• AR-Sen: Like I always say, flip-flopping at every opportunity is the best way to win elections. Then:
Lincoln: I Will Fight Reconciliation as Tool to Achieve Health Insurance Reform
Asked twice whether she was wavering on her previous statements to vote against a reconciliation bill, Lincoln said: “I’ll wait to see what’s in it.”
Considering she already voted for healthcare reform in the first place, this actually is probably the better move for her, believe it or not. (D)
• CO-Sen, CO-Gov: More evidence that the teabaggers and assorted other movement conservative aren’t takin’ kindly to outsiders coming in and imposing Jane Norton on them. Norton lost a GOP straw poll to right-wing Weld County DA Ken Buck after a Denver candidate forum sponsored by the Tea Partiers and 9-12ers. Interestingly, no-name Dan Maes also triumphed over ex-Rep. Scott McInnis on the gubernatorial side.
• LA-Sen: Rep. Charlie Melancon is going on the offensive, having a lot of ground to make up against David Vitter if polls are any indication. He’s filed an ethics complaint against Vitter for having violated federal law by sending out fundraising appeals on official Senate letterhead.
• NY-Sen-B: Hardcore movement conservative and – get this – former chief economist for Bear Stearns (!!) David Malpass says he’s weighing a run against Kirsten Gillibrand, presumably as a Republican. Jonathan Chait hits all the high points as to how badly out-of-touch Malpass is, and Paul Krugman zings him for an especially good bit of moranocity. If I were Gillibrand, I think I’d love to go up against a mouthbreather like this. (D)
• PA-Sen: Arlen Specter got a boost from labor, with an endorsement from the United Auto Workers. Also, speaking of Pennsylvania, check out my latest installment at Salon.com, where I used the disparate polling in PA-Sen as a means of introducing the non-SSP-reading masses to the idea of polling likely voters vs. registered voters.
• WA-Sen: It looks like the NRSC hasn’t given up on trying to lure Dino Rossi into the Senate race, as Rossi has confirmed having had a conversation with John Cornyn about it. Rossi continues to maintain a “never say never” attitude about it in the face of questions. The NRSC may also have a Plan B if Rossi says no, that’s an upgrade from their current top candidate, state Sen. Don Benton. They’re also interested in former news anchor Susan Hutchison. Despite presenting a somewhat moderate profile and the advantage of running without an “R” next to her name in the nonpartisan race, she still managed to rack up only 41% while losing November’s King County Executive race. (Still, that makes her only a one-time loser, compared with Rossi’s two strikes.) Hutchison says that she’s undecided, and she’ll wait for Rossi’s decision to make her own.
• IA-Gov: One other candidate who’s not faring so well in the straw poll venue, despite an overwhelming consensus from the political establishment, is ex-Gov. Terry Branstad. He just lost a quick succession of three different county-level straw polls to social conservative Bob Vander Plaats, and these aren’t dinky rural counties either. Vander Plaats cleaned up in Woodbury County (his home turf of Sioux City), while earning narrow victories in Story County (
Davenport Ames) and Dallas County (Des Moines suburbs).
• NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo may not be a declared candidate for Governor just yet, but he’s certainly fundraising like one. His camp is planning to hold a high-priced fundraiser in DC on March 22nd with some high-powered Democratic money players in attendance. (JL) Some of David Paterson’s nosediving approvals may have rubbed off a bit on Cuomo, if Marist‘s new snap poll (pdf) is any indication: Cuomo’s approval is down to a relatively human 54/39. Paterson is at an appalling 19/79, but 68% say he might as well still serve out his term with 28% saying resign. Still trying to find an upgrade from the lackluster campaign of Rick Lazio to go up against Cuomo, the GOP is meeting with conservaDem Suffolk Co. Exec Steve Levy (who’s been mulling a run in the Democratic primary) to try and get him to switch over to the GOP line to run for Governor.
• DE-AL: Republicans may have found an upgrade in the Delaware at-large seat, which has pretty much already slipped out of their grasp but where they can at least force former Democratic Lt. Gov. John Carney to work for it. They’re courting philanthropist Michele Rollins, the widow of former Republican Lt. Gov. John Rollins (and a former Miss USA) who has access to her former husband’s personal fortune.
• LA-02: Rep. Joe Cao seems to have read yesterday’s big expose of BaseConnect (the former BMW Direct) at TPM, and it seems to have been the first time he’d learned that they’re up to no good. He just severed all ties with the group, who’ve been doing his fundraising for the last year (and skimming off almost all his proceeds, which explains his terrible burn rate). Does this mean that no one from the NRCC was giving him any guidance on how to raise funds? It doesn’t seem like the kind of scam an incumbent would ordinarily fall for.
• NY-23: Doug Hoffman’s made it official – he’s going to try to win the Republican, Conservative, and Independence Party nominations, “and unite them, as one team, to defeat the agenda of Nancy Pelosi and Bill Owens.” Sounds like someone has seen the Lord of the Rings movies a few times too many. This also seems a wee bit delusional, since of course most of the Independence Party quickly embraced Owens (who seems like a good fit for them) when Dede Scozzafava abandoned the race at the last moment. (D)
• NY-29: Strike two names from the list of potential Democratic candidates for the special election to replace crumb-bum Rep. Eric Massa. Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton has announced that she won’t run for the seat, as has Monroe County DA Mike Green. (JL) On the GOP side, state Sen. Cathy Young has also just declined.
• PA-12: Barbara Hafer continues to attack the manner in which former Murtha aide Mark Critz was selected as the Dem nominee for the May special election – and by extention the people behind the process. Several Dems have gone on record expressing their distaste for Hafer’s attacks, and state party chair T. J. Rooney thinks they contributed to her being passed over. (D)
• TN-03: Democrats seem to have found a willing candidate, finally, to fill the gap in the open seat in the R+13 3rd (which looked like a promising race while former Insurance Comm. Paula Flowers was in it). Brenda Short decided to take the plunge; she used to be a Hill aide long ago for former Rep. Marilyn Lloyd (whose 1994 retirement turned the seat over to Rep. Zach Wamp, who’s finally vacating the seat to run for Governor).
• OR-Treasurer, OR-04: In something of a surprise, Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler today got named as interim state Treasurer, in the wake of the unfortunate death of Ben Westlund. Wheeler will still need to run again in a special election to be held as part of the November 2010 ballot; he’s confirmed he’ll run in that election but will face at least two prominent Dems: retiring state Sen. Rick Metsger (well-known from his time as local sports anchor), who filed yesterday before Wheeler’s appointment, and former Treasurer (and 2006 gubernatorial primary contestant) Jim Hill. Adding to the general sense of chaos is that it’s the last day of filing in Oregon, meaning now people are piling into Wheeler’s vacant seat as well. Finally, it looks like, with Springfield mayor Sid Leiken’s departure, OR-04 Rep. Peter DeFazio will merely face Some Dude: home-schooling activist Art Robinson.
• West Virginia: One other state where the filing deadline has passed is West Virginia. Despite the state’s red-ward trend (and significant challenges to both its Dem Reps., Alan Mollohan and Nick Rahall), one area where the GOP doesn’t look poised to make much of any progress is the state legislature, already thoroughly dominated by Democrats. In fact, if the Republicans won every race in the state Senate where they managed to field a candidate, they still would come up short on controlling the chamber. In the state House, they managed to leave 27 seats uncontested.