AL-03: Josh Segall Drops Out

Via e-mail:

After much thought and careful consideration, I have decided not to pursue the office of US Representative for Alabama’s Third District. So many of you have been incredibly supportive of my run, and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your advice, encouragement, and efforts.  I am immeasurably proud and appreciative of what we have accomplished together.

Segall had a very respectable run in 2008, holding Republican incumbent Mike Rogers to a 54-46 margin despite being outspent by 2-to-1. However, Segall’s fundraising never seemed to really get off the ground this year, resulting in his ultimate decision to keep his powder dry.

Unfortunately, the filing deadline for this race passes at 5pm tonight, leaving Alabama Democrats with barely any time to find a warm body to run in his place.

RaceTracker Wiki: AL-03

IA-Gov: Branstad launching statewide tv ads

Former Governor Terry Branstad’s campaign announced today that two television commercials will begin airing statewide on Monday, April 5. That’s two days before the first debate between the three Republican candidates for governor and about nine weeks before the June 8 primary.

The Branstad campaign will run this 60-second ad called “Ready”, which first aired during the University of Northern Iowa’s NCAA basketball game last week, and this 30-second ad called “I Know Iowa.” The “Ready” ad intersperses Branstad’s campaign promises with testimonials about his character and talents. I can’t embed the 30-second ad here, but it features footage of Branstad with lots of different Iowans, as well as his campaign bus driving toward the state capitol building. The candidate himself does the voice-over for the shorter ad, and here’s my rough transcript:

Iowans are genuinely fearful and concerned, but also, people are hopeful. They know that we have the ability to come back. They’ve seen it done before. We can create 200,000 jobs. We can increase family incomes by 25 percent. We can reduce the size and cost of government, and we can make our education system the best in America. I love this state, and I love the people of this state, because I know given the opportunity, Iowans will always exceed expectations.

Both commercials convey the central theme of the Branstad campaign: he can lead Iowa out of tough times and back to greatness. I don’t see substance backing up Branstad’s campaign promises, but for the most part Iowa journalists are giving him a free pass. I question whether his Republican opponents will be able to make an effective case against him. Branstad probably will be the only candidate advertising on television for several weeks. It’s not clear that Bob Vander Plaats and Rod Roberts have the resources to run even two weeks of commercials statewide. Vander Plaats has a stronger potential grassroots network given his experience with Mike Huckabee’s campaign and the support of the Iowa Family Policy Center, but Roberts seems to be competing for the same conservative voters Vander Plaats is targeting.

