SSP Daily Digest: 9/29

CA-Sen: Politics Magazine takes a look at how the blowback from the launch of iCarly Fiorina’s new website continues from all ends of the political spectrum, including a nice dig from SSP’s own Ben Schaffer. As California’s right-wingers sputter, there were also rumors circulating at the state’s recent Republican convention that radio talk-show host Larry Elder — the conservatives’ preferred candidate, and someone who expressed interest in the race — got boxed out by the NRSC, who told him not to run.

IN-Sen: 33-year-old state Sen. Marlin Stutzman launched his long-shot bid against Evan Bayh with some help from Rep. Mark Souder, who introduced Stutzman at his kickoff rally. The race already has some fourth-tier figures in it: businessmen Richard Behney and Don Bates. Grant County Commissioner Mark Bardsley, former state Rep. Dan Dumezich, and self-funding popcorn magnate Will Weaver are also considering the race.

NH-Sen: Kelly Ayotte is taking this whole not-saying-anything-about-her-positions thing to an illogical extreme, refusing to say for whom she voted for Governor in 2006 and 2008. Primary opponents Ovide Lamontagne and Sean Mahoney were quick to announce that they voted for Jim Coburn and Joe Kenney — i.e. the guys who ran against Ayotte’s ex-boss, Democratic Gov. John Lynch.

NY-Sen-B: Ed Cox, having secured his role as New York state GOP chair despite a push from Rudy Giuliani to install one of his own lieutenants in the role, is now trying to make nice with Giuliani, encouraging him to run for the Senate seat currently held by Kirsten Gillibrand instead of for Governor. Giuliani hasn’t been returning Cox’s calls, and insists via spokespersons that it’s Governor or nothing.

AZ-01: Former state Senate majority leader Rusty Bowers has filed to form an exploratory committee to run against freshman Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in the mostly-rural 1st. He’s been out of the legislature since 2001 and has been a lobbyist for the Arizona Rock Products Association since then.

IL-07: Rep. Danny Davis, who previously seemed poised to bail out of his west Chicago seat and run for Cook County Board President, now seems to be dialing that back. Davis says he has the signatures collected to run for Board President “should [he] choose to do so.” He may be having some second thoughts now that he has a key seat on Ways and Means and also because the expected field-clearing for him in the Board race didn’t happen. With Illinois’s super-early February primary, he has until mid-November to  make up his mind. Alderwoman Sharon Dixon says she’s running in the primary in the 7th regardless of what Davis does, though; however, some other likely contenders, like state Rep. LaShawn Ford and state Sen. Rickey Hendon are in a holding pattern to see what Davis does.

IL-14: The field to take on Rep. Bill Foster in the Chicago suburbs just keeps growing, with the addition of GOP state Sen. Randy Hultgren. His best-known opponent in the now five-way primary is lawyer Ethan Hastert.

MI-11: Natalie Mosher is a fundraising consultant who’s the only person with a hat in the ring for the Dems to go up against Rep. Thad McCotter. She’s telling supporters via e-mail that she’s “very close” to being named to the DCCC’s Red to Blue program — although that seems to be news to the DCCC, who say that R2B decisions won’t be made for some time and they are still talking to other possible candidates.

NV-03: Yesterday we reported that former state Sen. Joe Heck was content to stay in the GOP gubernatorial primary, rather than switching over to the NV-03 slot vacated by John Guedry’s withdrawal. However, since then, Heck has signaled more interest, saying he hasn’t ruled it out and is discussing it with his family. Heck could turn out to be a step up from the inexperienced Guedry (remember that Rep. Dina Titus was a replacement candidate as well in 2008, who turned out in the end to be a better bet).

NY-13: Here’s a strange rumor: disgraced ex-Rep. Vito Fossella has been making public rounds, leading to speculation that he’s considering a comeback (although there’s no sense whether he’d try again for the 13th, or elsewhere).

