The main event of last night was the Republican gubernatorial primary, which ended surprisingly quickly, with a convincing victory by Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam. Haslam, the ostensible 'moderate' in the race, benefited from not only his lots of his own money, but also from having the moderate side to himself and a conservative pile-up in opposition (and the fact that Tennessee has no runoffs). He defeated Rep. Zach Wamp and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey 47-29-22. (In one more parallel to the Michigan governor primary, Wamp, who said in his concession speech that "The best candidate doesn't always win," can now compete with Rep. Peter Hoekstra as to which one can be the douchiest loser.) Haslam is certainly favored against Dem Mike McWherter in November.
In the House races, there were extremely close GOP primaries in the TN-03 and TN-06 open seats In the 3rd, the somewhat less objectionable Chuck Fleischmann beat former state party chair Robin Smith 30-28. In the 6th, Diane Black won with 31, over fellow state Sen. Jim Tracy and crazed Islamophobe Lou Ann Zelenik (with both at 30). Black faces Dem Brett Carter, who won a similarly close race.
Two other GOP primaries were less close. In TN-08, for the right to face Roy Herron to succeed retiring John Tanner, Stephen Fincher won a surprisingly convincing victory over two self-funders, Ron Kirkland and George Flinn, 48-24-24. And in potential sleeper race TN-04, to face Lincoln Davis, Scott DesJarlais beat Jack Bailey 37-27.
The very last race card may have been played in TN-09. In the third straight slime-covered Dem primary here that was all about race, embarrassing former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton came up woefully short in his quest (predicated almost entirely on Herenton being black and Cohen being white, in a black-majority district) to unseat Rep. Steve Cohen, by a 79-21 margin. Somehow I don't think this'll be the last primary Cohen ever sees, but hopefully they'll be about something other than race in the future.
Finally, the 15 minutes of fame for Basil Marceaux -- whose flag has 49 stars because he'll be dead in the cold cold ground before he recognizes Missourah -- seem to be up, as the viral video hero got 0% in the Republican TN-Gov primary and 1% in the TN-03 primary.
• TN-Gov (R): Bill Haslam hopes to bulls-eye a Wamp rat tonight (and Ron Ramsey for good measure). The Knoxville mayor is generally regarded as the frontrunner in the Republican gubernatorial field, in both polling and fundraising (much of which came out of his own pocket). Rep. Zach Wamp and Ramsey (the Lt. Governor) are further back in the polls, and trying to out-conservative each other in their messaging. In fact, this is starting to look like a replay of the Michigan GOP primary earlier this week, with the self-funding 'moderate' (to the extent that Haslam apparently once signed off on a tax increase, and isn't as demagogic as the others) benefiting from a brawl between multiple conservatives.. and also in that while polling has shown Dem nominee Mike McWherter competitive against the conservative candidates, he matches up much less well against Haslam. There's also a wild card in the form of viral video star Basil Marceaux, whose late-surging candidacy may make some inroads among the anti-traffic-stop, pro-immuning crowd. (C)
• TN-03 (R): Like Peter Hoekstra in MI-02, the joy of watching one of the House's most execrable members (Zach Wamp, in this case) give up his seat for a gubernatorial primary faceplant is tempered somewhat by the knowledge that he'll be replaced by someone just as nasty. There are 11 GOPers in this primary, but it's really only a two-person race, between Club for Growth-backed former GOP state party chair Robin Smith and attorney, radio talk show host, and Mike Huckabee ally Chuck Fleischmann. (Smith, you might recall, was the GOP chair during the 2008 campaign, who released the infamous "Anti-Semites for Obama" press release that had him in African tribal garb. (C)
• TN-04 (R): We don't have much intel on the Republican primary here, where the main contestants are attorney Jack Bailey, and physician Scott DesJarlais, but it's worth keeping an eye on, as the victor will go on to face Rep. Lincoln Davis. Davis isn't high on anyone's target list, but in a big enough wave could get swept away just by virtue of his R+13 district. Bailey has a bit of a fundraising edge, probably thanks to connections from his former work as a Hill staffer. (C)
• TN-06 (R): Let the fur fly in this Middle Tennessee district currently held by outgoing Democrat Bart Gordon. The field counts eight Republicans, with three serious contenders in former Rutherford County GOP chair Lou Ann Zelenik, state Senator Jim Tracy from the southern part of the district, and state Senator Diane Black, who represents two northern counties in the district. The mad dash, of course, is for the right, whether its immigration or misuse of government resources. Black released an internal that had her leading at 41% and Zelenik and Tracy mired in the twenties at 22 and 20, respectively. Look for sharp geographic distinctions here tonight, with each candidate having a different base in this rural-exurban district. (JMD)
• TN-08 (R): For the open seat of outgoing Dem John Tanner, five Republicans have jumped into the fray. The three frontrunners -- agribusinessman Steve Fincher, Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn, and doctor Ron Kirkland -- have been busy bashing each other to bits. All sorts of accusations have been thrown around -- Flinn's been attacked for owning a hip-hop station in Memphis, while Fincher's caught flak for voting in the Democratic primary for local offices in May, and Kirkland's on the defensive for steering contributions to Democrats in the past. All three are have significant warchests to play with (Fincher $421k cash-on-hand, Flinn $275k with the ability to self-fund, Kirkland $223k). So who's going to emerge from this bare-knucle brawl? Fincher's the NRCC's preferred candidate, and a recent poll had him leading with 32 to Kirkland's 23 and Flinn's 21. This race is largely in the air (not that presumptive Dem. nominee Roy Herron's complaining), though unfortunately, we'll know the winner of this fight tonight, as Tennessee has no runoffs. (JMD)
• TN-09 (D): Two years ago, Nikki Tinker's campaign against incumbent Dem. Steve Cohen was infuriating; this time, former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton's campaign is just laughable. Whether it's claiming he'll beat Cohen 3:1, losing the CBC's endorsement to Cohen, or having less than 1/47th of Cohen's cash-on-hand, Herenton's campaign really makes you wonder. Let the mockery begin. (JMD)
UPDATE: Polls close at 8 pm ET/7 pm CT (the state is in both time zones, but apparently closing times are coordinated). As always, if you have predictions, let us know in the comments.
We're back from a successful Netroots Nation, and in the midst of sweeping up from half a week of limited posting, we're going to do a polls-only digest first and tackle the rest of the damage later today.
• AK-Sen (pdf): Local pollster Ivan Moore is out with the first (and probably only) public look at the Republican primary between incumbent establishment figure Lisa Murkowski and Tea Party fave (and proxy for foxy GOP doxy Sarah Palin) Joe Miller. Y'know what? Alaskans know that their local economy is largely propped up with federal dollars, and the teabagger message isn't likely to have much resonance here, no matter how much pro-gun posturing it gets dressed up in. The poll finds Murkowski with 53/29 positives, and a 62-30 lead over Miller.
• FL-Sen, FL-Gov (pdf): The Attack of the Shady Billionaires seems to continue unabated, as they pour even more money into advertising. PPP looks at both of their primaries. It's still a close race in the Democratic Senate primary, where Rep. Kendrick Meek leads the yacht-crashing Jeff Greene 28-25 (with Tom Jensen observing "Democratic voters seem uninterested in this election," with many of them already having settled on Charlie Crist). In the GOP gubernatorial primary, Columbia/HCA-crashing Rick Scott is in firm control, though, leading AG Bill McCollum 43-29. McCollum's favorables among Republicans are a horrible 26/40, while Scott's are 35/32.
• KY-Sen: Another public poll places the Kentucky Senate race in near-dead heat territory. Braun Research, on behalf of local politics website cn|2, finds Rand Paul with a 41-38 lead over Jack Conway. Conway has substantial leads among moderates (52-18) and among women (43-36).
• LA-Sen: The Charlie Melancon camp and the NRSC exchanged fire over the last few days, issuing dueling internal polls with dramatically different takes on their races. Melancon struck first with an Anzalone Liszt internal showing a much closer race than anyone has seen before: David Vitter led Melancon only 44-43 (the previous A-L internals had 10-point spreads). The NRSC responded with a POS poll over the weekend, giving Vitter a more predictable 48-31 lead when including leaners. Maybe more importantly, this poll is the first look at the GOP primary, and it shows Vitter may not have too much trouble with it: he claims a 76-5 lead over Chet Traylor.
• NC-Sen: Here's one more Democratic internal that really serves to shake up what's been considered a Republican-leaning race. The Elaine Marshall camp released a poll from Lake Research last Thursday giving her a 37-35 lead over Richard Burr (with 5 to Libertarian Mike Beitler). Burr's favorables are 34/43, and he has a re-elect of 25/31, numbers no incumbent would like to see.
• GA-Gov (pdf): I have trouble believing this one, but maybe Nathan Deal, who seems to be staking out more conservative turf than Karen Handel, is consolidating more of the votes of the various primary losers than is Handel. Deal is out with a new internal, from McLaughlin & Associates, giving him a 39-38 lead over Handel in the GOP gubernatorial (or goober-natorial, in Georgia) runoff. 56% of respondents say Deal is conservative, while 35% say Handel is and 30% call her a moderate.
• MI-Gov: A new poll of the Democratic primary from Inside Michigan Politics gives a different result from just about everybody else: they give a significant lead to Virg Bernero, who leads Andy Dillon 36-22. The article is strangely silent on other details about the poll, especially the issue of sample size, where Inside Michigan Politics has been pushing the limits of credibility.
• OK-Gov: SoonerPoll.com, on behalf of the Tulsa World, is out with what's probably the last word on the gubernatorial race before this Tuesday's primaries. Tuesday night looks to be pretty drama-free: on the Dem side, AG Drew Edmondson leads LG Jari Askins 49-33 (up from a 10-point gap in their previous poll, way back in January). For the GOPers, Rep. Mary Fallin leads state Sen. Randy Brogdon 56-18 (which is actually a drop for Fallin from the last poll). They also look ahead to November matchups, finding Fallin leading Edmondson 47-39 and Askins 46-40.
• TN-Gov: The Tennessee primary will also be fast upon us, and Mason-Dixon, on behalf of the Tennessee Newspaper Network, takes their first look at the GOP gubernatorial primary there. Like other recent polls, they give the edge to Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam, who's at 36. Rep. (and now, apparently, aspiring secessionist) Zach Wamp is at 25, and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey is at 20. (All three candidates are from the eastern third of the state, and western Tennesseeans are disproportionately undecided (29%). That would tend to benefit the biggest advertiser, which is Haslam.) Mason-Dixon also tried out November matchups, finding Dem Mike McWherter looking DOA against the sorta-moderate Haslam, 49-31, but in closer races against the more strident Wamp (45-38) and Ramsey (43-38).
• PA-03: There's one House internal to mention, and, as has been the trend lately, it's from a Republican. It's from a race that been on most people's back-burners; we'll have to see if this raises auto dealer Mike Kelly's profile. Kelly's own poll, via the Tarrance Group, give him a 48-37 lead over freshman Dem Kathy Dahlkemper.
• Rasmussen • AR-Gov: Mike Beebe (D-inc) 50%, Jim Keet (R) 40%
• AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln (D-inc) 35%, John Boozman (R) 60%
• AZ-Gov: Terry Goddard (D) 37%, Jan Brewer (R-inc) 56%
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 20%, Marco Rubio (R) 35%, Charlie Crist (I) 33%
• FL-Sen: Jeff Greene (D) 19%, Marco Rubio (R) 34%, Charlie Crist (I) 36%
• GA-Gov: Roy Barnes (D) 43%, Nathan Deal (R) 49%
• GA-Gov: Roy Barnes (D) 44%, Karen Handel (R) 45%
• ID-Gov: Keith Allred (D) 36%, Butch Otter (R-inc) 53%
• ND-AL: Earl Pomeroy (D-inc) 46%, Rick Berg (R) 49%
• NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo (D) 58%, Rick Lazio (R) 27%
• NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo (D) 58%, Carl Paladino (R) 29%
• RI-Gov: Frank Caprio (D) 30%, John Robitaille (R) 23%, Lincoln Chafee (I) 37%
• RI-Gov: Frank Caprio (D) 33%, Victor Moffitt (R) 18%, Lincoln Chafee (I) 36%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 51%, John Raese (R) 35%
• KY-Sen: Jack Conway is pulling in some big fundraising numbers now that Dems are seeing an opening here. He raised $1.4 million last quarter (although $400K of that was a loan from himself). That tops Rand Paul's $1.1 million raised, although Paul will point out that all of his haul came from donors. No word on either side's CoH.
• LA-Sen: It seems like the scandal that's emerged surrounding David Vitter's employment of violent aide Brent Furer was what pulled ex-state supreme court justice Chet Traylor into a last-minute credible challenge to Vitter in the GOP primary. Traylor says "if Vitter was in good shape, I wouldn't be running," and his camp says they'll be focusing on Vitter's "personal foibles" rather than ideological differences. In fact, Traylor's campaign manager (whom the Monroe local newspaper identifies as "sweet potato kingpin" Lev Dawson) says "I don't think there's a difference politically." Traylor also tells ABC News that many local GOP establishment figures urged his last-minute entry out of fears that Vitter may be too badly damaged politically to survive the general against Charlie Melancon. Meanwhile, we've all known that Vitter is quite willing to experiment with interesting new, um, practices, but as he seeks to move even further right in view of Traylor's challenge, he's now going birther-curious.
• NC-Sen: If there's a reason Richard Burr is able to hold on to the "cursed" seat this year, it's going to be his bank account. The GOP freshman Senator raised $1.9 million last quarter, and is sitting on $6.3 million CoH. While Elaine Marshall seems to have gotten a good fundraising boost after the Democratic runoff, she's likely to have only a fraction of that.
• SC-Sen: Be afraid. Be verrrrrrrrry afraid. (Alvin Greene is about to give his first formal speech as candidate, addressing a local NAACP chapter on Saturday.)
• WA-Sen: Here's the good news for Patty Murray: she had a $1.6 million quarter, which is a lot of money in the "other" Washington. She's sitting on $6.8 million CoH. The bad news is that conservative group American Action Network is spending $750K on a statewide buy for TV ads attacking Murray. The ad, continuing in Demon Sheep/Boxer Blimp impresario Fred Davis's avant-garde performance-art tradition, features various Joe and Jane Sixpacks lying in the dirt getting walked all over by an unseen figure in white tennis shoes.
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin's giving a little more clarity to his timeline in West Virginia. He says he expects to fill Robert Byrd's seat with a temporary appointment by "this Sunday," possibly as early as Friday if the special legislative session about the special election is done by then. He'll announce after that (probably by Monday) whether he intends to run in the special.
