despite the popular image of it being full of paranoid militia types living in the hills who would rather use fiat money than fill out a Census form, Montana has the best return rate of any state, at 33%.) The other map is much sadder, courtesy of the Prison Policy Initiative: it shows state-by-state how much distortion of districts occurs through the counting of prisoners where they're incarcerated rather than where they're actually from.
• AR-Sen: The news that the guy who held Blanche Lincoln to within about 10 points last time (in 2004) is getting back in the race this year seems like it should be a bigger news story than it is, but there's an already filled-to-capacity GOP field and the establishment seems to have already picked favorites. At any rate, former state Sen. Jim Holt, closely linked with the state's religious right, officially launched his bid today.
• AZ-Sen: It's look more and more like ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth is serious about pursuing a Republican primary challenge to John McCain and not just looking to fundraise his way out of some lingering legal debts. He's been contacting consultants and pollsters about strategy, and he's also made some high-profile appearances recently, including headlining a fundraiser for controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. In response to the possible challenge, John McCain is launching two different radio ads full of right-wing language pretty transparently aimed at the teabagging crowd, saying Barack Obama is "leading an extreme left-wing crusade" and calling himself "Arizona's last line of defense."
• CT-Sen: Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, but it's looking likelier that starting in 2013, Richard Blumenthal will be Connecticut's senior senator. PPP finds that Joe Lieberman's numbers, not good before his HCR sabotage, have gotten even worse. His approval is a mind-blowing 14/81 among Democrats (probably ending any plans by him to seek the Democratic nomination in 2012). He fares least worst among Republicans, who give him a 39/48 approval; it's good for a 25/67 approval over all, along with a 19/68 approval of his actions on health care (which pissed off Democrats while still leaving Republicans unhappy when he voted for final passage). While the Hill's piece on Rep. Chris Murphy seems to be based mostly on a vague sentence by Murphy, it does point to a suddenly congealing CW that Murphy (with Blumenthal already engaged) will be the person to tackle Lieberman in 2012.
• FL-Sen, FL-Gov: You know you're in trouble when you're spending valuable time fighting rumors spread on Facebook by thoroughly discredited ex-Rep. Mark Foley. Charlie Crist today said there's no truth to the rumors that he's about to drop his faltering Senate primary bid and try for re-election as Governor instead.
• IL-Sen: Patrick Hughes, who's been seeding his right-wing insurgent bid with some of his own money, is seeking to break out of the single digits in the GOP primary polls against Rep. Mark Kirk by upping his name recognition. He's out with a TV spot today.
• MA-Sen: Martha Coakley is shifting her sleepy general election campaign into overdrive today with the special election several weeks away, launching her first general election TV ad. She's also receiving the endorsements today of most of the key figures in the Kennedy clan, including Ted's widow Vicky and ex-Rep. Joe (along with honorary Kennedy and temporary Senator Paul Kirk).
• ND-Sen: As we parse the comments from various potential Democratic candidates in the newly-open Senate race in North Dakota, it sounds like former AG Heidi Heitkamp is "very interested" and "very much looking into" the race, while talk show host Ed Schultz is "at this point... not even considering."
• NY-Sen-B: Here's an interesting possibility surfacing, as the GOP seeks anyone who's willing to take on Kirsten Gillibrand in the Senate race: ex-Rep. Susan Molinari, who was considered a rising star back when she represented NY-13. She's started floating her name out there (or more accurately, her dad, Staten Island GOP leader Guy Molinari), but one key point from the article is that Molinari -- currently employed at the firm of Bracewell & Giuliani (yes, that Giuliani) -- "left Congress in 1997 and currently lives in Virginia." Meanwhile, as the potential Harold Ford Jr. candidacy is still the "wtf?" heard 'round the blogosphere, The Albany Project takes a deeper look at the mysterious forces pushing the idea front and center.
• IL-Gov: Desperately needing to make up some ground on incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn in the last month before the Democratic primary, Comptroller Dan Hynes is going hard negative against Quinn from the apparent right in a new TV spot, painting him as a soft-on-crime tax-raiser. Meanwhile, Quinn got the endorsement from the Chicago Sun-Times.
• MA-Gov: State Treasurer Tim Cahill's independent candidacy for Governor hasn't really seemed to have its desired effect for Cahill, as it mostly has allowed Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick to move ahead in the polls as Cahill splits the anti-Patrick votes. Cahill looks to be trying to lure some more GOP voters into his camp to become the definitive anti-Patrick candidate, though, with his running mate pick, GOP former state Rep. Paul Loscocco. It doesn't sound like Cahill or Loscocco are very enthuasiastic about taking each other to the prom, though; Cahill already got turned down by four previous people he'd asked to be his running mate (including current Senate candidate Scott Brown), and Loscocco had previously been lobbying to be GOP candidate Charlie Baker's running mate but missed the cut on that one.
• MD-Gov: Incumbent Gov. Martin O'Malley seems to have a fairly clear path to re-election, but for the time being he has higher-profile opposition in his own primary than from the Republicans. He's facing a challenge from the right from George Owings, who officially launched today. Owings was a conservative Democratic state Delegate for many years and then picked by GOP Governor Bob Ehrlich as the state's veteran affairs secretary (who was then sacked by O'Malley once he took office); Owings is attacking O'Malley's tax raising and opposition to the death penalty.