NY-23: The Watertown Daily Times has some juicy dirt on Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman, who apparently pledged his support to GOP candidate Dede Scozzafava shortly after he was passed over by the party in favor of her… and then shortly thereafter reached out to the Conservatives and got their nod. His defense is that he didn’t know just how “liberal” Scozzafava really was, despite that having been a main bone of contention even before her selection.

NYC: With the primary runoff elections set for tonight, SurveyUSA has a final poll of the two races at issue: Public Advocate and Comptroller. For Public Advocate, city councilor Bill DeBlasio leads ex-PA Mark Green 49-42 (although DeBlasio narrowly won the primary, Green led every poll prior to it). And for Comptroller, Eric John Liu leads David Yassky 48-40 (both are city councilors). (Discussion of tonight’s main event is underway in Pan‘s diary.) Meanwhile, it looks like Barack Obama won’t be expending any political capital on the New York mayor’s race, unless it becomes clear William Thompson is closing the gap on Michael Bloomberg.

NY-St. Sen.: The Erie County, NY DA’s office is the latest to join a bipartisan chorus calling for an investigation into the shady campaign finance practices of political consultant Steve Pigeon. As you may recall, Pigeon was the mastermind behind billionaire Tom Golisano’s attempted coup in the New York State Senate earlier this year. Pigeon is also buddy-buddy with Republican-turned-Dem Sen. Arlen Specter, and gets a $150,000 sinecure (completely above-board, I’m sure) as counsel to now-legendary scumbag Pedro Espada, Jr. (D)

PA-St. Sen.: One other race to keep an eye on tonight, in addition to the NYC races: a state Senate election in the Philly suburbs. It’s a seat vacated by a Republican (who left to take a job with the Chamber of Commerce); Republican state Rep. Bob Mensch is considered to have the edge to hold the seat over Lansdale councilor Anne Scheuring (picked after better-known Dems took a pass), although Dems have spent considerably on the race. The district (the 24th) takes a bite out of the corners of four counties that went convincingly for Obama (Bucks, Montgomery, Lehigh, and Northampton) but it’s exurban turf and has a Republican registration advantage — which is exactly the kind of district that has bedeviled PA Dems at the legislative level but that the Dems need to pick up if they’re ever going to take over the state Senate. The GOP currently holds a 29-20 edge, plus this one vacancy.

New York City runoff thread

The runoffs for New York City Comptroller and Public Advocate take place tomorrow. Up for election are John Liu and David Yassky for Comptroller and Bill de Blasio and Mark Green for Public Advocate. Who are you voting for and why?

I plan to vote for John Liu, despite some misgivings based on Yassky’s campaign, which has accused Liu of lying about various things:

Yassky, who came in second with 30% of the vote in [the] four-way primary, cited Liu’s disputed claim that he caught the MTA using two sets of books.

He also knocked Liu for saying he returned questionable campaign donations and toiled in a sweatshop as a child – which was contradicted by his own parents and others.

(Source: “Controller hopefuls John Liu, David Yassky sling mud in debate”)

My main problem with Yassky relates to his campaign’s behavior toward me. I have detailed two attempts to persuade me to vote for him, in the guise of supposed opinion polls. I haven’t yet mentioned the constant barrage of emails (I mean just about every day and sometimes multiple emails a day) that I’ve gotten – unsolicited – from Mr. Yassky’s campaign, with titles such as “[x] Days to Victory.” I’m truly unsure of how his campaign got my email address but would strongly suggest to any politician or campaign worker who’s reading that politicians not send emails to non-constituents who never contacted them. (Sending an email through an organization they belong to is fine, though, so that if, say, wants to support a candidate and that candidate sends an email explicitly through MoveOn to MoveOn’s members, they can take it or leave it but have little reason to be perturbed with the candidate.) Because of these personal experiences, I find it very difficult to get past the feeling that Yassky is overly power-hungry and given to sleazy and overly intrusive campaign practices, but I can understand why someone might consider such a highly-endorsed man a superior candidate.

Breaking away now from personal comments, here are some from Mr. Liu:

Liu then hurled some mud himself, bashing his opponent as “three-headed Yassky” for changing positions on key issues like term limits.

“People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,” Liu said.

