• ME-Sen, ME-01, ME-02: I can't do any better than David Jarman's brilliant headline about this new poll from the Maine People's Resource Center: "Angus King Begins March to Coronation." Of course, there's still seven months until election day—meaning King may yet face obstacles along his journey to the Senate—but Maine's independent former governor has a dominant 56-22 lead over Republican Secretary of State Charlie Summers, with Democrat Matt Dunlap (a former SoS) all the way back at 12. As an added bonus, the MPRC also tested the state's two House contests, and find both Dem Reps. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud leading their respective races. There are many more numbers available at the link, including Senate primary results for both parties and our full analysis of the whole poll. There's just too much to summarize here, so I'd encourage you to click through.
• AR-04: Q. Byrum Hurst (D): $100K raised (in one month)
• CA-30: Rep. Brad Sherman (D): $4 mil cash-on-hand (that means over $320K raised, since he had $3.68 mil CoH at the end of 4Q)
• FL-22: Kristin Jacobs (D): $200K (in seven weeks)
• MA-Sen: Sen. Scott Brown (R): $3.4 mil raised, $15 mil cash-on-hand
• RI-Sen: Barry Hinckley (R): $300K raised
• WA-06: Derek Kilmer (D): $358K raised (since March 5)
• MT-Sen: Dem Sen. Jon Tester is out with a new pair of ads, both of which tout his support for and work on behalf of military veterans. (You can watch them at the link.) Tester's campaign says the buy is for $60K.
• OH-Sen: This story is almost perfect: Republican state Treasurer Josh Mandel, just 34 years old and often criticized for his own inexperience, tapped as his office's debt management director a 26-year-old who just happened to have worked on his campaign—and had virtually no experience with bonds. How do we know this? Because this fellow, one Joe Aquilino, was sent off last year to a beginner's seminar titled the "Fundamentals of Municipal Bond Law," aimed at helping attendees "learn the building blocks of municipal finance and gain or strengthen basic knowledge of state, tax and securities law issues in municipal finance." Oh, and what's Aquilino doing now? He's back working for Mandel's Senate campaign. And he's far from the only young patronage hire Mandel's been accused of making—but he may be the most embarrassing.
• UT-Sen: Here's another survey attempting the difficult task of polling likely Republican delegates to the state's nominating convention later this month (following an internal from the Orrin Hatch camp last week). This one, from NSON Opinion Research, isn't quite as optimistic for Hatch (whose own poll had him at 62% to Dan Liljenquist's 16%), finding him at 50% to 19% for Liljenquist. The softer performance is a little surprising, considering the poll was paid for by the super PAC Strong Utah, which is backing Hatch.
Of course, it's still a dominant performance, but 60% is the key number here. If Hatch can lock down 60% at the convention, he can proceed straight to the nomination (and let's be honest, in Utah, another six-year term); if no one breaks that threshold, then the top two convention finishers face off in the GOP primary. (Remember, though, the convention tends to be comprised of right-wing diehards, so Hatch would probably fare better in a straight-up primary. Sen. Bob Bennett's hope in 2010 was to claw his way into a primary, but he couldn't even make it out of the convention.) (David Jarman)
• WI-Sen: Super-wealthy Republican businessman Eric Hovde is out with his first ad of the primary, a spot in which he rails against the national debt while climbing some kind of goofy red staircase that's supposed to resemble a graph showing how our debt has grown over the years. (You can watch it at the link.) Hovde is definitely trying to make a splash in a crowded field: The Hotline's Sean Sullivan says the buy is for $400K.
• NJ-Gov: Rutgers-Eagleton has a new New Jersey gubernatorial poll out, though it's approvals only, and showing little change from their previous one, with Chris Christie at 46 favorable, 42 unfavorable. Ordinarily, we wouldn't mention that kind of blip, but this poll included some interesting qualitative findings too, subtly suggesting some of the bloom is wearing off Christie's rose even if it's not showing up in the toplines (yet). They tested whether various phrases apply to Christie, and the biggest gainer was "arrogant" (with 56% agreeing, up 15% from their poll in October). "Self-centered," "bully," and "stubborn" were also big gainers; the only positive trait that gained significantly was "independent." (David Jarman)
• WI-Gov: Rachel Weiner and Aaron Blake over at The Fix have a good post explaining why many labor unions are hostile to Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, who recently declared he'd run in the recall election against GOP Gov. Scott Walker. These unions are backing former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk instead, and they haven't shied away from attacking Barrett. (I encourage you to click through for details on their specific beefs with him.) What worries me, of course, is that we'll go through a nasty, destructive primary and then have just one month to turn around and train our fire on Walker, possibly with a damaged nominee. I also have to wonder how much muscle labor will put into the recall effort if Barrett does wind up getting the nod, as the polling suggests he will.
