• FL-Sen: Endorsements from U.S. House members aren’t usually a big deal, but this is an interesting one: Charlie Crist just got the endorsement of Los Bros. Diaz-Balart (both Mario and Lincoln), despite the presence of a fellow hawkish Cuban-American in the race (ex-state House speaker Marco Rubio). Not entirely surprising, though, as the Diaz-Balart brothers are generally on the moderate side of the GOP caucus, and have gone for Establishment over Cubano ties in previous endorsements (as in the Senate primary of 2004, when they supported Bill McCollum over Mel Martinez, who still went on to win Miami-Dade County with 80% of the vote en route to narrowly beating McCollum statewide).
Meanwhile, that pleasant golden glow coming from the Crist camp isn’t from his surreal tan, but from the huge pile of money he’s amassed. Crist is expected to announce shortly that he raised $3 million in the last six weeks.
• NV-Sen, NV-02: Rep. Dean Heller still didn’t make it explicit, but it sounds like he won’t be running against Harry Reid in 2010 (and he may also be hinting against a run in the gubernatorial primary). He emphatically said that he “likes his district, likes his constituents and likes his committee assignment” (a valuable spot on Ways and Means).
• AK-Gov: Now that Sarah Palin has some free time on her hands, Michael Steele is tugging on her sleeve and asking for some love for the NJ-Gov and VA-Gov races. (Although I gotta wonder how she’ll play in those states where Obama cleaned up in 2008, and where the educated voters tend to be… how shall I put this delicately? Meritocratic.) Here’s one other interesting bit of news that actually predates Palin’s Freaky Friday by several days: Democratic state Senator Hollis French filed a letter of intent to run for Governor in 2010 (despite fellow Dem Ethan Berkowitz’s potential presence in the race), although who knows if he’ll stay interested now that the race will be against a semi-incumbent Sean Parnell.
One other thought about Alaska that just about everyone in the tradmed seems to be missing. Sarah Palin did have a job in between being mayor of Wasilla and Alaska Governor: she was chair of Frank Murkowski’s Oil and Gas Commission. How long was she on this Commission? Less than a year… until she quit in January 2004 with a big public huff (leaving the Commission in the lurch with only one member), saying “the experience was taking the ‘oomph’ out of her passion for government service and she decided to quit rather than becoming bitter.” She publicly cited her frustration with being unable to be all straight-talky and mavericky about the corruption and backbiting on the Commission, but the resignation also came at a very convenient time for switching over to lay the groundwork for her successful 2006 gubernatorial run.
• PA-Gov: If the Democratic primary for the Governor’s race in Pennsylvania were to be decided by nothing but money, Allegheny Co. Executive Dan Onorato would be winning in a cakewalk. At quarter’s end, he reports more than $4 million in cash on hand, compared with likely rival Auditor Jack Wagner, who has about $325,000. Philly businessman Tom Knox isn’t required to report as he doesn’t hold office, but can self-finance as needed.
• CA-10: Finally, we have a vote for the special election in CA-10. Arnold Schwarzenegger set the date for Sep. 1 for the all-party primary, which in this dark-blue district is where all the action will be, with three top-tier Democrats in the field and a couple intriguing minor Dems as well (but only a minor GOP stand-in). However, under California law, if no one candidate breaks 50% in the primary (which is unlikely to happen with such a crowded Dem field) the race won’t officially be over it goes to a runoff where the Dem faces off against said GOPer, which is set for the regularly scheduled Election Day of Nov. 3.
• FL-24: Yet another GOPer is poised to jump into the race to take on Rep. Suzanne Kosmas in the R+3 Orlando-area district: state Rep. Sandy Adams. She will join state Rep. Dorothy Hulkill, who had announced her intentions last week but officially filed today. (She also joins Winter Park City Councilor Karen Diebel, who got a lot of touting for a day or two before seemingly getting shoved over.)
• Votes: Although we’re only halfway through the year, CQ already has initial party unity scores available for all the members of Congress, as well as similar “presidential support scores.” [UPDATE: Now that I’ve had the time to go over the party unity scores with a fine-toothed comb, I can report that the House Dems are being a much more unified party than the GOP, despite the fact that there are a lot more Democrats overall, and a lot more Democrats coming from districts that lean against them at the presidential level. There are 27 GOPers who have party unity scores below 80% (basically the entire Main Street Partnership: Biggert, Capito Moore, Castle, Dent, L. Diaz-Balart, M. Diaz-Balart, Ehlers, Emerson, Gerlach, T. Johnson, P. King, Kirk, La Tourette, Lance, Lo Biondo, McHugh, C. Miller, T. Murphy, Platts, Reichert, Ros-Lehtinen, C. Smith, Turner, Upton, Wolf, B. Young, and D. Young), while there are only 13 Democrats (the most hardcore of the Blue Dogs: Altmire, Bright, Donnelly, Griffith, Hill, Kirkpatrick, Kratovil, Marshall, Minnick, Mitchell, Nye, Shuler, and G. Taylor). The ratio is similar on the Senate side, with 7 on the GOP side (Collins, Gregg, Lugar, Martinez, Murkowski, Snowe, and Voinovich) and 4 on the Dem side (Bayh, Feingold, and Ben Nelson, plus Specter, although he spent the majority of that period as a GOPer)].