• AZ-Sen: Sounds like this weekend’s GOP primary, full of barbs and genuinely angry potshots between J.D. Hayworth and John McCain had only one beneficiary: random teabagger Jim Deakin, who didn’t seem to suffer any collateral damge.
• DE-Sen: The Susan B. Anthony List has endorsed minor-league primary challenger Christine O’Donnell instead of the pro-choice Mike Castle in the GOP Senate primary in Delaware. Delaware isn’t exactly known for its large social conservative vote share, so it remains to be seen whether this changes anything.
• MT-Sen: There have been odd rumors that Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who’ll be looking for something to do starting in 2012, was considering a primary challenge to Max Baucus in 2014, motivated at least in part over their different approaches to health care reform. Schweitzer ruled out running for the Senate, though (also ruling out a possible 2012 seat-swap with Jon Tester, which also had been rumored). The possibility of what he’d do if the septuagenarian Baucus retired in 2014, though, didn’t seem to get broached.
• NH-Sen: One more addition to the Mama Grizzly corral, and it’s a big name who’s, well, a woman, but has some competition from her right: Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire. Interesting that Sarah Palin refudiated the more teabaggish challengers (Ovide Lamontagne and Jim Bender).
• CO-Gov: Scott McInnis is not dropping out and is still in it to lose it, he vows, pressure and polling notwithstanding. He will, however, be repaying that $300K to the foundation that employed him to write and not plagiarize his research papers for them. However, it seems some of his underlings are clearly seeing the handwriting on the wall. Three key staffers (his policy director, political director, and regional director) all announced they were leaving the campaign.
• MI-Gov: A Detroit News/WDIV poll (conducted by the Glengariff Group) finds, like everybody else, a very close race in the Republican primary. They have Mike Cox and Peter Hoekstra both at 26, with Rick Snyder at 20, Mike Bouchard at 12, and Tom George at 2. They see a possible route for Snyder to win over undecideds, based on his low unfavorables (he’s at 36/8). Mike Bouchard also has a couple new endorsements to his name, although they’re from the spouses of two once-important politicians: the wives of ex-Gov. John Engler and ex-Sen. Spencer Abraham. The spouse endorsement, of course, is the time-honored method of boosting your behind-the-scenes friend while still not getting your hands dirty wasting political capital on a sure loss (see the Deval Patrick spousal endorsement of Mike Capuano in the MA-Sen primary).
• NE-Gov: After much speculation that the Dems were simply going to leave their ballot line blank and let Dave Heineman run unopposed to another gubernatorial term, they’ve found a willing
victim candidate to fill the place left by Mark Lakers (who dropped out post-primary but pre-convention). It’s Mike Meister, a trial attorney who lost the 2002 Attorney General’s race.
• OH-Gov: John Kasich’s new ad is weak. I know, I know, I’m a partisan, but if this were a Democrat running this ad, I’d be pounding my head on the desk. His first TV spot starts out with him on the defensive, pointing out that he didn’t run Lehman Brothers, just profited handsomely off it.
• OR-Gov: Chris Dudley ruffled some feathers over the weekend by ducking the decades-long traditional debate that opens the campaign season in this civic-minded state, held by the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. Dudley said that he’d already had plans for a family vacation then, and Democrats predictably said that this was part of a bigger pattern of ducking issues. (Note: don’t piss off the people who buy ink by the bucket. Newspaper e-boards across the state, even the conservative ones, have been scornful.) Then he got really busted: his family vacation just happened to be combined with a visit with the RGA, and its many donors, at an event in Aspen, Colorado. Oregonians aren’t likely to begrudge him for a little downtime, but lying about what he’s doing… not so much.
• WI-Gov: This seems a little too convenient. GOP Milwaukee Co. Executive Scott Walker’s staff just gave a no-bid contract for emergency structural engineering inspections to Graef-USA… a contractor that just happens to be a major Walker campaign contributor.
• MI-13: There are two new polls that look at the Democratic primary in the 13th, and both give a small lead to Hansen Clarke, over Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick. Clarke leads 38-30 in the Detroit News/WDIV poll, and Clarke leads 44-31 in an EPIC-MRA poll released last week. That’s on top of a third poll from last week that we already mentioned that also had a Clarke lead, so I’m sensing a pattern here. There’s a handful of other candidates, but they’re only polling in low single digits… it seems like having only one credible challenger (Clarke, a termed-out state Senator) to Kilpatrick, instead of two like in 2008, is the key to winning the race.
• Legislatures: There are two different stories out today looking at the lay of the land in two legislative chambers that seem among the likeliest to flip to Republican control this year: the Iowa State House, and the Pennsylvania State House, with mentions of some of the most competitive seats in each case.
• NRCC: With the House GOP pretty much assured of gaining a significant number of seats this year, it’s been a while since we’ve done one of these. But could it be time for another… Pete Sessions Deathwatch®? Texas GOPer Tom Pauken, a Rick Perry ally who was state party chair in the 1990s, has been talking Sessions down, saying he’s “not up to the job” and he should be replaced by “a smart conservative who knows what needs to be done.” That news comes on a day when NRCC staff are busy doing damage control, mopping up behind Sessions after his comments that “we need to go back to the exact same agenda” of the Bush years.
• AK-Gov: Ethan Berkowitz (D) 34%, Sean Parnell (R-inc)
• AK-Gov: Hollis French (D) 29%, Sean Parnell (R-inc) 57%
• AK-Gov: Ethan Berkowitz (D) 36%, Ralph Samuels (R) 48%
• AK-Gov: Hollis French (D) 30%, Ralph Samuels (R) 49%
• AK-Gov: Ethan Berkowitz (D) 38%, Bill Walker (R) 46%
• AK-Gov: Hollis French (D) 32%, Bill Walker (R) 50%
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D) 38%, Pat Toomey (R) 45%
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 44%, Scott Walker (R) 48%
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 45%, Mark Neumann (R) 43%
Also a must read today: a new piece from Nate Silver makes the point that “Hey, YouGov’s internet-only polling isn’t that methodologically bad,” but that’s by way of comparing it to Rasmussen’s sampling techniques, which (no shock to SSP readers) aren’t likely to produce a very accurate cross-section of the population.