Still, Ward might yet win. An independent poll last week from Greg Smith & Associates showed Ward leading Raul Labrador in the primary, 34-16, but with 50% undecided. The general election numbers (PDF) are really weird, though – Smith tested Rep. Walt Minnick “jungle-style” against both Labrador and Ward together. Yeah, Idaho doesn’t do their elections that way, so I don’t get the choice, but in any event, Minnick was at 50% with both Republicans combining for 20%.
Martin Heinrich (D-inc): 55
Jon Barela (R): 38
Heinrich leads among Hispanics 68-24, who make up 35% of this sample. These are very nice numbers. Heinrich has over $1 million cash-on-hand, while Barela has under $400K.
Mark Critz (D): 41 (41)
Tim Burns (R): 43 (45)
Undecided: 14 (13)
• CA-Sen: Russian law enforcement officers raided Hewlett-Packard’s Moscow offices today, as part of an investigation into whether HP paid millions in bribes to the Russian government to win a large contract. Why are we leading with this story today? Guess who was CEO of HP in 2003, when the contract was executed? That’s right… Carly Fiorina.
• CO-Sen: Ken Buck, the right-wing Weld County DA who’s become a fave of the teabagger set (to the extent that establishment GOPer Jane Norton isn’t even looking to compete at the activist-dominated state assembly), just received the endorsement of hard-right starmaker Jim DeMint. (Buck’s last quarter wasn’t that impressive, though: $219K raised, $417K CoH.)
• CT-Sen: Here’s an indication of the savvy investment skills that got Linda McMahon to the top. She revealed that she self-financed another $8 million this quarter, bringing her total self-funding all cycle to $14 million. (She also raised $37K from others.) What was the return on her gigantic investment? Now she’s down a mere 25-or-so points to a guy who speaks in 10-minute-long run-on sentences. Meanwhile, ex-Rep. Rob Simmons, who has to rely on the kindness of strangers instead, has seen his fundraising get drier in a post-Chris Dodd environment; he raised only $550K last quarter.
• IN-Sen: Here’s a big fat fundraising fail, although it may explain why he didn’t see any shame in missing the reporting deadline. Republican ex-Sen. Dan Coats’ comeback bid managed to pull in a whopping $379K last quarter. (He has $331K CoH.)
• MO-Sen: Roy Blunt is doubling down on the stingy: he reiterated his desire to repeal HCR, even the part about making sure that people with preexisting conditions are able to get coverage. He also lost another skirmish in the perception battle today, as Robin Carnahan narrowly outraised him for the first quarter, $1.5 million to $1.3 million.
• NH-Sen, NH-01: In the New Hampshire Senate race, Kelly Ayotte and Paul Hodes are pretty closely matched fundraising-wise: she raised $671K in Q1 with $1.3 million CoH, while he raised $665K with $1.7 million CoH. Ayotte’s GOP primary opponent, William Binnie, raised $400K from donors even though he’s mostly focused on self-funding; he’s sitting on $1.7 million CoH, despite having been advertising constantly. In the 1st, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, never much of a fundraiser, had a so-so quarter; she raised $168K and sits on $485K.
• NV-Sen: Although she’s been dwindling in the polls, don’t quite count out former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle yet. The Tea Party Express endorsed the one-time Club for Growth favorite in the GOP Senate primary.
• PA-Sen: Arlen Specter continues to be the cash king in the Pennsylvania Senate race, now sitting on a $9 million warchest, but he was substantially outraised by Pat Toomey in the last quarter. Specter raised $1.1 million in the first quarter, half of Toomey’s haul.
• GA-Gov, GA-Sen: It’s strange we’ve been dropping the ball on mentioning this poll for almost a week now, as it’s good news for Democrats. Research 2000 polled the general election in the Georgia gubernatorial race, and found ex-Gov. Roy Barnes narrowly ahead in all three configurations. He leads expected GOP nominee Insurance Comm. John Oxendine, 45-42, ex-Rep. Nathan Deal 44-42, and ex-SoS Karen Handel 44-43. AG Thurbert Baker, if he somehow gets the Dem nod, loses 48-36 to Oxendine, 48-35 to Deal, and 49-35 to Handel. Over in the Senate race, GOP incumbent Johnny Isakson looks pretty safe: he beats Baker 50-34 and Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond 53-26 (not that either one is planning to run).
• ME-Gov: Good news for Dems turned into bad over the course of a few days; social conservative Michael Heath (former head of the Maine Family Policy Council) launched an independent bid earlier this week (which would only serve to hurt the GOP), then did an about face and pulled the plug on it today. There’s already one prominent indie candidate in the race, environmental lawyer Eliot Cutler, who seems poised to draw more from Dems than the GOP.
• OR-Gov: Here’s a camera-ready moment from last night’s debate between Democratic party candidates John Kitzhaber and Bill Bradbury at the University of Oregon. In response to calls of “is there a doctor in the house?” when an elderly audience member started having a seizure, Kitzhaber (a former emergency room doctor) hopped down from the podium, stabilized him, and once an ambulance had arrived, resumed debating.
• CA-03: Ami Bera continues to do well on the fundraising front; he raised $380K in the first quarter, and is sitting on $977K CoH as he prepares for a tough challenge to Republican Rep. Dan Lungren.
• DE-AL: We’re going to have a big-dollar race in the at-large seat in Delaware, which just had the entry of two different Republicans with the capacity to self-finance large sums. Democratic ex-LG John Carney is working hard to stay in the same ballpark; he raised $255K in the first quarter and sits on $675K.
• FL-08: Could we still see The Devil vs. Daniel Webster? Rep. Alan Grayson repelled the socially conservative former state Senator many months ago, forcing the NRCC to scramble to find a lesser replacement (businessman Bruce O’Donoghue seems to be their preferred pick, although state Rep. Kurt Kelly is also in the race). But now people close to Webster say he’s giving some consideration to getting back in the race (apparently undaunted by Grayson’s huge Q1 haul). Insiders seem to think that’s unlikely, though, given the late date.
