PA-Sen: Sestak Takes the Lead

Research 2000 for Daily Kos (5/24-26, likely voters, 5/10-12 in parens):

Joe Sestak (D): 43 (40)

Pat Toomey (R): 40 (45)

Undecided: 17 (15)

(MoE: ±4%)

A nice post-primary bounce for Sestak here, whose favorables have risen to 48-30 (up from 39-26), compared to Toomey’s 47-42. A key finding here is that Sestak draws Toomey to a 35-35 tie among independents, whose votes will be the key battleground in the fall. Fueling Sestak’s rise is an uptick in support in Philly and its suburbs, and in Pittsburgh, where he now has a four-point lead (up from a six-point deficit a few weeks ago).

And, just because I’m curious to hear what you think, does anyone else agree with me that the breathless media hype surrounding the “Sestak job offer!!” is one of the most overblown stories in recent memory from a horserace perspective?

MA State Auditor candidate thinks we should fight terror with “pig-blood bullets”

It’s a cliche to say that 2010 is shaping up to be an anti-incumbent year.

In Massachusetts politics, however, this is true for a very simple reason- more incumbents than ever before in recent memory are not standing for reelection.

One of the political veterans stepping aside this year is State Auditor Joe DeNucci, the 24-year liberal Democratic incumbent. In the race to succeed him, we see a divided three-way Democratic primary between Governor Deval Patrick’s labor secretary, Suzanne Bump, former Clinton administration aide Mike Lake, and Worcester county Sheriff Guy Glodis.

The republicans have a primary of their own between the establishment pick, former Mass Turnpike board member (and Romney appointee) Mary Z. Connaughton, and insurgent candidate Kamal Jain.

The state Auditor’s office is a vital elected post in Massachusetts, basically being responsible for making sure that waste, fraud and abuse are kept out of state programs and spending.

Unfortunately, the present frontrunner for the position, Sheriff Glodis, has a long history of deeply disturbing statements about women, muslims and LGBT individuals. In 2003, when he was a state senator, Glodis caught flack for using his state email account to forward a story to his 39 senate colleagues about U.S. soldiers during the Phillippine insurrection using bullets soaked in pig’s blood to fight Muslim insurgents, and suggesting that such an approach might be useful against Al-Queda. News coverage in the Boston Phoenix of the incident at the time is available here:…

The Phoenix, Boston’s independent alternative weekly, recently wrote about Glodis’ bid for Auditor and the reaction he has been getting from the party faithful. They also list some of Glodis’ ‘greatest hits’ from his time in the legislature, where he was one of the most conservative voices and a steadfast opponent of equal marriage.…

Unfortunately, Glodis may be tough to beat in the Democratic primary, considering that is $830,000 warchest, stockpiled high over years of running unopposed, far exceeds the less than $100,000 takes of both of his Democratic opponents.

Hopefully, though, MA Democrats will rally and reject Glodis at their upcoming convention on Saturday, June 5th, and than defeat him again in the September primary. This “Guy” would truly be an embarrassment to our party if he manages to secure the nomination for a major statewide post.

More coverage here from local MA blog Blue Mass Group:……

CT-Sen: Another Poll Confirms Wide Blumenthal Lead

Research 2000 for Daily Kos (5/24-26, likely voters, 1/11-13 in parens):

Richard Blumenthal (D): 52 (56)

Linda McMahon (R): 33 (34)

Undecided: 15 (10)

Richard Blumenthal (D): 52 (54)

Rob Simmons (R): 37 (35)

Undecided: 13 (11)

(MoE: ±4%)

It was looking pretty dicey for a couple days for Dick Blumenthal, but we now have our second consecutive poll showing the state AG remaining remarkably unscathed by the brouhaha surrounding his Vietnam flap. (Quinnipiac gave Blumenthal a 25-point lead yesterday.)

His favorables are at a respectable 53-35, while McMahon only has a 31-37 rating — not the place you want to be for a challenger. Maybe Rob Simmons was right? And speaking of Simmons, R2K also tested the Republican primary, finding McMahon ahead of Simmons by only 48-44. I’m not sure if Simmons would have dropped out if his own polling concurred with that result, but who knows. Quinnipiac pegged the primary at 43-29, but keep in mind that half of that sample was called on the day that Simmons dropped out.

