• CA-Sen: There's that quote about people who can't remember the past... what does it say again? They're likely to be very, very successful, right? Anyway, PPP looks at the California GOP Senate primary for 2012, and finds the Republican electorate's preferred candidate to go up against Dianne Feinstein would be... Carly Fiorina?!? She's at 23, beating out even Meg Whitman, who in fact is tied with Darrell Issa at 16. Tom Campbell's at 15, Arnold Schwarzenegger is at 6, Steve Poizner's at 5, Kevin McCarthy's at 4, and Mary Bono Mack is at 2. (As I've said before, I'd be surprised if any of these people find their way into primary.)
• CT-Sen: State GOP party chair Chris Healy is starting to sound antsy waiting for Linda McMahon to declare her next Senate candidacy, even sounding a little snippy about it ("I think if you're serious about doing something this big, no matter what your background, you've got to make some indication that you're serious about it."). Healy probably has a lot on the line in terms of getting McMahon to get in, considering how many former allies he had throw under the bus (starting with Rob Simmons) to get her and her millions in place the first time.
• FL-Sen: This is odd: despite most people considering him a lock for a Senate run, Rep. Connie Mack IV, when asked about whether he'd run yesterday by Greta Van Sustern, laughed and said "I have no idea." Could he be getting cold feet? This ought to have a foot-chilling effect: state Sen. President Mike Haridopolos, already declared as a candidate, seems to have the midas touch. He raised $1 million at one (1!) fundraiser in Orlando last week.
• MO-Sen: Apparently there were some rumors yesterday which I didn't hear that said that Rep. Jo Ann Emerson was ready to announce she wasn't going to run for Senate. It's just as well that I didn't hear them, as now Emerson is publicly disputing that, saying she has yet to decide, and will take "a few more weeks."
• NM-Sen: If you're thinking that that PPP poll that showed him overperforming other Republicans in next year's Senate race may have gotten Republican ex-Gov. Gary Johnson interested in dropping his vanity presidential bid and running locally, guess again. Buried in this Politico article is a quote from Johnson confirming that the only office he's interested in is the presidency.
• VA-Sen: So, with Jim Webb's retirement confirmed, what now? Ex-Gov. Tim Kaine is the top Dem possibility (performing just as well as Webb, if PPP's poll of a few months ago is to be believed); his statement yesterday, however, didn't betray any intentions to run or not run (he'd previously said he wouldn't run if Webb retired, but somehow nobody seems to believe that, with most observers saying that Kaine could be swayed if Barack Obama leans on him to run). Rep. Rick Boucher, who's 65 and lost VA-09 after decades in 2010, hasn't said anything either (one advantage he has is that he still has a lot of money left in his federal account, after getting caught napping), but is getting some consideration for being able to put his red corner of the state in play. Another 2010 loser, Glenn Nye, is some Dems' wish list, along with 2009 losing LG candidate Michael Signer, state Sen. Chap Petersen, state Sen. Donald McEachin, and state Del. David Englin. Another state Del., Kenny Alexander, is floating his name (no idea if he's actually on anyone's wish list, though). Terry McAuliffe, the former DNC chair who lost the 2009 gubernatorial primary, says he's "not ruling it out," although he's generally expected to pursue another gubernatorial run in 2013 instead.
The potential candidate who seems to get the most netroots attention is, of course, ex-Rep. Tom Perriello. He's currently out of the country, and a spokesperson merely says he's "keeping his options open" at this point; a Republican consultant, however, gives Politico 10 reasons why Perriello would be a particularly formidable candidate. Two of the state's remaining Dem house members, Gerry Connolly and Bobby Scott, also are in the "not ruling it out" stage, though Scott says it's "unlikely." Finally, on the GOP side, it seems like Webb's departure is getting Prince William Co. Supervisor Corey Stewart even likelier to run, as he says the odds of a Republican winning in November are greater now.
• NY-26: Chris Lee's shirtless come-on may have been a metaphorical iceberg tip, which may have expedited his surprising resignation yesterday; recall that he was one of the several GOP Reps. particularly smacked down by John Boehner several months ago for excessive partying with female lobbyists. At any rate, let's focus on the future here: it seems like establishment Dems already have a preferred pic here, in the form of Kathy Konst, a former Erie Co. Legislator and current county director of environment and planning who had considered the 2008 Dem primary but smartly decided not to barge into the middle of that insanity. Speaking of that primary's murder-suicide duo, Jon Powers says on his Facebook page that he's "definitely thinking hard about it," while Jack Davis, three time loser in this district, is "seriously considering" another run... but this time as a Republican! (Um, good?) One other Dem name that's unlikely but keeps bubbling up is the White House deputy press director, Bill Burton, who's never held office but is a local.
On the GOP side, alas, it wasn't meant to be: losing gubernatorial candidate/Acme Gaffe Machine Carl Paladino won't run, although he is offering his support to state Assemblywoman Jane Corwin (who may be emerging as the consensus candidate, since she has some self-funding capacity). The other top GOP contender, besides Corwin, seems to be former Assemblyman Jack Quinn, son of the ex-Rep. Finally, it seems state Sen. George Maziarz has decided not to run... or maybe had it decided for him by majority leader Dean Skelos, in order to avoid losing a state Senate special election if Maziarz got the promotion and seeing the body devolve into 31-31 chaos.
• MD-St. House: You might have seen some stories about how a member of the Democratic party in the state House wound up joining the body's Tea Party Caucus and in fact getting elected the caucus's vice-chair, apparently after hearing from many of his constituents that they wanted lower taxes and joining up without doing any further research into what the teabaggers were all about. Well, after a bit of an intervention from his fellow Dems, Del. Curt Anderson quit the group and apologized.
• WATN?: With John Kitzhaber returning from the mists of time to reclaim the governorship, now an even more distant figure returns: Democrat Barbara Roberts, who preceded Kitzhaber in office (1990-1994), is putting her name in consideration for an appointment to an open seat on the Portland-area Metro Council. It's unclear whether this is a temporary fill-in for the 75-year-old Roberts, or if she'd stand for re-election at the next general election. (Metro Council is a regional entity that spans the entire Portland metropolitan area with jurisdiction over public transit and land use planning.)
• Vote by mail: One more western state seems to be going down the road of all vote-by-mail elections in the future. A bill to switch Colorado to mail-in status is entering committee in the Republican-controlled state House; similar to Montana (where similar legislation is in the pipeline), the bill has bipartisan support, including a Republican as one of its two main sponsors.
• Census: This week's Census data dump is available (at least in ftp form), for Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, and Vermont. Next week's release schedule is Illinois, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas.
PPP's last couple polls (Nebraska, Arizona) have had some bad news for Democrats, so here's a nice refreshing chaser, albeit one that shouldn't offer any surprises. If Dems with lukewarm faves (Barbara Boxer, Jerry Brown) could win easily in the Dems' worst year in ages, the state's most popular politician (Dianne Feinstein, with 50/39 approvals) in a presidential year should be no contest. That's what PPP finds.
The only Republican here with even remotely positive favorables is Tom Campbell (who already lost to Feinstein once, in 2000, although he's better known now for losing the 2010 Republican primary to Carly Fiorina), although that may have to do with his little-knownness (21/18) than his moderatism. Everyone else is deep in the hole, no more so than Ahnold, at 25/65 (I think even "The Last Action Hero" tests better than that). My one quibble here is that none of these A-listers are likely to run, paving the way for an even sadder sack in the form of ex-Assemblyman and 2010 GOP primary loser Chuck DeVore, who should have been tested. (He's already said he's running for "something" in 2012; unless he plans to out-teabag one of Orange County's House members, that means the Senate race.)
Meg Whitman (R): 59 (54)
Steve Poizner (R): 30 (27)
Other: 6 (10)
Undecided: 5 (9)
SurveyUSA is seeing what pretty much everyone else is seeing, that Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina have their respective GOP primaries nailed down. Their numbers haven't changed much at all over the last couple weeks, but remember that when the previous SurveyUSA poll came out, the numbers seemed rather dramatic: there had been a major tightening between Whitman and Steve Poizner in early May (which then quickly dissipated), and they were one of the first to give a substantial lead to Fiorina instead of Tom Campbell. Looks like they did a good job of honing in on the ultimate trends.
Below the two marquee races, there's also a treasure trove of interesting information in the rest of the SurveyUSA data (some of which was in a separate release, here). And, no, I'm not counting the Democratic gubernatorial primary as "interesting" (where Jerry Brown leads Richard Aguirre 73-4). In the Democratic race to be Jerry Brown's #2, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom is in pole position; he leads LA city councilor Janice Hahn 43-27. Abel Maldonado, the incumbent GOP Lt. Governor, is in the lead despite teabagger discontent over his various apostasies; he leads conservative ex-state Sen. Sam Aanestad 26-16, with another 26 scattered among various others.
In the AG's race, the leading Democratic contender is San Francisco DA Kamala Harris, although she has only a narrow lead over Facebook attorney Chris Kelly and former LA City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo; her lead is 26-20-16, with Pedro Nava at 8, Ted Lieu and Alberto Torrico at 6, and Mike Schmier at 2. On the GOP side, Los Angeles County DA Steve Cooley is in the lead at 30, followed by state Sen. Tom Harman at 25 and former law school dean John Eastman at 19.
And SurveyUSA has poll results on all those delightful initiatives in which the corporations and their paid signature gatherers people get to exert direct democracy. Proposition 13 is, like its 70s namesake, designed to limit property taxes, although here it just prevents reassessment after buildings' values go up after earthquake retrofitting. "Yes" is leading, 49-26. Proposition 14 is maybe the most attention-getting one, as it's a proposal to switch to a Washington-style top-two primary system; apparently people like that idea, as "Yes" leads 50-28 (I know lots of people are up in arms about that, but speaking as a Washingtonian, the change has had little practical effect other than rendering third parties even more irrelevant than before).
Proposition 15 is a proposal to introduce public funding of political campaigns (although it's baby steps, starting only with the next SoS race); despite the baby steps, it seems unlikely to pass, with "No" leading 46-29. Proposition 16, which would require an onerous 2/3rds majority before local governments could use public funding to expand electricity service (and which is the subject of huge amounts of money poured in by the state's utilities), is the closest-looking race, with "No" currently leading 45-41. And finally, Proposition 17 allows insurance companies to base prices on a driver's insurance coverage history; "Yes" leads 43-39. Hooray for insurance companies!
• AR-Sen: The Bill Halter campaign is looking for last minute phonebanking help to seal the deal. And you can do it from the comfort of your own home.
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov (pdf): The Senate GOP primary portion of the Field Poll came out over the weekend, and it's right in line with the various other pollsters finding a last-minute Carly Fiorina surge into a double-digit lead. She leads Tom Campbell and Chuck DeVore 37-22-19. (Campbell led 28-22-9 in the previous Field poll in March.) Also, it looks like Campbell's last-minute ad pitch, centered around his electability, may fall on deaf ears: 42% of primary voters think that Fiorina has the best chance of beating Barbara Boxer, while 22% think that Campbell does (and 12% think that Chuck DeVore does -- which is also about the same percentage of Californians who believe there is a 1,000 foot high pyramid in Greenland). There are also primary polls out from Republican pollster Magellan (who don't have a horse in this race), who find things even worse for Campbell: they have Fiorina leading Campbell and DeVore 54-19-16. They also give a big edge to fellow rich person Meg Whitman in the gubernatorial race; she leads Steve Poizner 64-22. The unfortunate moral of the story here: have a lot of money.
• DE-Sen: New Castle Co. Exec Chris Coons is pre-emptively getting ahead of Republican charges that he raised taxes, by, instead of hiding under the bed like conventional wisdom dictates, saying 'guilty as charged' and explaining how it helped. The county wound up with a AAA bond rating and a eight-digit surplus. Coons also previewed one of his lines of attack against Mike Castle: Castle's role in deregulating the banking sector.
• FL-Sen: As Charlie Crist rebuilds his team from scratch, he's rolling out a new media team that's heavy on the Democratic ties. Most prominently, Chuck Schumer's former chief of staff, Josh Isay, will be Crist's lead media person. Isay's firm SKD Knickerbocker may be best-known for helping out other moderate independents, like Joe Lieberman and Michael Bloomberg. One of the fires that Isay will have to put out as soon as he gets in the building, though, is what to do about the Jim Greer situation. Greer's lawyer is saying that Crist gave the initial OK on Greer's fundraising workaround which avoided usual party channels (which Greer allegedly turned into a scheme for filling his own pockets).
