Have any predictions for tonight? Please share with us in the comments.
Polls close at 7 pm ET.
Have any predictions for tonight? Please share with us in the comments.
Polls close at 7 pm ET.
• CT-Sen: Quinnipiac (7/8, registered voters, likely Republican primary voters, 6/2-8 in parentheses):
Richard Blumenthal (D): 54 (55)
Linda McMahon (R): 37 (35)
Undecided: 7 (8)
Richard Blumenthal (D): 55 (54)
Rob Simmons (R): 35 (33)
Undecided: 9 (10)
Richard Blumenthal (D): 58 (56)
Peter Schiff (R): 31 (29)
Undecided: 9 (12)
Linda McMahon (R): 52
Rob Simmons (R): 25
Peter Schiff (R) : 13
Not much change in the Nutmeg State. And it looks like Rob Simmons might have some pretty serious disincentive to not get back into the Senate primary again, as he briefly threatened.
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio’s $4.4 million haul blew a lot of people away, but what’s equally impressive (and didn’t get any coverage at the time) is his burn rate. It turns out that, even though he no longer has a primary to worry about, he spent almost all ($4 million) of what he made.
• NY-Sen-B: You might remember that there was some uncertainty as to whether Joe DioGuardi, who has the Conservative line for November, would even make it into the Republican primary thanks to his poor finish at the GOP state convention. Well, after gathering enough signatures, he has now successfully petitioned his way onto the primary ballot. He has consistently led polls of the GOP primary, although generally in the low 20s. (H/t andyroo312.)
• WI-Sen, WI-Gov (pdf): Apparently, voters in Wisconsin are dimly aware that something called an “election” may be transpiring at some point in the future, as more than half of all those surveyed not having decided yet on a Senate pick, at least according to Univ. of Wisconsin’s Badger Poll. The likely voters in Wisconsin are currently going for Russ Feingold at 33 and Ron Johnson 28. RVs are Feingold 27, Johnson 21, and Wisconsin residents are Feingold 25, Johnson 19. In a remarkable contrast with Rasmussen (who’d have thunk?), nobody knows who Johnson is: he has 12/8 favorables among likely voters. They also look at the even-more-disinteresting gubernatorial race, finding Tom Barrett losing to both Scott Walker and Mark Neumann by the same margin of 32-15 (!). (UPDATE (DavidNYC): Here’s another good reason to mistrust this poll: It was in the field for a month. What the…?)
• WV-Sen: The West Virginia legislature is still busy tinkering with their state’s election laws today as part of the preparations for the special election to succeed Robert Byrd. Perhaps most significantly, it sounds like they are planning special primaries (tentatively set for fast-approaching Aug. 28), rather than a jungle-style election in November. They threw out a Joe Manchin proposal, however, that would scrap the special primaries if only one candidate from each party decided to run.
• AZ-Gov: We reported yesterday on the Rocky Mountain Poll (by the ominously-named Behavior Research Council), and it looks like they also have general election numbers. GOP incumbent Jan Brewer leads Democratic AG Terry Goddard 45-25, a surprisingly large margin since most non-Rasmussen pollsters have seen a close race (although that was mostly before SB 1070-mania hit).
• CO-Gov: SurveyUSA, on behalf of the Denver Post, is out with a snap poll on the subject of Scott McInnis, post-plagiarism-scandal. It turns out that this scandal does have a lot of resonance — there’s a lot less semantic ambiguity here than with Richard Blumenthal or even Mark Kirk… either you wrote it or you didn’t (and then tried to pass the blame on an octogenarian ally). 20% of Republicans now say they’ll vote for someone else, but 39% say they’ll still vote for him. Looking ahead to a replacement, the poll also asked who “the strongest Republican” would be, and the number one pick was… you guessed it… Tom Tancredo, at 29. McInnis followed at 19, with primary opponent Dan Maes at 13. Jane Norton (a possible switchover, given her dwindling Senate campaign) was at 11, former candidate and state Sen. Josh Penry was at 7, and Univ. of Colorado Bruce Benson was at 3. (In other polling news, note that even Rasmussen can’t find a way to polish this turd, as seen in a poll (see below) taken last night.)
If you’re wondering who Benson is, he’s now the subject of perhaps the most speculation as the GOP’s preferred fill-in. Another name getting tossed around is long-ago former Sen. Hank Brown, who more recently served as president of Univ. of Northern Colorado. The Post also was apparently set to do its regularly-scheduled endorsement for the primary this week, and they said that prior to this week, they would have endorsed McInnis; now they can’t endorse anyone at all (which is quite the slap at Maes).
• GA-Gov: Not that he seems to need a lot of help at this point, but Roy Barnes is getting the endorsement of Atlanta’s new mayor, Kasim Reed. Turnabout’s fair play, as Barnes gave Reed a late endorsement in last year’s election.
• NY-Gov: Well, this race is effectively over: Andrew Cuomo reported raising $9.2 million in the last six months for a total of $23.6 million CoH. (You think he could redirect a little of that to the DGA? Of the nation’s 10 most populous states, 9 have gubernatorial races, and of those 9, New York is the lone one that isn’t highly competitive.) Rick Lazio, by comparison, raised $1.4 million in that period, and has $689K CoH, which might make him competitive in an upstate House race. GOP primary rival Carl Paladino reported raising $1.7 million during the same period… but $1.6 million of that came out of his own pocket.
• TN-Gov: We normally don’t report on Mitt Romney’s many endorsements, as he seems to hand out low-four-figures sums of money to any Republican with a pulse who survived a primary. Here’s one that’s a big race though and where the decisive primary hasn’t happened yet. Romney backed Bill Haslam, the establishment and most moderate of the three GOPers in the primary.
• TX-Gov: With full information available from Rick Perry, we know now that Bill White won each fundraising category. White outraised Perry $7.4 million to $7.1 million in the post-primary period, and White leads in CoH by a $9 million to $5.8 million margin. And here’s an interesting tidbit: the White campaign says it’s raised more than $1 million from former Kay Bailey Hutchison contributors.
• CO-04: EMILY’s List is weighing into the 4th with a big independent expenditure. They’ll be spending $300K on TV advertising on behalf of Betsy Markey over the next three weeks; the ad’s a negative spot hitting Corey Gardner, including on health care issues.
• FL-17: The Miami Herald has some helpful background on the largely-forgotten Democratic primary in the open seat 17th, which is where all the action will be in this dark-blue district. (This seat, long held by the Meek family, hasn’t had a competitive primary in decades.) They look at state Sen. Frederica Wilson as frontrunner, and they cite an AFL-CIO poll from March (the first I’ve seen of it) that had Wilson at 34, with 12 for Miami Gardens mayor Shirley Gibson and 10 for North Miami city councilor Scott Galvin. The race’s rapidly emerging wild card, though, seems to be physician Rudolph Moise, by virtue of having over $900K CoH, at least six times what anyone else has. Some of that is self-funded, but he seems to have raised the most from other donors too, and he plans to start an advertising blitz soon.
• GA-12: Rep. John Barrow’s been burning cash fast lately: he raised $204K last quarter but spent $374K in that period, leaving him with $655 CoH. But that’s probably because his big challenge this year is in the Democratic primary (next week), not in the general, where his possible GOP opponents are all pretty weak. Of course, Regina Thomas doesn’t present that much challenge to him, either, if her financials are any indication: she raised $2,400 last quarter and had $6,600 CoH. But hey, at least she managed to file her FEC report on time this year.
• ID-01: Here’s another way that Raul Labrador is an unconventional candidate: he thinks that following that unspoken rule that you release your internal polls only when they have good news for you is for pussies. He’s out with an internal, by Moore Insight, that gives Rep. Walt Minnick — in theory one of the most vulnerable freshmen by virtue of his district and narrow win last time — a 37-27 lead. Minnick’s re-elect is only 38/40, though, which I guess is worth something. Reid Wilson also has more detail on Labrador today, slamming Kevin McCarthy’s efforts to reach out to citizens for help on creating a new Contract with America-type-thing. (The democracy-hating Labrador, no fan of the 17th Amendment either, thinks House leadership should impose the agenda top-down.) Also, were you wondering why Labrador didn’t loudly tout his fundraising haul from last quarter? Well, that’s because he raised $101K in the post-primary period of May and June, and is sitting on all of $69K CoH with $30K debt.
• MI-01: Is this the smallest sample size ever? Another Inside Michigan Politics poll of a House primary is out, this time in the Republican field in the open seat race to replace Bart Stupak, and it’s got a whopping n of 140. State Sen. Jason Allen and physician Dan Benishek (who was the lone GOPer before Stupak’s retirement announcement) are tied at the top with 20 each. There’s also a handful of no-names polling in the low single digits, one of whom, Linda Goldthorpe, just dropped out yesterday. (H/t TheGradyDem.)
• Caucuses: Well, it was only a matter of time before this happened. Michele Bachmann is taking out the paperwork to create a whole new caucus in the House: the Tea Party Caucus. Hmmm… I thought that already existed, and it was called the RSC.
• NY-St. Sen.: Here’s an interesting piece on the fundraising and infrastructure collapse behind the scenes for the GOP in the New York State Senate (who may, via GOP-held open seats, actually manage to lose further seats in November despite the nature of the year). Case in point: the race to replace retiring Senator Vincent Leibell in the Hudson Valley, where there’s cat fud a-flyin’ between establishment pick Mary Beth Murphy and teabaggish Greg Ball (who you may recall from briefly making a splashy entry in the NY-19 field).
• CO-Gov: John Hickenlooper (D) 45%, Scott McInnis (R) 43%
• DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 36%, Mike Castle (R) 47%
• DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 39%, Christine O’Donnell (R) 41%
• GA-Gov (D): Roy Barnes (D) 59%, Thurbert Baker (D) 16%, Dubose Porter 5%, David Poythress 5%
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 38%, Tom Corbett (R) 48%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D) 45%, Dino Rossi (R) 48%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D) 45%, Clint Didier (R) 48%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D) 46%, Paul Akers (R) 41%
• CT-Sen: Rob Simmons may not be as revved up about jumping back into the GOP Senate primary as was reported last night (i.e. “I’m thinking about it.”). His former campaign manager told The Fix today that there’s no secret comeback bid and that “he has no plans to re-engage.” It’s probably wiser for Simmons to take that approach, to lay low and wait for the off chance that Linda McMahon implodes pre-primary, rather than drain himself in an uphill fight against her.
• KS-Sen: I don’t know what spooked Jerry Moran into coughing up another internal poll (I can’t imagine it was the backstabbing by Tom Tancredo, but who knows?), but at any rate, he released a new internal from POS giving him a 56-24 lead over Todd Tiahrt in the GOP Senate primary. Moran also continues to win the fundraising race, raising $538K last quarter with $2.3 million CoH. Tiahrt raised $451K last quarter and has $1.3 million CoH, although he has a big fundraising dinner scheduled soon hosted by former Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis.
• NV-Sen: This news has to be, on the balance, good news for Harry Reid. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, while certainly not considering endorsing Reid, is moving toward sitting out the Nevada Senate race. It may be tempting to pin this down with increasing Chamber discontent with the teabagger wing of the party (as seen with their moves in SC-Gov and ID-01), but a lot of it may be that they’re less unhappy with Reid as Majority Leader than the alternatives (Chuck Schumer or Dick Durbin). Reid‘s also reporting, unsurprisingly, tons of money: he raised $2.4 million, although, after spending a lot on ads, he’s at $9 million CoH.
• NY-Sen, NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov (pdf): Siena released polls everyone and everything in the Empire State today, although there’s little suspense in any of these races anymore. In the gubernatorial race, Andrew Cuomo beats Rick Lazio 60-28, beats Carl Paladino 64-23, and beats Lazio and Paladino (with Paladino on a 3rd party line) 54-23-10. Lazio beats Paladino in the GOP primary 40-20. In the Senate special election, Kirsten Gillibrand leads Bruce Blakeman 51-28, beats Joe DioGuardi 51-29, and beats David Malpass 50-27. DioGuardi leads the GOP primary at 24, with 7 for Blakeman and 5 for Malpass. And in the other Senate race, Chuck Schumer beats both Gary Berntsen and Jay Townsend by an identical 63-26. Townsend tops Berntsen in the GOP primary 24-13. They even throw in the Comptroller’s race, where Dem incumbent Tom DiNapoli beats self-funded GOPer Harry Wilson 48-24.
• SC-Sen: The Charleston minor league baseball team has answered Alvin Greene’s call for economic stimulus in the form of Alvin Greene action figures: they’ll be giving out Greene figurines as a promotion at their Saturday game. (Although it sounds a little half-assed, as they’re just sticking Alvin Greene heads on unused Statues of Liberty.) Also, with the primary out of the way, local and Beltway Democrats alike are uniting behind Greene, filling his coffers with… um… $1,000? (At least that puts him ahead of Roland Burris.) That number was apparently volunteered by Greene; he won’t have to file with the FEC until he hits the $5,000 mark.
• WV-Sen: Plans are already afoot in Washington to swear in West Virginia’s new Senator by Tuesday so that the unemployment benefits extension can be voted on that same day. Who, though, is still an open question. Other Senator Jay Rockefeller says there’s some White House pressure and he thinks he knows who it’ll be, but he isn’t saying who. Ex-Gov. and current College Board President Gaston Caperton has suddenly reversed course and is now saying that he is interested, which certainly seems like a tea leaf to me. There are also reports that Bob Wise and Larry Puccio have removed themselves from consideration, and Nick Casey (awaiting a federal judgeship) is very unlikely.
The NRSC is already running anti-Joe Manchin ads (in print media only), but that may not provide that much encouragement to Shelly Moore Capito (the only Republican who can make this competitive) to get in: one little-noted fact is that one item that rather pointedly got left off the agenda for today’s legislative special session is whether or not an officeholder could run for two seats at the same time in the special election and the regularly-scheduled election (like in, oh let’s just say, WV-Sen and WV-02).
• CO-Gov: Scott McInnis may be the last to know to know that he’s dropping out of the gubernatorial race. Tom Tancredo has been telling people that McInnis is going to drop out, although the McInnis camp is denying that, saying “we’re moving forward.” Tancredo is also the first state GOPer to publicly call for McInnis to get out, although I wonder if Tancredo is hoping he may get the chance to take his place (remember Tancredo had flirted with the race early last year). Tancredo doesn’t seem to be on the list of replacements that’s being bandied about by the local press, though: they include Josh Penry (whom Tancredo had backed, and who ran for a while before dropping out), former state Sen. Mark Hillman, and… get this… ex-Rep. Bob Schaffer, who badly lost the 2008 Senate race.
There’s also some speculation about the legalities of replacing McInnis: it doesn’t seem like the GOP could insert a hand-picked filler before the primary, unless both McInnis and Dan Maes dropped out (not out of the question, I suppose, considering that Maes’ campaign is currently belly-up). This may help McInnis’s decision along: the RGA is now saying that they’re abandoning him, pulling out of fundraisers they’d previously scheduled.
• GA-Gov: Mason-Dixon takes a look at the Georgia gubernatorial primaries. On the Republican side, they find John Oxendine at 31, Karen Handel at 23, Nathan Deal at 18, and Eric Johnson at 6. Compare that with Rasmussen (see below) and Magellan’s recent polls, which see possible Handel/Deal runoffs. Ed Kilgore also takes a look at the proxy war being fought in Georgia by Sarah Palin (backing Handel) and Newt Gingrich (backing Deal), which may be boosting those two’s fortunes at Oxendine’s expense. Mason-Dixon’s look at the Dem primary has comparatively less drama: Roy Barnes is out of runoff territory at 54, with Thurbert Baker at 20, David Poythress at 7, and Dubose Porter at 3.
• AZ-08: The Fix seems to be the leaking place of choice for the GOP for its internal polls, and they have word of another one with a GOPer with a (slight) lead. It’s in the 8th, where a Tarrance Group poll gives Jonathan Paton a 45-44 lead over Gabrielle Giffords. Paton, of course, still has to survive a primary against the more tea-flavored Jesse Kelly.
• KS-04: SurveyUSA’s new poll of the KS-04 primaries shows some interesting movement on the GOP side: both Mike Pompeo and Wink Hartman have declined by similar amounts (they’re currently at 32 and 31, respectively), with state Sen. Jean Schodorf making a late move up to 16, based on strength among women and moderates. Jim Anderson’s also at 9. There’s also a surprise on the Dem side: the DCCC-touted Raj Goyle is actually in danger of losing his primary to Some Dude, Robert Tillman. Tillman now leads, 40-36. Looks like we may have been right about Goyle’s reasons behind launching a TV buy now.
• House: We don’t usually like to link to this sort of meta about the state of the House, but it’s interesting to see the various blind men who are veterans of the DCCC and the NRCC in relatively close agreement about the size and shape of the elephant this year.
• Fundraising: AR-Sen | CA-Sen| CA-Sen | CT-Sen | DE-Sen | FL-Sen | IL-Sen | IN-Sen | MO-Sen | NH-Sen | OR-Sen | WI-Sen | IL-Gov | TX-Gov | CT-04 | DE-AL | FL-08 | GA-02 | NH-01 | OH-13 | PA-03 | PA-10 | RI-01 | WA-03
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 46%, Meg Whitman (R) 47%
• GA-Gov (R): Nathan Deal (R) 25%, Karen Handel (R) 25%, John Oxendine (R) 20%, Eric Johnson (R) 13%
• TX-Gov: Bill White (D) 41%, Rick Perry (R-inc) 50%
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold (D-inc) 46%, Ron Johnson (R) 47%
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold (D-inc) 51%, Dave Westlake (R) 37%
• CO-Sen: Isn’t this the second time this has happened in about a month? Tom Tancredo says something ridiculous, Republican candidate with an eye on the general repudiates the statement, then walks back the repudiation once he realizes that the teabaggers’ widdle feewings might get hurt. This time it was Ken Buck (on whose behalf Tancredo called Barack Obama the “greatest threat to the United States today” last week); he might have been helped along in his flip-flopping after Jane Norton, who’s losing the primary because Buck outflanked her on the right, started going on about how she agreed with Tancredo,.
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio’s having a good day so far: he rolled out a ridiculously big fundraising number for the second quarter: $4.5 million raised. No mention of his CoH, though. (All eyes turn to Charlie Crist, though, for his first report after switching to an indie bid, to see whether that shrank or expanded his pool of donors.) Rubio’s second bit of good news is an endorsement from Crist’s former right-hand-man, temporary Sen. George LeMieux. (Since LeMieux reportedly has designs on Bill Nelson’s seat, and he seems to prefer running as a Republican and not on the Crist For Florida line, what else is he going to do, though?)
• NH-Sen: I know, I know, straw poll, terrible gauge of broad public support, take with salt, bla bla bla. Still, here’s a barometer of where the hardcore Live Free or Die crowd currently stands: Ovide Lamontagne dominated the straw poll at the Taxpayer Reunion Picnic, an annual gathering of those who were teabagging long before it was cool. He won 109 to 74 over Jim Bender, a rich guy who’s going the crazy viral ad route. Establishment candidate Kelly Ayotte and moderate outsider Bill Binnie were at 23 and 10.
• WA-Sen: Clint Didier, apparently aware of the stink lines of rank hypocrisy radiating off him, said that he’s swearing off farm subsidies in the future. (Seeing as how it made him look like the worst possible caricature of the teabaggers’ mantra of “I hate the gub’ment! Except when it’s giving me money for doing nothing!”) Apparently that was enough absolution for Rep. Ron Paul‘s satisfaction, as he threw his backing behind Didier this weekend.
• WV-Sen: Rep. Shelly Capito Moore is at least honest about being scared about running for Senate (almost certainly against highly popular Gov. Joe Manchin), although she isn’t couching it in terms of being afraid of Manchin per se, instead saying “I’m afraid to lose momentum that I think I provide for the state.” At any rate, she says she’ll make her (seeming unlikely) decision whether to run in the next few days, probably coinciding with the clarification on the election’s when and how, to be decided in a July 15 legislative special session.
• AZ-Gov: Ain’t that a kick in the head? State Treasurer Dean Martin, who was regarded as something of a frontrunner when he jumped into the GOP primary earlier this year, is suspending his campaign, ostensibly because he didn’t want to be a distraction to Gov. Jan Brewer as she fights lawsuits over SB 1070. In reality, Martin never really caught fire, first when rich self-funder Owen Buz Mills grabbed the not-Brewer mantle and then, mostly, when Brewer suddenly became belle of the right-wing ball when she signed SB 1070.
• FL-Gov: Bill McCollum apparently didn’t want to be touting his fundraising numbers, but they’re out anyway, thanks to a court filing pertaining to Rick Scott’s challenge to the state public financing system. At any rate, McCollum’s sitting on a paltry $800K in cash, a mere blip compared to what Scott can pull out of his own wallet. Of course, Scott could still pull defeat out of the jaws of victory, by antagonizing pretty much the entire RPOF by trying to hang ex-state party chair Jim Greer around McCollum’s neck… and by staking his pro-life credentials on a family who are loudly preferring that he shut up about them.
• GA-Gov: InsiderAdvantage, which offered its poll of the GOP primary last week, has a matching Dem poll today. The question for Dems isn’t whether Roy Barnes gets the most votes but whether he avoids a runoff, and they seem to err on the side of “no runoff:” Barnes is at 59, with Thurbert Baker at 15, and Dubose Porter and David Poythress both at 2, behind someone by the name of Bill Bolton (at 3). Meanwhile, on the GOP side, it seemed like something of an oversight that this endorsement hadn’t happened before, but Sarah Palin finally added Karen Handel to the ever-growing list of Mama Grizzlies. UPDATE: Thurbert Baker just got a top-tier endorsement, from Bill Clinton. It may be too late for that to matter much, though, because at this point Baker needs to not only win all the undecideds but peel away a significant number of Barnes voters. (H/t TheUnknown285.)
• MI-Gov: Motor City endorsements aplenty in the Democratic gubernatorial primary in Michigan: Andy Dillon got the backing of former Detroit mayor Dennis Archer, who many observers thought would have made the strongest candidate had he run. Virg Bernero got endorsements from Detroit’s two House members, John Conyers and Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick.
• MN-Gov: Republican nominee Tom Emmer seems to have dug a large hole for himself with his proposal to start including tips toward restaurant servers’ minimum wage requirement (which has the effect of slashing their hourly base pay); he’s planning on doing a “listening tour” with servers as atonement. Also adding to Emmer’s worries is blowback from his Sarah Palin endorsement, which helped him upset Marty Seifert at the GOP convention but is now already being used as a cudgel in general election advertising (courtesy of Matt Entenza). Meanwhile, Entenza’s Democratic rival Margaret Anderson Kelliher is running her first TV spot; the total buy is for only about $50K, though.
• NE-Gov: Democrats in Nebraska seem to be actively considering just punting the ball, rather than trying to find a replacement candidate for nominee Mark Lakers. On the plus side, that would free up local Democratic money for other ventures (like the race in NE-02), in what was destined to be a thorough loss even with Lakers in the race. On the other hand, Tom White’s challenge to Lee Terry would probably benefit from having, well, something at the top of the ballot.
• PA-Gov: If Tom Corbett is trying to position himself as a moderate for the general election, well, this isn’t the way. He’s publicly using the Sharron Angle line of argumentation that unemployment benefits cause more unemployment, because, naturally, people would rather live on their meager checks than go out and get one of those many abundant jobs that are out there. The ads write themselves… presuming the Democrats ever get around to actually writing them.
• TN-Gov: A mysterious 527 (is there any other kind?) has emerged to pour money into the Tennessee GOP primary. There’s no word on who’s the power behind the throne for Tennesseans for a Better Tomorrow, but they’ll be advertising on behalf of Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who’s back in third in the polls and needs a surrogate to do the dirty work of negative advertising against Bill Haslam.
• AZ-03: Jon Hulburd’s fundraising (and self-funding ability) is the main thing keeping this red-district open seat race at least somewhat on the map for the Dems; he’s announcing $250K raised last quarter. (No word on CoH.)
• CO-04: Freshman Rep. Betsy Markey had a strong quarter, raising $530K and sitting on $1.5 million CoH. In this Republican-leaning district, she’ll need every penny of it to get through this year.
• KS-04: Democratic State Rep. Raj Goyle, whose fundraising skills have put this dark-red open seat onto the map, is out with an introductory TV spot. Seems a little earlier for that, doesn’t it? We’d guess that he’s concerned about the primary (remember that there was a SurveyUSA poll a few weeks back that showed him not that far ahead of Some Dude with, well, a more ‘Merican sounding name) and not wanting to go the route of historical footnote Vic Rawl.
• MO-08: Tommy Sowers, if nothing else, is showing a lot of hustle in his long-shot bid against GOP Rep. Jo Ann Emerson in this dark-red rural district. He says he’s passed the $1 million mark for funds raised over the total cycle (nothing specific on 2Q or CoH, though).
• NJ-03: Democratic freshman Rep. John Adler seems to be putting some fundraising distance between himself and Jon Runyan. Adler raised $415K in 2Q to break the $2 million mark for CoH, while Runyan has about $500K in cash.
• NY-01: Randy Altschuler’s got a whole lotta cash: he’s reporting $1.8 million CoH. A lot of that is coming right of the Altschuler family piggy bank, though. He raised a decent $257K last quarter, but loaned himself another $500K on top of that.
• OH-16: Yikes! GOP nominee Jim Renacci must have some deep-pocketed connections from the high-stakes world of Arena Football, because he’s reporting $725K raised last quarter. (No word on CoH.)
• PA-04: This is kind of a small haul to be touting (touting may not be the right word, actually, when even your own campaign adviser calls it “not half bad”), but maybe it’s a good amount when you weren’t even supposed to have won the primary in the first place. Keith Rothfus, who blasted establishment fave Mary Beth Buchanan in the GOP primary, says he has $200K CoH (up from $157K in his pre-primary report … no word on what he actually raised).
• VA-05: Finally, here’s the delicious cherry on top of the shit sundae of fundraising reports: Tom Perriello announces that he raised $660K last quarter, giving him $1.7 million CoH. No word yet from Robert Hurt, but with $121K on hand in his May 19 pre-primary report, I can imagine it’s not in Perriello’s ballpark. The Richmond Times-Dispatch has an interesting compare-and-contrast enterprise in how Perriello and fellow vulnerable freshman Dem Glenn Nye are approaching their re-elections (Perriello emphasizing his base, Nye emphasizing his independence); clearly, based on these numbers, playing to the base can pay off, at least at the bank.
• CA-LG (pdf): We’re still sweeping up from that last installment of the Field Poll. In the Lt. Governor’s race, there’s surprisingly good news for Dems, with Gavin Newsom looking solid against appointed GOPer Abel Maldonado, leading 43-34. The Attorney General results aren’t that surprising: Republican Los Angeles Co. DA Steve Cooley has a narrow edge over SF DA Kamala Harris, 37-34.
• Illinois: It looks like we’ll never have another Scott Lee Cohen scenario again (or for that matter, probably not even another Jason Plummer scenario). Pat Quinn signed into law new legislation requiring, from now on, that Governor and Lt. Governor tickets are joined together before the primary, not after.
• CO-Sen: Both Jane Norton and Ken Buck found something else to do when Michael Steele showed up in town yesterday, eager to take his off the hook, technically avant-garde message to Colorado’s urban-suburban hip-hop settings. Seems like Steele has a bad case of the cooties in the wake of his Afghanistan comments. Buck instead went to hang with the decidedly non-hip-hop Tom Tancredo at a rally yesterday instead, where Tancredo called Barack Obama the “greatest threat to the United States today.” Buck subsequently had to distance himself from Tancredo’s comments via conference call… I’m wondering if Buck would have rather appeared with Michael Steele after all.
• NV-Sen: Sharron Angle rolled out her campaign’s first ad; perhaps wisely, she isn’t in it at all, other than a voiceover doing the required disclaimer at the end. Instead, it’s just a narration-free black-and-white montage of the economic woe that, of course, Harry Reid caused. Which completely contradicts her own message that she’s touted in public appearances, which is that it’s not a Senator’s job to create jobs, and that it was in fact a bad thing for Harry Reid to intervene to save 22,000 jobs at a local construction project. To top all that off, Angle said Wednesday that Reid’s attempts to fight back on the jobs issue were an attempt to “hit the girl.” (UPDATE: Jon Ralston uncovers that Angle’s ad buy was for a whopping total of $5K. Add this one to the growing pile of bullshit ad buys aimed at getting free media.)
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher’s fundraising numbers are out. The good news is: he finally had a seven-digit quarter, pulling in at least $1 million last quarter and giving him “more than” $1 million CoH. The bad news is: that’s less than half what Rob Portman raised last quarter, and it’s a more than 8:1 CoH advantage for Portman.
• AL-Gov: Two different polls are out in the Republican runoff in Alabama, and they paint very different pictures. One is from GOP pollster Baselice, working on behalf of a group called Public Strategy Associates. They give Robert Bentley a 53-33 lead over Bradley Byrne. The other is an internal from the Byrne camp; they’re claiming a four-point lead, although without any details about topline numbers or even the pollster. They’re also claiming that Byrne has gained 7 points in the last week while Bentley has lost 7, presumably because of Byrne’s attacks on Bentley’s friendliness with the Alabama Education Association, the teachers’ union that has particularly had it in for Byrne. Byrne also rolled out endorsements from two of Alabama’s sitting House members, Spencer Bachus and Jo Bonner.
• CA-Gov: Seems like Jerry Brown took a look at the internals at the latest Field Poll and realized he’d better do something about his standing among Latino voters. He held a press conference yesterday with 14 Latino leaders, criticizing the sincerity of Meg Whitman’s softening of her immigration stance since the GOP primary. Xavier Becerra pointed out that “Jerry Brown broke bread with Cesar Chavez. His opponent breaks bread with Pete Wilson.” (Wilson, of course, was the driving force behind Prop 187 last decade.)
• CO-Gov: Dan Maes, the insurgent candidate in the GOP primary, is pretty much out of gas. He raised all of $33K last quarter, with $23K CoH. That cash on hand is somewhat less than the $27K fine he’s going to have to pay for various campaign finance violations he’s committed.
• GA-Gov: SurveyUSA has more polls of the fast-approaching gubernatorial primaries. They find John Oxendine at 32 and Karen Handel at 23, meaning they’re likely to advance to a GOP runoff. Nathan Deal and Eric Johnson are lagging at 12, with Ray McBerry at 5. On the Democratic side, Roy Barnes is at 56, which would let him avoid a runoff against Thurbert Baker (who’s at 18). Dubose Porter and David Poythress languish at 6 and 5, respectively. (SUSA also has Dem Senate and downballot numbers, if you click the link.) PPP (pdf) is also out with a poll, although this is one of their rare internals that makes it to the public view; it’s on behalf of J.C. Cole, a Thurbert Baker backer. They find Barnes just under the runoff mark: 49 Barnes, 19 Baker, 4 Porter, and 3 Poythress.
• MA-Gov: The money race in Massachusetts is a pretty close three-way race, although Tim Cahill, corresponding with his slide in the polls, has also lost his financial edge. GOPer Charlie Baker has the most cash on hand with $2.97 million, with Cahill at $2.95 million. Dem incumbent Deval Patrick has the least, $2.37 million, but seems to be expecting some help from the state Dem party, which has a big CoH edge over the state GOP.
• NE-Gov: The Nebraska governor’s race is turning into a bit of Democratic debacle, as the departure of Mark Lakers has left Dems looking high and low for someone willing to take his place at this late date. Ben Nelson says someone’s likely to emerge before the July 23-25 state convention, although he didn’t volunteer any particular names.
• TN-Gov: Knoxville mayor (and oil baron) Bill Haslam seems on track to be Tennessee’s next governor, according to a poll for local TV affiliate WSMV. (The poll was conducted by Crawford, Johnson, and Northcott, a firm I’ve never heard of.) The free-spending Haslam leads the GOP primary in the open seat race at 32, with Rep. Zach Wamp at 21 and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey at 11. Haslam also performs the best against Mike McWherter, the only Dem left in the hunt. Haslam wins 60-34, while Wamp wins 59-35 and Ramsey wins 51-41.
• FL-22: Allen West continues to post gaudy fundraising numbers; he says he raised $1.4 million in the last quarter, likely to be the biggest total for any Republican House challenger. West, of course, is a client of BaseConnect, and a lot of that money gets churned through for direct-mail expenses, but he is steadily expanded his cash on hand, claiming to be up to $2.2 million. Rep. Ron Klein had $2.6 million CoH at the end of the previous quarter in March.
• GA-08: Here’s a fundraising success for a late entrant for the GOP: state Rep. Austin Scott, who bailed out of the gubernatorial primary to run an uphill fight against Democratic incumbent Rep. Jim Marshall, outraised Marshall last quarter. Scott raised $251K last quarter (including $56K of his own money), leaving him with $213K CoH. Marshall raised $165K, but has $981K in his war chest.
• MI-03: In case there was any doubt who the DeVos family (the power behind the Republican throne in western Michigan) was backing, they made it explicit today. Dick DeVos announced his support for state Rep. Justin Amash in the GOP primary to succeed retiring Vern Ehlers.
• MN-01: One more surprise GOP fundraising score to report: state Rep. Randy Demmer had a good quarter, pulling in $303K, leaving him with $251K. Democratic Rep. Tim Walz hasn’t released numbers, but had $856K CoH banked last quarter.
• NY-23: Scozzafava endorses Bill Owens! No, it’s not quite what you think. It’s Tom Scozzafava (apparently absolutely no relation to special election opponent-turned-endorser Dede Scozzafava), the Supervisor of the town of Moriah. Owens also got some probably more significant good news on Tuesday: Don Kasprzak, the Republican mayor of Plattsburgh, offered some public praise of Owens and, while stopping short of endorsing him, said that he couldn’t vote for either Doug Hoffman or Matt Doheny.
• OH-12: With Rep. Pat Tiberi having dropped an internal poll yesterday showing him dominating Democratic challenger Paula Brooks, today it was Brooks’ turn. She offered up an internal poll from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, which also showed her losing, but by a much smaller margin. The poll sees the race at 48-36 in favor of Tiberi, with 10% going to Libertarian candidate Travis Irvine.
• CA-Init (pdf): The Field Poll also provided numbers for four initiatives that are likely to be on the ballot in November. Like several other pollsters, they see a close race for Prop 19, which proposes to legalize marijuana: it’s failing 44-48. Perhaps the most significant race, though, is Prop 25, which would solve the Sacramento gridlock by allowing passage of a budget by a mere majority vote; support for Prop 25 is very broad, at 65-20, with even Republicans favoring passage. Voters don’t support Prop 23, a utilities-funded push to overturn the state’s greenhouse gases emissions law; it’s failing 36-48. Finally, there’s 42-32 support for Prop 18, a bond to pay for water supply improvements.
• Fundraising: A couple more fundraising tidbits from the Fix: Democratic GA-Gov candidate Roy Barnes raised $1.3 million last quarter, while GOPer Nathan Deal raised $570K. And in NH-Sen, Bill Binnie reported raising $550K, but bear in mind he can write himself checks as need be.
• AZ-Sen: Chances are you’ve already seen this video, but if you haven’t, check out ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth going the full Matthew Lesko, pitching seminars for how to get free government grant money. Typical teabagging mindset at work: I hate the gub’ment! Except when it’s giving me money for doing nothing!
• CT-Sen: Linda McMahon, I’m sure, is from the “all PR is good PR” school, but this still has to go in the “bad PR” column. The widow of a professional wrestler who died in a 1999 stunt gone awry is suing both the WWE and McMahon personally.
• NH-Sen: Making your first TV ad a negative one isn’t really a sign of strength, but in this case, I’m sure Paul Hodes thinks he has something potent here. His first ad hits Kelly Ayotte for being asleep at the switch as AG during the collapse of Financial Resources Mortgage. Hodes’ ad includes footage of Ayotte’s widely-panned testimony before state legislators last week, framing it as an almost-Gonzales-esque litany of evasions.
• NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov: Quinnipiac polls the Empire State, and like Rasmussen, finds intensely competitive races brewing… oh, who am I kidding; Dems are crushing, as usual. Kirsten Gillibrand beats Bruce Blakeman 46-26, and beats David Malpass 47-25. Blakeman beats Malpass 14-11 in the GOP primary. Interestingly, they seem to have decided not to poll Joe DioGuardi (who other polls have seen as the GOP primary’s frontrunner) this time, who did not get a ballot slot at the convention but seems to be at work trying to petition on. On the gubernatorial side, Andrew Cuomo beats Rick Lazio 58-26 and beats Carl Paladino 59-23. Lazio wins the GOP primary over Paladino, 46-17.
• FL-Gov: Bill McCollum got a lifeline of sorts from the Tea Party community, with an endorsement from ex-Rep. Dick Armey, now one of the movement’s chief cat-herders at FreedomWorks. This looks like an endorsement from Armey individually, though, not from FreedomWorks. Filing day also came and went: independent candidate Bud Chiles filed at the last moment, and Alex Sink also found herself with an unexpected Democratic primary challenger, although one of the “perennial candidate” variety (Brian Moore).
• GA-Gov, GA-Sen: SurveyUSA takes a look at the Georgia races, but unfortunately only at the already-thoroughly-polled primaries. On the Dem side, ex-Gov. Roy Barnes’ comeback is well underway; he’s out of runoff territory at 63, leading Thurbert Baker at 13, David Poythress at 5, Dubose Porter at 4, and three Some Dudes at 1. On the GOP side, the question seems to be who makes the runoff against John Oxendine. Oxendine is at 34, followed by Karen Handel at 18 and Nathan Deal at 17. If Eric Johnson’s late push is going to succeed, he has a big climb: he’s at 6, down near the weirdos like Ray McBerry (at 3). They also look at the Democratic Senate primary (Michael Thurmond leads 68-11 over R.J. Hadley), and some downballot races too (click the link for those… maybe most interesting, Carol Porter, wife of Dubose Porter, is doing a lot better than her husband; she’s leading the Dem Lt. Gov. primary).
• CT-04: After having had to pull the plug on his campaign after he wound up without enough valid signatures to qualify, Tom Herrmann (First Selectman of Easton) threw his backing to state Sen. Dan Debicella in the GOP primary.
• FL-08: Here’s some more grist for the mill for those who think that the local Tea Party is nothing more than an Alan Grayson plant to split the conservative vote in November: one of the candidates running for the State House under the Tea Party aegis is Victoria Torres, a consultant who did $11,000 worth of polling work for Grayson. (Amusingly, her polling “firm” is named Public Opinion Strategies Inc., not to be confused with the prolific Republican internal pollster Public Opinion Strategies.) Meanwhile, appointed Sen. George LeMieux just threw his support to ex-state Sen. Daniel Webster, despite the NRCC’s seeming preference in the GOP primary for businessman Bruce O’Donoghue.
• IA-03: It’s not surprising this is a close race, given Rep. Leonard Boswell’s long history of underwhelming performances, but these numbers may a little too-good-to-be-true for GOP state Sen. Brad Zaun. His internal (taken by Victory Enterprises) gives him a 41-32 lead over Boswell. The party registration composition looks hinky (43 D-38 R-19 I, instead of 38 D-30 R-32 I), but it still should be a big red flag for Boswell.
• KS-03: State Rep. Kevin Yoder’s new web video has him walking with his wife through a field, with several small children in tow. There’s one slight problem: Yoder doesn’t have any kids. (Yoder’s CM believes that the kids in question are nieces and nephews, not rentals.)
• LA-02: Bayou Buzz points to a couple possible speedbumps on the road for Democrats expecting to take back the 2nd from accidental freshman Rep. Joe Cao, in the form of two potential independent candidates. Orleans Sewerage and Water Board member Tommie Vassel, and prominent black minister Byron Clay, are both floating the idea of independent bids. That’s presumably to avoid the pileup of establishment candidates (state Reps. Cedric Richmond and Juan LaFonta) in the Dem primary, but the questions are a) whether they pull the trigger and b) if so, are they well-known enough to create a big-enough spoiler effect to save even Cao?
