• CA-26: The DCCC hasn't filed any independent expenditure reports in CA-26 yet, but Republican-turned-independent Linda "Rocky Road" Parks has posted copies of a flyer attacking her that lists the D-Trip as the payer. (Scroll down to no. 7 on that page. No. 8 is also allegedly from the DCCC.) This is an interesting development, because this would only be the second primary in the nation where the DCCC has openly stepped in (FL-22 being the other). (Other outside groups, though, like the House Majority PAC and EMILY's List, have already gotten involved here on behalf of Dem Assemblywoman Julia Brownley.)
I welcome the move, though, because as you know, California no longer has proper party primaries; instead, the top-two vote-getters in June, regardless of party, advance to the November ballot. As we've mentioned repeatedly, Democrats are in danger of not having anyone to carry their banner forward in the general election because Parks and Republican state Sen. Tony Strickland could both make it to the second round, benefitting from a field that features four Dems potentially splitting the vote. That means Democrats need to tear town Parks—and bolster Brownley, unquestionably our strongest candidate. Interestingly, it looks like one of the mailers hits Parks from the left and another from the right, which seems like a clever squeeze play.
By the way, before you decide that you could conceivably live with a Rep. Linda Parks, be aware that—just like Angus King—she's refused to say which party she'd caucus with if she's elected to Congress. Given that she was a registered Republican until just a few months ago, I don't doubt for a minute that she'd side with the GOP if it meant being in the majority. With Brownley, we know where her loyalties lie.
• MO-Sen: Dick Armey's FreedomWorks, happy to claim an outsized share of credit for Richard Mourdock's victory in Indiana, is now moving on to another Republican Senate primary. They've decided to endorse self-funding businessman John Brunner, because he has "the deepest intellectual background in free market economics" in the three-person field. I think this only helps turn a very screwed-up race even screwier—all the Republicans running are so badly flawed, and the more they fight it out amongst themselves, the better.
• WI-Sen: Rasmussen: Tammy Baldwin (D): 38 (44), Tommy Thompson (R): 50 (48); Tammy Baldwin (D): 42 (48), Mark Neumann (R): 44 (40); Tammy Baldwin (D): 45 (48), Jeff Fitzgerald (R): 41 (40).
• WA-Gov: SurveyUSA's previous poll from February showed Dem Jay Inslee is serious trouble, but their newest poll of the gubernatorial race in Washington is back to showing a very close race, with Republican Rob McKenna leading 40-38. Click the link for our full writeup, which also includes numbers from the candidates' new financial reports. (David Jarman)
• WI-Gov: I've gotten a zillion emails about it, but in case you haven't seen it yet, Wisconsin Democrats are very fired up about a new video showing GOP Gov. Scott Walker telling billionaire Diane Hendricks (who's donated $500K to his campaign) that he would "divide and conquer" labor unions over collective bargaining as a "first step" toward turning Wisconsin into a right-to-work state (which is that Hendricks had asked him about). A Walker spokesman now claims "he does not have an interest in pushing right-to-work legislation," but he sponsored such legislation while in the Assembly and has refused to say whether he'd veto such a bill if the legislature passed one.
• AZ-03: Businessman David Crowe, a recent convert from the GOP to the Democratic Party, is dropping his primary challenge to Rep. Raul Grijalva. He's instead endorsing former state Sen. Amanda Aguirre. (Physician Juan Manuel Arreguin is also in the race.) Crowe had loaned his campaign a bit of money ($75K), but it was hard to see him having much of a chance. Aguirre's only raised some $31K, so an upset seems quite remote.
• AZ-04: And there you have it, folks: Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is dropping his congressional bid and will instead seek re-election to his current post. As you undoubtedly remember, back in February, a former lover, Jose Orozco, accused Babeu of threatening to have him deported back to his native Mexico if he didn't remain silent about their relationship. Babeu denied the allegations but did come out as gay—and the whole episode threatened to utterly derail his congressional ambitions, especially seeing as he was running in the Republican primary.
But that wasn't the only issue dogging Babeu, who also came under fire for his management of a defunct private school in Massachusetts that former students had said resembled an abusive cult. And he and his aides are also under investigation for possible violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibits certain civil servants from engaging in partisan political activities. Babeu's fundraising also plummeted after Orozco made his charges public: He took in $263K in the fourth quarter of 2011 (after entering the race in late October) but just $144K in the first quarter of 2012.