• CO-Gov: This is a surprisingly amateurish thing to get taken down over: the Denver Post has observed that a series of articles on water rights "written" by Republican ex-Rep. Scott McInnis as part of a 2005-06 fellowship were simply plagiarized from articles written twenty years earlier by Gregory Hobbs, who's now a Colorado Supreme Court justice. The foundation McInnis was working for would like the salary returned to them that they paid him. It's unclear how much damage this will do to McInnis, or how this stacks up compared with allegations of dishonesty leveled at Mark Kirk and Richard Blumenthal... but locked in a dead heat with John Hickenlooper, McInnis doesn't have any margin of error to shed a few points over character issues. (For what it's worth, RCP seems to think he's finished. Too bad the only GOP alternative, Dan Maes, is completely broke and in campaign-finance hot water.)
• IL-Gov: The DGA is out with a new ad running on Chicago area TV stations, trying to introduce the area's many residents to downstate state Sen. Bill Brady and disabuse them of any notion that he's the sort of GOP moderate that's typically occupied the state house over the last few decades. The ad points out his extreme positions on reproductive health and minimum wage.
• TN-Gov: Republican Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam is still the man with the money, although everybody's moved into the seven digits. Haslam has $2 million CoH, compared with Ron Ramsey's $1.35 million and Zach Wamp's $1.29 million. On the Dem side, Mike McWherter has $1.5 million CoH, having raised $315K last quarter.
• AR-01: Radio broadcaster Rick Crawford, the GOP nominee, has a small cash edge in the 1st, as Democrat Chad Causey's pretty depleted after having to go through a runoff. Crawford raised $131K post-primary and has $221K CoH. Causey raised $416K over the quarter, but spent $420K on the primary. No word on Causey's CoH (although I assume it's something higher than -$4K).
• CO-04: With Corey Gardner having released his financial numbers, it's clear Betsy Markey has the money edge for now. His $377K raised last quarter is still pretty impressive, but it's less than Markey raised, and Gardner's $763K CoH is about half of Markey's $1.5 million.
• FL-25: Joe Garcia reports raising $700K last quarter, including $230K in online contributions (thanks, netroots!). He still lags behind likely GOP nominee David Rivera, though.
• NH-02: Of the candidates in the 2nd, Ann McLane Kuster (another netroots project) was the big raiser. She pulled in $316K, for $745K CoH. Fellow Dem Katrina Swett raised $188K, but has more CoH at $1.15 million. GOPer Charlie Bass leads in the polls but not at the bank: he raised $170K, for $360K CoH.
• NJ-03: Freshman Democratic Rep. John Adler is out with an internal poll that has him sprinting for the end zone while Jon Runyan limps along behind: the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll gives Adler a 51-34 lead over Runyan, with 12 to independent teabagger Peter DeStefano (I'd imagine that lead would tighten as the DeStefano share shrinks). Runyan raised $501K last quarter (a bit more than Adler's $415K), but $301K was from donors and the other $200K was from himself. Runyan seemed to burn a lot on his surviving his primary, though; he's sitting on $472K CoH compared with Adler's more than $2 million.
• NV-03: Rep. Dina Titus is in good shape financially (less so, poll-wise). The freshman Dem raised $426K and has $1.2 million CoH.
• PA-04, PA-17: Keystone State Blue Dogs Jason Altmire and Tim Holden posted good numbers. Altmire raised more than $300K in May and June and is sitting on $1.4 million CoH. Holden raised $213K in that period and is sitting on $885K CoH, which isn't huge but far more than David Argall (who had $70K before the primary he barely survived) is likely to have.
• TN-09: Here's a big score for Steve Cohen, facing a primary from former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton that's, as is usually the case in the 9th, all about the race card. Cohen just got an endorsement from prominent African-American politician Barack Obama, as well as financial backing from several key House CBC members (John Lewis, Alcee Hastings, William Clay) apparently unenthused with the specter of the potentially-embarrassing Herenton joining their ranks.
• CO-Sen: Andrew Romanoff (D) 42%, Jane Norton (R) 44%
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 40%, Jane Norton (R) 47%
• CO-Sen: Andrew Romanoff (D) 42%, Ken Buck (R) 47%
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 39%, Ken Buck (R) 48%
• MD-Sen: Barbara Mikulski (D-inc) 58%, Eric Wargotz (R) 33%
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid (D-inc) 43%, Sharron Angle (R) 46%
If you're Scott Rasmussen, what do you like to do on your day off? Well, you might like to go on a cruise. A cruise for fans of conservative magazine National Review, as their all-expenses-paid guest.
• CO-Sen: Both Jane Norton and Ken Buck found something else to do when Michael Steele showed up in town yesterday, eager to take his off the hook, technically avant-garde message to Colorado's urban-suburban hip-hop settings. Seems like Steele has a bad case of the cooties in the wake of his Afghanistan comments. Buck instead went to hang with the decidedly non-hip-hop Tom Tancredo at a rally yesterday instead, where Tancredo called Barack Obama the "greatest threat to the United States today." Buck subsequently had to distance himself from Tancredo's comments via conference call... I'm wondering if Buck would have rather appeared with Michael Steele after all.
• NV-Sen: Sharron Angle rolled out her campaign's first ad; perhaps wisely, she isn't in it at all, other than a voiceover doing the required disclaimer at the end. Instead, it's just a narration-free black-and-white montage of the economic woe that, of course, Harry Reid caused. Which completely contradicts her own message that she's touted in public appearances, which is that it's not a Senator's job to create jobs, and that it was in fact a bad thing for Harry Reid to intervene to save 22,000 jobs at a local construction project. To top all that off, Angle said Wednesday that Reid's attempts to fight back on the jobs issue were an attempt to "hit the girl." (UPDATE: Jon Ralston uncovers that Angle's ad buy was for a whopping total of $5K. Add this one to the growing pile of bullshit ad buys aimed at getting free media.)
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher's fundraising numbers are out. The good news is: he finally had a seven-digit quarter, pulling in at least $1 million last quarter and giving him "more than" $1 million CoH. The bad news is: that's less than half what Rob Portman raised last quarter, and it's a more than 8:1 CoH advantage for Portman.
• AL-Gov: Two different polls are out in the Republican runoff in Alabama, and they paint very different pictures. One is from GOP pollster Baselice, working on behalf of a group called Public Strategy Associates. They give Robert Bentley a 53-33 lead over Bradley Byrne. The other is an internal from the Byrne camp; they're claiming a four-point lead, although without any details about topline numbers or even the pollster. They're also claiming that Byrne has gained 7 points in the last week while Bentley has lost 7, presumably because of Byrne's attacks on Bentley's friendliness with the Alabama Education Association, the teachers' union that has particularly had it in for Byrne. Byrne also rolled out endorsements from two of Alabama's sitting House members, Spencer Bachus and Jo Bonner.
• CA-Gov: Seems like Jerry Brown took a look at the internals at the latest Field Poll and realized he'd better do something about his standing among Latino voters. He held a press conference yesterday with 14 Latino leaders, criticizing the sincerity of Meg Whitman's softening of her immigration stance since the GOP primary. Xavier Becerra pointed out that "Jerry Brown broke bread with Cesar Chavez. His opponent breaks bread with Pete Wilson." (Wilson, of course, was the driving force behind Prop 187 last decade.)
• CO-Gov: Dan Maes, the insurgent candidate in the GOP primary, is pretty much out of gas. He raised all of $33K last quarter, with $23K CoH. That cash on hand is somewhat less than the $27K fine he's going to have to pay for various campaign finance violations he's committed.
