SSP Daily Digest: 2/25

AR-Sen: Here’s one way in which Blanche Lincoln can breathe a little easier: she’s not getting a primary challenge from the right (as if there were any room on the right of her within the Democratic electorate). State Sen. President Bob Johnson, who floated the idea in August, said he won’t run against her. However, she’s drawing heat on her left from African-American groups; the state’s NAACP is upset that she hasn’t done more to appoint African-American federal judges. With Lincoln already on environmentalists’ hit list and organized labor unenthused about her, there isn’t much left of the Democratic base she can afford to tick off. A primary from the left from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter is still possible – although if there’s one guy whose support Halter can’t count on, it’s retiring Blue Dog Rep. Marion Berry (saying it was a fluke Halter got elected LG in the first place, and that Halter “is only of consequence in his own mind”).

CO-Sen: Former state House speaker Andrew Romanoff is counting on labor backing in the Democratic primary, but Michael Bennet got a key boost; he got the endorsement of the SEIU. (That public option letter is already paying dividends.) Meanwhile, Romanoff seems to be staking his hopes on a strong showing in Colorado’s party insider-dominated caucus and convention process that begins next month, in order to catapult him into contention. (It’s non-binding, and candidates can still win the primary without winning at the convention, with Ken Salazar as Exhibit A.) On the GOP side, former LG Jane Norton is getting slammed from the right by former state Sen. Tom Wiens for her support (following the lead of Republican Gov. Bill Owens) of Referendum C, which passed and lifted certain spending limits imposed by a previous TABOR initiative.

FL-Sen: We’ll have to see if this does anything to tarnish that conservative halo that’s gleaming over Marco Rubio’s head. Revelations came out (via Jim Greer, the Charlie Crist ally who recently got bounced out his place as state GOP chair) that Rubio charged $13,900 in personal expenses to a party-issued credit card over the course of several years. I don’t see this as a game-changer, but it’s the first hard blow the Crist camp has been able to land in a while.

GA-Sen: Rasmussen finds that the anti-incumbent blues are even weighing down super-safe Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson a bit, as he’s below 50%. Too bad the Democrats don’t have a top-tier candidate to go against him (although it seems like they have a few spares in the gubernatorial race who might consider making the jump). Isakson beats Generic Dem by 49-36.

NY-Sen-B: Harold Ford Jr.’s big night out at the Stonewall Dems didn’t quite go according to plan. He was repeatedly heckled and shouted down as he attempted to explain his convenient road-to-Damascus conversion on matters such as gay marriage. It also turns out that Ford’s former House colleagues from the New York delegation aren’t much more enthused about his run, either. The majority of the delegation has already endorsed Kirsten Gillibrand, and no one has backed down from that, with Ed Towns, Greg Meeks, Jerry Nadler, Tim Bishop, and Carolyn McCarthy all offering public statements discouraging his run.

UT-Sen: Wow, yet another Republican is going to get into the primary against Bob Bennett, who has a bullseye on his back because of occasional acts of cooperation instead of lockstep obstructionism. This one is actually a step above the rest of the field… or maybe not. Ex-Rep. Merrill Cook says he’s going to get in the race. An ex-Rep. is nothing to sneeze at (especially when none of the other contestants have gotten elected to anything before), but on the other hand, Cook was kind of an eccentric who frequently ran for office until lucking out in 1996. His hotheadedness got him primaried out in 2000 (and Jim Matheson went on to pick up the seat for the Dems that year).

NY-Gov: The blowback from yesterday’s NYT article is already hitting David Paterson’s inner circle, suggesting he isn’t going to be able to shrug this off. Paterson’s Criminal Justice Coordinator, Denise O’Donnell, resigned in protest over having been lied to by the state police.

OR-Gov: Local Republican pollster Moore Insight takes a look at the gubernatorial race — and they find ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber doing a lot better than Rasmussen did. They find Kitzhaber has identical 45-33 leads over the two GOPers they judged the strongest, Allen Alley and Chris Dudley. (Rasmussen actually found long-forgotten ex-state Sen. John Lim fared the best against Kitzhaber of the four GOPers, but apparently Moore didn’t think Lim was worth polling; Rasmussen had Dudley within 6 of Kitzhaber and Alley trailing by 8.) Moore didn’t poll the primaries, or how Democratic ex-SoS Bill Bradbury would fare.

SC-Gov: Winthrop University polled South Carolina without doing gubernatorial head-to-heads, but that may not matter as they also found that few people know anything about anybody who’s running; only LG Andre Bauer came close to 50% name rec. They did find 43 61% approval for Jim DeMint, 39 45% approval for Lindsey Graham, and a surprisingly high (for SC) 48% approval for Barack Obama.

