• AR-Sen: Barack Obama is cutting a radio ad in support of Blanche Lincoln as she faces a primary challenge from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. Also on the ad front, here’s an ad that both Lincoln and Halter agree on. Both have condemned the anti-Halter ad from Americans for Job Security as racist; the ad uses Indian actors and backdrops to accuse Halter of having offshored jobs. AJS’s head says he sees nothing wrong with the ad and won’t be pulling it; it’s a big ad buy and scheduled to run for the next two weeks in the leadup to the primary.
• KY-Sen: Lots happening in Kentucky, most notably a strange switcheroo by Christian right leader James Dobson. He outright switched his endorsement from Trey Grayson to Rand Paul, blaming GOP insiders for feeding him misinformation about Paul (such as that he was pro-choice). Dobson’s endorsement is bound to help the Paul attract some social conservative voters uneasy about his libertarianism, and also helps paint Grayson as tool of the dread insiders. True to form, Grayson is touting a new endorsement that’s pretty insidery: from Rep. Hal Rogers, the low-profile, long-term Rep. from the state’s Appalachian southeast corner and a key pork-doling Appropriations member. Grayson is also touting his own internal poll, which shows Paul and Grayson deadlocked at 40-40, contrary to, well, every public poll of the race.
• LA-Sen, LA-LG: Here’s the first non-Rasmussen poll of Louisiana we’ve seen in a while, not that it has Charlie Melancon in a particularly better position. It was conducted by Southern Media & Opinion Research on behalf of businessman Lane Grigsby (a wealthy meddler in Republican politics, last seen swaying LA-06 in 2008 with hundreds of thousands of IEs from his own pocket). Vitter leads Melancon 49-31, and Vitter has 55/36 favorables. It also seems to be the first poll to take a look at the
Republican all-party jungle primary in the developing Lt. Governor’s race (created by Mitch Landrieu’s election as New Orleans mayor). State Treasurer John Kennedy (the ex-Dem and loser of the 2008 Senate race) leads the pack at 21, followed by SoS Jay Dardenne at 15, Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell at 14, St. Tammany Parish President Kevin Davis at 6, and state GOP chair Roger Villere at 2. (Kennedy and Campbell, however, haven’t announced their candidacies yet.) (H/t Darth Jeff).
• NC-Sen: PPP has one last look at the Democratic primary in the Senate race, although this one may well be going into overtime (someone needs to break 40% to avoid a top-two runoff). They find Elaine Marshall leading Cal Cunningham 28-21 (a bigger spread than her 26-23 lead one week ago). Kenneth Lewis is at 9, with assorted others taking up another 9%. PPP also polls on the potential runoff, finding Marshall would beat Cunningham in a runoff 43-32 (as Lewis’s voters would break to Marshall by a 47-32 margin).
• NH-Sen: Kelly Ayotte seems to be leaving any “moderate” pretenses in the dust, as she just came out in favor of Arizona’s new anti-illegal immigrant law. (Of course, New Hampshire is one of the whitest and least Hispanic states in that nation, so it still may not wind up hurting her much.)
• NV-Sen: Research 2000, for Daily Kos, came out with a poll of the Nevada Senate race last Friday. Nothing unusual here, inasmuch as they find Harry Reid not looking as DOA as Rasmussen always does, though there are still lots of flies circling around him. Reid’s faves are 37/53, and he trails Sue Lowden 45-41 (with 4 for the Tea Party’s Scott Ashjian, 2 for “other,” and 2 for Nevada’s unique “None of the Above” line). He also trails Danny Tarkanian 43-41 and Sharron Angle 44-41. Despite Lowden getting low marks for her chicken bartering proposals (14/81 approval of that, including 27/68 among Republicans), she still has 42/34 favorables overall and is leading the way in the GOP primary, although perhaps by a narrowing margin: she’s at 38, to 28 for Tarkanian, 13 for Angle, and 12 for “other,” with 9 undecided.
• OH-Sen: One last poll sneaked under the finish line before tomorrow’s Democratic primary in the Ohio Senate race. Quinnipiac finds last-minute momentum for Lee Fisher (in the wake of actually spending some money on TV ads): he leads Jennifer Brunner 43-23. It pretty much seems to depend on name rec (which, in turns, depends on ads): Fisher has 44/8 favorables among likely primary voters, while Brunner is at 26/7 (with 65% having no opinion of her).
• AZ-Gov: I hadn’t been aware until today that controversial Maricopa Co. Sheriff Joe Arpaio was still seriously considering a run in the GOP gubernatorial primary (especially since, with Jan Brewer signing the anti-illegal immigrant law into effect, his main raison d’etre to challenge her was gone). At any rate, after making a big show of “major announcement today!” he then issued a brief press release saying that he wasn’t going to run.
• CA-Gov: Meg Whitman is treading carefully in the wake of the Arizona immigration law’s passage, probably mindful of the California GOP’s short-term gains but long-term ruin in the wake of Proposition 187. Meg Whitman came out against it (while primary opponent Steve Poizner supports it), perhaps an indication that she feels safe enough to start charting a moderate course for the general election.
• CT-Gov: Two interesting developments in Connecticut: one, former
HartStamford mayor Dan Malloy, Ned Lamont’s main Democratic primary opposition, will qualify for public financing of his campaign. This will help Malloy compete on a somewhat more level playing field against Lamont, who can self-finance. Also, the Democratic field shrank a little, as one of the minor candidates in the field, Mary Glassman (the First Selectwoman of Simsbury) dropped out and signed on as Lamont’s Lt. Governor running mate instead.
• IL-Gov: Democratic running-mate-for-a-day Scott Lee Cohen followed through on earlier threats, and today announced his independent candidacy for Governor. His rationale? “I believe that the people of Illinois have forgiven me.”
• MN-Gov: Needless to say, I’m feeling better about our chances in Minnesota, as newly-anointed GOP nominee Tom Emmer is laying down markers way, way outside the Minnesota mainstream. Turns out he’s a full-on “Tenther,” having recently sponsored state legislation that would purport to nullify all federal laws that are not approved by a two-thirds supermajority in the Minnesota legislature. (He also recently said that the Arizona immigration law was a “wonderful first step.”)
• NY-Gov: We’re getting very mixed signals on the Steve Levy campaign for the GOP nomination. On the one hand, Levy is claiming that the RGA is ready to pony up $8 million to $10 million in support of his campaign. On the other hand, state GOP chair Ed Cox, the guy who arm-twisted Levy to get into the race in the first place, is privately expressing worries that Levy won’t get the 50% of county chairs’ endorsements to get the ballot line, and there are rumors that he’s now floating the idea of a Rick Lazio-Steve Levy ticket.
• OH-Gov: Incumbent Dem Gov. Ted Strickland is going on the air starting on primary election day, with a major TV ad buy of 1,000 points each in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Dayton. Strickland has $2 million more cash than John Kasich, so he probably figures now’s the time to use it.
• OR-Gov: A variety of polls have popped up of the primaries in Oregon, whose fast-approaching primary is kind of dwarfed by higher-profile affairs in Arkansas, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania on the same day, May 18. Tim Hibbitts (on behalf of Nike and Standard Insurance, in case there was any doubt that Oregon is, in fact, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Phil Knight) found John Kitzhaber firmly in control of the Dem primary, leading Bill Bradbury 50-21. Local TV affiliate KATU also commissioned a poll by SurveyUSA, which was taken in mid-April but they seem to have sat on the results until now. It’s apparently the first public poll of the Republican primary; they find Chris Dudley, who’s been spending heavily on TV time, leading the pack at 28. Allen Alley is at 13, under-indictment Bill Sizemore is at 11, John Lim is at 7, and assorted tea-bagging “others” add up to 8.
• UT-Gov: Looks like those rumors that Democratic candidate Peter Corroon was going to pick a Republican running mate were right. Corroon tapped state Rep. Sheryl Allen, one of the legislature’s leading moderate GOPers, as his number two.
• OH-17: Insert obligatory “beam me up” joke here! Ex-Rep. Jim Traficant, out of prison, is looking to get back in the game, and he’ll be taking on his former employee, Rep. Tim Ryan, by running as an independent in his old district, the 17th. While there had been rumors that Traficant was also going to file to run in the next-door 6th (as, bizarrely, you can run in multiple different districts in Ohio), but he decided against that. Bear in mind that Traficant already ran against Ryan in the 17th as an independent shortly after his 2002 conviction and House expulsion, but only got 15% in that race.