8:27 AM PT: Scumbag David Nir wants to know if anyone out there has somehow managed to obtain precinct-level election results for the Nov. 6, 2012 general election for Wilson County, Texas.
9:04 AM PT: NH-02: Freshman Democrat Annie Kuster may have just hit a stroke of luck: After publicly mooting the race last month, former state House Speaker Bill O'Brien says he's filing paperwork to create a campaign committee. O'Brien is widely credited by Democrats and Republicans alike with driving his party off a rightward cliff and helping them to lose the state House last November, just two years after they recaptured it from Democrats in 2010. That commitment to an ultra-radical agenda has probably earned O'Brien a level of fanatic support among movement conservatives that could very well power him to the GOP nomination despite his poor reputation, and I have to imagine Kuster would enjoy drawing contrasts with him.
Meanwhile, writing in Concord Patch, reporter Marc Fortier has a good roundup of the political scene in the rest of the state. For NH-Gov, Chris Sununu, the brother of ex-Sen. John Sununu and an elected member of New Hampshire's unusual Executive Council, has said he's considering a run against Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan. But a host of other names are also percolating, including Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas (who declined a bid last year) and state Sen. Jeb Bradley (same), as well as ex-Rep. Frank Guinta and 2012 candidate Kevin Smith, both of whom have previously expressed some interest.
Fortier adds that Sununu and Guinta are also the most likely candidates to take on Rep. Carol Shea-Porter in NH-01, assuming they don't run for governor. Meanwhile, he pegs Guinta (who seems to be all over the place), Bradley, and ex-Sen. John Sununu as the top possibilities to run against freshman Democrat Jeanne Shaheen for NH-Sen, but no one seems especially eager to take her on.
10:27 AM PT: WATN?: Thugs and criminals! The immortal Dale Peterson has just been arrested—again—this time for allegedly eating a can of cashew nuts while in a Sam's Club, putting it back on the shelf, and walking out without paying. All I have to say is: Cashews? Seriously? That's the worst nut, and everyone knows it. Except, maybe, for thugs and criminals. (If somehow you aren't familiar with the legend of Dale Peterson, click here, then here.)
11:50 AM PT: Boston Mayor: Political life in Boston is about to undergo a major upheaval, as longtime Democratic Mayor Tom Menino, a dominant and powerful fixture in Beantown for twenty years, has just announced that he won't run for another term this year. Menino first was elevated to the post in 1993 when, as city council president, he succeed Ray Flynn, who was nominated as the US ambassador to the Vatican by Bill Clinton. Menino went on to win an unprecedented five terms, making him the longest-serving mayor in Boston history, though his vote tally in his last election was his lowest ever ("only" 57 percent). Now 70 years old, Menino cited his inability to keep up with the standards he set for himself, particularly his 18-hour days, as his chief reasons for wanting to step aside.
The race to succeed Menino will undoubtedly be intensely competitive, especially since this is the first time the mayoralty's been open since 1983 (when Flynn was first elected). City Council John Connolly had actually already announced plans to challenge Menino, so his preparation for what was, until a day ago, a longshot bid now gives him the early edge as the field coalesces. Other possibilities include state Rep. Marty Walsh, and City Councilors Rob Consalvo and Tito Jackson (all Democrats, like Connolly), though that list will undoubtedly grow. A non-partisan primary will take place on Sept. 24, with the top two vote-getters advancing to the Nov. 5 general election.
1:21 PM PT: PA-Gov: A new poll from Global Strategy Group for EMILY's List once again shows that Rep. Allyson Schwartz would start off in a dominant position against unpopular GOP Gov. Tom Corbett. She holds a 50-42 lead in a hypothetical matchup, very similar to what we've seen in other surveys. She also holds a lead in a three-way Democratic primary with Treasurer Rob McCord and businessman Tom Wolf, taking 31 percent, versus 12 for McCord and 7 for Wolf, though obviously there are still a lot of undecided voters.
She also holds a much narrower edge in a kitchen sink ballot test that features nine potential candidates: Schwartz earns 18 percent, with ex-Rep. Joe Sestak at 15, McCord and former state Dept. of Environmental Protection chief Kathleen McGinty at 5, and several others who barely register. McGinty is the only other woman on the radar, so it's notable that EMILY has taken sides here.
1:32 PM PT: Pittsburgh Mayor: A new internal poll from Lake Research for City Councilman Bill Peduto shows him leading the May 21 Democratic primary for Pittsburgh's open mayor's office with 30 percent, while former Auditor General Jack Wagner takes 21 percent and City Controller Michael Lamb is at 12. Keegan Gibson notes that the results are very similar to those from an independent survey from Keystone Analytics earlier this month, which had Peduto at 30, Wagner at 20, and Lamb at 13.
2:07 PM PT: KS-Sen: It looks like GOP Sen. Pat Roberts will avoid a primary challenge from the right this cycle: He just secured endorsements from two of the politicians who would have been among the most likely to give him a real challenge, Rep. Tim Huelskamp and Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Maybe ex-Rep. Todd Tiahrt could give it a go, but Roberts hasn't done too much to earn the ire of movement conservatives, though of course it doesn't take much these days.