Beware the Ides of March! And, while you are doing that, take the time to read the Wrap, which actually (and mercifully, from where I sit and type) ducks back under the 10,000 word limit for the first time in weeks....
CA-Sen: Right-Wing Groups Start Crusade to Crush GOP Frontrunner
From the moment he switched from a prospective gubernatorial race to a bid for the U.S. Senate, Tom Campbell has moved to the front of the polls. Clearly, this has the far-right a bit concerned (Campbell has a reputation as a moderate, particularly on social issues). One of their numbers, the folks at NOM (National Organization of Marriage), is taking to the air in order to paint Campbell as insufficiently conservative on the issue of gay marriage.
CO-Sen: PPP Finds Reasonably Open Primaries on Both Sides of Aisle
Both incumbent Democratic Senator Michael Bennet and presumed GOP frontrunner Jane Norton have to be at least a bit concerned about their primaries, if new numbers from PPP are to be believed. Bennet, on the Democratic side, leads former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff by six points (40-34), according to the poll. Meanwhile, Jane Norton clocks in at a thoroughly unimpressive 34%. Her lead over Ken Buck is seventeen points, as he sits at 17%. Buck, however, is somewhat closer to Norton among conservatives, trailing 34-21. They also poll the GOP gubernatorial primary, but the result is so insignificant it does not merit its own spot in the Wrap: Scott McInnis leads 58-8.
NC-Sen: Marshall Poll Shows Big Primary Lead, But High Undecideds
There is something for everyone in a slightly dusty (mid-February) internal poll for Democratic Senate candidate Elaine Marshall, which was recently released by Team Marshall. Marshall's poll shows her with a twenty-six point lead, with 31% of the vote versus 5% for former state legislator Cal Cunningham and 4% for attorney Ken Lewis. Team Marshall will undoubtedly tell you that this means that they have a commanding lead, and neither of their rivals have managed to launch. Ask Team Cunningham and Team Lewis, and they will almost certainly tell you that even in Marshall's own internals, she is not close to sniffing 50% of the vote, despite being a statewide officeholder. Both of these hypothetical analyses are, of course, correct.
PA-Sen: Sometime-GOP Pollster Has Toomey Leading Specter
Here is kind of a peculiar counterweight to the spate of recent polls (by Research 2000 and Quinnipiac) showing Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter leading likely GOP nominee Patrick Toomey. A new poll from Susquehanna Research, a pollster that has worked both for media outlets and GOP candidates in the past, gives Toomey a six point edge (42-36) over Arlen Specter. Interestingly, they did not release a trial heat for a potential Sestak-Toomey showdown.
KY-03: Yarmuth Has 4-Point Edge Among Committed Voters, Says SUSA
Here is a rather strange poll, but one worth reporting, as it concerns a member of the Democratic class of 2006. SurveyUSA, who has been unusually quiet this election season, comes out of hiding to poll the Louisville Mayoral race, and tosses in a strangely-worded question about the electoral viability of John Yarmuth, who has represented KY-03 since 2007. 27% of voters will vote for Yarmuth no matter what, while 23% of voters will vote against him, no matter what. Most, perhaps not surprisingly, are waiting to see who the GOP candidate is. A quintet of Republicans, although arguably none of them are "first-tier" candidates, are vying for the nod.
PA-07: Could Cleared GOP Field Actually Be Blessing in Disguise?
Most folks, myself included, figured that Patrick Meehan, the likely GOP nominee in the open-seat race in the Pennsylvania 7th, caught a break when former TV news anchor Dawn Stensland decided not to make a bid for the GOP nomination. As it turns out, Stensland might have only ruled out a Republican bid for Congress. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Stensland has not ruled out an Independent bid for Congress. Stensland, who would bring name recognition into the contest, could cause a mountain of troubles for Meehan were she to run to his right (hat tip: DC's Political Report).
MI-Gov: Bernero Locks Down AFL-CIO Endorsement
It is hard not to consider Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero the Democratic frontrunner after the news that the AFL-CIO had decided to endorse his candidacy. He had already locked down the UAW. Bernero's leading Democratic challenger is state House Speaker Andy Dillon. The GOP has a multicandidate field, although it seems as if Congressman Peter Hoekstra has moved into the front of that field.
NM-Gov: Is Another Presumptive GOP Frontrunner In Deep Trouble?
Another day, another supposed top-tier Republican candidate looking at the painful prospect of political elimination within his own party. In something of a surprise, Pete Domenici Jr. finished way back in the pack at the state's GOP Convention this weekend. Not only did Domenici falter badly in finishing dead last among the five candidates, he logged a pathetic 4.6% of the vote. His team is dismissing it as a meaningless straw poll, but it has a practical impact--because Domenici scored less than 20% of the convention vote, he must gain twice as many signatures to qualify for the ballot than the two candidates who met that standard--Allan Weh and Susana Martinez.
PA-Gov: Susquehanna Poll--Corbett Leads By Double Digits
The same Susquehanna poll that had Specter trailing Toomey on the Senate side also, perhaps not surprisingly, has the presumed GOP nominee up big on the gubernatorial side. Most polls, to be fair, have Republican state AG Tom Corbett leading his Democratic challengers. Susquehanna, however, has the margins a touch wider, with Corbett up 37-26 over Democratic state Auditor Jack Wagner, and up fifteen (39-24) on Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato.