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Patrick Murphy
Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy (at left)
On Monday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee offered its endorsement to Rep. Patrick Murphy in Florida's open-seat Senate race, making him the third candidate to earn the group's formal backing this year. The committee joins a long list of Murphy supporters, including several members of Congress, approximately half the Democrats in the state legislature, and ex-Gov. Charlie Crist.

The move might be aimed at dissuading Rep. Alan Grayson from pursuing a Senate bid of his own, but the wealthy Grayson, who has a big donor list and can also self-fund, isn't likely to be deterred by such a development. Indeed, his only response was to scoff:

"Florida Democratic voters choose our party nominee, not out-of-touch party bosses sipping cognac in a smoke-filled room in Washington, D.C."
D.C.'s had a smoke-free workplace law in effect for almost a decade, so this Tammany-esque imagery is probably as alien to average folks as rotary phones and 8-tracks. Be that as it may, despite his characteristic brashness, Grayson is proceeding cautiously. He went on Fox News Radio on Friday to tell Alan Colmes he'll decide whether to run "in the next 30 days," and he recently informed Roll Call that he's "doing the kind of due diligence that one does before announcing, looking at polls, things like that."

So while Grayson may profess not to care about what the DSCC thinks, he evidently does care—somewhat surprisingly—about what the polling says. But there's a lot polls can't tell you, particularly because both Murphy and Grayson have limited name recognition, and that's where historical knowledge, pattern recognition, and intuition all come in. Most strategists believe the centrist Murphy would make the stronger general election candidate, while many progressive activists are convinced the outspoken Grayson would motivate voters better. It's clear which side the DSCC comes down on.

But more worrisome than the possibility that Democrats might put forward the weaker of two candidates is the prospect of a nasty primary sapping resources from the eventual nominee and damaging his reputation, making it that much harder for the party to pick up this open seat. Grayson has already publicly sniped at Murphy, so the idea that we might see a clean fight focused on the issues doesn't seem especially likely. That's why Murphy and the DSCC are still hoping that Grayson will stay out. Grayson has said he'll "probably" run, but who knows? Maybe he won't like what his polls have to say after all.

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8:27 AM PT (Jeff Singer): NY State Assembly: Tuesday brings us one of the strangest special elections we've ever seen. Johnny Longtorso gives us the rundown:

New York AD-43: This is an open Democratic seat in Brooklyn, taking in parts of Crown Heights and Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Obama won this seat 93-7 but there's no Democratic nominee for this election, and it's a bit of an odd story as to why.

Guillermo Philpotts, a perennial candidate who ran for the State Senate in 2014 and finished third in the Democratic primary with a whopping 5 percent of the vote, was chosen as the nominee for the special election. Why was Philpotts selected over a more legitimate candidate? Apparently he managed to put his allies onto the local committee (there were ten members on the committee, and three of those had the same surname).

However, despite this cunning political move, Philpotts is apparently weaker on the administrative side of things, because he failed to file a certificate of nomination with the Board of Elections. Philpotts was thrown off the ballot, and the Democrats had no official nominee in the district.

That leaves us a four-way race. Shirley Patterson, a former school board member and Democratic district leader who lost the nomination to Philpotts, is on the Independence Party line. Diana Richardson, a former State Senate constituent affairs director, has the Green and Working Families lines.

Geoffrey Davis has his own "Love Yourself" ballot line. Davis is also a Democratic district leader for this district and the brother of the late Councilman James E. Davis. Davis ran for the council seat after his brother was killed by a political opponent in 2003, but he lost to none other than current New York City Public Advocate Letitia James. Finally, Menachem Raitport is on the Republican and Conservative lines. Raitport ran for this seat in 2014 and got just 4 percent, so the GOP can't expect an upset even in this chaotic field. But it's anyone's guess as to which of the other three will prevail here.

9:50 AM PT (Jeff Singer): LA-Gov, Sen: After only recently ruling out his own bid gubernatorial bid, GOP state Treasurer John Kennedy is endorsing Sen. David Vitter. Kennedy is hoping that if Vitter becomes governor, he'll appoint Kennedy to his Senate seat, so this move comes as no surprise. However, Reps. John Fleming and Charles Boustany are also competing for Vitter's love, and there's no guarantee Vitter would choose any of these three men if he becomes governor.

While Vitter is the clear favorite to win this fall's gubernatorial race, he wouldn't be the first frontrunner to falter. The senator's chances of losing would increase if either Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne or Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle edges out Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards in the October jungle primary for the second runoff spot. While even a conservative Democrat like Edwards would have a very difficult time beating Vitter in this red state, Angelle or especially the relatively moderate Dardenne would have an easier time peeling off enough Republican voters to upset Vitter. Right now, polls indicate that a Vitter-Edwards runoff is the most likely outcome, but it's still too early to be sure.

If Vitter somehow loses, it's not clear if he'll turn around and run for re-election to the Senate in 2016. When asked, Vitter only said, "I’m not really focused on that right now. I’m only focused on this race for governor," which is pretty much what you'd expect him to say at this stage.

10:08 AM PT (Jeff Singer): MO-Gov: Yet another Republican is taking a look at this open seat race. State Sen. Bob Dixon's name has been floated, and he did not deny his interest. Dixon told that PoliticMo that he'll "have something to say to all Missourians soon," though he didn't give much information beyond that. Dixon, who hails from Springfield, has a relatively good relationship with labor, which could help in a general. But Dixon only starts with $102,000 cash-on-hand, and he'll need a lot more for what's expected to be a crowded and expensive primary.

10:35 AM PT (Jeff Singer): MD-08: The Democratic primary for this safely blue seat is about to get very crowded. Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez kicked off her campaign over the weekend, and she could stand out as the only Hispanic contender. However, Gutierrez has a reputation as a weak fundraiser, something that could hold her back in a seat located in the expensive Washington media market. Gutierrez does acknowledge her distaste for raising money, but says she is prepared to step it up. At 75, Gutierrez would be one of the oldest freshmen House members ever, though she wouldn't overtake Illinois Democrat James Bowler, who was elected in 1953 at the age of 78.

