• Tonight’s Preview: Tonight’s something of a small palate-cleanser in between the meaty primaries of last Tuesday and next Tuesday. The main event is WV-01, where there are competitive primaries on both sides of the aisle. Most of the attention is focused on the Democratic side, though, where Rep. Alan Mollohan could be the first House incumbent to get bounced out this cycle. Despite already being rather conservative, he’s been challenged from the right by state Sen. Mike Oliverio, who’s attacking Mollohan over not fighting hard enough against cap and trade, and for his earmarking. Both camps have released internal polls giving them the lead. On the GOP side, there’s a three-way fight between the establishment fave, former state Rep. and state GOP chair David McKinley, former state Sen. Sarah Minear, and businessman Mac Warner. Warner has gotten nailed for tax liens on his businesses, but may benefit from the infighting between the two others. Polls in WV close at 7:30 pm ET.
The special election to replace Nathan Deal in GA-09 is also tonight. With Democrats a non-factor in this R+28 district, but a crowded field of various Republicans, the likeliest outcome is a June 8 runoff between the top two conservative Republicans, most likely former state Rep. Tom Graves (the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks pick) and former state Sen. Lee Hawkins (who seems to generate less enthusiasm on the ground but who has some geographical advantages). TheUnknown285 also points out a handful of other legislative special elections in Georgia today, all of which are very unlikely to change hands; the most interesting may be in SD-42, where Jimmy Carter’s grandson may be able to take over a blue seat in Atlanta’s suburbs.
Finally, two other things you might watch, if you want to get way down in the weeds: Nebraska is the only other state with regularly scheduled primaries for today, although the only one worth a look is the GOP side in NE-02, where Rep. Lee Terry faces a teabagger with some money, Matt Sakalosky. Terry is likely to win, but the margin will be worth watching, as he’s one of the Dems’ few offense targets this year. And New Jersey has a host of mayoral elections today. The big name here is Newark’s Cory Booker, expected to face no trouble with re-election; an open seat in Trenton may provide some interest, though.
UPDATE: Marcus in comments points out a big miss on my part: the state Senate seat in Massachusetts left vacant by Scott Brown is up for special election tonight, too. (Rather than a boring number, it has a name: “Norfolk, Bristol, and Middlesex.” Still not quite as mellifluous as a lot of the British constituencies that we all got a crash course in last week though… especially “Vale of Glamorgan.”) Democratic physician Peter Smulowitz (a netroots fave who won an upset in the primary) faces off against GOP state Rep. Richard Ross. There’s also a safe blue seat up tonight that will shortly belong to Dem Sal DiDomenico.
• NH-Sen: It looks like those missing Kelly Ayotte e-mails, which are at the center of the growing questions surrounding the collapse of Financial Resources Mortgage and what the AG’s office did (or didn’t) do, may be retrievable after all via backup systems. State legislative hearings into the matter are beginning on Friday, so this issue could get bigger in coming weeks.
• NY-Sen, NY-Gov (pdf): Marist has a slew of data out of New York, all of it good for the Dems. Kirsten Gillibrand breaks 50% against all of her GOP contenders, leading Joe DioGuardi 50-30, Bruce Blakeman 52-28, and David Malpass 52-28. DioGuardi leads the GOP primary at 31, to 13 for Blakeman and 12 for Malpass. Chuck Schumer also has little trouble with his one announced opponent, Jay Townsend; he leads 66-27. On the gubernatorial side, Andrew Cuomo wins just as convincingly. He leads Rick Lazio 65-25, Steve Levy 63-25, and Carl Paladino 67-22.
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): Today’s Muhlenberg tracker sustains the Joe Sestak lead over Arlen Specter, at 47-43. In the gubernatorial race, Anthony Williams seems to be emerging as the closest rival to Dan Onorato; Onorato still has a big edge, though, leading Williams 33-15 with Joe Hoeffel at 10 and Jack Wagner at 9. Word is that Franklin & Marshall will also have a poll out tomorrow giving Sestak the edge. Barack Obama appears in the newest TV ad on Specter’s behalf, but it sounds less likely that Obama, always careful about overextending his political capital, will be actually showing up to campaign for Specter. Finally, if you haven’t already, it’s worth a look at Chris Bowers‘ analysis of Specter vs. Sestak on general election electability (as you might expect, it boils down to Specter being universally-known and Sestak having the upside).
• UT-Sen: Bob Bennett still isn’t ruling out a write-in candidacy in November, and will continue to weigh his options. Bob, for what it’s worth, everyone here at SSP agrees that a write-in candidacy would be pure awesome.
• WA-Sen: Some more investment sleaze-by-association for Dino Rossi. He was one of the initial investors who established the Eastside Commercial Bank in 2001, a bank that’s currently teetering on the edge after the FDIC required it to raise another $3 million in the wake unsound lending practices. He didn’t have any managerial control over the bank, but it’s one more paper cut for Rossi.
• CT-Gov: Former Stamford mayor Dan Malloy announced his running mate choice today: state Comptroller Nancy Wyman. Rival Ned Lamont chose Simsbury First Selectwoman Mary Glassman (Malloy’s 2006 running mate) last week.
• OR-Gov, OR-Sen: SurveyUSA is out with a whole new gubernatorial primary poll (the one that got released last week was taken nearly a month ago; I’m not sure what the delay was about). Although the number of undecideds is dropping, the margins between the candidates is staying pretty much the same. For the Dems, John Kitzhaber is leading Bill Bradbury 59-25. On the GOP side, Chris Dudley leads Allen Alley 42-24 (while hopeless third and fourth wheels John Lim and Bill Sizemore are at 8 each). They also threw in Senate primary numbers, finding that Ron Wyden is pulling in 80% against some nobodies on the Dem side while the GOP side is a big question mark. Law professor Jim Huffman (the establishment’s choice to be sacrificial lamb) is at 20, while some dude Tom Stutzman isn’t that far behind at 13.
• FL-02: Here’s a race that wasn’t on anyone’s competitive list that’s suddenly bursting into view. An NRCC internal poll (by the Tarrance Group) that’s from mid-April but just got leaked to Chris Cillizza has no-name funeral home director Steve Southerland leading Rep. Allen Boyd, and not just squeaking it out, but up by a 52-37 margin. Boyd has a huge cash edge ($1.5 mil to Southerland’s $157K), although he’ll need to spend some first fighting a primary challenge against Al Lawson.
• HI-01: With news that the DCCC is pulling out, and polls giving a small but consistent edge to Charles Djou in the f’d-up jungle-style special election, SSP is moving our rating of this race to “Leans Republican” from “Tossup.”
• MI-01: Amidst all the hullaballoo over Connie Saltonstall’s dropout yesterday (wait, what’s the opposite of “hullaballoo?” how about “yawning?”), we missed another detail in the Democratic primary to succeed Bart Stupak: so too did Matt Gillard. That leaves state Rep. Gary McDowell as the only candidate left in the field, on this the last day of Michigan filings. That was easy.
• MN-06: We at SSP love us some taxes, but we’re also big fans of a certain something called “optics,” and state Senate DFLers created a mammoth screwup that, appearance-wise, really harms Taryl Clark’s chances against Michele Bachmann. Clark got stuck holding the Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky bag after she wound up casting the deciding vote in favor of a deficit-closing package that includes an income tax increase, after the vote was held open for her for 20 minutes deadlocked at 33-33. It may be a moot point as Tim Pawlenty has promised to veto, but still… (In her defense, Clark says she was delayed by a phone call with her son’s doctor.)
• NJ-03: Jon Runyan is getting accused of a “Rose Garden” strategy of campaigning in the GOP primary, sitting still and trading on his inevitability instead of, y’know, actually going out and debating with conservative opponent Justin Murphy. The John Adler camp is noticing too, and is out with their own “Where’s Jon?” video.
• RI-01: There’s a third contender in the Democratic primary to take over the 1st from retiring Rep. Patrick Kennedy. State Rep. David Segal is getting into the race, joining Providence mayor David Cicilline and former state Dem party chair William Lynch.
• WA-03: You keep hearing from Beltway media that state Rep. Jaime Herrera is the person to beat in the GOP primary for this open seat, but other than ex-Sen. Slade Gorton and her ex-boss, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, I’m hard-pressed to think of any endorsements of consequence for her. David Castillo has lined up most of the local support within the 3rd, and now he got endorsements from a variety of local leaders in the evangelical community, including Joe Fuiten (probably the most prominent Christian right leader in Washington) and ex-Rep. Randy Tate (who briefly led the national Christian Coalition after getting bounced out of office).
• WI-07: Here’s another primary in the north woods where the Dems seem to have coalesced and it’s all over but the shouting. At the same time as state Sen. Julie Lassa was officially announcing that she’d run to succeed retiring Rep. David Obey, fellow state Sens. Russ Decker and Pat Kreitlow announced they wouldn’t run. Perhaps making the difference: Lassa’s seat isn’t up for re-election this year, so it’s a freebie for her, while Decker and Kreitlow’s seats are up. With Dems holding an 18-15 margin in the Senate and the GOP on the offensive, it’s the safe choice not to open up seats in the Senate too.
• NRSC: Hmmm, speaking of optics, the NRSC is hosting an “intimate” (Hotline’s words; I don’t know if that’s how the NRSC billed it) fundraiser with the under-investigation John Ensign as host. No word yet on whether anyone plans to show up.
• DE-AG: Best wishes for a quick recovery to Beau Biden, who’s currently hospitalized today after a minor stroke. The 41-year-old Biden, who passed on a Senate race this year, is expected to fully recover.