• IL-16: It's ancient news that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor endorsed freshman Rep. Adam Kinzinger and donated to his campaign, and that a super PAC directed by a former Cantor aide spent $52K on radio ads on behalf of Kinzinger, all in an effort to defeat fellow GOP Rep. Don Manzullo. (Kinzinger was wildly successful, turning what some predicted would be a "photo finish" into a 12-point thrashing.)
But now Roll Call's John Stanton offers a new—and rather shocking—piece of information about Cantor's actions in the race, and it involves that oddest of oddball organizations, the Campaign for Primary Accountability. The CPA, as you know, loves to targets incumbents of either party just for the sin of being an incumbent, but they’ve also thrown down in some member-vs.-member races, which makes you wonder, how do they decide who is the greater sinner? In IL-16, they sided with Kinzinger, who I suppose had less penance to do since he was in his first term, unlike Manzullo, who was first elected when the Super Nintendo was still the dominant game console in North America.
So what does Eric Cantor have to do with the CPA? It turns out his own personal PAC (the embarrassingly-acronymed ERICPAC) donated $25,000 to the CPA at the behest of Kinzinger's fellow Illinois Rep., Aaron Schock. (Schock himself also donated the same amount.) Cantor claims that his contribution was earmarked solely for the Kinzinger-Manzullo race—but I think he's just earned himself a world of pain.
Cantor was already in trouble for taking sides against a member of his own caucus, but the CPA has aired ads going after numerous Republican congressmen. So Cantor can protest that his donation was siloed, but how should Jo Bonner feel? Spencer Bachus? Jean Schmidt? Tim Murphy? Judy Biggert? All of these folks have been targeted by the CPA, and Schmidt even managed to loser her primary. The fact that Cantor would get in bed with an organization hell-bent on sending GOP representatives into early retirement will surely piss off his fellow Republicans even more. And that, my friends, is a very good thing.
• MD-06: Unless someone absolutely unacceptable wins a primary, I pretty much always expect losers to come around and support the winner, even when it stings. So I'm glad to see that state Sen. Rob Garagiola, who was defeated by John Delaney for the Democratic nomination on Tuesday night, has tweeted his support for Delaney, saying: "This seat is too important & could determine whether Democrats are in the Majority." Indeed.
• MN-02: All of a sudden, it looks like we have a rather busy field of Democratic hopefuls looking to take on GOP Rep. John Kline. Dakota County commissioner Kathleen Gaylord announced that she'd run, becoming the third would-be challenger to Kline, along with Northfield City Council member Patrick Ganey and ex-state Rep. Mike Obermueller. What's not clear is whether the nomination will get decided at the Democratic district-wide convention later this month, or whether anyone will forge ahead to a primary if they don't get the nod from delegates. (Obermueller has said he'll abide by the convention results, but it's not clear what Ganey and Gaylord plan to do.)
• MN-08: I find these kinds of polling memos so lame. Former state Sen. Tarryl Clark is only now publicizing a month-old internal from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, and while she touts her strengths (of course), she doesn't even produce a full set of numbers to look at. All she says is that she's in a "3-way tie" in the Democratic primary with ex-Rep. Rick Nolan and Duluth City Council member Jeff Anderson, and that she's at 21%. I guess we can fill in the blanks? But that's just silly—just give us the actual numbers. Perhaps the most bogus part, though, is that she claims her "vote spikes" (to 59%!) after a "simple introduction to Clark's narrative"—but were similar bios offered for the other candidates? The memo doesn't say, and surely it would if they were, no? That makes this kind of free-floating number totally useless and sketch.
• MO-01: It looks like the member-vs.-member Democratic primary between Reps. Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan is heating up: The Missouri AFL-CIO just gave their backing to Clay, as did the St. Louis Labor Council. Eli Yokley of PoliticMO suggests that unions may be acting because they're unhappy with Carnahan's decision to challenge Clay after Carnahan got de-districted by the state's new congressional map.
• NY-08: The Ed Towns campaign just gets weirder and weirder. Local blog City & State reports that the FEC just dinged the Democratic congressman for accepting $14,500 worth of contributions that were over the legal limit from donors who had already maxed out to him. Towns either has to refund the money or provide a convincing explanation by April 19... but it's an open question as to whether he'll even do either. Check this out, from the end of the story:
Reached for comment, Charles Lewis, who is listed on press releases as Towns' campaign contact, told us: "I'm just kind of shying away from the campaign, and focusing on my government responsibilities." He referred the questions to Towns' campaign manager, who did not return a phone call.So Ed Towns' campaign isn't returning calls from Politicker, and it isn't returning calls from City & State—which raises the question: Is there actually an Ed Towns campaign?
• PA-04: The other day, we mentioned that Sen. Pat Toomey's PAC was throwing down for a reported 750-point ad buy on behalf of York County Commissioner Chris Reilly. Now we have the PAC's independent expenditure report, which shows that Toomey is shelling out $119K. Part of that is for production costs, but you can at least get a ballpark sense of what 750 gross ratings points will run you on broadcast TV in the Harrisburg, PA media market.
• PA-10: Republican Rep. Tom Marino is undergoing surgery "to remove small tumors located on his kidney." A "full recovery" is expected. We wish him the best.
• PA-17: This race is just getting really strange. Dem Rep. Tim Holden's newest ad attacking his primary opponent, Matt Cartwright, goes directly at Cartwright for the crime of being rich. I mean, literally just that: The spot's narrator declares, "While Tim Holden was fighting for us, Cartwright was helping himself to a racing yacht, club memberships, a mansion, and a Florida condo." Seriously? Maybe this would fly in a campaign for Chief Commissar of Volgograd Oblast circa 1924, but I don't really know that you can run against someone merely for being wealthy in America today. You can watch it at the link or below:
"I don't think financing is going to be a problem," Mr. Cartwright said. "I've come to the point in my life that either I do it now or I don't do it… I'm 50 years old. I don't get a bang out of buying a new car anymore. I get a bang out of helping people."• RI-02: I highly doubt that veteran Dem Rep. Jim Langevin is vulnerable (at least in the general election), but "hedge fund manager" usually translates as "rich as fuck," which further translates as "serious pain in the ass." That's why I'm taking note of Michael Riley's entry into the race: not because I think Langevin will lose, but because if Riley spends serious money (something he's said he's capable of), Langevin will probably have to run a more aggressive campaign than he'd otherwise like, just to stay on the safe side.
• WA-05: Former Spokane mayor Mary Verner was reportedly in repeat contact with the DCCC about a run against GOP Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, but we've gotten some confirmation (from state party chair Dwight Pelz) that Verner isn't going run. That leaves film production company owner Rich Cowan as the Dems' standard-bearer in this district, which Dems have targeted off-and-on unsuccessfully since Speaker Tom Foley's 1994 defeat. Given that Verner lost her last re-election bid in the city of Spokane (where she'd need to run up her numbers to counteract the dark-red outlying parts of the district), she might not have been that strong an option anyway. (David Jarman)
• WI Recall: As they said they would, Wisconsin Republicans have assembled "fake" Democrats to run in the primaries in all six recall races: for governor, lieutenant governor, and the four state Senate contests. Two ran in last summer's recalls as well: Isaac Weix and Gladys Huber. Weix is "running for" LG this time (and Huber for governor); you may recall that last year, he gave Democrat Shelly Moore a scare in the primary, holding her to a 55-45 margin. (All the other recall primaries were won by the real Dems by 30 points or more.) Weix did so well because a local Republican party leader paid for some 20,000 robocalls on his behalf—a rather disturbingly small number to move the race so much. Democrats hopefully will be on better guard against these shenanigans this time.
• Candidate Filings: The filing deadlines passed in three more states last week, and you can get candidate lists at each link: Colorado (PDF), New Jersey, and Tennessee. But be warned: That Colorado file is definitely incomplete, and it won't be final until the secretary of state certifies the final list on April 27.
• Wisconsin: After another disastrous election night this past Tuesday, Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus has been ordered to step aside from administering the recall elections in May and June by County Executive Dan Vrakas. (Surely you remember what happened last year.) It sounds like this demotion may only be temporary, but with any luck, Nickolaus will lose her own bid for re-election this fall—if she doesn't find votes tucked away under some mattress somewhere.
• FL Redistricting: After a weird and not-particularly-explicable delay, Florida's Republican AG, Pam Bondi, finally forwarded the legislature's new state senate map on to the state supreme court for its automatic review. Oral arguments have been set for April 20, and the court must rule by June 4. If this latest set of lines does not pass muster, then lawmakers don't get another bite at the apple: The court will implement its own map.
• OH Redistricting, OH-Init: Organizers pushing a constitutional amendment that would require Ohio to use an independent redistricting commission have passed an initial hurdle and can start gathering signatures to put the measure on the ballot for this November's elections. The group has until July 4 to collect some 385K signatures. Meanwhile, a separate group which is trying to repeal Ohio's ban on gay marriage also got the go-ahead to proceed, but they don't have to file petitions until next year.