IA-Sen: Grassley goes up on tv

Senator Chuck Grassley’s re-election campaign unveiled its first television commercial of the year yesterday:

Rough transcript by me:

Unidentified woman: “Tightwad.”

Unidentified woman: “Penny-pincher.”

Unidentified man: “He’s frugal.”

Unidentified man: “Blunt.”

Unidentified man: “Straight-talking.”

Unidentified woman: “One of us.”

Female voice-over: Chuck Grassley visits every county every year to stay in touch. He’s a farmer and a senator. He’ll do what needs to be done. He’s just like Iowa. Chuck Grassley works … and he never forgets he works for us.

Grassley: I’m Chuck Grassley for Iowa, and I approved this message.

Once Roxanne Conlin went up on television, I figured it wouldn’t be long before Grassley’s campaign responded. He has more than $5 million in the bank and can probably afford to run television commercials from now until November.

Although this commercial doesn’t mention Grassley’s likely Democratic opponent in the general election, I infer from the language in this ad that he’ll run against Conlin as a rich, free-spending lawyer who’s not “one of us.”

This doesn’t seem like a strong commercial to me, but it shows Grassley recognizes he can’t afford to be seen as the candidate representing special interests. The female voice-over suggests to me that Grassley knows he needs to shore up support among women. The most recent Rasmussen poll showed Conlin trailing narrowly among women, and the most recent Research 2000 poll for KCCI showed Conlin slightly ahead of Grassley among women.

Grassley will be hard-pressed to defend his “penny-pincher” reputation when he has voted for every blank check for war and the Wall Street bailout. He also voted for every Bush tax cut for the wealthy, which massively increased our national debt and budget deficits. In the current fiscal year, “a staggering 52.5 percent of the benefits [from the Bush tax cuts] will go to the richest 5 percent of taxpayers. Meanwhile, Grassley voted against many policies that benefit hard-working Iowans, like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

Swing State Project readers, please share your thoughts on this commercial and the campaign.

SSP Daily Digest: 5/28 (Morning Edition)

  • AK-Sen: It looks like Democrats will have a warm body to challenge frosh GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski this year. The Alaska Democratic Party is touting Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams as their man, and he says that he’ll make an announcement about the race on June 1.
  • AR-Sen: The SEIU is spending $307,000 on their latest ad buy for Bill Halter, bringing their total investment in this race close to $2.5 million. That’s some serious pie.
  • CT-Sen: Last week, Joe Lieberman said he was undecided on whom to support in the race between Democrat Richard Blumenthal and Republican Linda McMahon. This week, Lieberman is still saying that he’s “not eliminating [a McMahon endorsement] as a possibility.” What a major league asshole.
  • FL-Sem: This is both amusing and rather extraordinary. Libertarian Party candidate Alexander Snitker released an internal poll conducted by Telsel Inc. showing Charlie Crist at 40%, Marco Rubio at 34%, Kendrick Meek at 10%, and Snitker at a whopping 2.5%. I’m not sure what’s more remarkable: the fact that this guy paid for a poll, or the fact that he’s touting its results as proof that he can win.
  • MO-Sen: Because it’s never too early to start planning for 2012, ex-Sen. Jim Talent says that he’s mulling over a rematch with Democrat Claire McCaskill, and will make a decision early next cycle.
  • NV-Sen: We had heard of the Dump Reid PAC before, but I didn’t realize that their name was an acronym. Yes, their formal title is actually “Decidedly Unhappy Mainstream Patriots Rejecting Evil-Mongering Incompetent Democrats”. Anyway, those bozos have spent $30,000 against Harry Reid, mostly on direct mail.
  • AL-07: EMILY’s List has now spent $110,000 on the candidacy of former Wall Street securities attorney Terri Sewell, most of that on direct mail. My one-word editorial: Yeesh.
  • AR-03: Wilson Research Strategies (5/19-20, likely voters):

    Steve Womack (R): 53

    Cecile Bledsoe (R): 24

    Undecided: 23

    (MoE: ±4.9%)

