• IN-Sen: The usually low-key Richard Lugar, all of a sudden, seems intent on reminding everyone in the press who'll listen that he isn't dead yet. Lugar says he isn't sure how seriously to take the threat from the tea partiers since there's no declared opponent yet, but he's moving full speed ahead on fundraising, with a Friday event set with a $320K target.
• MA-Sen: I know that our comments section isn't representative of the Democratic primary electorate in Massachusetts, but Bob Massie's unexpected campaign rollout over the weekend, and his uniquely compelling personal story, seemed to get an overwhelmingly positive response here. Here's another, and more in-depth, profile of the first Democrat to get into the race against Scott Brown.
• TX-Sen: San Antonio mayor Julian Castro is the latest Democrat to pass on the Senate contest, in the wake of Kay Bailey Hutchison's retirement announcement. The up-and-comer says he "has no intention" of running in 2012 (which, I suppose, leaves open the possibility that he might find himself unintentionally running?).
• UT-Sen: Here's kind of a strange poll in Utah, seeing as how it's tests of configurations that I can't ever see happening... and, in the case of the 2012 GOP Senate field, it's not even a sample of the people who'll be making the actual decision (given the Utah GOP's heavy reliance on the convention). In fact, the GOP primary question is asked of all Utah voters. At any rate, local pollsters (here on behalf of Utah Policy, rather than usual client the Deseret News) Dan Jones find ex-Gov. and current Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman in the lead in a GOP primary, beating Rep. Jason Chaffetz and incumbent Orrin Hatch 48-23-21. I haven't heard anything about Hunstman running, at least not for Senate, and there's no Chaffetz/Hatch head-to-head polled. They also find that Hatch would win a general election against Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson (in the odd event that, a) Hatch would survive the convention, and b) Matheson would give up his House seat for a suicide run), 48-41.
• VA-Sen: This statement from ex-Gov./DNC chair Tim Kaine is simultaneously worrisome and reassuring: he says he won't run for Senate, even if Jim Webb retires, problematic since he's the Dems' other top-tier candidate here besides Webb. On the other hand, he says that he has no reason to believe that Webb is planning anything other than re-election (although he doesn't give any specifics on why he thinks that). Meanwhile, Jamie Radtke is already getting out in front of George Allen in the wake of reports that Allen is about to announce his bid. She challenged Allen to a series of debates, and rolled out an endorsement from RedState's Erick Erickson. Allen didn't respond, although he announced his own series of town hall events (presumably solo) through Americans for Prosperity.
• WV-Gov: Former Republican SoS and current gubernatorial candidate Betty Ireland seems to have some insider knowledge that nobody else does: she's saying that she wouldn't be running if Rep. Shelley Moore Capito was, and that she had spoken with Capito to get confirmation on that. There was no comment on that from Capito's camp.
• AZ-08: There was much ado about nothing yesterday with brief blogospheric panic over an obscure Arizona state law that says that an elected official can be removed from office, via a declared vacancy, if she doesn't execute her duties within a 90 day period. Turns out that applies only to state and local officials, and even if it didn't, applying it to a federal official wouldn't likely pass constitutional muster (in the same way that state term limits and recall laws don't apply to House members).
• CA-49: With Rep. Darrell Issa about to take over the reins of the House Oversight committee, this long and remarkably thorough piece from the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza is today's must-read, if you haven't already seen it. It revisits various episodes in his checkered past, but presents an interesting, complicated picture of him.
• KY-AG: Even though he's just dodged bids by his two most potentially serious rivals (SoS Trey Grayson and former state Supreme Ct. chief justice Joseph Lambert), now there are local rumors bubbling up that Democratic incumbent AG (and probably still a rising star) Jack Conway may not seek a second term. State Rep. John Tilley, state Sen. Ray Jones, and former state Dem chair Jennifer Moore have started talking themselves up for the job. While Conway publicly has said he intends to run again, Tilley says Conway has told him he hasn't made a decision yet.
• Chicago mayor: Big Dog alert! Bill Clinton will be appearing in Chicago on behalf of former right-hand man Rahm Emanuel and his bid for Chicago mayor. (Also reportedly appearing: SNL star and Emanuel impersonator Andy Samberg.) Carol Mosely Braun's take? "One outsider coming in to support another outsider."
• Enthuasiam gap: Hooray! We've all been saved! PPP has officially declared that the "enthusiasm gap" is over. OK, I'm being facetious and it's not that simple, but PPP finds that 85% of Democrats and 82% of Republicans are "very excited" or "somewhat excited" about voting in 2012, suggesting that young people and minority voters might actually get off their duffs and vote if there's a president on the ballot. (In fact, the highest report of "very exciteds" is among African-Americans, at 71%.) Democrats were killed in 2010 by a high disparity in "not exciteds," but currently only 16% of Dems and 18% of GOPers are in that condition, suggesting turnout parity.
• AZ-Sen: So, that anti-earmark stance from Republican leadership seemed to last a whole week or so, until everybody's attention had moved onto something else (something about sharks attacking people in airport security lines, maybe). Jon Kyl just got a $200 million earmark to settle an Indian water rights case with the government. Kyl's defense... and one we should expect to hear a lot from both sides of the aisle... is that it's technically not an earmark (which seems to have a profanity-style you-know-it-when-you-see-it standard).
• CT-Sen: Joe Lieberman is hinting at an independent run as the preferred way forward out of his three-possible-ways-to-lose conundrum. In a recent interview, he said "I've enjoyed being an Independent so I guess that's the most natural way to run, but I haven't decided," as well as "I don't meet all the requirements of either party." Other insiders, or at least the ones Politico is talking to, say that Lieberman's choices at this point are essentially retiring or becoming a Republican. (One reason they cite is the recent collapse of the CfL "Party," which failed to get the 1% needed to maintain its ballot place... although that overlooks the fact that the CfL was, several years ago, hijacked by waggish Lieberman opponents).
• FL-Sen: The first announced Republican candidate for the Senate in 2012 is both a Some Dude and a familiar face: college instructor Mike McCalister. If the name rings a bell, he got 10% in this year's gubernatorial primary by virtue of not being either Rick Scott or Bill McCollum. As for temp Sen. George LeMieux, a reported possible candidate, his current status is still "no decisions yet," albeit "I do feel a calling to serve."
• KY-Sen: Here's some pointless post-mortem about Kentucky, but it's the first I've heard any major player from Team Blue say that the "Aqua Buddha" ad was a net liability for Jack Conway. Outgoing DSCC Bob Menendez said his main regret was not asking for better briefings about candidates' ads, and he cited the anti-Rand Paul ad as a particular "killer."
• PA-Sen: The first announced GOP candidate in Pennsylvania has also surfaced, and he's also on the cusp between Some Dude and whatever's one step higher than that. Marc Scaringi was a legislative aide to Rick Santorum back in the 1990s, and is currently a lawyer in Harrisburg. (The article also cites one other potential GOP challenger in addition to the usual Jim Gerlach/Charlie Dent suspects: incoming state House majority leader Mike Turzai, whom you might remember weighing and deciding against a PA-04 run in 2010.) As for Bob Casey Jr., he's running again, although his main concern for the next year seems to be upping his low-key profile.
• NY-23: After making some waves yesterday with saying he was at least considering voting for John Boehner in the floor leadership vote, Bill Owens is now just saying he was "blowing off steam" and will vote for her as long as she promises to focus on jobs. (In other words, he probably got a call from leadership explaining the consequences.)
• CA-AG: Kind of a foregone conclusion at this point, given his 40,000 vote deficit, but Steve Cooley has just conceded the Attorney General's race, with Democratic San Francisco DA and rising star Kamala Harris the victor.
• KY-AG: Here's a surprise: after a few weeks of hype concerning a 2011 battle royale between Jack Conway and Trey Grayson for Attorney General, Grayson suddenly reversed course. Rather than run again for SoS, where GOPers were already lining up, he apparently won't run for anything, other than the sweet embrace of the private sector.
• Chicago mayor: One more poll gives Rahm Emanuel a sizable edge in the Chicago mayoral race. He has 39% support in a Chicago Retail Merchants Association poll, followed by Carol Mosely Braun at 12, Gerry Chico at 9, Danny Davis at 7, and His Accidency, Roland Burris, at 2. The real question here seems to be whether Emanuel can win on Feb. 22 without a runoff (which would be Apr. 5).
• AR-St. House: Here's an interesting situation in Arkansas, where Dems still control the state House (albeit with reduced numbers) but an unusual special election is already on tap. Democratic State Rep. Rick Saunders was apparently going to be given a pass to serve another two years despite being term-limited out, because the guy who won the seat in November, GOPer Keith Crass, did so despite being dead. He beat Dem Larry Williams despite dying during the early voting period. Now Saunders says he'll resign in early January so a special election can be held (in April at the earliest).
• Washington: It looks like all the counting in Washington is finally done, with turnout a whopping 71% (thanks to the mail-in nature of the election, which goes a long way toward evaporating the 'enthusiasm gap'). Patty Murray wound up winning by just shy of 5%, right where UW's polling put it, compared with the out-of-state robo-pollsters who saw a much closer race. Dems still control both chambers of the state legislature by decent (but not supermajority anymore) margins, after losing 4 seats in the 49-seat Senate and 5 in the 98-seat House. Three races where the Dem trails (Randy Gordon in the Senate, and Dawn Morrell and Kelli Linville in the House) are apparently going to recount, though, by margins ranging from 47 to 194.
• Money: The Dems, after getting outgunned on the dark money front in 2010 by a wide margin, aren't going to be caught napping this time (and this time, unlike 2008, they seem to have Barack Obama's tacit approval). David Brock (in his quest to become the left's answer to Karl Rove) is busy revving up his own 527/501(c)(4) type-thing for corraling large donations from undisclosed donors. The good news: they've already lined up $4 million in commitments. The bad news: they're being led by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (although maybe she's better behind the scenes than she is as a campaigner).
• History: Here's a great look back from Greg Giroux at Senate cycles where one party was defending more than 10 seats than the other party (as the Dems will in 2012). While the last three times this happened (2006 2008, 1986, and 1980), the defending party got hammered, many of the prior examples showed little movement one way or the other, including 1976, where a number of incumbents of both parties lost (in the post-Watergate environment) but it all balanced out to zero.
• MA-Sen: Well, that was a nice week off from forward-looking horse-race reporting. On to 2012: one of the first Dem names being floated as a potential challenger to Scott Brown is someone I'd never heard of till now, but who seems to have 'rock star' frequently appended to his name: Setti Warren, the mayor of the very affluent yet very liberal suburb of Newton. Warren, who is African-American, has been mayor of the city of 93,000 (which is 3% black) for only a year.
• NV-Sen: In case it just wasn't clear what an astoundingly well-handled re-election effort came from Harry Reid's camp this year, check out Jon Ralston's re-cap. He recounts how the groundwork was laid years ago, lopping off potential challengers until the weakest one was left standing, details the post-primary ad blast that defined Angle permanently, and also goes into how Reid's team never lost faith that their own internal polls (the same ones Ralston saw) were right and the public polls were wrong.
And then there's the 2012 race, already fascinating, with the first question being whether the unpopular and impoverished John Ensign even tries to run again. The LVRJ looks at the four top Dem contenders and six potential GOP challengers as well, including (could lightning strike twice?) Sharron Angle. The article also looks at potential musical chairs and open seats in the House, given the imminent creation of a Dem-leaning NV-04 and the possibility of multiple House members running for Senate.
• UT-Sen: One guy who shouldn't feel too confident going into 2012 is Orrin Hatch, despite his state's GOP lean: Bob Bennett's death by teabagging is a huge red flag, and now a poll from Mason-Dixon for the Salt Lake Tribune has him at a 40% re-elect, with 48% saying "someone else." (Of course, that 48% no doubt includes both Dems and Tea Partiers.) No head-to-head numbers in the general or primary, though.
• VA-Sen: Jim Webb has sounded notably ambivalent about the prospect of a run for re-election in 2012; it's also been evident in his fundraising so far. A recent interview has him still continuing that tone, say he's "still sorting that out" and seeing him venting about the White House.
• WV-Sen: I suspect this isn't likely to have the desired effect, but it certainly can't hurt them to ask: the GOP is already leaning on newly-elected West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin to change parties. They're offering him his pick of committee assignments (in the minority, natch) and citing the difficulty of running downticket from Obama in 2012 in WV.
• CA-Gov: Here's a nice bit of early perceptions-setting: Jerry Brown has ditched the offer of swank transition headquarters on Sacramento's K Street (apparently Sacto has its own K St. that serves a similar purpose?) in favor of keeping operations at his old campaign HQ in Oakland. Shades of the old Plymouth Duster from 35 years ago! (Although it's worth noting that the Duster, though considered an econobox at the time, today holds a minor place in the muscle car pantheon.)
• IN-Gov: So this Mike Pence for Governor thing may not be a done deal yet. Moving to Gov was clearly done with an eye toward an eventual run for President (as nobody, if you're not named James Garfield, gets elected Prez straight out of the House). But he still seems to be gauging the possibility of a 2012 run straight from the House, buoyed by his popularity at the last Value Voters Summit and the lack of a dominant player in the current GOP field. He says he'll make a decision by the end of the year.
• MT-Gov: This small state will have a big gubernatorial race in 2012, with Brian Schweitzer term-limited. Former Republican Rep.-at-large Rick Hill has just announced he's running; Hill served from 1997 to 2000 before retiring because of health issues which he says have been resolved. Two other GOPers, former state Sens. Corey Stapleton and Ken Miller, are also running; no Dem has thrown his hat in yet.
• KY-AG: This could be an interesting matchup, of the Senate race that could have been. The Kentucky off-year elections are in just one year, and Trey Grayson (the SoS, and loser of the GOP Senate primary) is looking for a promotion of sorts, to AG. That would put him up against Dem Jack Conway (loser of the Seante general), who presumably will be running for re-election.
• DGA: One committee that can feel pleased with its mild overperformance (not that -5 seats is a good thing, of course, especially what with the heartbreaker in Florida, but there was some definite beating of the spread going on here) is the DGA. Director Nathan Daschle lays it out in a memo that's worth reading if you need something to feel good about, pointing out that the GOP's gain is explicable purely by the races that the DGA didn't financially contest (KS, MI, OK, TN, and WY).
• Leadership: It looks like we can call off the Pete Sessions Deathwatch. He'll be back for another term at the helm of the NRCC (after abandoning plans to run for majority whip, which looks like it'll fall effortlessly to Kevin McCarthy). Whether he can maintain the NRCC's gains this next cycle will be the real test of Sessions' abilities; although he'll get some aid from redistricting, there's an awful lot of deadwood washed up on the beach that'll need protecting. Also, John Cornyn will almost certainly also be back at the NRSC, eager to finish what he got halfway through this cycle.
Meanwhile, as we mentioned last night, the DSCC chair is the hot potato that no one, even Charles Schumer, wants to hold. The main unresolved issue for the Dems is the minority whip race, which pits Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn against each other in the #2 spot on the truncated leadership ladder in the minority. Surpisingly, it seems like Hoyer may (despite what looks like Nancy Pelosi efforts to box him out) be able to pull this out, given some crossover support from many members of Pelosi's camp (notably Ed Markey and Jerry Nadler). Progressive Caucus leadership (like Lynn Woolsey and Raul Grijalva) has lined up behind Clyburn, though. Here's one weird suggestion for breaking the stalemate (from Jesse Jackson Jr.): both should get out of the whip race, and co-run the DCCC together (which, with Chris Van Hollen out, is also without a head right now).
• AK-Sen: Lisa Murkowski, whose primary challenge from Some Dude got much more interesting when Sarah Palin endorsed said Dude (Joe Miller), won't be able to count on appointed Gov. Sean Parnell's explicit backing in the primary. When pressed on the issue at a gubernatorial debate last night, Parnell "visibly squirmed" before saying that he would support whoever wins the primary.
• LA-Sen: I hope your last few days are going better for you than David Vitter's last few days: yesterday, he had to face a phalanx of reporters interested in the issue of Brent Furer's continued presence on Vitter's staff despite his criminal record. Vitter said that was old news, that Furer had been disciplined two years ago, and moreover that Furer hadn't been assigned to handle women's issues. Now it's come out that several legislative guide books, in fact, do list Furer as Vitter's point man on women's issues. (TPM's link has video of Vitter in front of reporters. Think back to the visuals of his post-prostitution-problem press conference, and note again that Vitter is using his wife literally as a human shield.)
• NV-Sen: Ah, Sharron Angle... the gift that just keeps on giving, day after day. Everyone is abuzz that she called the BP oil-spill escrow account a "slush fund," apparently having learned nothing from Joe Barton getting raked over the coals for saying the same thing (to say nothing of the fact that she threw a dogwhistle reference to Saul Alinsky in there for her ultra-right-wing fans, completely apropos of nothing). After a brief firestorm, Angle is already walking back the "slush fund" comment. And "slush fund" wasn't even the most outrageous Angle quote that came out today, as it was came out that when she successfully counseled a young girl impregnated after being raped by her father against getting an abortion, she referred to that as turning "a lemon situation into lemonade." Well, if the GOP was thinking it was OK to let Sharron Angle out of whatever undisclosed bunker they've been keeping her in (and Rand Paul and Mark Kirk), it looks like it's back to the bunker for a few more weeks.
• NY-Sen-B: David Malpass gave some clarification to his comments yesterday that he'd like to be on Carl Paladino's Taxpayer's line in November: he won't seek the line if he isn't also the GOP nominee, in order to not be a spoiler for the Republican candidate. Bad news for fans of cat fud.
• OH-Sen: Despite Lee Fisher's fairly consistent if small lead in the polls in this race, there are almost nine million big reasons to be pessimistic about this race, and that's Rob Portman's war chest. Portman raised $2.6 million in the second quarter, leaving him with $8.8 million cash on hand.
• PA-Sen: Pat Toomey is out with five (5!) new TV ads, hammering on government spending. His camp says the ads will run "statewide" and for an "indefinite" period of time, but... and you can probably guess what I'm going to say next... no word on the size of the buy.
• GA-Gov: If John Oxendine can pull out a Republican primary victory despite his seeming slide in the polls, his money will have a lot to do with it: he raised $850K in the last two months and is currently sitting on $1.83 million CoH (tops among GOPers, but way behind Dem Roy Barnes' $4 million). Meanwhile, Nathan Deal, sinking into 3rd place, has been brainstorming about what or who Republican base voters really seem to hate these days, and apparently he's settled on immigrants, as he's now loudly touting his plans to duplicate Arizona's anti-illegal immigrant law in Georgia.
• KY-Gov: PPP takes an advance look at the Kentucky gubernatorial race in 2011, finding that incumbent Dem Steve Beshear (elected easily against hapless Ernie Fletcher in 2007) has a tough re-election fight ahead of him. Beshear (with 38/35 approval) leads Trey Grayson 41-38, but trails Agriculture Comm. Richie Farmer 40-39.
• SC-Gov: The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce is pointedly sticking with its endorsement of Democratic nominee Vincent Sheheen, despite some carping from its internal ranks that they should have endorsed Nikki Haley. The Chamber is framing the issue as that the Governor needs to actually cooperate with the (GOP-controlled) legislature to get things done, something that Mark Sanford didn't do and that they don't see Haley changing. The Haley campaign tried playing the TARP card against the Chamber, saying that they're "a big fan of bailouts and corporate welfare."
• TX-Gov: Despite increasing evidence of links between the Greens' petition drive and the Texas GOP's financial kingpins, the Texas Dems seem to sense they aren't going to get any further on their efforts to kick the Greens off the ballot (having run into an obstacle in the form of the GOP-owned Texas Supreme Court). They dropped their challenge to the Greens staying on the ballot, which clears the way Green candidate Deb Shafto to appear on the gubernatorial ballot to give the shafto to Bill White. (They're keeping the case alive at the district court level in an effort to get civil penalties imposed, though.)
• OH-03: I don't know how many other states do this instead of allowing selection by party bosses, but Ohio is poised to have an unusual "special primary" in the 3rd, on Tuesday, July 13. This was brought about when Mark MacNealy, the Democratic nominee in the 3rd (to go against Republican incumbent Rep. Mike Turner), dropped out of the race post-primary. This race is on absolutely nobody's radar (although it's a swing district, so it could be interesting with a top-tier candidate), so I can't say we'll be burning the midnight oil liveblogging Tuesday's contest.
• OH-12: This is a swing district (D+1) with a top-tier Democratic challenger, so the DCCC has been right to tout this as one of our few legitimate offense opportunities. This just may not be the right year, though, if a new internal poll for Rep. Pat Tiberi (from the ubiquitous POS) is to be believed: he leads Dem Franklin Co. Commisioner Paula Brooks by a gaudy 53-28 margin.
• WI-07: With Sean Duffy having reported strong fundraising numbers yesterday, it's good to see that state Sen. Julie Lassa, who's trying to hold this seat after David Obey's late retirement announcement, is raking in the money too. She raised $310K in just six weeks.
• WV-01: After Mike Oliverio walked back his earlier statements from the primary where he was agnostic about voting for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker, it seems like Oliverio and the Democratic leadership have kissed and made up, sensing a good opportunity for a Democratic hold here. Steny Hoyer, Jim Clyburn, and Chris Van Hollen have all cut big checks for Oliverio (although, perhaps pointedly, Pelosi herself has not). Oliverio also announced having raised $300K just during the month of June. Given Alan Mollohan's seeming allergy to fundraising, we may have given ourselves an electoral upgrade here (though definitely not an ideological one).
• CO-Sen: Both Democratic candidates are hitting the TV airwaves, with Michael Bennet trying once again to introduce himself to his constituents with a feel-good bio spot, and Andrew Romanoff's first ad playing up the anti-corruption, anti-Washington angle he's been working. Over on the Republican side, where Ken Buck seems to be putting some distance between himself and Jane Norton, Buck got some useful backing from the Dick Army: he snagged a FreedomWorks endorsement. Norton's 2005 support for TABOR-limiting Referendum C seems to have been a dealbreaker for the teabaggers.
• KY-Sen: PPP, fresh off its Rand Paul/Jack Conway poll yesterday, also has some approval numbers out for Mitch McConnell. It's more evidence that the most dangerous job in America is party leader in the Senate. McConnell's numbers are dwindling, and his backing of Trey Grayson over Paul in the GOP primary seems to have accelerated that: he's down to 34/48, after having had favorables in the 40s in their previous polls, with almost all of his decline coming from Republicans. 49% of all respondents would like to see him lose his leadership role, with only 38% saying continue.
• NH-Sen: Big money for Kelly Ayotte this quarter: she raised $720K last quarter, her biggest quarter so far. No word on her CoH.
• NV-Sen: With their empty coffers suddenly replenished, the Karl Rove-led 527 American Crossroads decided to keep their anti-Harry Reid attack ad on the air in Nevada for the fourth straight week. They've spent nearly half a million airing the same ad.
• NY-Sen-B: Although the terrible disarray in the state GOP can't be helping matters, New York's unique ballot access laws just seem to encourage self-destructive behavior by the local Republicans. With Republican/Conservative/Independence Party splits threatening to result in multiple viable right-of-center candidates in races ranging from NY-01 to NY-23, now cat fud is about to start flying in the Senate race. David Malpass, seeming a long shot in the Republican field, has said that he's going to seek the ballot line on the as-yet-to-be-named teabagger's ballot line that gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino is trying to create, most likely to be called the Taxpayer's line. Malpass, as you'll recall, is lagging in GOP primary polls against Joe DioGuardi, who already has the Conservative line but is trying to petition onto the GOP ballot, and Bruce Blakeman, who's assured a spot on the GOP ballot. This may even spill over into the who-cares other Senate race, where Gary Berntsen wants in on the Taxpayer's line (and where rival Jay Townsend already has the Conservative line).
• WA-Sen: The Washington Farm Bureau, which endorsed Dino Rossi in his two failed gubernatorial bids, has decided not to endorse anybody in the Senate race. Goldy wonders whether this is a matter of lots of Clint Didier supporters at the Farm Bureau... Didier, after all, is a farmer... or if the Farm Bureau secretly likes Patty Murray's skill at appropriations.
• WV-Sen: Gov. Joe Manchin held a press conference today to announce his plans on the vacant Senate seat, and it seems like the institutional pressure on him to fill the seat soon (preferably with himself) seems to be working. Manchin stopped short of calling on the state legislature to have a special session to move up the election to Nov. 2010, but he did tell his AG to start laying the legal groundwork for such a move. Manchin again said that he wouldn't appoint himself to the seat on a temporary basis, but confirmed that he would be "highly" interested in running for the seat whenever the special election occurs. (He didn't give any inkling on who he might appoint.) At any rate, it seems like Manchin feels confident that, despite the national downdraft for Dems this year, his own personal popularity, combined with the shortened election schedule working to his advantage, would facilitate his election in November; if he didn't, he wouldn't be going along so readily with the moved-up election.
• CO-Gov: Democratic nominee John Hickenlooper had better hope the contributions keep coming in: he's sitting on only $66K CoH right now (although he raised $500K in June alone), but he just reserved $1.2 million in ad time. The plan is to lock the ad space in now, when it's still cheap to reserve far in advance. On the Republican side of the aisle, insurgent candidate Dan Maes is in some trouble: he's being hit with the largest fine ever handed down to a Colorado candidate for campaign finance donations. It was for a series of small-ball failures rather than one huge blunder, ranging from improper reimbursements to himself for mileage, to failure to list occupations for many donors.
• OK-Gov: As I remarked yesterday, it's a remarkable transformation for Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who in a few months went from DOA in her own primary, to competing with Sarah Palin in terms of traversing the country handing out GOP primary endorsements like so much poisoned candy. (What's something Arizona-specific that we can call her clutch of endorsees? Mama Rattlesnakes?) Brewer waded into another gubernatorial race, giving her backing to Rep. Mary Fallin in Oklahoma.
• PA-Gov: Democratic nominee Dan Onorato seems to be kicking his fundraising operations into higher gear after having won the primary; he pulled in $1 million in contributions in the last month. He's sitting on $2.5 million CoH.
• TX-Gov: The plot (to get the Green Party on the ballot in Texas) keeps thickening. New e-mails have surfaced among Green leaders revealing the name of Anthony Holm, a GOP consultant linked to big-time GOP donor Bob Perry (the man behind the Swift Boat Vets), saying that he wanted to pay for 40% of the costs of petitions to get the Greens on the ballot. Holm denies any involvement.
• MN-06: It looks like the 6th, held by lightning rod Michele Bachmann, is going to be the nation's most expensive House race this year. Democratic challenger Tarryl Clark posted big numbers this morning, raising $910K this quarter, claiming $2 million raised so far this cycle. (No mention of her CoH.) Then later this morning, Bachmann topped that, raising $1.7 million last quarter, giving her $4.1 million CoH, which would be plenty even for a Senate race.
• TN-06: State Sen. Diane Black has a GOP primary lead in an internal poll taken for her by OnMessage. She's at 41, leading former Rutherford County GOP chair Lou Ann Zelenik at 22 and state Sen. Jim Tracy at 20. Black (or whoever else wins) should have an easy time picking up this R+13 Dem-held open seat, vacated by retiring Rep. Bart Gordon.
• TN-08: Here's one more GOP primary internal poll out of Tennessee, from the Stephen Fincher camp. His poll, conducted by the Tarrance Group, gives Fincher the lead at 32, followed by Ron Kirkland at 23 and George Flinn at 21. Attacks on Fincher by the other two seem to have taken their toll, as Fincher's previous internal poll from early April gave him a 40-17-7 lead. As with the poll in the 6th, there's no word on general election matchups.
• WI-07: Republican Sean Duffy, bolstered by David Obey's retirement (and a Sarah Palin endorsement), had a big quarter, raising $470K. He's at $670K CoH.
• Legislatures: If you read one thing today, this should be it: Stateline.org's Louis Jacobson handicaps all the state legislative chambers that promise to be competitive this year. As you might expect, the news isn't very good for Democrats, considering not just the nature of the year but how many chambers they currently hold. He projects one currently Democratic-controlled chamber as Lean R (the Indiana House), and has 11 nominally Dem-held chambers as Tossups (both Alabama chambers, Iowa House, Montana House, both New Hampshire chambers, New York Senate, Ohio House, Pennsylvania House, and both Wisconsin chambers). The only nominally GOP-held chamber that's a Tossup is the Alaska Senate, which is in fact controlled by a coalition of sane Republicans and Democrats.
• NRCC: The NRCC seems to like slapping lots of different names on different groups so that they look busy, and now they've even come up with a program for primary victors who are running in safe Republican seats: "Vanguard!" There's no word on what exactly they plan to do for these shoo-ins, or if it's just an impressive-sounding title so that the likes of Jeff Duncan and Todd Rokita don't feel left out.
• Fundraising: The Fix has a couple other fundraising tidbits that we haven't seen before: Craig Miller in FL-24 raised $270K for 2Q with $332K CoH. And Charlie Bass in NH-02 raised $170K and has $360K CoH.
• CA-Sen: Good news for Tom Campbell, in the form of the Senate half of M4's poll of the California GOP primary: he leads Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore, 33-28-15. (Of course, with his plans to briefly go dark to conserve funds, that gives Fiorina a chance to play catchup when the margin's not that big.) Bad news for Campbell, though: the NRA has him in its metaphorical crosshairs, sending out a mailer to members attacking Campbell and, while not endorsing, offering kind words for Fiorina and DeVore.
• CT-Sen: This is going to make it a lot easier for Richard Blumenthal to make the case that the "in Vietnam" controversy is something of a cheap shot. A longer-form video release of the appearance (provided, ironically, by the Linda McMahon campaign, undercutting their own hatchet job) where the offending phrase occurred have him correctly referring to having "served in the military, during the Vietnam era" in the very same speech. That's not stopping Vietnam vet Rob Simmons, who, sensing an opening, has rolled out web advertising with "Blumenthal Lied About Vietnam" in very large letters.
Blumenthal is getting more explicit backing from Democratic bigwigs now, as his mea culpa/attempt to get back on the offense seems to have had the desired effect. Rep. Chris Murphy, the likeliest guy to pick up the pieces if Blumenthal had to bail out, offered his unqualified support; so too did Howard Dean. And here's one thing that's actually good about Rasmussen's one-day, no-callback samples: they can strike fast. They polled Connecticut, and while the trendlines aren't appealing, they find Blumenthal still beating McMahon even in the heat of the moment before the story has had time to digest, and beating the other, unmoneyed GOP opponents by pretty wide margins. Markos has some really nice pushback against Rasmussen in general, today, asking why they always poll quickly when there's the potential for a good Republican narrative but not when the narrative doesn't fit (as seen in their failure to poll the Sorta Super-Tuesday primaries).
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist has been trying to woo union support, starting with a speech at the state AFL-CIO convention this weekend. It's another indication that he's trying to move squarely onto Kendrick Meek's turf and monopolize as much of the left-of-center vote as he can, now that he's free from his GOP shackles. Meanwhile, quixotic Democratic candidate Jeff Greene has apparently been seen wooing Ukrainian strippers, in 2005 on his 145-foot yacht while cruising the Black Sea. Not so, claims his campaign spokesperson; he was busy traveling with his rabbi at the time instead.
• KY-Sen: In case you needed one more data point on how thin-skinned Rand Paul and how likely a meltdown from him is at some point before November, here's an anecdote from last night: he refused to take the customary concession call from Trey Grayson, at least according to the Grayson camp.
• NC-Sen: Here's a big score for Elaine Marshall: Third-place finisher Kenneth Lewis gave his backing to Marshall in her runoff against Cal Cunningham. This move isn't so surprising, given that Lewis's supporters, like Rep. Eva Clayton, were already gravitating toward Marshall, but it ought to steer much of Lewis's African-American and youth base in her direction as well.
• NV-Sen: Three items, all of which are very, very bad for Sue Lowden. First, the Club for Growth finally weighed into the Senate primary, and they backed right-winger Sharron Angle (maybe not that surprising, since they backed her in the 2006 primary for NV-02). That ought to give Angle a further shot of adrenaline, though, on top of her Tea Party Express endorsement and polling momentum. Lowden is also still bogged down in controversy over her luxury bus, doubling-down on her claims that use of the $100K vehicle was leased despite also having stated elsewhere that the bus was "donated" (which means it would have needed to be reported as an in-kind contribution). That's nothing, though, compared to the (by my count) quintupling-down on Chickens-for-Checkups, simultaneously trying to fight top Nevada journo Jon Ralston on the fact that, yes, people are bartering for health care while trying to claim that she never actually said anything about Chickencare at all.
• NY-Sen-B: The only GOP big name left who hadn't said anything definitive about participating in the GOP Senate primary for the right to get creamed by Kirsten Gillibrand finally said a public "no." Orange County Executive Ed Diana said he'll stick with his current job, to which he was elected in November to a third term.
• UT-Sen: Looks like that teabaggers' victory in Utah might be short-lived. Bob Bennett seems to be more interested than before in running as a write-in in the general (where, despite the complex dynamics of a write-in campaign, he faces better odds with the broader electorate than with the narrow slice of extremists running the GOP convention). We may know tomorrow what his plans are, as he emphasized "Stay tuned tomorrow."
• WA-Sen: If Dino Rossi really is still interested in running for Senate, this isn't a particularly good way of showing it. Rossi is scheduled to make a blockbuster appearance on May 25... to give opening remarks at a dinnertime seminar for local real estate investors focusing on strategies for profiting off foreclosures. Because nothing says "I'm a man of the people" than knowing all the ins and outs of how to profit off the people's misery.
• AL-Gov: Artur Davis is out with an internal poll, that seems mostly oriented toward countering the sense that he's losing ground among his African-American base. The poll shows Davis leading Democratic primary rival Ron Sparks 46-33. It also shows Davis leading 50-25 among African-Americans (despite the defections of some prominent local black groups), while trailing Sparks 42-41 among whites.
• FL-Gov: Bill McCollum is going to have to start taking moneybags Rick Scott seriously, and he's striking hard, sending out a press release calling him an "embarrassment" and a "fraud," presumably in reference to allegations leveled against Scott's health care firm. Scott's ginormous introductory ad buy is now estimating at $6.3 million.
• KS-Gov: Sam Brownback is drawing some heat for taking things out of context. Now, politicians take things out of context all the time, but his sleight-of-hand in attempting to fight efforts to more tightly regulate the business of car loans to military members may be a fridge too far.
"CNN Money on May 13 reported that 'Raj Date ... agreed that the additional (Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection) regulation might cause some dealers to stop arranging loans," Brownback said in the letter.
But Brownback's letter did not include the rest of Date's comment, which was this, "There will be some dealers who say, 'If I have to play by an honest set [of] rules, then I can't be in this business anymore.' I'm not going to shed any tears for these dealers."
• MA-Gov: You may recall last week's Rasmussen MA-Gov poll where, in an effort to find some sort of good news, they found that, if liberal activist Grace Ross somehow beat incumbent Dem Deval Patrick in the primary, she would lost to GOPer Charlie Baker. Well, it's looking like Ross is in danger of not even making it onto the ballot. The state SoS says she has only a little more than half of the 10,000 signatures she needs; Ross promises an announcement tomorrow morning on her next step. (The upside for Patrick, if Ross qualifies for the primary though, would be $750K in public financing for his campaign, which he wouldn't be entitled to if he were running unopposed.)
• ME-Gov: There's been some ongoing controversy in the sleepy Maine governor's race about how Republican candidate Steve Abbott (former CoS to Susan Collins) wound up with GOP voter lists, but this is a strange turn: the state Republican party chair, Charlie Webster, is now saying that Abbott's camp flat-out "stole" it.
• GA-09: The special election to replace Nathan Deal (where GOPers Tom Graves and Lee Hawkins are in a runoff) seems to have winnowed the Republican field for the regularly-scheduled GOP primary, too. Former state Senate majority leader Bill Stephens has dropped out of contention in that field.
• HI-01: Even if something incredibly dramatic happens between now and Saturday's drop-dead date in the special election in the 1st, things are still pretty much cast in stone. In the all-mail in election, now 43% of all ballots sent out have been returned.
• IN-03: State Sen. Marlin Stutzman (whose name rec is sky-high right now after running fairly well in the GOP Senate primary against Dan Coats) says that he's going to strike while the iron is hot, and get into the race to replace resigning Rep. Mark Souder. Other GOPers confirming that they'll run include state Rep. Randy Borror, Ft. Wayne city councilor Liz Brown, and recent primary loser Phil Troyer. Another recent primary loser, Bob Thomas, is a potential candidate.
• OH-16: After having found an excuse to hide behind the door the last time Barack Obama came to Ohio, Rep. John Boccieri was proudly with him when he visited Youngstown yesterday. Perhaps he can sense a bit of a turning of the tide? Troublingly, though, Senate candidate Lee Fisher wasn't present.
• PA-12: PPP digs through the data from their last pre-election poll in the 12th and finds what may really have done the Republicans in. There's one entity in the district even more unpopular than Barack Obama (who had 30% approval), and that's Congressional Republicans, who were at a miserable 22/60. In nationalizing the election, Tim Burns tied himself to the nation's least favorite people of all.
• PA-19: After having surviving his primary last night despite publicly seeking another job, it looks like Rep. Todd Platts exposed himself to all that danger for no reason at all. Platts announced yesterday that the Obama administration had let him know that he wasn't going to be selected for the Government Accountability Office job he'd been angling for.
• CT-AG: Here's one of the weirdest career crash-and-burns I've seen lately: SoS Susan Bysiewicz went in a few months from likely next Governor to somehow not even eligible to run for the lower-tier job she dropped down to. Connecticut's Supreme Court unanimously ruled that she didn't meet the criteria for legal experience required to become AG, reversing a lower court's decision. Former Democratic state Sen. George Jepsen now has the AG job pretty much to himself. At any rate, with Bysiewicz now combing the "Help Wanted" section, that gives the Connecticut Dems a fallback plan for the Senate if Richard Blumenthal does need to bail out (although Bysiewicz may be seriously damaged at this point too).
• OR-St. House: Here are a couple races with interesting implications that I forgot to watch last night: two Republican state Reps. from the high-desert parts of Oregon (the state's Republican stronghold) committed the unthinkable heresy of not only bipartisanship but supporting tax increases to close the state's budget gap. Both Bob Jenson and Greg Smith survived their primaries, though, after teabaggers, right-to-lifers, and even their state House minority leader turned their wrath against them.
• Arizona: One other election result from last night that most people, us included, seemed to overlook was Proposition 100 in Arizona. In a surprise, at least to those people who think that it's a rabidly anti-tax year (which would be those people who didn't pay any attention to Measures 66 and 67 earlier this year in Oregon), the people of this red state voted by a fairly wide margin for a temporary sales tax increase as part of a package of changes to close the budget gap. It's a victory for Jan Brewer, actually, who backed the plan (perhaps feeling safer to do so, having solidified her position with her support for the "papers please" law).
• 1994: When you have a wave, a lot of dead wood washes up on the beach. Prompted by '94 alum Mark Souder's mini-scandal and resignation, Dana Milbank looks back at the wide array of scoundrels and rogues who were swept in in 1994.
• History: History's only barely on the side of Blanche Lincoln when it comes to runoffs. It turns out that the person who finishes first in a runoff wins 72% of the time, but when that's limited only to runoffs in primaries, the success rate is only 55%... and Lincoln's victory over Bill Halter last night was a particularly close one.
