• FL-Sen: Wow. This is not the kind of article Connie Mack needs. The Republican congressman was hailed as a savior candidate for the GOP last fall, when he abruptly reversed course (for a second time) and decided to enter the race against Dem Sen. Bill Nelson after all. But now, this:
Six months later, however, Mack has proven to be neither a potent statewide candidate nor a shoo-in to win the Republican nomination against his little-known rivals.It's getting awfully, awfully late to find someone else, though—and the fact is, there just isn't anyone else! Click through for the full details on Republican discontent with Mack, though, ranging from typical conservative dissatisfaction to scorn for his first TV ad (you know, the one with the monkeys). Said one operative about that spot: "Look on the bright side: At least they can tell their donors they didn't waste any money on production." Hah!
From Washington to Tallahassee to local GOP clubs, GOP professionals and activists are buzzing about Mack's underwhelming campaign and debut as a statewide candidate. Some want another candidate.
CT-Sen: Chris Shays (R): $455K raised; Linda McMahon (R): $172K raisedSenate:
IN-Sen: Rep. Joe Donnelly (D): $312K raised, $861K cash-on-hand
IN-Gov: Rep. Mike Pence (R): $1.8 mil raised, $4.9 mil cash-on-hand; John Gregg (D): $585K raised, $1.5 mil cash-on-hand
MI-Sen: Pete Hoekstra (R): $700K raised
MO-Sen: Rep. Todd Akin (R): $416K raised, $1.4 mil cash-on-hand
MO-Gov: Gov. Jay Nixon (D): $1.7 mil raised, $6 mil cash-on-hand
NM-Sen: Hector Balderas (D): $127K raised, $395K cash-on-hand
NV-Sen: Sen. Dean Heller (R): $1.1 mil raised, $4.3 mil cash-on-hand; Rep. Shelley Berkley (D): $1.4 mil raised, $4.4 mil cash-on-hand
OH-Sen: Josh Mandel (R): $2 mil raised, $5.2 mil cash-on-hand
WI-Sen: Jeff Fitzgerald (R): $25K raised, $74K cash-on-hand
• PA-Sen: There comes a time for a certain level of rich guy—rich enough to seed his campaign, maybe even put in seven figures, but not so rich that full-blown self-funding won't have a material effect on his net worth—when he's got to put up or shut up, and it seems like Steve Welch has decided on the latter. He's already given his campaign a million bucks, but if such donations were trivial for him, then he'd be throwing in more cash. Instead, he's pretty much gone dark, only running a small statewide Fox News cable buy, with nothing on broadcast in Philadelphia.
That's in contrast to Tom Smith, whom we've always called Welch's "fellow rich guy" but is either a lot wealthier or is just less afraid of his kids getting pissed that their inheritance is getting forked over to a bunch of TV stations. According to PoliticsPA, Smith has a final-week buy worth 750 gross ratings points in the Philly area alone. The other Republican of any note (and it ain't much) is Sam Rohrer, and he isn't going on the air at all. So it sure seems like Smith will have the edge heading into election day.
• WI-Sen: The PPP poll of Wisconsin on behalf of Daily Kos (see WI-Gov item below) also contains a Senate portion, which also got incrementally worse for the Dems thanks to the switch from registered to likely voters. Tammy Baldwin trails Tommy Thompson by 2, down from a 1-point lead in February, though she retains small leads over the other two Republicans tested. The LV screen for this summer's recall election, though, may not be the best framework for viewing the Senate race in November, but click the link for our full post with all the numbers at Daily Kos Elections. (David Jarman)
• NC-Gov, NC-LG: Polling of the Democratic gubernatorial primary in North Carolina has been pretty thin so far, heavy on the undecideds. Another poll's out, and "undecided" still leads the way, though it's getting down to a more manageable 42%. The survey, taken on behalf of the State Employees Association of North Carolina by Tulchin Research, finds ex-Rep. Bob Etheridge at 32, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton at 22, and state Rep. Bill Faison at 4. SEANC appears to still be staying neutral in the gubernatorial primary, though the real point of the sample may have been to check out the Lt. Governor primary, where they have backed one candidate, ex-state Rep. and ex-Wake Co. Commissioner Linda Coleman. Coleman leads state Sen. Eric Mansfield 45-36 in that portion. (David Jarman)
• WI-Gov: If you haven't seen it yet, Daily Kos just released a new poll (conducted by PPP) of the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall. Thanks in large part to a switch from a registered voter screen to a likely voter screen, GOP Gov. Scott Walker's numbers have improved. He now leads Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett 50-45 and former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk 50-43. There are many more details at the link (including matchups for the lieutenant governor's race and the Democratic gubernatorial primary), as well as our analysis of all the results.
