8:31 AM PT (Darth Jeff): Arkansas: Filing closed Monday for Natural State's May 20 primary. In races where no one clears 50 percent of the vote, a runoff will be held June 10. The state has a candidate list available.
In the race to succeed termed out Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, there's not much suspense about who each party will nominate. Former Rep. Mike Ross faces only token opposition in the Democratic primary; Former Rep. and 2006 gubernatorial nominee Asa Hutchinson should have no difficulty prevailing against businessman and 2010 Senate also-ran Curtis Coleman. The general will be a lot more exciting: Daily Kos Elections rates the contest as a Tossup. It's a similar story in the US Senate contest. Incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor and his Republican challenger Rep. Tom Cotton are both unopposed in their primaries. Daily Kos Elections also rates the general election as a Tossup.
Three Republicans are competing to succeed former Lt. Gov Mark Darr, who recently resigned after a scandal. The best known is Tim Griffin, a Congressman who made the unusual career decision of retiring from the House to later run for this position. Griffin will face state Reps. Debra Hobbs and Andy Mayberry in the primary: The winner will face Democratic State Highway Commissioner John Burkhalter.
On the Republican side, there are contested primaries for Attorney General, State Auditor, and State Treasurer. Only one Democrat is running in each of these races. Republican incumbents for Secretary of State and State Land Commissioner face no primary opposition, and neither do their Democratic challengers.
Griffith and Cotton are leaving their House seats open, and there will be competitive Republican primaries to replace them. In the Little Rock-area AR-02, banker French Hill faces state Rep. Ann Clemmer and veteran Conrad Reynolds. The winner will take on Democratic former North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Henry Hays in a race we rate as Leans Republican. In southern Arkansas' AR-04, energy executive Tommy Moll faces state House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman. The winner will face Democrat and former FEMA head James Lee Witt in a contest we rate as Likely Republican.
8:41 AM PT: Texas: Believe it or not, the 2014 primaries are already upon us! And in case you haven't seen it yet, you'll want to check out our Texas primary preview, authored by Darth Jeff, for a great backgrounder on all of tonight's key races.
8:50 AM PT (Darth Jeff): Nebraska: The second of the state's two filing deadlines passed on Monday. Back in February all elected officials running for any office in 2014 were required to file, while Monday's deadline was for everyone else. The primary will be held May 13 and the state has a list of who filed here.
We rounded up who was running for Governor back in February and there have not been any new developments since then. It's the same for Senate: In both contests the only new names to file were people who had already declared their candidacy. Both races will pit numerous Republicans against each other, while only one credible Democrat is running. Daily Kos Elections rates the gubernatorial contest as Likely Republican and the Senate race as Safe Republican.
There are a few new names for downballot statewide offices. In the Attorney General's contest, attorney Doug Peterson and state Sen. Pete Pirsch are joined by former Douglas County GOP chair Brian Buescher and attorney Mike Hilgers in the GOP primary. Two Democrats, Allen Eurek and Janet Stewart, are running here. In the State Auditor's race, Republican state Sen. Charlie Janssen is joined by auditor Larry Anderson in the primary. The winner will face Democratic state Sen. Amanda McGill. State Treasurer and frequent Senate candidate Don Stenberg has a Republican primary foe: the Democrat is former Omaha Public Power District Director Michael O'Hara. Finally, Republican Secretary of State John Gale will only be challenged by a Libertarian.
There aren't any notable new names in the race for any of the state's three House seats. Only NE-02 GOP Rep. Lee Terry faces any serious general election opposition, with state Sen. Brad Ashford running. Daily Kos Elections rates this contest as Likely Republican.
9:12 AM PT: CO-04: With sophomore Rep. Cory Gardner making his unexpected Senate bid official over the weekend, the reward for Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck's obeisance is proving meager indeed. Buck rather infamously dropped down from the Senate contest to run for Gardner's House seat as part of the duo's backroom switcheroo, but he already has plenty of company in the GOP primary for this safely red district.
For starters, state Sen. Scott Renfroe quickly moved from "thinking about it" to actually running, and he's now joined by Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer and former Cranston, Rhode Island Mayor Steve Laffey (who very briefly ran for governor last year). State Reps. Frank McNulty, Tim Dore, and Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff are also considering bids.
9:23 AM PT: CA-35: While it may seem like state Sen. Norma Torres is on a glide path to succeed Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod in Congress, she does have some slight competition from a fellow Democratic elected official, Ontario City Councilman Paul Avila. Avila, however, is not much of a force. He ran in a couple of special elections last year and did terribly, including the race where Torres won election to the state Senate, taking just 3 percent and finishing sixth out of six candidates.
9:28 AM PT: NY-11: New York's Independence Party, a faux political party with an appealing name that simply sells itself out to the highest bidder, has once again endorsed GOP Rep. Mike Grimm for re-election. Let's see if it sticks, though: Last cycle, the IP also gave its line to Grimm but failed to file enough signatures to get him on the ballot. That's the hallmark of a non-serious organization if there ever was one.
9:55 AM PT: AZ-Gov: It looks like a whole lot of Arizona voters are really determined not to make up their minds yet for this fall's open seat race for governor. What little polling we've seen so far has all shown high numbers of undecideds, including a Monday internal from likely Democratic nominee Fred DuVal. PPP doesn't typically follow this pattern, but their new survey is little different from the rest of the pack. DuVal is little known, with a favorability rating of just 13-14, but the same is true of the entire GOP field. Here's how DuVal fares against his Republican opponents, with their favorables in parentheses:
• 33-39 vs. Mesa Mayor Scott Smith (15-13)While the whole race trades in a narrow band, as Wall Street types might say, the matchups on the edges make sense. DuVal's toughest opponent is Smith, who has a reputation as something of a moderate for his stances on immigration and guns. His weakest, meanwhile, is Thomas, who was disbarred in 2012 for some pretty extreme ethics violations.