• GA-Gov: SurveyUSA has more polls of the fast-approaching gubernatorial primaries. They find John Oxendine at 32 and Karen Handel at 23, meaning they're likely to advance to a GOP runoff. Nathan Deal and Eric Johnson are lagging at 12, with Ray McBerry at 5. On the Democratic side, Roy Barnes is at 56, which would let him avoid a runoff against Thurbert Baker (who's at 18). Dubose Porter and David Poythress languish at 6 and 5, respectively. (SUSA also has Dem Senate and downballot numbers, if you click the link.) PPP (pdf) is also out with a poll, although this is one of their rare internals that makes it to the public view; it's on behalf of J.C. Cole, a Thurbert Baker backer. They find Barnes just under the runoff mark: 49 Barnes, 19 Baker, 4 Porter, and 3 Poythress.
• MA-Gov: The money race in Massachusetts is a pretty close three-way race, although Tim Cahill, corresponding with his slide in the polls, has also lost his financial edge. GOPer Charlie Baker has the most cash on hand with $2.97 million, with Cahill at $2.95 million. Dem incumbent Deval Patrick has the least, $2.37 million, but seems to be expecting some help from the state Dem party, which has a big CoH edge over the state GOP.
• NE-Gov: The Nebraska governor's race is turning into a bit of Democratic debacle, as the departure of Mark Lakers has left Dems looking high and low for someone willing to take his place at this late date. Ben Nelson says someone's likely to emerge before the July 23-25 state convention, although he didn't volunteer any particular names.
• TN-Gov: Knoxville mayor (and oil baron) Bill Haslam seems on track to be Tennessee's next governor, according to a poll for local TV affiliate WSMV. (The poll was conducted by Crawford, Johnson, and Northcott, a firm I've never heard of.) The free-spending Haslam leads the GOP primary in the open seat race at 32, with Rep. Zach Wamp at 21 and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey at 11. Haslam also performs the best against Mike McWherter, the only Dem left in the hunt. Haslam wins 60-34, while Wamp wins 59-35 and Ramsey wins 51-41.
• FL-22: Allen West continues to post gaudy fundraising numbers; he says he raised $1.4 million in the last quarter, likely to be the biggest total for any Republican House challenger. West, of course, is a client of BaseConnect, and a lot of that money gets churned through for direct-mail expenses, but he is steadily expanded his cash on hand, claiming to be up to $2.2 million. Rep. Ron Klein had $2.6 million CoH at the end of the previous quarter in March.
• GA-08: Here's a fundraising success for a late entrant for the GOP: state Rep. Austin Scott, who bailed out of the gubernatorial primary to run an uphill fight against Democratic incumbent Rep. Jim Marshall, outraised Marshall last quarter. Scott raised $251K last quarter (including $56K of his own money), leaving him with $213K CoH. Marshall raised $165K, but has $981K in his war chest.
• MI-03: In case there was any doubt who the DeVos family (the power behind the Republican throne in western Michigan) was backing, they made it explicit today. Dick DeVos announced his support for state Rep. Justin Amash in the GOP primary to succeed retiring Vern Ehlers.
• MN-01: One more surprise GOP fundraising score to report: state Rep. Randy Demmer had a good quarter, pulling in $303K, leaving him with $251K. Democratic Rep. Tim Walz hasn't released numbers, but had $856K CoH banked last quarter.
• NY-23: Scozzafava endorses Bill Owens! No, it's not quite what you think. It's Tom Scozzafava (apparently absolutely no relation to special election opponent-turned-endorser Dede Scozzafava), the Supervisor of the town of Moriah. Owens also got some probably more significant good news on Tuesday: Don Kasprzak, the Republican mayor of Plattsburgh, offered some public praise of Owens and, while stopping short of endorsing him, said that he couldn't vote for either Doug Hoffman or Matt Doheny.
• OH-12: With Rep. Pat Tiberi having dropped an internal poll yesterday showing him dominating Democratic challenger Paula Brooks, today it was Brooks' turn. She offered up an internal poll from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, which also showed her losing, but by a much smaller margin. The poll sees the race at 48-36 in favor of Tiberi, with 10% going to Libertarian candidate Travis Irvine.
• CA-Init (pdf): The Field Poll also provided numbers for four initiatives that are likely to be on the ballot in November. Like several other pollsters, they see a close race for Prop 19, which proposes to legalize marijuana: it's failing 44-48. Perhaps the most significant race, though, is Prop 25, which would solve the Sacramento gridlock by allowing passage of a budget by a mere majority vote; support for Prop 25 is very broad, at 65-20, with even Republicans favoring passage. Voters don't support Prop 23, a utilities-funded push to overturn the state's greenhouse gases emissions law; it's failing 36-48. Finally, there's 42-32 support for Prop 18, a bond to pay for water supply improvements.
• Fundraising: A couple more fundraising tidbits from the Fix: Democratic GA-Gov candidate Roy Barnes raised $1.3 million last quarter, while GOPer Nathan Deal raised $570K. And in NH-Sen, Bill Binnie reported raising $550K, but bear in mind he can write himself checks as need be.
• AR-Sen: Those nasty anti-Bill Halter Americans for Job Security ads just keep being an issue in the Arkansas Senate race, to the extent that the Halter camp just filed an FEC complaint against AJS. The content of the ads isn't at issue, though, but rather that AJS spent $900K on the ads without disclosing its donors.
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov: Joe Sestak continues to hold a narrow lead over Arlen Specter in the daily Muhlenberg tracker that first opened up over the weeknd; today Sestak's lead is up to 5, at 47-42. On the gubernatorial side, it's Dan Onorato 35 41, Anthony Williams 15 8, Joe Hoeffel 8 6, and Jack Wagner 10 5. If there were serious doubts about the Muhlenberg poll (maybe based on the small daily sample size), that might be assuaged by Rasmussen, who also polled the primary on May 6 (Thursday) and found the exact same thing: Sestak leading Specter 47-42.
• CT-Gov: Ned Lamont is out with an internal poll via Garin Hart Yang, which has him in firm control of the Democratic gubernatorial primary. He leads former Stamford mayor Dan Malloy 53-18. There's also one less minor candidate in the midst of the Lamont/Malloy fray; former state Rep. Juan Figueroa ended his bid after not getting out of the low single digits.
• GA-Gov: Here's some interesting behind-the-scenes intrigue in the GOP primary that seems to have good ol' interpersonal tension at its roots, as Rep. Tom Price (the current leader of the right-wing RSC) switched his endorsement from his former House colleague, Nathan Deal, to former SoS Karen Handel. Deal responded with a statement today that essentially questioned the Michigan-born Price's southern cred.
• OR-Gov: Bill Bradbury is hitting the TV airwaves at the last minute, with Oregon's primary in a week (kind of buried under the monumental Arkansas, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania elections). He's leading off with his endorsement from ex-Gov. Barbara Roberts (which seems a little underwhelming if he has Al Gore and Howard Dean in his corner). Roberts probably is unknown to younger voters and unpopular with older voters, as she's mostly known for proposing a sales tax, which is, quite simply, the one thing you don't propose in Oregon. She also may have something of an axe to grind with John Kitzhaber, who basically pushed her out the door in 1994 after only one term.
• SC-Gov: The Club for Growth sure loves its lost causes; they weighed in in favor of state Rep. Nikki Haley in the Republican gubernatorial primary, who's something of a minor player in a field that includes Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer and AG Henry McMaster but known for her anti-tax zealotry. Haley is a key ally of Mark Sanford, which isn't exactly the electoral asset that it might have been a couple years ago.