• FL-19: Congratulations to our newest Democratic Congressperson, Rep. Ted Deutch. The winner of Tuesday’s special election was sworn in this afternoon.
• NY-01: The battle of the rich guys is on, in the GOP primary in the 1st. Facing well-connected Randy Altschuler, Chris Cox (son of state chair Ed Cox, and grandson of Richard Nixon) whipped out his own large balance sheet. He raised $735K for the quarter, and has $624K CoH. (Cox loaned himself $500K.)
• NY-20: Republican Chris Gibson seems to have finally locked down the GOP slot in the 20th, but he has a deep hole to dig his way out of, against Rep. Scott Murphy’s seven-digit warchest. Gibson raised $109K and has $92K CoH.
• OH-13: Wealthy car dealer Tom Ganley is moving even more of his own money into his uphill race against Rep. Betty Sutton. He loaned himself another $2 million (although apparently his cupboard was bare before he did so, as now his CoH is also $2 million). Sutton, seeming caught off-guard by Ganley’s entry, raised only $135K and is sitting on $281K.
• PA-06: Rep. Jim Gerlach raised $500K in his first quarter, after his belated decision to come back for his old job; he only has $335K CoH, though. Democratic opponent Doug Pike raised $225K but has $1.2 million CoH. (No word yet from his primary opponent, Manan Trivedi.)
• PA-07: Republican ex-US Attorney Pat Meehan continues to have a fundraising edge over Democratic state Rep. Bryan Lentz in the open seat in the 7th; Meehan raised $340K and has $855K CoH, while Lentz raised $235K and has $610K CoH.
• PA-08: Ex-Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick put up showy numbers a few days ago in his quest to get his seat back, but Rep. Patrick Murphy surpassed Fitzpatrick’s $510K. Murphy raised $586K and has $1.3 million CoH.
• PA-11: Finally, in Pennsylvania, Rep. Paul Kanjorski had a decent quarter, raising $260K (less than Lou Barletta’s $300K, but Kanjo has a mammoth CoH advantage, sitting on $1.2 million. Kanjorski’s Democratic primary rival Corey O’Brien has quite the burn rate: he raised $115K this quarter, but has only $47K CoH.
• Teabaggers: The Tea Party Express also issued a full target list today (no gun sights on their districts, though), and as befits their role as the corporate arm of the teabaggers, their goals aren’t that much different from those of the NRSC and NRCC. Top targets are (with the odd toss-in exception of Barney Frank) just the usual names considered most likely to lose, making it easy for them to claim they claimed some scalps come November: Harry Reid, Blanche Lincoln, Betsy Markey, Tom Perriello, and so on. They also list some heroes, and in the interest of bipartisan cover, they actually included a Democrat. In what’s not a surprise, it was ID-01’s Walt Minnick. (Wouldn’t it be ironic if their endorsement actually helped Minnick, likely to face a very close race this year, squeak by?) Also, on the teabagger front, Some Dude over at Salon looks at Tea Partier demographics and the roots of their resentments.
• AZ-Sen: Looks like the Maverick has finally been broken (as he’s decided that it’s preferable to spend six years chewing his cud while fenced in the GOP pasture, instead of getting sent prematurely to the glue factory). In the face of a potentially serious primary from the right from J.D. Hayworth, John McCain says not only is he no longer a maverick, but he “never considered himself a maverick.” (Except for in all those campaign ads from two years ago?) In response, Hayworth said McCain is trying to “encourage amnesia.”
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov: There’s a new LA Times/USC poll of the two major races in California, with a mixed bag of results for Democrats. Like most pollsters, they find that Republican Meg Whitman has pulled into a small lead over Jerry Brown in the governor’s race, thanks to her nonstop deluge of self-funded advertising; she leads Brown 44-41, while she leads Steve Poizner in the GOP primary 60-20. On the Senate side, Barbara Boxer leads a Generic Republican by a surprisingly wide 48-34. Polling Generic R seems pretty weird, though, considering that there are only two likely opponents for her: Tom Campbell leads Carly Fiorina in the GOP primary 29-25, with Chuck DeVore lagging at 9. One other bit of good news for Dems: by a 46-29 margin, voters prefer to back a candidate who backed health care reform.
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet is playing it safe, making plans for a petition drive to make sure his name is on the ballot in November. He needs at least 30% at the Democratic state convention to qualify, but his Plan B seems to be an acknowledgment that he may be facing a rough time at the convention too. Remember that he lost at the caucus level to former state House speaker Andrew Romanoff (whose main source of strength seems to be insiders and activists, rather than the broader population).
• IN-Sen: CQ takes a look at the NRSC’s private teeth-gnashing over the possibility that kooky ex-Rep. John Hostettler might beat ex-Sen. Dan Coats in the primary, something that can’t be ruled out in an anti-establishment year like this one. They’d then have to decide whether they want to financially prop up Hostettler, a legendarily poor fundraiser who’s relied on shoestring campaigns and religious right ground troops. Still, a reasonably competent Hostettler ought to be able to make short work of Coats in the GOP primary, given the amount of material he has to work with: for instance, it turns out that Coats, when lobbying for King & Spaulding, lobbied Congress in favor of cap and trade, the same legislation he claims he now opposes.
• NV-Sen: If there’s one reason not to quite count out Harry Reid yet, it’s his ability to bring in the campaign cash. He brought in more than $1.5 million for the quarter, giving him more than $10 million in receipts so far this cycle. Sue Lowden, ostensibly the GOP’s top contender, says she raised about $500K and will match that dollar-for-dollar from her own personal stash. Danny Tarkanian raised $445K last quarter.
• NY-Sen-B (pdf): These numbers are a little stale, but we found there were some more useful numbers buried in that Marist poll from last week where the topline was just the usual rigamarole about the Kirsten Gillibrand vs. George Pataki matchup that’s very unlikely to happen (especially not if Al D’Amato has anything to say about it). They also tested some head-to-heads with the lesser GOPers who are actually in the race: Gillibrand beats Bruce Blakeman 54-25, Joe DioGuardi 54-27, and David Malpass 54-25. They also looked at the GOP primary, finding DioGuardi winning it with 18, followed by Blakeman at 10, Malpass at 9, and non-candidate Dan Senor at 4. A permutation including Pataki finds Pataki at 62, with DioGuardi at 7, Blakeman at 4, and Malpass and Senor at 2. In other news, Gillibrand picked up an endorsement today from one of her biggest skeptics, Assemblyman and Kings Co. Dem chair Vito Lopez. Lopez had been considering backing Harold Ford Jr., way back in those heady days of February.
• WA-Sen: Dino Rossi is still saying he’s “completely undecided” about running for Senate, but will do it if he thinks he has a “50% chance” of winning. Here’s one more bit that might help move his decision along, though: financially, he’d be starting from scratch against Patty Murray, who raked in another $1 million last quarter, bringing her total war chest to $5.9 million.
• AL-Gov: I gather from the comments that SSP is full of mustache aficionados, and this news might prove heartbreaking to them: Ron Sparks shaved off his legendary ‘stache. He says this was a spur-of-the-moment decision at the barber shop (and hopefully not the result of thorough focus grouping?). I just hope Travis Childers doesn’t decide to follow suit.
• NY-Gov: Wealthy businessman Carl Paladino has decided to go ahead with his teabaggish-sounding campaign for Governor, kicking off his bid today in Buffalo. He’ll be running in the GOP primary, although he’d previously made noises about a possible independent run. Unfortunately, his rollout might be overshadowed by other news today… that he had a daughter with his mistress 10 years ago, and kept the child secret from his wife until last year.
• OH-Gov: In response to pressure to release his financials, John Kasich released his 2008 tax returns. Kasich earned $615K from now-kaput Lehman Brothers in 2008, including $183K base and a $432K bonus (but no “golden parachute” as Lehman Brothers collapsed). Oh, by the way, he also earned $265K as a Fox News commentator, $166K in speaking fees, $62K as an associate for Schottenstein Property Group, $45K as an Ohio State Univ. lecturer, $77K for being on the board of directors of two companies, and $122K in interest and dividends. Just your average teabagging Joe Lunchpail.
• HI-01: Charles Djou is trying to get some mileage out of the fact that neither Ed Case nor Colleen Hanabusa lives in HI-01. This kind of thing usually doesn’t matter much even in most other states, and seems to matter even less in Hawaii, though, where the island of Oahu gets split between the two districts and no one seems to care that Mazie Hirono lives in the 1st instead of HI-02.
• CO-04: Rep. Betsy Markey is near the top of most people’s vulnerable Dems lists, especially after her pro-HCR vote, but her cash haul may go along way toward allaying fears. She pulled in $505K, with $355K of that coming between Mar. 21 (the HCR vote) and Mar. 31. Her vote (plus being in Sarah Palin’s sorta-metaphorical crosshairs) seems to have helped, not hurt. Likely GOP opponent Cory Gardner raised
only $75K last quarter after the HCR vote.
• ND-AL: One GOPer who is doing well on the fundraising front is state Rep. Rick Berg, who pulled in $483K in the first quarter. $330K of that came in the last 10 days of the quarter, although that seems to have more to do with his winning the state party’s endorsement rather than the HCR vote. Most of the rest of that took the form of $100K from his own pocket. Between this and the downdraft from John Hoeven at the top of the ballot, looks like Rep. Earl Pomeroy’s in for a real race this year.
• PA-06: Doug Pike picked up another labor endorsement, and it’s a big one: the AFL-CIO. They also backed Paul Kanjorski in the 11th, who’s being challenged by Corey O’Brien in the primary.
• RI-01: Here’s one more huge House Democratic fundraising haul, although this isn’t a race that the DCCC has been sweating too hard. Providence mayor David Cicilline pulled in a huge $725K (although some of that was checks re-written away from his mayoral fund to his newly-established House fund). His main Democratic rival, former state party chair William Lynch, raised $230K (including $100K of his own money).
• TX-17: Bill Flores pulled in an endorsement that will help in his GOP primary runoff against Rob Curnock, from perhaps the most unlikable man in the entirety of American politics, ex-Sen. Phil Gramm. In fact, that district may be conservative enough that it might still be a positive in the general.
• LA-LG: Republican SoS Jay Dardenne’s plan for an easy upgrade to the position of Lt. Governor (left vacant by Mitch Landrieu’s move to mayor of New Orleans) ran into a bit of a snag. He’s facing GOP primary opposition now from the state GOP chair, Roger Villere.
• CA-Init: Proposition 15 looks to be the only interesting initiative on the June primary ballot in California, and it lays some important groundwork for countering the flood of corporate money into elections. The Fair Elections Act, as it’s called, is a pilot program for public financing of state races; if passed, it’ll publicly fund the 2014 and 2018 Secretary of State races, which, if successful, could lead to a broader system.
• Fundraising: There are a number of other fundraising roundups today, courtesy of National Journal’s Reid Wilson and also the crew at TPM. Other highlights include Tom Campbell, Pat Toomey, Bob Dold!, Colleen Hanabusa, Bruce O’Donoghue, and various OR-Gov contestants.
• Teabaggers: Ed Kilgore continues his hot streak of dismantling the myth of the teabaggers, pointing to today’s Gallup/USA Today poll as more evidence that they’re nothing more than louder, angrier Republicans (who’d like access to a time machine). Only 7% say they’re Democrats, and while many say they’re independents, all evidence suggests they’re not from the center but those indies who think the GOP is too establishment, too liberal, or just too unsalvageable.
• RNC: You might remember several weeks ago the RNC lost a case in the D.C. District Court, squelching their desires for unlimited “soft money” contributions, which they felt they should be able to do in the wake of Citizens United. The RNC has decided to go ahead and appeal the case to the Supreme Court, although it doesn’t seem likely it’ll be decided in time for this year’s general election. (If you’re wondering why the case is bypassing the DC Circuit, McCain-Feingold allows challenges to it to leapfrog directly from the trial level to SCOTUS.)
• Census: Here’s an interesting tidbit: despite her early anti-Census fearmongering, Michele Bachmann’s district is actually well outpacing much of the nation on Census form return rates. Counties in her district have had an especially high return rate, ranging from 68-71% (compared with the current national average of 50%). Perhaps Republicans have decided it’s better in the long-term to, y’know, get conservative parts of the country to get accurately represented, rather than to try to appeal to the black-helicopters fringes, if Karl Rove cutting an ad urging Census participation is any indication.
• O2B: Finally, over at the Great Orange Satan, there’s an open call for nominations for the Orange to Blue program. Stop by and suggest some names of candidates who should get the netroots’ financial help this year.
• CA-Sen: Ex-Rep. Tom Campbell is getting an endorsement that may boost his cred with the socially conservative right: from the man who couldn’t even beat Gray Davis, Bill Simon. Simon hopes socially conservative voters will still take a look at Campbell’s fiscal credentials.
• IN-Sen: Retiring Evan Bayh hasn’t said anything specific about what he’s doing with his gigantic $13 million federal war chest. But a spokesperson gives some hints: “What he has said is that you can expect him to help the Democratic Senate nominee in Indiana and to help like-minded Democrats – people who want to get things done, who are practical and who want to reach out and forge principled compromises.”
• KY-Sen: Jack Conway is pointing out an important ideological fracture line, which seems to have gotten little media attention in the Democratic primary in the Bluegrass State. Conway says he supports the health care legislation passed yesterday, while Dan Mongiardo has previously said he’d “throw it out and start over.”
• NH-Sen: Speaking of HCR, Kelly Ayotte was quick to abandon her previous flavorless, position-less campaign and get on the “repeal!” bandwagon. With Paul Hodes having been a “yes” in the House, this may become one of the marquee issues in this race, and by extension, the battle for the Senate.
• NY-Sen-B (pdf): Siena has a new poll out of the Empire State which includes a couple head-to-heads in the Senate race. They just won’t let up on the George Pataki front, finding that he leads Gillibrand 45-39 in a hypothetical race, while Gillibrand leads actual candidate Bruce Blakeman 48-24. There are a couple other names on the “actual” candidate front they might want to try out instead — Joe DioGuardi and David Malpass — and now it looks like one more is poised to get in. Dan Senor apparently has enough Wall Street support behind him to go ahead and launch his bid. One other name who’s now saying she won’t run, though, is former Lt. Gov. and malfunctioning health insurer spokesbot Betsy McCaughey, who it turns out is backing Malpass.
• MI-Gov (pdf): It turns out there was a lot more meat to that Insider Michigan Politics/Marketing Resource Group poll than what got leaked on Friday. They also looked at the Democratic primary, finding state House speaker Andy Dillon in charge at 21, followed by Lansing mayor Virg Bernero at 9 and state Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith at 6. They also did a whole bunch of general election permutations, all of which were won by the GOPers by suspiciously large margins (at least when compared with other recent polls): Mike Bouchard over Dillon 41-26, Mike Cox over Dillon 44-27, Peter Hoekstra over Dillon 43-27, Rick Snyder over Dillon 42-26, Bouchard over Bernero 45-23, Cox over Bernero 45-26, Hoekstra over Bernero 43-27, and Snyder over Bernero 44-24.
• NY-Gov (pdf): Naturally, Siena also has a gubernatorial half to its poll. They find newly-minted Republican Steve Levy’s entry to the field to be rather unwelcome: ex-Rep. Rick Lazio is beating him 45-16 in the GOP primary. Either way, Democratic AG Andrew Cuomo (with a 63/22 approval) seems to have little to worry about; in November, Cuomo beats Lazio and Libertarian candidate Warren Redlich 59-21-3, while beating Levy and Redlich 63-16-4.
• OH-Gov: John Kasich is still reaching out to teabagger nation as his core of backers, and consistent with that, he’s having Fox gabber Sean Hannity host a Cincinnati fundraiser for him on April 15. I sure hope Kasich gets a bigger cut of the proceeds than Hannity’s military charity recipients seem to.
• OR-Gov: The last big union left to endorse in the Democratic gubernatorial primary finally weighed in, and Oregon’s AFSCME went with ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber rather than ex-SoS Bill Bradbury, who’d gotten the teachers’ union endorsements. The AFSCME also endorsed newly appointed Treasurer Ted Wheeler in his primary bid against state Sen. Rick Metsger, and also, in an unusual step, endorsed two Republican state Reps. in rural eastern Oregon who voted “yes” on raising income taxes, probably figuring that non-wingnut GOPers is probably the best we’re going to do in those districts.
• LA-02: Republican Rep. Joe Cao probably ended any hopes of hanging onto his dark-blue (and 21.7% uninsured) seat by voting against health care reform yesterday, but just in order to emphasize the way in which he slammed the door shut on himself, he also compared abortion as a moral evil comparable to slavery. Because that’s a comparison just bound to go over well in his black-majority district.
• MA-10: Former Republican state Treasurer (from the 1990s) Joe Malone made it official: he’s running in the 10th to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Bill Delahunt. He’ll still have to get past state Rep. Jeff Perry in the GOP primary, though.
