• WI-Gov, WI-LG, WI Recall: Democrats were dealt a big defeat in Wisconsin, where Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett failed to unseat Republican Gov. Scott Walker in the recall election, losing by a 53-46 margin. GOP Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch also held on, prevailing over firefighter union chief Mahlon Mitchell 53-47. The state Senate recalls, however, offered one definite bright spot for Dems: In SD-21, former state Sen. John Lehman narrowly beat the man who sent him to a loss in 2010, state Sen. Van Wanggaard. (Three other Democratic challengers were turned back by sizable margins.) Lehman's victory gives Democrats a majority of seats in the chamber, though the legislature is not scheduled to meet again until next year—that is, after the November elections in which control of the body will once again be up for grabs.
• MO-Sen: Businessman John Brunner has a new ad as he seeks to beat Representative Todd Akin and former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman to face Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill. What makes this one notable is that it's apparently the "first critical ad" of the primary so far, according to the AP. They say that the ad "targets votes Akin took in Congress to raise the nation's debt limit and pass bills containing spending earmarks [and] targets votes Steelman took as a state senator in support of bonds and budget bills authorizing particular projects." (Xenocrypt)
• ND-Sen: In her newest ad, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp talks about a law she pushed the state legislature to pass that committed sex offenders to mental hospitals after their release from prison.
• NH-Gov: An interesting thing happened at the New Hampshire Democratic convention over the weekend: Former state Sen. Jackie Cilley, one of three candidates seeking the party's nomination for governor, took a stand against the state's infamous and destructive "Pledge" exacted of politicians to oppose any broad-based sales or income tax—and was met with a rapturous response:
Shortly after one of Cilley's primary opponents, former state Sen. Maggie Hassan, reiterated her pledge to veto any broad-based income or sales tax, to mild applause from the 600 or so in the auditorium at Manchester Memorial High School, Cilley received a huge roar after reiterating her pledge not to take "the Pledge."You can watch Cilley's speech here. Note that Cilley herself says she doesn't support an income tax—her position is that she simply wants the state to be able to have an adult conversation on how best to fund its government. The toxic "Pledge" shuts down that conversation, year after year. That's exactly what right-wingers want, since New Hampshire's tax revenue comes mostly from highly regressive property taxes, which burden the middle class and poor and benefit the rich. So it's great to see that Cilley has the courage to stand up against this decades-old, self-serving conservative scheme.
"We do not use outhouses anymore. We do not use horses and buggies anymore. We do not light kerosene lamps anymore, and it is time for pledge politics to come to an end," Cilley said. "We need an honest conversation about how we're going to fund our priorities, and we can't do it on wishful thinking."
• AZ-08: The NRCC is out with a new ad that paints Ron Barber as a rubber stamp for Barack Obama's agenda. Size of the buy: nearly $189K. Meanwhile, House Majority PAC filed their independent expenditure reports for their closing ad against Jesse Kelly, indicating that they've put in $152K behind their buy. (Between the two ads, I'd say the House Majority PAC's effort probably produces more bang for their buck, as it actually uses Kelly's own incredibly idiotic soundbites against him.) (James L)
• FL-22: The Florida AFL-CIO just issued a dual endorsement of both Democrats running in the 22nd District primary: former West Palm Beach mayor Lois Frankel and Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs. The organization "consists of about 650 affiliated unions with about 500,000 employees, including teachers and state and municipal employees and various building trades."
• HI-02: Democrat Mufi Hannemann has a new ad out, called "Our Beliefs." Despite this title, it doesn't really say anything about any issues. He's standing in front of solar panels at one point, I guess. I've watched a couple of the other ads on his YouTube channel, and they seem vague to me even by the standards of such things. Here's one which shows parts of his economic plan promoting rail, technology, and tourism, but his own comments remain banal—he ends with "it's all about running government like a business." Perhaps Hannemann thinks he's set to coast to an easy primary win on name recognition, and all he needs are some pleasantries and nice shots of Hawaii to keep his image in the public consciousness. (Xenocrypt)
• MI-11: Good news: The DCCC has launched an exploration of whether they should make an effort in the 11th, suddenly a pickup possibility with the Thad McCotter implosion. They've sent a staffer to the district to scout around and talk to Syed Taj, the Dems' previously under-the-radar candidate. It's a narrowly Republican-leaning district, but if no credible Republican can execute a successful write-in campaign, that leaves "libertarian-leaning reindeer farmer" Kerry Bentivolio the only GOPer in the field. There's word of one more establishment Republican who's interested in the difficult task of picking up the pieces, though: 68-year-old ex-state Sen. Nancy Cassis. (David Jarman)
• MN-08: Rick Nolan, the long-ago congressman from another part of the state, has earned the endorsement of the long-ago-until-2011 congressman from MN-08, Jim Oberstar. Nolan faces Tarryl Clark and Jeff Anderson in the August Democratic primary. (Xenocrypt)
• ND-AL: I'm not sure how big an endorsement this is, since nobody seems very enthused about Rick Berg, but at any rate, North Dakota's GOP Senate candidate backed state Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk to succeed him in his now-open House seat. That puts Berg on the opposite side of the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks, who've both backed Kalk's rival, fellow PSC commissioner Kevin Cramer, who's fighting on to the primary despite Kalk getting the state party's endorsement. (David Jarman)
• PA-06: Rep. Jim Gerlach has been the Harry Houdini of Pennsylvania (if not American) politics, consistently making narrow escapes in a district that Obama won with 58%. His district was shored up significantly in redistricting, although it's still one that narrowly voted for Obama. The district's shift to the right presaged a tough battle for Democrat Manan Trivedi, and indeed, Gerlach now has an internal poll from Wilson Perkins Allen showing him up 55-23. Trivedi responded with a poll of his own from Lake Research showing Gerlach ahead only 45-33, a much smaller gap but still not the best place to be in your own poll.