• NE-Gov: Democrats are back to square one in the Nebraska gubernatorial race against GOP incumbent Dave Heineman, after Douglas Co. Commissioner (and former Omaha mayor) Mike Boyle -- who'd sounded likely to run last month -- decided against a bid. Democratic state Sen. Steve Lathrop has also ruled the race out.
• CO-03: Martin Beeson, the Republican DA for an agglomeration of small mountain counties, has pulled out of his bid for the GOP nod in the 3rd to challenge Rep. John Salazar. Beeson's hopes dimmed when state Rep. (and 2006 loser) Scott Tipton got into the GOP field a few months ago.
• IL-10: Moderate Republican state Rep. Beth Coulson got a big (if unsurprising) endorsement, from fellow GOP moderate ex-Rep. John Porter. Porter held the seat for 20 years, until he made way for his former chief of staff (current Rep. Mark Kirk) in 2000.
• MN-01: Apparently John Wade, the president of Rochester's Chamber of Commerce, had been interested in a run in the 1st against Democratic sophomore Rep. Tim Walz. He just decided against it, although a lone business conservative seems like he might have a shot at winning the crowded GOP primary, split between a number of loudmouthed social conservatives (most notably ex-state Rep. Allen Quist).
• MS-01: Good fundraising has propelled Republican state Sen. Alan Nunnelee up a tier in the NRCC's framework for challengers. Nunnelee, who'll likely face off against Rep. Travis Childers and his mighty 'stache, is now a "Contender."
• TN-06: Democrats are having trouble recruiting to fill the slot left behind by Rep. Bart Gordon's retirement. State Rep. Henry Fincher just said no; he follows fellow state Rep. Mike McDonald in declining. It can't be that appetizing, given the district's reddening hue, several strong GOPers waiting in the wings, and the likelihood of GOP gerrymandering making the district even less hospitable in 2012.
• UT-03, UT-Sen: I'd be surprised if anyone were on pins and needles about this, but if you missed yesterday's announcement, yes, Rep. Jason Chaffetz will be returning for another term in the House rather than getting into the primary against impermissibily sane GOP Sen. Bob Bennett.
• EMILY's List: Stephanie Shriock, chief of staff to Sen. Jon Tester, will take over as head of EMILY's List from Ellen Malcolm. It marks the first change in leadership at the top for the prolific PAC.
• RNC: After a revolt by what remains of its moderate wing, the RNC has backed down on its purity test (which would require 8 of 10 agreements on right-wing positions, and probably would have cut loose Mike Castle, Mark Kirk, Rob Simmons, and Charlie Crist loose from RNC funding). Now they're simply requiring that nobody endorse any Democratic candidates in 2010. Meanwhile, Michael Steele continues to overshadow the rest of the RNC's operations with his gift of saying odd things, with today's installment a riposte to intraparty critics intent on withholding RNC donations because of Steele's leadership: "get a life" or "fire me."
• Gay marriage: It's been flying under the radar with everything else going on this week, but New Jersey's state Senate is currently debating gay marriage, with a vote possibly later today. Only 13 Senators have definitely committed to it so far though, short of the 21 needed for passage. (Dems are already short 1 vote with the absence of Dana Redd, who resigned after becoming mayor of Camden.)
• Census: Here's an interesting conundrum for the Census Bureau -- how to deal with the issue of the nation's legions of sunbirds: retirees who live in the south for winter and the north for summer. It's especially an issue for Minnesota as it seeks to stave off elimination of one of its Congressional districts, and it's making special efforts to make sure long-term travelers list themselves according to their Minnesota addresses.
• Election results: There was a grab-bag of southern state runoffs and special elections last night; the main event was the Atlanta mayor's race. It looks like Democratic African-American ex-state Sen. Kasim Reed defeated self-proclaimed-independent white city councilor Mary Norwood, but the margin is only around 620 votes (out of 83,000 cast). Reed has declared victory, but Norwood is talking recount.
There were also four legislative runoffs in Georgia; the only one that wasn't an intra-party affair was in HD-141 (a previously Dem-held seat) where independent Rusty Kidd easily beat Democrat Russell Black. Kidd is staying mum on which party he'll caucus with, although he's the son of a prominent long-time Democratic legislator (Culver Kidd) and a stem-cell-research supporter. In HD-58 in Atlanta, community organizer Simone Bell becomes the first LGBT African-American elected to Georgia's legislature. And in Tennessee, Republican state Rep. Brian Kelsey was elected easily in the vacant SD-31 in heavily Republican Memphis suburbs; he takes over for GOPer Paul Stanley, who resigned in disgrace after a sex scandal.
• IL-Sen: Former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman is up with the first TV ad in the fast-approaching Senate primary. Hoffman lacks name rec, but uses the ad to highlight his corruption-fighting past (and take some implicit hits at Alexi Giannoulias's banking background).
• NY-Sen-B: You may remember Michael Balboni, who was pried out of his Dem-leaning Long Island state Senate seat by Eliot Spitzer to become the state's Homeland Security chief and paving the way for Democratic takeover of the state Senate. Now he's reportedly considering a run against Kirsten Gillibrand for Senate, as the New York GOP starts casting its net wider for somebody.