• PA-06: Manan Trivedi and Doug Pike traded union endorsements in their Dem primary battle in the 6th. Trivedi got the backing of the Iron Workers local, while Pike got the nod from the local AFSCME.
• PA-12: Bill Russell seems like he just can’t take a hint, despite the GOP uniting behind Tim Burns. Russell says he’ll write himself in for the special election between Burns and Democrat Mark Critz, in addition to continuing to contest the same-day GOP primary against Burns. Meanwhile, the pro-life Critz’s main opponent remaining, Navy vet Ryan Bucchanieri, got an endorsement that ought to give him a financial boost, from the National Organization for Women.
• WV-01: We’ve heard rumors that the local Democratic establishment wasn’t very enthused about propping up Rep. Alan Mollohan, who faces both a credible primary challenge and a self-funding Republican opponent. Here’s some of the first public whiff of that: the state Democratic chair, Nick Casey, says he won’t be taking sides in the primary battle between Mollohan and state Sen. Mike Oliverio (although he did predict that Mollohan would be the eventual victor).
• Redistricting: Cillizza has a little more background on the Democrats’ efforts to gear up for the 2012 redistricting battles, which we discussed last week in terms of the DLCC’s efforts. The DGA is getting in on the act, too, with a Harold Ickes-led effort called Project SuRGe (for “Stop Republican Gerrymandering”), also focused on maximizing Dem control of state legislatures.
• Votes: Lots of slicing and dicing in the media today regarding who voted which way, and why, on yesterday’s historic health care reform vote. Nate Silver has a bunch of nice charts up, which show that district lean and Reps’ overall ideology was much more determinative than whether the Rep. is considered vulnerable in November in terms of a “yes” or “no” vote. And Some Dude over at Salon has a more concise look at Reps who most mismatched their districts with their votes. Finally, if you want to see the “(some) Dems are still doomed” conventional wisdom in full effect, they’ve got that in spades over at Politico.
• Passings: Our condolences to the Udall family, which lost family patriarch Stewart Udall over the weekend. Udall, 90, was Congressman from Arizona and then John F. Kennedy’s Interior Secretary, and many of our environmental protections that we take for granted today bear his stamp.
• $$$: The fundraising quarter is almost over, and Adam B. is opening up another round of “We’ve Got Your Backs” over at Daily Kos (and cross-posted here), dedicated to showing some (financial) love to the House Dems in the most difficult districts who did the right thing on health care reform.
• CO-Sen, CO-Gov: As we mentioned on the front page yesterday, Andrew Romanoff won the Democratic primary precinct-level caucuses last night; the final tally, percentage-wise, was 51-42 (with 7% uncommitted) over Michael Bennet (who, by the way, hit the airwaves with the first TV spot yesterday, a decidedly anti-Washington ad). Things were actually much closer on the GOP side, where it looks like ultra-conservative Weld County DA Ken Buck is actually leading establishment fave Jane Norton by a paper-thin margin (37.9% to 37.7%). Of course, the activist-dominated straw polls are going to be Buck’s strong suit and his strength here may not translate as well to the broader GOP electorate, but he performed well enough to show that he’s in this for the long haul. (A similar dynamic played out in the Governor’s race, where ex-Rep. Scott McInnis easily beat teabagger Dan Maes, 61-39, although Maes has polled in the single digits out in reality.)
• NC-Sen (pdf): PPP’s monthly poll of the North Carolina Senate race general election shows little change, with Richard Burr (with a 35/37 approval) still winning in very humdrum fashion. Burr leads Elaine Marshall 41-36 (a positive trend, as she was down by 10 last month, although she was also within 5 of Burr in December). He also leads both Cal Cunningham and Kenneth Lewis 43-32, and leads Generic Dem only 41-39. With low familiarity for all three Dems (Marshall’s the best-known, but even she generates 71% “not sure”s), PPP’s Tom Jensen expects the race to tighten once they actually have a nominee.
• WA-Sen: Here’s some food for thought on why Dino Rossi has retreated back to the private sector and has seemed reluctant to come back out to play, despite the NRSC’s constant entreaties: his financial links to Seattle real estate developer Michael Mastro, whose local real estate empire collapsed in late 2008, leaving hundreds of investors out to dry.
• MA-Gov: Here’s more evidence that Tim Cahill, a Democrat until a few months ago, is heading off to the right to try and claim some of Republican Charlie Baker’s turf for his independent challenge to Deval Patrick: he fessed up to having voted for John McCain and is attacking Massachusetts’s universal health care plan (which even Scott Brown didn’t have a beef with, during his campaign) and saying that if the nation took the same approach it would be bankrupt “in four years.”
• NM-Gov: Oooops. Pete Domenici Jr. got a little presumptuous prior to the state’s Republican convention, issuing fliers touting his “great success” and his getting put on the ballot. Turns out neither happened — his 5% showing was last place, not a great success, and didn’t qualify him for the ballot either (he can still do so by gathering signatures).
• NY-Gov: This may be a tea leaf that Democratic Suffolk Co. Exec Steve Levy is gearing up to challenge ex-Rep. Rick Lazio for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. He hired a Republican consultant, Michael Hook, to help with preparations. Meanwhile, will the last person left in David Paterson‘s employ please turn the lights out? Another top staffer, press secretary Marissa Shorenstein just hit the exits today.
• PA-Gov, PA-Sen: Could ex-Rep. Joe Hoeffel be knocked off the Democratic gubernatorial primary ballot? That’s what Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato is trying to make happen, as his team is challenging the validity of Hoeffel’s 7,632 ballot petitions. In order to qualify for the ballot, candidates need 2,000 valid signatures, including at least 100 from 10 different counties. (JL) Hoeffel’s not the only one; Joe Sestak‘s also challenging signatures in the Senate primary. Sestak’s target isn’t Arlen Specter, though, but rather Joseph Vodvarka, a Pittsburgh-area businessman who was a surprise last-minute filer and is the primary’s only third wheel. Sestak, no doubt, is worried that Vodvarka could peel off enough anti-Specter votes to throw a very close election.
• HI-01: Here’s a sign of life from the seemingly placid Colleen Hanabusa campaign; she just got the endorsement of the Hawaii State Teachers’ Association. (Not that it was likely they’d endorse Ed Case, but it’s still important for GOTV.)
• NY-13: Politico’s Ben Smith reported that Republican state Senator Andrew Lanza was taking a second look at the race in the 13th, now that the possibility of the Working Families Party withdrawing its support for Rep. Mike McMahon (if he votes against health care reform) could make a GOP challenge easier in the face of a divided left. The NRCC denied having reached out to Lanza; Lanza confirmed, though, that they had, but said that he was still unlikely to get in the race, preferring to focus on taking back GOP control of the state Senate. While the two GOPers in the race, Michael Grimm and Michael Allegretti, both have had some fundraising success, Lanza would be a definite upgrade for the GOP in the unlikely event he runs.
• PA-06: Another bummer for Doug Pike, who seems to be losing as many endorsements as he’s gaining these days. State Rep. Josh Shapiro, who briefly explored a bid for U.S. Senate last year, has officially switched his endorsement from Pike to “neutral”. (JL)
• SC-03: With rivals Rex Rice and Jeff Duncan (both state Reps.) having gotten the lion’s share of the endorsements and money, state Sen. Shane Massey appears ready to drop out of the GOP primary field in the 3rd. It looks like it’ll be a two-man fight between the Huckabee-backed Rice and CfG-backed Duncan.
• VA-05: I’ll repeat all the usual caveats about how straw polls reflect the most extreme and engaged activists, not the broader electorate, bla bla bla, but there’s just no good way for state Sen. Robert Hurt to spin his showing at the Franklin County
GOP Republican Womens’ straw poll. The establishment pick drew 11.6% of the vote, while self-funding teabagger Jim McKelvey grabbed 51%.
• WA-03: The Dick Army (aka FreedomWorks) has weighed in with a rare primary endorsement in a rather unexpected place: the GOP primary in the open seat in the 3rd. They endorsed David Castillo, the financial advisor and former Bush administration underling who stayed in the race despite state Rep. Jaime Herrera’s entry. Here’s the likely explanation: Castillo actually used to work for FreedomWorks’ predecessor organization, Citizens for a Sound Economy. Still, that’s a boost for Castillo, who’s been faring pretty well on the endorsements front against the establishment pick Herrera (and a boost for Dems, who’d no doubt like to see a brutal GOP primary). Meanwhile, on the Dem side, state Sen. Craig Pridemore is holding outgoing Rep. Brian Baird’s feet to the fire to get him to switch his vote to “yes” on health care reform; primary opponent Denny Heck has avoided taking much of a position on HCR.
• Census: Here’s some interesting background on how the Census protects respondents’ privacy. Not only are individual responses sealed for 72 years, but the Census intentionally adds “noise” that camouflages individuals whose particular combination of data would make them unique in some way and thus not be anonymous, at least to someone seeking them out (for instance, they cite the hypothetical only 65-year-old married woman attending college in North Dakota). (P.S.: You probably got your form in the last day or two. Please fill it out!)
Our twice-daily digests are also open threads for any campaign-related news you might have. Interesting/helpful links always appreciated!
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• NV-Sen, NV-Gov: The filing period in Nevada is now open, and there was one more surprise credible entrant in the Republican field for the Senate race, attracted by the stink lines coming off of Harry Reid. Assemblyman Chad Christensen of suburban Las Vegas, who at one point was minority whip, decided to take the plunge. That takes the number of Republicans jostling to face Reid up to a whopping 10. In other filings news, New York investment banker John Chachas decided to follow through on his planned expensive run despite usually polling with 0%, and on the gubernatorial side, Jim Gibbons put to rest any retirement rumors by filing for re-election.
• NY-Sen-B: It looks like the GOP has managed to find another warm body to take on Kirsten Gillibrand. Ex-Rep. Joe DioGuardi, ousted by voters from Congress over 20 years ago and now a darling of the local teabaggers, says that he’ll enter the race. (JL) (Port Authority commissioner Bruce Blakeman is already in the race, and has gotten a lot of county-level endorsements, while the Beltway media is treating former Bush aide Dan Senor as their flavor of the day, seeing as how he’s a guy they’re all familiar with.)
• UT-Sen: The start of the Utah Republican caucus process is in just two weeks, and Utah’s GOP chair is busy telling outside groups to butt out, warning them that they risk a backlash for their negative campaigning. He’s referring to Club for Growth, who’ve been advertising and robocalling to attack incumbent Bob Bennett (although they aren’t endorsing a particular opponent).
• MI-Gov: Much has been made of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andy Dillon’s poor relations with organized labor, with the assumption that labor is now getting behind Lansing mayor Virg Bernero instead. However, Dillon managed to nail down at least one union endorsement, from the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council.
• CO-07: He’d gotten Tom Tancredo’s endorsement, but that wasn’t enough to keep music promoter Jimmy Lakey in the race. Not having gotten much traction against Aurora city councilor Ryan Frazier in the primary, he bailed out.
• IN-03: I’m not sure if that rumored teabagger challenge to Republican Rep. Mark Souder – near-legendary for his lackluster campaigning – from attorney and former Dick Lugar staffer Phil Troyer ever came to pass, but now it sounds like Souder is facing another challenge from the right (or at least from the land of the awake). Auto dealer Bob Thomas (a former head of the national Ford dealers association) is planning a run and expected to advance himself $500K to get things rolling. If he has two insurgent opponents, look for Souder to survive the split… but one well-financed one could give him fits.
