Let's jump right into a very busy day on the campaign trail. It's time for the Wrap on this, the 278th birthday for the First President of the United States, George Washington...
IN-Sen: Hill Expressing Some Interest In Senate Opening
In what could create an uncomfortable and awkward decision for Indiana Democrats, 9th district Congressman Baron Hill has spoken up, saying he might want his name considered for the Senate opening created by the retirement of two-term Senator Evan Bayh. Hill is looking at a much more perilous House election than neighbor Brad Ellsworth, and that might be serving as an incentive in this case.
IA-Sen: Ras Says Grassley Leads, But Not Overwhelmingly
Here is a headline that one will not see often in the campaign news cycle--Rasmussen has the Iowa Senate race closer than Research 2000. Indeed, incumbent Republican Charles Grassley still has a solid lead over Democrat Roxanne Conlin, but he was held to just 53% of the vote against Conlin (53-36). Remember, Grassley has never been under 60% in any of his electoral bids since his first run for the Senate in 1980. In a sign of Grassley's relative weakness this time around, he only gets 55-56% against two lesser-known Democratic candidates, as well.
NV-Sen: Reid Might Enjoy The Tea Party, According to Poll
A new survey by GOP pollsters Public Opinion Strategies confirm some of the worst fears of Republicans in Nevada. Remember, of course, that the "Tea Party" qualified for the ballot in Nevada a few weeks back. P.O.S. runs the numbers, and finds that when Tea Partier Jon Ashjian is added to the mix, Harry Reid is more competitive than he has been in months. Former state party chair Sue Lowden leads the GOP primary field, and has the biggest lead over Reid. That lead, however, is down to just five points (42-37), with Ashjian locking down 9% of the vote. Danny Tarkanian's lead evaporates almost entirely (40-39), with Ashjian at 11%.
AZ-08: GOP Senator Confirms Challenge To Democrat Rep. Giffords
It had long been in the planning stages, but now it is official--Republican state Senator Jonathan Paton resigned from the legislature today, in order to challenge sophomore Democrat Gabby Giffords for her seat in the Congress. Paton needed to make a move, as businessman Jesse Kelly had already raised over a quarter of a million dollars for his bid in the 8th, which is a classic swing district centered in the Tucson suburbs and southeastern Arizona.
FL-10/MI-14/MI-15: Three Octogenarians In The 112th Congress?
You read that right: in the past several days, three Congressman who at the end of this term will have a combined 141 years of Congressional experience. In Florida, Bill Young, who turns 80 at the end of this year, and has been in the House since 1971, announced that he will seek his 21st term in the House. It was a good weekend for such statements, as Young was joined by Michigan Congressman John Conyers (80 years of age, elected for the first time in 1964) also confirmed that he will seek re-election.
While these young whippersnappers made their plans known, they were joined by no less than the Dean of the House, John Dingell (83 years of age and in the House since 1955) who also announced that he would seek re-election.
OH-06/OH-16/OH-17: Traficant Still Mulling '10 Bid
He can no longer do it as either a Republican or a Democrat (the filing deadline for major party candidates lapsed last week), but that doesn't mean that disgraced former Congressman Jim Traficant is out of the 2010 electoral sweepstakes. Traficant is now saying that if he runs, he will do so as an Independent (this buys him an additional two months--the deadline for Indie candidacies is May 3rd). For what it's worth, he is still not saying in which district he would run.
PA-12: Lots Of Movement in Murtha Special Election
A huge amount of movement since the last Wrap in the May 18th special election to replace the late John Murtha in southwestern Pennsylvania. Several candidates had tentatively entered the fray, promising to defer to Murtha's widow, Joyce Murtha. As of today, that doesn't appear to be an issue--Joyce Murtha is a no-go, releasing a statement this afternoon. Two other candidates went the other way, making noises that they are heading into the race. They are Murtha district director Mark Critz and Cambria County Controller Ed Cernic, Jr.
GA-Gov: Ras Gives GOP Lead, But Barnes Within Striking Distance
Rasmussen also lands in the Peach State this week, and they find former Democratic Governor Roy Barnes within single digits of any of the leading candidates for the Republican nomination. Even though she is a longshot right now in the GOP primary, Secretary of State Karen Handel does the best against Barnes, leading him by nine points (45-36). Republicans John Oxendine (45-37) and Nathan Deal (43-37) do incrementally worse when paired with the likely Democratic nominee, who served as the state's governor from 1999-2003.
IA-Gov: Branstad Leads Culver, According to Rasmussen
Rasmussen's new numbers in the Hawkeye State (already addressed vis-a-vis the Senate race earlier in the Wrap) confirm virtually every pollster on the gubernatorial matchup between incumbent Democrat Chet Culver and Republican Terry Branstad, who held the office for a decade-and-a-half. Indeed, Ras shows a lead identical to last weeks R2K poll in the state--sixteen points for Branstad (53-37). Ras being Ras, however, they do have one result a little different than the others: they have conservative alternative candidate Bob Vander Platts with a pretty solid lead (46-40) over Culver. Recent polls have either had Vander Platts up or down by three points or less.
In other Iowa Guv news, a quick headline, though not a critical one, that the Wrap missed last week--longshot Republican Chris Rants dropped out of the race late last week. The one potential loser in that could be Branstad. As has been reported here before, there is at least some discontent with Branstad on the right, owing to his days as Governor. Clearly, he benefits from a large primary field. The smaller the field gets, the fewer ways an anti-Branstad vote gets split.
NE-Gov: Democrats Finally Get Candidate in Gubernatorial Race
Given the recent history of statewide politics in the Cornhusker State, it is pretty tough to win as a Democrat unless your name is Ben Nelson. An Omaha-area businessman, Mark Lakers, is looking to change that. Lakers became the first Democrat of note to challenge the re-election of Nebraska's GOP Governor Dave Heineman. Heineman, who was elected in 2006 with 73% of the vote, is a strong favorite for re-election.
NV-Gov: GOP Poll Shows Tight GOP Primary, Wide Split on General
The same poll out of the Silver State alluded to earlier has to be a cause of significant consternation for the GOP in this race, as well. The poll, done by respectable GOP pollster Glen Bolger, shows that the lead for former federal judge Brian Sandoval over embattled incumbent GOP Governor Jim Gibbons has dropped (PDF File) to just six points. Sandoval is sitting on 38% of the GOP vote, with 32% for Gibbons and 9% for North Las Vegas Mayor Mike Montandon. More intriguing, among those who are certain of their vote, the Sandoval lead drops to a single point. The danger for the GOP? In a general election, Sandoval has a double digit lead over presumptive Democratic nominee Rory Reid (50-34). Gibbons, meanwhile, is down by double digits to Reid (47-36).
NM-Gov: Domenici Leads In First GOP Primary Poll
This won't come as a surprise, seeing how he undoubtedly has the highest name recognition of any of the candidates in the field. That said, Pete Domenici Jr. leads the GOP primary field for Governor in the Land of Enchantment. Undecided is the real leader, since 42.5% of the voters are expressing no preference. Domenici leads with 29%, with Dona Ana County DA Susana Martinez running second with 12% of the vote. The poll was conducted by New Mexico State University, and was conducted before the revelation (of sorts) that Domenici used drugs in college.
NY-Gov: Paterson Continues To Hurt, According to Siena Poll
Was there any good news for Governor Paterson in the latest incarnation of the Siena Poll (PDF)? Well, voters didn't buy the variety of negative rumors about the incumbent. That's the only good news, however, as the poll shows that little has changed in Paterson's electoral fortunes. He continues to trail state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo badly in the Democratic primary (64-22), and he continues to trail likely GOP nominee Rick Lazio in the general (46-39). Meanwhile, Cuomo continues to blast Lazio in a prospective general election match-up (63-26).