  • CT-04: It looks like the GOP primary to take on Jim Himes will be a four-way. State Sen. Dan Debicella, businessman Robert Merkle, and Easton First Selectman Thomas Herrmann will be joined on the ballot by Paulist businessman Rick Torres, who says that he’s collected the required amount of signatures to land on the ballot. Torres also announced a cross-endorsement of fellow weirdo Peter Schiff, who’s waging an uphill campaign for the Republican Senate nomination. Torres says that his campaign will help Schiff collect signatures in the coming days.
  • IN-03: Republicans now have more than ten dudes running for the seat of disgraced ex-Rep. Mark Souder, the latest entrant being state Rep. Wes Culver.
  • NY-13: After being rebuffed by disgraced ex-Rep. Vito Fossella, the Staten Island GOP formally nominated lawyer Michael Allegretti to take on Dem Rep. Mike McMahon. In advance of the committee’s vote, Allegretti’s primary opponent, former FBI agent Michael Grimm, wrote a blistering letter to the borough party, calling their Fossella shenanigans “dysfunctional” and their endorsement a “sham”. Grimm is vowing to soldier on to the primary. Meanwhile, McMahon picked up the endorsement of the Staten Island Conservative Party this week.
  • SC-03: I don’t have a dog in this race, but a good rule of thumb when it comes to contested GOP primaries is to root against whatever nutcase the Club for Growth has endorsed. That said, the Clubbers are spending $110K on a media buy in support of real estate broker and auctioneer Jeff Duncan in the open seat race to replace GOP Rep. Gresham Barrett. Write that one down on your scorecard!
  • TN-08: And speaking of “independent” expenditures, it’s been mentioned several times in the digest that Robert Kirkland has been filing independent expenditures on behalf of his brother, physician Ron Kirkland, who’s locked in a Republican primary battle with agribsuiness kingpin/humble gospel singer Stephen Fincher to replace retiring Dem Rep. John Tanner. For those keeping score, Rob has now spent a quarter of a million bucks on the race in a show of brotherly love.
  • GOP Gerrymander of MA–Ask and ye shall receive!

    This diary was inspired by a comment from Nichlemn on markhanna’s recent diary which read, “[Other blogs] are for people who want to know who’s likely to win the next big election. SSP is for people who want to know who’s going to win the Democratic primary in UT-03 or draw a Republican gerrymander of MA.” Well, I’ll leave the Utah forecasting to someone else, but here is a redistricted map of the Bay State with the GOP running things!

    Note: If this is against the rules–a Republican gerrymander on a Democratic site–please take it down, and I apologize. If it’s OK, let me know if you like it, because I have one for New York too!

    A few things to note before we get into it:

    1. Massachusetts, unfortunately, will be losing a seat after the Census. I guess the weather is better elsewhere. This map is for nine congressional seats.

    2. The current 10-seat map is a very ugly and somewhat unnecessary gerrymander. (Please feel free to venture a guess as to what Frank’s or McGovern’s district looks like now.) Democrats control all 10 districts, but probably would anyway on a fairly-drawn map. However, the current plan is designed to favor Boston-area politicians, as 6 of the 10 members of the current delegation live within 5 miles of the Hub. As a result, Middlesex County is split between 7 districts, Norfolk County has four spaghetti strands, and there is no Member from the southeastern part of the state. I tried to improve on the geographic balance somewhat.

    3. Getting even one or two GOP seats was tough! The thing with Massachusetts is that Democratic strength is so evenly spread out across the state. President Obama won 302 of the 351 cities and towns, and won no less than 43% in any community statewide. To further complicate things, most of the 49 communities John McCain did win are inconveniently located near Democratic bastions like Worcester, Lowell, and Taunton. Thus, this “Republican gerrymander” is made up of 7 safe Dem seats, 1 tilt R seat, and 1 likely/safe R seat. I doubt there is any other state where a gerrymander means you have a shot at 2 of 9 seats!

    4. Everything is based of presidential results. While Scott Brown put up nice numbers, there is no reason to think this will change long-term voting patterns. There is no partisan data yet for MA, so I used town-by-town results to estimate the leanings.

    And here we go!

    MA-01 John Olver (D) vs. Richard Neal (D)

    Partisan Data: D+15-20. Obama probably got ~70% here.

    Finally, Western Massachusetts has its own district, and it’s a mix of bohemian rural towns and the industrial city of Springfield. Politically and culturally, this area has much more in common with Vermont than with the rest of Massachusetts. Home to Amherst, Williams, Smith, and UMass among others, this district is both very Democratic and very liberal (not always the case here.) I drew this to be a fair fight between veterans Olver and Neal, with about equal amounts of population from their current districts. My guess is that Olver would retire in this situation.

    MA-02 Jim McGovern (D)

    Partisan Data: PVI around D+10. Obama scored in the low 60’s here.

    An ugly yet efficient Democratic vote sink in Central Massachusetts, this is mostly new territory for McGovern but he won’t be complaining. His current district, which went strongly for Brown, is more moderate than its PVI suggests, and as one of the most liberal members of the house McGovern could be vulnerable there if not for his immense personal popularity. He retains his home base in Worcester and adds friendly territory to the north, east, and west. This district will be a pain to represent, as Fitchburg, Longmeadow, and Hopkinton have little in common.

    MA-03 (purple) and MA-04 (red) OPEN

    MA-03 Partisan Data: R+6. McCain 52, Obama 47

    Here’s the first, and better, of the two opportunities for the GOP on this map. The district is made up mostly of exurbs of Boston, Providence, and Worcester, combined with the wealthy South Shore (Plymouth County.) In fact, it’s the only Massachusetts district without a significant urban area. I-495 runs right through the heart of this district, and a Republican from the Franklin area like St. Sen Richard Ross would be favored in this race. If Joe Malone wins the current MA-10 this year, this would be his district. Scott Brown also lives here and probably approached 70% of the vote in the January Senate race.

    MA-04 Partisan Data: D+7 or so. Obama was around 60% here.

    I know my map will never be drawn, but seriously, this district must be. As it stands now, men from Worcester, Newton, and Quincy represent the South Coast, Cape, and Islands,  which are a world away from those other places. This plan unites the three, whose economies are heavily depending on fishing, and in the case of the South Coast, shipping. Politically, the Inner Cape is conservative, the Outer Cape and Islands are very liberal, and the South Coast is dominated by the Democratic cities of New Bedford and Fall River. If Rob O’Leary (D) wins the MA-10 race this year, he will be a perfect fit for this district.

    MA-05 Niki Tsongas (D)

    Partisan Data: PVI R+3 McCain 49, Obama 49

    Niki Tsongas is the weakest member of the current delegation, vastly underperforming in her only contsted election so far, and I made every attempt to draw her into a McCain district. Well I did–by about 250 votes. This plan chops off the liberal southern half of Tsongas’ current district and replaces it with Worcester’s northern suburbs and some Boston exurbs from Essex County. Most of the population comes from the conservative (by MA standards!) Merrimack Valley, which keyed Brown’s win, but geography forced me to include the liberal mill cities of Lowell and Leominster. Thus, Tsongas or another Dem wll have a shot, but the GOP should have a slight edge in a an even year.

    MA-06 John Tierney (D)

    Partisan Data: D+10ish. Obama probably cracked 60.

    This is what remains of fast-growing Essex County after the conservative towns were given to MA-05 combined with the blue-collar cities of Revere, Chelsea and Winthrop in Suffolk County. The industrial and very Democratic city of Lawrence, which I had to keep out of Tsongas’ hands, is responsible for the ugly arm in the northwest. Tierney will cruise here.

    Metro Boston Map

    MA-07 Ed Markey (D) vs. Barney Frank (D)

    Partisan Data: D+15 at a minimum. Obama would have been in the mid to upper 60’s.

    Well, I couldn’t squeeze any more than two gettable districts for the GOP here, so the obvious consolation prize was throwing two of the most senior and powerful Democrats in Congress into the same district! But fear not, Dems: there’s a solution here. Markey has considered Senate runs before and may run against Brown in 2012, giving Frank a clear field. If Markey stays in the House, he’ll be geographically favored, and Frank can move to the Cape and run in the new MA-04 since he already represents a good chunk of the South Coast.

    Politics aside, this Middlesex County district makes good sense. These are the primary western suburbs of Boston (MetroWest, as they are called), and are for the most part very wealthy and very liberal. Boston College, Tufts, and Brandeis are all in this district.

