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Leading Off:

MT-Gov: In response to an RGA ad attacking Democratic AG Steve Bullock for refusing to join a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act led by Republican attorneys general, the DGA is firing back with a very defensive-sounding spot that tries to make Bullock's decision sound fiscally prudent. The RGA is reportedly spending $140K on their buy, but no word on the size of the DGA's buy. I personally think the Republican ad is a lot more effective, but I'll let you compare and contrast:

Senate:

IN-Sen: A break for Richard Mourdock: Indiana Republicans say he won't face sanctions (if at all) until after the May 8 primary for a staffer's attempt to mass-download email addresses from a shared GOP database, apparently in violation of "a user agreement with the state party."

NY-Sen: It is very hard for me to care about the fundraising numbers pulled in by the GOP Senate "hopefuls" in New York.

OH-Sen: Rasmussen: Sherrod Brown (D-inc): 44 (43), Josh Mandel (R): 41 (43)

WV-Sen: Awesome. Republican John Raese is digging in his heels—firmly:

Raese told the Gazette Thursday that he stands by the comments, saying, "I don't see anything that's incorrect in any of the statements I made. It's all very factual."
What comments? Oh, just the ones comparing anti-smoking laws to Hitler forcing Jews to wear Stars of David on their clothing. (Background here.) But wait! There's even more:
"I can't find anything in my statement and during my speech that wasn't true," Raese said in a telephone interview.

He later added, "I'm not apologizing to anybody or any organization. It's my perfect right to make a speech about meaningful subject matters in this country."

Raese sternly dismissed the firestorm and blamed it on U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, who Raese accused of playing "gotcha." Raese said a person with a camera was following him around, a tactic that campaigns in major races use to try to embarrass the other side. [...]

"I am not going to be intimidated by a bunch of bullshit," Raese said.

Gubernatorial:

UT-Gov: It's a shame Utah is so blood-red, because Democrats have actually put together what seems like an interesting gubernatorial ticket. At the top is Peter Cooke, a retired two-star general who commanded a brigade based in Salt Lake City. As his running-mate, he just tapped attorney Vincent Rampton, who is the son of former three-term Gov. Calvin Rampton, who believe it or not served from 1965 to 1977 as a Democrat. To call this race an uphill battle would be an understatement, but at least Team Blue is showing up to fight.

House:

CA-24: Abel Maldonado is no Some Dude. He's a former state senator and lieutenant governor who's considered a top-tier recruit against Dem Rep. Lois Capps in the redrawn 24th. But despite his pedigree, Maldonado FEC statements sure look like they were filed by an incompetent, inexperienced candidate. On April 13, he filed his first-quarter report showing he'd raised $152K (kind of a meh sum, but whatever). However, in the "cycle-to-date" column, which is supposed to show how much you've raised since inception, that number was... $0. Maldonado filed an amended report three days later, though, which showed his CTD was... still $0.

In comments, DrPhillips reminds us that this isn't the first time Maldonado has produced dodgy campaign finance reports. A while back, he was busted for inflating his cash-on-hand totals via bogus loans to his campaign account right at the end of every quarter. He'd then immediately take the money back out after the reporting deadline—something it turns out he did once again this past quarter. However, he didn't issue any new loans to himself during this reporting period, probably because these shenanigans were exposed. And yet he still can't get his fundraising reports right.

IL-13: A month after the primary, Greene County State's Attorney Matt Goetten has finally conceded the Democratic nomination to physician David Gill, who won by less than 200 votes. The results were due to be certified on Friday, a deadline Goetten had been waiting for to determine what next steps to take. Evidently, though, despite some ballot problems on election night in Macoupin County, Goetten felt there was little to be gained from asking for a recount.

IN-05: If I started talking about a veteran Indiana Republican who was under fire over residency issues, you'd assume I was referring to Sen. Dick Lugar. For once, though, I'm not, because Lugar has company. From the AP:

The Indiana secretary of state’s office will investigate whether 5th District congressional candidate David McIntosh committed voter fraud and perjury by voting in Indiana while living in Virginia, a spokesman said Thursday.
McIntosh, who served in Congress in the late 1990s, is attempting a comeback in the open 5th CD, which is playing host to a very crowded GOP field. I'm sure McIntosh's primary opponents will be eager to make hay of this one.

NC-09: Weddington Mayor Pro Tem Daniel Barry is the second Republican in this very crowded field to go on the air, with a new spot touting the usual GOP trifecta of economic aims: cut spending, reduce the debt, eliminate regulations. (Bor-ring.) You can watch it here. But it's former state Sen. Robert Pittenger who has been using his massive cash advantage to flood the airwaves. He's self-funded a million bucks and already spent three quarters of that. Pittenger's only posted a couple of positive spots to his YouTube account, but he's aired negative ads as well, including this one targeted at Mecklenburg County Sheriff Jim Pendergraph.

PA-17: It's a little late, but Joe Sestak is jumping into yet another Keystone State race, this time on behalf of Matt Cartwright. With the primary around the corner, Sestak headlined a rally for Cartwright on Saturday in the town of Easton. Unlike, say, Bill Clinton, it's not always clear what motivates Sestak (the honey badger of Pennsylvania politics), but Keegan Gibson notes that Cartwright and his wife donated $4K to Sestak's Senate election campaign last cycle.

PA-18: The writing's been on the wall for Evan Feinberg for some time: Most of the outside money aimed at helping the young former congressional staffer knock off Rep. Tim Murphy in the GOP primary has dried up, his own fundraising has been terrible, and he never responded to a Murphy internal poll that showed the incumbent with a comical 74-12 lead when the race began in earnest back in January. Now one of the last believers, the Campaign for Primary Accountability, is giving up on Feinberg in the waning days of the campaign. Better luck next time!

TN-03: This kind of thing is so pathetic. Wealthy dairyman Scottie Mayfield refused to answer a student's question at a meeting of the University of Tennessee College Republians, who asked him what he'd like to accomplish if he gets elected to Congress. Mayfield offered this ridiculous dodge:

"Until you get on a committee, it's really hard to get too focused," he told the College Republicans at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. "Quite honestly, I've got a file in my file cabinet that's 'When I Get There.' I haven't really focused on that because I've got to get there first."
So show us what's in the file cabinet, no? How hard is that? Mayfield also managed to emphasize that he's an extremely rich guy who gets to play by a different set of rules when it comes to taxes:
"I hire a CPA that's very good at what he does, and I get to take advantage of pieces of the tax code I'm pretty sure the average person doesn't get to take advantage of. That's the rules, and that's how I play."
The meeting, incidentally, was captured on camera, and it sounds like it was probably recorded by the younger sister of another candidate, Weston Wamp. Wamp's sister Coty attends UT law school, and Wamp himself (who refused to deny posting the video) admits that he knows "about half those guys" in the College Republicans. This might be the first and only time I ever say this, but I guess this shows that there is indeed one advantage to being only 25 years old when you run for Congress.

WA-03: This nice local color piece about the Portland metropolitan area from Stateline's John Gramlich is mostly oriented toward tax wonks, looking at the wackiness that ensues from Oregon and Washington's diametrically-opposed tax systems (Oregon has a high income tax and is murderously opposed to sales taxes, Washington has a high sales tax and hates income taxes). If there's an Elections angle here, it has some explanatory power as to why Clark County, Washington (Vancouver and its suburbs) seems, while not moving to the right, rather stalled while most of the rest of the Northwest shuffles to the left: it's a destination for die-hard tax-haters who want to exploit the tax disparity by working in Washington and shopping in Oregon. (David Jarman)

Grab Bag:

1Q Fundraising: The good folks at Roll Call have put together a chart of Senate fundraising numbers for the first quarter of 2012. It's a good companion to our House chart.

Cities: PPP is out with a Friday fluff poll that's got some interesting subtext going on: a nationwide poll of the favorability of the nation's major cities. Turns out the zeitgeist hasn't changed that much since the early 90s, as the leading two cities (out of 21 total) are both in the Pacific Northwest: Seattle, at a net +43 (57/14), and Portland at +40 (52/12). They're followed by Boston, Atlanta, and Phoenix, while the bottom 5 are Washington DC, Miami, Los Angeles, Oakland, and Detroit.

Once I finished a moment's gloating over where I live, though, I noticed that something else was happening here: a very high correlation (0.7) between how favorably a city is viewed, and how white it is. (Seattle and Portland are also the two cities with the highest non-Hispanic white population percentages according to the 2010 census, while Detroit and Oakland are the lowest and third-lowest.)

Non-Hispanic white percentage is on the vertical axis, while net favorability is on the horizontal axis. And I did try an alternate hypothesis, which seems to be a linked factor (Seattle and Detroit are the second-least-impoverished and most-impoverished cities on the list, too). However, it's not as strong as race itself: poverty rate has only a 0.45 correlation. (David Jarman)

EMILY: A big bunch of endorsements from EMILY's List: Shelley Adler (NJ-03), Kathy Boockvar (PA-08), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09). Of these, only Brownley and Sinema face contested primaries, though the posture of each race is quite different. Sinema is squaring off against Andrei Cherny and David Schapira in a traditional nomination battle, but Brownley is facing a much scarier five-way race that features three Democrats (herself included), one independent, and one Republican.

As we've written in the past, there's a very real chance the the indy—Linda "Rocky Road" Parks, a former GOPer—could, along with Republican Tony Strickland, prevail in California's top-two June primary, meaning that no Democrats would be on the ballot in November. Fortunately, the other two Dems have raised bupkes, but this is going to be a serious hill to climb for Brownley, so it's good that she's getting some outside help.

WATN?: Former Democratic Rep. Bill Jefferson of Louisiana will begin serving his 13-year sentence for corruption in the next two weeks. Jefferson had been free on bond pending an appeal of his conviction, but an appeals court sustained 10 of the 11 charges last month, so now his sentence must commence. I strongly advise Jefferson to read Jeff Smith's excellent (and chilling) piece in which he gave advice to another convicted pol as he was about to enter prison, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Redistricting Roundup:

WI Redistricting: Wisconsin Republicans have decided to appeal a lower court ruling that found district lines for two seats in the legislature's new map for the state Assembly violated the Voting Rights Act. (The court subsequently redraw those districts.) The appeal goes directly to the Supreme Court, and it's a somewhat surprising move, since in the end, the GOP only wound up losing a much broader redistricting lawsuit on this one comparatively smaller issue. But as the very last graf of the linked article notes, this presents Democrats with a big opportunity, since it "gives the plaintiffs a chance to cross-appeal on a host of claims they previously lost," something they previously said they'd likely do if given the chance.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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