SSP Daily Digest: 4/2

  • AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln says she’s raised over $1 million in Q1 and has over $4 mil on hand. Primary opponent Bill Halter, as we noted yesterday, raked in over $2 mil.
  • AZ-Sen: J.D. Hayworth says he’s raised… some amount in the vicinity of $1 million dollars. Originally he said he had narrowly missed that goal, but then later his campaign claimed they beat the seven-figure mark. Obviously a pretty meaningless distinction. (John McCain, as we noted yesterday, raised over $2 mil.)
  • NH-Sen: Some fundraising numbers for GOP senate hopefuls: $100K for Jim Bender (+$400K self-loan), and $400K for Bill Binnie.
  • NV-Sen: There aren’t many good days anymore for John Ensign. New revelations show that he tried to intervene to save the very same energy company he asked to hire his mistress’s husband. Ensign had been denying that he tried to help this company, P2SA Equity, just days ago.
  • NY-Sen-B: They’ve scraped the bottom of the barrel so hard that they’ve clawed a hole in the damn thing. The NY GOP is now supposedly reduced to seeing if Bill Weld, the failed retread ex-Gov. of Massachusetts, wants to run against Kirsten Gillibrand. Weld, you might recall, was passed over for the privilege of getting steamrolled by Eliot Spitzer in 2006. The Daily News also claims that that state chair Ed Cox has reached out to ex-Rep. Jim Walsh, now a lobbyist. A Cox spokesman denies all of this, so, go figure.
  • AK-AL: Andrew Halcro, who sounded very lukewarm about continuing his challenge to Rep. Don Young in the GOP primary a month ago, has officially bailed. Young still has a Republican challenger, though: businessman Sheldon Fisher.
  • AR-02: Mike Huckabee isn’t joining the Tim Griffin bandwagon. In fact, he just endorsed rival Republican Scott Wallace, a Little Rock restaurateur who is a decided underdog in the GOP primary. In a now-classic trope, Wallace is attacking Griffin for a fundraiser he held the other day headlined by Eric Cantor, portraying the race as yet another DC establishment vs. local dude race. Huckabee seemed to echo those themes a bit in his statement endorsing Wallace.
  • AZ-01: Republican state House Majority Whip Andy Tobin said he was considering entering the race against frosh Dem Ann Kirkpatrick, but then very quickly backtracked. That leaves Rusty “Trombone” Bowers as the GOP’s chief organ-grinder here.
  • AZ-03: Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker, running for fellow Republican John Shadegg’s open seat, says he’s raised $230,000. No word yet from the other GOPers in this race (and there are a lot of them) or Dem John Hulburd.
  • FL-12: Former state Rep. Dennis Ross said he raised $160K in the first quarter in his bid to succeed outgoing fellow Republican Adam Putnam. Dem Lori Edwards hasn’t announced any numbers yet, but her fundraising fell of a cliff in the second half of last year.
  • IN-02: Complaining that GOP bigs have (gasp) taken sides in the Republican primary – and not in his favor – Some Dude Martin Nolan is dropping out of the race. He’s endorsing former pharma exec Jack Jordan over state Rep. “Whacky” Jackie Walorski.
  • NY-29: Assemblyman David Koon is pulling his name out of consideration for the Dem nod to replace ex-Rep. Eric Massa. Since it looks like there won’t be a special election, am I right in assuming that Dems will select a nominee via a primary, rather than by committee?
  • OH-16: GOPer Jim Renacci is airing his first TV ad. It’s just a cable buy (mostly FOX News), so it can’t be costing very much.
  • OK-05: A second Democrat has announced a run for GOP Rep. Mary Fallin’s open seat: attorney and Marine veteran Billy Coyle. He joins legal studies prof Tom Guild in the race on the Dem side in this R+13 district.
  • PA-07: Bryan Lentz wants the feds to investigate the petition signatures of his Republican opponent, Pat Meehan. The case was referred by the local D.A. to the state attorney general, but Meehan’s donated money AG Tom Corbett, his fellow GOPer who is running for governor. Lentz wants this conflict of interest cleared up by having the DOJ handle the case instead.
  • PA-12: Dem Mark Critz, running in the Murtha special election, is up on the air with a positive intro ad. (As is typical for these kinds of announcements – sigh – no word on the size of the buy.) His opponent, GOPer Tim Burns, also just went up.
  • PA-17: The PA AFL-CIO is withholding its endorsement from Rep. Tim Holden in the Democratic primary, due to his vote against healthcare reform. The AFL has usually back Holden with vigor, but this time they are staying neutral in his race against attorney Sheila Dow Ford. Ford hasn’t filed any FEC reports yet, while Holden has about $675K on hand, so this may not amount to much. Moreover, the AFL says they may “reconsider” their position for the general election.
  • VA-11: At long last: The national Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance might finally get a voice in Congress. That’s because Kurt P. Riesenberg, the president and executive director of the national Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance, is joining the GOP primary to take on Rep. Gerry Connolly. He joins businessman Keith Fimian and Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity. Long live the national Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance!
  • DGA/RGA: The Democratic Governors Association said it raised $8m in the first three months of 2010, a quarterly record, and has $22 mil on hand. Their Republican counterpart, the RGA, raised $9 mil and has $31.2 mil on hand.
  • Polling: SSP diarist Spiderdem has done some very good – and very necessary – digging on brand-new pollster “We Ask America.” It looks like they are a subsidiary of a subsidiary of the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association, an anti-labor, anti-tax organization that’s a member of the notorious National Association of Manufacturers. I have no problem with partisan pollsters, but pollsters who aren’t up-front about their affiliations deserve our scorn. (And given that Bill Foster’s camp is charging that WAA’s robopolling made it difficult or impossible to record an answer in favor of healthcare reform, they may deserve more than scorn.)
  • Redistricting: Democrats and Republicans are talking over a plan to split Texas’s expected four-seat gain right down the middle – two seats for them, two for us. On the one hand, it seems like a good bargain for Team Blue, especially if we wind up controlling none of the levers of the redistricting process. On the flipside, since most of the state’s growth has been among the Hispanic population, the Voting Rights Act may very well spot us two seats to begin with, so this may not really be much of a deal for us.
  • Site News: Some time last month, the Swing State Project welcomed its 8 millionth visitor to the land of Some Dudes, ganja breaks, and Panic! at Tedisco. (We crossed the 7 million mark in October of last year.) Help us celebrate: We want to reach 1,500 followers on Twitter and 400 fans on Facebook.
  • IN-03: Why I Think Tom Hayhurst Has a Chance

    In a series of comments here at SSP, I’ve argued that the IN-03 congressional race is the sleeper race of the 2010 cycle.  In this diary, I’ll expand on these comments and explain in detail why I think Democratic candidate Dr. Tom Hayhurst has a real shot at pulling the upset of 2010 here in Indiana.

    Some caveats: no, I don’t expect Hayhurst to win; I’m arguing only that he has a legitimate shot and could win given the right (not entirely unrealistic) set of circumstances.  Also, this diary isn’t intended as a critique of the SSP front-page team, which recently made the decision not to list IN-03 as a potential pickup on the Big Board.  They have excellent reasons for their choice, and their fantastic writing and analysis is what keeps me coming back to SSP more than any other political site on the Net.  Finally, though I live in another district in Indiana (IN-09), I’ve never been to IN-03, nor do I know Hayhurst, Souder, any of the other candidates, or anyone who lives in the district.  Thus, my comments in this diary are based solely on my own analysis and on information I’ve gleaned from the Web.


    IN-03 is a mostly rural district in the northeastern corner of the state.  Its largest city is Fort Wayne.  The district has a Cook PVI of R+14; McCain won it 56-43, but Bush won it in 2004 by a vastly larger 68-31.  According to Cook, this is the 64th most Republican district in the country; among Democrats, only Chet Edwards, Walt Minnick, Bobby Bright, and Jim Matheson hold districts more Republican-leaning.

    Nevertheless, the district has had a reasonably good electoral history for Democrats recently.  In 2006, Hayhurst held Souder to a 54-46 margin.  In 2008, 28-year-old attorney Michael Montagano performed less successfully against Souder, losing 55-40 (and getting outperformed by Obama in the district).

    Obviously, it will take a perfect storm of events for Hayhurst to win this seat.  A victory in a seat like this would require a combination of an impressive Democratic candidate who’s a perfect fit for the district, a very weak Republican candidate, a Democratic fundraising advantage in the race, a divisive Republican primary, and a favorable electoral climate.  As I’ll argue, though, all but the last of these qualities exist in this race.  If the political climate remains as GOP-friendly as is it now, Souder should eke out a win.  If Democrats become more popular as a result of the health care bill and additional legislation, Hayhurst could pull the upset.

    A Strong Democratic Candidate

    Tom Hayhurst is a 67-year-old retired medical doctor and Democratic activist.  He’s a good fit for the district: an avuncular medical professional who seems like he walked out of a 1950’s movie about small-town America.  (He’s a better fit than, for instance, a young lawyer like Montagano, which is one of the reasons Montagano lost in 2008.)  He’s an avowed centrist whose position on health care has evolved from opposing the House bill to arguing that he can make it more cost-effective in Congress.  Additionally, Hayhurst is talking jobs and advocating strongly for the expansion of passenger rail in Indiana.  He has wide name recognition throughout the district as a result of his previous congressional run.