• MS-01: Facing a strong challenge from state Sen. Alan Nunnellee, Democratic Rep. Travis Childers could use some good news, and he just got some: he got the endorsement of the NRA.
• NY-16: This is the first (and apparently last) I’d heard of state Assemblyman Michael Benjamin’s interest in running in the Democratic primary against Rep. Jose Serrano. Benjamin said he won’t run against Serrano this year, but is watching with great interest to see what happens with redistricting in 2012; he might run then if a second majority-minority seat centered in the Bronx gets created.
• PA-03: The Susan B. Anthony List (the bizarro-world version of EMILY’s List, focused on electing anti-abortion candidates) has Kathy Dahlkemper in its sights after her vote in favor of HCR. They’re laying out $300K to help her GOP opponent Mike Kelly.
• SC-04: Politico has a look at how Rep. Bob Inglis has gotten very little help from his congressional Republican colleagues, suggesting that they (like us) have been doing the Inglis Deathwatch for the last year and, whatever they may think of him personally, don’t see him as a good repository for their political capital. Inglis, who’s likely to lose the GOP runoff to the more rhetorically-conservative Trey Gowdy tonight, has received money from only two GOP colleagues this cycle (both of whom are also despised by their bases: Lindsey Graham and Dan Burton). He hasn’t gotten any NRCC help either, despite their earlier all-out efforts to help fellow incumbent Parker Griffith in his primary.
• VA-02: One other GOP internal poll to report: Scott Rigell has one from POS, giving him a 41-35 lead over Democratic freshman Rep. Glenn Nye. (No other details about the poll were discussed.) This comes in the context of a larger question over the recent blitz of GOP internal polls, and strange silence on the Democratic end: do the Democrats just not have good news in those districts to counter with, or (as many have speculated) are they engaged in a bit of expectations gaming/rope-a-dope?
• $$$: Remember how fearsome the Karl Rove-founded 527 American Crossroads was going to be, and how it was going to be some sort of unstoppable killing machine? The big-donor-oriented group set a target of $52 million raised this year, but they’ve raised a grand total of $1.2 million so far, with a whopping $200 last month. (That’s not $200K… it’s $200.)
• Polltopia: With everybody seemingly buzzing about the “enthusiasm gap!” all the time (or maybe that was just for the duration of yesterday, a lifetime ago in politics), PPP’s Tom Jensen simply shrugs. He points to huge GOP enthusiasm advantages in his polling of recent races like PA-12 (where the GOP lost) and NJ-Gov (where the GOP only narrowly won). He also points to Democratic advantages in generic ballot tests among likely but only the “somewhat excited” or “not very excited.” As long as those less-excited voters still show up (as they did in, say, PA-12), their votes still count just as much.
• AR-Sen: That didn’t take long; Lt. Gov. Bill Halter is already hitting the TV airwaves in his freshly-launched primary challenge to Blanche Lincoln. Now, you may be wondering how he’s paying for that, considering that he’s starting almost from scratch. Turns out he’s coming into this with promises of huge financial backing from organized labor; three unions under the AFL-CIO umbrella are committing $3 million to independent expenditures in the race, which in the cheap Arkansas media markets will allow him to get on a solid footing against Lincoln’s $5 mil. That’s on top of $600K that poured in from the netroots (from MoveOn and the PCCC). See what happens when you piss off your base?
Rasmussen also snapped into action, putting out some further Arkansas numbers, and oddly, they aren’t anywhere near as catastrophic for Lincoln as last month. They still don’t have her in salvageable shape, though: Lincoln loses to Rep. John Boozman 48-39 (compared with 54-35 last month), state Sen. Gilbert Baker 45-40 (compared with 52-33 last month), state Sen. Jim Holt 45-38, state Sen. Kim Hendren 43-38, and businessman Curtis Coleman 43-41. This is Rasmussen’s first time testing Bill Halter, and for now, he’s performing about the same or somewhat worse than Lincoln. Halter trails Boozman 52-33, Baker 44-37, Holt 42-38, Hendren 42-35, and Coleman 38-35.
• CA-Sen: DavidNYC’s description of this development pretty much speaks for itself: “The lord taketh away Harold Ford, but may grace us with — I know it’s hard to imagine — an even BIGGER douchebag.” Mickey Kaus, the contrarian, Conservadem blogger, is apparently considering a run for Senate in California, taking out (though not yet filing) the appropriate candidate paperwork. Interestingly, I see no discussion of whether he plans to run in the Democratic primary against Barbara Boxer, or as an indie or a GOPer — not that he’s likely to provide much more than comic relief in any of the three categories.
• GA-Sen: Democrats may be kicking themselves for dropping the recruitment ball this year on a challenger to Johnny Isakson for his first re-election bid to the Senate. Rasmussen found him leading Generic D by a not-overwhelming 49-36 last week, and now PPP finds him with a similar but even less convincing win over Generic D, 46-37. Isakson’s approvals are a rather Richard Burr-ish 36/38. However, as seen in North Carolina, Generic D overperforms Real D: in case AG Thurbert Baker was considering jumping over from the gubernatorial race (where he badly lags ex-Gov. Roy Barnes in the primary), he trails Isakson 49-31. Jim Martin, who performed fairly well in the 2008 Senate election, does a little better, losing 47-35.
• KY-Sen: As Jim Bunning keeps up his Bizzaro-world Mr. Smith Goes to Washington impression (filibustering to cut off Boy Scouts’ dads’ unemployment compensation), he’s drawing the attention of two of his would-be successors. Democratic Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo has called for a rally at Bunning’s Lexington office to protest Bunning’s crazy last stand, while Rand Paul’s campaign in now responding with its own counter-rally in support Bunning’s efforts. (Paul won’t be there himself, and it’s not clear if Mongiardo will either.)
• NY-Sen-B: There’s speculation that Harold Ford Jr.’s decision to abandon his Senate plans may have a lot to do with the likelihood of a Mort Zuckerman run on the Republican side — and that a lot of Ford’s moneybags donors were telling him they were with Zuckerman instead if he got in. Or, maybe Ford just got wind of his poll numbers in today’s Marist poll (pdf), giving him little shot at pulling the upset. In the Dem primary, Ford trailed Kirsten Gillibrand 50-19 (with 3 for Jonathan Tasini). Considering that Ford collapsed from an already-bad 44-27 in late January’s Marist poll as he gained notoriety all last month, that seems like plenty of incentive to get out. Gillibrand trails the unlikely-to-run George Pataki in the general 48-45, but demolishes Zuckerman, 59-26, as well as the already-running Bruce Blakeman, 58-28. In the other Senate race, undeclared candidate Larry Kudlow might want to save his money; Charles Schumer leads Kudlow 69-24.
• OK-Sen: Rasmussen keeps polling everything that’s pollable, and today that includes the Oklahoma Senate race. No Democrat of note has stepped up to challenge Tom Coburn, and that may be just as well, as the Dems’ best possible candidate, the state’s popular, termed-out Democratic Governor Brad Henry, still finds himself losing a hypothetical battle to Coburn, 52-40.
• TX-Sen: Kay Bailey Hutchison is still insisting that she’s going to resign from the Senate at some point this year, despite the very very very very high likelihood of not winning the Texas gubernatorial primary which looked like hers for the taking a year ago. She still isn’t sure about a date, although it’s pegged to the legislative calendar, as before resigning she plans to, in her words, “stay and fight health care.” PPP’s Tom Jensen sees some interesting possible winners in Hutchison’s fall: Robin Carnahan and Lee Fisher. The scope of Hutchison’s loss tonight may give some insight into just how much this year’s discontent is an anti-Beltway insider, rather than anti-Democratic, bubble. The former, of course, would be a boost to statehouse vets Carnahan and Fisher (ahem, or Jennifer Brunner) as they fight DC hacks Roy Blunt and Rob Portman.
• CA-Gov: Apparently, after having spent months meditating away whatever bad vibes he may have felt about the role thrust upon his shoulders as the only man who can save California, Jerry Brown has emerged from his Fortress of Solitude and officially declared his candidacy for Governor. Unfortunately, while he was away, Ursa and Non have had uncontested months to rampage around the city destroying things… although thanks to Brown’s super-powers of bafflement and misdirection, they’ve gotten bamboozled into slugging it out viciously with each other instead. (Meanwhile, General Zod has already left town for the more interesting Senate race.)
• GA-Gov: Insider Advantage has polls of both primaries in the Georgia gubernatorial race, although no general election head-to-heads. No surprises on either side: on the Dem side, Roy Barnes is cruising at 36, followed by Thurbert Baker at 7, DuBose Porter at 3, and David Poythress at 2. On the GOP side, John Oxendine leads at 27, followed by Karen Handel at 13, Nathan Deal at 9, Eric Johnson at 7, and Other at 8. While Nathan Deal’s resignation is being spun as allowing him to focus full-time on his seemingly tractionless bid, there’s a darker side to it, too: TPM reports on how he was getting out one step ahead of the Ethics Committee, which was starting to look into allegations of Deal pressuring state officials to intervene on behalf of an auto inspection business that Deal co-owns. With Deal out of the House, the case is closed, at least at the federal level.
• MI-Gov: May the Schwarz be with us! It may be the only way we can salvage the Michigan gubernatorial race. Joe Schwarz, the ticked-off moderate ex-Rep. from MI-07 (who got teabagged by Tim Walberg in a GOP primary before getting teabagged was fashionable), is launching an exploratory committee for a gubernatorial run as an independent. This could be a big break for Dems in the gubernatorial race — especially if obnoxious Rep. Peter Hoekstra is the GOP nominee, as Schwarz seems poised to soak up a fair number of moderate votes unenthused by Hoekstra’s right-wing grandstanding. Schwarz seems more likely to be Chris Daggett than Jesse Ventura, though, and if things get really scrambled — for instance, an all-centrist three-way between Andy Dillon, Rick Snyder, and Schwarz — he could potentially harm the Dems as much as the GOP.
• NY-Gov (pdf): Marist also takes a look at the Governor’s race. Seeing as how this is their first poll after David Paterson’s announcement that he wouldn’t run for re-election, it’s also the first poll in a long time to contain any good news for Paterson: only 28% of respondents want him to resign, as opposed to 66% who say finish his term. And only 18% think Paterson has done anything illegal, as opposed to a mere 40% who think he merely did something unethical, not illegal. (The bad news: his approval is down to 23/71, which has to be a new low.) With the participants in November’s election now pretty much locked in, they find AG Andrew Cuomo beating ex-Rep. Rick Lazio 64-28. Cuomo’s halo may be shining even brighter as his office begins investigating Paterson; Cuomo’s approval is 67/28.
• RI-Gov: One more Rasmussen poll to add to the pile, and they’re seeing more or less what Brown Univ. saw last week, regarding the Rhode Island gubernatorial race. Independent ex-Sen. Lincoln Chafee is definitely in the driver’s seat, although Dem state Treasurer Frank Caprio polls better against him than does AG Patrick Lynch. Only difference here: Rasmussen sees Republican John Robitaille performing much better, although he’s still deep in third place. Chafee wins the Caprio race 37-27-19, while he wins the Lynch race 38-24-22.
• GA-07: One of the guys considered a heavyweight in the GOP field in this newly-opened-up seat in the R+16 7th has decided against a run. State Sen. David Shafer announced he’ll take a pass. Fellow state Sen. Don Balfour is already in the running, with state Rep. Clay Cox and Gwinnett Co. Commissioner Mike Beaudreau also expected to join him soon.
• MA-10: Maybe I spoke too soon in thinking that Joe Kennedy III’s decision not to run next year was an indication of another term of William Delahunt. It turns out Delahunt has been on a bit of a grotesque spending spree, burning through $560K of his campaign cash last year (including campaign staff salaries for a number of family members). This cuts his war chest in half, and he only raised $42K last year — all actions of a man eyeing the exits. If Delahunt needs something to do with his money, I can think of a certain “DCCC” that could really use help right now, probably much more so than his family members. (H/t Adam B.)
• MI-03: State Sen. Bill Hardiman (termed-out from his current job) announced that he’ll run for the open seat in the 3rd, left behind by retiring Vern Ehlers. Hardiman faces state Rep. Justin Amash, already coronated as frontrunner by western Michigan GOP power brokers Dick and Betsy DeVos. If the former Kentwood mayor survives his primary, he’s on his way to returning the Republicans back to having at least one African-American in Congress.
• NY-St. Sen.: Give Hiram Monserrate credit for persistence, I guess. Having become the first sitting New York state Senator to get expelled in decades after an assault conviction, Monserrate promptly picked himself up, dusted himself off, and began running in the special election to replace himself. This time, Monserrate is running as an independent, against Democratic Assemblyman Jose Peralta. Peralta has the advantage of the support of the entire Democratic establishment, but Monserrate has one thing on his side: name recognition (not necessarily for good PR, but still…).
• Ads: 501(c)(4) League of American Voters is running anti-health care reform TV ads against a whole slew of swing-district Democrats, hoping to sway a few wobblies in the run-up to the next House vote: Mike Arcuri, Dan Maffei, Chris Carney, Paul Kanjorski, Kathy Dahlkemper, Baron Hill, Steve Kagen, Alan Mollohan, Nick Rahall, Tom Perriello, Mark Schauer, Zach Space, and Harry Teague.
• Special elections: And you thought the Texas primary was all that was on tap tonight? No, there are two special elections for state Houses, both of which look pretty competitive. The Dems are trying to hold a seat in Virginia in HD-41 in a swingy part of Fairfax County, recently vacated by Dave Marsden’s promotion to the state Senate. The Democratic candidate, Eileen Filler-Corn, may have the edge, in that she has a 3-to-1 fundraising edge over Kerry Bolognese, and the district went for Obama with 57%. On the other hand, Bolognese came within 50-49 of Marsden last fall, and Bob McDonnell won the district with 55%. (Both candidates, unappealingly enough, are lobbyists by day.) The GOP has the edge in the House of Delegates, 59-38-2. And in Connecticut, Democrats are gunning for a pickup in the Stratford-based HD-120, which was vacated by Republican John Harkins becoming Stratford mayor. Democrat Janice Anderson lost against Republican state Sen. Dan Debicella in 2008, although she beat Debicella in the portion of that district that comprises the 120th. She faces off against GOPer Laura Hoydick; the stakes are a little lower here, as the Dems control the state House 114-36.
• AZ-Sen: It’s getting to the point where the real question is, is there any key establishment Republican left who hasn’t endorsed John McCain in his GOP primary duel with J.D. Hayworth. Apparently, the specter of teabagger revolt over snubbing Hayworth isn’t too intimidating to anybody. Today, it was Minnesota governor and likely presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty who gave McCain the thumbs-up.
• CA-Sen: There was a Senate component to that poll of Republican primary voters by M4 Strategies on behalf of the Small Business Action Committee, too. They find ex-Rep. Tom Campbell in the lead at 32, with Carly Fiorina following at 19 and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore at 11.
• FL-Sen: You’ve probably already seen these rumors, but in case you hadn’t, Jack Furnari, a conservative activist and a regular contributor to the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel’s political blog, says that multiple sources have told him that Charlie Crist is preparing to cast off his scarlet “R” and run for the Senate as an indie. Crist‘s communications director, however, says this is a “patently false rumor.”
• KY-Sen: Rand Paul is already making a strong push for the finish line in the May 18 Senate GOP primary. He’s begun reserving $332K in airtime for the weeks before the primary. So far, the moneybomb-propelled Paul has already spent $291K on TV ads while Trey Grayson is just getting started, with a $17K buy, which may explain some of the disparity between the two in the polls right now.
• NC-Sen: Lots of numbers out of North Carolina to look at this morning. Most notably, Rasmussen looks at the general election, finding Richard Burr with a sizable edge over both Democratic challengers; Burr leads SoS Elaine Marshall 50-34 and leads ex-state Sen. Cal Cunningham 51-29. Civitas doesn’t have general election numbers, but looks at the Democratic primary, where they find a whole lotta undecideds: Marshall leads Cunningham 14-4, with Cunningham actually being outpaced by attorney Kenneth Lewis at 5. (PPP, who polled the primary last week, seems to have pushed leaners harder, with Marshall at a whopping 29, followed by Cunningham at 12 and 5 for Lewis.) Finally, Elon (pdf) doesn’t have any head-to-heads at all, but has some approval numbers: Richard Burr is generates a whole lot of indifference, with favorables that work out to 30/23, with 29 for “don’t know” and 19 for “neither favorable/unfavorable” (which is interesting — I’d like to see more pollsters include “meh” as an option). Burr also has an ominous 24% re-elect (with a 51% “time for someone new”). Elaine Marshall’s favorables are at 19/8.
• WI-Sen: Republican real estate developer Terrence Wall, thanks to his own money, is the most imposing candidate currently in the race against Russ Feingold in Wisconsin, and he has his own internal poll out courtesy of POS. It suggests that Feingold shouldn’t take his re-election campaign for granted even if Tommy Thompson doesn’t make a surprise re-entry into the political arena; Feingold leads Wall by a 46-39 margin.
• AR-Gov: Looks like the Republicans have found someone willing to take one for the team and run against Democratic incumbent Gov. Mike Beebe, who usually polls as the nation’s most popular governor. Former state Sen. Jim Keet says he’s “90% certain” he’ll run. Keet (who’s a personal friend of Beebe) offers a rationale for his candidacy that seems in line with his chances of winning: “If we don’t have candidates that are willing to stand up despite the odds in both parties, then we’ll never have the best possible government. It’s good to have competing views and candidates on both sides of the aisle.”
• MD-Gov: Rasmussen takes its first look at the Governor’s race in Maryland, where incumbent Dem Martin O’Malley may face a rematch with ex-Gov. Bob Ehrlich (who hasn’t declared anything, but is starting to act candidate-ish). Their results are right in line with most other pollsters, who’ve seen an O’Malley lead in the high single-digits over Ehrlich; Rasmussen says it’s 49-43.
• NH-Gov: With a late entry, it looks like the Republicans are getting an uprgrade in their race against Democratic Gov. John Lynch, another incumbent considered mostly unassailable. The state’s former health and human services commissioner, and loser of the 2002 and 2008 NH-01 GOP primaries, John Stephen, says he’ll give it a whack. (Ex-Rep. Jeb Bradley, who won both those primaries, is chairing Stephen’s campaign.) Social conservative activist Karen Testerman is probably the best-known GOPer in the race so far.
• SD-Gov: Rasmussen had good news for Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin yesterday, and they have some more positive data for the Dems, this time in the gubernatorial race. State Sen. minority leader Scott Heidepriem actually leads against two out of three Republican opponents; he leads state Sen. majority leader Dave Knudson 34-31, and teabagging state Sen. Gordon Howie 37-29. Unfortunately, Heidepriem trails the Republican field’s most likely frontrunner, Lt. Governor Dennis Daugaard, 41-32.
• TX-Gov: It looks like the DGA is seeing the same polls that we’re seeing. Feeling bullish on ex-Houston mayor Bill White’s chances in the gubernatorial race, they’ve pumped $500K into White’s campaign. White, at $5.4 million, already has doubled up on cash against his likely opponent, incumbent GOP Gov. Rick Perry (who’s at $2.5 million, and may get further drained if he doesn’t avoid a runoff in his primary).
• FL-25: A name recognition poll of possible Republican replacements for Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (by Republican pollster Hill Research) seems to give a name rec edge to potential candidate state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, with 39/9 favorables. State Rep. David Rivera, who’s already made his candidacy official, is a bit less known, at 24/5. The best-known person polled is Miami-Dade Co. Commissioner Joe Martinez (at 34/17), who hasn’t really expressed much interest yet.
• KS-04: SurveyUSA has another poll in Kansas, where there’s a competitive GOP primary in three different open House seats. Today, they focused on the Wichita-based 4th. I’m wondering if businessman Wink Hartman has been advertising while everyone else has been silent, because that’s the only explanation I can think of for his big lead. Hartman is at 36, beating all his insider opponents: state Sen. Dick Kelsey is at 11, with state Sen. Jean Schodorf and former RNC committeeman Mike Pompeo both at 10. (Either that, or people think they’re voting for Wink Martindale.)
• NY-15: With Rep. Charlie Rangel having been on the wrong end of an Ethics Committee ruling yesterday, names are starting to trickle in from fellow House members who want him to put down his Ways and Means gavel. Paul Hodes (running for Senate in NH) was the loudest, along with Bobby Bright and Gene Taylor. Newly-elected Mike Quigley is the only safe-seat Dem to chime in, at least so far.
• PA-12: One more big development in the “race” in the 12th, where candidates are jostling to get picked by committee to run in the May 18 special election. Former Lt. Governor Mark Singel suddenly pulled his name out of consideration, which may suggest that there’s a lot of insider movement toward John Murtha’s former district director, Mark Critz. Singel threw his support to Critz, who previously got the endorsements of two other possible candidates, Joyce Murtha and moneybags businessman Mark Pasquerilla. With Westmoreland Co. Commissioner Tom Cesaro also withdrawing his name, it looks like it’s heading down to a choice between Critz and former state Treasurer Barbara Hafer for the Dem nomination. (Hafer, in fact, is now saying she’s likely to run in the primary for Nov. even if she doesn’t get the special election nod.)
• RI-01: It looks like the fight for the Democratic nomination in the open seat in the 1st is going to be a mostly two-way fight between Providence mayor David Cicciline and former state party chair William Lynch. Two other Dems who had a shot at making the race interesting, long-ago ex-Rep. Robert Weygand and investment banker Nicholas Pell (grandson of Sen. Claiborne Pell), have said no.
• SC-02: No lie: GOP loudmouth Joe Wilson is actually getting a primary challenge. Businessman Joe Grimaud, who lost the 2001 special election primary to Wilson, said he’ll try again in 2010. Grimaud, who can self-fund, said he’s sympathetic to the teabaggers but admits there isn’t much ideological daylight between him and Wilson.
• GA-LG: It’s a family affair: Carol Porter, the wife of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dubose Porter, declared her candidacy for the Democratic Lt. Governor nomination. Considering that Dubose Porter is polling only in the single digits in the gubernatorial primary, though, it doesn’t seem like a husband-and-wife team in charge is that likely regardless of how Carol Porter does.
• TX-Board of Educ.: Josh Goodman points out how the real drama in next Tuesday’s primary election won’t be the gubernatorial primary but rather the Republican fights for a number of seats on the Texas Board of Education between moderates and conservatives. Social conservatives are close to a majority on the board, but it sounds like moderates may be able to pick up a few seats, swinging the board (crucial for the tenor of school textbooks not just in Texas but nationwide, given how many students are in Texas) away from its love of creationism.
• Redistricting: Illinois may be following the lead of a number of other states in trying to make the redistricting process a bit less partisan. Legislative Democrats are pushing a plan to have maps drawn by a special master appointed by two Supreme Court justices in case the legislature deadlocks on maps. The current plan, believe it or not, lets one party (if there’s a deadlock) have the final say on redistricting based on which party’s name gets drawn at random. Republicans (who can probably see they aren’t going to control either chamber of the legislature any time soon) would like to go further than that, all the way to an independent redistricting commission.
• Votes: National Journal has released its annual vote ratings on who’s most liberal and most conservative, based on key votes. In the House, most liberal is a tie between Rush Holt, Gwen Moore, John Olver, Linda Sanchez, Jan Schakowsky, Louise Slaughter, Mel Watt, and Henry Waxman, while most conservative is a tie between Trent Franks, Doug Lamborn, Randy Neugebauer, Pete Olson, John Shadegg, and Mac Thornberry. (Worst Dem honors go to Bobby Bright, to the right of 11 Republicans.) In the Senate, Sherrod Brown, Roland Burris, Ben Cardin, Jack Reed, and Sheldon Whitehouse share liberal honors, while Jim Inhofe stands alone in crazy-town. And here’s why Evan Bayh won’t be missed: he earns the Senate’s worst Dem nod, worse than Joe Lieberman and Olympia Snowe while tied with his own freakin’ colleague Richard freakin’ Lugar. (DW-Nominate scores for 2009, more comprehensive although much less user-friendly, also came out a few weeks ago.)
• VA-Gov: It’s grown exceedingly hard to see a path to victory for Creigh Deeds in Virginia’s gubernatorial race. The polls aren’t closing (if anything, the gap may be widening), and there’s less than two weeks until election day. What’s more, the highest echelons of the Democratic Party are now distancing themselves from Deeds, saying he rejected Barack Obama & Tim Kaine’s “road map to victory.” The Swing State Project is therefore changing its rating on this race from Lean R to Likely R. (D)
Also, while the second-guessing has begun, PPP suggests that it’s just a bad year for Dems and/or a strong opponent in Bob McDonnell: they found that if Tim Kaine had been able to run for re-election, he’d be losing too, 51-43. Nevertheless, 57% think that governors should be able to run for re-election in Virginia (which is the only state left that doesn’t allow gubernatorial re-elections), with 35% opposed. Still, Kaine probably wouldn’t be running anti-cap-and-trade ads as Deeds is doing in the state’s southwest; with the public option already with the Deeds’ bus treads all over it, it’s one more reason for the Democratic base to lose interest in him.
• CA-Sen: The war between movement conservative candidate Chuck DeVore and the NRSC just keeps building. DeVore is calling attention to a seemingly loose-lips quote from Carly Fiorina that “the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee has encouraged me to enter the race, reaffirming my belief that Chuck DeVore cannot beat Barbara Boxer,” which he says contradicts the NRSC’s claim they haven’t endorsed in the race. Of course, that’s not really an endorsement per se, but his camp also claims that the NRSC has rebuffed his attempts to dialogue with them.
• IA-Sen: Wealthy attorney and one-time Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roxanne Conlin seems to be moving closer to a matchup with Chuck Grassley. She’s says she’s “more likely than not” to step up. While Grassley would start out with the edge, it would push one more competitive race onto the map for 2010.
• MA-Sen: Rep. Michael Capuano pulled down the endorsement of the state’s biggest union in his Democratic primary bid in the special Senate election: the 107,000-member Massachusetts Teachers Association. Capuano has a 96% rating from the MTA’s national affiliate, the National Education Association.
• NV-Sen: Former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle has made it official: she’s getting into the Nevada Senate race. She had sounded hesitant earlier, but she’s emboldened either by her fundraising or by the general climate for conservative candidates right now to jump in. This sets up a confusing and potentially bloody 5-way primary in the Nevada GOP primary (although there’s likely to be some field winnowing before then), and potentially, Angle could sneak through with, say, 33%, if she consolidates the hard-right/Club for Growth/teabagger vote (remember that she was the CfG’s candidate in the open seat primary in NV-02 in 2006, where she barely lost to Dean Heller). With the opposition consisting of an establishment-backed but empty-suitish candidate in Sue Lowden, a random rich guy (John Chachas), a random name-recognition guy (Danny Tarkanian), and Mark Amodei as seemingly what passes for a moderate in the race, she seems likeliest to become the standard-bearer on the movement conservative right, especially if she somehow gets a CfG endorsement again. And the hard-right Angle would be a rather less imposing general election candidate for Harry Reid than, say, Lowden.
• NY-Sen-B: Former Governor George Pataki seems to be taking note of polls showing him competitive with Kirsten Gillibrand in the Senate race, although he doesn’t sound enthusiastic about it. His spokesperson tells the Daily News that he’ll make a decision about the race in the coming weeks, but “friends” say that he’s leaning toward “no.”
• UT-Sen: The name of Tim Bridgewater (the former Utah County GOP chair who’s lost several primary elections) surfaced earlier in the year in connection with a GOP primary challenge to Bob Bennett in the Senate race, but faded away as AG Mark Shurtleff seemed to gobble up all the oxygen to Bennett’s right. Suddenly, Bridgewater’s back, saying he’ll join the primary field.
• GA-Gov: Rasmussen has another poll of the gubernatorial primaries in Georgia; the only news is that Thurbert Baker seems to be gaining on ex-gov Roy Barnes. Barnes still has a big lead on the Dem side at 43 (42 in August), followed by Baker at 19 (up from 9 in August), David Poythress at 4, Dubose Porter at 4, and Carl Camon at 3. On the GOP side, Insurance Comm. John Oxendine is in command at 27, with Karen Handel at 12, Nathan Deal at 9, and Eric Johnson, Ray McBerry, and Austin Scott all at 3.
• IL-Gov: Rasmussen also looked at the Illinois governor’s race, apparently as part of their IL-Sen sample from last week; since nobody seems to know who any of the Republicans are, they just ran a Generic D/Generic R ballot, which Generic D won, 43-36. Incumbent Dem Governor Pat Quinn clocks in with approvals that are much lower than any other pollster has seen, at 45/53.
• ME-Gov (pdf): PPP polled the Maine governor’s race as part of its poll on Question 1, and finds what R2K found a few weeks ago, which is that nobody has any idea what’s going on. As with R2K, they found “not sure” dominating the head-to-heads and even the favorability questions. Unlike R2K, though, they found that moderate GOP state Sen. Peter Mills matches up well against the Dems, beating state Sen. President Libby Mitchell 34-31 and ex-AG Steve Rowe 33-25. Mitchell beats rich guy Les Otten 34-26, but Otten beats Rowe 28-26. Meanwhile, one more sorta-prominent Republican now says he’s seriously considering the race: Steve Abbott, who’s currently Susan Collins’ chief of staff.
• NJ-Gov: Two more polls split the difference between Jon Corzine and Chris Christie in New Jersey. Democracy Corps, who’ve usually been Corzine’s most favorable pollster, finds a 3-point race, with Corzine at 42, Christie at 39, and Chris Daggett at 13. SurveyUSA, on the hand, has tended to lean toward Christie and continue to do so, giving him a 2-point lead, with Christie at 41, Corzine at 39, and Daggett at 19. Christie, for his part, is turning for help to the one Republican in New Jersey that most people still like: ex-Governor Tom Kean, who just cut a TV ad on Christie’s behalf.