Gutierrez joins Del. Kumar Barve, state Sen. Jamie Raskin, and former Obama Administration aide Will Jawando in the primary, and it sounds like they're about to get more company. Former Montgomery County Councilmember Valerie Ervin says she's "very close right now," and is expecting to announce in mid-May. Kathleen Matthews, an executive at Marriott and the wife of MSNBC talking head Chris Mathews, also sounds ready to jump in. Matthews tells Bethesda Magazine that sometime in the near future she "will be announcing my departure from Marriott to start up a campaign."

Dels. Ariana Kelly and Jeff Waldstreicher are also publicly mulling a bid. Bethesda Magazine tells us that Waldstreicher, a labor ally, is expected to finalize his plans by the end of the month. Waldstreicher and Gutierrez represent the same territory in the legislature (many Maryland state House seats elect three members), so they could cause problems for each other if they're both in. Kelly didn't offer a timeline for when she'll decide, though she acknowledged she "wouldn’t be the frontrunner in the field." But Kelly's Bethesda-based seat has a big cluster of primary voters, which could help her in a crowded race.

12:17 PM PT (Jeff Singer): Anchorage Mayor: Tuesday's runoff in Alaska's largest city has turned an incredibly nasty affair. Over the last week, the contest has revolved around whether Democrat Ethan Berkowitz once seriously said that fathers should be able to marry their sons, a sentence I never thought I'd ever write.

Here's the background on this bizarre matter. Anchorage Baptist Temple pastor Jerry Prevo claimed that Berkowitz supported father-son marriages on his radio show in October. Berkowitz's Republican rival Amy Demboski was asked about the matter on a radio show and rather than denounce it, she said it "would be interesting to hear" the recording. The station did not keep a copy of the show, but finally, Berkowitz's conservative co-host Bernadette Wilson came forth and announced that Berkowitz had seriously said that an incestous marriage would be justified during a debate about same-sex marriage. However, the station manager says that Berkowitz was clearly making the remarks out of frustration as "hyperbole."

Berkowitz first refused to dignify the accusations, and he's now saying that Wilson remembers the show wrong, and that he of course does "not support fathers and sons marrying." The matter has dominated the last week of the race and even popped up at a debate, where Demboski once again said that she thinks Berkowitz actually supports incest.

The entire situation has been ugly and has led third-place primary finisher Andrew Halcro to make a last-minute Berkowitz endorsement. But it's anyone's guess how this voters will interpret this whole mess. To complicate things further, Demboski has been denying accusations that she lied under oath during her divorce almost 20 years ago. The good news for Anchorage is that this nasty election is about to be over.

12:42 PM PT: FL-Sen: On Monday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee offered its endorsement to Rep. Patrick Murphy, making him the third candidate to earn the group's formal backing this year. The committee also joins a long list of Murphy supporters, including several members of Congress, approximately half the Democrats in the state legislature, and ex-Gov. Charlie Crist.

The move might be aimed at dissuading Rep. Alan Grayson from pursuing a Senate bid of his own, but the wealthy Grayson, who has a big donor list and can also self-fund, isn't likely to be deterred by such a development. Indeed, his only response was to scoff:

"Florida Democratic voters choose our party nominee, not out-of-touch party bosses sipping cognac in a smoke-filled room in Washington, D.C."
D.C.'s had a smoke-free workplace law in effect for almost a decade, so this Tammany-esque imagery is probably as alien to average folks as rotary phones and 8-tracks. Be that as it may, despite his characteristic brashness, Grayson is proceeding cautiously. He went on Fox News Radio on Friday to tell Alan Colmes he'll decide whether to run "in the next 30 days," and he recently informed Roll Call that he's "doing the kind of due diligence that one does before announcing, looking at polls, things like that."

So while Grayson may profess not to care about what the DSCC thinks, he evidently does care—somewhat surprisingly—about what the polling says. But there's a lot polls can't tell you, particularly because both Murphy and Grayson have limited name recognition, and that's where historical knowledge, pattern recognition, and intuition all come in. Most strategists believe the centrist Murphy would make the stronger general election candidate, while many progressive activists are convinced the outspoken Grayson would motivate voters better. It's clear which side the DSCC comes down on.

But more worrisome than the possibility that Democrats might put forward the weaker of two candidates is the prospect of a nasty primary sapping resources from the eventual nominee and damaging his reputation, making it that much harder for the party to pick up this open seat. Grayson has already publicly sniped at Murphy, so the idea that we might see a clean fight focused on the issues doesn't seem especially likely. That's why Murphy and the DSCC are still hoping that Grayson will stay out. Grayson has said he'll "probably" run, but who knows? Maybe he won't like what his polls have to say after all.

1:18 PM PT (Jeff Singer): IN-Sen: Republican Rep. Marlin Stutzman did surprisingly well in the 2010 primary for this seat back when he was just a little-known state senator, and he sounds ready to give it another shot. Stutzman will make a "major announcement"on Saturday May 9, though he didn't say much beyond that. It sounds like he's in, though he wouldn't be the first would-be Senate candidate to pull the rug out from under us: Who knows, maybe his major announcement is that he's running for re-election, or introducing the American Free Freedom Act.

Right now, Eric Holcomb, a former state party head and former chief of staff to retiring Sen. Dan Coats, has the primary field to himself. A battle between the establishment friendly Holcomb and tea partying Stutzman would definitely be fun to watch, though other Republicans are eyeing the seat.

1:26 PM PT (Jeff Singer): NH-Sen: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. A little while ago, Granite State tea party chieftain Ovide Lamontagne, who most recently served as the GOP's 2012 gubernatorial nominee, refused to rule out a primary campaign against Sen. Kelly Ayotte. Lamontagne's chances weren't good, but he could have forced Ayotte to waste resources and lurch to the right. Alas, a "source with knowledge of Lamontagne’s thinking" tells the Boston Globe that Lamontagne’s not interested. We haven't heard from Lamontagne himself but he'd probably be publicly contradicting the story if it weren't true.

1:39 PM PT (Jeff Singer): NY-01: Freshman Republican Lee Zeldin has just picked up his first credible Democratic opponent on this swingy eastern Long Island seat. Suffolk Planning Commission Chairman David Calone, a venture capitalist, quietly opened up a campaign committee a few weeks ago, and he tells the local publication innovateli that he's looking forwards to the campaign. Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn and former Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko are also looking at this seat, though they haven't said much about their plans.