• IL-Sen: Rep. Mark Kirk's very, very bad week last week just seems to be spilling over into this week. There are allegations popping up that he fibbed on getting shot at in Afghanistan too, and also evidence that he made a lot of stuff up while talking off the cuff about the Somalia situation last year. Taking a page from Richard Blumenthal, late last week he finally dropped the playing offense against the charges and instead went to the Chicago Tribune's e-board to say "I'm sorry" -- but that apology comes after letting the story fester all week.
• NH-Sen: After a year and a half of having the Democratic primary to himself, there are hints that Rep. Paul Hodes might get some late-in-the-game company. Mark Connolly, the former head of the state's Securities Division who resigned to become a whistleblower in the wake of the Financial Resources Mortgage coverup (the same one that'll have Kelly Ayotte testifying before the state legislature soon), expressed some interest and said "he's angry enough to do it." (Looks like a common theme this year.) Speaking of Ayotte, it sounds like she doesn't know how to read a poll: she says she won't take drilling for oil off New Hampshire's tiny coastline "off the table."
• WA-Sen: You might remember from last week that the Univ. of Washington engaged in some methodologically weird stuff by adding an extra week's worth of samples on the end of their already-released poll and re-releasing the numbers (which were nevertheless unchanged, at Patty Murray 44, Dino Rossi 40). Well, now they're re-releasing the poll yet again with even more samples, with changed toplines and with specific numbers for that tiny extra sample for the days May 24-28 (following Rossi's official announcement). The number that's getting all the press is that Rossi led Murray 42-39 in that batch, although that's only based on 221 likely voters with a margin of error of 6.6%, so its usefulness is, well, questionable. Their full numbers are now 42-40 for Murray for the entire RV sample and 46-40 for Murray for the entire LV sample (i.e. those who voted in 2006), and she leads Generic R 44-39 among RVs (and 46-41 in the May 24-28 sample), but this poll has gotten so methodologically convoluted I'm not really sure it's worth much of anything at this point.
Murray got some good news today in the form of an endorsement, and it's not from a human but a corporation: Boeing. While she's received plenty of Boeing money in the past, I'm not aware of Boeing ever having explicitly endorsed her or anyone else before (although anyone with a pulse knows that Murray has taken over for Scoop Jackson as the "Senator from Boeing"). Frankly, in the state of Washington, this is a bigger endorsement than any human politician's endorsement would be, considering the way Boeing's tendrils reach so much of the state. Finally, the field of miscellaneous Republicans kept shrinking today, as chiropractor Sean Salazar (probably the first guy to try to grab the teabagger mantle here, although he got shoved over by Clint Didier) bailed out of the race and backed Rossi.
• WI-Sen: Here's a strange vulnerability for Ron Johnson in the Wisconsin Senate race: his fixation on opposing bipartisan Wisconsin state legislation making it easier for victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue their abusers. That'll require some explanation, and I assume it'll be something other than his current explanation, that such legislation would only lead to more victims of sexual abuse by making organizations likelier to sweep it under the carpet.
• IA-Gov: After endorsing a variety of misspelled odds-and-ends last week ("Cecil Bledsoe," "Angela McGowen," and Joe Miller), Sarah Palin went with a big gun this weekend, and it was one who doesn't match her carefully cultivated teabagging/religious right image at all: establishment retread Terry Branstad in Iowa. Is she counting on getting repaid by Branstad in the 2012 caucuses, if she decides to give up the grifting lifestyle and take the huge pay cut associated with running for President? (Branstad also has the backing of Mitt Romney, who seems more of a kindred spirit for him.)
• MI-Gov: The Schwarz is not with us after all. Joe Schwarz, the moderate ex-Rep. who got bounced from MI-07 in 2006 in the GOP primary by Tim Walberg, has decided against pursuing the independent bid in the Governor's race that he'd been threatening. On the surface, the loss of a center-right indie looks like bad news for the Dems, but depending on which two candidates match up in November, Schwarz could just have easily pulled more left-of-center votes... and in all likelihood, he wasn't going to rack up more than a few percent anyway.
• NY-Gov: In their standoff with Democratic nominee Andrew Cuomo, the Working Families Party seems to have blinked first. They went ahead and nominated placeholders in the Governor, Lt. Gov, and AG slots, presumably to allow coordination with the Dem choices later. Cuomo had been leaning hard on the WFP to do so. The person most affected by this is state Sen. Eric Schneiderman, a Cuomo foe who had been considered the most likely WFP candidate for AG; instead, the WFP may wind up going with Nassau Co. DA Kathleen Rice, who's Cuomo's preferred AG for his informal "ticket."
• TX-Gov: The Greens are actually going to be on the ballot in Texas this year, for the gubernatorial race? I'm as surprised as you are, but it's less surprising when you find out who's behind it: Arizona Republican consultant Tim Mooney, who set up the petition drive to get them on the ballot (and who's also a veteran of the 2004 efforts to get Ralph Nader on as many states' ballots as possible). GOP incumbent Rick Perry faces a tough race from Dem former Houston mayor Bill White, and he can have a little breathing room if the Greens siphon off a few lefties.
• AR-01: Chad Causey has an interesting argument for Democratic runoff voters in the 1st not to vote for ex-state Sen. Tim Wooldridge: he's likely to bolt for the Republican Party at his earliest convenience. Causey's evidence for the flight risk posed by Wooldridge includes his very conservative voting record in the state legislature, starting with his pro-public hanging legislation. Wooldridge, for his part, said he'd never switch. The Wooldridge camp is also offering up an internal poll (no word on the pollster) claiming a 48-24 lead over Causey in the runoff.
• CA-19: SurveyUSA has one last poll of the race in the 19th's GOP primary, which they've polled exhaustively (and found almost exactly the same thing each time). However, this time it's a little more interesting: there seems to be some late movement to former Fresno mayor Jim Patterson, who now leads state Sen. Jeff Denham 34-30. Ex-Rep. Richard Pombo is back at 17, with Larry Westerlund at 8. On the Dem side, it's a 26-26 tie between Loraine Goodwin and Les Marsden.