• UT-Sen: A Deseret News poll has bad news for Bob Bennett, in the form of perilous re-elects: only 27% support his re-election, and 58% want someone new. Nevertheless, he has a big edge over the field of nobodies circling around him: he polls at 31%, with Democrat Sam Granato at 14, followed by a gaggle of right-wingers: Cherilyn Eagar at 5, Tim Bridgewater and Fred Lampropoulos at 4, Mike Lee at 3, and James Williams at 1. With the Republican nomination potentially to be decided at the state convention -- dominated by hard-right activists -- though, these numbers don't help to project much of anything for next year.
• IA-Gov: Chet Culver's campaign manager Andrew Roos is out, as Culver stares at double-digit deficits against ex-Gov. Terry Branstad. Culver mangled his Shakesperean shrug-off, saying it's "much to do about nothing."
• TX-Gov: Press releases are already going out saying that Houston mayor Bill White is announcing something big on Friday, and now leaks are confirming what most people have suspected, that he's going to go ahead and jump into the Democratic field in the governor's race.
• FL-10: Sorta-moderate GOP Rep. Bill Young has another challenger -- this time from the right. Eric Forcade says he got interested in politics from participating in tea parties and the 9/12 movement. (In case you're having trouble remembering where all these random teabagger primary challenges are popping up, Think Progress has a handy scorecard of all of them.)
• IL-10: Little-known rich guy Dick Green dipped into his self-provided funds and laid out $100K for a big TV ad buy, introducing himself to Republican voters in the 10th. While Democrat Julie Hamos already has hit the airwaves, Green beats out fellow GOPers Beth Coulson and Bob Dold.
• KY-03: Rep. John Yarmuth may not exactly be intimidated by the first Republican to show up to go against him in Kentucky's lone Dem-leaning district. Jeffrey Reetz has never run for office before, but he does own 25 Pizza Hut franchises.
• MD-04: Rep. Donna Edwards, who got into office via primary challenge, is facing a big challenge of her own. Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn Ivey has formed an exploratory committee to go up against Edwards for the Democratic nod. Ivey worked as a senior congressional staffer in the 1980s and 1990s; although he expresses enthusiasm for moving the "progressive agenda forward," he's probably running at least a bit to the right of Edwards, one of the leftmost House members.
• MN-01: This marks the third entry to the field against Democratic Rep. Tim Walz in about one week's time. Today, it's Republican Jim Hagedorn, a former congressional staffer and a one-time blogger under the name "Mr. Conservative." He joins ex-state Rep. Allen Quist and state Rep. Randy Demmer, although the party seems to still be watching what more moderate state Sen. Julie Rosen does.
• PA-11: Hazleton mayor and 2008 loser Lou Barletta is doing his best to stay in the news, announcing that he'll make another announcement on Dec. 9 as to whether or not he'll seek a third faceoff against Democratic Rep. Paul Kanjorski.
• TN-08, TN-Gov: In case you missed our late update last night, Democratic state Sen. Roy Herron got out of the governor's race where he was something of a longshot, and into the now-open TN-08 field, where he's probably the favorite to get the Democratic nod. (Although open seats are theoretically harder to defend, Herron's long district presence and lack of ties to Washington could conceivably help him to perform better next year than long-time Beltway creature Tanner might have.) Party officials (and outgoing Rep. John Tanner too, although he declined to endorse anyone yet) are moving quickly to keep a contested primary from happening, although state Rep. Philip Pinion has also been publicly letting his interest be known. Also, in discussing his sudden retirement decision, Tanner claims he wasn't scared off by the fundraising success of out-of-nowhere GOP challenger Stephen Fincher; he'd already been eyeing retirement and the challenge "got his competitive juices flowing" but finally decided to call it a career.
• UT-02: Morgan Philpot, a former Republican state Representative, is considering a race against Rep. Jim Matheson next year. Philpot is currently the state party's vice-chair, so he would bring some insider backing to the race.
• NY-Comptroller (pdf): With all the sudden talk of recruiting NYC comptroller William Thompson onto the Cuomo "ticket" to wage a primary fight against current state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, it's worth going back and noting that the most recent Siena poll from a few weeks ago actually polled this permutation. They found a 31-31 tie in the Clash of the Comptrollers. They also found that both would beat Republican John Faso in the general.
• TX-Comptroller: In fact, talking about comptrollers is so much fun I'm going to keep doing it. Ex-Rep. Nick Lampson, who couldn't hold down dark-red TX-22 last year, says that's he's looking into next year's comptroller's race, which would bring top-tier Democratic talent to another statewide race in Texas.
• NY-St. Sen.: After a lot of optimistic predictions earlier in the day, the actual vote on gay marriage in the New York Senate today kind of fizzled. Eight Democrats voted against and no Republicans crossed the aisle, leaving it to go down 24-38. Ironically, Marist came out with a poll today showing public support in favor of gay marriage, 51-42.
• CA-St. Ass.: However, in the one-step-forward, one-step-back fight for LGBT equality, California looks like it's poised to have its first-ever gay Assembly Speaker. Los Angeles Assemblyman John Perez apparently has the votes locked up to take over as Speaker from Karen Bass, who's termed out.