Yassky originally opposed Mayor Bloomberg’s bid to have the Council let him seek a third term, but then cast a crucial vote in favor of it.

For the record, I am opposed to all term limits as undemocratic, though the process by which the City Council annulled the results of two referenda is objectionable and certainly a legitimate issue. But if it’s OK for Yassky to go back on his word in regard to term limits, is it really important whether the labor Mr. Liu did as a child was in a sweatshop or not? I’m not sure which of these things might be really important in predicting either candidate’s performance and honesty as Comptroller.

As for Public Advocate, I believe my choice is simpler, in that Mark Green has already served in the role and I felt that he did a good job in it. I have nothing in particular against Bill de Blasio except that I’m not so sure a member of the City Council is generally best to serve in that job. Rather, it seems to me that whoever is good at using a bully pulpit for the benefit of the people – and not for the benefit of the Mayor or City Council, who can already advocate for themselves – is really the best candidate for Public Advocate. I don’t mean to suggest that a member of the City Council couldn’t be the best candidate for the job or do well in it, but neither do I see an important reason not to vote for Mr. Green, and Mr. de Blasio’s City Council membership seems to me a weak additional argument against him, in a situation in which I think I’ll probably approve of either man’s performance if elected.

That said, I understand the argument that Green may be seeking the job of Public Advocate in order to try to win the Mayoralty through the back door, and my feeling is that the solution for this is to make the City Council President next in line for Mayor. It’s a much more similar job, although not subject to city-wide election. I’m not even sure that Public Advocate is an important enough position not to abolish, but given its very circumscribed powers, it certainly is poor preparation for Mayor.  

SSP Daily Digest: 9/15

CO-Sen: Former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton is set to launch her bid for the GOP nomination for the Senate today; however, not every prominent Colorado Republican is on board. Ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo lit into her, saying she’s “not ready for prime time” and that he would have less of a problem with her if she’d worked the regular behind-the-scene channels in preparing for the race instead of parachuting in at the last minute, apparently at the urging of family friend John McCain. Those on the left, however, are casting a dark eye toward her lobbying past: she used be the head of government relations for a for-profit health care lobbying shop.

KS-Sen: The GOP primary in Kansas is commonly understood to be an establishment/movement duel between Reps. Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt. However, the endorsements in the race are scrambling that a bit, as South Carolina’s Jim DeMint, maybe the nuttiest guy in the Senate, has endorsed Moran (the ‘moderate’ in the race, who surprisingly also got Tom Coburn‘s endorsement this spring). The somewhat more mainstream figures of John McCain and Richard Burr will also headline Moran fundraisers in DC.

NH-Sen: Instead of linking to that Populus poll (with a bizarre sample that’s way off state party composition) that shows Rep. Paul Hodes losing 54-39 to a generic Republican, I’ll just direct you to Dean Barker’s authoritative takedown of the poll and of Populus in general.

NY-Sen-B: As suspected, that Rudy Giuliani-for-Senate thing that happened yesterday was just cloud talk. Via right-hand-man Tony Carbonetti, the word is that Giuliani doesn’t see himself as a Senator, and only belongs in chief executive positions instead.

CA-Gov: Here’s about as big an endorsement as SF mayor Gavin Newsom could have hoped for in his bid for California Governor, where he has been sinking into underdog status in the Dem primary against AG Jerry Brown. Bill Clinton will appear at an Oct. 5 event for Newsom. (Payback for Brown staying around in the 1992 presidential primary after it had been sorted out?) The popularity of the Clinton brand, especially among Latinos, may give Newsom a boost among the state’s Latinos, who haven’t shown much interest in Newsom yet.

NJ-Gov: PPP, like most pollsters, shows a narrowing edge for Chris Christie in New Jersey but Jon Corzine still standing at the bottom of a hole. Christie leads Corzine 44-35 (improved from 50-36 last month), with independent Chris Daggett pulling in his strongest performance in any poll yet, at 13%. Corzine just isn’t gaining, but Christie seems to be leaking votes to Daggett, suggesting there are a lot of Dems and Dem-leaning indies who hate Corzine but can’t bring themselves to vote for a Republican (Corzine is polling at only 64% among Democrats). Also similar to other pollsters, there seems to be a big enthusiasm gap at work on the Dem side: among those who fit into PPP’s likely voter screen, Barack Obama won only 48-46 in 2008 (despite his actual 15-pt edge last year).

VA-Gov: This bodes ill for Creigh Deeds: one of his electability assets was that he was the most gun-friendly of the Democratic candidates. However, the National Rifle Association — who, in the 2005 Attorney General’s race endorsed Deeds over Bob McDonnell — turned around and endorsed McDonnell over Deeds in the Governor’s race.

IL-10: State Rep. Julie Hamos got a key endorsement in her primary fight against 06/08 nominee Dan Seals, from EMILY’s List. That gives her a national fundraising profile that may help counteract Seals’ netroots backing.

NH-02: It seems like there has been an endless supply of “Charlie Bass is weighing his options” stories out of New Hampshire, but the ex-Rep. now says he’s “leaning toward” a run to get back his old seat. However, the moderate Bass would first have to survive a primary against conservative radio blabber Jennifer Horn, who was the 2008 candidate against Rep. Paul Hodes and has said she’s back for another try.

PA-03: John Onorato made it official: he’ll be running against freshman Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper. He’s currently general counsel for the Manufacturer and Business Association, but he used to be Erie County Solicitor, an elected office with a constituency that makes up almost half of the district.

SC-04: I might as well just start the “Bob Inglis Deathwatch” series today. The South Carolina Republican, who used to be one of the most conservative House members but has been sounding increasingly moderate (and sick of Republican hypocrisy) lately, Twittered a suggestion for neighbor Joe Wilson to apologize on the House floor for his outburst. This is the same Inglis who voted for TARP and against the Iraq Surge, and who told town hall screamers to turn off the Glenn Beck; he faces several serious primary challengers in this mega-evangelical R+15 district.

VA-05: Cordel Faulk, the former spokesperson for Larry Sabato’s Univ. of Virginia Center for Politics, said that he won’t run for the GOP nod to oppose Tom Perriello after all. Still no top-tier (or even second or third-tier) GOP candidate in this district that presents, on paper, one of their best pickup opportunities.

VA-07: A local real estate developer, Charles Diradour, has announced that he’ll run as a Democrat against Republican whip Eric Cantor in Richmond’s suburbs. He’ll need to bring a lot of developer money to the table if he’s going to have a chance at Cantor, the House Republicans’ biggest fundraiser, in this R+9 district.

CfG: The Club for Growth is havnig a busy day. They just announced endorsements in the area where they can do the least harm, in open-seat GOP primaries in super-red districts. They endorsed state Sen. Tim Huelskamp in KS-01, and state Rep. Tom Graves in GA-09. Interestingly, they’re also interviewing both Rand Paul and Trey Grayson to see if they want to get involved in the Kentucky primary.

NYC: It’s primary election day for New York City’s elective offices, and the final SurveyUSA poll (sampled the 11th through the 13th) is out today. In the mayor’s race, Comptroller William Thompson, at 46%, seems clear of the 40% mark that necessitates a runoff. We’re seeing momentum in two different directions below that, though. Former PA Mark Green is losing steam in the Public Advocate’s race, down to 33%, making a runoff likely against city councilor Bill DeBlasio (who’s at 23%). Meanwhile, city councilor John Liu is making a break for the 40% line; he’s at 37%, while David Yassky and Melinda Katz are fighting for 2nd (at 22% and 21% respectively).

SSP Daily Digest: 9/14 (Afternoon Edition)

CA-Sen (pdf): According to the Public Policy Institute of California, Barbara Boxer is holding fairly good approval ratings, as she approaches a possibly competitive (and definitely expensive) re-election: 53/32, really no different from her stodgier colleague Dianne Feinstein, 54/32. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who isn’t running again, fares much worse: 30/61.

CO-Sen: As we’re staring down the barrel of a competitive Democratic primary in the Senate race, three of the state’s five House Dems have gotten behind incumbent appointee Michael Bennet (John Salazar, Jared Polis, and Betsy Markey), along with fellow Sen. Mark Udall. However, Diana DeGette and Ed Perlmutter are staying neutral. Other Bennet backers include current state House speaker Terrance Carroll.

IL-Sen, IL-Gov: The Cook County Dems made their endorsements in the 2010 primaries, which are less than half a year away. No major surprises: they endorsed state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias for Senate and incumbent Pat Quinn for Governor. That rankled Quinn’s rival, Comptroller Dan Hynes, who hit Quinn for seeking machine backing when, back in his reformer days, Quinn had been an advocate for open primaries. Meanwhile, in the Senate primary, upstart Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman is taking the clean politics approach, saying that he’ll accept no PAC money for his campaign.

MA-Sen: The fields are starting to solidify in Massachusetts: Rep. John Tierney, from MA-06 in Boston’s northern suburbs, decided against a run. He has less money than his fellow House members and polled in the single digits in the lone poll of the primary. Rep. Richard Neal is the only House member left who initially seemed like a potential candidate (mostly because of his bankroll), but his silence in the last week has been telling. On the GOP side of the aisle, state Senator Scott Brown got in the race over the weekend; with Mitt Romney, Andy Card, Kerry Healey, and Christy Mihos out, Brown is about as good as it’s going to get for the Republicans.

NH-Sen: Here’s one more Republican from the Republican wing of the party pondering a run in the New Hampshire Senate primary: businessman and RNC member Sean Mahoney. Mahoney says he’s gotten a push from the conservative grassroots to run, as many of them seem uneasy with the Beltway coronation of Kelly Ayotte, whose inability to take a position… any position… is taking on epic proportions. (If Mahoney’s name seems vaguely familiar, he lost the 2002 NH-01 GOP primary to Jeb Bradley.)

NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov: Here’s the rumor du jour, and it’s a doozy: Rudy Giuliani is being pushed by state GOP leaders to run for Senate against Kirsten Gillibrand instead of for Governor; apparently the state GOP is convinced that Andrew Cuomo, not David Paterson, will be the Dems’ nominee next year. Nobody has polled Gillibrand/Giuliani before, but that seems like it would be a close race, if the Gillibrand/Pataki numbers are any indication (of course, there’s a big stylistic difference between the vanilla George Pataki and the dictatorial Rudy, just that they’re both known quantities at this point). Perhaps (between this rumor and Rudy’s failed coup against Ed Cox) sensing that the Rudy won’t be getting into the Governor’s race — or maybe just because of his own special brand of tone-deafness — ex-Rep. Rick Lazio made his formal announcement today that he’s running for Governor.

AZ-Gov: In the “blast from the past” file, former Governor Fife Symington is now considering a comeback by running in the GOP primary against appointed Governor Jan Brewer. That’s the same Symington who was forced out of office in 1997 after conviction for bank fraud, although his conviction was overturned on appeal and he was subsequently pardoned by Bill Clinton. Strangely, we could see a re-run of the 1990 gubernatorial election, if Symington and Dem AG Terry Goddard face off against each other again.

NJ-Gov (pdf): One more poll (from Monmouth) showing Chris Christie with a persistent, but shrinking, edge over Jon Corzine in the New Jersey gubernatorial race. Among likely voters, Christie has a 47-39 edge (with 5 for Chris Daggett), much better than August’s 50-36 Christie lead but comparable to July’s 45-37 lead. Hold onto your hats, though: among registered voters, Corzine actually leads, 41-40 (with 6 for Daggett). In the fine print, Corzine is continuing to solidify his standing among Democrats, up to 77% among Dems (up from 73% in August and 67% in July). The challenge here, apparently, will be getting those Dems in the ‘unlikely voter’ column to show up.

OR-Gov: John Kitzhaber doesn’t seem like he’ll have the Dem primary to himself: former SoS Bill Bradbury looks like he’s on track to run. Bradbury has hired a campaign manager, and announces that Kitzhaber’s predecessor as Governor, Barbara Roberts, will be on hand for his announcement next week. One other possible challenger in the Dem primary, one that no one had thought of before, is Clackamas County Commission Chair Lynn Peterson. Peterson is 40 and still building her reputation; cynics’ knee-jerk reaction might be to think she’s angling for the Lt. Governor slot, but Oregon doesn’t even have a Lt. Governor. Finally, everyone’s still waiting to see what Rep. Peter DeFazio does; he was supposed to have made a decision by Labor Day but says he’ll keep on anaylzing his choices.

AR-02: Politico has an unusual rumor: former US Attorney and former Karl Rove right-hand-man Tim Griffin is considering a run against Democratic Rep. Vic Snyder in the Little Rock-based 2nd (which, in wake of 2008, is, at R+5, the most Dem-friendly district in Arkansas). Considering that Griffin had earlier pondered and declined a run in AR-Sen, the step down doesn’t make much sense at all, as he’d most likely have a better shot against the vulnerable Blanche Lincoln, who hasn’t polled well lately. The entrenched Snyder may create the appearance of being vulnerable because of his bank account, but that’s mostly because he refuses to fundraise during off years.

IL-10: State Rep. Beth Coulson, running for the GOP primary nod for the open seat in the 10th against several self-funders, got endorsements from two members of the GOP House delegation: fellow suburban moderate Judy Biggert… and, in an apparent nod to the reality of what works in the 10th, from the state delegation’s wingnuttiest member, John Shimkus, last seen ducking out early from Obama’s health care address to beat the lines at the urinal.

WI-03: State Sen. Dan Kapanke gives the GOP a rather strong candidate against Rep. Ron Kind (or more ominously, an open seat, in case Kind decides to run for Governor). However, Dems succeeded in taking Kapanke down a peg and dinging him for $38,100 ($100 in statutory damages plus $38K in legal fees) for violating state open records laws.

NYC: One more poll of the Democratic primaries for the city offices, before tomorrow’s election. The mayor’s race is actually the least interesting, with Comptroller William Thompson beating city councilor Tony Avella 46-17. Ex-PA Mark Green has pole position in the Public Advocate’s race, but the question is whether he can beat the 40% threshold in order to avoid a runoff. Currently, he’s at 36%, with city councilor Bill DeBlasio at 20%. The Comptroller’s race is almost certainly headed for a runoff, but city councilor John Liu seems to be breaking out from the pack, at 34%; he leads Melinda Katz at 23% and David Yassky at 19%. In case you’re wondering what’s up with the Manhattan DA race, there is one recent poll of the race, an internal from the Cyrus Vance Jr. camp. It gives Vance a 30-24 edge over Leslie Crocker Synder, with Richard Aborn at 15.

Census: The Census Bureau is severing its relationship with ACORN, which was working with the Census to promote Census participation. Loosely translated, Director Robert Groves said that the organization was enough of a distraction that it was becoming a net liability instead of asset in terms of getting people to participate in the Census.

SSP Daily Digest: 9/4

CO-Sen: The Denver Post does some interesting digging into how former House speaker Andrew Romanoff wound up in the Senate Democratic primary against Michael Bennet after all. Governor Bill Ritter tried to give the Lt. Gov. spot to Romanoff after Barbara O’Brien left the position in January, but the deal collapsed, leaving Romanoff to decide on the primary instead this summer.

IL-Sen: Chicago’s city treasurer, Stephanie Neely, has decided not to run in the Senate primary. However, Chicago’s inspector general David Hoffman seems to be taking tangible steps to get into the race, saying he’ll make a formal announcement after Labor Day.

MA-Sen: Rep. Stephen Lynch picked up filing papers for the Senate special election in Massachusetts, indicating he’s likely to soon join Martha Coakley. Lynch, who represents a heavily blue-collar Catholic district based in south Boston, would likely be the only anti-abortion Democratic in the race, but he has strong ties with organized labor.

MD-Gov: While most of the question marks surrounding the Maryland governor’s race involve whether or not GOP ex-Gov. Bob Ehrlich wants a rematch with current Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, now some are wondering if O’Malley will face a primary challenge from former Prince George’s Co. Executive Wayne Curry. Speculation centers on how O’Malley has nailed down endorsements from Dems all over the state but is missing some key endorsements from PG County.

NJ-Gov: Wow, what is it with this guy? So it turns out that back in 2002, Chris Christie turned his sail barge the wrong way down a one-way street, struck a motorcyclist (who was taken to the hospital)… and didn’t get a ticket. No claims about a tow-truck driver recognizing Christie this time – here, we know he identified himself to the officer on the scene. When he was asked if Christie’s title affected the officer’s decision not to issue a summons, the police director said “I don’t think I want to make that kind of deduction, but I think the facts speak for themselves.” Ouch. (D)

OR-Gov: Lots of movement in the Oregon governor’s race now that John Kitzhaber is in. Democratic state Rep. Brian Clem (who had set up an exploratory committee a few months ago) quickly moved to endorse Kitzhaber and not just get out of the way but join Kitz’s campaign as a director. Meanwhile, Republican state Senator Jason Atkinson — who finished third in the GOP primary in 2006 and has “next in line” status — informally told his hometown paper, the Medford Mail-Tribune, that “he’s running,” although the formal announcement won’t happen for a while. Finally, it sounds like Rep. Peter DeFazio is making a move to… do something. He’s still considering the race, but will make a decision “around Labor Day,” which is soon.

SC-Gov: Here’s a tea leaf that Jim Rex, who’d be the Dems’s strongest candidate, seems likely to get in the gubernatorial race. In the midst of touring the state and raising money, he says he won’t run for another term as Superintendent of Education.

AZ-01: It sounds like the GOP has a candidate lined up in the 1st, to against freshman Dem Ann Kirkpatrick, who’s a definite improvement over the sad Sydney Hay from last time. Former state Senate majority leader Russell “Rusty” Bowers (also a former state Rep., and now a sand-and-gravel industry lobbyist) seems like he’s set to run.

IN-08: The NRCC, however, wasn’t able to pin down a challenger to Brad Ellsworth in the 8th. Former Vandenburgh County Commissioner and county assessor Cheryl Musgrave decided not to run against Ellsworth, although she is considering a state House run instead against incumbent Dem Gail Riecken.

PA-03: The GOP had been previously struggling to find anyone at all to go against freshman Dem Kathy Dahlkemper, but now they’ve landed someone fairly impressive sounding. John Onorato (not to be confused with Dem gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato) is the former Erie County Solicitor (analogous to DA in most states), giving him a large constituency to build on.

SD-AL: State Rep. Shantel Krebs of Sioux Falls said that she’s considering challenging Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in 2010. Krebs would likely need to get past Chris Nelson, the state’s two-term Secretary of State, in the GOP primary though; he’s also in the “considering” phase. (Remember that South Dakota House districts are teeny constituencies, with only 22,000 residents each.)

NYC-Mayor: One more SurveyUSA poll of the Dem primary in the Big Apple. William Thompson and Mark Green have pretty clear paths in the Mayor and Public Advocate primaries (Thompson leads Tony Avella 52-14), but check out the Comptroller’s race. It’s a three-way slugfest between three city councilors: 25% for John Liu, 24% for Melinda Katz, and 21% for David Yassky.

Ads: The DNC, via Organizing for America, is running cable TV spots for four potentially vulnerable House Dems, thanking them for their pro-stimulus votes: Ben Chandler, Martin Heinrich, Travis Childers, and Zack Space.

Polling: The Masters of the Crosstabs were all on hand to do a panel on polling at Netroots Nation last month: Charlie Cook, Mark Blumenthal, Nate Silver, and Charles Franklin, moderated by Greg Dworkin (aka DemFromCT). At the link, you’ll find a video of their session. (Charlie gives a nice shout-out to SSP at about 7:40, and again at 80:20, where he talks about the “growing sophistication of the blogosphere.”) (D)

Humor: Autotune the News 8 is out, in case you’ve ever wanted Joe Biden to sing you a slow jam.