• MN-06: What started out as a thorny three-way primary (when Elwyn Tinklenberg was in the race) has turned into a walk for Democratic state Sen. Tarryl Clark. Maureen Reed, a physician and former Independence Party Lt. Gov. candidate, ended her bid and endorsed Clark against Rep. Michele Bachmann. Reed had done surprisingly well at fundraising, but didn't have the institutional advantages that Clark did, especially once Clark got the DFL endorsement. Clark still has an uphill fight against Bachmann, who's insulated against likely future foot-in-mouth incidents by the district's reddish lean as well as a huge war chest.
• TN-08: A Hill piece on the possibility of another NRCC-touted candidate (in the form of Stephen Fincher) going down in flames actually has some nice dirt on all three Republicans contesting the primary in the 8th. Fincher, of course, is widely noted for his hypocrisy on attacking the federal government while receiving millions in farm subsidies, but it's also been revealed that he has voted in three Democratic primaries in the last eight years, "used virtually the same TV ad as a candidate for Alabama Agriculture Commisioner" (I have to assume it was an ad from one of the "thugs," since if he'd riiiiiiipped off Dale Peterson's ad, the whole blogosphere would already know about it by now), and perhaps most pathetically, misspelled "Tennessee" in a mailer. His challengers, Ron Kirkland and George Flinn, have their own troubles; Kirkland contributed to outgoing Democratic Rep. John Tanner in 2000 and 2004, while Flinn tried to cover up a lawsuit by a contractor who wasn't paid for remodeling work.
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov: There's one more poll in California, courtesy of Capitol Weekly (done for them by Republican pollster Probolsky Research). They've polled a few times before, but they're calling this a "tracking poll," suggesting they'll be putting out more numbers as we count down to the June 8 primary. At any rate, there aren't any surprises here: they too see the Carly Fiorina surge on the Senate side: she's at 40, compared with Tom Campbell's 25 and Chuck DeVore's 13. In the Governor's race, Meg Whitman leads Steve Poizner 54-24.
The big news here, though, is that Campbell, after saying he was going dark earlier this week, apparently pulled together enough last-minute contributions for a final TV ad. His closing argument is all about electability, centering around the recent LA Times/USC poll that gave him a lead over Barbara Boxer while Fiorina trailed. A candidate making a calm, logical pitch based on quantifiable data, instead of throwing together a mish-mash of fearmongering, jingoism, and meaningless buzzwords? I think Campbell might be running in the wrong party's primary for that kind of thing to work. Fiorina, for her part, may have some backtracking to do after her deriding Boxer's push on climate legislation as worrying about "the weather." Back in October, before Campbell's entry forced herself to recast herself as a conservative, she had lots of praise for cap and trade.
• KY-Sen: Rush disses Rand Paul! No, it's not Rush Limbaugh; it's just plain Rush, the pioneer 70s Canadian prog-rockers. They've told Paul to stop using Rush's music at his rallies and in his web ads, citing copyright violations inasmuch as Paul has simply chosen his own Free Will and not asked them for, y'know, permission. The Paul campaign has used "The Spirit of Radio" pre-rallies (and here's how big a Rush geek he is: he's actually quoted that song's lyrics on the stump). There's always been a lot of overlap between Rush fans and libertarians, not just because many of Rush's lyrics lean that way, but also because they both have a core audience of 14-year-old boys.
• NY-Sen-B: The Senate primary, for the right to go against Kirsten Gillibrand, is turning out to be just as much of a clusterf@ck as everything else the NY GOP has done lately. The GOP convention has left them with yet one more contested primary, as Bruce Blakeman and David Malpass split the vote (a weighted 42% for Blakeman and 40% for Malpass), leaving them to fight it out in a primary. They're still likely to be joined by Joe DioGuardi, who only got 18% (missing the 25% threshold) but who intends to petition his way on to the ballot. Remember that DioGuardi is already on the ballot on the Conservative line, though, so he's participating in November regardless of whether he gets into, let alone wins, the primary.
• CT-Gov: Here's one advantage to running against a rich guy in a state with public campaign financing: every time your opponent pulls out more money, more money magically appears for you, too. Dan Malloy has raised $250K in contributions, which opens the door to another $1.25 million from the state, and on top of that, he's entitled to a $938K bonus to match Ned Lamont's spending. On the GOP side, Michael Fedele (with a rich guy problem of his own, in the form of Tom Foley) would like to do the same thing, but doesn't look like he can rustle up $250K in contributions by the deadline.
• AL-05: Parker Griffith apparently isn't switching back to being a Dem after his party-switching chicanery blew up in his face; he congratulated Mo Brooks at a press conference yesterday and said he'll vote for him in November. "I was rejected by the constituents, they did not accept me. I appreciate that because that is how America is supposed to work," said Griffith.
• CA-36: There are some internal polls floating around out there ahead of next week's primary in the 36th. Jane Harman's camp has a poll out giving her a 58-17 lead over Marcy Winograd (no word on the pollster, let alone any of the details). Winograd has her own internal, with even less detail: all they're saying is that Harman is down at 43, although their silence about Winograd's own number is pretty telling.
• FL-19: The FEC is telling ex-Rep. Robert Wexler to give back an unspecified amount of the contributions he received for the 2010 general election -- which makes sense, considering he isn't a participant. (He left to become president of the Center for Middle East Peace, although ongoing chatter has him on track to become the next Ambassador to Israel.) Unfortunately, that means less cash that he can offload to the> DCCC or other Dems this cycle.
• HI-01: I wasn't aware that he hadn't already weighed in in favor of Colleen Hanabusa, since most of the rest of the local old-guard Dem establishment had, but today ex-Rep. and gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie endorsed Hanabusa. He also gave a hat tip to Ed Case for getting out of the way.
• Blogosphere: The New York Times actually got something right! They're going to be partnering with Nate Silver, bringing a relaunched 538 under the NYT's online umbrella in August. We're glad to see that the legacy media are realizing that not only is there serious political journalism (if not scholarship) going on in the blogosphere, but that their last gasp at relevance may be by moving in that direction. Congrats to Nate, too!