    A description of Hayhurst as a candidate can’t help but include his impressive showing in 2006: 46% of the vote, outperforming the district by six points without a shred of help from the DCCC or elsewhere.  (Granted, DCCC spending didn’t seem to help Montagano in 2008.)  All told, Hayhurst is about the best candidate Dems could field in this district.

    A Weak Republican Incumbent

    Coupled with Hayhurst’s strength is the weakness of Mark Souder, about the limpest noodle around in Indiana’s congressional delegation (which is saying something, since he’s got competition from Steve Buyer and Dan Burton).  Souder’s known as a weak campaigner and fundraiser, isn’t well-liked by Republicans in his district, and is an all-around weak incumbent.  Some typical criticisms of Souder: he cares more about fantasy sports than he does about his job; he broke a term limits pledge back in 2006; his campaigning skills are so weak that even Rothenberg thinks the NRCC should have cut him loose back in 2008.  Clearly, this is not a guy who’s well-loved or particularly adept at keeping his seat.  In 2008, with NRCC help, he was able to win convincingly against Montagano; but two years earlier, he couldn’t be bothered to campaign seriously against Hayhurst and almost lost the seat as a result.

    A Democratic Fundraising Advantage

    Wouldn’t it be nice if after just one fundraising quarter (the one that ended three months ago) Hayhurst had more cash-on-hand than Souder did?  Incredibly enough, that’s exactly what happened.  Thanks to anemic fundraising and an incredibly high burn rate, Souder ended up at the end of December with less cash-on-hand than Hayhurst.

    Furthermore, this isn’t the first time Hayhurst has outraised Souder; he did the same thing for the entire 2006 campaign, padding the total with $200,000 of his own money (Souder’s numbers here).  The evidence indicates that not only can Hayhurst keep pace with Souder, he can do so for the long haul.

    A Bruising Republican Primary

    Of course, this would be one thing if Souder could save all his cash for the general election.  However, for the first time in eight years, Souder is facing a bruising three-way primary.  His opponents are rich carpetbagging auto dealer Bob Thomas and former Dan Coats press secretary Phil Troyer, who’s the teabagger favorite.  Troyer’s fundraising has been anemic so far, so the real battle at the moment is between Souder and and the deep-pocketed Thomas.  Both candidates have ads up, and they’re bashing one another just as hard as they can.  Here’s a sample:

    A current radio ad for Souder’s re-election campaign even includes name-calling, referring to Thomas as ‘Big Bucks Bob Thomas’ and accuses him of spending “‘half-a-million (dollars) shopping for a seat in congress.” …

    “When he says I’m trying to buy this seat, well the fact is, he’s already sold it… to special interests groups in Washington D.C.,” said Thomas.

    As they say, ouch.  Souder should be able to prevail against the split field, just as he did in 2002 against a primary challenge from the left.  But Thomas is forcing him to drain his already anemic coffers, while Hayhurst continues to rack up more money.  Additionally, Souder will limp into the general election considerably bloodied by the attacks of his competitors.

    An Uncertain National Climate

    This brings us to the final criterion required for a Hayhurst upset: a favorable national climate.  Certainly this one isn’t looking likely at the moment.  But the election’s still seven months away, and a lot of things can change in seven months.

    The key takeaway: because of the national climate, Souder looks likely for reelection.  However, if the climate shifts so that Democrats lose, say, fifteen seats rather than thirty, Hayhurst has a shot at pulling off the biggest upset of the cycle.  This is definitely one race worth keeping an eye on.

    In Which I Reopen Wounds, or, Examining Boston through the Coakley-Brown Race

    David and the rest of the SSP crew have been kind enough to give me a soapbox here, and I think I’ll be starting a series on breaking down large jurisdictions through the lens of some election.