• MA-10: I’m not sure that “top aide to Deval Patrick” is the thing you want on your resume right now, but Ted Carr is now considering a run for the open seat in the 10th in the Democratic primary (where he’d join state Sen. Robert O’Leary and Norfolk Co. DA William Keating). Carr is currently the director of the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment and is also a selectman in Cohasset.
• NJ-07: Looks like Dems finally have a candidate nailed down in the 7th, although probably not one who’s going to put the contest against freshman Rep. Leonard Lance squarely on the map. The Union Co. Dems endorsed educator and former Hill aide Ed Potosnak for the race, and his principal rival, Zenon Christodoulou, vice-chair of the Somerset Co. Democrats, dropped out and endorsed Potosnak.
• NY-29: Here’s a big break for Corning mayor Tom Reed, and, in terms of avoiding a toxic split of the kind that’s sabotaged many a House special election for them, possibly for Republicans in general. Monroe Co. Executive Maggie Brooks has decided not to run in the special election to replace Eric Massa, whenever that might be held, which leaves Reed (who was running before Massa’s resignation) as the consensus choice. On the other hand, Brooks is probably better known than Reed and may also have better fundraising connections (on which front Reed has been lackluster so far), so she might have turned out to be a better bet for the GOP. The Dems still have nobody lined up, although several Assembly members have floated their names.
• PA-06: The Manan Trivedi Express keeps gaining steam, scoring a big endorsement last night from the Montgomery County Democratic Committee. Trivedi can place this endorsement in his back pocket — right alongside his endorsement from the Chester County Democrats last month. (The MontCo Dems also endorsed local fave Joe Hoeffel for Governor, and declined to endorse for Senate.) Meanwhile, The Hill notes that Trivedi’s primary opponent, the moneyed Doug Pike, is taking a “silence is best” approach on the topic of healthcare reform, refusing to respond to multiple requests for comment on the bill. (JL)
• DCCC: Barack Obama’s wading into the Congressional electoral fray on May 13, hosting a big-dollar fundraiser in New York hosted by the DCCC.
• CA-LG: State Sen. Dean Florez decided to jump out of the way of the Gavin Newsom juggernaut, ending his own Lt. Governor bid. It looks like the LG race will come down to Newsom vs. Los Angeles city councilor Janice Hahn.
• NY-St. Sen.: Here’s one of those polls that helps restore your faith in humanity. Ex-state Sen. Hiram Monserrate does not appear to be on track to win back the Senate seat he got expelled from after being convicted of assault, according to a new Siena poll of the SD-13 special election. Democratic Assemblyman Jose Peralta is polling at 60%, followed by Monserrate (now an independent) at 15, with Republican Robert Beltrani at 9. The election is scheduled for next Tuesday.
• Georgia: I can’t think of how to connect this story to national politics, but it’s certainly interesting just from the perspective of geographical geekery. Ever wonder about the strange shape of Fulton County, Georgia (which is kind of arrow-shaped, where the pointy part is a cluster of right-leaning mostly-white exurbs far to the north of Atlanta)? It turns out that Fulton County is a conglomerate of three former counties (Milton and Campbell), and now the Republicans in the state House are pushing legislation that would allow historic merged counties to reconstitute themselves. The racial undertone, of course, is that the wealthy exurbs of former Milton County (like Roswell and Alpharetta) would like to split off from mostly-black Fulton County… which would be a big hit on Fulton County’s property tax base, so Democrats are opposed. The plan may not succeed though, as it would require two-thirds of the legislature because it requires amending the state constitution.
• Humor: If you missed Scott Rasmussen’s appearance on the Colbert Report last night, check it out. The actual interview itself wasn’t revelatory, but the self-feeding sausage machine bit that precedes it is amazing.
• DE-Sen: Good news on the cat fud front, as according to the press release: “O’Donnell announcement adds Delaware to growing list of states hosting conservative insurgencies against liberal Republican incumbents.” Activist and occasional Fox News commentator Christine O’Donnell is making official today that she’s running in the Republican Senate primary against Rep. Mike Castle (although she’s been “unofficially” running for months), who, of course, is neither liberal nor incumbent. O’Donnell lost the 2006 Republican Senate primary and opposed Joe Biden in 2008, losing 65-35.
• NV-Sen: Danny Tarkanian is charging Harry Reid with shenanigans, accusing him of putting Tea Party candidate Jon Ashjian up to running in the race. Tarkanian’s proof? “No one in the Tea Party knows who he is. He didn’t know the principles of the Tea Party.” He’s also accusing Reid’s camp of picking Ashjian in particular because, like Tarkanian, he’s Armenian, and that’ll split the Armenian vote.
• OR-Sen (pdf): A few people (perhaps those who’ve never heard of Rasmussen before) seemed caught off guard when Rasmussen found that Ron Wyden wasn’t breaking 50% against law professor Jim Huffman. Wyden just released an internal poll via Grove Insight showing him in better position against Huffman: 53-23 (with 5% for the Libertarian candidate). He also polls almost the same against the state’s top Republicans, who at any rate (with filing day having passed) won’t be running against him: state Sen. Jason Atkinson (53-22) and Rep. Greg Walden (52-24).
• WA-Sen: The Hill has a little more… well, I’d hesitate to say detail, as that implies there’s some substance there… on the prospect of a Dino Rossi run for Senate, with various anonymous GOP sources saying that Rossi’s “thanks but no thanks” attitude has “changed in recent weeks,” and that if there’s a 1-10 scale of being likely to run for office, Rossi’s at a 3.
• AL-Gov: Bradley Byrne, the Republican former state community colleges chancellor, got an endorsement from Jeb Bush, which may help shore up some more conservative votes in a primary that includes right-wing judge Roy Moore. Bush has been active on the endorsements front lately, giving his imprimatur to Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and to John McCain as well.