• Nassau Co. Exec: Two-term incumbent Tom Suozzi, who was down by 377 votes to Republican challenger Ed Mangano after a recount, decided to concede rather than pursue legal options. Suozzi, who'd be considered a likely AG candidate next year, says he'll be back in politics but he can't "imagine it would be anytime soon."
• Mayors: It looks like a premature end of the line for Baltimore mayor Sheila Dixon, who was just convicted of misdemeanor embezzlement for helping herself to $1,500 worth of gift cards that had been donated to give to poor families. Dixon is supposed to be suspended from office, but post-trial motions and a possible appeal may push that until later. City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is in line to succeed her.
• DGA: There's new leadership at the Democratic Governor's Association, as fast-rising Delaware governor Jack Markell (who's been in office only for a year) takes over from Montana's Brian Schweitzer. One of the DGA's first orders of business as they prep for 2010: committing $1 million to the GOP Accountability Project, whose first ad target is Florida Republican candidate Bill McCollum.
• MA-Sen: Rep. Michael Capuano picked up several more endorsements in the special election primary to succeed Ted Kennedy, although the clock is ticking loudly on trying to make up that last bit of ground against AG Martha Coakley. He got the endorsement of the Boston Herald (Boston's smaller daily) and also fellow Rep. Ed Markey, who had seemed a likely candidate initially.
• NJ-Sen: With a Republican moving into Drumthwacket (sorry, I just like saying "Drumthwacket") for four years and Sen. Frank Lautenberg not getting any younger (at 85), Democratic Assembly whip John McKeon has introduced legislation that would change the way that Senate vacancies are filled in New Jersey. Under current law, a governor can opt either to make a temporary appointment or call a special election. The proposed law, however, would require the governor to appoint a replacement within 30 days and it would need to be someone from the same political party as the departed officeholder. The temporary appointment would continue until the next general election.
• IA-Gov: His entry to the race provoked a lot of interest back when the rest of the field was just assorted wingnuts, but with the entry of ex-Gov. Terry Branstad, there wasn't much room for young businsessman Christian Fong. He suspended his campaign today.
• MI-Gov: Lansing mayor Virg Bernero has been on some people's wish list for a gubernatorial candidate, in light of the rather underwhelming Democratic field in Michigan. It sounds like Bernero has been hearing those calls (and noticing the polls showing Lt. Gov. John Cherry not only badly losing the general but not even summoning up much interest in the Dem primary), as now he says that he's switching from "very unlikely" to "seriously considering" a race in the last few weeks.
• OR-Gov: This is the kind of thing that can put a big crimp in your newly-launched gubernatorial campaign. Initiative kingpin (and 1998 gubernatorial loser) Bill Sizemore just got charged with tax evasion for failure to file state tax returns for the previous three years. Although the state has known about this failure for more than a year, the timing may have more to do with the recent expiration of Sizemore's amnesty period to file rather than his announcement last week of his intention to run for governor again.
• PA-Gov: Allegheny Co. Executive Dan Onorato isn't well-known outside the Pittsburgh area, so he's been focusing his early efforts on the Philadelphia area. He's gotten a boost with endorsements from several prominent Democratic legislators in Montgomery and Chester Counties: state Sens. Daylin Leach and Andy Dinniman, and just yesterday, state Rep. Michael Gerber.
• CA-03: The once-crowded Democratic field in the 3rd, to go up against vulnerable GOP Rep. Dan Lungren, has gotten whittled down to one. Bill Slaton, an executive with Sacramento's municipal public utility, dropped out and endorsed Ami Bera. With Elk Grove city councilor Gary Davis also having dropped out a few months ago, Bera has a clear shot; Bera, the former Sacramento County Chief Medical Officer, has been going gangbusters on the fundraising front, sitting on $586K (more than Lungren has). Slaton had loaned himself $300K but hadn't seemed to make much progress beyond that.
• FL-10, FL-12: Two Democratic challengers who have favorable circumstances (an aging incumbent who's barely fundraising in the 10th, an open seat in the 12th) but haven't gotten far at fundraising yet are getting a boost on the money front. Iowa Rep. Bruce Braley is hosting a Tampa fundraiser for state Sen. Charlie Justice, while Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Allen Boyd are hosting a DC fundraiser for Polk Co. Elections Supervisor Lori Edwards (although perception-wise, it's probably not good that it's being held in a lobbyist's office).
• MN-01: Another Republican challenger showed up to take on sophomore Rep. Tim Walz in Minnesota's rural 1st. Unlike former state Rep. Allen Quist (who was at his peak in the 90s), Randy Demmer is a current state Rep.
• NH-02: State Rep. John DeJoie, who's been expected to run, made official that he's getting into the open seat race for the 2nd on the Democratic side. DeJoie has been a firefighter in Concord for 14 years; he joins attorney Ann McLane Kuster and may also be joined by Katrina Swett.
• NJ-03: Jon Runyan might want to be spending the next few months working on his message discipline instead of playing for the Chargers. Runyan, shortly after announcing that he'd be running against freshman Democratic Rep. John Adler after the football season, turned around and told San Diego reporters that he hadn't committed to the race yet and was exploring his options. Runyan's spokesperson then corrected Runyan, saying he's definitely in the race, and bafflingly said that the latter comment was made "in jest."
• PA-06: The Republican field in the open seat race in the 6th just keeps growing; the fifth entrant is Patrick Sellers, a former Republican committeeman. Sellers is apparently a Paulist, and made his announcement at a Philadelphia "End the Fed" rally. He joins state Rep. Curt Schroder, pharma exec Steven Welch, Chester Co. Recorder of Deeds Ryan Costello, and long-ago state Revenue Secretary Howard Cohen.
• PA-19: It's not clear yet whether Rep. Todd Platts is even going to get chosen as head of the GAO, but Republicans are already lining up to take over his dark-red seat if he does. Roll Call lists a bunch of 'em, starting with state Rep. Scott Perry, who's already making his interest public. Eyes are also on one of Platts' 2000 primary opponents, York County Commissioner Chris Reilly. The article also lists a slew of other possible state legislators and county officials.
• NH-St. Sen.: Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty really, really wants to do lots of favors for the good people of New Hampshire, and he's starting by hosting a fundraising event for Republicans in its state Senate, who are currently down 14-10 in that chamber. Interestingly, ex-Rep. Jeb Bradley (who downshifted to the state Senate) is on the host committee and a key recipient of the help, which may lead to the question of whether he's looking for leverage for trying something bigger again in the future.
• KY-St. Sen.: Here's a positive tea leaf as we head into the home stretch on the special election in the Bardstown-based SD-14 next week (one of the two seats strategically excised of its Republican occupants by Democratic governor Steve Beshear): Democratic former state Rep. Jodie Haydon has raised more than four times the funds as Republican state Rep. Jimmy Higdon ($546K for Haydon, including in-kind contributions from the state Dems, vs. $131K for Higdon). Much of Haydon's money is coming from the horse industry, which has fallen squarely behind the Dems in recent months as state Democrats seek to allow video slots at horsetracks (something Higdon and most local GOPers oppose). A Dem pickup here would cut the GOP advantage in the state Senate to 19-18 (with one GOP-leaning indie).
• VA-St. Sen.: The special election to fill two vacant, formerly GOP-held state Senate seats has been set for Jan. 12. The race to take over the heavily Republican SD-8 in Virginia Beach (vacated by new Virginia Beach Sheriff Ken Stolle) doesn't look to be very interesting; only two Republicans have signed up for it so far. Dems may have a shot at a pickup in the swingy SD-37 in Fairfax County, vacated by new AG Ken Cuccinelli. Democratic state Del. David Marsden has confirmed that he'll run for the promotion. Dems have a narrow 21-19 edge in the Senate, which they'd like to pad in case incoming Gov. Bob McDonnell attempts any Beshear-style poaching.
• Mayors: The Atlanta mayoral runoff is tonight, between white city councilor Mary Norwood and African-American former state Sen. Kasim Reed. (The one public poll of the race gave Reed a small edge.) Norwood's final ad, and the final debate, point to how the runoff has gotten racially fraught as it comes to a close. There are also four legislative runoff elections scattered around Georgia tonight, although two are Dem/Dem and one is GOP/GOP. The remaining one, in HD-141 in Milledgeville, is between independent Rusty Kidd and Democrat Darrell Black.
• CA-Sen: Rasmussen piggybacked another California Senate poll on their gubernatorial poll from yesterday. Despite finding some gains for Meg Whitman yesterday, they don't see any improvement for Carly Fiorina or Chuck DeVore. Barbara Boxer leads Fiorina 46-37 (it was 49-39 in September) and DeVore 46-36 (previously 46-37).
• DE-Sen: Mike Castle's fundraising was weak earlier this year (in fact, that was why most people figured he wasn't going to run for Senate), but now Republican Senators are moving to quickly fill up his coffers. Four Senators gave large contributions, the largest being $10,000 from Thad Cochran. Castle had $853K in his last report.
• NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov: The shortest possible explanation in New York is that nobody still has the faintest clue what Rudy Giuliani is up to. Food for thought, though, comes from the new Marist poll (pdf). They find Giuliani beating Democratic incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand 54-40. They also found Giuliani with the upper hand in a potential (if extremely unlikely) primary against ex-Gov. George Pataki; Giuliani demolishes him, 71-24. (For some reason, Marist didn't poll Gillibrand/Pataki, but Rasmussen just did, finding Gillibrand beating Pataki 45-42. Rasmussen didn't poll Gillibrand/Giuliani, though.)
Marist (pdf) also has gubernatorial numbers, which don't offer any surprises beyond the sheerly absurd dimensions of David Paterson's unpopularity. Paterson has a 20/76 approval, and a 30/63 verdict on whether people want him to run for re-election. Paterson loses the primary to Andrew Cuomo, 72-21, although he ties Rick Lazio in the general, 44-44. Cuomo makes short work of Lazio, 69-24. They also have Giuliani numbers (which are looking obsolete now): Rudy annihilates Lazio in the primary, 84-13, and beats Paterson 60-35, but loses to Cuomo, 53-43.
• CA-Gov: Republican Ex-Rep. Tom Campbell announces that he's passed the $1 million cumulative mark in fundraising for the gubernatorial race, which indicates he's at least getting some traction as people notice he's polling well. In most states, that would be pretty impressive. In California, where you have to reach more than 30 million sets of eyeballs and where $1 million is Meg Whitman's budget just for ivory backscratchers, though, it's kind of a drop in the bucket.
• OR-Gov: As quickly as he appeared, he went away; former Hewlett-Packard VP Steve Shields pulled the plug on his brief Democratic gubernatorial campaign, not having had much luck on the fundraising front. Meanwhile, SoS Bill Bradbury got a big boost in his uphill climb against ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber. Bradbury's environmentalist bona fides earned him an endorsement from Al Gore. (Also a likely factor: a long-running behind-the-scenes feud between Kitz and Gore.)
• TX-Gov: Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison are both out with TV ads as they enter the stretch run toward their March gubernatorial primary. Perry attacks Washington (and by extension, KBH, who works there), while KBH is more intent on explaining that she's keeping her Senate job to fight against Democratic health care proposals.
• CO-07: Going from being a music promoter to a Representative is a strange career leap, but that's what Jimmy Lakey is fixing to do. The Colorado Republican has opened an exploratory committee to go up against Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter, although he'll need to get past Aurora city councilor Ryan Frazier (who dropped down from the Senate race) first.
• FL-02: Al Lawson, the African-American state Senator who's challenging Blue Dog Rep. Allen Boyd in a Democratic primary, is out with an internal poll via The Research Group that actually gives Lawson the lead: 35-31. Boyd was a vote against health care reform and the stimulus, which may provide him some cover in the general in this now R+9 district, but probably hurts him in the primary, where African-Americans make up a sizable portion of the Democratic electorate.
• IA-03: The appearance yesterday of well-known wrasslin' coach Jim Gibbons was no deterrent to state Sen. Brad Zaun, setting up an epic smackdown in the GOP primary. Zaun, formerly the mayor of Des Moines suburb Urbandale, had made clear his interest in the race before Gibbons surfaced; he'll formally launch his campaign in early December.
• IL-10: State Rep. Beth Coulson, probably the only Republican in the field in the 10th with the name rec and moderate profile needed to overcome the 10th's Democratic lean, is meeting with RNC head Michael Steele today to discuss her campaign -- the same Steele who has warned moderates that, in the wake of NY-23, he's gunning for them. She's loudly touting the meeting in the press, although it's unclear whether she's trying to make clear she's a GOP team player, or that she's trying to play up her moderate reputation by standing up to Steele.
• MD-01: If there's one freshman Democrat who's looking endangered coming into 2010, it's Frank Kratovil, who barely won in a dark-red district thanks in large measure to a lousy opponent (Andy Harris) and an Obama downdraft. The Harris camp is now out with an internal poll via the Tarrance Group that quantifies that, giving that same lousy opponent a 52-39 edge over Kratovil, despite Kratovil's 43/30 favorables.
• MN-01: Former state Rep. Allen Quist followed through on his plans to challenge Rep. Tim Walz in the rural 1st District. Quist has been out of the limelight for a while, but was a darling of the religious right in the 1990s; his wife is Michele Bachmann's district director.
• NY-23: Appropriately enough, given that Fort Drum is the largest employer in his district, Bill Owens was given a seat on the Armed Services Committee, taking former Rep. Ellen Tauscher's spot. Owens himself is a former Air Force captain, and his predecessor, Army Secretary John McHugh, had been the top-ranking Republican on the committee. (D)
Also in the 23rd, it's all over but the shouting of the wronged wingnuts. The Watertown Times reports that Owens leads Hoffman by 3,105 with 3,072 absente ballots left to count. Also worth noting is the increasinglyhostile tone of the Watertown Times (maybe the district's largest newspaper) to Hoffman and his post-electoral antics, which bodes ill for getting a fair shake out of them if he runs again.
• NRCC: There's a very important addendum to yesterday's story about the NRCC's big TV spot ad buy to go against Vic Snyder, John Spratt, and Earl Pomeroy. The total of the ad buy was $6,300, including only 35 gross rating points in the Charlotte market (2,000 GRPs are considered "saturation-level"), and the ads are running only on Fox News. In other words, the cash-strapped NRCC isn't paying for anybody to actually see the ads -- they're just a foot in the door to get media coverage of the ads.
• Redistricting: The DLCC's blog has an interesting look at the redistricting conundrums in Louisiana, where the loss of a House seat and a Katrina-remodeled population loom large. Dems ostensibly control the legislature but also face a Republican gubernatorial veto (although Dems control the tiebreaking Supreme Court, too).
• FL-Sen: It looks like the Club for Growth has decided to weigh in on the Florida Senate primary, and they're doing so with a vengeance, with a TV spot going after Charlie Crist's embrace of the Obama stimulus package. Crist himself has been trying for the last few days to walk back his stimulus support -- despite statements on the record from February saying that if he'd been in the Senate, he'd have voted for it. Crist now says he wasn't "endorsing" it and just playing along so Florida would get a good share of the bennies. (I'm sorry, but my 5-year-old comes up with more convincing excuses than that.)
• NY-Sen-B: Former Gov. George Pataki is reportedly telling friends he's not that interested in becoming Senator at age 64, and has his eye set a little higher: a presidential race in 2012. The idea of the wooden, moderate Pataki going up against Huckabee and Palin seems a little far-fetched, but a clue in support of that idea is that Pataki joined the Romneys and T-Paws of the world in calling new Manchester, New Hampshire mayor Ted Gatsas to congratulate him. (In case you aren't connecting the dots, Manchester's mayor has an outsized influence on NH's first-in-the-nation presidential primary.)
• AZ-Gov: Appointed incumbent Republican Governor Jan Brewer says she'll run for a full term in 2010. She already faces several minor primary opponents, and may face off against state Treasurer Dean Martin. Her likely Democratic opponent, AG Terry Goddard, who has had a significant lead over Brewer in recent polls, has to be feeling good about this.
• CA-Gov: Capitol Weekly, via Probolsky Research, takes another look at the primaries in the California gubernatorial race, and find free-spending ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman opening up a lead on her opponents. Whitman leads with 37, against ex-Rep. Tom Cambell at 15 and Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner at 6. (Their previous poll, in June, gave a small lead to Campbell at 13, with 10 for Whitman and 8 for Poizner.) On the Dem side, ex-Gov. Jerry Brown led SF Mayor Gavin Newsom 46-19; the sample was completed shortly before Newsom's dropout last Friday.
• MD-Gov: A poll of the Maryland governor's race from Clarus Research has a mixed bag for incumbent Dem Martin O'Malley. He defeats ex-Gov. Bob Ehrlich without too much trouble in a head-to-head, 47-40, and he has decent approvals at 48/40. Still, on the re-elect question, 39% want to see him re-elected and 48% would like someone new. That would potentially present an opportunity for the Maryland GOP -- if they had someone better than Ehrlich to offer, but he's really the best they have. (By contrast, Barb Mikulski, who's also up in 2010, has a 53/36 re-elect.)
• OR-Gov: Moderate Republican state Sen. Frank Morse -- who, without Rep. Greg Walden or state Sen. Jason Atkinson in the race, might actually have been the GOP's best bet -- said no thanks to a gubernatorial race despite some previous interest; he'll run for re-election in 2010. Former Portland Trail Blazers center Chris Dudley has formed an exploratory committee to run in the Republican field, though.
• PA-Gov: Here's an interesting development in the GOP primary field in Pennsylvania: a very conservative state Rep., Sam Rohrer, is scoping out the race and has formed an exploratory committee. Rohrer isn't well-known outside of conservative activist circles and his Berks County base, but against the moderate Rep. Jim Gerlach and the generally-conservative but ill-defined AG Tom Corbett, he seems like he could peel off a decent chunk of votes on the far right.
• VT-Gov: Add two more Democratic names to the lengthening list in the governor's race in Vermont. Former state Senator Matt Dunne officially got in the race, and another state Senator, Peter Shumlin, is planning to announce his bid in several weeks. Dunne lost the Lt. Governor's race in 2006 to current Republican LG Brian Dubie, who is the only declared Republican candidate to replace retiring Gov. Jim Douglas.
• WI-Gov: Rumors keep flying of the Obama administration leaning on ex-Rep. and Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett to run for Wisconsin governor. WH political director Tom Patrick Gaspard met with Barrett. With Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton having recently and surprisingly dropped her bid, Barrett has a free shot if he wants it.
• AZ-03: Dems seem close to pinning down a candidate to run against Rep. John Shadegg in the Phoenix-based 3rd. Lawyer, businessman, would-be-novelist, and former Gary Hart staffer Jon Hulburd is prepping for the race.
• FL-05: The blood is already flowing down Republican streets in the wake of the NY-23 debacle, even a thousand miles away. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, hardly the first name that comes to mind when you think of moderate Republicans (although she is a Main Street member), is now being challenged by a political newcomer in the GOP primary, Jason Sager. One of Sager's key talking points is Brown-Waite's support of Dede Scozzafava, on whose behalf Brown-Waite campaigned last week. And more generally, RNC chair Michael Steele (who one week ago was supporting Scozzafava) is flexing his muscles, telling moderates to "walk a little bit carefully" on health care or "we'll come after you."
• FL-08: The NRCC has found a couple willing patsies to go up against Rep. Alan Grayson, whom they've been interviewing this week. The two contenders are businessman Bruce O'Donoghue (who owns a traffic-signal business... odd, but I guess somebody has to make them) and first-term state Rep. Eric Eisnaugle. (Carpetbagging real estate developer Armando Gutierrez Jr., radio talk show host Todd Long, who nearly beat then-Rep. Ric Keller in last year's GOP primary, and three anonymous teabaggers are all in the race, but clearly not striking the NRCC's fancy.) Attorney Will McBride (whose name you might remember from 2006, when he ran in the GOP primary against Katherine Harris) also talked with the NRCC this week, but just pulled his name from contention today.
• MN-01: Another potential challenger to Rep. Tim Walz popped up: former state Rep. Allen Quist. Quist, who ran in gubernatorial primaries twice in the 1990s, is from the state party's right wing and is a key Michele Bachmann ally (his wife used to Bachmann's district director). Republican Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau has also been interested in the race.
• MS-01: After all that work to clear the path for state Sen. Alan Nunnelee in the GOP primary in the 1st, the Republicans may still see a contested primary. Former Eupora mayor Henry Ross is seriously considering the race, and making preparations. This may not result in a pitched rural vs. suburbs battle like the previous primary, though; Eupora (pop. 2,400) is near the district's southern end, near Columbus. Nunnelee is from the Tupelo area, which is also Democratic Rep. Travis Childers' base.
