• MI-11: The news broke over the holiday weekend, so you may have missed it, but it's truly remarkable stuff: It looks like five-term GOP Rep. Thad McCotter failed to submit enough signatures to qualify for the ballot this year. If McCotter does indeed get booted (and it looks like he will), that would utterly up-end what was otherwise a largely uncompetitive race in this swingish district that Obama won 50-48. Fortunately, Democrats have a credible candidate in the form of physician Syed Taj (though there's a LaRouchie in the primary), while the only other Republican who filed is tea partier (and possible Paulist) Kerry Bentivolio. But a write-in campaign for the GOP nomination is possible for McCotter—or some other local Republican, something which is already under discussion. We'll be closely following this amazing story as it unfolds, so stayed tuned for further developments.
• IN-Sen: Rasmussen: Joe Donnelly (D): 42, Richard Mourdock (R): 42. Note: Rasmussen says that "this survey was conducted entirely online. Survey participants were selected at random from an panel provided by a third party."
• IL-Gov, IL-Sen: You may have seen that Patrick Fitzgerald, the longtime U.S. Attorney in the Chicago area, is stepping down from his post. Fitzgerald developed a reputation as an aggressive, non-partisan prosecutor, and that reputation is why he stayed on as USA under Obama even though he was originally an appointee of George W. Bush. That profile would have also made him an appealing candidate for statewide office, at least on paper, and given that his original patron was former GOP Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (no relation), it made sense to imagine that Patrick Fitzgerald might run as a Republican himself, if he were interested. But it's a moot point, because Fitzgerald says he has no interest in making any kind of bid, adding that "I'm not wired for political office." However, I'm sure local Republicans will try to quietly get him to change his mind, so you never know.
• WI-Gov: Two new Democratic internal polls of the recall came out on Friday—well, one new and one new-ish. The DGA, via the Mellman Group, has Scott Walker up just 49-46 over Tom Barrett, which represents a tightening from 51-44 a week earlier. (That previous trendline is only now being disclosed.) Mellman basically argues, as others have done, that the race is getting closer because Dems are now on the airwaves in force.
Meanwhile, the Barrett campaign now looks like they're conducting a daily tracking poll with Garin-Hart-Yang. On Thursday, they released numbers from May 22 to 23 showing it a 50-48 race; on Friday, they added data from the 24th, and things have nudged even closer, to 49-48 Walker.
P.S. One related thing I've been wondering about is why we haven't seen a single poll from either the RGA or Walker's campaign this whole time.
• AZ-04: Here's the first of two mystery polls that only the Arizona Capitol Times seems to have the full details on. Republican Ron Gould has apparently put out an internal, but there's nothing on his website about it, except a reference to this post at the Madison Project, a conservative PAC. Again, there are almost no details, but the survey apparently shows Gould trailing Rep. Paul Gosar just 35-32 in the GOP primary. I'd really like to know more about this one.
• AZ-09: This one is also a bit frustrating. According to a press release from Kyrsten Sinema, the Arizona Capitol Times has gotten its hands on a poll which purportedly shows her leading the Democratic primary with 38%, while David Schapira is close at hand with 36%, and Andrei Cherny is a very distant third with a mere 8%. Unfortunately, there are no further details on the poll, like who conducted it, when it was in the field, what the methodology was, or who paid for it (though it may have been Schapira's). And while much of the content on the Capitol Times's website is paywalled, this story doesn't even appear to be on their site at all.
On a separate note, the Professional Firefighters of Arizona, a union which represents over 6,500 firefighters and EMS workers in the state, just endorsed Sinema, adding to the list of first-responder labor groups which have already given her their backing (mostly police unions).
• CO-06: Amazing: New research shows there's apparently no cure for Coffman's Disease. Republican sophomore Mike Coffman penned an op-ed apologizing for going full birther just the other day, after he utterly humiliated himself by repeatedly refusing to answer a local TV news reporter's questions on why he went birther in the first place. But now? Get a load of this radio interview he just did:
HOST: You know how they say in Washington, a gaffe is when somebody tells the truth? I know you to be such a highly intelligent guy, such a disciplined guy. Were you just at that moment speaking what was in your heart and are you now feeling you need to walk it back for political reasons?Hint: Apologizing doesn't work if you later go and admit your apology is insincere. Medical science has proven, though, that this is a concept sufferers of Coffman's Disease are unable to grasp.