Obama carried this seat by a 0.5 margin, and both sides will need to spend a ton of money to advertise in the New York media market. Long Island has been quite friendly to Republican incumbents, and ousting Zeldin won't be easy. Still, Democrat Tim Bishop held this seat for 12 years (albeit often by narrow margins) until questions about his ethics and the GOP wave dealt him a 54-46 defeat. If Team Blue is going to get this seat back, they probably need to do it in 2016 before Zeldin can become entrenched.

2:04 PM PT (Jeff Singer): Philadelphia Mayor: With only about two weeks to go before the May 19 Democratic primary, allies of state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams are seriously stepping up their advertising presence. American Cities, a super PAC funded by wealthy people who share Williams support for charter schools and other elements of Michelle Rhee-esque education reform, has gone from spending $500,000 a week on ads to $800,000. Their new spot features a construction worker praising Williams for his work on the Diversity Apprenticeship Program, which he credits for changing his life.

American Cities has spent $3.2 million to date, while Williams' campaign has been off the air since mid-April. By contrast, two labor-funded groups backing primary co-frontrunner ex-Councilor Jim Kenney have spent $1.2 million so far. But Kenney has a new spot of his own, which is part of a $300,000 one-week buy. The ad features state Rep. Dwight Evans and Councilor Marian Tasco, two prominent Northwest Philadelphia African American politicians, portraying Kenney (who is white) as a compassionate man who is willing to do the hard things.

Ex-District Attorney Lynn Abraham doesn't have any major outside backers, and she's needed to make do with what she has. The Abraham campaign, which recently unveiled their first ad, says they'll be spending $175,000 for each of the next two weeks, and $200,000 for the final week of the contest.

2:07 PM PT (Jeff Singer): NY-01: Hat/Tip to BluntDiplomat for the Calone news.

2:14 PM PT: NY State Senate: We're having a party and everyone's indicted! On Monday, federal agents arrested Republican state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam on charges of extortion, fraud, and soliciting bribes. The criminal complaint is sadly comical, as the younger Skelos embarrassingly tried to avoid detection like a two-bit thug from The Wire,  thinking he could avoid the authorities by using "burners" and FaceTime.

The arrests also mean that Skelos is the third Senate majority leader in a row (more or less, if you don't count Pedro Espada) to face corruption charges; Democrat Malcolm Smith and Republican Joe Bruno did as well (though Bruno's conviction was later tossed on appeal). It's very hard to keep track of all New York's scumbag lawmakers, though, so Lohud.com has very helpfully assembled this database of villainy, detailing which legislators have faced ethical or legal accusations since 2000. Including Skelos, the count is up to a stomach-churning 39 over the last decade-and-a-half.

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Anchorage mayoral candidate Ethan Berkowitz
Democratic candidate Ethan Berkowitz
Tuesday's runoff in Alaska's largest city has turned an incredibly nasty affair. Over the last week, the contest has revolved around whether Democrat Ethan Berkowitz once seriously said that fathers should be able to marry their sons, a sentence I never thought I'd ever write.

Here's the background on this bizarre matter. Anchorage Baptist Temple pastor Jerry Prevo claimed that Berkowitz supported father-son marriages on his radio show in October. Berkowitz's Republican rival Amy Demboski was asked about the matter on a radio show and rather than denounce it, she said it "would be interesting to hear" the recording. The station did not keep a copy of the show, but finally, Berkowitz's conservative co-host Bernadette Wilson came forth and announced that Berkowitz had seriously said that an incestous marriage would be justified during a debate about same-sex marriage. However, the station manager says that Berkowitz was clearly making the remarks out of frustration as "hyperbole."

Berkowitz first refused to dignify the accusations, and he's now saying that Wilson remembers the show wrong, and that he of course does "not support fathers and sons marrying." The matter has dominated the last week of the race and even popped up at a debate, where Demboski once again said that she thinks Berkowitz actually supports incest.

The entire situation has been ugly and has led third-place primary finisher Andrew Halcro to make a last-minute Berkowitz endorsement. But it's anyone's guess how this voters will interpret this whole mess. To complicate things further, Demboski has been denying accusations that she lied under oath during her divorce almost 20 years ago. The good news for Anchorage is that this nasty election is about to be over.

Discuss
Attorney General Beau Biden (D-DE) (L) and Vice Presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) gesture on stage at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado August 27, 2008. U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) is expected to accept the Democratic presidential nomination at the convention on August 28.  REUTERS/Chris Wattie            (UNITED STATES)   US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008  (USA) - RTR21RH5
Possible Delaware gubernatorial candidate Beau Biden with his father Vice President Joe Biden
Leading Off:

DE-Gov: It's still anyone's guess if former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden, will run for governor next year. Biden, a Democrat, took a job at the law firm Grant & Eisenhofer in January and is now expanding his work there, which is usually not something you do in preparation for a gubernatorial bid.

The firm's co-founder says that Biden's move "doesn't change anything for him politically. He will make an excellent governor," but Biden's camp has said little about his political aspirations in months. Biden himself kept a very low profile even before leaving office early this year, and he doesn't appear to be taking any steps to prepare for a campaign. There has also been speculation that Biden's health hasn't been good, and his silence isn't exactly putting these rumors to rest.

One potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate is sounding impatient. New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon won't run against Biden, but he's likely to take a look if he sits the contest out. Gordon says that he spoke with Biden last month and told him that he needed "to get out and let people know you're still running." Gordon says that he's also talked to the people who are expected to run the Biden campaign "and they say they're getting ready for him to run," but Gordon notes that Biden needs to make an announcement at some point. Rep. John Carney has also talked about seeking the governorship if Biden doesn't, something he probably wouldn't be discussing if he thought the ex-attorney general was all-in.

If Biden knows he's going to run, there's no reason he can't just say so now and clear up any confusion. It sounds like he's genuinely unsure what to do, but he doesn't want to look publicly indecisive or feed rumors about his health.