    MA-08 Mike Capuano (D)

    Partisan Data: D+32 or so, Obama won about 85%.

    One of the most Democratic districts in the country, there’s little change here. Latte-liberal Cambridge and Brookline and blue collar Everett and Somerville combine with the majority of Boston to keep Capuano super-safe. I tried to put the most liberal parts of the Hub here–Beacon Hill, Back Bay, JP, Roxbury, Mattapan, and the South End are all included, as are Harvard, MIT, BU, Northeastern, and dozens of others. It’s 55% white, but MA has actually been losing minority population so I don’t think we’re in VRA trouble.

    MA-09 Stephen Lynch (D)

    Partisan Data: D+7. Obama was in the high 50’s.

    Our final district belongs to the most moderate member of the current delegation, Stephen Lynch. The new district is very similar to his old one, combining most of suburban Norfolk County with the less liberal parts of Boston–Southie, West Roxbury, Hyde Park, and the white parts of Dorchester. The industrial town of Brockton is tacked on to the south to keep it away from the new MA-03. Scott Brown won here by more than expected, and this was one of those places where Obama underperformed Kerry. Nevertheless, it’s safe for Lynch until further notice.

    And there you have it! McGovern and Tierney are the clearest Democratic winners, Tsongas and Frank are both losers, and Neal and Olver must slug it out in the west. The GOP has two opportunities now and may or may not have a third by 2020 depending on long-term trends in Lynch’s district.  

    CA-Gov, CA-Sen: Brown Benefiting from Whitman/Poizner Fray

    PPP (pdf) (5/21-23, registered voters, no trendlines, likely voters in primary):

    Jerry Brown (D): 48

    Meg Whitman (R): 36

    Undecided: 16

    Jerry Brown (D): 48

    Steve Poizner (R): 32

    Undecided: 19

    (MoE: ±3.2%)

    Meg Whitman (R): 51

    Steve Poizner (R): 26

    Someone else: 11

    Undecided: 12

    (MoE: ±4.8%)

    It’s starting to look like, after spending close to a combined $100 million of their own money against each other, than Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner have just gone all Angelides/Westly against each other. (Those were the two Democratic primary contenders in the 2006 gubernatorial election, who went so negative for so long against each other that eventual winner Phil Angelides was left radioactive and an easy mark for Arnold Schwarzenegger in the general.) Favorables for Whitman (24/44) and Poizner (19/43) are both truly awful, allowing the not-so-popular-himself Jerry Brown (37/39) to romp over each one in head-to-heads. The main difference in their performance, in PPP’s first poll of the race, is that the more moderate Whitman fares better with indies against Brown than does Poizner. (UPDATE: Sitting still and watching the fight is paying great dividends for Brown: he’s sitting on $20.6 million CoH, and has spent a whopping total of $400K this year.)

    PPP (pdf) (5/21-23, registered voters, no trendlines, likely voters in primary):

    Barbara Boxer (D): 45

    Carly Fiorina (R): 42

    Undecided: 13

    Barbara Boxer (D): 47

    Tom Campbell (R): 40

    Undecided: 12

    Barbara Boxer (D): 46

    Chuck DeVore (R): 40

    Undecided: 13

    (MoE: ±3.2%)

    Carly Fiorina (R): 41

    Tom Campbell (R): 21

    Chuck DeVore (R): 16

    Someone else: 4

    Undecided: 18

    (MoE: ±4.8%)

    The most interesting news here may be the PPP gives further confirmation to the sudden surge in the GOP primary by Carly Fiorina, which didn’t really start showing up until this week. (Check out the regression lines.) Campbell still leads 32-30 among moderates, but there are more conservatives in the sample and Fiorina is up 47-15 among them (with DeVore at 19). In the general, we’re seeing another symptom of Fiorina gaining and Campbell deflating as Fiorina doubled down on ads while Campbell went mostly dark: few polls prior to this one have seen the more conservative Fiorina overperforming Campbell against Barbara Boxer.

