8:54 AM PT: CA-26: Democratic Assemblywoman Julia Brownley is getting help from some high places: Both Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer just endorsed her campaign. EMILY's List is also launching a direct mail blitz targeting women voters on Brownley's behalf. As you know, Brownley has the difficult task of securing a spot in June's all-party top-two primary, with one Republican, one ex-Republican independent, and three Democrats (including herself) on the ballot.
9:27 AM PT: TX-Sen: A right-wing group supporting Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the GOP primary, the Conservative Republicans of Texas, has released a new poll from Dresner Wickers Barber Sanders which purports to show their guy with an enormous 51-16 lead over former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz. (Former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert is at 7 and former ESPN talking head Craig James is at 2.) Dewhurst needs to clear 50% to avoid a runoff, and I guess this survey is trying to argue that he'll do just that, but almost all other polling has shown the race considerably tighter (albeit with Dewhurst in the lead).
9:37 AM PT: NJ-09: It sounds like things got nice and heated at a debate earlier this week between Reps. Steve Rothman and Bill Pascrell, though what I like most about the writeup is how often both guys used the word "progressive" to describe themselves (or bludgeon each other). In addition to the usual volleys between the two, Pascrell also claimed Rothman had told "lies" about him and added, "Third party people have said these are false." This is apparently a reference to Rothman saying that Pascrell "voted to eliminate all estate taxes for billionaires," but as PolitiFact notes:
Pascrell voted in June 2000 for a bill to gradually repeal the federal estate tax.Oh, but wait. It's PolitiFact, so of course they nevertheless manage to rate Rothman's statement as "Mostly False." According to PolitiFact (which is opposed to the practice of politics), because Pascrell later flip-flopped on the estate tax, Rothman's not allowed to call him out for the poor judgment that led to his original vote to repeal it. Ah PolitiFact: They make my head hurt so much because they always make me want to tear my hair out.
9:44 AM PT: Polltopia: Alright, folks: Let's all vote for New Hampshire in PPP's latest "where should we poll" poll. It'd be nice to check on that governor's race, and who knows, we might also get some House polling out of it, too.
“I have a mindset that says bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view,” Mourdock said on Fox.In other news, here's some newly-released footage of a Mourdock campaign event from February where he reveals that he'd like to see the 17th Amendment (the one that allows voters to directly elect Senators) be repealed. (A transcript of his remarks is available here.)
10:22 AM PT: AZ-09: It sounds like the situation over Andrei Cherny's appalling flyers from his decade-ago run for Assembly in California is getting pretty hot. After initially defending his poor judgment in distributing those racially inflammatory mailers, Cherny offered a bogus, half-hearted "apology":
"I regret the campaign flier in question was sent out by my 2002 legislative campaign. The facts in it were accurate, but the photo chosen was unfortunate and I understand why some people were offended by it."That mealy-mouthed b.s. wasn't going to assuage anyone, and now Cherny's two opponents in the Democratic primary, Kyrsten Sinema and David Schapira, have issued a joint statement "calling on Andrei Cherny to stop his Karl Rove-styled attacks and asking him to join us in running an issue-focused campaign." The flyers, though, are almost ancillary. Sinema and Schapira both accuse Cherny of running a dirty negative campaign and claim:
Cherny has distributed unsigned memos filled with false attacks on his opponents, distributed those false attack memos to right-wing publications (including the odious Washington Free Beacon), sent misleading emails attacking both of his primary opponents, and had his staff and surrogates tweet the articles his campaign has generated with these false attacks.
10:30 AM PT: CA-15: This long look at Dem Rep. Pete Stark's faltering re-election campaign in The National Journal isn't especially newsy, but it does show that the Beltway media is finally taking note of the race between Stark and his Democratic opponent, Dublin City Councilman Eric Swalwell. There is one new detail at the very end of the piece, though: The anti-incumbent Campaign for Primary Accountability says this contest is "at the top" of its watch list and that they've "been paying very close attention." As I noted a day earlier, the CPA doesn't always come through when they target a race, but if they do here, that would be a big difference-maker for Swalwell. They probably want to wait until November, though, since both Stark and Swalwell are likely to emerge in the June top-two primary.
10:32 AM PT (James L): NC-13: The man who won the Democratic primary to replace retiring Rep. Brad Miller may or may not actually end up on the ballot in November. Charles Malone, a 64 year-old equal employment opportunity officer at the state Department of Natural Resources, previously said that he would drop out of the race due to health problems. However, he says that his health has improved and he's reconsidering the campaign, but is willing to defer to another candidate if North Carolina Dems can find a viable replacement. In any event, Republicans are heavily favored in this district after gerrymandering pushed Miller to the exits.
10:51 AM PT: Chamber of Commerce: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is blasting out a new set of ads in four Senate races and 17 House contests. All but one (the spot in favor of GA-12 Dem Rep. John Barrow) is either pro-Republican or anti-Democrat. No one seems to be reporting how much the Chamber is spending overall, though. You can watch all of the ads at the link, and here's the full target list:
Senate: FL-Sen (anti-Sen. Bill Nelson), HI-Sen (pro-Linda Lingle), MO-Sen (anti-Sen. Claire McCaskill), OH-Sen (anti-Sen. Sherrod Brown)
House: FL-09 (anti-Alan Grayson), FL-22 (anti-Lois Frankel), GA-12 (pro-Rep. John Barrow), IL-12 (pro-Jason Plummer), IL-17 (pro-Rep. Bobby Schilling), MI-01 (pro-Rep. Dan Benishek), MI-06 (pro-Rep. Fred Upton), MN-08 (pro-Rep. Chip Cravaack), NY-01 (anti-Rep. Tim Bishop), NY-18 (pro-Rep. Nan Hayworth), NY-19 (pro-Rep. Chris Gibson), NY-21 (anti-Rep. Bill Owens), NY-24 (pro-Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle), NY-25 (anti-Rep. Louise Slaughter), NY-27 (anti-Rep. Kathy Hochul), OH-06 (pro-Rep. Bill Johnson), RI-01 (pro-Brendan Doherty)
11:15 AM PT: WI-Gov: Joshua Spivak of the Recall Elections blog has some thoughts on voter turnout in Tuesday night's gubernatorial primaries and what it might augur for the June general election. To me, what stands out most is that there were 670,278 total votes in the hotly contested Democratic primary, while an almost equal number, 646,458, were cast in the meaningless GOP primary. The fact that Republican voters decided to show up en masse and vote for Scott Walker anyway, even though there was no reason to, is a troubling sign to me.
11:29 AM PT: OH HB194: Well this is pretty crazy. Last year, Ohio Republicans passed a restrictive election law known as HB194 which, among other things, would reduce the period for early voting and make it harder for voters to obtain absentee ballots. A group called Fair Elections Ohio succeeded in gathering enough signatures to put the measure before voters for a possible repeal this fall... but rather than face defeat, Republicans are instead trying to repeal the law themselves, via the legislature!
Democrats, however, are calling shenanigans, saying that it's a repeal in name only, because some provisions included in HB194 were separately re-passed in other legislation. Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted nevertheless says he thinks the "people's veto" measure should not appear on the November ballot, but the Fair Elections folks are vowing to fight to ensure that the repeal vote does take place. It sounds like this will all end up in court soon enough.
J-WOWW and The Situation are as likely to find themselves down the beach in Ocean City as they are a library. Since its founding in 1879, the self-proclaimed "America's Favorite Family Resort" has banned the sale of alcohol within its borders. Local restaurateurs, tired of seeing business go elsewhere, placed a modest referendum on Tuesday night's ballot that would allow patrons to bring their own alcohol to dinner. Voters rejected the proposal by a 3,137 to 1,425 margin, however, leaving the town as dry as its beach's sand on a ninety-degree day.
11:43 AM PT: FL-Sen: After his recent endorsement of no-hoper Greg Sowards in the New Mexico Senate GOP primary (against establishment pick Heather Wilson), I had hopes that Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul might have rediscovered his rebellious streak. But no luck: Paul's backing frontrunner Connie Mack down in Florida.
11:52 AM PT: IL-10: This piece in Politico is headlined "Republican Rep. tries to save Planned Parenthood," but it could just as well be titled, "Republican Rep. tries to save self." GOP freshman Bob Dold, redistricted into a seat that went for Barack Obama by a 63-36 margin, is going against type in an attempt to hang on, introducing a go-nowhere bill called the "Protecting Women’s Access to Health Care Act." It's disappointing to see that representatives from Planned Parenthood participated in Dold's press conference, since he's utterly powerless and the only way to actually protect Planned Parenthood is to help Democrats retake the House.
1:00 PM PT (David Jarman): AZ-08: The NRCC is upping the ante in the special election in the Tucson-area 8th to replace Gabby Giffords. They've thrown in another $300K in ad buys to bring their total spent to $600K. (The DCCC has spent $473K, while House Majority will also step in with another $340K.) Based on the escalating arms race here, I think both sides are probably seeing some very tight internal polling.
1:04 PM PT (David Jarman): TX-Sen: While David Dewhurst seems to have a solid lead in polls of the GOP Senate primary in Texas, he has to manage the task of getting to 50% to avoid a runoff (where he might be more vulnerable, with all the anti-establishment anti-Dewhurst votes will be concentrated). In a last-ditch effort to keep him from clearing that hurdle, the Club for Growth is spending $1 million to run an ad against "moderate tax-raising Dewhurst" in the state's three largest markets
1:06 PM PT (David Jarman): IN-Sen: Would Richard Mourdock have won the Indiana Senate primary without a big assist from the Club for Growth and other Beltway meddlers? His 61-39 margin suggests he still might have, just based on his ground game and Richard Lugar's inability to readjust to the fundamentals of the 21st century GOP. Nevertheless, their ads had to have helped, and here's some interesting background from Roll Call's Shira Toeplitz on Mourdock and the Club's clumsy initial attempts to woo each other and the way they eventually fell into a groove together.
1:14 PM PT (David Jarman): FL-16: Much of the grey cloud that hangs over Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan's head has to do with the possibility of the House Ethics committee pursuing him over campaign finance violations. We'll know soon whether they follow through, but in the meantime, Buchanan is getting a roasting in the local media over a topic that may be more resonant to everyday news viewers: thousands of fraudulent transactions at the network of auto dealerships that Buchanan owns. Consumer advocates point to former employees and customers who've alleged forged signatures on loan docs and falsified loan application data, all in the interest of closing more deals.
1:29 PM PT (David Jarman): Ads: The ads are starting to come at a faster clip, so here's another day's roundup of the new spots. You can see the ads at their respective links:
MA-Sen: Scott Brown tries to see how many times he cram "independent" (including one "unpredictably independent" into one 30-second ad. Believe it or not, it's the first one from his campaign.
MT-Sen: Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg is also out with his campaign's first ad, although he's late joining a battle that's already been going on for a while between Jon Tester and American Crossroads. Rehberg's ad is a mostly-negative spot hitting Tester on raising taxes and congressional pay.
MT-Gov: In the wake of frontrunner Rick Hill starting ads in the GOP gubernatorial primary in Montana, his two most credible opponents, Corey Stapleton and Neil Livingstone, are also both out with ads, and both are claiming bigger buys than Hill's (no specific numbers, though). Both are talk-to-the-camera intro spots, though they manage to get in some digs at outgoing Dem Gov. Brian Schweitzer.
WI-Gov: With the ink on Tom Barrett's Dem nomination still not dry, two new ads are rolling out. One is an anti-Barrett spot from the RGA, complaining about taxes and unemployment in Milwaukee being up. The other is a pro-recall spot from the PCCC, a minute-long spot that tries to re-evoke feelings from the protests of last year, trying to ramp up Dem enthusiasm back to those earlier levels. (The PCCC buy is $30K, all in the Madison market.)
2:29 PM PT (James L): WI-Sen: Huh, is this for real? "Conservative businessman" Eric Hovde, who only entered the GOP primary for this open seat Senate race back in March, is out with an internal poll by North Star Opinion Research (May 6-8, likely GOP voters), showing him trailing ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson by just 30-27. Ex-Rep. Mark Neumann is in third with 23%, while state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald trails the pack at 10%. Hovde has put $1.5 million into media buys in recent weeks, and it looks like his money may be having a real impact here.
2:56 PM PT (James L): Today's Independent Expenditure roundup:
TX-Sen: It's pretty small ball for a state as big as Texas, but the David Dewhurst-backing Conservative Renewal PAC is spending $50K on a cable TV buy opposing Tom Leppert and Ted Cruz in the GOP primary.
CA-26: The Dem-aligned House Majority PAC is upping their play in this open seat race with $22K in direct mail against Republican-turned-Independent Linda Parks.
CA-31: The National Association of Realtors is putting some serious muscle behind GOP Rep. Gary Miller, with a $396K TV buy and $37K in web advertising on his behalf (on top of $118K spent on mailers in April). Meanwhile, a group calling themselves the Inland Empire Taxpayers For Jobs has filed a pair of expenditures, most of which for direct mail, in support of Miller's GOP challenger, state Sen. Bob Dutton, to the tune of about $50K.
ID-02: Interestingly, the American Dental Association is putting $28K into direct mail on GOP Rep. Mike Simpson's behalf in advance of the state's May 15th primary. (Simpson won his 2010 primary with an unspectacular 58% of the vote against a fractured field, and faces a rematch from underfunded teabagger Chick Heileson.)
KY-04: Wow. The Liberty For All Super PAC just dropped a $543K ad buy on behalf of Lewis County judge-executive Tom Massie. Amazingly, the libertarian-oriented PAC is financed mainly by a single source: John Ramsey, a 21 year-old college student at the University of Texas in Austin, who inherited a significant investment portfolio from his banker grandfather.