His departure leaves a two-way fight between Rep. Paul Gosar, who carpetbagged into the safer 4th from the swingy 1st, and state Sen. Ron Gould, who recently received the endorsement of the Club for Growth. Unfortunately in this dark-red district, the winner of the August GOP primary is all but guaranteed to prevail in November as well, but if the CfG goes after Gosar hammer-and-tongs, it could nevertheless be a fun race.
• KY-04: GOP Sen. Rand Paul's been busy lately with endorsements in races across the country, but now he's offering one in his home state of Kentucky. In fact, he's filming an ad on behalf of Lewis County Judge-executive Thomas Massie, a favorite of libertarians, and says he'll soon follow up with a formal endorsement.
Meanwhile, Massie's two chief rivals for the Republican nomination in this open seat, state Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington and Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore, are grumping about the new libertarian-minded super PAC, Liberty for All, that's spending almost half a million bucks to air this new ad on behalf of Massie. (This is the group that's financed by a 21-year-old college student who inherited a bundle from his grandfather.) I don't think their whining will get them anywhere, though—it usually isn't a strong tactic.
• MI-06: Anti-feminist icon Phyllis Schlafly's moment in the sun passed long ago, and her Eagle Forum is only a minor player in conservative politics these days. But they're endorsing ex-state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk, who will take all the help he can get in his uphill battle to dethrone Rep. Fred Upton in the GOP primary. (Note that Upton is getting help from the US Chamber of Commerce, which launched a new positive spot on his behalf as part of their 21-race ad blitz last week.)
• MN-06: It's certainly silly, and I doubt it'll come up on the campaign trail, but I did find Michele Bachmann's whole Swiss citizenship debacle—or as my colleague David Jarman put it, her "Swiss Miss-take"—pretty lulzy. Politico has some amusing quotes from wingnuts who were absolute apoplectic over Bachmann's act of "treason," which apparently prompted her about-face over seeking dual citizenship.
• MO-02: Though it was made somewhat bluer in redistricting, Missouri's 2nd Congressional District is still very unforgiving turf for Democrats. But former Kirkwood City Councilman Harold Whitfield is going to give it a go, which probably makes him the most prominent of the four Dems in the field in this open seat race. The likely Republican nominee is former state GOP chair Ann Wagner, who faces some nominal primary opposition but has over a million bucks on-hand.
• NJ-11: It's a tough-as-hell race, but Democrat John Arvanites, the former mayor of tiny Roseland (pop. 6K) just launched a challenge to veteran Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, a member of the class of 1994.
• NY-21: Ever since ProPublica's vastly over-hyped story about how Democrats tried to influence redistricting in California last year, I've approached their exposés with a bit of caution—but I've gotta admit, this piece about Dem Rep. Bill Owens doesn't look too good. The short version is that Owens and his wife took a trip to Taiwan in December and January which he was invited on by a local university, but which was at least in part arranged by a lobbying firm. That may have violated a rule passed by Congress in the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal which forbids members from participating in "officially-connected travel that is in any way planned, organized, requested, or arranged by a lobbyist."
Owens' pushback was quite weak, and later on Friday, he said he'd reimburse the sponsor of his trip, which cost $22K. Predictably, of course, Owens' Republican opponent, Matt Doheny, is already trying to make hay of this. We'll see where it goes.
• RI-01: Local reporter Ted Nesi notes that businessman Anthony Gemma, the self-described "conservative Democrat" who is challenging Rep. David Cicilline in the primary, has almost one million followers on Twitter. Obviously he's not really that popular, though. I mean, the guy's runs a small marketing company—he's not some celebrity. Hell, even Mitt Romney has fewer than half a million followers. So I'd be willing to bet dollars-to-donuts that Gemma's paid for his bogus legions of followers, just like Newt Gingrich did. Pathetic.
• TX-14: The Texas Tribune offers some local color on the huge GOP field (nine candidates) vying to replace Ron Paul, looking at both how the new iteration of the 14th District is different from the old, and how most of the Republicans running also distinguish themselves from Dr. Paul. (Dem ex-Rep. Nick Lampson also gets a little love.)
• OR-AG: There aren't any House races generating any heat in Oregon's Tuesday primary election; if anything, the main event may be the Attorney General's primary, which is for all the marbles because the Republicans couldn't summon up a token candidate (especially odd considering it's an open seat). SurveyUSA's out with a poll of that race, and finds ex-appellate judge Ellen Rosenblum leading ex-US Attorney Dwight Holton 52-27. (Rosenblum seems to be a bit to the left of Holton, especially on the medical marijuana issue.) (David Jarman)
• Census: I know it's fashionable to decry the GOP as "know-nothings," but that's because they keep doing things which indicate that they truly want to know nothing about the world around them. This time, their target is the American Community Survey, the ongoing sample that supplements the decennial census; House Republicans just passed an amendment that cuts the ACS from the Census Bureau's budget. The ACS is important not only because it provides constant adjustments of population and race numbers, but also because it completely replaced the Census's long form, meaning it's the only source of more detailed demographic information.
Of course, it's worth noting that this attack is unlikely to survive the Senate, not just because it's Dem-controlled but because Republican-leaning lobby groups (such as the National Federation of Independent Business) are likely to step in and disabuse a few Republican congresspersons' notions here. If you're a small businessman getting started and you, say, want to send your direct mail to zip codes in your metropolitan area that are at a particular income level or are populated by a particular kind of worker, and you don't have the tens of thousands of dollars handy to commission your own market research, what do you do? You crack open census data for free, the kind gathered through the ACS. I kinda doubt the Chamber of Commerce or NFIB wants to see its members flying blind without access to useful marketing data. (David Jarman)
• WATN?: Iraq veteran Tommy Sowers, who raised a ton of money running in MO-08 two years ago but got utterly smoked by GOP Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, was just nominated by President Obama to become assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs at the Department of Veterans Affairs. (You may recall his famous "combat bible" ad.)
• OH-Sen: Majority PAC throws the kitchen sink at Republican Josh Mandel, leading off with a clip of him promising to serve all four years of his term as state treasurer—when of course he began running for Senate just a few months after taking office last year.
• AR-01, AR-04: KingofSpades flags two new Arkansas ads. The first is from Dem state Rep. Clark Hall running in AR-01, a spot in which he takes a poke at the standard 30-second time limit for political ads by having his wife time him on a stopwatch while he recites a whole mess of things about his background. It's not without its charm. In AR-04, Democratic attorney Q. Byrum Hurst strikes a populist theme about Medicare, Social Security, and tax breaks for the wealthy. Hurst sounds pretty authentic when he speaks (unlike so many stiff pols), perhaps honed from years in the courtroom. Not a bad spot.
• AZ-08: The NRCC's newest ad repeats the same negative attacks on Democrat Ron Barber, namely that he's in pocket of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama, and that his support for Obamacare means "more than 342,000 Arizona seniors could lose some of their Medicare coverage." I'd be curious to see the support for that claim (the ad just vaguely points to the "Kaiser Family Foundation"), because it seems sketchy enough to get this ad knocks off the air.
• KY-04: Super PAC Liberty for All's new ad praises Thomas Massie for being a "proven conservative."
• NM-01: Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham declares that the Republican "war on women stops right now, right here in New Mexico."
• OH-Sen: Majority PAC is putting $280K behind their latest ad hitting Republican Josh Mandel (linked above).
• TX-Sen: The Conservative Renewal PAC is pumping $173K into new print ads boosting Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and smacking his Republican primary opponents, Tom Leppert and Ted "Calgary" Cruz.
• TX-Sen: The Club For Growth is going in with a not-insignificant $650K TV ad buy against David Dewhurst, as well as $220K in internet advertising against him. (The TV ad, which lambastes Dewhurst as a "moderate", can be viewed here.)
• CA-26: House Majority PAC continues its yeoman work here, putting another $141K in ad buys bolstering Democrat Julia Brownley and another $22K in mailers hitting Independent Susan Parks, bringing their total tab in this race to over $340,000.
• CA-31: A group calling itself "Restoring Our Community" is putting $48K into ground campaign expenditures on behalf of Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar (D).
• ID-02: The American Dental Association has spent another $28K on direct mail in support of GOP Rep. Mike Simpson in advance of his upcoming primary.