• AK-Sen: Sarah Palin, fresh off her triumphant endorsements of Vaughn Ward and "Angela McGowen," is now weighing in with an endorsement in her home state: she's backing Joe Miller, the Christian-right GOP primary challenger to incumbent Lisa Murkowski. What's surprising is that people are surprised today -- there's long-term bad blood between Palin and the Murkowskis (Palin, of course, beat incumbent Gov. Frank Murkowski in the 2006 GOP primary, and was briefly considering a 2010 run against Lisa Murkowski in the primary), and Todd Palin (who presumably doesn't do anything without running it by the Palin family head office) had already endorsed Miller and headlined fundraisers for him.
• AR-Sen: The League of Conservation Voters is taking advantage of the oil spill in the Gulf being top-of-mind for most people today, to run a pre-runoff TV spot hitting Blanche Lincoln for her support for offshore drilling and her big campaign contributions from Big Oil.
• CA-Sen: Darkness descends over Team Campbell, with the primary one week away. Short on money and financially outgunned by Carly Fiorina, Tom Campbell has pulled the plug on TV advertising (at least for now; they say they're evaluating day-to-day what to spend on) and is relying on robocalls to drive turnout for the GOP primary. On the other hand, quixotic Democratic primary candidate Mickey Kaus is actually hitting the airwaves, and he's running an ad that very closely mirrors a now-famous 1990 ad from Paul Wellstone... which is pretty much the only thing that Kaus has in common with Wellstone (well, that and a weird hairline).
• FL-Sen: Jim Greer, the former state party chair of the aptly-acronymed RPOF, was just arrested on six felony charges: money laundering, grand theft, fraud... you know, the basic day-to-day aspects of running a political party. It'll be interesting to watch, as this case plays out, if there's any blowback to either Senate candidate: Charlie Crist, who helped put former key ally Greer into place as state party chair, or Marco Rubio, who had a taste for charging things to the state party's credit cards.
• IL-Sen: All of a sudden it seems like every time Mark Kirk plugs a leak concerning misrepresentations of his military record, another two spring up. Today, Kirk had to admit to the WaPo's Greg Sargent that his website incorrectly identifies him as "the only member of Congress to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom." Kirk actually served stateside as a Naval Reservist during the Iraq War, and he says that he's corrected the website, as what he really meant was "to serve during Operation Iraqi Freedom." Kirk also failed to correct Joe Scarborough when he said in 2003 that Kirk had "served Americans overseas in Operation Iraqi Freedom." Hmmm, that whole scenario sounds vaguely familiar... I wonder where the front page NYT story about this is?
• NV-Sen: There's that old saying about when your opponent pulls out a knife, you pull out a gun... I guess the same thing's happening in Nevada, where when Sharron Angle pulls out allegations of wrongdoing involving a campaign bus, Sue Lowden pulls out allegations of wrongdoing involving a campaign plane. Angle hitched a ride to the "Showdown in Searchlight" rally on a supporter's private plane, and while she did reimburse the owner $67 for her share of the fuel, it turns out she needs to pay more like $7,000, for the going charter rate. Meanwhile, Lowden seems to be doing some hasty but serious-sounding damage control over the issue of the "veterans tax;" this is still in the sketchy stages, but we'll follow it as it develops.
• PA-Sen: The Clinton job offer scandal continues to roil the Joe Sestak campaign, threatening to torpedo the Democratic candidate as he struggles to gain momentum after winning an upset in the primary!!! Oh, wait a second, I was confused... for a moment there, I thought I was actually a Beltway pundit. In reality, nobody gives a shit, and Sestak continues to consolidate post-primary support, as seen in a new DSCC-sponsored poll by Garin Hart Yang, which gives Sestak a 47-40 lead over GOPer Pat Toomey. Both candidates are similarly liked yet ill-defined: Sestak's favorables are 34/18, while Toomey is at 30/19.
• WA-Sen: The University of Washington pollsters who released the poll several weeks ago giving Patty Murray a 44-40 edge over Dino Rossi did something unusual. They started asking Washington residents about their feelings about the Tea Party (worth a read, on its own), but they also kept asking them about Murray/Rossi and adding those voters to the previous poll's pool. I'm not sure if that's methodologically sound or not; on the one hand, it pushes the MoE down to a very robust 2.3%, but also pads out the sample period to a terribly long 25 days. At any rate, it doesn't affect the toplines one bit: Murray still leads 44-40.
• AZ-Gov: Is there just a weird outbreak of Lying-itis breaking out among our nation's politicians (or did everyone always do this, and now thanks to the Internet you can't get away with it anymore)? Now, it's Jan Brewer's turn: during the fight over Arizona's immigration law, she somehow tried to weave in her father's death "fighting the Nazi regime in Germany" in discussing the personal attacks against her. There's one small problem: her father was a civilian supervisor of a munitions depot during the war, and died of lung disease in 1955. Meanwhile, back in reality, one of Brewer's GOP primary rivals, former state party chair John Munger, has decided to drop out after getting little traction in the primary. He cited fundraising issues in his decision.
• FL-Gov: Did Rick Scott think that people were just not going to notice that whole Medicare fraud thing? Having gotten stung by outside advertising hitting him on the Columbia/HCA fraud and the $1.7 billion in fines associated with it, he's launching a defensive TV spot and website dedicated to telling his side of the story. Meanwhile, Dems might be sailing into a clusterf@ck of their very own: Bud Chiles (the son of popular Democratic ex-Gov. Lawton Chiles) is still looking into a gubernatorial run... and now seemingly considering doing it as an independent. An independent who soaks up mostly Democratic votes would pretty much be curtains for Alex Sink's chances at winning.
• GA-Gov: Ex-Gov. Roy Barnes got a couple endorsements that should help him with the African-American vote, as he faces African-American AG Thurbert Baker in the Dem primary. Two prominent former Atlanta mayors, Andrew Young and Shirley Franklin, backed Barnes.
• ME-Gov: The most overlooked gubernatorial race in the country has its primaries next week, and it seems like even Mainers have no idea what's going on. Pan Atlantic SMS polled the primary, but found 62% of Dems and 47% of GOPers undecided. On the Dem side, state Sen. president Libby Mitchell is at 13, with ex-AG Steve Rowe at 12, Rosa Scarcelli at 7, and Patrick McGowan at 6. On the Republican side, Les Otten is at 17, Paul LePage at 10, Peter Mills at 8, Steve Abbott at 8, Bill Beardsley at 4, Bruce Poliquin at 3, and Matt Jacobson at 2. Given the poll's MoE of 5.7%, all we know is that pretty much any of these candidates could be the nominees. Otten just got an endorsement from one of the few Republicans who isn't running: from state Sen. majority leader Kevin Raye.
• AR-01: In northeast Arkansas, I don't think endorsements come any bigger than this. Bill Clinton weighed in on Chad Causey's behalf, in the Democratic primary runoff against the more conservative Tim Wooldridge.
• CA-42: How about I just start reporting on the politicians who haven't fudged their war records? Now it's the turn for Rep. Gary Miller (who faces a potentially competitive teabagger primary next week). A number of bios, including his California Assembly bio, have said he served in the Army in 1967 and 1968. A news story linked from Miller's current official website said that he "served his country during the Vietnam War." Turns out he spent seven weeks in boot camp in 1967, at which point he was discharged for medical reasons.
• MS-01: Newly crowned GOP nominee in the 1st Alan Nunnelee gets today's hyperbole-in-action award. On Saturday, he told a local Rotary Club gathering that what's going on in Washington is worse than 9/11, because "What I see in Washington over the last 16 months is a more dangerous attack because it's an attack on our freedom that's coming from the inside."
• NC-08: Another day, another freakout from Tim d'Annunzio. His latest antics involve dropping out of a scheduled debate against GOP runoff opponent Harold Johnson, because of, as per d'Annunzio's usual modus operandi, "the collaboration between the Harold Johnson campaign and the news media to use partial truth, innuendo and accusations to unfairly smear me."
• PA-10: Best wishes for a quick recovery to the GOP candidate in the 10th, Tom Marino. He's in stable condition after being involved in a late-night head-on collision while driving back from a county GOP meeting last night.
• NY-St. Sen.: One state legislature where it's going to be tough for the GOP to make up much ground is the New York Senate, where they're now having to defend their fourth open seat (out of 30 total) this cycle. George Winner, who's been in the Senate since 2004 (making him a veritable youngster by NYS Senate GOP standards), is calling it quits. His Southern Tier district centered on Elmira has a 74K to 60K GOP registration advantage, but Obama won SD-53 by a 51-47 margin.
Barbara Boxer (D-inc): 46
Chuck DeVore (R): 36
Meg Whitman (R): 53 (60)
Steve Poizner (R): 29 (20)
Jerry Brown (D): 44 (41)
Meg Whitman (R): 38 (44)
Jerry Brown (D): 45 (53)
Steve Poizner (R): 31 (22)
Here's one more poll confirming the last-minute surge for Carly Fiorina in the GOP Senate primary, which seems to have advertising disparities at its root: trailing by 4 in the late March LA Times/USC poll, she's now up by 15. The previous poll only tested "Generic Republican" in the primary, and today's results show why that was kind of silly, given the very different candidate profiles: Tom Campbell beats Barbara Boxer while Fiorina loses (I don't think any other poll has had such a Campbell/Fiorina disparity in the general, though, and PPP went the opposite direction the other week, where Fiorina performed the best against Boxer).
On the gubernatorial side, this poll is remarkably right in line with other recent polls showing Meg Whitman's big lead in the primary (50-29 Pollster average today) and Jerry Brown's smaller lead over Whitman in November (46-39 Pollster average today).
• CA-Sen: For a brief shining moment there, Tom Campbell had some good news: in the April 1-May 19 reporting period, Campbell actually outraised Carly Fiorina from outside donors. Campbell pulled in $990K while Fiorina got $909K. Fiorina's response? She wrote herself another seven-figure check.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist's 7-word-long Google ad attacking Jeff Greene (almost haiku-like in its simplicity: "What has Jeff Greene done? Experience matters.") prompted a 300-word press release from the Greene camp landing some solid hits on Crist.
• KY-Sen: In terms of rocking the political boat, this probably isn't as eye-opening as his comments about the Civil Rights Act or the NAFTA Superhighway, but it's one more weird, sketchy act by Rand Paul: in 1999, he created a whole new certifying body for ophthalmologists, the National Board of Ophthalmology, in order to compete with the establishment American Board of Ophthalmology. The NBO has looser certification requirements than the ABO.
• NH-Sen (pdf): Republican pollster Magellan has been really active lately in GOP primaries where they don't have any skin in the game; they're back to looking at the New Hampshire Senate race. They find the real race here between Kelly Ayotte, at 38, and Bill Binnie, at 29. Ovide Lamontagne is lagging at 9, with Jim Bender at 4.
• OH-Sen, OH-Gov (pdf): The Ohio Poll, conducted by the University of Cincinnati, is out today with pleasant results for Democrats (perhaps doubly so, considering they have a reputation for producing GOP-leaning results). They find Dem Lee Fisher with a one-point lead over GOPer Rob Portman in the Senate race, 47-46. They also find incumbent Dem Ted Strickland looking OK in the gubernatorial race, leading John Kasich 49-44 (and sporting a surprisingly high 55/35 approval, suggesting that whatever he's been doing lately has been working).
• FL-Gov: Ad wars are reaching a fever pitch in the GOP primary in the Florida gubernatorial race; Rick Scott placed a sixth major media buy for another $2.9 million, taking his total to $10.9 million. We've also found out more about that mystery group that's planning to spend nearly a million hitting Scott (primarily on the issue of the fraud charges against his company): it's the Alliance for America's Future. While it's not clear what their interest in Bill McCollum is, the group is headed by Mary Cheney (daughter of Dick).
• HI-Gov: After many months of operating in running-but-not-running limbo, Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann made it official yesterday: he'll run in the Democratic gubernatorial primary against ex-Rep. Neil Abercrombie.
• NM-Gov: Former state GOP chair Allen Weh, who's turned into the main GOP primary opposition to Susana Martinez by virtue of his money, just loaned himself another $600K for the home stretch, on top of $1 million he's already contributed. Lt. Gov. Diane Denish is unopposed in the Dem primary, but watching Martinez catch up to her in polls of the general, has launched into a fundraising frenzy as of late; she's raised $464K from donors in the last three weeks.
• SC-Gov (pdf): Two different polls are out in South Carolina: one, from Insider Advantage, continues the trend of giving an advantage to Nikki Haley (and the survey period was May 25, after the current imbroglio broke). Haley is at 31, Andre Bauer at 21, Gresham Barrett at 14, and Henry McMaster at 13. On the Dem side, Vince Sheheen leads at 26, with Jim Rex at 17 and Robert Ford at 12. SCIndex didn't look at the primaries, but had some rather heartening numbers for November: Generic Republican leads Generic Dem only 46-44 in the gubernatorial race, while in the Senate race, Jim DeMint leads Democratic challenge Vic Rawl only 50-43.
• IN-03: Mitch Daniels made it official today, setting the date for the special election to replace resigned Mark Souder on Nov. 2, at the same time as the general election. (So the special election's winner will only serve during the House's lame duck session.) The state GOP will pick its candidates for both elections at a June 12 caucus; presumably, they'll choose the same person for both.
• MO-08: Where's the New York Times when you need them? Rep. Jo Ann Emerson just lied big-time about her Dem opponent Tommy Sowers' military record, saying that her opposition to DADT repeal was based on talking to actual commanders, as opposed to Sowers, who "never commanded anybody." Um, yeah... except for that platoon of combat engineers that Sowers led in Kosovo.
• MS-01: Wow, even Mississippi Dems are now taking a page from the Gray Davis playbook. A Dem 527 called "Citizens for Security and Strength" is hitting presumed Republican frontrunner state Sen. Alan Nunnelee prior to the primary as a "hypocrite on taxes." Apparently they too are sensing some late-game momentum by Henry Ross, a teabagger whom they'd much rather Travis Childers face in the general than financially-flush establishment figure Nunnelee, and would like to facilitate a Ross victory (or at least a runoff).
• NC-08: Thinking that Barack Obama is a Kenyan secret Muslim? Check. Wanting to repeal the 17th Amendment? Great! Thinking that there's a 1,000-foot-high pyramid in Greenland? Sorry, that's a fridge too far even for the teabaggers of North Carolina. Six leaders among the local Tea Partiers publicly switched their allegiances to Harold Johnson in the runoff in the 8th, following revelations of just how off-the-rails their one-time fave Tim d'Annunzio is.
• NY-23: Determined to relive the NY-23 special election over and over again, the Concerned Women of America are sticking with their endorsement of Doug Hoffman, who seems on track to pick up the Conservative Party line while the GOP line goes elsewhere (like Matt Doheny, most likely).
• Votes: The repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell cleared the House by a 234-194 margin yesterday, with 5 GOPers voting yes and 26 Dems voting no. The GOP 'ayes' were Judy Biggert, Joe Cao, Charles Djou (in his first week of work), Ron Paul, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Dem no votes were -- no surprise -- mostly vulnerable members in culturally conservative areas: Berry, Bishop (GA), Boucher, Bright, Carney, Childers, Costello, Critz, Davis (TN), Donnelly, Edwards (TX), Etheridge, Green (TX), Lipinski, Marshall, McIntyre, Ortiz, Peterson, Pomeroy, Rahall, Ross, Shuler, Skelton, Spratt, Tanner, and Taylor.
• Polltopia: Somebody must have slipped some Red Bull into Nate Silver's Ovaltine lately, as he's just landed his third hard hit on Rasmussen in as many days. Today, it's their Wisconsin Senate race poll showing the unknown Ron Johnson competitive (and known by 68% of likely voters) that's drawing Nate's ire.
PPP (pdf) (5/21-23, registered voters, no trendlines, likely voters in primary):
Jerry Brown (D): 48
Meg Whitman (R): 36
Jerry Brown (D): 48
Steve Poizner (R): 32
Meg Whitman (R): 51
Steve Poizner (R): 26
Someone else: 11
It's starting to look like, after spending close to a combined $100 million of their own money against each other, than Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner have just gone all Angelides/Westly against each other. (Those were the two Democratic primary contenders in the 2006 gubernatorial election, who went so negative for so long against each other that eventual winner Phil Angelides was left radioactive and an easy mark for Arnold Schwarzenegger in the general.) Favorables for Whitman (24/44) and Poizner (19/43) are both truly awful, allowing the not-so-popular-himself Jerry Brown (37/39) to romp over each one in head-to-heads. The main difference in their performance, in PPP's first poll of the race, is that the more moderate Whitman fares better with indies against Brown than does Poizner. (UPDATE: Sitting still and watching the fight is paying great dividends for Brown: he's sitting on $20.6 million CoH, and has spent a whopping total of $400K this year.)
PPP (pdf) (5/21-23, registered voters, no trendlines, likely voters in primary):
Barbara Boxer (D): 45
Carly Fiorina (R): 42
Barbara Boxer (D): 47
Tom Campbell (R): 40
The most interesting news here may be the PPP gives further confirmation to the sudden surge in the GOP primary by Carly Fiorina, which didn't really start showing up until this week. (Check out the Pollster.com regression lines.) Campbell still leads 32-30 among moderates, but there are more conservatives in the sample and Fiorina is up 47-15 among them (with DeVore at 19). In the general, we're seeing another symptom of Fiorina gaining and Campbell deflating as Fiorina doubled down on ads while Campbell went mostly dark: few polls prior to this one have seen the more conservative Fiorina overperforming Campbell against Barbara Boxer.
A couple other primary polls from Republican sources are in the same general range as PPP. Magellan (pdf) is a GOP pollster but doesn't have a candidate in the race (they've been offering polls in a number of primaries where they aren't involved, like Kentucky). They find a very similar 44 Fiorina, 21 Campbell, 14 DeVore in the Senate primary, while Meg Whitman is leading Steve Poizner 54-19 in the gubernatorial primary. That's an even better showing than the internal poll (pdf) from McLaughlin & Assocs that Meg Whitman put out yesterday, that had her leading 53-27. That brief Steve Poizner surge seems to have dissipated, if it ever actually existed and wasn't just a couple outliers appearing at once.