In other recall-related news, Falk picked up a big endorsement last week, from the Wisconsin AFL-CIO. Meanwhile mayor Tom Barrett just scored the support of Rep. Gwen Moore, who represents Wisconsin's 4th Congressional District.
• AZ-08: A mystery poll of the special election race has surfaced... and it's mysterious because a) it's by a Republican pollster, National Research, and it shows Jesse Kelly doing the best, but neither Kelly's campaign nor the NRCC are taking credit for the poll. And b) it only contains general election numbers, rather than a test of the primary, which is what's most relevant, seeing as how that's on Tuesday. In any event, Kelly (who lost narrowly to Gabby Giffords in '10) beats presumptive Dem nominee Ron Barber 49-45, while Barber ties Martha McSally 42-42, beats Dave Sitton "by 4" and state Sen. Frank Antenori "by 6." I'll also throw in a c), actually. The poll also claims that Kelly's name rec is 93%! I'd be surprised if any politician short of Barack Obama and John McCain had that level of name rec in this district. (David Jarman)
• CA-15: There's a pretty serious backlog of Democrats hoping to run in the deep blue 15th District... in 2014. In addition to former White House official Ro Khanna and state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, there's now a third name in the mix, Pleasanton (pop. 70K) mayor Jennifer Hosterman, who recently set up an FEC committee. This seat is currently held by 80-year-old Dem Rep. Pete Stark, who everyone seems to expect will retire after this term.
But as we've noted, Stark is facing a spirited challenge from one guy who didn't want to wait, Dublin city councilor Eric Swalwell—and given his recent outbursts and wild accusations, it's possible all of these folks planning on bids next cycle will regret taking their time. Of course, Stark has a history of making outrageous statements (the LA Times put together a good highlight reel a few years ago), so in a sense this is all nothing new—but what's different here is that he finally has an opponent who has the chops to make some hay of it. So I wonder: If Swalwell pulls off an upset, will Khanna, Corbett, and Hosterman still forge ahead in two years' time?
• CO-03: Oops. Looks like freshman GOP Rep. Scott Tipton's campaign manager, Michael Fortney, said the quiet part loud:
"With gas prices doubled, the national debt doubled, and unemployment has barely moved, we feel good."So they "feel good" because of continued fallout from the economic meltdown? Fortunately, Tipton's Democratic opponent, state House Minority Leader Sal Pace, is already giving him grief about it—and Tipton, it appears, has gone silent. (Note also that the Colorado Observer, which originally reported the quote, appears to have changed it to a less-damaging version, without making any note that the piece was edited.)
• CT-05: The union endorsements continue to roll in for state House Speaker Chris Donovan, who is seeking the Democratic nod to succeed Rep. Chris Murphy. (Murphy of course is running for Senate.) This time it's the Connecticut Carpenters, who represent some 5,000 members in the state. Donovan's strong record on labor issues has allowed him to almost run the table when it comes to union backing—you can see the very long list of labor groups supporting him at the link.
• MI-07: Hey Professor, why are you being such a tease? After twice deferring his decision on a comeback bid against GOP Rep. Tim Walberg, ex-Rep. Joe Schwarz says he'll make a final decision on the race this week—after classes end at the University of Michigan, where he is an instructor at the Ford School of Public Policy. Incidentally, the last day of classes at UM was yesterday, so hopefully this means that Schwarz has run out of deferral excuses. (Schwarz, you'll recall, represented this district for one term as a Republican, but is being courted to run as a Democrat by the DCCC.) (James L)
• NC-11: Oh my. Oh my. I don't know if you'll have the same reaction to young Ethan Wingfield's ad that I had, but just... oh my. In it, the Republican hopeful (all of 26 years old) stands in front of an easel with multiple hand-drawn depictions of America's financial condition, including one magic-marker illustration of an American flag! Wingfield looks like a junior high student delivering a not-particularly-impressive presentation to his civics class. I'm truly blown away by it. And that's even before he gets to the second page, which features a quote (again handwritten) from the Bible, which reads: "The borrower is slave to the lender." Anyhow, you've just gotta watch the spot, which you can do here or below:
• NC-13: The American Foundations Committee, a super PAC supporting former U.S. Attorney George Holding that we previously wrote about here, just threw down another $137K on airtime in an effort to knock down Wake County commissioner Paul Coble. (You can watch the ad they're running here. Question: Does the average American have any idea that the final "9" the announcer rattles off is actually a German "nein"? Quite a stretch.) The AFC, made up mostly of Holding's friends and family members, sure has spent a lot on this race, some $367K to date.
• NH-01: When a poll comes out that shows you losing 87-5, usually there's no coming back from that. DNC committeewoman Joanne Dowdell was the unfortunate candidate on the wrong end of that survey, with ex-Rep. Carol Shea-Porter on top; maybe even more convincing to Dowdell than the toplines was the unusual fact that the poll was allegedly commissioned by the DCCC, indicating they were committed to greasing Shea-Porter's path back to Congress. With all that in mind, Dowdell dropped out last Friday. With third wheel Andrew Hosmer also recently departing (to run for state Senate), that indeed gives Shea-Porter a clear shot at the nomination, though she has a tough fight in November to dislodge Rep. Frank Guinta (who knocked her out in 2010). (David Jarman)
• NM-01: And then there was one (or so it would seem): A judge just knocked retired Army Sgt. Gary Smith off the ballot for a lack of valid signatures. If he doesn't appeal, that would leave just former state Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones on the Republican ballot. Her fundraising has been really weak (just $55K this quarter), but Smith hasn't even bothered to file his FEC report yet (which was due on Sunday night). So I wonder how seriously he's even taking this.
• NY-25, NY-27: EMILY's List just endorsed two upstate New York Democrats who suddenly face much tougher races thanks to redistricting and Republican recruitment: veteran Louise Slaughter in the 25th and first-termer Kathy Hochul in the 27th.
• PA-04: The York Dispatch has a poll out on the GOP primary in the 4th District, taken by local pollster Polk-Lepson Research Group. As you'd expect if you've been following this race closely, the two top contenders are York County Commissioner Chris Reilly and state Rep. Scott Perry, who have 18% and 13% respectively. Everyone else is back in single digits, but 57% are undecided with just one week to go before election day.
• PA-17: The Scranton local of the American Postal Workers Union just gave their endorsement to attorney Matt Cartwright, who is trying to unseat Rep. Tim Holden in the Democratic primary. Perhaps I'm wrong, but it feels like there's been less union involvement in this race than others in Pennsylvania (especially the 12th District).
• PA-18: FreedomWorks, which had to tuck tail and abandon its attempt to unseat Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch not long ago, is still sticking with another longshot race that others have given up on. They've thrown down $25K on behalf of former Capitol Hill staffer Evan Feinberg, who is hoping to knock off Rep. Tim Murphy. But the Club for Growth recently stood down, and Feinberg's chances look dim, which has to make you wonder why FreedomWorks is still bothering here.
• RI-01: This may be one of the least surprising "I'm running for Congress" announcements ever, since he's been steadily telegraphing it in various steps for the better part of a year now, often in the most grandiose terms imaginable, but in any event, businessman and self-described "conservative Democrat" Anthony Gemma finally declared his primary challenge to Rep. David Cicilline on Monday. Gemma's announcement focused exclusively on Republican opponent Brendan Doherty, though, which is a little odd since Gemma's main pitch is that he'll provide a more electable alternative in November against Doherty than Cicilline (damaged by news of how screwed up Providence's city finances were, after Cicilline had already left as mayor to become a member of the House). (David Jarman)
• TX-16: Big Dog Alert! Bill Clinton just visited El Paso last week to support Rep. Silvestre Reyes, who faces a legitimate challenge from former city councilman Beto O'Rourke in the Democratic primary. While Clinton hasn't hesitated to get involved in Dem-on-Dem matchups this cycle (see MD-06, PA-AG, etc.), this may be the first time he's weighed in when an incumbent's career has potentially been at stake. Reyes of course was a backer of Hillary Clinton's in the 2008 presidential race, but his connection to Bill seems a bit more personal, as the veteran Reyes served in Congress during Clinton's second term in the White House.
P.S. Cook's Dave Wasserman makes a good point related to all this: When is the Big Dog going to get involved in the member-vs.-member race in NJ-09, where Steve Rothman was an Obama supporter but Bill Pascrell backed Hillary Clinton?
• WA-01: I know comparing Dennis Kucinich to a garden gnome is kind of easy and lame, but he's actually starting to resemble a specific garden gnome: the well-traveled one from Amélie. He was back in Washington state over the weekend, and apparently enjoyed it a great deal, as now he's got an unscientific poll up on his website, specifically asking visitors whether he should run for Congress in the Evergreen State. Washington's filing deadline is May 18, so he'd need to officially relocate to by then if he were to follow through on this plan. Ohio's Secretary of State has already confirmed that he wouldn't need to resign his current seat if he moved. (David Jarman)
In entirely unrelated WA-01 news, Suzan DelBene picked up the endorsement of one of the state Democrats' biggest names: outgoing Gov. Chris Gregoire, who penned a fundraising letter for her. (DelBene, who lost narrowly in WA-08 in 2010, then went on to be appointed by Gregoire as head of the state Revenue Dept., where she served for a year before resigning for another congressional run.) Gregoire's not exactly the most popular figure locally, though; this might help with contributions, but I'd say DelBene's endorsement from the Boeing Machinists union is likelier to move a lot more votes. (David Jarman)
• PA-AG: Ex-Rep. Patrick Murphy just dropped a negative ad on his primary opponent, former prosecutor Kathleen Kane, hitting her squarely on her Democratic credentials. Murphy accuses Kane's family-owned trucking company of supporting anti-union policies (where she's been listed as an executive on political donation forms), and also points out that Kane has donated to many Republicans over the years, including (recently) Tom Corbett, who won the state's open governor's race just last cycle. You can watch at the link or below:
• Politico: Dave Catanese, who is one of the most industrious horserace reporters in DC, is moving on—not from Politico, where he'll still write, but to a different beat, focusing more on key races of national significance. We've linked to Catanese countless times and his coverage has been extremely valuable to us, so needless to say, we wish him the best of luck. (Catanese's colleague Charlie Mahtesian is filling some of the gap with a new blog of his own.)
• Pres-by-CD: And like that, we're done! Thanks to jeffmd's dogged hard work, we have 2008 presidential election results for every single new congressional district in the nation (except for Kansas, which is the only state that still hasn't completed the redistricting process). Spreadsheets are now available for Alabama, Kentucky, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. In the Granite State, we're still waiting on Gov. John Lynch to sign the new congressional map, but since we don't expect a veto, we've gone ahead and crunched the numbers, and we also have a new Google Maps overlay and redistribution analysis. And as always, you can find our complete pres-by-CD spreadsheet here.
• YG Action Fund: It's amazing how House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's super PAC, the YG Action Fund, can't stop being a story all its own. After getting battered for weeks over the PAC's decision to spend money to defeat fellow GOP Rep. Don Manzullo in Illinois, here's the latest embarrassment for Cantor: The PAC only raised $55,000 in the entire first quarter, barely more than the $52K it shelled out against Manzullo. Maybe their finance director just sucks, or maybe donors don't like the idea of giving to a fund which trains its fire on members of the House Republican caucus. Either way, pitiful.
• KS Redistricting: Kansas, as you may know, is on track for the dubious distinction of being the last state without a new congressional map, thanks to a bitter, deep split between the "moderate" and "conservative" wings of the Republican Party (with minority Democrats exploiting the divide). Now, for the first time, it seems that at least some of the various players are starting to acknowledge the possibility that this may all have to get settled in court. There's still time, but not a whole lot: The state's primary is on August 7.