• HI-Sen: Hahah! Suck it, Ed Case. Hawaii's veteran Democratic senators, Dan Inouye and the retiring Dan Akaka, were both seen at a recent DC fundraiser for Rep. Mazie Hirono. While neither of the Dans have formally endorsed Hirono, the fact that they're openly helping her raise money is a great sign. I'm also pleased to see that the AFL-CIO and AFSCME hosted the event. I'm really wondering if the conservaDem Case thinks he has a path to victory that doesn't involve bogus polls.
• NE-Sen: Interesting: The Nebraska Democratic Party is going up with a very early $200,000 ad buy on behalf of Sen. Ben Nelson. It's a pretty boring spot, though amusingly it features a collage of Scary Nancy Pelosi and Scary Emanuel Cleaver among the people whom Ben Nelson is Nothing Like. What's weird, though, is that the NEDP decided to release detailed data about how much they're spending, but the version up on YouTube appears to be taped off someone's TV with a camcorder. Whut?
• PA-Sen: Republican Party chair Rob Gleason is still trying to scare up a Senate candidate, and in addition to the usual veteran congressmen on his wishlist (Jim Gerlach and Charlie Dent) is a new name: freshman Rep. Pat Meehan. So what's everyone saying? The usual:
Gerlach "has no plans" to run for the Senate, a campaign consultant on his team told us.
And a spokeswoman for Meehan gave us the standard "he's focused on his district" reply.
Dent did not respond to our request for comment yesterday.
One Republican is moving closer to the race, though: teabaggish ex-state Rep. Sam Rohrer, but try parsing this statement: "My effort to get the pieces I need to have in order to do this, I am pursuing 100 percent." That's "up," I suppose, from being "50-50" back in April. Earlier this year, Rohrer became head of the Pennsylvania chapter of the David Koch front group Americans for Prosperity.
• WA-Sen: Freshman Republican state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, whose name only seemed to emerge as a possible candidate in the last couple of weeks, says he'll probably decide whether he'll challenge Sen. Maria Cantwell by October.
• LA-Gov, LA-AG: Filing close in Louisiana, and as expected, GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal drew pretty much bupkes in the way of opposition. Perhaps the most interesting news is Republican ex-Rep. Joe Cao's pulling the trigger on a challenge to AG Buddy Caldwell, a former Democrat who switched parties earlier this year. (Cao had been making plans at least as far back as April.) Meanwhile, potential redistricting victim Jeff Landry did not make the leap into the AG's race, even though Republican officials had suggested it as an escape hatch.
• MO-Gov: John Danforth will not be riding to the rescue. The 75-year-old former Republican senator (who hasn't held office since 1995) says he won't seek his party's gubernatorial nomination and in fact happily shoved Peter Kinder a couple more steps toward the plank, saying he's "all for" the embattled Lt. Gov. (Interesting side note: The guy everyone is worried will keel-haul Kinder was actually handily dispatched many years ago by Danforth: Jay Nixon was crushed by Danforth in the 1988 senate race, 68-32. Ouch!)
• ND-Gov: Democratic state Sen. Minority Leader Ryan Taylor said on Friday that he's considering a run for governor and is planning what sounds like the proverbial "listening tour." If Taylor gets in, he'd be the first Democrat to do so. Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple (elevated from the LG spot after John Hoeven got elected to the Senate last year) still hasn't made up his mind, but said last week he'd decide this fall.
• CA-46: The Kinde Durkee story is pretty amazing, and if you haven't caught wind of it yet, this is as good a hook as any. Durkee served as treasurer to many, many major California campaigns and is now in jail on charges that she's stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars, perhaps much more. Adding to the pile, Dem Rep. Loretta Sanchez says that he campaign account has been "nearly wiped out" — even though she had some $379K in the bank as of June 30. Durkee's client list was quite stellar, and included Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Reps. Linda Sanchez, Bob Filner, Laura Richardson, and Susan Davis, among others. This won't be the last we hear of this story.
• NC-06: GOP Rep. Howard Coble always winds up on retirement watch lists because of his anonymity and age (now 80). Now he's cranked the speculation way up, since he recently told the Greensboro News & Record that he wouldn't decide whether he'll seek another term until December. Last month, Coble pointed out that he has a bunch of new territory to worry about under the new redistricting map, which could give an up-and-comer an opening in a possible primary even if Coble decided to make another go of it.
• NV-02: The final tally of early voting numbers in Nevada look bad — real bad. Republicans cast 53% of votes while Dems cast just 34%, far out-stripping the GOP's 43-35 registration edge. Obviously, just because a member of a certain party cast a ballot doesn't mean they voted for their party's candidate, but that hardly seems relevant at this point.
• NY-09: I really couldn't even finish watching this silly ad put out by the House Majority PAC (a Democratic super PAC). FWIW, it's backed with a $100K buy, but you've gotta wonder if it's too little, too late — especially if you've seen the latest polling. Click here for our full post on PPP's final-weekend survey, which shows Republican Bob Turner on the verge of a major upset over Democrat David Weprin. Meanwhile, Colin Campbell's got a good round-up of the last-minute goings-on in New York 9th CD, and in general, check out his blog The Brooklyn Politics for other late-breaking developments in this race.
• Special Elections: Johnny Longtorso does some serious yeoman's work this week. When you see him in comments, give him a pat on the back:
Along with Tuesday's special election in NY-09, there are six special elections to the New York Assembly. All six were previously held by Democrats. Here's the rundown:
• AD-23: This seat is in Queens; the candidates are Phillip Golfelder (D/WF/IP), who has worked for the city council and the mayor's office, and Jane Deacy (R/Cons), a retired NYPD officer. This seat went 67-33 for the old incumbent in 2010.
• AD-27: This seat is also in Queens; the candidates are Michael Simanowitz (D/WF/IP), who was the retiring incumbent's chief of staff, Marco Desena (R/Cons), a consultant and adjunct college professor, and Justin Jacobs (New Yorkers for Reform), a nonprofit CEO. The past incumbent was unopposed in 2010.
• AD-54: This seat in Brooklyn has become something of a circus. The former incumbent is Darryl Towns, son of Rep. Ed Towns. Democrats nominated Rafael Espinal, chief of staff for an NYC Council member; he also got the nominations of the Republican and Conservative Parties (along with something called United We Can). The Working Families Party was unhappy with this, I guess, so they nominated Jesus Gonzalez, a community organizer. Not content to make this a bland two-way race, Darryl Towns' sister, Deidra Towns, jumped into the race on the Community First ticket.
• AD-73: This one's in Manhattan. The candidates are both attorneys, Dan Quart (D/WF) and Paul Niehaus (R/IP). The previous incumbent in 2010 won 65-33.
• AD-116: And now we're outside New York City: This district is based in Utica. Candidates here are attorney Anthony Brindisi (D/WF/IP) and Marcy Town Council member Gregory Johnson (R/Cons). The former incumbent won 60-40 here in 2010.
• AD-144: Finally, we have a district in northwest Buffalo and Grand Island. The candidates are attorney Sean Ryan (D/WF), Sean Kipp (R/Cons), and small businessman Gregory Horn (G). The prior incumbent here won 53-27-20 in 2010 (against separate Republican and Conservative Party nominees).
• FL Redistricting: A big, if expected, decision out of Florida: A federal judge rejected Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Corrine Brown's challenge to the state's new "Fair Districts" constitutional amendments, which still leave redistricting in the legislature's hands but try to depoliticize the line-drawing. The unlikely pair — Diaz-Balart is a conservative Cuban-American Republican, Brown a liberal African-American Democrat, united only because they fear the consequences of the amendments — have vowed to appeal, but I'm befuddled as to how they think they have a shot.