• TN-Gov: Rep. John Duncan, the occasionally iconoclastic long-time GOPer in TN-02, offered an endorsement in the GOP gubernatorial primary. He gave his nod to his fellow Knoxvillean, mayor Bill Haslam, rather than to House colleague Zach Wamp.
• ID-01: Looks like Vaughn Ward, last seen trying to out-wacky the competition in the GOP field in the 1st on the issue of repealing the 17th Amendment, may have a Democrat problem in his past. He interned for a Democratic state legislator (Jim Hansen, now the state party chair) while in college in Boise in the early 90s, and much more recently, is listed as being part of Tim Kaine's volunteer database from his 2005 campaign.
• KS-03: State Rep. Kevin Yoder (running to succeed retiring Dennis Moore) has conventionally been regarded as something of a "moderate" by Kansas Republican standards, but in a legislature where the battle lines are often Democrats + moderate Rs vs. conservative Rs, he seems to be on the conservative side in the state's current budget impasse. Is he moving to the right for his primary, or was he just incorrectly identified from the outset?
• MI-01: Connie Saltonstall had a few good months there as the beneficiary of NOW and NARAL support when she decided to primary Rep. Bart Stupak. With his retirement, though, the interest seems to have dried up, and today she announced she's getting out of the primary to replace Stupak. She still decided to lob a few grenades back at the establishment on her way out the door, though, accusing them of having anointed state Rep. Gary McDowell as Stupak's successor and saying she can't support him because of his anti-abortion views.
• PA-12: There have been concerns about Mark Critz's warchest dwindling (supposedly down into the $70K range) as the clock ticks down toward the May 18 special election. However, word comes from his campaign that the most recent 48-hour report has him sitting on a much more comfortable $252K. Critz also benefits from an endorsement yesterday from the Tribune-Democrat, the newspaper in the district's population center of Johnstown.
• TX-17: Could this actually be the year Chet Edwards' luck runs out? He survived 1994 (albeit in a much friendlier district) and the 2004 DeLay-mander, but an internal poll from Republican rival Bill Flores shows Edwards in some serious trouble this time around. The poll from OnMessage Inc. has Flores leading 53-41, quite a change from August 2009 where a Flores poll gave Edwards a 44-36 lead. That's all despite Edwards having very positive favorables (53/38); in a district where Obama's favorables are 33/66, Edwards needs to work his usual magic, de-nationalize the race, and make it about the two candidates.
• WA-03: More establishment backing for Denny Heck in the Dem primary in the 3rd: Heck got the endorsement from Rep. Rick Larsen, who represents a similarly swingy rural/suburban district on the other side of the Seattle area.
• NY-St. Sen.: Here's an opportunity for a pickup in the New York state Senate, if Democrats are actually willing to play some offense. Republican Tom Morahan is not expected to seek re-election in SD-38 in the Hudson Valley, a district that was won by Barack Obama 52-47. Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski is a potential Dem contender, but he'll face off against a strong Republican: Rockland Co. Executive Scott Vanderhoef, most recently seen turning down entreaties to get into the GOP Senate primary to go against Kirsten Gillibrand.
• SEIU: The SEIU plans to spend freely in a number of gubernatorial races this year. They've set aside $4 million more for governor's races; they plan on getting involved in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, New York, Ohio, and Florida. (Uh, New York? Are you sure that's necessary?)
• Redistricting: The flow of money is about to rush into one more small area of the political battlefield. The FEC issued an advisory opinion that allows members of Congress to raise soft money for legal activities concerning redistricting. The FEC allowed members to raise funds for the National Democratic Redistricting Trust. This doesn't affect a number of other redistricting-oriented groups in either party that aren't focused on legal issues, though -- like the Dems' Foundation for the Future, which is set up as a 527.
• Passings: One of Alaska's legendary politicians, Walter Hickel, died over the weekend at age 91. Hickel has one thing in common with Sarah Palin: he served half a term as the state's Republican governor... although he left to become Richard Nixon's Interior Secretary in 1968. He then encored with another term from 1990 to 1994, as a member of the Alaskan Independence Party.
• AR-Sen: Like I always say, flip-flopping at every opportunity is the best way to win elections. Then:
Lincoln: I Will Fight Reconciliation as Tool to Achieve Health Insurance Reform
Asked twice whether she was wavering on her previous statements to vote against a reconciliation bill, Lincoln said: "I'll wait to see what's in it."
Considering she already voted for healthcare reform in the first place, this actually is probably the better move for her, believe it or not. (D)
• CO-Sen, CO-Gov: More evidence that the teabaggers and assorted other movement conservative aren't takin' kindly to outsiders coming in and imposing Jane Norton on them. Norton lost a GOP straw poll to right-wing Weld County DA Ken Buck after a Denver candidate forum sponsored by the Tea Partiers and 9-12ers. Interestingly, no-name Dan Maes also triumphed over ex-Rep. Scott McInnis on the gubernatorial side.
• LA-Sen: Rep. Charlie Melancon is going on the offensive, having a lot of ground to make up against David Vitter if polls are any indication. He's filed an ethics complaint against Vitter for having violated federal law by sending out fundraising appeals on official Senate letterhead.
• NY-Sen-B: Hardcore movement conservative and - get this - former chief economist for Bear Stearns (!!) David Malpass says he's weighing a run against Kirsten Gillibrand, presumably as a Republican. Jonathan Chait hits all the high points as to how badly out-of-touch Malpass is, and Paul Krugman zings him for an especially good bit of moranocity. If I were Gillibrand, I think I'd love to go up against a mouthbreather like this. (D)
• PA-Sen: Arlen Specter got a boost from labor, with an endorsement from the United Auto Workers. Also, speaking of Pennsylvania, check out my latest installment at Salon.com, where I used the disparate polling in PA-Sen as a means of introducing the non-SSP-reading masses to the idea of polling likely voters vs. registered voters.
• WA-Sen: It looks like the NRSC hasn't given up on trying to lure Dino Rossi into the Senate race, as Rossi has confirmed having had a conversation with John Cornyn about it. Rossi continues to maintain a "never say never" attitude about it in the face of questions. The NRSC may also have a Plan B if Rossi says no, that's an upgrade from their current top candidate, state Sen. Don Benton. They're also interested in former news anchor Susan Hutchison. Despite presenting a somewhat moderate profile and the advantage of running without an "R" next to her name in the nonpartisan race, she still managed to rack up only 41% while losing November's King County Executive race. (Still, that makes her only a one-time loser, compared with Rossi's two strikes.) Hutchison says that she's undecided, and she'll wait for Rossi's decision to make her own.
• IA-Gov: One other candidate who's not faring so well in the straw poll venue, despite an overwhelming consensus from the political establishment, is ex-Gov. Terry Branstad. He just lost a quick succession of three different county-level straw polls to social conservative Bob Vander Plaats, and these aren't dinky rural counties either. Vander Plaats cleaned up in Woodbury County (his home turf of Sioux City), while earning narrow victories in Story County (Davenport Ames) and Dallas County (Des Moines suburbs).
• NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo may not be a declared candidate for Governor just yet, but he's certainly fundraising like one. His camp is planning to hold a high-priced fundraiser in DC on March 22nd with some high-powered Democratic money players in attendance. (JL) Some of David Paterson's nosediving approvals may have rubbed off a bit on Cuomo, if Marist's new snap poll (pdf) is any indication: Cuomo's approval is down to a relatively human 54/39. Paterson is at an appalling 19/79, but 68% say he might as well still serve out his term with 28% saying resign. Still trying to find an upgrade from the lackluster campaign of Rick Lazio to go up against Cuomo, the GOP is meeting with conservaDem Suffolk Co. Exec Steve Levy (who's been mulling a run in the Democratic primary) to try and get him to switch over to the GOP line to run for Governor.
• DE-AL: Republicans may have found an upgrade in the Delaware at-large seat, which has pretty much already slipped out of their grasp but where they can at least force former Democratic Lt. Gov. John Carney to work for it. They're courting philanthropist Michele Rollins, the widow of former Republican Lt. Gov. John Rollins (and a former Miss USA) who has access to her former husband's personal fortune.
• LA-02: Rep. Joe Cao seems to have read yesterday's big expose of BaseConnect (the former BMW Direct) at TPM, and it seems to have been the first time he'd learned that they're up to no good. He just severed all ties with the group, who've been doing his fundraising for the last year (and skimming off almost all his proceeds, which explains his terrible burn rate). Does this mean that no one from the NRCC was giving him any guidance on how to raise funds? It doesn't seem like the kind of scam an incumbent would ordinarily fall for.
• NY-23: Doug Hoffman's made it official - he's going to try to win the Republican, Conservative, and Independence Party nominations, "and unite them, as one team, to defeat the agenda of Nancy Pelosi and Bill Owens." Sounds like someone has seen the Lord of the Rings movies a few times too many. This also seems a wee bit delusional, since of course most of the Independence Party quickly embraced Owens (who seems like a good fit for them) when Dede Scozzafava abandoned the race at the last moment. (D)
• NY-29: Strike two names from the list of potential Democratic candidates for the special election to replace crumb-bum Rep. Eric Massa. Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton has announced that she won't run for the seat, as has Monroe County DA Mike Green. (JL) On the GOP side, state Sen. Cathy Young has also just declined.
• PA-12: Barbara Hafer continues to attack the manner in which former Murtha aide Mark Critz was selected as the Dem nominee for the May special election - and by extention the people behind the process. Several Dems have gone on record expressing their distaste for Hafer's attacks, and state party chair T. J. Rooney thinks they contributed to her being passed over. (D)
• TN-03: Democrats seem to have found a willing candidate, finally, to fill the gap in the open seat in the R+13 3rd (which looked like a promising race while former Insurance Comm. Paula Flowers was in it). Brenda Short decided to take the plunge; she used to be a Hill aide long ago for former Rep. Marilyn Lloyd (whose 1994 retirement turned the seat over to Rep. Zach Wamp, who's finally vacating the seat to run for Governor).
• OR-Treasurer, OR-04: In something of a surprise, Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler today got named as interim state Treasurer, in the wake of the unfortunate death of Ben Westlund. Wheeler will still need to run again in a special election to be held as part of the November 2010 ballot; he's confirmed he'll run in that election but will face at least two prominent Dems: retiring state Sen. Rick Metsger (well-known from his time as local sports anchor), who filed yesterday before Wheeler's appointment, and former Treasurer (and 2006 gubernatorial primary contestant) Jim Hill. Adding to the general sense of chaos is that it's the last day of filing in Oregon, meaning now people are piling into Wheeler's vacant seat as well. Finally, it looks like, with Springfield mayor Sid Leiken's departure, OR-04 Rep. Peter DeFazio will merely face Some Dude: home-schooling activist Art Robinson.
• West Virginia: One other state where the filing deadline has passed is West Virginia. Despite the state's red-ward trend (and significant challenges to both its Dem Reps., Alan Mollohan and Nick Rahall), one area where the GOP doesn't look poised to make much of any progress is the state legislature, already thoroughly dominated by Democrats. In fact, if the Republicans won every race in the state Senate where they managed to field a candidate, they still would come up short on controlling the chamber. In the state House, they managed to leave 27 seats uncontested.
• Election Results: With 99.1% of precincts reporting (97 remain, apparently mostly in Cook County), both sides of the governor's race remain too close to call. Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn has declared victory, sitting on a 7,000 vote lead (50.4%-49.6%) and with the remaining precincts in Cook County likely to go his way, although Dan Hynes hasn't conceded yet. On the GOP side, we're looking most likely at a recount, as state Sen. Bill Brady leads fellow state Sen. Kirk Dillard currently by a 751-vote margin (20.3%-20.2%), as they both squeaked past the two presumed frontrunners, former state party chair Andy McKenna and former AG Jim Ryan. The fact that the remaining votes are from Cook County, however, may be poised to help the moderate suburbs-based Dillard, though, rather than the conservative downstate Brady, so this race seems likely to get even closer (Nate Silver actually projects a one-vote victory for Brady based on broader Cook County trends). Recount procedures make it sound like a protracted process - an initial vote tally won't happen until March 5, and then the process "could take months to complete" - giving Quinn a big headstart on whoever the GOP victor turns out to be.
As expected, Alexi Giannoulias and Mark Kirk are the Senate nominees, although both won their races with somewhat underwhelming percentages (39% for Giannoulias, and 57% for Kirk, who could have been in more trouble had the teabagging right coalesced behind one person in particular). Conservatives did triumph over establishment candidates in several GOP House primaries, though, as Bob Dold! beat state Rep. Beth Coulson in the 10th, and state Sen. Randy Hultgren beat Ethan Hastert in the 14th.
In Florida, as expected, state Sen. Ted Deutch easily won the special election primary to succeed Rep. Robert Wexler, beating former Broward Co. Commissioner Ben Graber 86-15. It looks like he'll face Republican Ed Lynch (the 2008 nominee), who defeated Joe Budd by only 46 votes (but with only 8,000 total GOP votes, that's outside the margin for an automatic recount). And here's a surprise out of Kentucky: Democrats picked up a state House seat in the dark-red HD 24, which was recently vacated when Republican Jimmy Higdon got promoted to the state Senate in another special election. Terry Mills won, 54-46, based on an overwhelming edge (89-11) on his home turf of Marion County, reminding us that, at the end of the day, all politics is local.
Finally, last night was caucus and straw poll night in Minnesota. Only 80% of precincts have reported yet - I guess they go to bed early in Minnesota - but the straw poll in the Democratic governor's race points to only a lot of chaos at this point. Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak led with 21.8%, followed closely by state House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher at 20.2%. However, "uncommitted" is a solid 3rd at 15%, there are five other candidates who managed to break 5% (John Marty, Tom Rukavina, Paul Thissen, Matt Entenza, and Tom Bakk), and ex-Sen. Mark Dayton doesn't even seem to be bothering with the whole process, planning on going straight to the primary, so there's not much clarity on how the field will shake out. The GOP field seems much more clear-cut, where former state House minority leader Marty Seifert beat state Rep. Tom Emmer 50-39, with the rest of the field in the low single digits.
• AZ-Sen: With the imminent entry of ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth into the Republican primary against John McCain, we're already looking at dueling internal polls. McCain offers up a poll from POS, giving him a 59-30 lead over Hayworth. Hayworth has his own poll from McLaughlin, which, not surprisingly, shows him much closer, trailing 49-33.
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek, NASCAR dad? Meek plans to call attention to his campaign by shelling out to be the lead sponsor of Mike Wallace's car in an upcoming race at Daytona.
• IN-Sen: With the surprising announcement by ex-Sen. Dan Coats last night that he's interested in a comeback and would start seeking the signatures to qualify for the Indiana GOP nod, the oppo pretty much writes itself. For starters, Coats can't even sign his own petition - he's been a registered voter in Virginia for more than a decade, not Indiana. And what's he been doing for much of that time? Lobbying... for King & Spalding, on behalf of nice people like the Carlyle Group and Bank of America. The Plum Line also points to Coats accusing Bill Clinton of "wagging the dog" when he started going after al-Qaeda in 1998, allegedly to distract the press from his peccadilloes... and we all know how that turned out.
• ND-Sen: Democrats have, well, somebody ready to go if ex-AG Heidi Heitkamp doesn't get into the Senate race to replace retiring Byron Dorgan. State Sen. Tracy Potter, who represents Bismarck, will be announcing his candidacy on Friday. Other potential candidates seem to be holding back, waiting to see what Heitkamp does; she's been strangely silent since initially expressing interest in the seat last month.
• NY-Sen-B: Quinnipiac's first poll of the New York Senate race after the Harold Ford Jr. boomlet began finds, well, pretty much what everyone else has found: Kirsten Gillibrand beats him by a wide margin but doesn't break 50%. Gillibrand beats 36-18, with Jonathan Tasini at 4. Quinnipiac also tests general election matchups against Republican port commissioner Bruce Blakeman (they don't even bother testing ex-Gov. George Pataki, who doesn't seem to be making any moves to get into the race). Gillibrand beats Blakeman 44-27, and Ford beats him 35-26. Gillibrand is slowly gaining some more name rec, up to a 42/28 approval. Blakeman may not have the GOP primary to himself, though, as a strange blast from the past is re-emerging to say he's interested in the race: ex-Rep. Joseph DioGuardi. In case the name doesn't ring a bell, DioGuardi served in the House representing Westchester County from 1984 to 1988, when he was defeated by Nita Lowey.
• NY-Gov: The same Quinnipiac sample looks at the governor's race, finding huge approval gaps between Andrew Cuomo (54/16) and David Paterson (34/49). Cuomo wins the Democratic primary 55-23. Cuomo beats Rick Lazio 57-25, while Lazio manages to get past Paterson 40-39. There's also one other bit of good news for Cuomo (who's seemed gunshy about taking on Paterson, perhaps out of bad memories of his race against Carl McCall). The poll asked if his candidacy would be "racially divisive," and respondents answered "no" by an 80-14 margin, including 73-22 among African-Americans. Marist (pdf) also just released the gubernatorial half of its recent Senate poll, finding generally similar numbers. Cuomo wins the primary 70-23. Cuomo beats Lazio 64-27, while Lazio edges Paterson 46-43.
• TN-Gov: Add one more candidate running for higher office who's publicly copped to being birther-curious: Lt. Gov. (and GOP gubernatorial candidate) Ron Ramsey. Not having made much of an impression in terms of polling (where Rep. Zach Wamp has an edge) or fundraising (where Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam is cleaning up), this seems like the most attention Ramsey has gotten so far.
• TX-Gov: Here's more evidence that the Texas GOP gubernatorial primary may be headed for a runoff: the new Rasmussen poll of the primary doesn't have anyone coming even close to 50%. Incumbent Rick Perry leads at 44, with Kay Bailey Hutchison lagging at 29, and Paulist insurgent Debra Medina all the way up to 14 on the strength of some buzz coming out of her debate performances. KBH may be counting on a runoff as her only way left to salvage this race, but somehow it seems like, in a runoff, Medina votes are a lot likely to gravitate toward the secession-invoking Perry rather than consummate DC insider Hutchison. In the general, all three defeat Democratic ex-Houston mayor Bill White, although, as one would expect, KBH puts up the biggest margin: 49-36. Perry wins 48-39, while Medina wins by only 41-38.
• AR-02: One of the non-Tim Griffin candidates in the Republican field, David Meeks, dropped out of the race today, probably realizing he was in over his head with the kind of attention open seat races get. One other candidate, restaurant owner Scott Wallace remains, and he may well carry the teabagger flag against Beltway creature Griffin. Realizing the best way to win this is by painting Griffin as insider, the DCCC is turning their attention to Griffin's past as GOP behind-the-scenes fixer, calling attention to his efforts at voter suppression. Over in the diaries, ARDem takes a look at the developing Dem field, which currently contains state House speaker Robbie Wills, liberal state Sen. Joyce Elliott, and retiring Vic Snyder's chief of staff, David Boling. It won't contain, however, Little Rock mayor Mike Stodola, or Public Service Commissioner Paul Suskie, who had seemed to be laying the groundwork for a run.
• CA-12, CA-AG: False alarm: Rep. Jackie Speier is staying put in the 12th District, where's she been in place for only a couple years. Rumors that she was about to move over to the state AG's race had many of the state legislators on the Peninsula angling to replace her.
• GA-04: In the wake of an internal from Rep. Hank Johnson showing him crushing his three opponents in the Dem primary in this solidly-blue district in Atlanta's suburbs, one of those opponents got out of the way: DeKalb Co. Commissioner Lee May. May is an ally of former DeKalb Co. CEO Vernon Jones, so it's possible that he's getting out of the way primarily so that Jones can get a bigger share of the non-Johnson vote.
• MA-10: With the general sense that this is the most vulnerable district in Massachusetts (as seen with its votes in the Senate special election last month), Republicans are taking more of an interest in challenging Rep. William Delahunt in this usually-ignored seat. Former state treasurer Joe Malone is probably the biggest name to express interest, but at least one other credible contender, state Rep. Jeffrey Perry, is already announcing his candidacy. State Sen. Robert Hedlund is also expressing some interest.
• NJ-07: One big hole in the Dems' recruitment schedule has been the 7th, narrowly won by freshman GOP Rep. Leonard Lance in 2008. They've managed to fill the gap with Ed Potosnak, who's elevated slightly above Some Dude status by the full Rolodex he brings with him after working for a number of years as a Hill staffer for Rep. Mike Honda.
• PA-11: Lackawanna Co. Commissioner Corey O'Brien has a compelling argument for why he should win the primary in the 11th: he says Rep. Paul Kanjorski has "zero" chance of defeating Republican Lou Barletta in their third face-off, citing Kanjorski's low approval ratings. O'Brien has been fundraising well ($180K last quarter, not far from Kanjo's $237K) and recently hit the airwaves with a small cable buy for his first TV spot.
• CA-LG: Is San Francisco mayor (and gubernatorial race dropout) Gavin Newsom actually thinking about a run for the dead-end job that is California's #2? Officially he's not interested, but he hasn't said no, and a new public poll from Tulchin gives him a big lead in a hypothetical LG primary, with Newsom at 33 against the two declared candidates: Los Angeles city councilor Janice Hahn at 17 and state Sen. Dean Florez at 15. Meanwhile, the state Senate this week takes up the issue of filling the current vacancy in the LG's chair (vacated by now-Rep. John Garamendi); there's actually talk of blocking Ahnold appointee state Sen. Abel Maldonado, despite that getting the moderate Republican Maldonado out of his seat would open up his Dem-leaning district for a takeover and help push the Dem edge in the Senate toward the magic 2/3s mark.
• CT-AG: The story of Susan Bysiewicz just gets stranger and stranger; she decided that rather than run for governor, she'd prefer to run for AG, but now the job's current occupant, Richard Blumenthal, says that possibly she can't. An AG opinion interprets state law requiring ten years of legal practice as unclear and urges a declaratory ruling on Bysiewicz's case from a court. Bysiewicz, for her part, said she won't seek the declaratory ruling and is simply plowing ahead with her AG campaign, although it's possible one of the other candidates in the race might force the issue in the courts.
• Polltopia: The skepticism toward those SurveyUSA polls commissioned by Firedoglake continues to grow, this time from political science professor and frequent Pollster.com contributor Alan Abramowitz. His gravest concerns are with the leading questions in the issues portions of the poll on health care reform, but he also points to serious problems with the samples' compositions that we were quick to flag. He observes that the samples deeply underrepresent younger votes, and that the youth subsets are so small that there's no good way to "weight up" younger voters to a more proportionate level.
• FL-Sen: Today is the day we say goodbye to Mel Martinez, resigning to... well, he hasn't figured it out yet. Martinez leaves sounding rather downbeat, having been pilloried by much of his party for his work on immigration. And today we say hello to George LeMieux, Charlie Crist's former right-hand man and now body-double in the Senate. Interesting trivia: Kirsten Gillibrand is no longer the youngest Senator; LeMieux is a youthful 40.
• MA-Sen: The rumor du jour coming out of the Bay State is that Andy Card, the former Bush White House chief of staff, is interested in the Senate special election for the GOP. Card would be a long-shot (as would any Republican), but would at least come to the race armed with a giant Rolodex full of donors. (Wait... do people even use Rolodexes any more?)
• UT-Sen: Is Bob Bennett just ready for retirement, or is he trying to move to the left of the the gaggle of far-right primary challengers, hoping they split the wingnut vote and let him win by occupying all of the quasi-moderate Huntsman-style space in the GOP field? Either way, he took a few provocative actions yesterday, as one of only four GOPers to stand and applaud Barack Obama's call-out of the "death panel" lie last night -- which earned him the spot of Public Enemy #1 at RedState -- and earlier as one of only five GOPers to vote in favor of cloture on the Cass Sunstein nomination, who currently holds the #2 spot on the list that Glenn Beck is holding in his hand.
• NY-Gov: This is a weird-ass rumor, but apparently several different sources are telling the Weekly Standard that Hillary Clinton may bag on being Secretary of State in order to run for Governor of New York. Take with... I dunno, is there something much stronger than salt? Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani was supposed to be in the middle of a power play involving remaking the leadership of the state GOP in preparation for a gubernatorial run, but seems to be losing that proxy battle, as the insufficiently-pro-Rudy Ed Cox still seems on track to take over as state GOP chair.
• TN-Gov: Rep. Zach Wamp has an edge in the GOP primary for the open gubernatorial race in Tennessee, according to his own polling, done by the Tarrance Group. Wamp has 22% of the vote, followed by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey at 15, Shelby Co. DA Bill Gibbons at 14, and Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam at 12. Wamp also led the field with 22 in a poll several months ago from Southern Political Report.
• CA-11: There are already a bunch of next-to-no-names running against Jerry McNerney in the R+1 11th, but the GOP has dug up someone who's at least one notch above that: Tony Amador, the former U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of California under the Bush administration, giving him some sort-of-non-partisan law-and-order cred. Amador was the son of undocumented immigrants -- but does that make him the kind of courageous by-the-bootstraps story that Republicans love, or unacceptable to the GOP's rabid nativist base?
• MO-08: Here's an appealing-sounding recruit for the Dems to go against Jo Ann Emerson: college instructor and Army vet Tommy Sowers. He served two tours in Iraq, then taught at West Point, and now teaches at Missouri University of Science and Technology. He'll still have an uphill fight against Emerson, who hasn't drawn tough competition since her initial 1996 election, in this district that actually went for Bill Clinton but has fallen off the cliff lately at R+15.
• SC-02: If last night were a movie, the poster would say "Starring Barack Obama, and introducing Joe Wilson!" With one over-the-top line of dialogue, Wilson was catapulted from back-bench anonymity, to front-and-center among one-dimensional cartoonish House Republican villains, right next to Michele Bachmann and Jean Schmidt. While Wilson privately apologized last night, he is refusing today to publicly apologize in the House well, and Democratic House leadership seems eager to let that slide, not wanting to get distracted from the more pressing matter of health care. However, the assault from the netroots has been merciless; Wilson's 2010 opponent, Iraq vet Rob Miller (who came within 8% of Wilson in 2008 in this R+9 district), has hit the fundraising jackpot, raising over $200K since last night according to the DCCC. (Prior to last night, Miller had $49K CoH while Wilson had $212K.) This includes $135K alone at Act Blue (hint hint). UPDATE: PPP teases that they're going into the field tonight to poll SC-02; they're asking for help in drafting the poll, so be sure and give them a hand.
• CA-St. Ass.: In case you were under a rock yesterday (or had a particularly aggressive work-safe web-blocker), Republican Mike Duvall resigned immediately from his state Assembly seat in northern Orange County after getting caught on an open microphone talking in lascivious detail about his sexual transactions with a oil-and-gas lobbyist. The resulting special election in AD-72 doesn't seem likely to go to the Dems -- Orange County Supervisor Chris Norby is set to run for the seat -- but it's the least hardcore part of the OC, where John McCain won only 50-47, so it's worth paying some attention. (See californianwonder's diary for more.)
• House: Here's a GOP poll that I'm sharing simply because of the sheer irrelevance of its premise: that Nancy Pelosi is the most polarizing House Speaker since Newt Gingrich. Remember that there was exactly one Speaker in between Gingrich and Pelosi. Should it be any surprise that the highly visible Pelosi is considered more polarizing than the shapeless, flavorless DeLay-puppet Dennis Hastert... or that the GOP paid good money to ascertain that?
Mike McWherter (D): 23
Roy Herron (D): 13
Jim Kyle (D): 6
Ward Cammack (D): 5
Kim McMillan (D): 3
Zach Wamp (R): 22
Bill Haslam (R): 15
Ron Ramsey (R): 7
Bill Gibbons (R): 4
This is, as far as I know, the first poll out there of the still-coalescing Tennessee governor's race. It's from an outlet with no track record (although I suspect this may have been conducted by the reputable Insider Advantage, with whom the Southern Political Report is affiliated), primaries only, and the undecideds are huge (as one would expect at this point in the game), but it's better than nothing, so let's take a look.
On the Dem side, the leader is Jackson-area businessman (beer distributor, to be more precise) Mike McWherter, who's never been elected before but whose claim to fame is that he's the son of former Governor Ned McWherter (so factor in that a lot of respondents may think they're talking about Ned instead). The other players here at state Senator Roy Herron from the state's rural northwest, state Senate minority leader Jim Kyle from Memphis, businessman Ward Cammack of Nashville, and former state House majority leader Kim McMillan of Clarksville, the only woman in the race. The "other," I suspect, is that a lot of people still think that country music star Tim McGraw is running as a Democrat (which he's denied, but had long been rumored).
For the GOPers, the frontrunner is U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp of the 3rd District (Chattanooga), trailed by Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam, Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey from Blountville in the state's far eastern tip, and Shelby Co. DA Bill Gibbons of Memphis. (I'm emphasizing the cities they're from because both fields are composed of candidates each with their own clearly defined regional base, and if the fields stay this crowded, consolidating regional bases will prove very important for winning the primary. Bear in mind for the general, though, that Democrats are much stronger in the western half of the state and Republicans are much stronger in the east.)