    A couple other primary polls from Republican sources are in the same general range as PPP. Magellan (pdf) is a GOP pollster but doesn’t have a candidate in the race (they’ve been offering polls in a number of primaries where they aren’t involved, like Kentucky). They find a very similar 44 Fiorina, 21 Campbell, 14 DeVore in the Senate primary, while Meg Whitman is leading Steve Poizner 54-19 in the gubernatorial primary. That’s an even better showing than the internal poll (pdf) from McLaughlin & Assocs that Meg Whitman put out yesterday, that had her leading 53-27. That brief Steve Poizner surge seems to have dissipated, if it ever actually existed and wasn’t just a couple outliers appearing at once.

    KY-Sen: Paul Leads Conway by 3

    Research 2000 for Daily Kos (5/24-26, likely voters, 5/10-12 in parens):

    Jack Conway (D): 41 (39)

    Rand Paul (R): 44 (42)

    Undecided: 15 (19)

    (MoE: ±4%)

    Coming off a close primary victory, Jack Conway is more beat up than Rand Paul, holding a favorable rating of 48-43 compared to Paul’s 53-33, but he’s still holding the line reasonably well. Conway wins among Dem voters by 75-7 but is losing independents by 31-42. The congressional district breakdowns are interesting, too, with Conway winning only the Louisville-based 3rd CD (by 63-26) and pulling a 43-43 draw in Ben Chandler’s 6th District. Conway’s weakest spot is the Western/Central-based 2nd CD (which contains Paul’s home base of Bowling Green), where he loses to Paul by 24-54.

    AR-Sen: Halter Leads Lincoln, Boozman Leads Both

    Research 2000 for Daily Kos (5/24-26, likely voters, 5/10-12 in parens for general election match-ups):

    Blanche Lincoln (D-inc): 44

    Bill Halter (D): 47

    Undecided: 9

    (MoE: ±5%)

    Blanche Lincoln (D-inc): 38 (40)

    John Boozman (R): 58 (54)

    Undecided: 4 (6)

    Bill Halter (D): 42 (41)

    John Boozman (R): 53 (50)

    Undecided: 5 (9)

    (MoE: ±4%)

    Bill, finish her! This is the third consecutive poll from Research 2000 showing Lincoln fading in a head-to-head against Boozman, and her net general election favorability has dropped to a negative 21 points — while Halter is still in the black by 10. While the runoff should still be an incredible dogfight, especially since Lincoln has the Big Dog, Bill Clinton, in her corner, I’m liking Halter’s odds. And that means we may have a fighting chance of at least making a race of this state in November.

    We should note, though, that R2K previously looked at the runoff question in a methodologically unsound snap poll for Democracy For America. That poll has Halter up by 48-46.

    SSP Daily Digest: 5/27 (Afternoon Edition)

    CO-Sen: That whole not-participating-in-the-GOP-convention-because-she-would-have-been-humiliatingly-defeated thing doesn’t seem to have been much of an impediment for Jane Norton. She just turned in 35,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot by petition; she only needs 1,500 from each of the state’s seven CDs.

    NV-Sen: Sue Lowden is learning from Rand Paul’s mistakes (or is she?). During a televised Q&A with Jon Ralston, Lowden refused to respond to questions about whether she thought the Civil Rights Act should apply to private businesses. Eventually her handlers sent in a memo saying that she supports all aspects of the law. Meanwhile, Sharron “I am the Tea Party” Angle continues to press her advantages amidst Lowden’s slow-mo implosion, and that may be paying off in early voting, where there’s a surge of Republican early votes in the Reno area where Angle is from. But Angle just looks weirder and weirder as the media pay more attention to her (as seen in NRO’s Jim Geraghty’s piece on the bundle of contradictions from her legislative career, entitled “The Anti-Beer Libertarian“). Finally, it’s not too early to start thinking about 2012, and John Ensign, despite all the damage he’s sustained, is still acting like he plans to run again.

    SC-Sen (pdf): PPP is out with the Senate part of its South Carolina poll, and they find Jim DeMint with fairly tepid support but still looking pretty safe for re-election. DeMint leads Democratic rival Vic Rawl 49-30, although 82% have no opinion of Rawl so his numbers may go up. DeMint has only 43/36 approval numbers, and 39% think he spends too little time advocating for South Carolina (instead of his national-level hobby horses) while 38% think his balance is right.

    WA-Sen: State Sen. Don Benton may not be much longer for the GOP primary in the Senate race, with Dino Rossi’s official entry: he referred to Rossi as a “colleague” rather than a rival, and offered some equivocal-sounding statements that while he was committed to the race today, he didn’t rule out dropping out if it would improve GOP chances.

    WI-Sen: Rumors about this were swirling yesterday and now it’s official: real estate investor Terrence Wall, who had seemed like the frontrunner for the GOP nod until recently (unless one considered Tommy Thompson the frontrunner, during his boomlet), is dropping out of the Senate race. Free-spending businessman Ron Johnson, who won the GOP convention, will still face opposition from Dave Westlake.

    GA-Gov: InsiderAdvantage released a poll of the Democratic gubernatorial primary, where ex-Gov. Roy Barnes has been dominant so far and looks like he’s in position to avoid a runoff. Barnes is polling at 64, with Dubose Porter at 8, Thurbert Baker at 6, Carl Camon at 5, and David Poythress at 1.

    AR-01: Former Marion Berry CoS Chad Causey seems to be consolidating the backing of his ex-rivals in his Democratic runoff against ex-state Sen. Tim Wooldridge. With state Rep. David Cook already having endorsed, now state Sen. Steve Bryles did today too.

    GA-12: House whip Jim Clyburn is making an appearance at an Augusta historically-black college to talk up the benefits of the health care reform bill. There’s one wrinkle: that’s in GA-12, where Rep. John Barrow voted against HCR and faces a primary challenge from the left from African-American ex-state Sen. Regina Thomas. Clyburn says he’s already endorsed Barrow and doesn’t see the big deal, but Barrow has been trying to ward off Clyburn from appearing.

    MS-01: CQ has an interesting look at the fast-approaching GOP primary in this race, and while they don’t have polling data, they feel that a runoff is likely. The expected 2nd place finisher to state Sen. Alan Nunnelee may surprise you: not Fox News talker Angela McGlowan, whose campaign fell on its face out of the gate, but small-town mayor Henry Ross, who seems to have rallied the local teabaggers against “career politician” Nunnelee.

    VA-02: While frontrunner/establishment fave Scott Rigell should be vulnerable in the GOP primary in the 2nd, fractured opposition will probably let him waltz through. The local Tea Partiers seem to be realizing this problem and coalescing (probably too late, though) behind businessman Ben Loyola; the Hampton Roads Tea Party and the Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance both endorsed him. (Remember that Virginia has no runoff, so even if Loyola finished a distant second he couldn’t consolidate the supporters of the other teabaggers for another try.)

    WV-01: After using some anti-Nancy Pelosi rhetoric in the Democratic primary, the Mike Oliverio camp is dialing that down (seeing as how he might actually have to work with her). His manager says he’ll support “whomever Democrats support for Speaker.”

    House: Right-wing Vets for Freedom has a list of 10 House candidates they’re supporting this year, all of whom are veterans themselves, including some controversial lightning rods like Allen West and Ilario Pantano as well as blander figures like Joe Heck and Steve Stivers.

    NY-AG: This seems very unusual: the New York Democratic party backed five different candidates for AG at the convention, moving them all through to the primary ballot. Nassau Co. DA Kathleen Rice is probably the biggest name, along with Eric Schneiderman, Richard Brodsky, Eric Dinallo, and Sean Coffey. Liz Holtzman had previously released a poll showing her leading the primary field, but doesn’t seem to be following through on that.

    ID-St. Sen.: One place where the local teabaggers did seem to make a difference: four different incumbent Republican state senators lost their primaries, usually ones who’d been insufficiently hard-edged on taxes or even the decidedly parochial issue of fighting wolves. With a Senate with only 35 members, that’s pretty big turnover, although with conservative Republicans already dominant it doesn’t seem likely to change its outlook too much.

    Polltopia: Nate Silver has another interesting hit on Rasmussen today, comparing its polling on the question of Elana Kagan vs. CBS. Rasmussen finds many, many more people offering an opinion on her than other pollsters do, providing more evidence for the idea that its tight likely voter screen (and lack of callbacks) serves to make it mostly a poll of political junkies, i.e. the most motivated voters.

    Twitter: We’re just three followers away from a nice even 2,000! Who wants to be the one who puts us over the top?