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The Who — Won't Get Fooled Again (1971)
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9:12 AM PT (Jeff Singer): NRCC: On Friday, the NRCC added eight more members to its Patriot program, which designates which incumbents it plans to expend resources to protect. The names are below, with the Obama-Romney numbers for each district in parentheses, and each member's 2014 performance in brackets:

• Jeff Denham, CA-10 (51-47) [56-44]

• Steve Knight, CA-25 (48-50) [54-46, against another Republican]

• Rodney Davis, IL-13 (49-49) [59-41]

• Dan Benishek, MI-01 (45-54) [52-45]

• Tim Walberg, MI-07 (48-51) [53-41]

• Elise Stefanik, NY-21 (52-46) [55-34]

• Ryan Costello, PA-06 (48-51) [56-44]

• Barbara Comstock, VA-10 (49-50) [56-40]

While the first 12 Patriot members either represented blue seats or had close races in 2014, this new crop is a bit more safe. Only Dan Benishek, who holds Romney's best seat here, beat a Democrat by only a single-digit margin. Most of these districts are swingy or just light red, but these members look like they'd be in good shape absent a Democratic wave. National Democrats have some candidates in mind for CA-25, MI-01, PA-06, and VA-10, and already have a credible contender in MI-07. Things have been a lot more quiet in CA-10, IL-13, and NY-21, though we're still early in the cycle.

It is notable that the NRCC added Elise Stefanik, who represents a competitive Upstate New York seat, after the DCCC appeared to ignore her on their initial target list. It's also interesting that Iowa Rep. Rod Blum, who represents a 56-43 Obama seat but voted against John Boehner in this year's speaker election, has once again been omitted.

9:21 AM PT (David Jarman): UK parliamentary election: Game of Thrones and next week's elections in the United Kingdom are both impenetrably complex to the uninitiated, as tribal rivals form and break coalitions in the quest to control an isolated island with bad weather. Not only that, they both take place in locations with names like Casterly Rock and the Vale of Glamorgan. So which is it, a parliamentary constituency or a GoT location? Take our quiz and find out!

10:11 AM PT (Jeff Singer): DE-Gov: It's still anyone's guess if former Democratic Attorney General Beau Biden will run for governor next year. Biden took a job at the lawfirm Grant & Eisenhofer in January and is now expanding his work there, which is usually not something you do in preparation for a gubernatorial bid.

The firm's co-founder says that "doesn't change anything for him politically. He will make an excellent governor," but Biden's camp has said little about his political aspirations in months. Biden himself has kept a very low profile even before leaving office early this year, and he doesn't appear to be taking any steps to prepare for a bid. There has also been speculation that Biden's health hasn't been good, and his silence isn't exactly putting these rumors to rest.

One potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate is sounding impatient. New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon won't run against Biden, but he's likely to take a look if he sits the contest out. Gordon says he spoke with Biden last month and told him that he needed "to get out and let people know you're still running." Gordon says that he's talked to the people who are expected to run the Biden campaign "and they say they're getting ready for him to run," but Gordon notes that Biden needs to make an announcement at some point. Rep. John Carney has also talked about seeking the governorship if Biden doesn't, something he probably wouldn't be discussing if he thought the ex-attorney general was all-in.

If Biden knows he's going to run, there's no reason he can't just say so now and clear up any confusion. It sounds like he's genuinely unsure what to do, but he doesn't want to look publicly indecisive or feed rumors about his health.

10:43 AM PT (Jeff Singer): WATN: On Friday, former Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Marty Meehan, who has served as chancellor of UMass-Lowell since 2007, was chosen to head the entire UMass system. Aside from briefly flirting with a Senate bid in 2009, Meehan has shown no real interest in returning to elected office, and his new post probably takes him out of politics once and for all.

If Meehan is completely done running, there's no reason for him to continue to hold onto his $4.4 million war chest. Meehan's non-partisan job may prevent him from giving the money to the DCCC or to another candidate, but there's no reason for him not to refund his donors or donate it to charity. Of course, Meehan has had about 8 years to dispose of his funds, and he proved back in 2006 that he didn't care if the money went to waste, so we shouldn't get our hopes up.

11:13 AM PT (Jeff Singer): CA-25: Freshman Republican and noted ass-dropper Steve Knight just picked up his first Democratic opponent, though he'll have a lot to prove. Lou Vince, a police officer and town councilor in Agua Dulce (population 3,300) announced on Thursday that he's in. Vince ran for Los Angeles County sheriff last year and placed last in a field of seven candidates, taking only 5 percent. Santa Clarita Water Board Member Maria Gutzeit is also thinking about running and she has been talking to the DCCC.

On paper this northern Los Angeles County district is winnable for Team Blue. Romney only carried it 50-48, and Knight is a terrible fundraiser. But this area is ancestrally Republican, and the Knight name is well-regarded here. Knight served in the legislature for several years and his father Pete Knight also was a longtime politician and famous test pilot. 2016 may be the year this seat finally goes blue, but it's going to take a lot of work.

11:18 AM PT: Site News: FYI, Daily Kos will be offline for about one to three hours Saturday morning, starting at 11 AM ET. You can read more about the reason for the planned outage (the last before the upcoming major upgrade to Daily Kos itself) here.

11:29 AM PT (Jeff Singer): KY-Gov: State Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has another ad out ahead of the May 19 GOP primary. This new spot takes a not-so-subtle shot at wealthy ex-Louisville Councilor Hal Heiner, with Comer starting by bragging about how he's "not a lawyer, a multimillionaire or a typical politician." (Personally, I think that claiming you're not a "typical politician" is the most typical politician thing ever, but I digress.)

Comer continues, saying where he comes from, "faith and family come first," another contrast between Heiner's Louisville background and Comer's rural upbringing. The rest of the ad is Comer talking about his accomplishments in office. This ad isn't the most hard-hitting stuff, but the airwaves might get a bit nastier in the next few weeks. Heiner's campaign was recently connected to a blogger who has been accusing Comer of domestic violence without any evidence, and Comer sounds like he's ready to make the story an issue.

11:47 AM PT (David Jarman): Philadelphia mayor: Here's a timely new ad from the campaign of state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, who's neck-and-neck with Jim Kenney in the race for the Democratic nomination in Philadelphia's mayoral race. It prominently features Williams' young grandson, against a background message of "Zero tolerance for excessive force and police brutality." While his grandson is too young to make his own Dante de Blasio-style pitch to the camera, the message is still clear.

11:53 AM PT (David Jarman): UK parliamentary election: If the UK election has piqued your interest, one other time-suck you might check out is the interactive map of the demographics of every parliamentary constituency, courtesy of the Office for National Statistics and their data from the 2011 UK census. While there are lots of places online where you can see predicted votes in each constituency, if you're interested in the "why" behind the votes (i.e. how race, income, age and employment correlate with party support), here's the next step.

11:56 AM PT (Jeff Singer): FL-Sen: Well, maybe former state Attorney General Bill McCollum is serious about another Senate bid after all. The longtime GOP politician confirmed a few weeks ago that he was fielding calls urging him to run, but he didn't come across as especially excited. But on Thursday, McCollum said that he is interested and considering, and that he's "being told by other people in the party that there are concerns that the other potential candidates are not well known as we need to hold the seat." McCollum gave a loose timeline for when he'll decide, saying it will probably be "sometime this summer."

McCollum has managed to climb pretty high in Florida politics, but has always failed to reach the summit. McCollum represented an Orlando-area House seat for 20 years, but lost his first Senate bid to Democrat Bill Nelson by a 51-46 margin. McCollum tried again four years later but was defeated in the primary by Mel Martinez 45-31. McCollum won the attorney general post in 2006 and spent much of the 2010 cycle as the presumptive GOP nominee for governor. However, the ultra-wealthy Rick Scott threw his hat into the ring only a few months before the primary and spent his way to a 46-43 victory.

McCollum seemed done with elected office after that, but he might have one last campaign in him. McCollum is 70 which is a bit old to start a Senate career, though that's not stopping Ted Strickland from running over in Ohio.

12:06 PM PT: IL-Sen: Some key chunks of the Democratic establishment have already lined up behind Rep. Tammy Duckworth's bid for Senate, but fellow Rep. Robin Kelly continues to explore a run of her own, and according to Roll Call, she just met with the DSCC to discuss the race. It's anyone's guess what they might have discussed, though. Do D.C. Democrats prefer that Kelly stay out, or are they content to stand aside? We don't know, but Kelly's definitely not the wait-your-turn type, seeing as she took on a pair of seemingly more powerful candidates in the 2013 special election to replace disgraced ex-Rep. Jesse Jackson—and won.

In addition to Kelly, state Sen. Napoleon Harris and Urban League CEO Andrea Zopp are also considering the contest, but Kelly would almost certainly represent the biggest threat to Duckworth's hopes. On the flipside, as Emily Cahn points out, Zopp and Harris could cause trouble for Kelly, since all three would draw from a similar base of support among black voters in Chicago. Believe it or not, though, there's not an incredible amount of time left: Illinois holds its primary in March of next year, so Kelly et al. have to decide soon.

12:11 PM PT (Jeff Singer): PA-08: Well, here's a bit of a surprise. GOP state Rep. Gene DiGirolamo sounded pretty interested in running for this open Bucks County swing seat at the beginning of the year, but he announced on Friday that he'll sit the contest out.

The GOP has a good bench here so they should be able to recruit a viable candidate, but it's not clear who will step up. Bucks County Commission Chair Robert Loughery and state Rep. Scott Petri have both been mentioned, and they'll probably receive more encouragement now that DiGirolamo is out. Some Republicans  have expressed optimism that they can convince retiring Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick to reverse course, but Fitzpatrick has shown no interest in breaking his self-imposed term-limit. On the Democratic side, we have a duel between 2014 candidate Shaughnessy Naughton and state Rep. Steve Santarsiero.

12:29 PM PT (Jeff Singer): San Antonio Mayor: Holy shit, there's a poll! On behalf of the San Antonio Police Officers Association, Anderson Williams Research takes a look at the May 9 non-partisan primary. They find ex-state Sen. and 2014 Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Leticia Van de Putte taking first with 29, with interim Mayor Ivy Taylor close behind at 24. Former state Rep. Mike Villarreal and ex-Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson are at 18 and 17 percent respectively. In the likely event that no one clears 50 percent, the two candidates with the most votes will advance to a runoff.

We haven't seen any other polls here, though the San Antonio Express-News's Gilbert Garcia alludes to other surveys that show Taylor and Van de Putte making the runoff. Taylor's performance is a bit surprising given how late she got into the race and some bumps during her brief tenure as the city's chief executive.

However, Garcia argues that Republican voters are boosting Taylor against her three fellow Democrats. Back in 2013, Taylor was a vocal opponent of the city's non-discrimination ordinance that was aimed at protecting gay residents. Taylor stirred up more controversy last month when she characterized the NDO a "waste of time." Taylor has backtracked a bit, and is now calling for the NDO ordinance to be expanded. Still, plenty of gay groups don't trust her, while social conservatives are much more sympathetic. It doesn't hurt that Taylor's campaign manager worked on Republican Will Hurd's successful congressional race last year and that she's allied with two conservative city councilors.

1:08 PM PT (Jeff Singer): PA-08: And even though former GOP Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley  recently took a high-profile position with the United Way, he still gets mentioned as a potential contender.

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Fri May 01, 2015 at 10:16 AM PDT

What's going on with Beau Biden?

by Jeff Singer

Democratic Vice Presidential nominee U.S. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) with his son Beau Biden (L) acknowledge the audience at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, August 27, 2008. Democrats nominated Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) on Wed
Possible Delaware gubernatorial candidate Beau Biden with his father Vice President Joe Biden
It's still anyone's guess if former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden, will run for governor next year. Biden, a Democrat, took a job at the law firm Grant & Eisenhofer in January and is now expanding his work there, which is usually not something you do in preparation for a gubernatorial bid.

The firm's co-founder says that "doesn't change anything for him politically. He will make an excellent governor," but Biden's camp has said little about his political aspirations in months. Biden himself has kept a very low profile even before leaving office early this year, and he doesn't appear to be taking any steps to prepare for a bid. There has also been speculation that Biden's health hasn't been good, and his silence isn't exactly putting these rumors to rest.

One potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate is sounding impatient. New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon won't run against Biden, but he's likely to take a look if he sits the contest out. Gordon says he spoke with Biden last month and told him that he needed "to get out and let people know you're still running." Gordon says that he's talked to the people who are expected to run the Biden campaign "and they say they're getting ready for him to run," but Gordon notes that Biden needs to make an announcement at some point. Rep. John Carney has also talked about seeking the governorship if Biden doesn't, something he probably wouldn't be discussing if he thought the ex-attorney general was all-in.

If Biden knows he's going to run, there's no reason he can't just say so now and clear up any confusion. It sounds like he's genuinely unsure what to do, but he doesn't want to look publicly indecisive or feed rumors about his health.

Discuss
Republican Rep. Rod Blum and Rick Perry
Iowa Republican Rep. Rod Blum and friend
On Friday, the NRCC added eight more members to its Patriot program, which designates which incumbents it plans to expend resources to protect. While the first 12 Patriot members either represented blue seats or had close races in 2014, this new crop is a bit more safe.

But one of the most vulnerable members of the GOP caucus didn't make either list. Freshman Rod Blum sits in an eastern Iowa seat that Obama carried 56-43. While it's tough to see him winning re-election without another red wave, Iowans have proven that they're more than willing to split their tickets. But Blum didn't do much to ingratiate himself with the House leadership when he voted against John Boehner in this year's speakership race. While Republican presidential candidates seeking to win next year's Iowa caucus have showered Blum with attention, it hasn't translated into fundraising. Blum is wealthy enough to self-fund some of his campaign, but he probably can't win without national party support.

So who did make the Patriot list? The names are below, with the Obama-Romney numbers for each district in parentheses, and each member's 2014 performance in brackets:

• Jeff Denham, CA-10 (51-47) [56-44]

• Steve Knight, CA-25 (48-50) [54-46, against another Republican]

• Rodney Davis, IL-13 (49-49) [59-41]

• Dan Benishek, MI-01 (45-54) [52-45]

• Tim Walberg, MI-07 (48-51) [53-41]

• Elise Stefanik, NY-21 (52-46) [55-34]

• Ryan Costello, PA-06 (48-51) [56-44]

• Barbara Comstock, VA-10 (49-50) [56-40]

Only Dan Benishek, who holds Romney's best seat here, beat a Democrat by only a single-digit margin. Most of these districts are swingy or just light red, but these members look like they'd be in good shape absent a Democratic wave. National Democrats have some candidates in mind for CA-25, MI-01, PA-06, and VA-10, and already have a credible contender in MI-07. Things have been a lot more quiet in CA-10, IL-13, and NY-21, though we're still early in the cycle.

It is notable that the NRCC added Elise Stefanik, who represents a competitive Upstate New York seat, after the DCCC appeared to ignore her on their initial target list.

Discuss
Messrs. Sturgeon, Miliband, Cameron, Clegg, Lannister, and Lannister
Two important things are currently going on, for fans of complex, impenetrable stories about people with impressively highbrow-sounding accents forming ever-shifting coalitions in order to try to gain control of an isolated island with bad weather. One is season 5 of Game of Thrones on HBO. The other is the United Kingdom parliamentary election, the first since 2010, to be held on May 7.

While there are plenty of wikis and fan sites devoted to Game of Thrones, I haven't seen anyone trying to apply FiveThirtyEight-style quantitative analysis to the question of who holds the Iron Throne. On the other hand, there are numerous sites devoted to predicting who holds No. 10 Downing Street. Polls currently show the Conservatives nearly neck-and-neck with Labour, who are poised for a comeback after the UK's economic recovery lagged the US's, thanks in part to the Conservatives' austerity agenda.

It's not a simple case of which party gets the most votes nationwide, though; there are 650 different constituencies in the House of Commons, and a first-past-the-post election in each one. Complicating matters greatly is that third (and fourth and fifth) parties play a much larger role in the UK. This means that not only are individual seats much more difficult to predict than in American congressional elections (because, in a left-leaning constituency, multiple left-of-center parties might split the vote in a way that lets the Conservatives win), but also that no party is likely to control a true majority of seats and that power must be held through a coalition.

For instance, the Conservatives (who, confusingly, you'll often see referred to as the Tories) won only 306 seats in the last election, and hold power today only because of a coalition with the centrist Liberal Democrats. However, both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are expected to lose seats next week. Good news for Labour, right? Not quite: Labour is likely to pick up a number of seats from the Conservatives, but also lose a number of seats in their previous stronghold of Scotland to the Scottish National Party. While the SNP is perhaps even further to the left than Labour, they're focused on Scottish autonomy and not necessarily disposed to form a full coalition with Labour. One of the likeliest outcomes might be no coalition at all, but a Labour/SNP informal relationship that limps along until another election will be held.

The element of chaos that third parties bring to the mix (even greater this year, with the rising impact of the Greens on the left and the UK Independence Party on the right), is an enjoyable part of following UK politics. But another enjoyable aspect is simply the constituencies themselves: there are no boring, American-style numeric designations like CO-06 or FL-18 here. Instead, they have pleasing, evocative names, many of which sound like they're straight out of the mists of medieval times ... or from fantasy literature, like Game of Thrones itself. With that in mind, we thought a fun quiz mixing the two would be a good way to delve deeper into both. So, for each location below, which is it? A UK parliament constituency, or a location from Game of Thrones?


1. Amber Valley
2. Barrowlands
3. Beaconsfield
4. Casterly Rock
5. Castle Point
6. Eddisbury
7. Great Grimsby
8. Hazel Grove
9. Highgarden
10. King's Landing
11. Maidstone and the Weald
12. Mole Valley
13. Pyke
14. Riverrun
15. The Eyrie
16. The Wrekin
17. Vale of Glamorgan
18. White Harbor
19. Wolfswood
20. Wyre Forest
Head over the fold for the answers!
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Democrat John Gregg
Democrat John Gregg, who lost to Mike Pence 50-47 in 2012, is back for a rematch
Leading Off:

IN-Gov: On Thursday, former state House Speaker and 2012 Democratic nominee John Gregg announced that he would seek a rematch with Republican Gov. Mike Pence. Pence prevailed by a surprisingly narrow 50-47 margin last time, and the governor's popularity at home took a major hit after he started a national firestorm when he signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which could have allowed businesses to refuse to serve gay people.

A few months ago, Pence looked safe in conservative Indiana, but two recent polls show him struggling in head-to-head matchups with Gregg. And while voters' anger over Pence's handling of the RFRA may fade in the next year-and-a-half, business groups may be less forgiving. Gregg himself says that he was encouraged to run by business people who knew that the RFRA could harm Indiana longterm: If they come to his aid, Pence will be in real trouble next year.

Still, not all Democrats are sold on Gregg. While they acknowledge he is personally very appealing, they were disappointed with his weak fundraising last time. And while Gregg opposed the RFRA, he's still quite socially conservative. A few other Democrats have been mentioned as potential primary challengers, and one of them seems to be moving towards a gubernatorial bid. Despite earlier announcing that she would run for a second term next year, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz now says that a gubernatorial campaign is "on the table," and that she'll decide by June.

A recent poll gave Pence only a 42-39 lead against Ritz, while Gregg trailed 43-37. Ritz has also won statewide once, unseating GOP incumbent Tony Bennett 53-47 in 2012. Pence and the Republican legislature have been working to strip Ritz of her duties in revenge for her opposition to their policies, claiming she badly handled a statewide test. But if Ritz runs, Team Red will definitely continue to portray her as incompetent.

It's not going to be easy to unseat even a wounded Pence in a state as red as Indiana. Still, Hoosiers have proven that they're willing to split their ballots, and if business groups take up arms against the governor, he'll be in real trouble. A few months ago this contest looked like a snoozer, but now it's become of one of 2016's must-watch races.

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8:17 AM PT (Jeff Singer): MD-04: Former Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown is hoping that he can resurrect his political career after his disappointing performance in last year's gubernatorial contest. However, while there's no telling what will happen in the crowded Democratic primary in this safely blue seat, insiders are skeptical of Brown's chances.

Perhaps the most convincing argument against a Brown comeback that they give the National Journal's Kimberly Railey is his fundraising. While Brown and ex-Prince George's State Attorney Glenn Ivey were in the race for roughly the same amount of time, Ivey outraised him $116,000 to $52,000. For someone as well-connected as Brown, this is a pretty weak haul, though it's still early. Dels. Joseline Peña-Melnyk and Dereck Davis and former Prince George's County Councilor Ingrid Turner are also running, but they haven't been in the contest long enough to report any fundraising.

8:24 AM PT (Jeff Singer): IL-Sen: On Thursday, EMILY's List endorsed Rep. Tammy Duckworth, who is currently the only Democrat running against Republican incumbent Mark Kirk. The move is a bit of a surprise considering that Rep. Robin Kelly and Chicago Urban League head Andrea Zopp are both mulling bids. Then again, given that EMILY is an acronym for "Early Money Is Like Yeast," it kind of makes sense that they'd reward a candidate for making her intentions clear long before anyone else.

8:56 AM PT (Jeff Singer): KY-Gov: Ex-Louisville Councilor Hal Heiner has looked like the favorite against state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and tea partying businessman Matt Bevin in the GOP primary, but this may complicate things. A blogger named Michael Adams has been accusing Comer of assaulting a woman he was dating back in college, but has provided no evidence to support his claims. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Adams has been meeting with Scott Crosbie, the husband of Heiner's running mate. Adams says he wasn't coordinating with the Heiner campaign, but emails show that he gave the Crosbies a "heads up" that a reporter was writing about the assault story.

Heiner has apologized for any role his campaign played in spreading the rumors, but Comer is not letting him off easy. Saying the campaign "should be ashamed," and that he would "explore every option" with his legal team. The May 19 GOP primary is coming up quickly, and this story could very well make the difference as voters start to tune in.

9:35 AM PT (Jeff Singer): FL-18: The race to succeed Democratic Senate candidate Patrick Murphy is finally beginning to take shape. In the blue corner, state Sen. Jeff Clemens has announced that he won't run for Congress (he gets some points for his headline: "Senator Jeff Clemens says no to huge pay raise"). Palm Beach County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor currently has the primary to herself, but her colleague Melissa McKinlay, a Clemens' ally, is mulling a bid.

On the GOP side, state Rep. Pat Rooney is still considering a bid, describing the odds that he runs as "50-50." Rooney, the president of his family's Kennel Club dog track, says next week's board meeting will help him decide if a campaign is feasible.

Conservative pundit Noelle Nikpour is also talking about running, though she doesn't sound inclined to challenge Rooney. Nikpour is only moving to Florida now: Even in a state full of transplants, that may smell too much like carpetbagging. Martin County School Board Member Rebecca Negron is still the only announced GOP candidate, but a few other politicians could get in. 2014 nominee Carl Domino sounds very interested (though he's not going to intimidate anyone given his devastating loss last time), and a few other Republicans have been mentioned. Romney won this seat 52-48, so the GOP probably starts out with an edge.

10:10 AM PT (Jeff Singer): IN-Gov: On Thursday, former state House Speaker and 2012 Democratic nominee John Gregg announced that he would seek a rematch with Republican Gov. Mike Pence. Pence prevailed by a surprisingly narrow 50-47 margin last time, and the governor's popularity at home took a major hit after he started a national firestorm when he signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which could have allowed businesses to refuse to serve gay people.

A few months ago, Pence looked safe in conservative Indiana, but two recent polls show him struggling in head-to-head matchups with Gregg. And while voters' anger over Pence's handling of the RFRA may fade in the next year-and-a-half, traditional Republican business groups may be less forgiving. Gregg himself says that he was encouraged to run by business people who knew that the RFRA could harm Indiana longterm: If they come to his aid, Pence will be in real trouble next year.

Still, not all Democrats are sold on Gregg. While they acknowledge he is personally very appealing, they were disappointed with his weak fundraising last time. And while Gregg opposed the RFRA, he's still quite socially conservative. A few other Democrats have been mentioned as potential primary challengers, and one of them seems to be moving towards a gubernatorial bid. Despite earlier announcing that she would run for a second term next year, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz now says that a gubernatorial campaign is "on the table," and she says she'll decide by June.

A recent poll gave Pence only a 42-39 lead against Ritz, while Gregg trailed 43-37. Ritz has also won statewide once, unseating GOP incumbent Tony Bennett 53-47 in 2012. Pence and the Republican legislature have been working to strip Ritz of her duties in revenge for her opposition to their policies, claiming she badly handled a statewide test. If Ritz runs, Team Red will definitely continue to portray her as incompetent though.

It's not going to be easy to unseat even a wounded Pence in a state as red as Indiana. Still, Hoosiers have proven that they're willing to split their ballots, and if business groups take up arms against the governor, he'll be in real trouble. A few months ago this contest looked like a snoozer, but now it's become of one of 2016's must-watch races.

10:33 AM PT (Jeff Singer): IL-13: There hasn't been a lot of Democratic optimism about beating Republican Rep. Rodney Davis in this swing seat, and this certainly wouldn't help things. David Gill, who came close to beating Davis in 2012, says he's mulling another run... as an independent. Gill has filed with the FEC and says that he now considers the Democratic Party "a subsidiary of the Wall Street banks and large multinational corporations." Gill is also blaming his 2012 loss on a left-leaning independent: Let us not say irony is dead.

Gill was a perennial candidate who beat a weak DCCC-backed candidate in the 2012 primary, but was reluctantly embraced by national Democrats. Gill has never been a great fundraiser, but his name recognition can definitely cause problems for Democrats in a seat where they need everything to go right to win. Right now, only state Sen. Andy Manar has expressed any real interest in challenging Davis for Team Blue, though even he didn't seem to be jumping for joy at the prospect.

11:48 AM PT (Jeff Singer): FL-Sen, 16: Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan has announced that he will stay out of the Senate race, and will instead seek re-election to his conservative Sarasota-area seat. Buchanan seemed pretty lukewarm about a statewide bid so this doesn't exactly come as a shock, though it's going to disappoint a number of Republicans who were thinking of running to succeed him in the House. So far, Team Red doesn't have a viable candidate to face Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy, but plenty of politicians are considering, with Rep. Ron DeSantis and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera looking like the most likely takers.

12:02 PM PT: NY-11: Another profile in courage from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo: With less than a week to go before Tuesday's special election on Staten Island, he finally endorsed the Democratic nominee, New York City Councilman Vincent Gentile. Amusingly, Cuomo's statement was not issued by his own campaign but by the state Democratic Party, which couldn't even be bothered to tweet it out.

12:10 PM PT (Jeff Singer): Jacksonville Mayor: Despite earlier announcing that he wouldn't support Democratic Mayor Alvin Brown or GOP challenger Lenny Curry, third-place non-partisan primary finisher Bill Bishop is throwing his backing behind Brown. While Bishop is a Republican, he did well with unaffiliated voters in March, and his supporters might still be up for grabs. However, it's been over a month since the primary so his people may have already made up their minds, and early voting has started. What little polling we have says the May 19 contest in Florida's largest city will be close.

1:11 PM PT (David Jarman): Demographics: Here's an important post-script from the Urban Institute to the New York Times's important data-journalism piece from last week about America's 1.5 million "missing" black men. The ratio between black men and black women gets much smaller when you account for the Census's self-admitted problem with "undercounts" (i.e. simply not being able to find people in order to count them), and the fact that the undercount problem, like so many other things, hits black men disproportionately. They point out that it's a particularly strange omission for the Times given that its op-ed section has written about how Census undercounting diminishes government aid for poor communities, and that one of the most notorious alleged undercounts anywhere in the 2010 Census was right in their backyard, in Queens.

1:22 PM PT (David Jarman): Demographics: Pew Research's report several weeks ago about the relationship between political preferences and generational change was so data-rich that it's no surprise that they've gone back and rolled out more graphs on that subject. The first chart is especially interesting: it compares how the various generations stacked up in 1994 vs. 2014, and it shows how fluid political identity can be as you move through life.

Those cynical members of Generation X were the most conservative generation in 1994, but now they're the second-most liberal in 2014 (after the millennials, who weren't counted in 1994 because they hadn't aged into the electorate). On the other hand, the Silent Generation are now the most conservative but were the second-most liberal in 1994 (after the Greatest Generation, who aren't counted in 2014 because they've, euphemistically-speaking, aged out of the electorate). In other words, while the Silent Generation followed the nostrum incorrectly attributed to Winston Churchill and became more conservative as they got older, Generation Xers have done the exact opposite!

1:29 PM PT (Jeff Singer): NV State Assembly: Back in February, we noted that anti-tax conservative activists were seeking to recall three GOP assemblymembers. The campaigns against Chris Edwards and Stephen Silberkraus never went anywhere, but Speaker John Hambrick's higher profile earned him more attention. Still, as Joshua Spivak has written, it's very difficult to force a recall vote in Nevada. And sure enough, Jon Ralston tells us that recall organizers came nowhere close to getting the signatures they needed.

2:02 PM PT (Jeff Singer): And sure enough, Jon Ralston tells us that recall organizers turned in only 270 signatures, when they needed 4,100.

Discuss
Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN)
Indiana Republican Gov. Mike Pence
On Thursday, former state House Speaker and 2012 Democratic nominee John Gregg announced that he would seek a rematch with Republican Gov. Mike Pence. Pence prevailed by a surprisingly narrow 50-47 margin last time, and the governor's popularity at home took a major hit after he started a national firestorm when he signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which could have allowed businesses to refuse to serve gay people.

A few months ago, Pence looked safe in conservative Indiana, but two recent polls show him struggling in head-to-head matchups with Gregg. And while voters' anger over Pence's handling of the RFRA may fade in the next year-and-a-half, traditional Republican business groups may be less forgiving. Gregg himself says that he was encouraged to run by business people who knew that the RFRA could harm Indiana long-term: If they come to his aid, Pence will be in real trouble next year.

Still, not all Democrats are sold on Gregg. While they acknowledge he is personally very appealing, they were disappointed with his weak fundraising last time. And while Gregg opposed the RFRA, he's still quite socially conservative. A few other Democrats have been mentioned as potential primary challengers, and one of them seems to be moving toward a gubernatorial bid. Despite earlier announcing that she would run for a second term next year, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz now says that a gubernatorial campaign is "on the table," and she says she'll decide by June.

A recent poll gave Pence only a 42-39 lead against Ritz, while Gregg trailed 43-37. Ritz has also won statewide once, unseating GOP incumbent Tony Bennett 53-47 in 2012. Pence and the Republican legislature have been working to strip Ritz of her duties in revenge for her opposition to their policies, claiming she badly handled a statewide test. If Ritz runs, Team Red will definitely continue to portray her as incompetent though.

It's not going to be easy to unseat even a wounded Pence in a state as red as Indiana. Still, Hoosiers have proven that they're willing to split their ballots, and if business groups take up arms against the governor, he'll be in real trouble. A few months ago this contest looked like a snoozer, but now it's become of one of 2016's must-watch races.

Discuss
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