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Leading Off:

CT-Gov: What a profile in courage. Republican Tom Foley is busy peddling a nothingburger poll that he claims puts him in a great position to defeat Gov. Dan Malloy in next year's gubernatorial election, but he doesn't even come close to offering head-to-heads or any legitimate data, so whatever. In response, though, the Connecticut Democratic Party laid some good wood on him, pointing out that Foley has refused to take a stand on the historic gun safety legislation that just passed the legislature, backed by a sizable number of Republican votes. Yet despite having some cover from members of his own party, it's a topic Foley clearly does not want to discuss:

On the issue of gun control, Foley last month said he wanted to wait until the police report was issued on the slayings by Adam Lanza of 26 people, including 20 first-graders, at Sandy Hook Elementary School Dec. 14 in Newtown. That report is not due out until June. [...]

"I thought gun legislation ought to focus on what would prevent another Newtown from happening," Foley said. The likely gubernatorial candidate said Newtown has "obviously been politicized nationally."

He also accused Malloy of using the Newtown tragedy "to change the subject away from the budget. I still think it includes a lot of things totally unrelated to Newtown" he said of the sweeping legislation adopted in Connecticut last week.

Pressed on which aspects were irrelevant to the murders, Foley said, "Enough on gun control. It's over."

Oh, he wishes! I have to assume that what's going on here is that Foley doesn't think he can win a GOP primary if he strays on guns. (Yeah, Connecticut Republicans really aren't any different from their brethren elsewhere.) But what happens come June, when that police report comes out? Foley's merely putting off his day of reckoning, and if his lack of leadership wasn't enough, he's definitely going to harm himself if he comes out on the wrong side of this issue.

1Q Fundraising:

AK-Sen: Sen. Mark Begich (D): $935K raised, $1.5 mil cash-on-hand (to put this in perspective, this would be like Cory Booker raising something like $40 million, given that it's about 40 times more expensive to run a full flight of ads in New Jersey than Alaska)

NH-Sen: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D): $1.2 mil raised, $1.5 mil cash-on-hand (Shaheen's campaign also says they've raised an additional $200K since Scott Brown started poking his nose around this race)

RI-Gov: Angel Taveras (D): $177K raised, $560K cash-on-hand

VA-Gov: Terry McAuliffe (D): $5.1 mil raised, $5 mil cash-on-hand (wow! also includes $100K check from none other than Bill Clinton)

AZ-09: Wendy Rogers (R): $103K raised (not ordinarily the kind of sum you'd tout, but I suspect this is only for a partial quarter since Rogers only announced in March)

Senate:

MN-Sen: Given the sorry state of the Minnesota GOP, "random rich guy" is probably about the best they can hope for in terms of finding a challenger to freshman Sen. Al Franken, and perhaps they've found one. I'm guessing Mike McFadden counts as rich, since he's described as "co-CEO of a Minneapolis-based finance and asset management firm," and he definitely counts as random, since a Google search for him, even when you include the name of his firm, brings up bupkes. But will he actually run? Well, McFadden says he's "giving very serious consideration" to the race, but didn't offer a timetable for a decision.

NH-Sen: Man. Maybe he really is serious. Scott Brown was just in New Hampshire on Thursday for an event commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination... and he has another four trips to the state planned over the next month. I realize nobody seems to want PPP to poll Ohio except me, but guys, please, can we vote for them to survey New Hampshire next time? I mean, Colorado? Seriously? Let's get some good data!

And ya know, New Hampshire Republicans may well need Brownie to come rescue them, since their biggest name, ex-Sen. John Sununu, just declined to run for Senate (and for governor, too). Sununu was unseated by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen back in 2008, six years after he defeated her in an open seat matchup, but evidently, the prospect of a rubber match was not especially appealing. A number of other lesser contenders will now have to make decisions of their own, including ex-Reps. Frank Guinta and Jeb Bradley, but a Brown entry could seriously mix up the picture.

Gubernatorial:

NJ-Gov: The good news for Democrat Barbara Buono is that Gov. Chris Christie's lead dropped by 12 points in Rutgers-Eagleton's new poll of New Jersey's gubernatorial contest. The bad news is that he still has a 30-point advantage, 57-27. Christie's post-Sandy halo has remained remarkably shiny, but even singular moments like that can't last forever, so I'm not too surprised to see Democrats starting to come home, even if it has taken a while. Still, eight in 10 respondents think Christine will win, and even 61 percent of Buono voters say they expect her to lose, so it's hard to find much cause for optimism.

House:

CA-17: Dem Rep. Mike Honda keeps rolling out the endorsements in a show of strength designed to keep upstart challenger Ro Khanna at bay. Fully 34 members of California's House delegation announced their support for the incumbent on Thursday, meaning the shorter list consists of California Democrats who are not backing Honda. There are only three: Susan Davis, Anna Eshoo, and, oddly enough, Eric Swalwell, who last November rode to victory in the district Khanna originally had his eye on.

CA-25: On Thursday, a conservative California blog reported that GOP Rep. Buck McKeon, who is 74 years old and will have to give up his chairmanship of the Armed Services Committee if he seeks another term in Congress, had started telling local leaders he might retire next year. I held off on writing it up, though, and I'm glad I did, because later in the day, a McKeon spokesperson denied the report, saying that her boss "has no plans to retire." Now, that's hardly definitive, and McKeon may wind up calling it quits after all—that wouldn't surprise me. But "may retire" is very different from "will retire," and it's why people create retirement watch lists in the first place. So all we can do is continue to keep an eye on McKeon, which is what we were doing in the first place.

CT-04, -05: Roll Call's latest Farm Team report comes out of Connecticut, where Republicans don't seem to have much of a shot at any of the Nutmeg State's five House seats, all held by Democrats. Abby Livingston does mention a few names, though, for both the 5th District (state Sens. Kevin Witkos and Rob Kane, state Rep. Dan Carter, and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, in addition to the one declared candidate, rich guy Mark Greenberg) and the 4th (state Reps. John Shaban and Tony Hwang, state Sen. Toni Boucher, 2012 nominee Steve Obsitnik, and state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney). To the extent the GOP does have any chance at all, it'll come in the 5th, but even there, their prospects are not strong.

SC-01: While Democrats had hoped that Jenny Sanford, the ex-wife of Mark Sanford who at one point seemed like a possible candidate herself, might endorse Elizabeth Colbert Busch, alas, it's not to be. But the good news is that she's not backing her former husband, either, which is notable given that Mark was once delusional enough to ask Jenny to manage his campaign. She declined to tacitly endorse him then, and she's declining to explicitly endorse him now.

Other Races:

LA Mayor: SurveyUSA's new poll of the Los Angeles mayoral runoff finds City Councilor Eric Garcetti creeping upwards and coming very close to that magical 50 percent mark. Garcetti's lead over City Controller (seriously, they spell it that way) Wendy Greuel is now up to 49-40; two weeks ago, it stood at 47-40. The election is on May 21.

NYC Mayor: The other day, we briefly looked at the question of whose mayoral candidacy Anthony Weiner would harm the most if he belatedly entered the Democratic primary. Colin Campbell of the New York Observer initially concluded the unluckiest soul would be Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, since he, like Weiner, has cultivated "outer borough ethnic whites and progressive activists." But now Campbell is back with a more detailed analysis, and the answer, as you might expect, depends on whom you ask. Reasonable cases can be made that de Blasio, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, or, in fact, no one at all would suffer from a Weiner entry. I guess we'll just have to see whether he runs and look at what happens then.

Grab Bag:

Same-sex Marriage: There'd been intense focus in recent weeks on Democratic senators' evolving views on the topic of same-sex marriage, but it's important to remember that there are still a number of Democratic holdouts in the House as well. The Hill's Cameron Joseph actually tried to track all of them down a couple of weeks ago, with mixed results. At the time, eleven members had affirmatively expressed opposition to marriage equality, while nine hadn't actually spoken out one way or the other. Joseph reached out to all twenty, and only five responded, though none changed their minds or decided to come out for gay marriage.

For the record, those listed as opposed by Joseph are John Barrow (GA-12), Sanford Bishop (GA-02), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Bill Enyart (IL-12), Pete Gallego (TX-23), Gene Green (TX-29), Dan Lipinski (IL-03), Jim Matheson (UT-04), Mike McIntyre (NC-07), Collin Peterson (MN-07), and Nick Rahall (WV-03). And those who've remained mum, according to the piece, are Jim Costa (CA-16), Ron Kind (WI-03), Cedric Richmond (LA-02), Kurt Schrader (OR-05), David Scott (GA-13), Terry Sewell (AL-07), Bennie Thompson (MS-02), Filemon Vela (TX-34), and Pete Visclosky (IN-01).

But since Joseph's piece came out, at least two members have actually announced their support for marriage equality: Visclosky and Kind.

WATN?: A baffling case has turned even bafflinger. Former GOP Rep. Thad McCotter, whose lunatic saga last year you surely are familiar with, has decided to compound his misery by suing the staffers who allegedly screwed him off the ballot. What I don't get, though, is what sort of redress is McCotter looking for? Does he want the judge to order Superman to fly around the earth backwards, reversing the flow of time so that Lois Lane comes back to life and McCotter can go ahead and re-file new petitions? I'm pretty sure that's in the complaint somewhere, but honestly, I think ol' Thaddeus has spent his forced retirement watching too many old superhero movies and dreaming kryptonite dreams.

WATN?: Amazing. The Miami New Times managed to catch up with none other than Ana Sol Alliegro, the AWOL buddy of former Florida Rep. David Rivera who played a key role in the whole Justin Lamar Sternad scandal last year. To recap: Rivera, a Republican, hoped to undermine his strongest potential opponent, Joe Garcia, by supporting a phony candidate in the Democratic primary who would savage Garcia at every opportunity. That patsy was Sternad, a crypto-conservative who, despite raising almost no money, somehow found a way to send out multiple high-quality mailers featuring absolutely scurrilous attacks against Garcia.

Sternad's funding, it turns out, came from Rivera, mostly via envelopes full of cash given to the print shop where his flyers were churned out. Alliegro, among other things, was the bagman responsible for delivering the dough, and when the pincers of law enforcement started to close around her after a series of investigative reports by the Miami Herald, she disappeared. Alliegro was supposed to meet with the FBI for an interview on Sept. 6, but when she failed to show, no one would admit to knowing where she was.

It turns out she decamped to Nicaragua, where her Cuban-born grandfather had fled after Castro came to power, assuming the name Ana Solá and running a small beauty salon. Alliegro agreed to talk to the New Times after they tracked her down, and of course, she denies every substantive allegation against her. But it's a truly crazy story, filled with Alliegro comparing herself to Adam Sandler's hairdresser character in "You Don't Mess With the Zohan," her history of "tumultuous relationships" (including the time she fired a gun into the ceiling of her home to threaten her then-husband), claims that she suffered memory loss after falling from a horse, and excerpts from a whole bunch of lovey-dovey emails she exchanged with Rivera.

Most intriguing is this detail at the very end of the piece: Alliegro apparently has to come back to the states "soon" to renew her passport—and she's promising that she'll talk to the FBI and "will not take the Fifth." It's one thing to tell stories to a newspaper reporter. Let's see if she sticks to her guns when she's sitting in an interview room with federal agents. But no matter what, despite Alliegro's affirmations of love for him, David Rivera has got to be getting nervous.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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