• RI-Gov: Businessman Rory Smith has announced his candidacy on the Republican side for Rhode Island governor. Insiders are comparing him to current GOP Gov. Don Carcieri, who was also a little-known businessman before winning in 2002; unlike Carcieri, though, Smith is socially liberal. He may have the field to himself; little-known state Rep. Joe Trillo, who was viewed as the default frontrunner after former Senate candidate Stephen Laffey declined, recently said that he too is leaning against the race.
• AK-AL: Trouble just keeps following Republican Rep. Don Young around, and there’s more of it today. A retired oil industry exec from VECO, Bill Allen, told the Justice Department that his company gave paid for fundraising events for Young to the tune of $130K to $195K, and also gave gifts to Young which didn’t get disclosed. This provides the first hard evidence linking Young to the same VECO scandal that took down Ted Stevens last year. Young has not been charged in the matter, although suspicion was cast his way in previous VECO-related testimony. Young, who narrowly won in 2008, faces another competitive race in 2010 (assuming he’s still in office at that point) from Democratic state Rep. Harry Crawford.
• IL-08: On the “some dude” front, businessman (and apparently, not the former Eagles guitarist) Joe Walsh (who ran unsuccessfully against Sidney Yates in the 9th back in the 90s) announced that he’ll run against Melissa Bean in the 8th.
• NY-23: Now that all the cool kids are endorsing Doug Hoffman, the floodgates are starting to open among the cognoscenti of the conservative movement: Rick Santorum endorsed, and so too did former presidential candidate
Michael Steve Forbes. Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, who seems like he’s still trying to decide whether to be establishment or movement in 2012, has his finger in the air but said he’ll probably endorsed and gave a clue by saying he had issues with the way Scozzafava got the nomination.
• VA-05: Also on the “some dude” front, businessman and first-time candidate Ron Ferrin got into the overstuffed Republican field to go against freshman Rep. Tom Perriello. State Sen. Robert Hurt seems to have the inside track, though.
• VA-St. House: One other worry for Democrats in Virginia is that Creigh Deeds’ seeming negative coattails could cost them some seats in the state House of Delegates (where the GOP has a 53-43 edge, with 2 R-caucusing indies and 2 vacancies). Not Larry Sabato gives a preview of the hot races there, helpfully breaking it down into Tossup, Lean, and Likely for us. They see 2 GOP seats and 3 Dem seats as leaning toward takeovers, with 5 true tossups, but a strong McDonnell performance could push things more in the GOP direction.
• Campaign Finance: Here’s an interesting development on the campaign finance arena, although experts are still trying to sort out just what it means. The FEC won’t appeal an appellate court decision that would allow outside groups to spend significantly more money on elections. The case was brought by EMILY’s List; the decision allows them and other 527s to use soft money (in addition to hard money) to pay for ads and GOTV. The Obama administration’s Solicitor General, Elena Kagen, however, can still appeal the case without the FEC’s involvement.
• 2010: It sounds like some of the more timid members of the House Democrats were in need of a pep talk, so Chris Van Hollen of the DCCC sent around a memo with a nice list of bullet points on why 2010 won’t be 1994.
• AZ-Sen (pdf): John McCain is probably safe for re-election in 2010. PPP released the second half of their Arizona sample, and find McCain beating two strong opponents who seem to have no intention of running anyway: Sec. of Homeland Security and ex-Gov. Janet Napolitano (53-40) and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (57-30). He also leads Tucson city councilor Rodney Glassman, who is at least a rumored candidate, 55-25. McCain only has 48/42 approvals, but with kind of a bipartisan spin: an unusually low 65% of Republicans approve, while an unusually high 32% of Democrats approve.
• IL-Sen: Facing some unrest on the right flank, the RNC’s Michael Steele has withdrawn sole support from Rep. Mark Kirk in the Illinois Senate GOP primary, according to the Chicago Observer. He’s back to a neutral position, which certainly counts as a victory for Patrick Hughes, who’s been gaining some momentum at coalescing the party’s right-wing. Considering how Kirk acted when Andy McKenna was going to run, is another temper tantrum in the offing? On the Dem side, Alexi Giannoulias got the endorsement of the SEIU, which led his new rival, former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman, to “go there,” invoking the specter of Rod Blagojevich, who was elected via SEIU support.
• NH-Sen: This isn’t going at all according to plan for Kelly Ayotte (or the NRSC). Yet another random rich GOPer is showing up to scope out the Senate race, the third in a week. Today it’s Jim Bender, an investor who used to be the CEO of Logicraft in the 1990s.
• OH-Sen: Everyone forgets about wealthy auto dealer Tom Ganley in the GOP primary in Ohio against establishment pick Rob Portman, probably because he doesn’t have a built-in constituency. Looks like he’s trying to hook up with the teabaggers as a result, positioning himself as a populist alternative to the free-trading Portman. Ganley is also getting some help from a Republican insider: an endorsement from Bay Buchanan (sister of Pat), pleased by Ganley’s anti-immigrant rhetoric.
• WV-Sen: Looks like Robert Byrd’s stay in the hospital was a lot shorter than his stint this spring; he was released today.
• GA-Gov: Strategic Vision looks at the primary fields in the Georgia governor’s race, and finds not much has changed since last time. For the Dems, ex-Gov. Roy Barnes is at 45%, with Thurbert Baker at 30, David Poythress at 5, and Dubose Porter at 2. (It was 45-29 last month.) For the GOP, Insurance Comm. John Oxendine leads at 38, with Karen Handel at 15, Nathan Deal at 10, and four other guys in single digits. (Oxendine was at 39 last month, although Deal was in 2nd last month at 13, so maybe he took a minor hit from that corruption probe.) No head-to-heads yet, unfortunately.
• MI-Gov: Here’s another poll of a potentially exciting gubernatorial race, but primaries only. An Inside Michigan Politics finds a tight GOP primary, with AG Mike Cox in the lead at 27, followed by Rep. Pete Hoekstra at 23 and Oakland Co. Sheriff Mike Bouchard at 15 (with businessman Rick Snyder and state Sen. Tom George each at 2). Lt. Gov. John Cherry is at 40 in the Dem primary with only light opposition from state Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith (9) and former state Rep. John Freeman (8). A March poll from the same pollster had Cox at 17 and Hoekstra at 15 (but both losing to Oakland Co. Exec L. Brooks Patterson, who isn’t running).
• NJ-Gov: Two very different pictures from partisan pollsters of the New Jersey governor’s race out there. First comes one from Democracy Corps, who have the race as close as anyone has had it since early spring: Chris Christie leads Jon Corzine and Chris Daggett 40-39-11, and Christie has net negative favorables for the first time, at 32/34. (Their poll two weeks ago had Christie up 41-38-10.) The other is Strategic Vision, who see Christie up 46-38-8. Still an improvement from their last poll in July: 53-38-5… like most pollsters, they see Corzine essentially unable to move up, but succeeding in dragging Christie’s numbers down. One more bucket of mud for Corzine to throw at Christie arrived yesterday: news that Christie owned stock in Cendant Corp. at the same time as he was investigating them through the US Attorney’s office.
• NY-Gov, NY-Sen-B (pdf): Marist has a poll out that finds New Yorkers thinking that Barack Obama should butt out of New York governor’s race, by a 62-27 margin. Nevertheless, only 25% think David Paterson should run next year (63% say no); they just want him to arrive at that decision on his own. While the poll doesn’t contain gubernatorial matchups (not that we need any more of them), it does have some Senate numbers, confirming other local pollsters, finding the not-running Rudy Giuliani beating Kirsten Gillibrand 51-40 and the probably-not-running George Pataki beating Gillibrand 45-41.
Meanwhile, the NYT has a profile of a rather melancholy Paterson, saying “I didn’t sign up for this.” They also have a quote that could be seen as hopeful that he may still bail out on seeking another term: “if I got to a point where I thought that my candidacy was hurting my party, obviously it would be rather self-absorbed to go forward.” (Unless he’s made peace with just being self-absorbed.) If you’re wondering what’s taking him so long to make a decision, though, Josh Goodman has a nice pithy summary of the decisionmaking process, not just for Paterson, but all the race’s players:
Paterson thinks he can beat Lazio, but not Giuliani, so he doesn’t want to decide whether he’s running until Giuliani makes up his mind. Giuliani thinks he can beat Paterson, but not Cuomo, so he doesn’t want to decide whether he’s running until Cuomo makes up his mind. Cuomo thinks he can beat anyone, but doesn’t want the messiness of a primary battle, so he doesn’t want to decide whether he’s running until Paterson makes up his mind.
• VA-Gov: It looked briefly like ex-Gov. Doug Wilder might endorse Creigh Deeds after all, but today he backed down and said he won’t endorse. Wilder also leveled some criticism at Deeds for proposing tax increases to fix northern Virginia’s increasingly dire transportation problems. It’s a wtf? moment from the mercurial Wilder, whose endorsement would do a lot to move African-American turnout for Deeds, where he hasn’t generated much excitement yet.
• MO-04: No surprise here, but state Sen. Bill Stouffer made it official that he’ll be taking on 17-term Dem incumbent Ike Skelton in the dark-red 4th. Christian Right former state Rep. Vicky Hartzler is already in the race; Stouffer, however, seems to be working more of a fiscal discipline angle.
• PA-07: While state Rep. Bryan Lentz seems to have the inside track on the Dem nomination (despite no formal announcement), another Democrat is getting in the race: Teresa Touey, a political consultant who has worked for Joe Sestak and Ted Kennedy. One problem for her, though: although she is a native of the 7th, she’s been living in Massachusetts since the early 1990s.
• NYC-Mayor: Quinnipiac finds mayoral results in line with just about everybody else: incumbent Michael Bloomberg leads Dem comptroller William Thompson 52-36, with Conservative Party candidate Stephen Christopher pulling in 2.
• Redistricting: Roll Call has a detailed piece on how the parties are ramping up financially for the post-2010 redistricting fights. A new 501(c)(4), euphemistically titled Making America’s Promise Secure, with Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott among its founders, will be coordinating the effort (since campaign reform passed since 2002 prevents the RNC from using soft money to spearhead the effort now). The DCCC’s counterpart is the National Democratic Redistricting Trust, although a 527, the equally euphemistic Foundation for the Future, looks like it’ll do the financial heavy lifting.