• WV-Sen: Politico's Charlie Mahtesian makes the case for why he thinks Dem Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who is 75 years old, won't seek re-election in 2014. The prime piece of evidence is a remarkable speech Rockefeller gave on the Senate floor on Wednesday, which is causing quite a stir back home. Rockfeller directly took on the coal industry, a sacrosanct institution in West Virginia, as he spoke out in opposition to an ultimately unsuccessful effort to block the EPA from enforcing new rules on mercury emissions:
Rockefeller, D-W.Va., accused the coal industry of scare tactics. He said after years of industry opposition to new environmental regulations, the "bitterness of the fight has taken on more importance than any potential solution."These remarks are reminiscent of an equally surprising speech given by Rockefeller's former Mountain State colleague, the late Sen. Robert Byrd, who in 2009 accused the coal industry of using "fear mongering, grandstanding and outrage as a strategy." Byrd, of course, died the next year at age 92, though it's not clear whether he would have run for re-election when his seat was next up in 2012. But as Mahtesian points out, Byrd was a singular presence in West Virginia and could well have taken on Big Coal and won; Rockefeller's standing is a different matter altogether. You may recall that PPP poll (PDF) last year which showed him losing a hypothetical 2014 matchup with GOP Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, 48-44.
"The dialogue on coal, its impact and federal government's role has reached a stunningly fevered pitch—carefully orchestrated messages that strike fear into the hearts of West Virginians and feed uncertainty about coal's future are the subject of millions of dollars of paid television ads, billboards, break room bulletin boards, public meetings, letters and lobbying campaigns," he said.
"A daily onslaught declares that coal is under siege from harmful outside sources and that the future of the state is bleak unless we somehow turn back the clock, ignore the present and block the future."
Speaking of Capito, Mahtesian flags this passage from the Charleston Daily Mail's writeup:
Members of the business community were shocked by Rockefeller's speech, said West Virginia Chamber of Commerce President Steve Roberts said.I have to agree with Mahtesian: Keep this one on your watch lists.
When a reporter called, Roberts answered his phone, "This is Capito for United States Senate headquarters."
• FL-Sen: Quinnipiac's new Florida poll is out, and it shows Dem Sen. Bill Nelson leading GOP Rep. Connie Mack by a 43-39 margin—which is actually up from their very bearish May poll that had Mack on top, 42-41. They also show Barack Obama with a four-point lead over Mitt Romney, a big swing from Romney's six-point edge last time. Click through for all the numbers (including GOP primary results, where Mack leads) as well as our complete analysis.
• IN-Sen: Hah, dumbass.
• MA-Sen: Sometimes, someone in politics says something so hilarious and breathtaking that it just leaves you with nothing to say. So god bless Scott Brown for this:
In the interview, Brown also fired back at suggestions that the campaign is lacking in substance, pointing out that he ran a radio ad about military base closings. He also said he is engaged in substantive issues on a daily basis, some that involve royalty.When asked for confirmation of this startling claim, a spokesman for His Majesty King Scott I would "not say whether, or how often, Brown had actually met with royalty." put it, "I meant that every day I watch 'King of Queens.'"
"Each and every day that I've been a United States senator, I've been discussing issues, meeting on issues, in secret meetings and with kings and queens and prime ministers and business leaders and military leaders, talking, voting, working on issues every single day," he said.
One king did get in on the action, though: Matt Ortega, King of the Microsites, instantly put together a Tumblr site chronicling many of Brown's meetings with kings and queens... with pictures! (Hat-tip: Blue Mass Group)
• UT-Sen: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is out with a new ad that claims that GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch is the "consistent conservative we can count on to knock down barriers to energy exploration" and is working to repeal "government-run healthcare." Size of the buy (including production costs): $95K. (James L)
• VA-Sen: Republican George Allen is out with his first two ads, a pair of similar spots featuring a couple of elected official-moms who praise Allen's character and interest in children in utterly anodyne terms. So content-less are these ads you might even conclude Allen has an image problem that he's trying to patch up. But that can't be right. I mean, George Allen, an abrasive jerk? No way.
• WI-Sen: Democrat Tammy Baldwin is out with her first TV ad, in which she says Wisconsin "lead[s] the entire nation in paper industry jobs," but China "lead[s] the world in cheating." So, says Baldwin, she put on her bipartisanship hat and led an effort to impose sanctions on China for "breaking trade rules." The spot, filmed in a paper factory, features a somewhat distracting hum of machinery in the background. (I also have to wonder how fellow Democrat Jamie Wall feels about the fact that Baldwin's press release touts her work with WI-08 Republican Rep. Reid Ribble on these issues.)
• NH-Gov: Democratic ex-state Sen. Jackie Cilley reports raising $175K for her gubernatorial bid so far, though there's no immediate word on her cash-on-hand. That compares to $700K for primary rival Maggie Hassan, though Hassan entered the race at the end of October while Cilley didn't get in until the beginning of February. These reports include all fundraising to date, so it's not a perfect apples-to-apples comparison.
• FL-19: The National Association of Realtors, whose Florida chapter endorsed state Rep. Gary Aubuchon last week in the Republican primary to replace Connie Mack in the House, is starting to put their money where their mouth is. Their initial expenditures, totaling $33K, are dedicated to website-related expenses, but you can probably bet that they'll be putting series ad dollars into this race, based on the PAC's track record. (Their most recent effort was a successful spending spree to push GOP Rep. Gary Miller through CA-31's nightmarish top-two primary.) Aubuchon faces businessman Chauncey Goss, the son of former CIA director/ex-Rep. Porter Goss, in the Republican primary. (James L)
• NY-08: WTF?
• NY-13: We've got a pair of dueling expenditure reports in the Democratic primary. Campaign for Our Future, a Super PAC funded mostly by Reggie Van Lee, an executive at the consulting firm Booz Allen & Hamilton, is spending another $22K on mailers supporting their candidate, ex-Bill Clinton aide Clyde Williams. Meanwhile, the New York chapter of the League of Conservation Voters is matching that amount on mailers and newspaper ads supporting embattled incumbent Rep. Charlie Rangel. (James L)
• RNC/DNC: In the month of May, the RNC raised $34.3 million, of which $25.9 million was a transfer from "the Romney Victory Inc. joint fundraising operation." Meanwhile, the DNC took in $20 million, which included $13.3 million from the Obama Victory Fund, "a joint committee of the DNC and the Obama reelection campaign." The DNC has $30 million cash-on-hand, the RNC $60.8 million.