• MA-Sen: I've been wondering what Stephen Lynch's path to victory might look like for a long time—in fact, since before he even got into the race. Fairly predictably, though, the conservative Lynch has trailed Ed Markey in every poll, sports poor favorability ratings among Democratic primary voters, and since he's well to the electorate's right on most issues, he doesn't have much room to maneuver. (If he goes negative, he'll face much more serious blowback over his own record.)
So, at last, Lynch has settled on a plan: go full-on douche and run against "the establishment," while throwing a slam at the woman Massachusetts just elected as their new senator last year. Here we go:
Lynch, in a Herald interview, accused party bigwigs in Washington of going so far as to sabotage his fundraising to make sure his rival and fellow congressman Edward J. Markey is the Democratic nominee.They haven't been fair! Man. If I ever see a politician successfully kvetch his way into office, I'll be seriously impressed. But I think voters, if they're even listening, probably find these kinds of complaints to be utterly whiny, and find it hard to respect candidates who make them. And Lynch is really letting his pique get the better of him:
"No, they haven't been fair," Lynch said. "They've basically said, 'Markey's our guy, don't give to Lynch.' "
The South Boston Democrat and former ironworker even got in a little dig at the woman who defeated Brown — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren — telling the Herald that he would be the only U.S. senator who has "had to work for a living."Let's see. Warren is very popular among Massachusetts Dems, most of whom aren't going to respond well to slurs of higher education born out of Nixonian resentment. (I mean, hell, Lynch himself went to law school.) This doesn't seem like a successful play to me, but then again, Lynch's playbook was always pretty threadbare to begin with.
Asked about Warren, a fellow Democrat, Lynch responded: "Well, Harvard professor. That's work."
And while Lynch is busy denigrating one of the most prominent women in the state, Markey's out with a new ad (his third of the race) touting his support for "equal pay for equal work" legislation, his efforts to make insurance companies cover mammograms and birth control, and his pro-choice credentials, including endorsements from NARAL and Planned Parenthood. There's no word on the size of the buy, though.
• FL-Sen: And then there were six. Florida Sen. Bill Nelson just became the latest high-profile politician to change his mind about same-sex marriage, saying "if The Lord made homosexuals as well as heterosexuals, why should I discriminate against their civil marriage? I shouldn't, and I won't." That leaves a mere half dozen Democratic senators who haven't yet announced their support for marriage equality: Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp, Mary Landrieu, Joe Donnelly, Mark Pryor, and Tim Johnson. If you're interested, the Huffington Post has gathered each of these senators' most recent statements on the issue; as you can see, four have switched sides in little over a week.
• GA-Sen: As Democrats wait to see if Rep. John Barrow will take the plunge for Georgia's open Senate seat, Jim Galloway mentions a brand new name: Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, who for four terms held this very seat before retiring in 1996. Nunn is CEO of the non-profit Points of Light, a volunteer service organization; she hasn't run for office before, but obviously her family name would open doors. Local reporter Lori Geary says that Nunn is indeed considering a run.
• LA-Sen: In a major stroke of good fortune for Rep. Bill Cassidy, who just announced his own bid for Senate the other day, fellow Rep. John Fleming will not follow suit. Indeed, Fleming specifically cited Cassidy's entry as a key reason for not wanting to run himself, saying that defeating Dem Sen. Mary Landrieu is of overriding importance. (Fleming didn't exactly appear to endorse Cassidy, though.) Fleming may be playing the mensch here, or he may just not have believed his own internal polling that he said showed him a path to victory over Cassidy. As I said at the time, though, it seems like he was trying to "psych himself up" to take on Cassidy; instead, he's psyched himself out.
Now the question is whether other Republicans will follow suit and keep the field clear for Cassidy, who was always the establishment choice. There are still several other folks out there who are weighing the race, and some of them are most decidedly not team players. In particular, I'm thinking of ex-Rep. Jeff Landry, who has a major chip on his shoulder after getting squeezed out of Congress thanks to redistricting last year, when Louisiana lost a House seat. He certainly had the bona fides to run as the conservative true believer, and he could cause problems for Cassidy if he does.
• WV-Sen: GOP Rep. Shelley Moore Capito says she raised $915,000 in her first full quarter running for Senate. That's not a bad haul for such a small state, particularly since she's the only candidate in this open-seat race, and she will also reportedly show $2.4 million in cash-on-hand. But she's actually been in the race since the end of November and kinda took it easy in the final month of last year, pulling in less than $19K (PDF) in December.
• CA-Gov: Republican ex-LG Abel Maldonado, just a month after saying he was considering a run for governor, has formed a campaign committee, a move that lets him start raising money. I still don't know how he thinks he can win in solidly blue California, though.
• PA-Gov: Wealthy businessman Tom Knox has decided he won't join the Democratic primary for governor, though he may take another stab at the Philadelphia mayor's race in 2015. (He tried once before in 2007, spending over $10 million of his own money.) Don't confuse him with Tom Wolf, another businessman who did just decide to enter the gubernatorial field earlier this week. (And don't confuse him with Tom Wolfe, the guy who wrote Bonfire of the Vanities and likes to wear all-white suits.)
• CA-21: The Hotline's Scott Bland reports that the upcoming special election in California's 16th Senate District is interfering with DCCC recruitment efforts in the 21st Congressional District, which has very similar lines and is held by freshman GOP Rep. David Valadao. Because it's an open seat and somewhat bluer than CA-21, SD-16 is attracting a lot of attention from Dems who might otherwise be interested in running for Congress.
But I think this is hardly catastrophic. The primary is scheduled for May 21, and the expected runoff will take place July 23. While Democrats would surely like to get started against Valadao as soon as possible, most potential candidate will become "available" quite soon. Of course, there's a question as to whether anyone will want to run back-to-back races, but the congressional seat holds a major enticement: Unlike the state Senate, there are no term limits.
• CO-06: Democrat Andrew Romanoff says he raised over $500K in the first quarter of the year. That's a pretty impressive sum, especially considering he only began his efforts at the start of February. Romanoff is running against GOP Rep. Mike Coffman.
• MA-05: Though Ed Markey's seat hasn't actually become vacant yet—first, he has to win the special election for Senate—the three Democrats who (so far) have already gotten in the race to succeed him have now released their first quarter fundraising numbers. State Sen. Catherine Clark led the way with $261,000, while state Sen. Will Brownsberger was close behind with $255,000, while state Rep. Carl Sciortino took in $155,000. Local reporter David Bernstein says, though, that Sciortino had more donors (over 750) than either Clark or Brownsberger.
• PA-08: Democrats have landed their first challenger to GOP Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, former U.S. Army Ranger Kevin Strouse. Strouse hasn't run for office before, but that's because he's only 33 years old and has spent the last decade doing three tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, followed by a turn at the CIA. As Keegan Gibson notes, that makes his bio a bit similar to that of ex-Rep. Patrick Murphy, the last Democrat to defeat Fitzpatrick. But this'll be a tough nut to crack, as Murphy's win came during the 2006 wave, and the Philadelphia suburbs have proven to be stubbornly Republican on the congressional level, even while tilting to Obama.
Gibson also plays Great Mentioner and suggests some other possible Democratic contenders, including County Commissioner Diane Marseglia, State Rep. Steve Santarsiero, and Doylestown Borough Council President Det Ansinn. He drops Murphy's name, too, but I can't imagine him seeking a comeback this cycle.
• Pittsburgh Mayor: There's been a big turnaround in the open-seat mayoral race in the Steel City, ever since City Controller Michael Lamb and City Council President Darlene Harris both dropped out and endorsed former state Auditor Jack Wagner. That turned it into a two-man contest between Wagner and City Councilman Bill Peduto, who led Wagner 30 to 20 in a Keystone Analytics poll just a month ago. Now Wagner has stormed into first place in a brand new Keystone survey, hoovering up literally all of the vote that had been going to Lamb (13 percent) and Harris (5 percent). That's taken him up to 38, while Peduto remains stuck at 30. You almost never see such a perfect transfer of support, but it's hard to describe the results any other way, so it certainly looks like Wagner has all the momentum right now.
• DCCC: The DCCC is sure to have a very good month of April. On Wednesday, President Obama headlined the first of eight sets of fundraisers he's agreed to do for the committee, bringing in $3.3 million at a pair of events in San Francisco. At one of them, he made sure to give a shout-out to Rep. Mike Honda, who is being challenged by former Commerce Department official (and fellow Democrat) Ro Khanna. Obama previously endorsed Honda, but notably, Khanna's campaign is being run by several Obama veterans.