    Having gotten my hands on precinct data for the city for both 2008 and the 2010 Special, I thought I’d continue to examine the disparities between Obama’s and Coakley’s respective performances.

    As you can see on the map, the geographic central core of the city, Roxbury and Mattapan, remained strong with little dropoff from Coakley to the Obama. Jamaica Plain, Allston/Brighton, and Back Bay – all strong Obama areas as well – showed slightly greater drop-offs. Even greater drop-offs were noticeable in the already swingy areas of the city, such as West Roxbury, Dorchester, Charlestown, and Southie. McCain won only 3 precincts throughout the entire city’s 254; Brown increased that to 33.

    Putting this statewide perspective, we get this:

    Again looking at the map, South Boston was pretty darn brutal for Coakley, with Brown scoring 60%+ in several precincts. Many people (including one Stephen Lynch) indicated particular hostility for Coakley in the neighborhood. She did get destroyed here, but was it any worse than how badly she got destroyed across the rest of the state?

    I think not. Sidenote: I’m defining “South Boston” the same way the Boston City Council does, that is, all nine precincts in Ward 6 and precincts 1-7 in Ward 7.

    In 2008, in the 16 precincts constituting “South Boston” (or Southie), Obama beat McCain by a margin of 3,100 votes, or roughly 59-39. In 2010, Coakley lost by a margin of 1,500 votes, or roughly 43-56. Overall, this was a 16.0% swing; this is somewhat worse than that 15.31% swing experienced by Coakley across the state.

    But, despite my election-night model assuming so, Coakley didn’t experience a uniform dropoff. Instead, dropoffs are quite correlated with how well Obama performed in the area was to begin with. (This makes sense – Democratic strongholds are likely to remain so, while swingy areas in which Obama did well might have been particularly receptive to Republicans in a close election.)

    Throwing this up on a graph (with Coakley’s dropoff on the vertical axis and Obama’s margin on the horizontal), we get:

    You’ll see a few outliers here: the point at the origin you can throw out – that’s Boston Precinct 01-15, which last had a voter in 2004. The correlation on that is 0.83 0.816, suggesting quite a strong relationship.

    Taking the geekery to the next level, I busted out the extraordinarily helpful Stata (how academic of you, my SPSS-using friends tell me…):

    For those who are less of statistics nerds than I am, the regression tells us two main things:

    • For every point increase in Obama’s margin in a voting unit (precincts within Boston, towns elsewhere), we can expect Coakley’s performance relative to Obama’s to improve by 0.14%.
    • For a hypothetical voting unit that was exactly tied between Obama and McCain, we should expect a 17% swing away from Coakley.

    Applying this to South Boston, we see that there isn’t really a pattern: some precincts had drop-offs more than to be expected, others had less.

    There really isn’t much a discernible pattern here, again, supporting the conclusion that while Southie didn’t like Martha, they didn’t indicate their dislike for her through their votes more than the rest of the state did.

    This can all be represented visually as well:

    The last benefit of getting the Boston data was I could finish results of the Senate Race by CD. As we’d already known, they weren’t pretty, but here’s the results table just as a freebie:

    NY-29: Paterson Won’t Schedule a Special Election

    A huge blow for mid-year liveblogging:

    NY Gov. David Paterson (D) will not call a special election to fill the vacancy created by Rep. Eric Massa’s (D) resignation earlier this month, according to news reports.

    “We have some serious concerns about the financial impact that a special election could have on the county level, especially because those counties are facing the same fiscal crisis that the state is facing,” Paterson spokesperson Maggie McKeon told the Gannett news service.

    That’s a blow to the GOP, which saw the Corning-based district as its best chance to win a special election before the Nov. midterms. The NRCC has said it has yet to make a decision about how much it will invest in a special election to replace the late Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), and the party hasn’t signaled it will get seriously involved in a special election to replace ex-Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), who resigned to run for GOV.

