• CO-Sen: Former state Sen. Tom Wiens made it official; he’s entering the Republican field in the Senate race. With former Lt. Governor Jane Norton wearing the mantle of establishment anointment in this race, Wien’s entry may actually help Norton, by taking non-Norton votes away from conservative Weld County DA Ken Buck. Wiens is a wealthy rancher prepared to put up to half a million of his own dollars into the race.
• FL-Sen: If anyone has to sweating the movement conservatives’ takedown of the pre-selected moderate establishment candidate in NY-23, it’s gotta be Charlie Crist. Here’s one more thing for him to worry about: his job approval according to a new St. Petersburg Times poll is only 42/55. They don’t have him in as dire straits against Marco Rubio in the GOP primary as a number of other pollsters, though — Crist leads Rubio 50-28 — but the ultimate indignity is on the question of whether respondents would choose Crist or Jeb Bush to lead Florida right now, 47% opt for Bush (with 41 for Crist). On the Dem side, Rep. Kendrick Meek leads newly-announced former Miami mayor Maurice Ferre 26-6.
• IL-Sen, IL-07: There a lots of interesting plot lines forming as today is the filing deadline in Illinois. But the big one is: what the hell is up with Patrick Hughes? The real estate developer was considered to be the right-wingers’ go-to guy to against alleged moderate Rep. Mark Kirk in the GOP primary, but now rumors are swirling that he doesn’t have the signatures to qualify. There also seem to be some major ball-droppings for progressives: there’s nobody challenging Rep. Dan Lipinski in the primary in IL-03, and there’s nobody, period, to go up against GOP Rep. Peter Roskam in the R+0 IL-06. In the 7th, where it’s unclear whether Rep. Danny Davis will be coming back or not (he’s filed for his seat, but also for Cook County Board President), he’s facing primary competition from only one elected official: state Sen. Rickey Hendon (Cook Co. Deputy Recorder of Deeds Darlena Williams-Burnett is also a big name, but I don’t think deputy recorder is an elected position). Hendon says he’ll bail out and run for Lt. Governor if Davis sticks around.
Meanwhile, on the Senate front, state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is touting his own internal poll from GQR giving him a 3-point edge on Rep. Mark Kirk in a general election, 46-43. The same poll finds less-known Democrat former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman trailing Kirk 48-39.
• IN-Sen: Research 2000 (on behalf of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, rather than Kos) found last week that Blanche Lincoln was in serious trouble electorally and that her troubles would mount if she opposed health care reform. They also looked at Evan Bayh, and they found that, a) he’s not in trouble (62/30 approvals, although no head-to-head test against his erstwhile opponent, state Sen. Marlin Stutzman), and b) a majority wouldn’t be moved one way or the other by his health care actions.
• MA-Sen: The start of debates haven’t done much to reshape things in the Democratic primary in the special election in the Bay State. AG Martha Coakley holds a 25-point lead over Rep. Michael Capuano, according to an R2K poll commissioned by local blog Blue Mass Group. Coakley is at 42 and Capuano at 16, with Stephen Pagliuca at 15 and Alan Khazei at 5. Only 52% of Coakley’s voters are firm about it, though, but that’s not much different from any of the other candidates.
• FL-Gov: That aforementioned St. Petersburg Times poll also looked at the governor’s race, and they gave Democratic CFO Alex Sink her first lead in a while; she’s up a single point on GOP AG Bill McCollum, 38-37. More trouble for McCollum: state Senator Paula Dockery, as threatened, now appears to be jumping into the Republican primary, which had been painstakingly cleared for him.
• MN-Gov: If a candidate falls in the Minnesota gubernatorial Republican field, does it make a sound? State Rep. Paul Kohls dropped out, having not gotten much traction according to recent straw polls. That leaves approximately eleventy-seven zillion Republicans left in the hunt.
• VA-Gov: He’s dead, Jim. Four more polls on VA-Gov are out:
YouGov (pdf): McDonnell 53, Deeds 40
Mason-Dixon: McDonnell 53, Deeds 41
PPP (pdf): McDonnell 56, Deeds 42
SurveyUSA: McDonnell 58, Deeds 40
• MI-07: Unseated wingnut Tim Walberg — who’d like to get his job back from freshman Dem Mark Schauer — has some company in the GOP primary next year: attorney and Iraq vet Brian Rooney (the brother of Florida Rep. Tom Rooney) is getting in the race. It’s not clear whether Rooney is any more moderate than Walberg, though; he’s an attorney for the right-wing Thomas More Law Center, the theocons’ answer to the ACLU.
