• VA-Gov: Public Policy Polling has a very early look at the 2013 gubernatorial race in Virginia, where Democrats would actually start off with a big advantage—but only if Sen. Mark Warner were to try to reclaim the governor's mansion, which he held from 2002 to 2006. Here are the results (4/26-29, Virginia voters, MoE: ±3.8%, no trendlines):
Mark Warner (D): 53In case you are unfamiliar with the other players, Terry McAuliffe is a former DNC chair and also an unsuccessful 2009 candidate for the Democratic nomination; Tom Perriello is a former one-term congressman who represented VA-05; Bill Bolling is the state's current lieutenant governor and "establishment" choice; Ken Cuccinelli is Virginia's attorney general and a favorite among movement conservatives; and Tareq Salahi is that rich d-bag who is most famous for crashing a White House state dinner with his wife in 2009.
Ken Cuccinelli (R): 33
Mark Warner (D): 53
Bill Bolling (R): 32
Mark Warner (D): 58
Tareq Salahi (R): 19
Terry McAuliffe (D): 41
Ken Cuccinelli (R): 36
Terry McAuliffe (D): 34
Bill Bolling (R): 36
Terry McAuliffe (D): 43
Tareq Salahi (R): 18
Tom Perriello (D): 39
Ken Cuccinelli (R): 36
Tom Perriello (D): 34
Bill Bolling (R): 35
Tom Perriello (D): 44
Tareq Salahi (R): 20
PPP also tested the GOP primary (MoE: ±4.9%):
Ken Cuccinelli (R): 51This is actually good news for Democrats, since Bolling performs better against our lesser-known candidates (McAuliffe and Perriello) than the more polarizing Cuccinelli. Of course, that could change over the next year-and-a-half, but for now, I'll take it. (And man must Bolling be regretting his decision to defer to Bob McDonnell in the gubernatorial race in 2009. He figured he'd have a clean shot in 2013 by "waiting his turn," but Cuccinelli's ambition has completely ruined those plans.)
Bill Bolling (R): 23
Tareq Salahi (R): 4
• AZ-Sen (PDF): Republican robopollster Magellan is out with a new Arizona survey (conducted on behalf of consulting firm DC London). Though they find Mitt Romney up 52-43 over Barack Obama, they have Republican Rep. Jeff Flake up just four points over Democrat Richard Carmona in the Senate race, 44-40—a heartening sign, even if the presidential numbers aren't what we might want. Crosstabs are here (PDF).
• IL-Sen: Mark Kirk's recovery is moving forward, as the senator is heading home from a rehab institute to continue his treatment. Kirk, a Republican, suffered a debilitating stroke in January.
• MT-Sen: Rasmussen: Jon Tester (D-inc): 43 (44), Denny Rehberg (R): 53 (47)
• NM-Sen: This seems like the kind of move I bet Tea Partiers and Paulists were hoping they'd see a lot more of from Sen. Rand Paul after he won election last cycle: an endorsement of a hopeless anti-establishment outsider over a favored establishment insider with a perfidy to the conservative movement. Mostly, young Rand has kept his head down and gone along with what the Mitch McConnells of the world tell him to do, but he's finally letting his freak flag fly in the New Mexico Senate race, where he just announced he's backing no-hoper Greg Sowards against ex-Rep. Heather Wilson. For once, I agree with Rand Paul: I'd also love to see Sowards as the GOP's nominee!
• NV-Sen: Democrat Shelley Berkley is going up with her first TV ad of the Senate race, a 60-second spot featuring the father of a Marine who died of a drug overdose after receiving inadequate care following a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress syndrome. Berkley reached out to the family and helped pass legislation that required substance-abuse treatment facilities at all VA medical centers. The buy is reportedly for $45K and the ad is airing in Reno in the northern part of the state, where Berkley's name recognition is lowest. You can watch the ad at the link or below:
• KS-Gov: After a recent SurveyUSA poll found GOP Gov. Sam Brownback with a disastrous 34-44 job approval rating (worse than President Obama's surprisingly good 43-49 score), Republicans commissioned a survey from Public Opinion Strategies to push back against those numbers. As you'd expect, they found Brownback doing a lot better, with 51% approving. But buried in the very last graf is this surprising figure: POS's poll has Brownback up just 42-29 against a generic Democrat in 2014, despite winning by 63-32 last cycle.
• MT-Gov: Even though Dem Sen. Jon Tester finally took the lead in PPP's latest Senate poll, his counterpart in the governor's race, AG Steve Bullock, didn't see his fortunes improve by a similar margin. Bullock is tied with GOP frontrunner Rick Hill at 39, basically unchanged from Hill's 39-38 edge in late November. Hill also leads in the Republican primary, with 33% to 12% for Ken Miller, 7% for Corey Stapleton, 5% for Neil Livingstone, 4% for Jim Lynch and Jim O'Hara, and 1% for Bob Fanning. That's down from a 27-point lead for Hill last time, but Montana's primary is only a month away, so Miller doesn't have much time left to make a move.
• AZ-08: The DCCC has upped its ad buy in the AZ-08 special election to $473K, according to Shira Toeplitz. (That includes the roughly $160K they'd already spent, so we're talking about $300K or so more.) Let's see if the NRCC follows suit.
• IN-08: There are few things I love more in politics than a good rat-fucking, and it looks like the DCCC is trying to do just that in the IN-08 GOP primary. Larry Bucshon, one of the weaker freshmen in the House Republican caucus, is facing a rematch from tea partier Kristi Risk, whom he only narrowly beat (33-29) in a nine-way fight for his party's nomination in 2010. Risk has raised peanuts, but the same was true last cycle, so evidently she's appealing to the movement conservative base in a way that Bucshon is not.
And as unimpressive a candidate as Bucshon is in the general election, Risk would undoubtedly be worse, which explains why the D-Trip has launched a series of live phone calls to likely Republican voters castigating Bucshon for his free-spending ways when it comes to his congressional franking privileges. The primary is only a few days away, but this is usually the kind of stunt you want to try at the end, when your victim has as little time as possible to respond. Will it be enough to upset Bucshon? Who knows, but if it works, it would be money well spent on behalf of Democrat Dave Crooks.
• NC-08: If I were Eric Cantor, I think I'd probably tell my buddies running the YG Action Fund to stop meddling in GOP primaries and focus on the general election instead. After all, Cantor's generated nothing but headaches for himself—and bad feelings among his fellow Republicans—for his PAC's interference in the now-notorious IL-16 nominating contest... but the group is at it again. It's nothing quite so incendiary as picking sides in a member-vs.-member race, but they're throwing down $53K for radio ads on behalf of former congressional aide Richard Hudson, on top of $23K they already spent on mailers. Hudson is one of several Republicans vying to take on Dem Rep. Larry Kissell and is described by Roll Call's Joshua Miller as the "frontrunner."
• NJ-09: Democratic Rep. Steve Rothman is out with his second ad, a spot which touts his efforts to provide a payroll tax cut for middle class families—and his opposition to the Wall Street bailout. He also adds (speaking directly to the camera) that he's "fighting to make millionaires pay their fair share." You can watch at the link or below:
• WA-01: So I guess there's a split between various local branches of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers? State Sen. Steve Hobbs just picked up the endorsement of IBEW Local 191, but earlier this week, one of his Democratic primary rivals, Darcy Burner, scored the backing of IBEW Local 46. Commenter Inkpen has some thoughts on this divergence and even points us to a map showing which local covers which counties.
• WA-05: In what is apparently a surprise move, Democratic state Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown just announced she won't seek re-election after serving in the legislature for twenty years. Brown, though, is only 55 and would make a strong congressional candidate against GOP Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, but reading her statement, it definitely doesn't sound like she's interested in running for office again. (H/t Sao)
• Polltopia: Awesome! PPP will be polling Iowa this weekend, the state we'd been pulling for (seeing as it hasn't been properly polled since February). They'll also be going into Ohio, so they're looking for questions to ask in each state.
• SC Lege: This is a pretty wild story: The South Carolina Supreme Court just kicked up to a hundred candidates off the ballot for the state legislature this fall, citing improperly filed paperwork. (The violation seems amazingly ticky-tack: Office-seekers had to file financial disclosures at the exact same moment they filed their candidacy paperwork. One guy submitted his financial form all of 42 minutes later.) As you can imagine, a ton of races have been thrown into utter disarray, and some seats now have zero candidates running for them! It doesn't sound like there are a lot of good options here, though the state GOP is saying they might bring a federal lawsuit.
• NY Redistricting: A bummer, but expected: New York's highest appellate court just affirmed a lower court's ruling finding that the mathematical legerdemain used by Republicans to squeeze a 63rd seat out of a state Senate map that previously only supported 62 districts did not violate the state constitution. You can read the full decision here (PDF). However, the Senate map is by no means out of the woods: It's still subject to at least one further line of attack in a parallel federal lawsuit.
• As campaign season heats up, we'll be summarizing independent expenditure (IE) filings posted with the FEC. (You can find such filings yourself here.) Note that organizations typically have 48 hours to file IE reports, so sometimes you'll see things listed here which we've mentioned previously, thanks to media reports that were published before the IE filings were made.