• 33-37 vs. Secretary of State Ken Bennett (12-24)
• 36-35 vs. state Treasurer Doug Ducey (11-20)
• 35-32 vs. physician John Molina (7-12)
• 36-32 vs. former California U.S. Rep. Frank Riggs (5-13)
• 37-33 vs. former GoDaddy executive Christine Jones (9-15)
• 37-32 vs. state Sen. Al Melvin (4-22)
• 40-35 vs. former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas (13-29)
But what makes for a more electable candidate in a general election usually has the opposite effect in a GOP primary, and vice versa. Luckily for someone like Smith, the field is incredibly jam-packed, and the race for the Republican nomination, as you'd expect, has barely taken shape:
Bennett: 20It's very possible that the ultimate winner could prevail with a relatively small plurality. But regardless of who emerges as the GOP nominee, the general election numbers show that there's a real chance for this contest to become very competitive. Thanks to Arizona's reddish demographics and expected mid-term falloff for Democrats, Daily Kos Elections currently rates this race as Lean Republican. But it's received little national attention so far and could wind up as a serious sleeper.
10:45 AM PT: CT-Gov: Here's yet another Quinnipiac poll where an incumbent governor's job approval ratings are higher than his vote share in head-to-head matchups. In this case, it's Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy of Connecticut, who sports a 48-45 approval score, little changed from his 47-47 mark last June. Here's how he fares against the GOP field (with trendlines in parentheses):
• 42-42 vs. 2010 nominee Tom Foley (40-43)Obviously these numbers aren't good for Malloy, but the problem is that the only other poll all cycle has been from... Quinnipiac. Indeed, Public Policy Polling recently said they "don't have any plans" to go into the state, which means it could be a while before we get any results we can compare these to.
• 44-35 vs. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton (43-36)
• 43-37 vs. state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (44-37)
• 44-34 vs. Mark Lauretti
• 45-34 vs. Toni Boucher
11:07 AM PT: LA-Gov: According to unnamed sources who spoke to news site LaPolitics, wealthy Democratic businessman Jim Bernhard is "strongly considering" a bid for governor next year. Bernhard could tap his considerable bank account to self-fund a campaign against GOP frontrunner David Vitter, but he also declined a challenge Vitter for Senate in 2010, so who knows if he'll follow through this time. And a couple of Democrats have already said they plan to run, including state House Minority Leader John Bel Edwards and Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell.
11:18 AM PT: CA-35: Meanwhile, the National Journal's Scott Bland takes a look at members of Congress who, like Negrete McLeod, have opted to ditch the House in favor of lower-profile elective opportunities. McLeod was pretty explicit in saying that Congress is "just really not the place for me," but she's not the only one. Bland catalogs some other notable examples, both recent and more distant.
11:46 AM PT (David Jarman): Senate: In today's installment of Weird Polls, the Washington Post and ABC are out with a national poll with a generic House ballot of D+1... but also with a strange subsample of just states with a Senate race, which leads to a generic Senate ballot of R+8. (Guess which number the legacy media are choosing to lead with?) A big problem with that, though, leaps out right away: that number leans heavily on Texas. Many of the other biggest states (California, New York, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania) have no Senate race whatsoever.
ABC's writeup admits that Texas comprises 15% of the sample (as well it should, since Texas comprises 16% of the total population of the 34 states with Senate races this year). However, they point out that if you take out Texas, there's still an R+6 generic Senate edge in the remaining states.
That doesn't have as much to do with a huge wave building as it simply does with the fact that Class II is up this year, which is just a (currently) R-leaning group of states regardless of the year's conditions. If you limited the 2012 presidential election to the states with Senate races this year, Mitt Romney would have won by about 2% (with 34.1 million to 32.8 million votes) -- and then that number is further exacerbated by the fact that there are some large-ish states where the Dems haven't been able to scrape up a sacrificial lamb yet (like Tennessee and Alabama). So, while it's kind of a useless poll on its face in terms of predicting actual individual outcomes, it does underscore the simple structural problems the Dems face in the Senate landscape this year before even considering national trends.
12:04 PM PT: MN-Sen: The Senate portion of that new SurveyUSA poll of Minnesota, which had Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton looking solid for re-election, also finds Democratic Sen. Al Franken in good shape, too. Franken leads all of his potential GOP rivals by anywhere from 8 to 14 points:
• 49-41 vs. state Sen. Julianne OrtmanThis is yet another one of those under-polled races; in fact, the only remotely recent survey came last October, from PPP. Those numbers were almost identical to these, though, with very similar spreads and Franken at or kissing 50 in every matchup. The incumbent continues to look well-situated, which is why Daily Kos Elections currently rates this race as Likely Democratic.
• 49-41 vs. St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg
• 50-40 vs. businessman Mike McFadden
• 49-37 vs. state Rep. Jim Abeler
• 50-36 vs. Some Dude Monti Moreno
SUSA didn't ask about the GOP primary, but given how little-known all of these candidates are, there isn't much to see. That's confirmed by a new poll on behalf of Citizens United from The Polling Company. The survey shows Ortman leading with a mere 16 percent, while Abeler and McFadden take 8 apiece and Dahlberg just 4. It's not clear whether Citizens United has actually endorsed Ortman, but the memo is written to be as friendly as possible to her. From the looks of the general election toplines, though, it doesn't seem to matter much which Republican faces Franken.
12:06 PM PT: FL-19: Ex-Rep. Connie Mack ultimately declined a comeback bid after Trey Radel's political career got snowed under, but he's still making his presence felt in the upcoming special election: Mack just endorsed businessman Curt Clawson in the GOP primary.