• NY-23: A few more odds and ends in the 23rd. One more key Republican endorser working for Doug Hoffman now is Rudy Giuliani (like George Pataki, not the likeliest fellow you’d expect to see make common cause with the Conservative Party — with neither of them having ruled out 2010 runs, they seem to want to be in good graces with the national GOP, who are all-in for Hoffman now). Rudy’s crack team of robots is making calls on his behalf. Another possible useful endorsement: Watertown’s mayor Jeff Graham is now backing Hoffman. Former candidate Dede Scozzafava, on the other hand, is now cutting robocalls on Democrat Bill Owens’ behalf. Finally, here’s an ill omen on the motivation front: sparse turnout was reported for Joe Biden‘s appearance on behalf of Owens.
• PA-06: One more Republican is getting in the field in the open seat race in the 6th: Howard Cohen, a consultant who is the former Revenue Secretary from the Dick Thornburgh administration decades ago. He’ll face a financial gap against pharma exec Steven Welch, and a name rec gap against state Rep. Curt Schroder, though.
• AL-AG: One incumbent who looks badly endangered going into 2010 is Alabama’s Republican Attorney General, Troy King. Having buddied up with the state’s trial lawyers (thus angering the local business establishment) and also pissed off many local DAs by interfering in their cases, King has lost most establishment support in the upcoming GOP primary against Luther Strange. Two of Strange’s biggest backers are both of the state’s Senators, Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby.
• ME-Init: Two more polls on Maine’s Question 1 (where “yes” is a vote to overturn the state’s gay marriage law), both pointing to an excruciatingly close vote. PPP (taken over the weekend) sees it passing 51-47, while Research 2000 (taken last week) gives a tiny edge to “no,” 47-48. (R2K also confirms that Olympia Snowe’s numbers are way off; the once bulletproof Snowe now has approvals of 50/44.)
• NYC: Three more polls all show Michael Bloomberg with an easy path to a third term, beating Democratic comptroller William Thompson. Bloomberg leads 50-38 according to Quinnipiac, 53-42 according to SurveyUSA, and 53-38 according to Marist (pdf).
• Mayors: There are fresh polls in a few other mayoral races. In St. Petersburg, Florida, one of the most hotly contended races around, Bill Foster leads Kathleen Ford 48-44 according to SurveyUSA. (Foster leads among both blacks and conservatives.) The racially polarized race in Charlotte gives a small edge to the conservative white candidate, Andy Lassiter, who leads 50-46 over Anthony Foxx. And in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, all we know is that someone with a difficult-to-spell last name will be mayor. Matt Czajkowski leads Mark Kleinschmidt 45-44. (Czajkowski seems to be the conservative and Kleinschmidt the liberal.)
• State legislatures: In case there wasn’t enough to focus on tomorrow, Josh Goodman points to five legislative special elections tomorrow. The big one is Michigan‘s 19th Senate district, which was vacated by Democratic Rep. Mark Schauer. Republican former state Rep. Mike Nofs may have an edge for the pickup against Democratic state Rep. Martin Griffin, at least based on fundraising. There are also Dem-held seats up in Alabama’s 65th House district, Missouri’s 73rd House district, and Washington’s 16th House district (the reddest Dem-held seat in Washington), and a GOP-held seat in South Carolina’s 48th House district. (UPDATE: TheUnknown285 points us to a whopping seven legislative seats up from grabs in Georgia, too, in his diary.)
• NRCC: Pete Sessions Deathwatch, Vol. 1? This seems odd, given that he’s had some pretty good success on the recruiting front, but apparently the behind-closed-doors potshots are hitting NRCC head Sessions just as heavily as they did Tom Cole last cycle. The complaints aren’t about recruiting, though, but rather about fundraising, where the NRCC is still lagging the DCCC despite the superficial conventional wisdom that Republicans come into 2010 with momentum, and about not keeping enough of a lid on all those nagging intraparty skirmishes that somehow only the blogosphere ever seems to notice.
• Polling: Mark Blumenthal has a thought-provoking piece on polling the cap-and-trade issue. The key problem: no one knows exactly what it is (reminiscent of polling the public option question, too).
• Voting: States are still trying to figure out what to do about the new federal law intended to make sure that military ballots from overseas get counted. At least a dozen states are now actively considering moving their September primaries up in the calendar to comply (including Minnesota, Vermont, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin).