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Leading Off:

• IN-Sen: His victory came as no surprise, but Richard Mourdock's final margin over Sen. Dick Lugar in the GOP primary was a punishing 61-39—far greater than the 10-point spread we saw in the final poll of the race. Lugar released two separate statements in response to his loss, one positive and the other shockingly negative toward Mourdock. (Both are at the link—scroll down for the second one.) Said Lugar:

If Mr. Mourdock is elected, I want him to be a good Senator. But that will require him to revise his stated goal of bringing more partisanship to Washington. He and I share many positions, but his embrace of an unrelenting partisan mindset is irreconcilable with my philosophy of governance and my experience of what brings results for Hoosiers in the Senate. In effect, what he has promised in this campaign is reflexive votes for a rejectionist orthodoxy and rigid opposition to the actions and proposals of the other party. His answer to the inevitable roadblocks he will encounter in Congress is merely to campaign for more Republicans who embrace the same partisan outlook. He has pledged his support to groups whose prime mission is to cleanse the Republican party of those who stray from orthodoxy as they see it.

This is not conducive to problem solving and governance. And he will find that unless he modifies his approach, he will achieve little as a legislator. Worse, he will help delay solutions that are totally beyond the capacity of partisan majorities to achieve.

Remarkable. As a consequence of Mourdock's win, we at Daily Kos Elections are changing our rating on this race from Likely Republican to Lean Republican. While polls have shown Mourdock neck-and-neck with the man who will be his Democratic opponent, Rep. Joe Donnelly, Indiana remains a red state and background factors favor the in-party. But make no mistake: This is a huge headache for national Republicans, and Lugar's departure from the scene will provide a big shot in the arm for Donnelly's campaign. The GOP cannot afford to take this race for granted.

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MA-Sen: Rasmussen: Elizabeth Warren (D): 45 (46), Scott Brown (R-inc): 45 (45)

NE-Sen: State Sen. Deb Fischer is out with an internal that shows her in second place in the GOP primary, the second poll in as many days to do so. Unlike the previous We Ask America survey, though, Fischer's own numbers (unsurprisingly) show a much closer race with the frontrunner, Jon Bruning, who leads her 30-26, with Don Stenberg back at 18. But note that the poll, from a firm called the Singularis Group, was conducted in a single day, and on a Sunday, no less. Reliable pollsters always try to reach respondents multiple times, especially when calling over the weekend, so this survey should be viewed with a good degree of skepticism.

OH-Sen: Awesome. Gotta love Republican Josh Mandel's decision to stonewall reporters into eternity... about everything:

Mandel also continued his policy of refusing to weigh in on active congressional legislation. A reporter asked where he stood on a bill from Brown and other Senate Democrats that would keep interest rates on federal student loans from doubling and saddling graduates—including young entrepreneurs—with more debt.

Mandel said he was glad "politicians in Washington" were discussing the issue but said he was not involved in the debate and would not "cast imaginary votes."

VA-Sen: Though the Virginia Senate race is approaching the point where you could call it "over-polled," you can't blame the Washington Post for adding to the pile needlessly. It turns out they haven't polled the race in a full year, but guess what? Nothing has changed—nothing at all. Tim Kaine and George Allen are tied at 46 apiece, exactly the same numbers they found in May of 2011.  However, as The Hotline's Sean Sullivan notes, favorability ratings for Kaine have gone sharply south in the interim: They dropped from 57-28 to 41-41, while Allen's fell much less, going from 52-28 to 47-31.


VA-Gov: It's no surprise that former DNC chair and unsuccessful 2009 gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is planning to run for governor again in 2013, but he's leaving one major out: He says he'll defer to Sen. (and ex-Gov.) Mark Warner if he wants to attempt a return to the governor's mansion, "no ifs, ands, or buts about it."


AZ-04: State House Speaker Andy Tobin, who had flirted with a late entry into the pretty messed-up AZ-04 GOP primary, has decided he won't get in after all. Instead, he'll seek re-election this fall, though after that, he'll be term-limited.

AZ-08: The Democratic-aligned House Majority PAC says it's going in big with a $340K buy starting on Friday, attacking Republican nominee Jesse Kelly "using [his] own words." The ad's not available yet, but you've gotta figure they're going to hit Kelly on the same front the DCCC has: for saying that he wants to "eliminate" Medicare and Social Security.

FL-07: Roll Call's Joshua Miller takes a detailed look at the next incumbent-vs.-incumbent matchup on the Republican docket, the fight between veteran John Mica and freshman Sandy Adams in the redrawn 7th District. What's so crazy about this battle is that Mica currently represents a whopping 72% of the constituents in the adjacent 6th, but because his home wound up in the 7th, he chose to run there—even though it meant a war with Adams, and leaving the 6th District open.

But Mica's actually the one with the advantage, thanks to his seniority, his deep political connections, and his vastly bigger warchest. Adams' main asset is her popularity among the tea party set, but I'm skeptical it'll mean much, since it looks like outside groups, such as the Club for Growth, are going to sit this one out. (Indeed, Mica actually has a better CfG lifetime rating than Adams.) Without third-party money, local tea party organizations tend to be disorganized and ineffective, so my feeling is that Mica is the favorite to survive.

MI-03: A major score for ex-state Rep. Steve Pestka: The Michigan Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, just gave him their endorsement. According to Wikipedia, the MEA represents over 157,000 education workers statewide. Pestka faces activist Trevor Thomas in the Democratic primary.

NY-13: The Campaign for Primary Accountability says their newest target is Rep. Charlie Rangel and promises a "six-figure" effort to help state Sen. Adriano Espaillat defeat him in the Democratic primary in June. But press releases cost nothing to send, and we've seen the CPA claim to have their sights on several incumbents they've then gone on to ignore. So let's see if they actually follow through on this one.

NY-21: Good news for Dem Rep. Bill Owens: The Republican lawsuit against the signatures he filed to appear on the Working Families Party line has been withdrawn. That means he'll appear on the ballot under the WFP banner this fall without any further issues.

PA-06: The Democratic veterans group VoteVets is getting behind Manan Trivedi, who served as a combat surgeon in Iraq and is seeking a rematch against GOP Rep. Jim Gerlach this fall. Keegan Gibson notes that VoteVets spent a lot of money in Pennsylvania last cycle, albeit not on the first Gerlach-Trivedi face-off. If that changes this time, that would obviously provide a big boon for Trivedi.

PA-17: PoliticsPA's Keegan Gibson has an extensive post mortem on the PA-17 Democratic primary, where attorney Matt Cartwright knocked off incumbent Rep. Tim Holden a couple of weeks ago. It's a very thorough piece, looking at every aspect of the race, so it's the sort of thing I can't summarize and can only say, "Go read the whole thing."

TX-34: Uh, well, I guess you could call this perseverance:

Hours before a federal grand jury charged Cameron County District Attorney Armando R. Villalobos with racketeering, he said he will not step down from his position nor end his Congressional campaign.
Villalobos has actually been the top fundraiser in the Democratic primary in the new (and heavily blue) 34th, though that's not saying a ton, because the field is split eight ways and with $157K raised so far, he's the only candidate to clear six figures. Since you probably have to regard Villalobos as one of the frontrunners for the nomination, this development seems likely to have a serious impact on the race.

WI-02: Dane County Treasurer Dave Worzala is dropping out of the race to succeed Rep. Tammy Baldwin, leaving two candidates in the Democratic primary: state Reps. Kelda Roys and Marc Pocan. Most of Worzala's funding came in the form of loans he made to his own campaign, so it appeared that he never really caught much traction.

Other Races:

Portland, OR Mayor: Two very different polls have popped up in the last two days in the Portland mayor's race, where two candidates for November's general election to replace the retiring Kyle McLachlan (or Sam Adams, take your pick) will emerge from the primary, with ballots due on May 15. SurveyUSA finds a race that's 28 for Eileen Brady, 27 for Jefferson Smith, and 25 for Charlie Hales, while Elway finds it 29 for Hales, 28 for Smith, and 16 for Brady. (David Jarman)

SC Lege: The Rock Hill Herald has an excellent overview of the fallout over the South Carolina Supreme Court's recent decision that has left nearly 200 candidates disqualified from the state's June 12 primary ballot due to their failure to file financial disclosure documents at the exact same time that they filed their "candidate-intent" paperwork. (In a federal lawsuit challenging the court's ruling, one disqualified candidate is calling the turn of events "one of the strangest cases in the history of American election law." It's hard to disagree!)

One of the weird byproducts of the decision is that, in many cases, individual county parties get to decide who was disqualified—with the predictable result being that some county parties (like the Florence County GOP), are claiming that all of their candidates are qualified, despite objections to the contrary. In short, it's a real mess. However, the state Senate is currently weighing a proposal that would retroactively restore most of the disqualified candidates to the ballot, although such an action would require approval from the federal Department of Justice. (James L)

Grab Bag:

DSCC: The DSCC has now become the third of the big four campaign committees to make large TV reservations, locking down big blocks of airtime in Virginia ($7.4 million), Missouri ($3.5 mil), and Montana ($3.2 mil). The NRSC had previously reserved $25 million worth of ad time and the DCCC $32 million, leaving the NRCC as the only organization without a big reservation so far.

ID/NE/OR Fundraising: Primaries are coming up in three states next week: Idaho, Nebraska, and Oregon. That means, as always, that pre-primary fundraising reports were due at the FEC late last week, covering the period of April 1 through April 25. Every candidate in those three states who filed a fundraising report is listed at the link.

Ad Watch:

• We encountered no fewer than ten new campaign ads yesterday, so we're going to bring them to you all in one spot. All ads are viewable at their respective links. Size of the buy is provided where available.

AZ-Sen: Wealthy Republican businessman (and self-funder) Wil Cardon tries to present himself as a "conservative outsider" who has a record as a job creator. For some reason, his face his half masked in shadow when he addresses the camera.

MO-Sen: Republican John Brunner, another wealthy, self-funding businessman, hits similar themes, though he takes a more negative tack, attacking Barack Obama and Sen. Claire McCaskill over unemployment and the national debt. The ad also features some slightly silly computer-generate numbers which function as a sort of Slinky in Brunner's hands.

NV-Sen: The narrator in Dem Sen. Shelley Berkley's new ad praises her efforts to build a new VA hospital in Nevada. This continues two themes Berkley's hit before, one very direct (that she's a strong supporter of veterans) and one more subtle (that her work to provide Nevada with top-notch healthcare facilities has been a noble effort). That latter is a bit of pushback against some overwrought allegations that Berkley helped save the state's only kidney transplant clinic in order to benefit her husband, a nephrologist. The size of the buy is unclear: It's either "part of a reported $45,000 ad buy that began last week" or part of "another $64,000 worth of air time for the week that begins on Tuesday," or perhaps both.

MT-Gov: Republican Rick Hill has the answers to Montana's job woes: "reduce regulations" and "get government out of the way." He also says he's created jobs but doesn't mention, of course, that he served two terms in Congress. Sometimes watching ten ads in a row is really boring.

WI-Gov: The Greater Wisconsin Fund hits Scott Walker with a montage of news clips about an FBI investigation into alleged improper campaigning on the taxpayer dime by some of his aides. The spot concludes by asking, "How could Walker not know what was happening just a few feet from his own desk?" and even provides a blueprint of what must be the floor-plan of Walker's offices, complete with distance marker.

CA-24: Dem Rep. Lois Capps is out with her first ads of the election, a pair of positive spots. In the first, she mentions her background as a nurse and teacher and says she "stood up for middle class families and voted to crack down on skyrocketing credit card fees and rate increases." In the second, she rattles off a list of towns in the district and says she's looking out for their interests by supporting things like clean energy and financial aid for college.

ND-AL: Republican Kevin Cramer rattles off a litany of conservative agenda items he supports, including the usual (cutting the debt, supporting a "balance" budget amendment), the less common (completing the Keystone XL pipeline, an issue of particular local importance), and the social (he'll "protect life").

NJ-09: Now we're cooking with gas: Rep. Steve Rothman goes hard negative on his Democratic primary opponent, Rep. Bill Pascrell, in his newest ad. The spot compares Pascrell to the likes of Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich on wanting to cut taxes for the rich, saying he "voted with Republicans to slash taxes for billionaires" (referring to a vote to repeal the estate tax in 2000) and "voted with George Bush to bail out Wall Street" (obviously referring to TARP).

OK-02: Republican Markwayne Mullin does something different from all the other GOPers here (thank god): His new spot recounts how he took a small, debt-ridden plumbing company and turned it into an operation that "provides more than 100 jobs" and "operates debt-free." The notion that business loans are somehow fundamentally a bad thing is obviously psychotic, but I'm sure it makes for a good political sound-bite.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed May 09, 2012 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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