• MA-Sen: In the weeks after the end of each quarter, between the close of the fundraising deadline and the date reports are due at the FEC, candidates often provide early glimpses of what their quarterly hauls have been. Usually, I gather links all day and post them in one big batch before I wrap up for the evening, unless there's something out-of-the-ordinary to report—and this definitely counts as out-of-the-ordinary. Democrat Elizabeth Warren just announced that she's raised an astounding $6.9 million in her race against Sen. Scott Brown. That's more than double Brown's already-impressive $3.4 million take this quarter, so, just, wow.
By comparison, Warren scored an amazing $5.7 mil in the final three months of 2011—an incredibly tough act to follow, I might add—which means her momentum is gaining. Brown raised $3.2 mil in the fourth quarter of last year, so while he's no slouch (and has a monster $15 million on hand), the enthusiasm powering Warren's campaign is really a sight to behold. In a separate email, Warren added that Brown "still has $4 million more in the bank than we do," so her campaign must have about $11 mil cash-on-hand. Not too shabby—but I'm sure she'll need every penny.
• CO-03: Sal Pace (D): $280K raised, $520K cash-on-hand
• FL-13: Rep. Vern Buchanan (R): $484K raised, $1.5 mil cash-on-hand
• IA-04: Rep. Steve King (R): $450K raised, $800K cash-on-hand; Christie Vilsack (D): $400K raised, $900K cash-on-hand
• ID-02: Nicole LeFavour (D): $61K raised (in two weeks)
• NJ-09: Rep. Steve Rothman (D): $540K raised, $1.8 mil cash-on-hand; Rep. Bill Pascrell: $510K raised
• NY-18: Sean Maloney (D): $320K raised, $310K cash-on-hand (in two months)
• WV-Gov (3/26/2011 through 3/30/2012): Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D): $1 mil raised, $876K cash-on-hand; Bill Maloney (R): $300K raised, $267K cash-on-hand
• IN-Sen: Two conservative groups are stepping up their assault on GOP Sen. Richard Lugar, the Club for Growth and the National Rifle Association. I've gotta say, for a group as loaded as the Club is, why do their production values suck? The NRA spot is much better. Compare and contrast:
• ME-Sen: A hellofa catch by bfen in comments. From a recent CNN interview of independent ex-Gov. Angus King by Fipp Avlon:
AVLON: Well, Senator Orrin Hatch had this to say yesterday to "Politico," "We're probably going to lose the Maine race," he said, "because Angus King is the most popular politician in Maine. He'll caucus with the Democrats, there's no question about that."Brilliant! Just like Angus King (I-ME)!
Angus, is he right or are you open to caucus with either party or neither party?
KING: Well, he's right in the first half of what he said. I think that was a brilliant insight.
• NE-Sen: I'm pretty unimpressed with the production values of this new ad from the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, attacking Democratic ex-Sen. Bob Kerrey for his various liberal views, but honestly, it probably doesn't matter. The hits on Kerrey come so easily, it doesn't take a lot of effort to dish them out. (You can watch the ad at the link.)
Meanwhile, on the GOP side, state Sen. Deb Fischer is out with a positive introductory spot, but the buy is reportedly for just $25K, and she's been a distant third in Republican primary polling, behind AG Jon Bruning and Treasurer Don Stenberg. (You can also watch Fischer's ad at the link.)
• UT-Sen: FreedomWorks—the Beltway astroturfers piggybacking on the tea party movement—seem to be realizing the tide's not in their favor this year, given their faltering push to defeat Orrin Hatch at the Republican state nominating convention (fast-approaching on April 27). Two recent polls of delegates show Hatch in position to not just survive the convention but possibly win the nomination outright. On top of that, Hatch is sending out apparently-successful mailers lashing himself to favorite son Mitt Romney and linking FreedomWorks to opponent Newt Gingrich, so there may be the sense they're doing more harm than good this year. With that in mind, you can understand why the organization is making an early exit from Utah, apparently marshaling their resources for Indiana's GOP primary instead. (David Jarman)
• OR-Gov, OR-Sen: This is very good news for Oregon Democrats: Former NBA player Chris Dudley, who very nearly won his gubernatorial bid in 2010, is departing the state for California, because his wife is pursuing a business opportunity there. That takes him off the list for 2014, when both Gov. John Kitzhaber (the man he nearly beat last cycle) and freshman Sen. Jeff Merkley will be up for re-election. Kari Chisholm makes the case that Dudley would have been the GOP's strongest candidate against either candidate, and notes that he'd also been talked about as a possible opponent for OR-05 Rep. Kurt Schrader. Now the top Republican name for next cycle will be Rep. Greg Walden (who is unlikely to run), and after that, the bench gets very thin.
• WI-Gov: Two more endorsements from the Democratic establishment for Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, both from guys who had considered running in the gubernatorial recall themselves: ex-Rep. Dave Obey and ex-Rep. Steve Kagen. (Rep. Ron Kind did so last week.) On a conference call, Obey argued that Barrett is the strongest Democratic candidate and vocally pushed back against criticisms of Barrett's record by some unions. Indeed, as Dave Catanese points out, AFSCME acknowledged on Monday that a video which "implied Barrett supported Walker's move to end collective bargaining rights for workers" was "over the top," in the union's own words, and that it had exercised "poor judgment" in promoting it.
Perhaps most interesting, though, are the first two sentences of AFSCME's statement, which is directed to union members & supports: "Thank you for sharing your concerns about AFSCME's decision to make public our disappointment with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett's record. We understand you feel we should speak no ill of any Democratic contender." It certainly sound as though rank-and-file members have communicated their unhappiness to leadership about its attacks on Barrett and perhaps are more interested in seeing a clean primary and a united Democratic front than some of the folks in charge are. That said, AFSCME isn't backing down, saying in the same statement that "we believe it is essential to bring attention to Barrett's record on collective bargaining. Unfortunately, it is not a good record."
As for Falk, she's the first Democrat to hit the airwaves, with a new, largely positive introductory spot. (No word on the size of the buy, but her campaign says it's airing statewide on cable.) I'm really struck by how non-partisan the whole thing is. There's a soft note on how "we added more jobs than any other area" (during her tenure as Dane County Executive), and there's a small jab at the Scott Walker regime, saying "our leaders" have "made decisions in secret and shut the people out." Is government transparency really the strongest-polling issue we've got?
• AZ-08, AZ-02: You know you have an interesting situation on your hands when both Democrats and Republicans are rooting for the same guy to win the GOP nomination. That's the case in Arizona, where Roll Call's Abby Livingston says that most Republicans have rallied around 2010 nominee Jesse Kelly, whom Democrats think is too conservative to be victorious in the general, despite his narrow loss to ex-Rep. Gabby Giffords last cycle. There's an added dimension here, which is that some Republicans are worried that if Kelly loses the AZ-08 special to Democrat Ron Barber in June, he'll be damaged for a second run at Barber (in a slightly bluer AZ-02) in the fall.
Livingston also mentions another interesting fact in her writeup: GOP state Sen. Frank Antenori didn't bother filing a fundraising report with the FEC (pre-primary reports for the special were due last Thursday). Perhaps he's bowing out of the special and instead plans to concentrate on the regular election? Or maybe he's just bailing altogether. Anyhow, here's a roundup of all the reports which did actually get filed:
Ron Barber (D): $549K raised, $85K spent, $464K cash-on-handMeanwhile, Nomiki Konst, described by the Arizona Daily Star as a "former University of Arizona student," says she plans to remain in the race for the November election, even though almost every other Democrat has deferred to Barber. (The only other exception is state Rep. Matt Heinz.) Said Konst: "Ron Barber is a nice man. I respect and admire his dedication to the party and the district. But that does not mean he has the vision, the ideas and the energy to fight for this district, especially for years to come."
Dave Sitton (R): $261K raised, $128K spent, $132K cash-on-hand
Jesse Kelly (R): $210K raised, $180K spent, $49K cash-on-hand
Martha McSally (R): $133K raised, $89K spent, $44K cash-on-hand
• CA-15: While the big guns—Ellen Corbett and Ro Khanna—decided to wait at least one more cycle before taking on veteran Rep. Pete Stark in the Democratic primary, Dublin city councilor Eric Swalwell has forged ahead... and wow has his opposition research team scored an exceptional hit on the incumbent. Swalwell dug up a newspaper ad that Stark ran in 1972, contrasting his youthfulness and vigor to the long tenure of the Democratic incumbent at the time, George Paul Miller. (No relation to current California Rep. George Miller.)
Stark won that race, and has occupied that seat ever since—going on four decades. So Swalwell has reproduced Stark's old ad and paired it with a deliberately similar message of his own, inviting voters to compare his candidacy with Stark's at an upcoming candidate forum. But you really need to click through to see it for yourself. My hat is off to whomever dug this one up out of the deep archives.
• FL-26: After a brief interlude where Democrats had no candidate at all to challenge scandal-plagued GOP Rep. David Rivera, now there's one: businesswoman Gloria Romero Roses, who announced her campaign on Monday (just a few days after her name was first floated). Roses is a political newcomer who has never run for office before, and she also lives well outside the district, in the town of Southwest Ranches near Ft. Lauderdale. (If you zoom in on our Google Map, you'll see she's in the green 23rd, rather than the purple 26th.) At least two other Dems are still looking at the race: former Miami-Dade County mayor Alex Penelas (who has said he's unlikely) and 2010 nominee Joe Garcia (who sounds more interested).
• IL-13: Jerry Clarke, the former chief of staff to suddenly-retiring Tim Johnson (and current CoS for Rep. Randy Hultgren), is the first person to throw his name into the ring to replace Johnson on the ballot. The Quad City Times lists half a dozen other people who've expressed interest, and also gives some helpful details on the selection process, necessitated because the primary has already happened. The 14 local party chairs in the counties in the district will get weighted votes toward picking the nominee, but there's one small problem: New chairs won't be elected until April 18, so it isn't even clear yet who'll be doing the picking. (Johnson can't officially withdraw from the ballot until April 17, either, so that gives Clarke and any other entrants time to "campaign" for the spot.) (David Jarman)
• IL-16: Late on Friday, word came out that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor got in bed with the Campaign for Primary Accountability to help defeat a member of his own caucus, Rep. Don Manzullo. As we noted, though, the CPA has targeted many Republican incumbents, but Cantor claims his donation to the super PAC was earmarked specifically to take out Manzullo.
But there's a big problem with that: The CPA's co-founders, Leo Linbeck and Eric O'Keefe, said in a subsequent CNN interview that there was no such agreement. That means Cantor's donation could, of course, have been used to go after any member of the GOP caucus. I have a feeling Cantor won't be making any more contributions to the group any time soon, but regardless, this won't help him placate furious fellow Republicans.
While we're on the topic, Linbeck and O'Keefe's talk with CNN's Fipp Avlon is actually pretty interesting in general. While I still think the CPA's goals are screwy, the two men do explain what they're up to and how they make the decisions they do. (It's a lengthy transcript, so you'll want to Ctrl-F for "Cantor.") O'Keefe, it turns out, was involved with the old term limits movement, but calls the CPA's approach "better than term limits" because it's not "one-size-fits-all." And Linbeck even addresses the unusual (and unsuccessful) choice to support Dennis Kucinich over Marcy Kaptur in the Democratic primary in OH-09. Worth a read.
• MI-03: Former state Rep. Steve Pestka, who is seeking the Democratic nod to take on GOP freshman Justin Amash, just received a major endorsement: The United Auto Workers, a very big presence in Michigan, have given him their backing. (And I suspect that the rejuvenation of the auto industry has made the UAW an even more important player these days.) Pestka faces activist Trevor Thomas in the Democratic primary.
• MN-08: Duluth city councilor Jeff Anderson is out with an internal poll, and while it doesn't show him in the lead, it shows a three-way tossup, which seems like progress for him, as he's seemed like something of a third wheel in the Dem primary contest, which also includes ex-state Sen. (and '10 MN-06 nominee) Tarryl Clark and long-ago ex-Rep. Rick Nolan. Anderson's poll, from Lincoln Park Strategies, finds Nolan at 19, with Clark and Anderson both at 16. That's a little more helpful than the internal released by Clark last week, which hinted at a three-way tie but didn't include full toplines. (David Jarman)
• MO-04: When a backbench GOP Rep. from a dark-red district goes full birther, it doesn't usually rise to the level of inclusion in the Daily Digest; it's just a matter of singing from the expected hymnal. But freshman Vicky Hartzler's plunge down the rabbit hole at a town hall last week is worth a mention, because she has a legit Dem opponent: Teresa Hensley, prosecuting attorney for Cass County in Kansas City's suburbs. It's still a difficult district, but it was represented by a Dem, Ike Skelton, for decades prior to Hartzler, and now Hensley has a good fundraising angle dropped in her lap. (David Jarman)
• NE-02: Republicans are determined not to let Barack Obama win an electoral vote in Nebraska again—and determined to keep GOP Rep. Lee Terry safe—so it's not surprised they're up to some dirty tricks. Dave Phipps, the Republican appointed to run elections for Douglas County (which makes up the bulk of the 2nd District), has closed nearly half the county's polling places, in an effort to make voting more difficult for poorer residents with limited access to transportation. What's more, his office knowingly sent out polling place cards to some 2,000 voters in a low-income Democratic neighborhood which had the wrong voting location listed—even though they knew before the cards went out that they contained errors. It's voter suppression at the highest levels of officialdom.
• NY-06: At least a few observers had wondered if Rep. Joe Crowley, the Queens Democratic chair, was putting his cousin, NYC Councilwoman Liz Crowley, up to a bid so that she might split the white vote with Assemblyman Rory Lancman, giving Assemblywoman Grace Meng a clearer shot at scooping up the district's considerable Asian-American electorate and cruising to victory in the Dem primary. (Joe and his local party organization are backing Meng.) I don't know that voting is really so polarized in this area to even support the theory, but regardless, it seemed to be dashed by the fact that Liz Crowley raised real money in the first quarter—and because, I think, if you truly wanna throw a monkey-wrench into Lancman's plans, you'd find a Jewish male, not a Catholic female, to run a sham campaign.
Well, it may be time to revive this conspiracy theory after all, because it looks like Joe Crowley did indeed find his patsy. Jeffrey Gottlieb—a Board of Elections employee, no less—is now circulating petitions, even though he hasn't even filed with the FEC yet, prompting Lancman to issue a press release blasting Gottlieb's candidacy as a sham. What's more, City & State reports that "Meng backers" tried to recruit another Jewish Dem, Matthew Silverstein, who "did not deny that he had been approached about running" but said he declined to do so. So it definitely feels like some shadiness is afoot here. I would not be surprised to see some petition challenges in the near future.
• NY-08: Looks like the New York Post somehow managed to get Ed Towns' campaign manager on the phone, in the context of a story about local Democratic clubs who have usually backed the incumbent refusing to do so this time. But the narrative is unchanged, because at least one club president said they didn't endorse Towns because he refused to even meet with them. If this is Towns' way of riding off into the sunset, it sure is a weird one.
• NY-19: Another good get for attorney Julian Schreibman, who is hoping to take on GOP freshman Chris Gibson in the fall: He just won the backing of the Working Families Party, which means he'll have their line in November and hopefully their boots on the ground. This should also be helpful in the primary, since Schreibman faces Dutchess County Legislator Joel Tyner for the Democratic nod.
• PA-17: Is attorney Matt Cartwright's message breaking through? That seems to be what his new internal poll (from Thirty-Ninth Street Strategies, a firm we don't seem to have encountered before) is saying. Cartwright now leads Rep. Tim Holden in the Democratic primary by a 42-36 margin, a big change from Holden's 41-25 lead in February. Both men have 51% favorability ratings (though Holden's unfavorables are double that of Cartwright's, 14 to 7), but it's Cartwright who has seen the bigger jump in name rec as the air war has heated up.
• Special Elections: Just one this week, from Johnny Longtorso:
Minnesota SD-20: Open Dem seat. The candidates are State Rep. Lyle Koenen for the DFL, '10 nominee Gregg Kulberg for the Republicans (he got 43% that time), and accountant/farmer Leon Greenslit for the Independence Party. This is a pretty marginal district at only 51-46 Obama.Grab Bag:
• Netroots Nation: I'm very pleased to announce that the Daily Kos Elections crew will be doing a panel at Netroots Nation in Providence, RI this June, on our usual horserace Q&A theme. Come and ask us any question about any race in the nation! (Exact day and time TBA.) If you haven't registered to attend the conference yet, which runs from the 7th through the 10th) you can do so here.
• New Jersey: The Garden State has long been one of the most intractable beasts when it comes to calculating presidential election results by congressional districts, but jeffmd has finally wrestled this ornery bear to the ground. The numbers really show you what a piece of work this new map is from a Republican perspective—remember, the redistricting commission's tiebreaking vote simply chose between Dem and GOP maps, rather than draw something of his own, and he picked Team Red's proposal. In particular, it protects several marginal Republican districts, making them much harder to pick up. (Just ask yourself this: Should a solid blue state like New Jersey have a congressional delegation that's 50% GOP?) In any event, you can best compare the new results to the old with our handy spreadsheet of pres-by-CD numbers for the entire House.
• Voter Suppression: Leave it to the GOP to find a way to hoist themselves on their own voter suppression petards. Several Republican state senators from Lancaster and Lebanon Counties in Pennsylvania are calling into question aspects of the state's newly-passed voter ID law, seeing how it makes it much less likely that some of their most reliably conservative constituents—the Amish—will vote. Voters can obtain special nonphoto voter IDs for religious reasons (the Amish refuse to have their photos taken, in addition to having no need for drivers' licenses), but the senators (both of whom voted for the original bill) are now objecting to the multi-step process and intrusive questionnaires needed to obtain such an ID. (David Jarman)