AK-AL: Businessman, blogger, and gadfly Andrew Halcro (who ran as an indie in the 2006 gubernatorial race) sounds like he’s backing down from his planned Republican primary challenge to Rep. Don Young. He cited other developments (all positive) in his business and family life.

HI-01: It looks like Hawaii’s election officials found enough change under the couch cushions to throw together a special election to replace retiring Rep. Neil Abercrombie, after all. They’ve tentatively set a May 22 date for the all-party winner-take-all election. All three candidates plan to run again in the September primary for the regularly-scheduled election.

NJ-03: It looks like NFL player and gentleman farmer Jon Runyan may have a less tortuous path to the GOP nomination than Chris Myers did in 2008 (which helped contribute to Rep. John Adler’s victory that year). Toms River Committeeman Maurice Hill (the dreaded rear admiral who was the favorite of the Ocean County GOP) decided that he won’t run, meaning that all of the county organizations are likely to coalesce around Runyan. Runyan already has the support of the Burlington County party.

PA-12: After recently deciding not to run, Joyce Murtha weighed in with an endorsement in the battle to replace her deceased husband. She endorsed Murtha’s former district director, Mark Critz. The state party will choose a replacement candidate on March 8. On the GOP side, they’ve pretty much struck out on finding an upgrade from the two guys who were already running, businessman Tim Burns and Bill Russell. And now there’s growing worry that Russell — who claims to be the choice of the conservative grassroots, although mostly that’s because he’s been able to churn and burn through millions in direct mail fundraising through BaseConnect (the company known until recently as BMW Direct) — may pull a Doug Hoffman and get on the ballot as an indie if he doesn’t get chosen by the party poohbahs. Even RedState has had to weigh in, praising establishment fave Burns and warning Russell not to bolt — the total opposite of their NY-23 stance, of course, although Burns, who’s tried to reach out to the teabaggers, is no Scozzafava-style moderate.

SD-AL: This is encouraging; even Rasmussen can’t find a way to show Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in grave peril. Herseth Sandlin, who has three different credible GOP candidates fighting it out in the primary to take her on, leads all three, two of them by double digits. Herseth Sandlin beats SoS Chris Nelson 45-38, state House assistant majority leader Kristi Noem 49-34, and self-funding state Rep. Blake Curd 51-33. In fact, these numbers are extremely close to the ones put up by PPP back in December.

IL-LG: Well, here’s a nice solution to the Dems’ woes in trying to find a Lt. Governor candidate in Illinois: just eliminate the position. State House speaker Michael Madigan is bringing to the House floor a plan to altogether eliminate the non-job that is Lt. Governor in 2015 (and save millions). Unfortunately, that still means the Dems need to find someone to fill that slot (vacated by Scott Lee Cohen’s implosion) for one term.

Polltopia: Nate Silver performs a nice deconstruction of the myth that won’t die: that incumbents polling below 50% in early polling are going to lose. He finds there is no consistent tendency for challengers to pick up the bulk of the undecideds. Moreover, a majority of incumbents polling below 50% in the 2006-09 cycles went on to win anyway. (It’d be interesting to extent this study, though, beyond the 06 and 08 wave years to see if it holds true in more neutral cycles.)

SSP Daily Digest: 6/5

NY-Sen-B: The speculation about a primary challenge had in the last month mostly shifted over from Rep. Carolyn McCarthy to Rep. Steve Israel and now Rep. Carolyn Maloney, but in case there was still any doubt, McCarthy made it official yesterday that she won’t be challenging Kirsten Gillibrand in the Senate primary. Is this another tea leaf that Maloney is, in fact, running? (McCarthy said she’d stand down if someone younger ran, and although it may not be what McCarthy had in mind, Maloney, at 60, is 4 years younger.) Maloney did confirm her phone chat with Joe Biden, but said he didn’t try to push her out of the race. Meanwhile, Gillibrand got two endorsements that are important in the African-American community: Al Sharpton and Rep. Greg Meeks. (All three are key David Paterson allies, so perhaps not too surprising.)

NC-Sen: Elaine Marshall, who’s been Secretary of State since 1996, hasn’t been the subject of much Senate speculation. However, she just publicly expressed her interest (while saying that she’s not actively testing the waters). Marshall ran for Senate once before, finishing third in the 2002 Democratic primary behind Erskine Bowles and Dan Blue.

CO-Gov: Bill Ritter may be facing a tough re-election bid, so the last thing he needs to be doing is turning friends into enemies… so it’s strange to see him so frequently ticking off labor, most recently the firefighters’ union by vetoing a bill that would have given them collective bargaining rights. And on top of that, he’s a terrorist sympathizer… at least according to Rep. Mike Coffman, who doesn’t like that Ritter blocked expansion of a local Army training site.

OR-Gov: Although he’s been reluctant to show any interest in the race, don’t fully rule out Rep. Peter DeFazio yet. Hot on the heels of ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber having his coming-back-out party in front of the state movers-and-shakers at Portland’s City Club, now DeFazio will have his turn addressing them in two weeks. Hmmm… after several months worrying that neither DeFazio nor Kitzhaber would get into the race, now I’m left wondering what happens if both of them get in?

VT-Gov: Democrats have seemed lukewarm about taking on Gov. Jim Douglas the last few cycles, but there seems to be more optimism this time, and it’s attracting more contenders. State Senator Susan Bartlett (who chairs Appropriations) announced her candidacy, joining ex-Lt. Gov. Doug Racine and possibly SoS Deb Markowitz. One item of note that Steve catches: Douglas, who’s been in office since Howard Dean’s 2002 retirement, hasn’t yet announced that he’s running for re-election. There may be a growing sense that the seat could be open.

VA-St. House: Josh Grossman from Progressive Punch, guest blogging at 538, takes an interesting look at Democratic chances for flipping Virginia’s House of Delegates in the 2009 election (the last one prior to Virginia redistricting). It includes a nice chart ranking the swing districts according to 2008 presidential percentage… although it’s dismaying to see how many don’t have a Democratic candidate yet.

WA-Wahkiakum County Clerk: A never-before-elected retired musician by the name of Krist Novoselic has filed to run for the position of county clerk in Wahkiakum County (approx. population 4,000) in the fall 2009 election. Although he’s been involved in Democratic Party politics as a committeman, he’s running as “prefers Grange Party” rather than as a Dem, probably because of his appreciation of the Grange, a populist movement from the turn of the previous century (or else he just misspelled “Grunge Party”).

SSP Daily Digest: 5/29

MO-Sen: Rep. Roy Blunt got some unwelcome news yesterday: he and his wife owe $6,820 in back taxes on their three-bedroom home in Georgetown, Washington D.C. assessed at $1.62 million. (The problem seems to be an improperly declared homestead exemption.) True to Republican form, the Blunt camp is blaming the government (more specifically, the D.C. government, for bungling the update of their homestead status).

NV-Sen: The Nevada GOP may be closer to landing a credible candidate to go against Harry Reid. State Senator Mark Amodei of Carson City (who’s term-limited out in 2010) was unusually vocal on the senate floor in the session’s closing weeks. When pressed in a recent interview, he said that if Rep. Dean Heller didn’t run against Reid (which seems unlikely; Heller, if he moves up, is usually mentioned as a primary challenger to toxic Gov. Jim Gibbons), then he’d “consider” running.

NY-Sen-B: Rep. Carolyn McCarthy endorsed Mayor-for-Life Michael Bloomberg for another term at the helm of New York City. As Daily Kos’s Steve wisely points out, this may be an indicator she’s not looking to run in the Dem primary; if she’s going to do so, she’d have to run to Kirsten Gillibrand’s left, but that would be a difficult case to make having just endorsed a Republican-turned-Independent for one of the state’s biggest jobs.

AL-Gov: State Treasurer Kay Ivey announced that she’s joining the crowded field of GOP candidates for Governor (including college chancellor Bradley Byrne, who also announced this week, as the moderate option, and ex-judge Roy Moore as the nuclear option). Ivey, however, may suffer a bit from her role in the state’s messed-up prepaid college tuition plan.

IA-Gov: State Rep. Chris Rants has been traveling the state gauging support for a run at the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Rants, from Sioux City in the state’s conservative west, served as majority leader and then speaker, but was replaced in leadership after the GOP lost the majority in 2006. Fellow Sioux City resident Bob Vander Plaats (the 2006 Lt. Gov. nominee) is expected to announce his candidacy soon as well.

MN-Gov: Tim Pawlenty has deferred his decision on whether or not to run for re-election to a third term until later this summer. The decision may turn on who’s more pissed at him after he decides whether or not to certify Al Franken — the nationwide GOP base, or Minnesotans.

OR-Gov: Former Gov. John Kitzhaber seems to be moving closer to a return to Salem, meeting with some of the state’s insiders about steps toward a comeback. Ex-SoS Bill Bradbury, who’s already in the running (and won’t stand down if Kitzhaber gets in), confirms that Kitzhaber is “looking very seriously” at the race. Kitzhaber seems to be looking forward to a “do-over” now that there’s a firmly Democratic legislature; he spent most of his two terms in the 90s playing defense against a GOP-held legislature.

RI-Gov: Two of Rhode Island’s key Democrats are taking steps to run for the open Governor’s seat: AG Patrick Lynch and Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts. Roberts is staffing up with top-tier campaign staff, while Lynch said that he has “every intention” of running for Governor during a radio interview. (Treasurer Frank Caprio is also mentioned as a likely candidate and is sitting on the most cash, but hasn’t done anything visible yet.) A Brown Univ. poll just released tested their approvals; Lynch was at 47/39 and Caprio at 41/24, while Roberts was in worse shape at 22/36. (A poll from March is the only test of the Dem primary so far, with Caprio leading with 30%, compared with 17 for Lynch, 12 for Roberts, and 13 for Providence mayor David Cicilline, who won’t be running.)

FL-02: State Senate Minority Leader Al Lawson has been attempting to primary Rep. Allen Boyd from the left, but party power brokers are encouraging him to switch over to the race for state CFO, being vacated by Alex Sink. With Senate President Jeff Atwater already running for CFO for the GOP, this would pit the parties’ two Senate leaders against each other.

IN-05: In this R+17 district, the primary’s where it’s at, and there’s a whole herd of Republicans chasing Rep. Dan Burton, perceived more as vulnerable more for his age and indifference than any ideological reason. State Rep. Mike Murphy just got into the race. He joins former state Rep. and former state party chair Luke Messer, John McGoff (who narrowly lost the 2006 primary against Burton), and Brose McVey (who ran against Julia Carson in IN-07 in 2002).

NM-01: It’s looking there’ll be a contested GOP primary to see who gets flattened by freshman Rep. Martin Heinrich in this now D+5 district. Former state party vice-chair and former Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce president Jon Barela is about to form an exploratory committee. (Given this district’s 45% Latino population, Barela may be a stronger candidate for the general than funeral home director Kevin Daniels.)

PA-06: Here’s a good tea leaf that Rep. Jim Gerlach is making behind-the-scenes notifications that he’s indeed bailing on his rapidly-bluening district. State Rep. Curt Schroder from rural Chester County (not to be confused with Oregon’s Kurt Schrader), always considered to be the next GOPer to have dibs on this seat, has organized a campaign committee. Dems have journalist Doug Pike running in this race, but someone with more firepower may jump in once Gerlach makes it official.

PA-07: For a few hours there last night, it looked like we were facing real problems in PA-07, a D+3 seat with a good Republican bench that will open up if Rep. Joe Sestak follows through on his threatened primary challenge to Arlen Specter. Former E.D. Pa. US Attorney (and before that, Delaware County DA) Pat Meehan was reported to be mulling a switch from the Governor’s race, where he’s probably lagging AG Tom Corbett in the primary (no polls have been taken, so who knows?), over to PA-07, giving the GOP a top-tier recruit. However, Meehan acted quickly to tamp that down and reaffirm he’s running for Gov. TPM points to another potential GOPer, Steven Welch, founder of local pharma company Mitos Technologies; on the Dem side, as most everyone here knows, state Rep. Bryan Lentz is heir apparent.

SSP Daily Digest: 5/21

LA-Sen: David Vitter may get a serious primary challenger after all (Family Research Council honcho Tony Perkins and ex-Rep. John Cooksey have declined, and SoS Jay Dardenne has been laying low). It’s someone we haven’t seen in a while, though: former state Elections commissioner Suzanne Haik Terrell, who let her interest be known last week. Terrell’s last appearance in the spotlight was the 2002 Senate race, where she lost narrowly to Mary Landrieu. Terrell is the only Republican woman to have ever held office in Louisiana.

NY-Sen-B: Like a giant game of Whack-a-mole, Kirsten Gillibrand jammed a couple potential primary challengers back into their holes last week, but now a new one popped up: Rep. Jose Serrano. The Bronx-based Serrano might be able to make a lot of hay out of the immigration issue, but he may not have the cash to make a race of it (although as an Appropriations cardinal, he’s well-connected). Meanwhile, Gillibrand nailed down endorsements from three other Reps. — John Hall, Mike Arcuri, and Scott Murphy — as well as Nassau County Dem party chair Jay Jacobs (important because he has a lot of sway over Rep. Carolyn McCarthy).

PA-Sen: Roll Call tried to pin down the Democratic House members from Pennsylvania on whether or not they’d endorse Arlen Specter in a potential Democratic primary with Rep. Joe Sestak. Interestingly, PA’s most liberal Dem, Chaka Fattah, was probably the most enthusiastic and unconditional endorser of Specter, while its most conservative Dem, Jason Altmire, was most reluctant to offer an endorsement one way or the other, although more out of admiration for Sestak than on ideological grounds. Tim Holden also endorsed Specter and Bob Brady came as close as possible to it, while Patrick Murphy took a “wait and see” attitude and the others simply punted the question.

