• PA-Gov: I'm not too surprised that Quinnipiac's new Pennsylvania poll isn't as utterly dire for GOP Gov. Tom Corbett as PPP's survey from a day earlier was, but it is most definitely not good news. This is Quinnipiac's first time asking head-to-heads, so there are no trendlines, but Corbett's numbers actually look rather similar to what PPP found in January:
• 38-44 vs. Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski
• 39-42 vs. Rep. Allyson Schwartz
• 39-40 vs. state Sen. Mike Stack
• 39-39 vs. businessman Tom Wolf
• 40-39 vs. businessman Tom Knox
• 42-41 vs. ex-Sec. of Environmental Protection John Hanger
• 42-38 vs. Treasurer Rob McCord
While the numbers for each Democrat (all of whom are mostly unknown) vary a bit from PPP's older poll, note that Corbett's best performance is 42 percent—exactly where he topped out in that January survey. Now, PPP's new poll had Corbett failing to score higher than 34 percent (!), but as I said in the previous Digest, even if those numbers are outliers, Corbett's standing is still abysmal, and Quinnipiac's latest confirms that. Of course, as we say, things could always change, but let me just ask this: Is there anyone willing to put money down on Corbett turning things around? I think you'd have a hard time finding someone to take that side of the bet.
P.S. PPP has also released a batch of Pennsylvania miscellany; as is the case everywhere else, the Keystone State is way more receptive to gay marriage than it's ever been. A year-and-a-half ago, voters were opposed to the idea 36 to 52. Now it's just 45-47. Respondents are also against the GOP plan to change how the state allocates its electoral votes by a 44-38 spread.
• KY-Sen: Groan. So Mitch McConnell's new ad—the one designed to boost his re-election prospects, even with election day 20 months away—is now out, and it's all about... a tweet. Admittedly, the tweet in question was offensive and stupid, linking to a conspiracy website that offered some lunatic racial attack on McConnell's wife, Elaine Chao, who was born in Taiwan. But really, this is what politics is about? Some jagoff nobody on the Internet says something idiotic and suddenly McConnell's a victim? Notably, the ad is narrated by Chao, who also talks directly the camera, while McConnell only appears in a series of still photos. GOP minority leader for six years, and this is all he has to show for it?
As for the group in question which put out the original tweet, Progress Kentucky, I really have to wonder. I don't want to engage in conspiracy theorizing myself, but a "liberal" Super PAC makes an extremely offensive statement, links to a nutter website, and then refuses to back down, re-tweeting some even more offensive crap? I'm entirely willing to believe that whoever is at the helm of this joke of a group is just a colossal moron, but it's all so perfectly extremist that I'm not sure you could ask for a better false flag operation.
You may also recall that Progress Kentucky claimed it was ready to support tea partiers who want to oust McConnell in a primary back in January; I'm all for a good rat-fucking, but as I said at the time, who the hell announces that you intend to rat-fuck in public? Only fools or phonies. Gee, thanks a lot, "Progress" Kentucky.
• MI-Sen: One Romney exits the stage but another enters. Last week, a sketchy report emerged that Scott Romney, brother of Mitt, was thinking about Michigan's newly open Senate race, but aside from his famous name, there wasn't any there there. (The dude's 70 years old and his only run for office was a failed bid for the Republican nomination for state AG 15 years ago.) Now, it turns out he's not interested—hardly a surprise. However, he's urging his daughter, Ronna Romney McDaniel, to consider a bid, and she tells the Detroit News that she is indeed "looking at" it. Interestingly, both Romney McDaniel's mother and grandmother waged failed bids for Senate, which is not something a lot of women can say.
Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, DNC committeewoman Debbie Dingell's name was immediately mentioned a bunch as soon as Carl Levin announced his retirement, but we still haven't heard anything from her. However, CNN says (based on unnamed sources) that she is "seriously considering a run" of her own. Dingell, as you may know, is the wife of Rep. John Dingell, who has served in the House for a record-breaking 57 years.
• MA-Sen: Ordinarily, Planned Parenthood taking sides in a Democratic primary would be reasonably newsy, but in the race between the pro-choice Ed Markey and the anti-choice Stephen Lynch, it's really a given that PP would have to get involved on Markey's behalf. It's not clear what kind of material support, if any, the group will offer, but rather notably, they cite not only Markey's record on reproductive rights but also his vote in favor of the Affordable Care Act—something which Lynch shamefully voted against.
• NC-Sen: For the hell of it, PPP added Lt. Gov. Dan Forest to the mix of GOP primary candidates it tested this month—and actually found him leading the pack (albeit with just 18 percent). But they won't be including him next month. Says Forest, who was just elected to his first term in November: "Never contemplated it, never considered it. I like being lieutenant governor."
• NJ-Sen: I guess Frank Pallone and Rush Holt will have a lot of work to do if they decide to run in the Democratic Senate primary against Cory Booker. The two congressman pull just 4 and 7 percent, respectively, according to Farleigh Dickinson's new poll (PDF), while Booker towers over them with 50 percent of respondents favoring him. And in a general election matchup, Booker unsurprisingly crushes Geraldo Rivera 51-21. Mostly, I'm waiting for Geraldo to finally admit that there's no way he's running so that we can just be done hearing about him.
• SC-01: In the previous Digest, we took note of an ad from Teddy Turner in which he attacks Republican primary opponent Chip Limehouse—and responding to some attacks Limehouse had issued of his own. I wondered what the source of those original Limehouse barbs were, though, since I couldn't find any recent spots on his YouTube channel and there were zero mentions of new negative ads in the local press. Well, it turns out Limehouse did go up on the air to attack Turner, though he seemed to do a good job hiding this fact from media. My favorite moment: when Limehouse complains that Turner has violated Ronald Reagan's "11th Commandment" (like he's tattling to mom)... and then goes on to violate it himself, with further jabs at Turner.
• FL-LG: Whoa, craziness:
Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll resigned the same day she was questioned by police in a federal racketeering probe of a nonprofit that runs dozens of Internet cafes.That makes Carroll the second Republican lieutenant governor to resign this year, after Nebraska's Rick Sheehy did so last month. In any event, Gov. Rick Scott reportedly will not pick a replacement until May, when the current legislative session ends. In the meantime, state AG Pam Bondi would be next in line were Scott unable to perform his duties as governor.
The resignation came after Florida Department of Law Enforcement officers interviewed the Clay County Republican about her involvement with Allied Veterans of the World, based in St. Augustine.
Officials from Allied Veterans of the World and Nelson Cuba, the president of the Jacksonville Florida Order of Police, were among those arrested in the racketeering investigation by the IRS and Secret Service.
• Special Elections: Johnny summarizes Tuesday night's races for us:
California SD-32: This one is going to a runoff between Democrat Norma Torres, who received 44% of the vote, and Republican Paul Leon, who got 26%. Democrat Larry Walker was the third-place finisher with 14%, Democrat Joanne Gilbert was fourth with 7%. Republican Kenny Coble got 6%, and bringing up the rear was Democrat Paul Avila with 3%.Notably, Hueso's apparent victory restores Democrats to supermajority status in the Senate, something they'd lost due to a spate of resignations and vacancies. However, Hueso is a member of the Assembly, and it looks like Dems may temporarily lose their two-thirds majority in that chamber as well, though they'll gain it back soon enough.
California SD-40: Democrat Ben Hueso looks to have won this one outright, pulling in 52% of the vote. Republican Hector Gastelum came in second with 22%, the other Republican, Xanthi Gionis, was third with 15%, and the other Democrat, Anna Nenevic, was last with 11%.
• DCCC/NRCC: It seems like the big DC campaign committees are reporting their fundraising totals earlier and earlier. They aren't actually required to file with the FEC until the 20th of each month, but I guess there's some small upside to leaking your numbers in advance when they're good. Case in point: The DCCC outraised the NRCC $6.3 million to $5 million in February, the second month in a row they've pull in over a million bucks more than their rivals. They also have more cash-on-hand ($7.6 mil to $4.4), and a similar amount of debt ($10.9 mil versus $10). We'll bring you our usual full roundup of all the major committees after the 20th.
• Demographics: The Texas Tribune has cobbled together some poll data that zooms in entirely on a very small segment of the Texas population, but one that's gotten a lot of ink lately, what with the war of words between Govs. Jerry Brown and Rick Perry. They've asked respondents on several recent polls if they've moved from California to Texas, and pulled together enough data for a semi-useful sample (with a margin of error of approximately 7 percent).
It turns out that Texans need not worry that the influx of ex-Californians is going to turn their state blue. Instead, it's people who are probably a better fit with Texas in the first place and weren't going to be happy in California regardless of the states' relative economies, with 57 percent identifying as conservative and 27 percent as liberal. But it was a silly argument in the first place, though, given how California-to-Texas migration is a drop in the demographic bucket compared with disparities in white and Hispanic birth rates. (David Jarman)