• NH-02: Katrina Swett has been slow to get into the field in the Democratic primary for the open seat in the 2nd, letting Anne McLane Kuster raise more than $200K unimpeded and secure the EMILY's List endorsement. Swett may be ready to make a move, though, as she's been touting a GQR internal poll giving her a 20-point lead in the primary over Kuster. (The actual polling memo hasn't been released, though, as far as I know.)
• NY-23: Doug Hoffman already has a key House leadership backer for a 2010 race: Indiana's Mike Pence endorsed Hoffman.
• PA-06: Looks like we have a real race in the Dem primary in the 6th. State Sen. Andy Dinniman, one of the biggest fish in the district and someone who had considered running himself, endorsed physician Manan Trivedi instead of presumed frontrunner Doug Pike. One advantage that Dinniman sees is that Trivedi hails from Reading in Berks County, the part of the district where Dems have traditionally been the weakest.
• Turnout: If you're wondering what the crux of what happened on Tuesday is, it boils down to terrible turnout. (And it's pretty clear that higher turnout benefits Democrats, as younger and/or non-white voters who tend to be less likely voters are more likely to vote Democratic.) In Virginia (where the outcome seemed clear long ago), turnout was the lowest in 40 years, including a 10% falloff in key black precincts. And in New Jersey, turnout was also a record low for the state, even though the race was a tossup -- indicating a lack of enthusiasm for either candidate. If you want to dig into exit polls for a post-mortem, the New York Times has them available for New York, New Jersey, and Virginia.
• 2010: The White House (or at least David Axelrod) wants to nationalize the 2010 elections, as a means of fixing the Dems' turnout problems from this week. Expect to see Obama front and center in the run-up to next year's elections.
• Illinois Filings: With Illinois's first-in-the-nation filing deadline for 2010 having passed, as usual, our filings guru Benawu is on the scene with a recap in the diaries; check it out.
• IA-Sen: Check out the nosedive in Chuck Grassley's approvals, polled by SurveyUSA but helpfully arranged in an easy-to-view downward trajectory by Senate Guru. He's down from 71/22 in January to 50/40 in September. Was his bad faith negotiating on health care so transparent that it moved his numbers this much? At any rate, this ought to provide some encouragement to high (or at least medium) profile Dems still considering the race.
• NC-Sen: Not much change in the newest PPP look at the North Carolina Senate race, although Richard Burr might be benefitting a bit from broader Republican momentum. Burr's approval is still a paltry 36/35, but he's beating Generic Dem by 45-34 now (he lost that race 41-38 in June). He beats named Democratic opponents by at least 10 points, including Rep. Bob Etheridge 44-33 and SoS Elaine Marshall 44-32.
• NV-Sen: This is not the headline you want for the launch of your campaign in Nevada, where support of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump is something akin to support for syphilis: "Yucca Dump Backer Runs for Senate." The dump backer in question is Sue Lowden.
• KS-Gov, Sen: Nowhere is a bigger recruiting disaster for the Dems than Kansas, where they don't have anybody lined up for the open seats for either Senate or Governor. However, it now sounds like state Dem party chair Larry Gates is expected to enter the gubernatorial race. The Senate race is a bigger question mark, although state Treasurer Dennis McKinney hasn't exactly ruled it out.
• MD-Gov: Bill Clinton is doing some fundraising for someone not named Kendrick Meek. He'll headline a fundraiser this week for Gov. Martin O'Malley (a Hillary endorser in 2008). O'Malley has yet to draw a noteworthy opponent for 2010.
• FL-08: Although the GOP is waiting around for state Sen. Daniel Webster to make up his mind on a run, another less-known Republican figure is charging straight into the race: 30-something real estate developer Armando Gutierrez Jr., who's expected to announce his candidacy today. Gutierrez, via his father (who was spokesman for the Elian Gonzalez family during that bit of nastiness), is well-connected in the Cuban community. (Although, with the exception of ex-Sen. Mel Martinez, there's not much of a Cuban political community in the Orlando area.)
• HI-01: State Sen. Colleen Hanabusa got a boost today, with an endorsement from EMILY's List. This will give the progessive Hanabusa a nationwide fundraising profile to go against moderate ex-Rep. Ed Case in the open seat primary.
• MN-01: GOP State Sen. Julie Rosen is considering a race against Rep. Tim Walz in the rural 1st District. Rosen, however, is a prominent moderate, and she might be on the losing end of a GOP intramural fight, much as happened to state Sen. Dick Day in the 2008 primary.
• NY-15, Gov: Weird rumors were going around last week that the dual dilemmas of David Paterson and Charlie Rangel would be solved by Rangel stepping down and Paterson being given the Democratic nomination by party bosses in the ensuing special election, giving him a nice permanent job in NY-15 to pry him out of the Governor's Mansion. Well, yesterday Paterson said thanks but no thanks.
• NY-29: This is kind of cryptic: Rep. Eric Massa says he'll be making an important annoucement on the 10th. It may just be an announcement of his re-election, but it's strangely worded; I'll leave it to you to parse the verbiage.
• MT-St. Sen.: Legal trouble for the Montana state Senator who was behind the wheel in the drunk boating accident that injured Rep. Denny Rehberg and several others. Greg Barkus was hit with three felony charges for his role in the accident.