COFFMAN: To some extent that's true because I think that when Republicans are not talking about jobs and the economy, when we're not on message, I think the other side is winning. But let me put it in context. The context was at that event and other events I've been to, Republican events, people come up to me and say, "why aren't you taking on the president about him not being born in the United States? Why don't I hear anything from you about that?" It gets really frustrating. Look, I just think that's a horrible issue for Republicans. Every day we're talking about that is just a victory for the president. What I meant to say and said very poorly when I was there was that it doesn't matter whether he is or not, that's just not the issue.
• FL-09: Hrm. This backgrounder on the candidates running in Florida's new 9th Congressional District contains one very unexpected line: Reporter Kenric Ward says that conservative activist Todd Long "is leading the GOP field" "according to internal polls." Now, it's not out of the realm of possibility, given that Long has run in this area twice before (in the old 8th), nearly unseating ex-Rep. Rick Keller in the primary in 2008.
This would be good news for Democrat Alan Grayson if true, though, since Long is a decidedly flawed candidate, and since Republicans undoubtedly prefer Osceola County Commissioner John Quiñones. Quiñones, who is of Puerto Rican descent, could potentially offer some crossover appeal in the general election—a lot of Puerto Ricans live in the district. His problem, though, is that few of them vote in the Republican primary, so I wouldn't rule out the chance of a Long victory.
• NJ-09: Bill Clinton's endorsed Bill Pascrell, he's recorded robocalls for Bill Pascrell, and now he's coming to down for Bill Pascrell. The Big Dog will visit the 9th District on June 1, just days ahead of Pascrell's primary with fellow Rep. Steve Rothman.
• NY-01: Uh, wtf? George Demos abruptly announced on Friday that he's dropping out of the Republican primary in New York's 1st Congressional district, just a month before election day, citing the fact that his wedding is a week away. Seriously? I mean, how long has he known about this "issue"? Obviously a very long time: In the New York area, you generally have to schedule weddings way in advance since venues book up very fast. And yeah, okay, a federal judge did move the primary from September to June earlier this year, but come on. Either wait until an odd-numbered year to tie the knot, or just work around it. Again, this was a known issue! I've gotta believe there's something else going on here. But if there's one guy doing the horah, it's Demos's primary opponent, 2010 nominee Randy Altschuler, who now gets to dance his way directly to the general election fight against Dem Rep. Tim Bishop.
• SC-07: It was the only possible conclusion: State Rep. Ted Vick has dropped out of the Democratic primary in South Carolina's 7th Congressional District. In case you're just catching up with the story now, late on Wednesday night, Vick was pulled over by police for speeding, who then, smelling alcohol, suspected him of driving while intoxicated. Vick refused a breathalyzer test and was arrested—and then was found to be carrying a gun with a long-expired permit, adding weapons charges to his rap sheet. On top of that, a 21-year-old woman was riding in the passenger seat and had been drinking with Vick prior to his arrest. In the wake of these events, his media consultant sent a letter to a TV station cancelling an ad buy and explaining that Vick is "ending his campaign."
One thing I was not aware of is that Vick was simultaneously running for re-election to the state House, something apparently permissible under South Carolina law. Remarkably, he's planning to continue with his legislative campaign. As for the congressional race, this was always going to be a long-shot district for Team Blue, but Democrats fortunately have an alternative in Preston Brittain, a local attorney who fundraised well in the most recent quarter. He'll have to contend with the flakey Gloria Tinubu, though, a former state representative from Georgia who quit her seat to move across state lines and run for Congress in the Palmetto State. Republicans are favored to win here but are currently dealing with an unsettled, multi-way primary of their own.
• WA-01: Suzan DelBene hasn't previously delved into her own wallet in this cycle, but you knew it was coming at some point. She just self-funded to the tune of $300K, and more is probably coming (she put up $2.2 million of her own money in WA-08 in 2010); however, it's worth noting that she led the pack in Q1 fundraising without any self-funding, pulling in $341K from other people. Meanwhile, the King County Democrats, who've been dancing around an endorsement for months now, finally figured out what they're doing: Rather than go with DelBene or Darcy Burner, though, they gave their sole endorsement to ex-state Rep. Laura Ruderman, the only Dem candidate to have actually been elected to something in King County. (David Jarman)
• June 5 Primaries: Pre-primary fundraising reports were due Thursday night, covering the period from April 1 through May 16, in all the states which have primaries on June 5: California, Iowa, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota. We have all the House numbers for you at the link. A couple of standouts: GOP Rep. Steve King (IA-04) raised the most in this period, $363K. And in CA-52, Democrat Scott Peters plowed in a monster $1.25 million loan as he seeks to win a spot in the top-two primary. There's so much, much more at the link, though. Also, in MT-Sen, Dem Sen. Jon Tester outraised GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg $781K to $402K and has $4 mil on hand to Rehberg's $2.6 mil.
• MO-Sen: Roll Call says that the buy for Dem Sen. Claire McCaskill's new ad about Arlington National Cemetery is for $200K (lasting one week). That's pretty different than what The Hill reported, $352K over two weeks. But it's possible that report was referring to a broader booking for multiple ads.
And then there's also.... "John's for Jobs"—that's the awkward-sounding slogan that the Chamber of Commerce has decided to use (repeatedly) in their latest ad supporting Republican John Brunner in the Republican Senate primary. (David Nir & James L)
• TX-Sen: Outside money continues to fall like rain in Texas. The Texas Conservatives Fund drops another $260K in TV buys against Ted Cruz (presumably to re-up this ad, though that's not certain), and Conservative Renewal PAC is placing another $180K to continue their cable TV assault against Cruz and Tom Leppert. Meanwhile, the Club for Growth is throwing another $117K behind their ad campaign against front-runner David Dewhurst.
And Mike Huckabee, no longer looking as svelte as he did during his failed presidential run four years ago, promises that David Dewhurst will "stay conservative" in a new ad for Dewhurst. (James L & David Nir)
• UT-Sen: Republican Dan Liljenquist does a compare-and-contrast, attacking Sen. Orrin Hatch for his conservative apostasies (earmarking, etc.) and then promising he'll be different—including a claim that he'll eliminate pensions for member of Congress.
• MT-Gov: Rick Hill fires back against Corey Stapleton's new negative ad, accusing him of slinging "false attacks" and making various promises about what a "strong conservative" Hill actually is. Stapleton is reportedly up with a six-figure buy, which is quite considerable for Montana, but there's no word on how much Hill is spending.
• WI-Gov: Democrat Tom Barrett has a spot in which college-age kids implore viewers to vote in the recall. Because this ad is aimed at a younger demographic, it's not airing on TV but rather on online networks like Hulu. Barrett also has a new minute-long radio ad (yep, it's radio, despite the imagery at the YouTube link) that explains in detail what the "John Doe" scandal involving Scott Walker's aides is all about, and once again says that Walker himself needs to share his own emails with prosecutors so that we can know "the truth."
Meanwhile, the labor-backed group We Are Wisconsin has sent a takedown letter (PDF) to TV stations regarding this new RGA ad, saying it relies on phony job creation statistics ginned up by Walker in the face of terrible numbers from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and should be yanked off the air.
Finally, speaking of numbers, The Hotline has some great maps showing where and how much Republicans and Democrats have been spending on the airwaves throughout the state. The GOP has outspent Team Blue 3-to-1 overall, but Democrats have closed the gap in terms of current ad spending in recent days.
• AZ-08: The NRCC is spending another $52K on "media" (which, I believe, includes the cost of production and the actual ad buys) opposing Democrat Ron Barber, and $15K to the Tarrance Group (a GOP polling outfit). Meanwhile, the Arizona Democratic Party is sending out a mailer that touts ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' endorsement of Barber. (James L)
• CA-26: The holier-than-thou independents at icPurple are putting a paltry $21K behind their ad campaign in support of Republican-turned-Independent Linda Parks. The ad, in case you haven't seen, informs us that purple paint is better than blue or red paint. (James L)
• CA-31: The National Association of Realtors continues their frenzied spending campaign in this district with another $85K in ad buys supporting GOP Rep. Gary Miller, who's still introducing himself to a district that doesn't overlap in any way with the one that he currently represents. The group also shelled out $8K to the Tarrance Group for polling expenses. (James L)
• NM-01: EMILY's List sends out another $21K in mailers supporting Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham. (James L)
• OK-02: What starts out as a positive biographical spot from Republican Markwayne Mullin turns into a nihilistic rant about government: "Government's not the solution. Government is the problem. And the more they try to fix it, the worse they make it."
• TX-16: In a wordless ad that requires viewers to read a whole bunch of text that appears on-screen, Beto O'Rourke attacks Rep. Silvestre Reyes, the man he's trying to unseat in the Democratic primary, for allegedly "championing" a "$200 million virtual border fence" whose contractor then went on to hire Reyes's three kids—and was later shut down by the feds for "failure to perform." I really think the lack of a voiceover narrator is a problem here, though.
Reyes also came out with an ad last week attacking O'Rourke's character, which makes me wonder if he's nervous about his primary. A pretty straight-up fact check in the El Paso Times (not at all a PolitiFact-style hatchet job) says that most of Reyes's charges are b.s. (O'Rourke's ad, meanwhile, gets a clean bill of health.)
• TX-30: Friends United, a new PAC with one of the cheesier-sounding names in recent memory, is revving up an ad campaign against Democratic attorney Taj Clayton on behalf of incumbent Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D). The group, which lists D.C. lobbyist and ex-Johnson staffer Jennifer Stewart as its treasurer, spent $17K on mailers and $23K on radio ads attacking Clayton.
The Dallas Morning News has a story up about the mailers, but most of the text is unfortunately blocked behind a paywall. However, a photo of the mail piece is available for viewing. Among other things, it alleges that "a secret group of wealthy conservative Republicans in Texas and Tea Party Republicans in Washington is backing Clayton to do their bidding." It's possible the mailer (which makes some pretty ridiculous charges) is referring to the Campaign for Primary Accounability, but they haven't spent a dime on this race, though one media report mistakenly seemed to suggest they had. (James L & David Nir)
• Travis County Precinct 2 Constable: Liberty for All, the Paulist SuperPAC funded by uber-wealthy 21 year-old college Republican John Ramsey, recently said that they were just getting warmed up after vaulting Thomas Massie to victory in last week's KY-04 Republican primary. And they weren't lying! But their latest target is pretty random: They're throwing their muscle behind Michael Cargill, a gay African-American Democrat who's mounting a primary challenge against incumbent Adan Ballesteros. LFA filed two expenditures in this race with the FEC: $15K for phonebanking against Ballesteros (whose name they misspell as "Ballasteros" on the report), and $20K for direct mail boosting Cargill.
Before we go any further, of course, it should probably be noted that, you know, it's not actually necessary to file independent expenditure reports for local-level races with the Federal Elections Commission. But, hey, I'm actually interested in seeing where Ramsey is spending his inherited wealth, so I'm not going to discourage them!
So why is this gang of youthful Paulists throwing their money behind a Democrat, and in a race way down in the weeds? The answer is totally unclear, but perhaps this has something to do with it: the Austin Chronicle says that Cargill, a gun store owner, is a different kind of Democrat—one who maintains a "strident opposition to gun control." (Cargill lobbied on behalf of the NRA for proposed legislation to overrule handgun bans on Texas college campuses.) Cargill's campaign style is being described as "bruising": Ballesteros even filed a defamation suit against Cargill in late April after he "tweet[ed] links to a smear website run by the gun-happy Texans for Accountable Government, containing every rumor about the incumbent in the most salacious terms possible." Yeah, Cargill sounds like their type of Democrat, alright. (James L)