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal just ended his presser, and it was forceful and an attempt to go back on the offensive. (Reid Wilson's tweet sums it up pretty well: "Shot: Dick Blumenthal's press conference. Chaser: Mark Sanford's press conference. Study in opposites.") He admitted to misspeaking on "in Vietnam," but went after the NYT for the implied impugning of those who served stateside. Good damage control, but we'll have to wait a few days to see if it takes. The local establishment seems to be taking a wait-and-see attitude, too, as Joe Lieberman is publicly saying he's still undecided on the race (recall, though, that Blumenthal endorsed Ned Lamont, and Lieberman tends to be one who holds a grudge); the DSCC, though, is cranking things up defending Blumenthal.
Meanwhile, the GOP has been taking credit for funneling this oppo research to the Times... however, after initially taking a premature victory lap around the ring bellowing with arms raised, the Linda McMahon camp has suddenly pulled earlier references to feeding the info to the NYT off its website.
• FL-Sen: Billionaire Jeff Greene is going up with not one but two different introductory TV ads, calling himself a job-creating outsider. Looks like he's serious about spending some major cash on his rather quixotic bid in the Democratic primary,.
• KY-Sen (pdf): One last poll sneaked across the finish line, from Republican pollster Magellan (not working on either candidate's behalf). In their poll of the GOP primary, they find, consistent with most pollsters, a big edge for Rand Paul; he leads Trey Grayson 55-30. PPP has some pretty tantalizing tidbits of cat fud that they found in the crosstabs of their GOP primary poll, though. Grayson supporters, i.e. establishment Republicans who probably secretly like their earmarks, really, really, don't like Rand Paul. Grayson supporters give Paul 23/53 favorables, and only 40% of them say they'll vote for Paul, while 43% flat-out say they won't vote for him.
• WA-Sen: While the Glenn Thrushes and Chris Cillizzas of the world seem to have some inside information that leads them to say that Dino Rossi is on the precipice of announcing his Senate run, there's just nothing in the local press that seems to bear that out. Instead, all we've got is a lot of lower-level Republicans getting impatient and starting to take each their frustrations out on each other. Clark Co. Commissioner Tom Mielke sent around an e-mail to various other state GOPers saying that Rossi's dithering is angering the base and hurting Republican chances of picking up the seat. The Seattle Times somehow got ahold of the e-mail and a bunch of responses from other insiders, if you want a glimpse behind the state GOP's curtain. Another insider, Mathew Manweller, pointed out that Mielke has an axe to grind as a Don Benton supporter, but also told the Times over the weekend that "Dino probably has to make a decision here and let people know within a week or so, or the milk is going to sour."
• WI-Sen: As expected, wealthy businessman Ron Johnson formally announced yesterday that he's getting in the GOP primary to go against Russ Feingold, joining three other never-before-elected rich guys. Wondering how Johnson made his fortune? Just one word: plastics.
• IA-Gov: In case the ideological fault lines in the GOP gubernatorial primary in Iowa couldn't get any clearer, Mitt Romney announced he's endorsing Terry Branstad for a return engagement. In fact, this may say more about Romney's plans than anything, as he seems to be trying to monopolize the sane/establishment wing of the party for 2012 against a Palin/Huckabee split among the nutters.
• NY-Gov: The Conservative Party is trying once again to upstage the Republicans in New York; their latest move involves moving their nominating convention up to May 28, three days before the GOP nominating convention. They're committed to backing Rick Lazio, and this is a move designed to force the GOP's hand into backing Lazio as well, rather than party-switching Steve Levy, in order to avoid a NY-23-style split between the GOP and the Conservatives.
• WI-Gov: Looking for some traction in the GOP primary, Mark Neumann is accusing Milwaukee Co. Exec Scott Walker of "working part-time" so he can campaign. (Does any officeholder not work part-time in the months leading up to an election?) Meanwhile, there was a big-time Walker walk-back, after he initially voiced displeasure with Arizona's anti-illegal immigrant law and then got deluged with negative comments on his Facebook page. Now suddenly he's for it, saying he changed his mind after talking to the Arizona state senator who proposed it.
• WY-Gov: Well, this is progress... I guess. Natrona County Democratic chair R.C. Johnson says she'll take one for the team and run for Governor on the Democratic line if no other viable candidate does. (The state party convention came and went last weekend without any takers.) Don't bowl us all over with your enthusiasm, R.C.!
• HI-01: Three of Hawaii's Democratic ex-Governors (John Waihee, George Ariyoshi, and Ben Cayetano) put out coordinated statements urging voters to, whatever else they might do, not vote for Charles Djou in the messed-up special election. Waihee said Djou winning would be a "nightmare."
• SC-05: Well, this is more than a little tasteless: the NRCC issued a statement referring to "Amnesiac John Spratt" and accusing him of having "completely forgotten" who he's working for. Spratt, of course, recently revealed that he's in the early stages of Parkinson's Disease, and his opponent, Mick Mulvaney, has carefully steered clear of turning that into a campaign issue. Have no fear, Mick, the NRCC's always willing to do what you aren't.
• VA-05 (pdf): So what's it like being in the World of Hurt? Pretty good, at least according to his own internal poll. Robert Hurt claims a POS poll gives him 35% of the vote in the GOP primary, with his nearest rival, Ken Boyd (the other non-teabagger in the race) lagging at 10%. The assorted teabaggers accumulated together account for another 9%.
• Things in General: CQ has a moderately interesting article today on other pending anti-incumbent primaries. Mostly I'm including it because one quote lingered with me, and I wanted to blockquote it for future reference, as a useful bit of perspective for anyone who gets a little too worked up about whatever's being hyperbolically, breathlessly being reported on in the news any given day:
"We overreact to everything here in Washington," said longtime Democratic media consultant Steve Murphy.
• AR-Sen: The White House hasn't given up on trying to put Blanche Lincoln over the top tomorrow; they're out with a new Barack Obama robocall on her behalf, saying she's "standing on the side of workers." Greg Sargent's head is busy exploding from all the logical disconnect, since Lincoln's main argument is that Bill Halter's union support is an indication of how he's a tool of Beltway liberals.
• AZ-Sen: I know, I know, people pick up and move on from jobs all the time, and you shouldn't read too much into it. But when your campaign manager and deputy campaign manager depart on the same day, in the middle of a dogfight against an insurgent primary opponent, it's going to always send up red flags. John McCain's camp maintains they weren't fired but are moving over to the national GOP's fundraising operations.
• CA-Sen: This isn't a good time for Tom Campbell to be cutting back on advertising, with the June 8 GOP primary fast approaching and Carly Fiorina still within striking distance and pitching in a few million dollars of her own. He's cutting back on TV ad buys for the campaign's final two weeks (although certainly not going dark) and will be focusing on direct mail instead. This could mean he's running low on money, feeling confident enough in the primary to start marshaling general election resources... or both.
• IL-Sen: I don't know if it's much of a sign of strength to release an internal poll that shows you tied, but it seems like the Alexi Giannoulias camp is eager to push back on the meme that he's somehow been fatally wounded by the Broadway Bank saga. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner finds Giannoulias and Mark Kirk tied at 44-44. For comparison purposes, they also let it be known that their previous (unreleased) poll, immediately after the Feds' seizure of the bank in late April, had Giannoulias in much worse shape, down 43-37, so it's possible the worst of the damage has passed as the story slips down the memory hole.
• KY-Sen: Wow, turns out not only Democrats get to whine about Fox News' selective treatment of the news. Trey Grayson is getting in on the act, griping about Rand Paul's constant presence on the network and the softball questions he gets thrown. That'd be fine if he were, y'know, not trying to win the GOP primary, where questioning the almighty Fox is an act of heresy. (Ironically, at the same time Grayson was having his press conference to level the charges, Rand Paul was busy appearing on Fox.)
• CA-Gov: In the Fix endorsement hierarchy, this probably slots in as "12) The "Oh shit, do I have to accept this endorsement?" Endorsement." Meg Whitman just got Dick Cheney's endorsement, fittingly in an op-ed in the Orange County Register. Meanwhile, a new poll from M4 Strategies (on behalf of the Small Business Action Committee) finds Whitman in better shape than the last few polls have: they say she leads Steve Poizner 49-32.
• CT-Gov: Yet another pre-convention dropout, as the minor candidates jump out of the way. This time it was on the Republican side, as Danbury mayor Mark Boughton plans to pull the plug on his campaign and sign on as Lt. Governor Michael Fedele's running mate.
• NM-Gov: The Albuquerque Journal polled the Republican gubernatorial primary, which, like many other primaries, has moved into "fast-approaching" territory (on June 1). They find a two-way duel at the top, between former state party chair Allen Weh and Dona Ana County DA Susana Martinez. Weh leads 31-30, while Pete Domenici Jr. has discovered that you've gotta have something more than name rec as a reason to run; he's lagging at 10. Martinez was also the latest female politician to get the endorsement of Sarah Palin this week, so we'll have to see if that gives her some momentum to break away.
• NV-Gov: Mason-Dixon, for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, also looked at the Republican gubernatorial primary in their most recent poll. (Recall they released the surprising results of Sue Lowden 30, Sharron Angle 25, Danny Tarkanian 22, John Chachas 3, and Chad Christensen 2 in the Senate primary last week.) They find, to no one's surprise, that Jim Gibbons' time is about done. Brian Sandoval leads the incumbent Gibbons, 45-27, with Mike Montandon clocking in at 6.
• OR-Gov: One more Republican gubernatorial primary, and this one actually is a surprise: while most pollsters (especially SurveyUSA) have given Chris Dudley a significant edge in Oregon, Eugene-based Lindholm says that Allen Alley is narrowly in the lead. Alley is ahead of Dudley 29-26, John Lim is at 10, and Bill Sizemore is at 4. One caveat: I've never heard of Lindholm before today, although they do maintain they aren't working for any of the candidates in the race. At any rate, maybe there's some potential for a surprise tomorrow.
• NY-13: Here's some interesting cat fud in the primary in the 13th, where GOP state Sen. Andrew Lanza was seen going after GOP candidate Michael Grimm over campaigning at a Memorial Day event. Lanza had been associated with running for the seat himself, and says he'll back ex-Rep. Vito Fossella in case the odd rumors about a comeback come true.
• NY-24: After refusing to commit to his re-election bid back in April after getting pressed from all sides on his HCR conduct, Dem Rep. Mike Arcuri announced today that he will indeed be seeking a third term. (J)
• OR-05: After some earlier suspicions that moderate state Rep. Scott Bruun, the NRCC's preferred recruit, might not even get past teabagging businessman Fred Thompson (no, not the Fred Thompson), SurveyUSA polled the GOP primary and found that Bruun is very likely to prevail. Bruun leads Thompson 46-25, including 52-30 among the "already voted."
• WV-01: Political scientist Boris Shor has attracted some good notices, at 538 and similar places, for his work on extrapolating DW-Nominate-type scores into the state legislatures. Looking at Mike Oliverio's votes in the West Virginia state Senate (where he's about as conservative as the average WV Senate Republican), Shor projects Oliverio as the most conservative Democratic member of the House, more so than even Walt Minnick.
• CfG: Speaking of Walt Minnick, he was one of only three Democrats to get the seal of good housekeeping from the Club for Growth. Minnick, Gene Taylor, and Bobby Bright all managed to break 50% on the CfG's scoring system; in fact, Bright got up to 64% positive.
• Polltopia: PPP wants your input on where to poll next: California, Iowa, Michigan, South Carolina, or Washington? PPP's Tom Jensen is also teasing that another NRSC-backed candidate is in some trouble, in a poll to be released tomorrow. Don't leave us hanging, Tom!
Stick a fork in 'im? Either we're the subject of the biggest case of respondent hornswaggling in polling history, or Rand Paul should win this one in a walk. Let's take a moment to reflect on just how formidable Grayson seemed when he first started "exploring" this race, and when he started threatening to primary incumbent Sen. Jim Bunning out of existence. Little did he -- or anyone else, really -- suspect that the Alex Jones-brown-nosing, never-before-elected son of Libertarian fetishist icon Ron Paul would knock off the star player of the Kentucky Republican Party's bench in a primary. That's an accomplishment for the ages.
Sadly, PPP chose not to spend its finite resources on the Democratic primary. That's a real shame, considering that that's actually looking like a real race after several recent polls have shown state AG Jack Conway closing in on Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo. But, we don't have to wait too much longer until the final poll of this race -- the one with the 0.0% margin of error -- is released.
In his post, Markos has trend lines dating back to his last poll of this race, commissioned in March. However, R2K also polled this race just a week ago for a group of local news outlets. I've inserted those numbers in parens, and the March numbers in brackets. Between this poll and SurveyUSA's latest poll showing Mongiardo only ahead by a single point, I think we can say that Conway is making his move. But will it be enough on Tuesday?
General election nums (March in brackets):
Dan Mongiardo (D): 38 
Rand Paul (R): 43 
Undecided: 19 
The situation looks mildly better for Democrats against Rand Paul, but a looming weakness remains: both Mongiardo and Conway are fairly beat up, with favorables at 47-42 and 46-44, respectively. Grayson's at 52-27 and Rand Paul sits at 56-27. Hopefully the Democratic nominee can do a better job exploiting Paul's weirdo politics than Trey Grayson has been able to do in the Republican primary.