AR-Sen: State Senator Kim Hendren (having recently shot himself in the foot by calling Charles Schumer “that Jew”) is now vacillating and may not run in the GOP Senate primary after all, despite having announced his candidacy.

IL-Sen: Here’s some confirmation on what we speculated last week: Rep. Mark Kirk isn’t lost in space; he’s just deferring any decisions on the Senate race because he’s waiting to see what AG Lisa Madigan does. He reportedly won’t run for Senate if Madigan does.

FL-Gov: Ag Commissioner Charles Bronson will announce today that he won’t run for the open governor’s seat, leaving an unimpeded path to the GOP nomination for AG Bill McCollum. Bronson is term-limited out of his job in 2010 and looking to move up, but couldn’t buck the pressure from state chair Jim Greer — I mean, the guy doesn’t have a Death Wish.

CO-Gov: Ex-Rep. Scott McInnis officially filed yesterday to enter the Colorado governor’s race, amidst sniping that he started soliciting funds before filing his campaign paperwork. State Senate minority leader Josh Penry also launched into an oblique attack on McInnis, suggesting he might be interested in a primary battle.

CA-Gov: Dianne Feinstein, occasionally rumored to be interested in what has to be the least desirable job in America (California governor), has said that she “might” run for governor next year, depending on her assessment of the other candidates’ plans for dealing with California’s seemingly perpetual budget crisis. Polls that have included Feinstein have shown her dominating the race if she got in.

IL-13: 71-year-old Rep. Judy Biggert just confirmed that she’ll be running for re-election in 2010, despite a return engagement with Scott Harper, who held her to 54%, and the district’s shift to only R+1. (Of course, her inclusion in the first round of 10 in the NRCC’s Patriots program Tuesday showed her hand already.)

AL-02: Republicans have at least one candidate lined up to go against Rep. Bobby Bright as he seeks his first re-election in this R+16 district: 32-year-old Montgomery city councilor and attorney Martha Roby. GOP State Rep. Jay Love, who narrowly lost to Bright last time, may also try again.

MI-13: Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, who narrowly won a 3-way primary in 2008, may have to face off against both of the same challengers again in 2010: state Sen. Martha Scott and former state Rep. Mary Waters. Former interim mayor Ken Cockrel also is mentioned as interested. Kilpatrick may be less vulnerable in 2010, though, as the brouhaha surrounding her son (former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick) recedes in the distance.

Maps: Here’s another interesting map for the geography nerds out there. It’s a map of which party controls all the state House seats throughout the South. (It’s a lot bluer than you might initially think.)

NY-Sen-B: Israel Set to Challenge Gillibrand?

A couple of slightly differing reports. The NY Post says:

Long Island Congressman Steve Israel will announce plans to challenge US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in next year’s Democratic primary as early as tomorrow, several sources said yesterday.

The Suffolk County Democrat, who was first elected to Congress in 2000 and is a member of the Appropriations Committee, told several members of the state’s congressional delegation of his plans to challenge Gillibrand late Friday, congressional sources revealed.

Glenn Thrush at the Politico says Israel will form an exploratory committee rather than launch a formal challenge. These days, that seems to be a distinction without a difference – I haven’t crunched any numbers, but it sure feels like many if not most prominent exploratory committees turn into the real thing. An Israel spokesman, though, is denying that there is any sort of announcement planned for this week.

Supposedly, Carolyn Maloney will soon create an exploratory committee, too. I imagine if one or both of these folks get in, Carolyn McCarthy will bow out, citing her desire to see someone younger challenge Gillibrand (she’s older than both Maloney and Israel). But if either Israel or Maloney are to have any chance, I can’t imagine Gillibrand would be beatable in a three-way race. Someone’s gonna have to give.

Meanwhile, Chuck Schumer, who was busy declaring the other day there would be no primary, is now supposedly backing off. David Paterson is also apparently staying out of things, though if I were Kirsten Gillibrand, I’m not sure I’d want him within a hundred yards of the campaign van. If anything, suggests a canny Maloney confidant, Gillibrand might be forced to support Paterson, since he is her recent patron, after all.

Anyhow, open seat fans & worry-warts: Obama pounded McCain 56-43 in Israel’s suburban Long Island district (NY-02), but its PVI nonetheless fell to D+4 from D+8. Given how Long Island has turned over the last fifteen years, the Dems would have an advantage in any open seat race here. McCarthy’s NY-04, at D+6, would be fairly similar. Maloney’s NY-14, however, would be a mortal lock for the Dems (D+26).

SSP Daily Digest: 4/13

NY-20 (pdf): The latest update from the state BoE this morning shows Scott Murphy’s lead down to 25, as the absentee count proceeds (and a few readjustments are made to recanvass numbers). We’re still waiting on any absentee numbers from Saratoga County (Tedisco’s base) and most from Washington and Warren Counties (Murphy’s base).

Also, there’s been some research into what happens in NY-20 ends in a true tie (and no, apparently “Thunderdome” is not involved after all). Under NY law, coin tosses are not allowed in state or federal races, so the governor has the choice of either holding another special election for which the candidates will need to be re-nominated (allowing Libertarian Eric Sundwall another shot at the ballot), or else postponing the whole matter until the general election in Nov. 2009.

IL-Sen: Roland Burris is getting slammed even by his one-time supporters now. Rep. Danny Davis told Chicago Public Radio that Burris needs to “hurry up” and announce whether or not he’s running for re-election in 2010. Davis’s sudden hurry is personally motivated, though, as Davis also stated publicly for the first time that he’s considering running for that senate seat himself. (It seems like he wouldn’t want to do it with Burris in the primary, though, as that would split the African-American vote.)

OH-Sen: Ex-Rep. Rob Portman may not have much name recognition or charisma, but he does have one advantage: lots of money. Today he reported raising $1.7 million in Q1, and is sitting on $3.1 million total. Lee Fisher, by contrast, announced last week that he raised $1.1 million, while Jennifer Brunner hasn’t reported yet.

NY-Sen: Here are some tea leaves that Rep. Carolyn McCarthy isn’t going to be running against Kirsten Gillibrand in the senate primary: she raised $145,000 in the first quarter (for House re-election, but that could be transferred if she switched to the senate race), with $262,000 CoH. (Also-rumored challengers Reps. Steve Israel and Carolyn Maloney have much bigger stashes; they haven’t reported for Q1, but have $1.7 million and $1.1 million CoH, respectively.)

DE-Sen: Along the same lines, it looks like Mike Castle isn’t gearing up his fundraising machine toward a run for the open senate seat in Delaware in 2010. (On the other hand, he’s raised enough that retirement doesn’t seem in the offing.) Politico catches that he raised only $73,000 in Q1, with $841,000 CoH.

FL-Sen: Rep. Kendrick Meek got another big “get” in his so-far-successful quest to nail down all the building blocks to cornering the Democratic nomination. He got the endorsement of the national AFSCME today, one of the nation’s largest unions.

MN-Sen: Digging by Senate Guru and Down with Tyranny reveals that one of the Minnesota Supreme Court justices who’ll be hearing Norm Coleman’s whinings is Christopher Dietzen, who has donated thousands to Republican candidates, most significantly to Norm Coleman himself, creating a rather clear basis for recusal.

AL-Gov: Former “Ten Commandments” judge Roy Moore, who lost the 2006 gubernatorial primary to Bob Riley, is looking for another try, now that it’s an open seat. With a fractured-looking GOP field, it’s possible Moore could sneak through the primary this time, which, given his polarizing nature, might actually give the Dem a small advantage in the general.

NYC-Mayor: NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg solved the term limits problem, but he had one more problem to overcome: getting a ballot line from some party. To solve that dilemma, he’s returned to his shallow Republican roots, remaining a registered independent but picking up the GOP ballot line by getting the endorsement of three of the boroughs’ GOP chairs. In a display of ‘post-partisanship’ at its finest, he’s reportedly also trying to secure the ballot line of the left-leaning Working Families Party.

OH-17: In a move guaranteed to provoke a huge collective sigh of relief, Ohio senate minority leader Capri Cafaro said that she won’t run for the open seat left behind by Rep. Tim Ryan, assuming he runs for Ohio Lt. Gov. in 2010. “I don’t know if I can get as much accomplished on the federal level,” she says.

PA-04: Republicans seem to be coalescing around state representative (and minority whip) Mike Turzai as a challenger to Rep. Jason Altmire in this slowly-reddening district in Pittsburgh’s suburbs. Turzai lost the 1998 election in the 4th to Ron Klink by a fairly wide margin. The 4th’s most prominent GOPer, Lynn Swann, has already declined.

AR-01: A likely GOP candidate has already surfaced to run against Marion Berry (no, not the DC mayor) in this rural district that had one of the most alarming rightward shifts over the decade. In the ‘can’t make this stuff up’ department, businessman Eric Crawford already boasts wide name recognition from doing the radio farm report.

IL-11: Real estate investor and big-money GOP donor Henry Meers Jr. has filed to take on freshman Rep. Debbie Halvorson in the 11th. However, some in the local GOP instead favor Iraq War vet and former McLean County board member Adam Kinzinger. (Kinzinger is from the rural part of the district, while Meers and Halvorson hail from Will County in the Chicago suburbs.)

NRCC: The NRCC is going on the offense against 43 different House dems for “rubber stamping” Nancy Pelosi’s “San Francisco-style budget” (and its socialistic promise of Rice-a-Roni in every pot). Oddly, they’re singling out OH-18’s Zack Space (certainly not one of our most vulnerable members) with a TV spot. Nine other Dems get radio spots, while robocalls target the rest (including other entrenched members like Charlie Melancon and Chet Edwards).

Polltopia: Our friends at Public Policy Polling are once again letting readers decide which Senate race they’ll poll next. The choices this time: Colorado, Connecticut, and Illinois. Go get your democracy on, and tell us which state you voted for (and why) in the comments. (J)

NY-Gov, NY-Sen-B: Paterson, Gillibrand Both Still Lagging

Quinnipiac (4/1-5, registered voters, 2/10-15 in parentheses):

David Paterson (D-inc): 18 (23)

Andrew Cuomo (D): 61 (55)

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-inc): 29 (24)

Carolyn McCarthy (D): 33 (34)

(MoE: ±3.8%)

David Paterson (D-inc): 32 (43)

Rudy Giuliani (R): 53 (43)

Andrew Cuomo (D): 53 (51)

Rudy Giuliani (R): 36 (37)

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-inc): 40 (42)

Peter King (R): 28 (26)

(MoE: ±2.5%)

David Paterson, like Wall Street, seems to be searching for a bottom to his free-fall… and it doesn’t look like he’s found his yet. In February, Quinnipiac found that Paterson would get demolished in a Democratic primary matchup against Andrew Cuomo 55-23, a blowout by any standards. But now that same race has plunged even further, to a 61-18 gulf, to the extent that Cuomo would barely need a flick of his wrist to take out Paterson.

And while Paterson’s favorability and approval ratings weren’t terrible last time, they’ve bottomed out too. His favorability is at 27/55, while his approval rating is 28/60 (down from 45/41 in February). Not only do only 22% think he deserves to be re-elected (63% say no), but only 39% think he should even bother running in 2010, while 53% think he should announce now that he won’t be running. These numbers — especially the self-fulfilling prophecy built into that last set of numbers — are just the type you don’t recover from.

This poll also sees Paterson losing convincingly to Rudy Giuliani, a major change from the tied game seen in February. Giuliani, however, hasn’t taken any visible steps toward running; Rudy is probably looking to jump in only if Cuomo doesn’t get in, as this poll shows that Giuliani would be only a slightly bigger speed bump for Cuomo than Paterson would be. Speed bump honors instead seem likelier to fall to ex-Rep. Rick Lazio, last seen running against Hillary Clinton in 2000. Lazio is exploring a candidacy and has been meeting with GOP powers-that-be upstate.

On the Senate side, Paterson’s appointee Kirsten Gillibrand is still struggling for name recognition, with a 24/11 favorable (with 64% still saying ‘haven’t heard enough’). She still trails Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (who has the advantage of being in the NYC media market) in a primary matchup, although it’s much closer than in February. It’s unclear, though, whether a matchup with McCarthy will ever happen; while McCarthy made the loudest noises at the outset, speculation lately has turned toward other NYC-area Reps. Steve Israel and Carolyn Maloney. Given that Gillibrand, already noted for her fundraising prowess, just released numbers showing that she raised $2.3 million in the first quarter, she may not draw any primary challengers at all.

NY-Sen, NY-Gov: Gillibrand Cash Haul and New Q-Poll

Good news and not so good news for the Junior Senator from New York. In an email to supporters Kirsten Gillibrand has announced that her campaign raised $2.3m in just two months since she was appointed to the seat.…

However, the latest numbers from Quinnipiac continue to show her trailing Rep. Carolyn McCarthy in a prospective Democratic Primary, 33-29. Though the margin is down from 34-24 in February.…

I’d say funds like that will go a long way towards solving her name recognition problems and maybe even scaring off any challengers.

She leads GOP Rep. Peter King 40-28.

Paterson meanwhile now has the worst approval rating of any New York Governor, 28-60.

In comparison, Andrew Cuomo comes in at an impressive 75-14, but will he run?

Against Giuliani he leads 53-36 while Paterson trails Rudy by 53-32.…

NY-Gov, NY-Sen: Dire Prospects for Paterson

Marist (2/25-26, registered voters, 1/27 in parentheses):

David Paterson (D-inc): 26

Andrew Cuomo (D): 62

(MoE: ±4.5%)

Rudy Giuliani (R): 78

Rick Lazio (R): 17

(MoE: ±5.5%)

David Paterson (D-inc): 38 (46)

Rudy Giuliani (R): 53 (47)

David Paterson (D-inc): 47

Rick Lazio (R): 35

Andrew Cuomo (D): 56

Rudy Giuliani (R): 39

Andrew Cuomo (D): 71

Rick Lazio (R): 20

(MoE: ±3%)

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-inc): 36

Carolyn McCarthy (D): 33

(MoE: ±4.5%)

Peter King (R): 32

George Pataki (R): 56

(MoE: ±5.5%)

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-inc): 49 (49)

Peter King (R): 28 (24)

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-inc): 45 (44)

George Pataki (R): 41 (42)

(MoE: ±3%)

Whew! That’s a lot of data for one poll. And none of it is good for Gov. David Paterson, who can’t muster even half the support of AG Andrew Cuomo in a primary matchup… and if he miraculously makes it through the primary, he’s poised to get creamed by Rudy Giuliani, of all people.

There’s also the wee matters of his approval rating (26% ‘excellent’ or ‘good,’ which is lower than George Pataki, Mario Cuomo, or Eliot Spitzer ever managed), disapproval over his handling of the budget (30/59, down from 42/41 in January, suggesting that most of his continued plunge is about the budget and not about senate seat blowback), and terrible ‘wrong track’ numbers for the state of New York (27/65). The only thing he has to be thankful about: that he’s not ex-Rep. Rick Lazio, the one man in the state who’s even less popular.

On the Senate front, Paterson’s appointee Kirsten Gillibrand is still in something of a holding pattern as her constituents get to know her. She’s getting only 18% ‘excellent’ or ‘good ratings, compared with 32% ‘fair’ or ‘poor,’ but 50% of the sample just says ‘don’t know.’ She fares well against Rep. Peter King, but ex-Gov. George Pataki (who hasn’t really expressed interest in the race, although John Cornyn has been privately buttering him up) makes the race competitive. Her toughest task may still be defending her left flank in the primary, although unlike Quinnipiac‘s February poll, which had Gillibrand down 34-24 to Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, Marist gives Gillibrand the narrow edge. (Discussion is underway in andgarden‘s aptly titled diary.)

NY-Gov, NY-Sen: Cuomo Beats Paterson, McCarthy Beats Gillibrand

Quinnipiac (2/10-15, registered voters):

David Paterson (D-inc): 23

Andrew Cuomo (D): 55

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-inc): 24

Carolyn McCarthy (D): 34

(MoE: ±4.6%)

David Paterson (D-inc): 43

Rudy Giuliani (R): 43

Andrew Cuomo (D): 51

Rudy Giuliani (R): 37

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-inc): 42

Peter King (R): 26

(MoE: ±3%)

In the political chess game, David Paterson may have felt he was thinking ten moves ahead by picking Kirsten Gillibrand to fill the vacant Senate seat, by picking a young, charismatic woman with monster fundraising capacities who may well be holding the seat 40 years from now. However, it’s starting to look like, in doing so, he wasn’t thinking two moves ahead… as Quinnipiac now shows both Paterson and Gillibrand highly vulnerable in the 2010 primary. Picking Andrew Cuomo to fill the Senate seat would have killed two birds with one stone in the short-term for Paterson (get a Senator who’s known statewide and ready to stand on his own, and give his electoral archrival something to do other than challenge him in the 2010 election). Instead, he gambled on long-term dividends, and it’s possible neither he nor Gillibrand will be around to enjoy them.

The Gillibrand/McCarthy numbers seem likely to evolve over time, as 39% remain undecided. And both candidates seem largely unknown outside their respective corners of the state; Gillibrand’s favorables are 24/9 with 65% “haven’t heard enough,” (and 81% “haven’t heard enough” in the NYC Suburbs) while McCarthy’s are also 24/9, with 66% “haven’t heard enough” (with 88% “haven’t heard enough” upstate). An uncontroversial two years for Gillibrand, combined with tacking left on guns and immigration issues, should bring her numbers up (although revelations like the one today that she keeps two guns under her bed can’t be helping matters). Gillibrand has little trouble disposing of Rep. Peter King in the general (there’s no polling of an all-LI slugfest between King and McCarthy).

Paterson, however, trails Cuomo by a 2-1 margin, and, unlike Gillibrand, everyone knows who he is. His favorables are a fairly grim 41/35, while Cuomo clocks in at 63/15. Cuomo also dominates a hypothetical matchup against Rudy Giuliani while Paterson only ties him. Much of this does, in fact, seem to be blowback from the senator selection process. Paterson gets a mark of 35/52 for approval/disapproval of how he handled the process, down from 44/42 from last month. We may be looking at a truly epic miscalculation from Paterson here, one for the history books.