Sure, you could be out enjoying a lovely early Spring evening, but with the Wrap as chock-full of political goodness as it is today, why would you want to leave the house?
THE U.S. SENATE
KY-Sen: Primaries Heat Up, and A Fundraising Surprise
The Bluegrass State is getting red-hot (minus five points to the Wrap for a bad color pun), as the Senate primaries on both sides begin to heat up. Democratic candidate and state LG Dan Mongiardo ran into some bad news cycles with the revelation that he accepted a $30,000 per year housing allowance while living with his in-laws. The campaign of his primary opponent, state Attorney General Jack Conway quickly packaged that into an ad which also poked Mongiardo for lavish use of his expense account. Team Mongiardo fired back, albeit with one of the lamest retorts ever. They cited that Mongiardo had bought a farmhouse with the allowance, and that a broken furnace prevented his family from living there. His spokesman then played the unintentionally comical "Conway hates babies" card:
Geveden said the family lived in the house for a time last year but left when cold weather came and an old boiler furnace didn't work.On the GOP side, two relative surprises emerged this week. The first surprise was on the money front, where the Paulista Express appears to have lost a little bit of steam this quarter. Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson ($733K) actually outraised Rand Paul, who hauled in about a hundred thousand dollars less than Grayson. Grayson also released an internal poll, countering all recent public data, showing him with a 39-37 lead over Paul in the GOP primary.
"They had a baby in December," he said. "Did Conway want them to stay in a cold house with a baby?"
THE U.S. HOUSE
AR-01/AR-02/AR-03: New Primary Polls Show Wide-Open Fields
Arkansas media outlet Talk Business has contracted with a firm called The Political Firm to begin a series of three polls in Arkansas in advance of that state's primaries on May 18th. The first wave of polls is in, and they paint the picture of a wide-open field in the three competitive open-seat House primaries. In Marion Berry's 1st district, prosecutor and former state senator Tim Woolridge leads the field, but with only 18% of the vote. State legislator David Cook trails with 11% of the vote, with all other contenders in single digits. In this race, nearly half the field is still undecided. In the neighboring 2nd district (where Dem Vic Snyder is retiring), state House Speaker Robbie Wills trails state senator Joyce Elliott (21-16) on the Democratic side, while the battle between establishment GOP pick and Rove acolyte Tim Griffin and Huckabee-endorsed insurgent candidate Scott Wallace is deadlocked at 20%. Finally, in the 3rd district (likely beyond the reach of Democrats), Rogers Mayor Steve Womack leads a trio of frontrunners on the GOP side with 21%, putting him just ahead of Cecile Bledsoe and Gunnar DeLay.
FL-16: Don't Call It A Comeback! Here Comes Mahoney?
In what might be the worst news for Democrats this weekend, former Congressman Tim Mahoney thinks now might be the ideal time for a political comeback. While he did not officially pull the trigger on a bid, he indicated that he is clearly considering it. Mahoney, whose appalling personal affairs gift-wrapped his seat for Republican Tom Rooney in 2008, served a single term after being the beneficiary of the Mark Foley saga in 2006.
FL-25: Garcia Also Makes A (More Welcome) Comeback Bid
Democratic prospects for picking up a GOP open seat improved markedly yesterday, with the news that Joe Garcia will run for the Democratic nomination in this south Florida seat. Garcia gave GOP Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart such a race in 2008 (53-47) that MDB is now abandoning the seat for a safer GOP seat in neighboring FL-21 (where Mario's older brother announced his retirement). Garcia will contend with a fairly strong Republican field, but this takes a seat that was out of play, in all likelihood, and puts it into play.
HI-01: DCCC Drops Poll To Try To Justify Machinations in Hawaii?
Something about this leaves me a little bit cold: not even a week after rumors began to float that the DCCC was going to back conservative Democrat Ed Case over progressive Colleen Hanabusa in the special election in HI-01, the DCCC released a poll showing Case and Republican Charles Djou deadlocked at 32%, with Hanabusa trailing with 27% of the vote. This might be the first time in recorded history that a party committee has released a poll showing their party on the cusp of losing a seat. This would appear to be a less-than-subtle way of trying to convince recalcitrant progressives that going with the Lieberman-admiring Case is the only way to save this seat. Of course, with Hanabusa also within the margin of error, and having (as of 12/31) a nearly two-to-one cash advantage over Case, one might wonder why they are dissuading Hanabusa from the race instead of Case.
PA-12: NRCC Dropping Six Figures on Special Election
In other special election news, the National Republican Congressional Committee (the DCCC's counterweight with the GOP) is dropping nearly a quarter of a million dollars on the special election in John Murtha's old seat. Most of the hefty sum was for media buys, although they also dropped five figures on a poll of the district. This special election, featuring Democrat Mark Critz and Republican Tim Burns, will take place on May 18th. Another report released today by PA2010.com shows that Burns and Critz are almost even on the money front, with Burns having an edge of just fifteen grand (both have over three hundred thousand dollars on hand).
THE GUBERNATORIAL RACES
AZ-Gov: Arpaio Hints At Possible Gov Bid (...Yes, Again)
Apparently, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is ticked off that he hasn't heard his name mentioned in the papers recently, because late in the week he dropped hint #349 that he might be planning a bid for Governor. He flirted with the idea in 2002 and 2006, and is doing so again. He claims that his only reason for not making the jump is that he'd have to resign his post as sheriff in order to do so. But he also claims that, in his late 70s, this would legitimately be his last shot at it.
IL-Gov: Democratic Incumbent Gets Boost From Popular Former GOP Gov
In a sign that the Illinois GOP's moderate wing has no inner discomfort with cutting GOP nominee Bill Brady's legs out from under him, popular former Republican Governor Jim Edgar heaped praise on the tax plan being proposed by Democratic incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn, calling it an act of "courage" and, even further, blasting his own party's nominee (Brady) for being "naive" to say he could balance the budget with no new taxes.
Every Republican's go-to pollster raised an eyebrow or two at the tail end of the week, as they become the first pollster since ever to find New Hampshire Governor John Lynch as vulnerable to defeat. They also look at Missouri, Washington, Colorado, and Illinois, as well, with absolutely nothing terribly shocking in any of them.
CO-Gov: Scott McInnis (R) 48%, John Hickenlooper (D) 42%
CO-Sen: Jane Norton (R) 46%, Sen. Michael Bennet (D) 41%
CO-Sen: Tom Wiens (R) 45%, Sen. Michael Bennet (D) 39%
CO-Sen: Ken Buck (R) 44%, Sen. Michael Bennet (D) 40%
CO-Sen: Jane Norton (R) 49%, Andrew Romanoff (D) 38%
CO-Sen: Tom Wiens (R) 45%, Andrew Romanoff (D) 38%
CO-Sen: Ken Buck (R) 45%, Andrew Romanoff (D) 37%
IL-Gov: Bill Brady (R) 45%, Gov. Pat Quinn (D) 38%
IL-Sen: Mark Kirk (R) 41%, Alexi Giannoulias (D) 37%
MO-Sen: Roy Blunt (R) 48%, Robin Carnahan (D) 42%
NH-Gov: Gov. John Lynch (D) 47%, John Stephen (D) 37%
NH-Sen: Kelly Ayotte (R) 50%, Paul Hodes (R) 35%
NH-Sen: Bill Binnie (R) 49%, Paul Hodes (R) 37%
NH-Sen: Ovide Lamontagne (R) 44%, Paul Hodes (R) 39%
WA-Sen: Sen. Patty Murray (D) 48%, Dino Rossi (R) 46%
WA-Sen: Sen. Patty Murray (D) 45%, Paul Akers (R) 37%
WA-Sen: Sen. Patty Murray (D) 48%, Don Benton (R) 40%
WA-Sen: Sen. Patty Murray (D) 46%, Chris Widener (R) 37%
WA-Sen: Sen. Patty Murray (D) 47%, Clint Didier (R) 37%