• CA-Gov: This is kind of a strange media strategy: kicking out reporters for daring to do their jobs and ask questions of you at a scheduled appearance. It all seems to be part of the plan for Meg Whitman, though: silence from the candidate, and let the ads do the talking.
• HI-Gov: Recently-resigned Rep. Neil Abercrombie has a real race on his hands to get out of the Democratic gubernatorial primary: his main rival, Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann, just got the endorsement of the state’s largest union, the ILWU (the Longshoremen). Abercrombie can still boast a new union endorsement of his own from the IBEW.
• MA-Gov: There seems to be a lot of smoke coming out from under the hood of Christy Mihos’s campaign for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, as seen not only in dwindling poll numbers but now the departure of campaign manager Joe Manzoli. Manzoli claims to be owed $40K in back pay but says that wasn’t the reason for his departure, while Mihos bounced a check from himself to his campaign fund in January.
• ME-Gov: Here’s a jolt of life in the sleepy Maine governor’s race, one of the least-noticed and least clear-cut races in the country. Bill Clinton weighed in, offering an endorsement to state Senate president Libby Mitchell in the Democratic primary.
• NY-Gov: One more snap poll on David Paterson’s perilous political predicament today. It seems like there’s been nothing but noise in these polls, with very wide-ranging responses on whether Paterson should resign or stay, but if you follow the trendlines from today’s Quinnipiac poll back to the previous one, it looks like his position is stabilizing. 50% say he should stay, and 39% say he should resign (compared with 46-42 last seek), although is approval is still awful at 21/61.
• CT-04: One more Republican entrant in the crowded field to take on freshman Rep. Jim Himes in the 4th, with the entry of Easton First Selectman Tom Herrmann. First Selectman is analogous to mayor in Connecticut municipalities that are organized as towns, not cities, but in his spare time he’s a managing director at a private equity firm (so presumably he has some money to burn). The GOP field in the 4th is dominated by state Sen. Dan Debicella and former state Sen. Rob Russo.
• GA-07: We won’t have Ralph Reed to kick around – this cycle, at least. As expected, he won’t run in the GOP primary to fill outgoing Rep. John Linder’s seat. (D)
• NC-08: One other Republican campaign manager hit the trail, getting out of the seeming trainwreck that is the campaign of Tim d’Annunzio in the 8th. Apparently the leading candidate there by virtue of his self-funding ability, d’Annunzio made waves last month for wading into the comments section of the local newspaper – and now his former manager, Jack Hawke, seems to have had enough with d’Annunzio’s lack of message discipline, with d’Annunzio storming off the stage during a recent candidate forum and also with his postings to the end-times-focused “Christ’s War” blog.
• VA-11: Here’s a warning flare from a race that’s not really on too many people’s radars: Rep. Gerry Connolly’s first re-election in the 11th. His rematch opponent, home inspection firm owner Keith Fimian, is boasting of an internal poll (from McLaughlin) showing him beating Connolly 40-35. Considering that Connolly already beat Fimian by 12 points in 2008, while Barack Obama was carrying the 11th by 15, that’s pushing the edges of credulity, but certainly indicates this race needs monitoring. (And of course, Fimian may not even survive his primary, where he matches up against Fairfax Co. Supervisor Pat Herrity.)
• IL-Lt. Gov.: In an attempt to clear the smoke out of the back room, IL Dems have opened up their process for selecting a replacement lieutenant governor candidate. (You may recall that primary winner Scott Lee Cohen dropped out last month.) You can apply via email – and over 200 people have so far. (D)
• Filings: There’s a little more on the Arkansas filings fail by the GOP: they left uncontested 8 of the 17 state Senate seats up for grabs, making it mathematically impossible for them to retake the Senate, and also left 44 of the 100 House seats and the Attorney General’s race uncontested. Filing deadlines passed yesterday in Pennsylvania and Oregon, without any major surprises. In Pennsylvania, there weren’t any last-minute entries in the Senate or Governor’s races; the big story may be the LG race, with 12 different candidates, including a last-minute entry by Republican state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe. The Republican field in the 6th seems to have vaporized at the last moment, leaving Rep. Jim Gerlach opposed only by teabagger Patrick Sellers; Manan Trivedi and Doug Pike are the only Dems there.
In Oregon, there was a brief hubbub that Steve Novick might run for Multnomah County Chair, just vacated by newly appointed state Treasurer Ted Wheeler, but alas, it wasn’t to be; he threw his support to County Commissioner Jeff Cogen for the job. Blue Oregon also looks at the state Senate and House landscapes; Republicans fared better here, leaving only 1 Senate race and 1 House race unfilled (Dems left 3 House races empty). Of the 16 Senate seats up this year, Dems are defending 12 of them, but a lot of them are dark-blue; the main one to watch is SD-26, an exurban/rural open seat being vacated by Rick Metsger (running in the Treasurer special election) where Dem state Rep. Brent Barton faces GOP Hood River Co. Commissioner Chuck Thomsen. (Dems control the Senate 18-12.)
• Fundraising: While we at SSP are often rather blunt about Congressional Dems’ need to give to their campaign committees, at least they’re doing a better job of it than their GOP counterparts. Reid Wilson crunches the numbers and finds out that Dem House members have given $15.7 million to the DCCC while GOPers have given the NRCC only $4.7 million. The disparity is greater on the Senate side, where Senate Dems have given the DSCC $2.6 million but the NRSC has gotten only $450K.
• Passages: We’re saddened to report the death of Doris “Granny D” Haddock, the 2004 candidate for Senate in New Hampshire. Haddock was 100; she was 94 when she challenged Judd Gregg in his most recent re-election. She’s probably best known for walking across the country to support campaign finance reform at the age of 89.
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