Of course, there's still hope for Democrats here. Gerlach's poll is somewhat obsolete (it was taken in March), while Trivedi's is only a few weeks old. Furthermore, as the Trivedi campaign points out, Gerlach's internal polls from the summer of 2010 hugely overstated his actual 14-point margin. (Gerlach also did the same thing in 2008, only to wind up with a narrow 52-48 margin in the end.) (sapelcovits)
• MN-Init: On the heels of finding Maryland voters moving sharply in favor of equal marriage rights, Public Policy Polling brings us more good news in Minnesota, where voters will weigh in on a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage in November. Respondents now oppose the ban 43/49, compared to 48/44 support in January. It's unclear whether Obama can take credit for this, as most of the shift has come from independent voters. Nevertheless, it is undeniably an auspicious bit of news for our side. (Unfortunately, a separate amendment requiring voters to show photo ID is passing easily, 58-34.)
On the statehouse side of things, Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton is holding up surprisingly well with a 49/36 approval rating, compared to more tepid marks at the end of his Senate term in 2007. The Republicans in the state legislature, who have been battered by scandal and financial troubles, don't fare nearly as well: at 21/61, they're widely unpopular. (sapelcovits)
• NY-St. Sen: Not that it's likely to change the partisan calculus in the always-highly-contested New York State Senate, but I think it's a big story anyway, as state Sen. Thomas Duane, the first openly-LGBT state senator in New York's history, and one of the two first openly-LGBT New York City council members before that (with Antonio Pagán) has announced his retirement. The NYT explains:
No, it is not his health. No, he does not have another job lined up. And no, Mr. Duane said cheerfully in an interview, he has not done anything illegal or embarrassing that is about to make news.While the article doesn't mention redistricting as a motivation, I think it's interesting to connect this to the under-reported story of just how much of a mess the new NY Senate map makes of Manhattan. Have you seen this thing? Duane lost some of Chelsea and didn't seem too thrilled about the map back in February.
Instead, Mr. Duane, 57, said that he had simply tired of ricocheting between the city and Albany, as he has for nearly 14 years — a number he repeated at least a dozen times — and that he was eager to try something new.
There should be quite a primary to replace Duane. Courtesy the NYT, some possibilities include state Assembly members Deborah Glick and Brian Kavanaugh, as well as Brad Hoylman and Corey Johnson, the chairmen of Community Boards 2 and 4. (Xenocrypt)
• Philly DA: Philadephia District Attorney Seth Williams may be wiping some egg from his face, with news having broken of an invitation sent around for a fundraising gala ("Seth in the City") to most of his deputies and chiefs. The e-mail assuaged concerns that recipients might have by stating that they could attend, and, hint hint, "according to the ethics board, you can also make donations." Other observers aren't so sure about that, though, pointing to ways in which that might violate the federal Hatch Act as well as state ethics laws. (David Jarman)
• Passings: I'm sorry to say that Democrat Alice Kryzan, best known for her upset primary win in NY-26 a few years ago, has passed away from cancer at only 63. (Xenocrypt)
• Texas: One thing we've been puzzled by is the lack of endorsements from losers in last week's primary for the candidates going forward in the runoffs. Burnt Orange Report has been following that too, with a helpful endorsements tracker... and there's hardly anything to report so far, with Craig James' endorsement of Republican Senate candidate David Dewhurst (and on the Dem side, Sean Hubbard's endorsement of Paul Sadler) the most notable. We're still waiting on who the GOP Senate field's third wheel, Tom Leppert, endorses, but also any tipping of hands in the many House runoffs. Maybe the long runoff period (nearly two months till the next round) has something to do with it. (David Jarman)
• WATN?: This sounds more like the pilot for a bad sitcom, but it's real: Two of Pennsylvania's former state House speakers, Democrat Bill DeWeese and Republican John Perzel, now find themselves roommates... in minimum security prison. Perzel was already imprisoned on corruption charges, and now DeWeese finds himself bunking with his one-time rival. (David Jarman)