• HI-Sen: In a pretty shocking move, the DSCC smacked down Dem Senate candidate Ed Case for releasing a bogus poll, saying Case was not "being honest." Click the link for the full post at Daily Kos Elections, which lays out all the details. It's really pretty amazing.
• VT-Sen: In some very un-shocking news, PPP finds independent Sen. Bernie Sanders safe for re-election. Click the link for the full set of numbers at Daily Kos Elections.
• IN-Gov: Former state House Speaker John Gregg, who had been running just about the least exploratory "exploratory campaign" ever, made the inevitable move and filed paperwork to designate his campaign "official." (Just FYI, this isn't a distinction that exists at the federal level, but it apparently does in Indiana.) But of course the story doesn't end there, because Gregg hasn't made a "formal announcement" yet. Inevitably, he says, that will come later.
• KY-Gov: This is strange. David Williams' father-in-law Terry Stephens just donated $1 million to the RGA, ostensibly in furtherance of Williams' gubernatorial bid. But while Dems are raising concerns about whether this massive gift also entails illegal coordination between the RGA and the Williams campaign, perhaps the better question is, why the heck didn't Stephens just run some independent expenditures directly on Williams' behalf? Instead, the RGA can now spend that money somewhere less hopeless. You just know the RGA has no interest in using that money on Williams. Hopefully this will lead to some nice recriminations a little further down the line.
• MI-Gov: Efforts to recall GOP Gov. Rick Snyder have fallen short — for now. Organizers needed 800,000 signatures to put a recall on the November ballot but only collected 300,000. However, the fight continues: Signatures need to be collected in a 90-day window, and though the drive began several months ago, almost all of the sigs were gathered in July. That means a strong August and September could be added to the July pile to force a recall in February.
• MS-Gov: As expected, Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant secured the GOP gubernatorial nomination, avoiding a runoff with 59% of the vote. Neither of the top two Democrats cleared the 50% mark, though, so Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree and businessman Bill Luckett (who finished 45-39) will square off again on Aug. 23. (Note: At press time, only 72% of precincts were counted, so final tallies could change.)
• OH-Gov: If there are any former Ted Strickland staffers who feel like committing murder right about now, I will gladly take up a collection for your legal defense fund:
In the first six months of this year, Channel 3 News found that [Gov. John] Kasich took 38 trips on state planes at a cost of more than $53,000. If you add 12 trips by staff, that $53,000 jumps to more than $64,000.
By comparison, Strickland flew 17 times in state planes in all of 2010 at a cost to taxpayers of about $27,000. […]
During the gubernatorial campaign last year, Kasich's own press secretary, Rob Nichols, blasted Strickland for his use of state planes, calling it wasted money. Nichols is quoted as saying "...could the guy (Strickland) do something more arrogant... there needs to be a closer review of whether the plane's cost can even still be justified..."
Channel 3 News asked to speak with Kasich, but Nichols said he spoke for the Governor. He now defends the use of the state plane, saying he and the governor now understand what a valuable tool it is for getting around Ohio quickly.
• AZ-08, AZ-Sen: In the wake of Rep. Gabby Giffords' vote on the debt ceiling bill — her first public appearance since being shot in the head in January — a spokesperson says: "Congresswoman Giffords is focused on her recovery. No decision has been made about 2012." DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz adds, "We're certainly getting her ready to make sure she can run for reelection at the point that they're ready to decide on that." That makes it sound like a Senate run has been ruled out.
• CA-03/CA-07 (?) (PDF): It's not quite clear what Dem Assemblywoman Alyson Huber is up to. She previously said she was looking at a run against GOP Rep. Dan Lungren, but she just filed for CA-03, which now would seem to be Dem John Garamendi's district. Lungren got shuffled over to the 7th, but it may just be that Huber needs to update her FEC paperwork, which she filed the same day the new maps were released (and hence may not have known the new numbers at that time).
• CA-08: GOP Rep. Jerry Lewis hasn't decided where he'll seek re-election yet, and he's grumpy about the new lines. But his most likely destination is the new 8th CD — even though he doesn't live there, most of his current constituents (from the old 41st District) do. However, a fellow Republican, San Bernardino County Commissioner Brad Mitzelfelt, says he'll run if Lewis doesn't.
• CA-21: Freshman Republican Assemblyman David Valadao says he'll run for Congress in the 21st, which Dem Rep. Jim Costa may or may not run in for re-election. If Costa doesn't run here, "speculation" says that state Sen. Michael Rubio could do so for the Ds.
• CA-26: Moorpark City Councilman David Pollack — who appeared in Bad News Bears as a child actor — has filed paperwork to challenge GOP Rep. Elton Gallegly.
• TX-06: Anyone know anything about Joe Chow? Okay, I can tell you three things: He's the former mayor of Addison, TX (pop. 16K); he has one seriously fugly website; and he's apparently challenging Rep. "Smokey" Joe Barton in the GOP primary. Alright, does anyone know anything else about Joe Chow? I did learn one new thing: The town of Addison got shuffled into the redrawn 24th CD. Not a showstopper for Chow, but, ya know.
• WA-01: State Rep. Marko Liias promised a decision by the end of last week and only missed his target by a few days. To no one's surprise, he's getting into the race to replace Dem Rep. Jay Inslee, who is running for governor. Liias joins fellow state Rep. Roger Goodman, ex-state Rep. Laura Ruderman, and state Sen. Steve Hobbs in seeking the Democratic nomination.
• WI Recall: The Journal Sentinel has a good roundup of the most recent batch of campaign finance reports filed in the recall elections.
• Debt Ceiling: As expected, the Senate followed the House and passed the Satan Sandwich as well, by a vote of 74-26. The Democratic "no" votes:
Harkin (IA), Nelson (NE), Lautenberg (NJ), Menendez (NJ), Gillibrand (NY), Merkley (OR), Sanders (VT)
And the Republican "no" votes:
Sessions (AL), Shelby (AL), Rubio (FL), Chambliss (GA), Grassley (IA), Coats (IN), Moran (KS), Paul (KY), Vitter (LA), Ayotte (NH), Heller (NV), Coburn (OK), Inhofe (OK), Toomey (PA), DeMint (SC), Graham (SC), Hatch (UT), Lee (UT), Johnson (WI)
Relatedly, fans of political scientist Keith Poole's VoteView system (home of the DW/Nominate scores, which are the least arbitrary way to rank the relative progressivity of Congresspeople) are no doubt familiar with the confusing array of numbers available at his site, only some of which are important. Case in point is the mysterious "second dimension," which used to be a measure of states' rights/race issues but hasn't really measured anything since the Civil Rights era. But Poole observes that the second dimension is increasingly picking up on something: a sort of insider/outsider split that's developing within each party. And that's on full display with yesterday's debt limit vote, with the "no" vote pulled from the outliers of both parties. As if often the case with this kind of thing, the graph (click through) is worth a thousand words.
• WATN?: Guess who just got released from prison? Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who — after 14 months in jail "for violating probation on felony charges stemming from" his text-message scandal — is headed to Texas to join his family. Says Kilpatrick: "I am expecting a breakthrough for all of us." Whatever that means….
• LA Redistricting: Though there's no direct quote, Ed Anderson of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that Dem state Sen. Lydia Jackson indicates "a lawsuit could still be filed" over the state's new congressional map, which just received preclearance approval from the Department of Justice earlier this week.
7:22 AM PT: I'm on vacation for the next few days, but you'll be in good hands with the rest of the DKE team.