    UPDATE: As mentioned in the comments, Assemblyman David Koon has pulled out of the race:

    New York Assemblyman David Koon said Thursday he won’t run in a special election for former Rep. Eric Massa’s vacant House seat, voicing dissatisfaction with the Democratic nominating process.

    “I’m withdrawing from the race because it’s gotten so messed up and there’s so much going on in Albany, I need to keep my constituents happy,” Koon told POLITICO. “The process has become such a distraction. Trying to raise money and spending time on the phone when I have other stuff that I need to be doing.”

    Koon said he had already received about $200,000 in donation pledges for the race. And he wouldn’t rule out running in a November general election, but said that’s not where he’s focusing his attention now.

    I’m not sure if Koon’s calculus may have changed now that it looks like Paterson is not going to call a special election, but there we are.

    SSP Daily Digest: 4/1 (Afternoon Edition)

  • AL-05: Wayne Parker, the GOP’s 2008 nominee, is endorsing Madison County Comm’r Mo Brooks as a “consistent conservative voice” – and pointedly not endorsing the party-switching Rep. Parker Griffith, to whom he lost. Parker also seems to be trying to consolidate support behind Brooks, who also has to contend with businessman Les Phillip in the primary.
  • AL-07: Radio journalist Patricia Evans Mokolo is dropping out of the Dem primary to succeed Rep. Artur Davis. This doesn’t really change the dynamics of the race much – the three main candidates are still Shelia Smoot, Terri Sewell, and Earl Hilliard, Jr.
  • MI-01: Cheboygan County Drain Commissioner (Drain Commissioner!!) Dennis Lennox, a 25-year-old Republican, won’t challenge Rep. Bart Stupak, instead endorsing surgeon Dan Benishek.
  • MN-01: Michele Bachmann’s toxic vapors are spilling over into the 1st CD: GOPer Jim Hagedorn, himself no stranger to inflammatory remarks, is attacking primary opponent Allen Quist for his supposed “allegiance” to Bachmann – and his propensity for outrageous statements. (Quist once said that men are “genetically predisposed” to be the head of the household.) This seems to be a case of the pot calling the kettle black, but it’s also a rare instance of one Republican trying to not out-crazy another.
  • ND-AL: Criticizing the state convention which backed state Rep. Rick Berg as “exclusive,” businessman (and, I’m guessing, Some Dude) J.D. Donaghe filed to run against Berg in the Republican primary. It doesn’t look like Donaghe has filed any FEC reports so far – but then again, neither has Berg.
  • NJ-12: Fair Haven Mayor Michael Halfacre is dropping out and instead supporting businessman Scott Sipprelle for the GOP nod to take on Rep. Rush Holt. Sipprelle, who has given his own campaign a quarter million bucks, still faces real-estate investor Dave Corsi in the primary.
  • NY-02: The Suffolk County GOP is backing former radio talk-show host John Gomez to run against Rep. Steve Israel. Can’t tell you much more than that, though, since the story is behind the Newsday paywall – and there are only 35 online subscribers!
  • NY-13: Rep. Anthony Weiner will fill in for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn at a fundraiser for Rep. Mike McMahon. Quinn, you may recall, pulled out after McMahon voted against healthcare reform. Weiner was an outspoken proponent of the bill.
  • NY-20: Looks like the GOP got their huckleberry: Republican county committees have rallied around retired Army colonel Charles Chris Gibson to challenge Dem. Rep. Scott Murphy in the fall. In response, Gibson’s last remaining opponent, Patrick Ziegler, dropped out of the race, so it seems that there won’t be a primary here. Not sure if that’s a good thing, considering the poor success this same 10-county gang had in hand-picking all-time SSP fave Jim Tedisco last year.
  • NY-24: Epidemiologist Les Roberts is still weighing a primary run against Rep. Mike Arcuri, saying he’ll wait until at least April 9th to decide. That’s when the Working Families Party’s executive committee will meet to discuss the race. Roberts is also waiting to hear from county Democratic committees and local unions.
  • NY-29: Citing the state’s fiscal crisis and concerns about costs, a spokesperson for David Paterson is suggesting that the governor might not call a special election after all and will instead wait until the general election in the fall. This would also probably benefit Dems, who will (almost certainly) have Andrew Cuomo at the top of the ticket in November. (So, not surprisingly, GOP candidate Tom Reed is complaining loudly.) Here’s a question I have: If things unfold this way, then would the candidate selection process instead be replaced by a normal primary?
  • SC-02: Sigh. The story of Rob Miller’s campaign in one sentence: “The voice mailbox at his campaign office is full, and no one answered ITK’s repeated calls.”
  • VA-10: Navy vet and teabagger Jim Trautz has dropped his primary challenge to GOP Rep. Frank Wolf. I think we’re going to see the vast majority of teabaggers fizzle out in one way or another.
  • 1994: Pollster Stan Greenberg seemed to freak everybody out by saying at a recent breakfast that if the election were held today, it’d be 1994 all over again. But then he proceeded to explain why he thinks things might be different in November.
  • Census: Nate Silver, looking at state-by-state numbers, thinks there’s no hard evidence that the black helicopter crowd is letting itself get undercounted by refusing to return census forms. I think the county-level response rates will be more interesting, though.
  • Polling: An interesting tidbit: Quinnipiac has been steadily adding cell phones to its call lists. This is something that only pollsters who use live interviewers can do, because federal law prohibits automated calls to cell phones. Also, some fun polling on the political preference of sports fans, broken down by sport.
  • SSP Daily Digest: 4/1 (Morning Edition)

    The daily digest is so hunormous today that we had to CHOP IT IN HALF!

  • AR-Sen: Chris Cillizza’s incredibly annoying Mr. Rogers wallpaper tweets that Bill Halter raised $2 million in his first month on the trail.
  • AZ-Sen: This Roll Call piece has some interesting tidbits about the nascent Democratic (yes, Democratic) primary in the Arizona senate race. Tucson city councilman Rodney Glassman is all but running, and he has some personal wealth due to his family’s farming business. He also has the backing of Rep. Raul Grijalva (Glassman was once a Grijalva aide). Some other Dems, however, are talking up the potential candidacy of Nan Stockholm Walden, who is also wealthy and is a well-connected Democratic donor. The knock on Glassman is that he’s young and inexperienced; the knock on Walden is that she was a registered lobbyist for several years. Glassman says he’ll run no matter what Walden decides, and I think a primary here could actually be helpful if it stays clean.
  • On the GOP side of things, John McCain says he raised $2.2 million in the first quarter and has $4.5m on hand. Primary opponent J.D. Hayworth, meanwhile, seems like he hasn’t been doing quite so hot on the money front.

  • CA-Sen: A whiff of extra-special dumb: Carly Fiorina sent around an email to supporters describing Passover as a time to “break bread.” Of course, the one thing that Jews don’t eat on Passover is… bread. Trying to wiggle their way out of this one, a staffer tells TWI: “We meant all bread, leavened and unleavened, and matzo is just unleavened bread so that’s what we meant by that.” That still doesn’t work.
  • CT-Sen: GOP hopeful Linda McMahon is taking heat from opponent and ex-Rep. Rob Simmons for her $10,000 donation to the DCCC in 2006. Not only should this make McMahon suspect to Republicans, argues Simmons, but he seems to be tying that donation to the fact that he himself lost in 2006, perhaps nudged out the door by McMahon’s very own cash. (Considering Simmons came up just 83 votes short, he may have a point.)
  • FL-Sen: The joke is that when the New York Times finally gets to writing about a hitherto underground phenomenon (steampunk, miracle fruit, etc.), that’s the moment it becomes mainstream and therefore loses its cool. Marco Rubio’s “NYT moment” happened months ago, so anyone endorsing him at this late stage is about as cool as your mom using Facebook. Welcome to the club, Sen. Tom Coburn. Meanwhile, Charlie Crist’s old buddy, former FL GOP chair Jim Greer, is under criminal investigation for some sort of self-dealing.
  • KY-Sen: I think this is where Paulists probably part ways from teabaggers: Rand Paul thinks the government “shouldn’t be involved” in requiring people to wear seat belts. Not really sure ultra-libertarian whackness like this plays too well in most quarters. Please, please let this guy win the GOP primary. Incidentally, Paul says he’s raised $600K in the last quarter (lower than I would have thought), but also says he’s spent almost all of it. Apparently, though, he’s pre-paid for “the next six weeks of activity” (until the primary), perhaps locking in lower rates on things like TV ads.
  • MO-Sen: One last odd-n-end from PPP’s MO-Sen poll: Roy Blunt is under 50% against his unknown GOP primary challenger, Chuck Purgason – he leads 48-18. Purgason’s favorables are just 7-9 (not a typo), so obviously there’s a chunk of Republicans out there who just hate Blunt.
  • NC-Sen: Former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt will endorse attorney Ken Lewis, who is seeking the Dem senate nomination. Gantt himself ran for the Senate twice, losing two close races to the unthinkably odious Jesse Helms. Meanwhile, GOP Sen. Richard Burr says he’s raised $1.4 million in the first quarter and is sitting on a $5.3 mil warchest. No word yet on any of the Dems.
  • TX-Sen: It looks we will have Kay Bailey Hutchison to kick around some more – for at least the next two years. She announced yesterday that she’ll serve out the remainder of her term, which ends in 2012. I wouldn’t be surprised if she subsequently changed her mind (at least, after this November), but for now, that means TX-Sen comes off our “Races to Watch” list.
  • WI-Sen: Richie rich Terrence Wall says he’ll stay in the GOP primary even if ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson gets in. Wall had kind words for Thompson, and also thanked him for drawing Democratic fire, but it sounds like Wall wants to present himself as the “true conservative” option.
  • CA-Gov: Meg Whitman is the latest moron-American to jump onto the “healthcare reform is unconstitutional” bandwagon, agreeing wholeheartedly with a supporter who asked at a campaign event if she would “force your attorney general to file suit” against the legislation. (Of course, CA’s governor can do no such thing.) I really can’t wait until these idiots get punked out of court.
  • PA-Gov: Some fundraising numbers from some of the big players in Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race – click the link for details. One of them, Dan Onorato, is up on the air with his first TV ads. No exact word on the size of the buy, but supposedly the ads are in “heavy rotation around the state,” which could cost $1 million.
  • TN-Gov: McMillan Drops Out

    It looks like Tennessee Democrats have their gubernatorial nominee settled out:

    Former Tennessee state House Majority Leader Kim McMillan announced Wednesday she is ending her bid for the Democratic governor nomination, clearing the field for businessman Mike McWherter, and instead entering the Clarksville mayoral race.

    McMillan’s departure had been rumored around the Volunteer state after a recent poll showed she would be competitive should she run for mayor in her hometown. […]

    “I believe I can make a difference as Mayor of Tennessee’s 5th largest city,” McMillan concluded.

    McMillan’s exit leaves business Mike McWherter, the son of ex-Gov. Ned McWherter, as the presumptive Democratic nominee. McWherter recently pledged to put in $1 million of his own money into the race, and, very pleasantly, is taking a non-bullshit approach on healthcare reform:

    McWherter called the health care overhaul signed by Democratic President Barack Obama last week “the law of the land,” and criticized Republicans for urging the state to join a lawsuit seeking to block the law.

    “Access to affordable, adequate health care is something that every Tennessean ought to have,” McWherter said. “And this should not be an issue that we politically grandstand about.”

    McWherter will have to face the winner of a three-way Republican primary between Rep. Zach Wamp, Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey.