8:51 AM PT: NYC Comptroller: Eliot Spitzer entered the race for New York City comptroller at the last possible second and without, it seemed, a whole lot of infrastructure in place, leading many people to wonder whether he'd be able to secure the 3,750 signatures he needed from registered Democrats in order to appear on the ballot. Well, it looks like he has, and then some: Just ahead of Thursday night's deadline, Spitzer filed 27,000 petitions with the Board of Elections. (As Azi Paybarah points out, that amounts to an extraordinary 281 per hour over four days, day and night.)
Of course, there's still the issue of quality. Spitzer's opponent, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, could challenge Spitzer's signatures, though obviously he'd need to invalidate a hell of a lot to knock Spitzer below the legal minimum. However, a voter can't sign petitions for two candidates running for the same office, and Stringer submitted 100,000 petitions of his own, the most of any candidate for any office in NYC this year. That means he could try to attack duplicates as well as simply invalid signatures. Spitzer has a pretty big cushion, but Stringer's folks undoubtedly are weighing their options now.
9:22 AM PT: OH-06: Blech. Former state Rep. Jennifer Garrison, whom we last saw in May when she was meeting with DCCC recruiters, has indeed decided to run against GOP Rep. Bob Johnson. Ordinarily, I might say that a conservative Democrat like Garrison could be a good fit for a district like this, which went for Mitt Romney 55-43. But Garrison is so right-wing, and her anti-gay views are so intolerant, that I'd worry she'd depress Democratic enthusiasm.
We also have what looks like a better option, too: state Sen. Lou Gentile, who says he is still considering the race. Garrison's been out of office since 2010, while Gentile, who is tight with ex-Gov. Ted Strickland (he came up in politics as Strickland's body guy), represents more turf in the 6th than Garrison did. Whether Gentile wants to face a contested primary is another question, though. Garrison has already secured a key endorsement, from Mahoning County Commissioner Anthony Traficanti, who was reportedly looking at the race himself. If local and national power brokers are coalescing around Garrison, Gentile might prefer to defer.
9:38 AM PT: OH Ballot: As you may know, Ohio Republicans recently passed a new budget that included a whole host of new restrictions on abortion rights (because those, of course, are very germane to the budgeting process). However, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, the likely Democratic nominee for governor next year, has started talking about an effort to place a measure on the 2014 ballot that would repeal a number of these restrictions. FitzGerald also indicated that groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL might join in (they should!), and they're considering legal challenges to the new laws as well.
9:52 AM PT: I guess not:
10:14 AM PT: Georgia: A federal judge just ordered the state of Georgia to move its primary next year from mid-July to June 3, so that overseas voters have sufficient time to get ballots in case there are any runoffs, as required by federal law. (Runoffs would still take place on Aug. 6.) The ruling, though, applies only to federal elections, so unless the Georgia legislature takes action, the state could wind up with the mess we had here in New York last year, when the state held separate primaries for federal races and state and local races. Throw in the presidential primary and we wound up with an absurd three primaries last year.
There's another wrinkle here as well. Georgia is the only state in the nation which requires runoffs in the event no candidate receives 50 percent in the general election. Traditionally, these have been held in December. (We saw one for GA-Sen in 2008.) But under the judge's new schedule, these runoffs would have to be held in January of 2015, because of course the normal November election date can't be moved. Craziness!
10:19 AM PT: House: Quinnipiac's national polling has kinda been all over the place on the generic congressional ballot this year. Their newest survey puts Democrats up 5 points, 39-34, but at the end of May, the parties were tied at 38 apiece. And the two polls before that had Dems ahead +4 and +8, so it's hard to explain these gyrations.
10:37 AM PT: MA-06: In the previous Digest, we talked about the possibility of the Democratic primary clown car in Massachusetts' 6th Congressional District filling up with a few more floppy shoes and red noses, but could it soon get even more crowded? In a column for the Salem News, Nelson Benton suggests that Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, and state Reps. John Keenan and Steve Walsh could conceivably get in as well. They'd be looking at a field that already includes incumbent Rep. John Tierney and Iraq vet Seth Moulton, and possibly attorney Marisa DeFranco as well.
10:57 AM PT: AZ-02: The NRCC is touting a mid-June poll from OnMessage showing Democratic Rep. Ron Barber ahead of their prized recruit, 2012 nominee Martha McSally, by just a 46-45 margin. While numbers like those might seem a little scary for the incumbent, I actually think a tie game in your opponent's internal heading into a non-presidential year is actually optimistic news. Barber, of course, beat McSally by less than 1 percent last year, but apparently she hasn't yet gained ground on him in spite of expected midterm dropoff for Democrats.
One thing I'm not willing to say, though, is that this is "just a Republican poll" and that reality is likely several points bluer. Last year, OnMessage's final poll pegged the race at an exact 47-47 tie, while a DCCC survey taken at the same time by Grove Insight utterly blew it, claiming Barber had a 54-40 edge. That Grove poll seemed believable at the time, but McSally made the race unexpectedly close, and I expect Barber to be in for the fight of his political life once again.
12:09 PM PT: WATN?: Former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, who resigned in 2004 after acknowledging he was gay and had appointed his lover to a government post he was unqualified for, has accepted a new post heading Jersey City's job creation and training commission. McGreevey, who currently volunteers with drug-addicted inmates, will also work to reintegrate convicts when they are released from prison. Just the other day, in light of all the Weiner/Spitzer brouhaha, McGreevey said he'd "never" make an electoral comeback; given his humble path back to public life, including this latest announcement, I'm inclined to believe him.
12:23 PM PT: MI-Sen: Aaron Blake reports that the NRSC met with a local judge, Kim Small, earlier this week—to talk about Michigan's open seat Senate race, of course. Sitting on the bench of the Oakland County District Court is not exactly a high-profile position, but Small apparently is close to Gov. Rick Snyder and wealthy GOP donors. But what's most interesting about this is that that national Republicans must not think that their current candidate, former SoS Terri Lynn Land, has the chops to defeat Dem Rep. Gary Peters next year, or else why would they be looking for alternatives?
12:32 PM PT: ME-Sen: Speculation about possible replacements for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who just announced that she'd soon step down from her post to run the University of California system, instantly flew into high gear. But here's one especially intriguing tea leaf. Republican Sen. Susan Collins immediate issued a statement praising Napolitano, and noting that she had "served as either Chairman or Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee for several years." Considering the outright hostility with which other Republican senators (such as Alabama's Jeff Sessions) greeted this news, Collins' kind words for Napolitano almost make you wonder if she might be angling for the post herself.
12:40 PM PT: Collins, though, wasn't mentioned in a lengthy Washington Post roundup of possible successors, which mostly includes fairly anonymous government officials. The only current elected official on the list is California AG Kamala Harris, though it's not clear why she might be considered for the job (or even interested in it). Also cited are a couple of blechy former members of Congress: Joe Lieberman and Jane Harman.
12:59 PM PT: Maps: Holy smokes! Working with the estimable Ken Martis, a team of researchers at UCLA led by Jeffrey Lewis has released digital boundary definitions for every congressional district from 1789 to 2012—in other words, every district ever! The data is stored in what's known as the ESRI shapefile format, which means you'll need a so-called GIS software program to read and manipulate them. (There are tons out there, but one free package available for both Mac and Windows is QGIS.) This is simply an amazing resource that will make all kinds of new analyses possible—total nerdvana.
1:34 PM PT: VA-Gov: The Virginia Democratic Party is reportedly spending $275,000 on a new TV ad attacking Republican AG Ken Cuccinelli for refusing to sign a letter in support of reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, even though 47 other state attorneys general (Democrats and Republicans) did so. The funding for the buy comes from the campaign of Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who just transferred $300,000 to the state party, his second big cash infusion this year. (Back in April, he donated $500,000.) It's not exactly clear why McAuliffe isn't just running the ads himself, though.
2:03 PM PT: IN-02: Iraq vet Brendan Mullen, who last year came one point away from beating Republican Jackie Walorski when Indiana's 2nd Congressional District was open, has decided against a rematch. Mullen's performance last year in this 56-42 Romney district was surprising, but he also probably concluded he was unlikely to exceed it an off year, especially now that Walorski's the incumbent. Democrats have a bit of a bench here, but there probably isn't anyone who can really make this race competitive.
2:38 PM PT: 2Q Fundraising:
• GA-Sen: Rep. Jack Kingston (R): $800K raised
• NY-Gov: Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D): $6.2 mil raised (in last six months), $28 mil cash-on-hand
• SD-Sen: Rick Weiland (D): $105K raised (plus $100K loan), $195K cash-on-hand
• DGA: $15 mil raised (in last six months)