• NY-18: I just love how badly GOP freshman Nan Hayworth has handled this mess. If you're just catching up with us, one of her spokesmen, Jay Townsend, was busted last week for writing on Facebook:
"Let's hurl some acid at those female democratic Senators who won't abide the mandates they want to impose on the private sector."But Hayworth's campaign failed to make the obvious move and just cut deadweight like Townsend loose. Instead, they defended him, saying his remarks "were clearly not meant to be taken literally." Soon realizing they had a problem on their hands, Townsend was goaded into making a b.s. apology, which began:
On May 26, I posted a stupid, thoughtless, and insensitive comment on a facebook page. It was stupid because my words were easily misconstrued; thoughtless because my choice of words obscured a point I was trying to make, and insensitive because some have interpreted the comment as advocating a violent act.Misconstrued! How do you misconstrue "let's hurl some acid"? Obviously you cannot. That fact finally dawned on Hayworth on Monday, when she at last kicked Townsend out the door. Her statement reveals how desperately eager she is to stop talking about this controversy:
"Jay Townsend has offered, and I have accepted, his resignation from his position with my campaign. Now let's return to talking about issues that really matter to families: job creation, spending restraint and economic development."Hey—it was your campaign that decided to talk about hurling acid at women, not us! Ultimately, there's a meta-point to be drawn here, which is that, as I said above, canning Townsend instantly was a no-brainer, yet somehow Hayworth decided to do the exact opposite and dig in. It makes you wonder about how competently her campaign is being run—and how smart she is.
• AZ-Sen: It looks like this Wil Cardon thing is the real deal—or, at least, the Club for Growth certainly thinks so! The Clubbers, allies of movement conservative Rep. Jeff Flake, are out with a pair of 15 second TV ads criticizing Cardon for being an "imposter" and a member of the "liberal" Urban Land Institute. You can watch the ads here and here. They also have a 60 second radio spot touching on the same themes. Size of the buy: $500,000.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Cardon released an attack ad against Flake, calling him a "liberal" on immigration matters. The ad features an image of Barack Obama speaking at a podium, with Flake apparently standing approvingly behind him – as the voiceover artist ominously intones that Flake "joined Barack Obama in criticizing SB1070, Arizona's immigration law." Flake's campaign immediately pounced, charging that Cardon doctored the photo. The Cardon campaign denied nothing, with a spokeswoman responding that: “We used multiple images of Congressman Flake and President Obama to demonstrate the similarity of their positions on amnesty." (You see, it's, like, a metaphor, man!) Size of the buy: $286,000. (James L)
• MA-Sen: Two new polls of the Massachusetts Senate race were released over the weekend, and both show a tie game. The first is from the Boston Globe (conducted by the University of New Hampshire) which puts GOP Sen. Scott Brown up 39-37 over Democrat Elizabeth Warren. That's a weirdly high number of undecideds, but that seems to be par for the course for UNH, whose first poll showed Brown with a 37-35 lead. The most important thing to note about this survey, though, is that Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney by just 12 points (46-34), in a state he won by 26 last time. The fact that the Senate race is still so close despite what must be a very unfavorable sample for Warren is a positive sign for her.
A second poll, from Western New England University, has roles reversed and has Warren up by two points, 45-43. That's a huge jump from a late February/early March poll which saw Brown on top 49-41—a net shift of ten points. WNEU also has a much more plausible Obama-Romney head-to-head, with the president leading by 22 points (56-34).
P.S. Warren also avoided a primary fight with the one remaining candidate who opposed her, local attorney Marisa DeFranco. DeFranco failed to hit the necessary 15% delegate threshold at the Democratic Party convention this past weekend, meaning she can't appear on the ballot. Warren dominated, securing 96% of the delegates' votes.
• MO-Sen: Businessman John Brunner is touting a new internal from American Viewpoint that shows him leading the Republican primary with 30% of the vote, compared to 23% for Rep. Todd Akin and 22% for former Treasurer Sarah Steelman. Brunner didn't include any head-to-heads with Dem Sen. Claire McCaskill, though, which makes me wonder if he's actually faring less well in the general election than his GOP rivals, which is in fact what we saw in PPP's recent poll (albeit by just a couple of points).
• IN-Gov: Republican Mike Pence touts his "hard-working Hoosier heritage" in this cleanly-produced 60 second spot, his second ad of the race. NWOTSOTB ("no word on the size of the buy"). (James L)
• WI-Gov: There's a final barrage of polls in the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall, including one from Public Policy Polling which shows the race tightening. PPP's survey has GOP Gov. Scott Walker up 50-47 over Democrat Tom Barrett, which is a tightening from the 50-45 Walker lead they saw in their prior two polls. As Tom Jensen notes, the sample reported voting for Obama in 2008 by a seven-point margin; if it matched Obama's actual 14-point edge, Barrett would be up 50-49. It's worth noting that like all other pollsters, PPP's last 2010 poll of this race, which also pitted Walker against Barrett when this seat was open, overstated Walker's leader: They had Walker winning by nine when he actually won by just five, largely because undecideds wound up breaking for Barrett.
Barrett's campaign also said over the weekend that their internal polling (which has been conducted by Garin-Hart-Yang) had the race tied at 48 apiece (or as they put it for media consumption purposes, Walker 47.8, Barrett 47.7). And there's a poll from Angus Reid, which, I must point out, was conducted online. They had Walker up 51-46, but weirdly, they're insisting on reporting their toplines without any undecideds, so their press release touting a 53-47 Walker lead, which I think is misleading. Even in a race as polarized as this, some people still walk into the voting both not knowing how they're going to cast a ballot, so you can't just ignore them.
Finally, Republican-linked pollster We Ask America still somehow has the recall at Walker +12. Indeed, their 54-42 score is identical to the tally in their last poll. Does anyone believe these numbers? I'm not even sure WAA does, since they include an awful lot of CYA in their writeup.
P.S. One last polling-related item: According to The Fix, there will be exit polls for Tuesday night's election. That's pretty interesting, considering we pretty much never see exit polls outside of November.
In other recall news, Politico has details on the RGA's GOTV plans, for which they're spending $1.5 million. By contrast, the DGA has contributed $110K to get-out-the-vote efforts, but it's not an apples-to-apples comparison because labor groups are also spending on GOTV. Also, Joshua Spivak of the seminal Recall Elections blog has an exceptionally in-depth overview of the recalls, including the Lt. Gov. race and the senate recalls as well, with a good deal of historical background thrown in, too.
And lastly, Tom Barrett released what is presumably his last ad on Saturday, which clobbers Scott Walker over the John Doe scandal. (David Nir & James L)
• AZ-08: I'm glad to see that ex-Rep. Gabby Giffords will be appearing at a get-out-the-vote concert on behalf of Ron Barber next Sunday, just ahead of the June 12 special election, for two reasons. Obviously it'll be a great boon to Barber to have Giffords at his side, but I'm also just happy that she's well enough to hit the campaign trail.
Meanwhile, on the advertising front, House Majority PAC's latest spot against Republican goofball Jesse Kelly lands a hard punch to the gut. Using a "greatest hits" montage of some of Kelly's most boneheaded public comments (e.g. that corporate taxes should lowered to zero, that the minimum wage should be eliminated, and that Social Security and Medicare are "Ponzi schemes"), they also throw in footage of an irate Kelly lambasting then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as "a hero of nothing". To be clear, that footage is from 2010 (a fact that the ad does not hide), but it sure sounds especially unflattering to Kelly when used today. There's no exact word on the size of the buy for this one, but The Hill reports that it's backed by "six figures". (David Nir & James L)
• CA-30: I have to admit I've never heard of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences Online Survey (and they might want to pick a pithier name), but in any event, they've got a poll out on the 30th Congressional District race. They find Rep. Brad Sherman at 32 and Rep. Howard Berman at 24, with a host of small-time candidates coming in at 4% or less and 23% of respondents saying they're undecided. Regardless of Tuesday's primary results, though, we're basically guaranteed to see Berman and Sherman face off again in November in an all-Dem matchup.
• CT-05: On Sunday evening, Democratic state House Speaker Chris Donovan held a press conference to address allegations that former staffers tried to funnel illegal donations to his congressional campaign in exchange for killing a bill pending before the legislature regarding a tobacco tax. Donovan denied any knowledge of the scheme, which led the FBI to arrest his finance director and prompted Donovan to fire him, along with his campaign manage and a finance deputy. Donovan also promised that he would not drop out of the race.
• IL-12: Here's a brand-new name of a possible replacement for Democrat Brad Harriman, who dropped out of this open-seat race abruptly due to health concerns: William Enyart, adjutant general of the Illinois National Guard, who says local Dems have reached out to him. He also says that he's been told the process to pick a new candidate will begin next week.
• MI-11: The Thad McCotter saga just gets crazier. As you know, the GOP veteran abandoned his write-in primary bid over the weekend, a week after disclosing that he failed to file a sufficient number of signatures to secure a place on the ballot for re-election. One move which prompted McCotter's decision was ex-state Sen. Loren Bennett's announcement that he, too, would wage a write-in campaign for the Republican nomination—and when it comes to write-ins, even one is a crowd.
But things could get far more crowded yet. Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner John McCulloch, who ran for Senate for about ten days (literally) last year, has surfaced as another possible write-in candidate. So has former Oakland County GOP chair Paul Welday, who even tweeted about his interest. You may remember that Welday ran in the MI-09 primary in 2010, losing to ex-state Rep. Rocky Raczkowski—who, as we've mentioned, has also said he might get in. Two other people also took themselves out of contention last week, state Sen. Mike Kowall and attorney David Trott, but that was before McCotter bailed, so a change of heart is not out of the question. The more the merrier!
And while McCotter's press release announcing the suspension of his write-in primary campaign technically left some wiggle room for an independent general election bid, a McCotter campaign spokesman informs The Hill that there will be no such occurrence—"he’s done seeking elective office". Sorry, cat fud fans. (David Nir & James L)
• NV-04: Republican Dan Schwartz is out with a new ad that attacks front-runner Danny Tarkanian for being on the hook (along with other family members) for a $17 million judgment that they owe to a creditor after they personally guaranteed a bank loan to a developer who later filed for bankruptcy. (Amusingly, the ad quotes Tarkanian's dryly understated response: "This certainly isn't good news.") It finishes with some boilerplate touting Schwartz's credentials as a "constitutional conservative"... whatever the hell that's supposed to mean. (James L)
• NY-08: Ugh, just revolting. Retiring Rep. Ed Towns, clearly butthurt over the fact that Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries' robust-looking campaign pushed him to the exits this year, is endorsing the absolutely unacceptable Charles Barron in the Democratic primary instead. Click the link to see just how ridiculous Towns' statement as. As for Barron, I've said everything I need to say about him at this point, so I'm just going to leave it at that. But if you haven't heard enough, check out BuzzFeed's roundup of some of his most offensive remarks.
• WA-01: The Washington State Democratic Party had its convention over the weekend, and consistent with most of the lower-level conventions, had a devil of a time picking a candidate to back in the overcrowded 1st district primary. (This would be merely for bragging rights; everybody else stays on the ballot.) In the end, they had to punt and pick nobody, but Darcy Burner got the most votes, at 39 (with 48 needed for the nod). She was followed by Laura Ruderman at 29, Suzan DelBene at 15 (surprising, since she seems to have the most establishment mojo of any of the candidates), No One at 6, Darshan Rauniyar at 5, and Steve Hobbs at 1. The Dems fared better at making picks in the three-way fights for the statewide SoS and Auditor nominations: Kathleen Drew beat ex-Seattle mayor Greg Nickels for the SoS spot, while state Sen. Craig Pridemore got backing in the Auditor race. (David Jarman)