• Idaho: The numbers from Idaho's primary election last night that everyone is focused on is state Rep. Raul Labrador's somewhat surprising victory over Vaughn Ward in ID-01, by a 48-39 margin. This means that the NRCC-preferred, Sarah Palin-endorsed candidate lost... although given the way Ward's wheels fell off over the last few weeks, Republicans may be breathing a sigh of relief. Not that Labrador may turn out that well either, as he's poorly-funded and apparently not a favorite of the local establishment (as he's tight with ex-Rep. Bill Sali). Democratic freshman Rep. Walt Minnick may actually be feeling... dare I say it... confident going into November?
ID-02 had some eyebrow-raising numbers too, consistent with mediocre primary performances from establishment incumbents on both sides of the aisle in previous months; Rep. Mike Simpson -- not exactly a moderate, but certainly not the flamethrower you'd expect in such a dark-red district - had an unexpectedly rough time in the GOP primary, winning against Chick Heileson only 58-24. And incumbent GOP governor Butch Otter, who'd looked dominant in polling, got a teabagging of his own, scoring only 55% while rancher Rex Rammell (the only guy around with a name even manlier than "Butch Otter") got 25%, as apparently there was a lot of resentment on the right over Otter's failed attempt to raise the state gas tax. Dem nominee Keith Allred has a fundraising lead over Otter and good bipartisan credentials as former head of group Common Interest; combined with Otter's underperformance in the primary, that leaves us thinking Allred might have a legitimate shot here.
• CA-Sen: Anti-abortion group the Susan B. Anthony List (whom you might remember from their involvement in the WV-01 Dem primary) is getting involved in California, in support of Carly Fiorina. They're spending $215K in IEs, as Fiorina opposes the pro-choice Tom Campbell in the GOP primary.
• IN-Sen: The spotlight is starting to turn back toward Dan Coats' lobbying past, with state Democrats demanding that Coats disclose a full list of his lobbying clients. Coats (who worked for law firm King & Spaulding as a lobbyist) is citing attorney-client privilege as a reason for keeping mum, although recent court cases have made clear that the privilege doesn't extend to lobbying activities.
• KY-Sen: No matter how pure you try to be, someone's always going to be more pure than you: dissatisfied with Rand Paul's sops to Republican orthodoxy, the Libertarian Party is saying that they're planning to run a candidate against him in November. They're accusing Paul of having deviated from the Libertarian line on social issues and foreign policy. Meanwhile, the Paul camp's emergency retooling continues apace; he's hired Jesse Benton as his new campaign manager (to replace David Adams, who was the behind-the-scenes equivalent of Some Dude). Benton's not a GOP establishment figure, though; he was the communications director for the 2008 Ron Paul presidential campaign.
• NV-Sen: The feathers are flying in the Nevada GOP primary, where the Club for Growth is taking aim at the very large target on Sue Lowden's back, hitting her for voting to raise taxes while in the state Senate and her previous support for Harry Reid. The CfG, of course, endorsed opponent Sharron Angle last week.
• CA-Gov: MoveOn co-founder Peter Schurman apparently got tired of polling at 1% in the Democratic primary, and ended his recently-launched bid against Jerry Brown. Seeming satisfied that Brown has been stepping up his game lately, he threw his backing to Brown.
• FL-Gov: It's looking like insiders are realizing that Bill McCollum screwed up by letting wealthy health care magnate Rick Scott run rampant on their airwaves for the last month, letting him get a major foothold in the GOP primary. Now rumors suggest that an unnamed independent group is about to start a major advertising blitz on McCollum's behalf, to try and level the playing field.
• NV-Gov: The most recent batch of polls have shown incumbent GOP governor Jim Gibbons down but not out in the Republican primary. But with the primary only a few weeks away, this new poll from the RGA by POS looks like Gibbons is in too deep a hole to dig out of: Brian Sandoval is at 50, with Gibbons at 27 and Mike Montandon at 11.
• NY-Gov: It's convention time in New York, and now that Andrew Cuomo isn't playing coy any more, his first order of business is picking a running mate. He's chosen Rochester mayor Robert Duffy for the position. Duffy will still need to win his own primary, though, before getting joined to the ticket (a la Scott Lee Cohen in Illinois). Cuomo also got welcome news from the Independence Party: he'll be getting that centrist third party's line on the ballot in November. (The IP backed Eliot Spitzer last time, but rich weirdo Tom Golisano three times before that.)
• OH-01: In the War of the Steves, Republican ex-Rep. Steve Chabot is out with a poll giving himself a substantial lead over freshman Democratic Rep. Steve Driehaus. The poll by POS gives Chabot a 53-39 lead. That's actually a smaller Chabot lead than that notorious Firedoglake poll from January, but regardless, Driehaus is going to need huge African-American turnout in Cincinnati if he's going to pull this out.
• OH-16: If that wasn't enough, there's also a Republican poll of the 16th giving a significant lead to Jim Renacci, who has a 47-35 lead over fellow Democratic freshman Rep. John Boccieri. The press release touts this as an independent poll, but it was conducted by Republican pollster Fabrizio, McClaughlin, & Associates, and it was paid for by the innocuous-sounding U.S. Citizens Association who, if you go to their website, have a major ax to grind over health care reform (for which Boccieri was a 'no' to 'yes' vote).
• TN-06: Illegal immigration isn't the kind of issue you'd expect to take center stage in rural Tennessee, but in the race to succeed retiring Bart Gordon, the two main GOP contestants are trying to outflank each other to the right on the issue. State Sen. Jim Tracy is accusing state Sen. Diane Black of trying to water down legislation requiring local authorities to report the arrest of illegal immigrants to ICE.
• Polltopia: Jonathan Chait joins the chorus of Rasmussen doubters, pointing nicely to Rasmussen's role in the cycle of right-wing epistemic closure. Nate Silver also an interesting tidbit that promises to be part of a forthcoming larger revamping of his pollster ratings, one that seems likely not to see Rasmussen in as positive a light as his previous ratings: he finds that while Rasmussen was OK in 2004 and 2006, its performance in 2000 was way off, as they missed seven states, with a Republican bias of 3.5%.