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Leading Off:

SD Mayor: On Friday, six weeks after the first of many sexual harassment allegations against him came to light, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has finally resigned. As part of a deal to get him to quit, the city will cover some of Filner's legal expenses in a lawsuit filed by a former staffer. Filner, a Democrat, was both apologetic and defiant in his final address, attacking "the hysteria of the lynch mob" but also saying his "own personal failings were responsible" for his downfall. Remarkably, Filner is the fourth mayor out of San Diego's last seven who failed to complete his term.

City Council President Todd Gloria now becomes interim mayor, and a special election will be held within 90 days, with a runoff, if necessary, no more than seven weeks after that. And the most prominent potential Democratic candidate, former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, has already filed a statement of intent to run. Fletcher, a former Republican, became an independent during last year's mayoral race. Following his third-place finish in the primary, he ultimately completed his leftward transition and joined the Democratic Party in May.

The top GOP contender would undoubtedly be former City Councilor Carl DeMaio, who lost narrowly to Filner last year. DeMaio, though, is running for Congress, and national Republicans would desperately like him to remain in that race. But DeMaio recently said "I'm actually focused a lot more on removing Bob Filner from City Hall," and it doesn't seem like a Filner resignation alone would satiate him. However, a SurveyUSA poll last month showed DeMaio tied with Fletcher, so he won't face a pushover in either contest.

If DeMaio sticks with his federal plans, though, Jessica Taylor says other Republican names include City Councilman Kevin Faulconer, San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts, San Diego County Sheriff William Gore, and San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, who finished fourth in the mayoral primary last year.

And if Fletcher fails to clear the field, Gloria is another possibility, though Taylor suggests that some Democrats might seek out a female candidate, with the idea that doing so might blunt some of the damage Filner caused. Among the possible options are Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins, former state Sen. Christine Kehoe, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, and former Assemblywoman Lori Saldana.


AK-Gov: Democratic state Rep. Les Gara has decided against a gubernatorial run and will instead seek re-election. Gara had previously said he'd defer to state Sens. Hollis French or Bill Wielechowski, and French has since announced an exploratory bid.

CO-Gov: Quinnipiac's new Colorado survey, like their inaugural June poll, still has what feel like weirdly close numbers in their general election matchup between Dem Gov. John Hickenlooper and ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo, best known for his rabid anti-immigrant views. Hickenlooper has just a 46-45 edge over Tancredo, compared to 42-41 two months ago.

Hick's spread has increased over his strongest potential opponent, though. He now leads Secretary of State Scott Gessler 47-42, up from 42-40. Against state Sen. Greg Brophy, Hickenlooper is at 47-40, not much changed, margin-wise, from 43-37 previously. It's just strange that the extremely polarizing Tancredo performs the best, but name recognition may have something to do with it, as both Gessler and Brophy are little-known. At least Hickenlooper's not in the low 40s this time, but it would be great to get a sanity check here from PPP.

IA-Gov: Democratic state Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald, who had reportedly been considering a run for governor since at least June, says he'll make up his mind by Labor Day.

VA-Gov: It's a little unusual to release an internal poll that shows you with a narrower edge than the most recent public poll, but I think I understand the method behind the Virginia Democratic Party's madness here. Their new survey, from Myers Research, puts Terry McAuliffe up 48-44 over Republican Ken Cuccinelli, which is 2 points tighter than the 48-42 spread Quinnipiac just found.

Buuut... for one thing, the Myers poll confirms the notion that McAuliffe is in fact in the lead, and acts as a dare to the GOP to offer contradictory polling. For another, both polls have McAuliffe at 48, the highest vote share he's ever received in any known poll, and a number that's closing in on the 50 percent mark. That's probably more psychologically important than electorally meaningful, but polls are often used to send messages, and right now, Virginia Dems are trying to reinforce the narrative that their guy is on top.

And given how defensive Cuccinelli's latest ad is, it doesn't do much to suggest otherwise. The narrator starts by claiming that "there's only one candidate under investigation: Terry McAuliffe," though this is untrue: McAuliffe's former company, GreenTech Automotive, is the subject of an SEC inquiry. The second half of the spot is devoted to Cuccinelli's attempts to distance himself from the Star Scientific scandal, with a narrator insisting at the end that "those are the facts." This one falls into the "if you're explaining, you're not exactly winning" camp.


NH-02: Former state House Speaker Bill O'Brien is giving up. O'Brien created a campaign committee back in March to explore a challenge to freshman Dem Rep. Annie Kuster, but his fundraising ever since has been lackluster. And it didn't seem like national Republicans were ever very excited about him—unsurprising, since his radical agenda cost his party the House last year and would have given Kuster endless fodder in a general election.

Now, though, the GOP is left with few alternatives. Former state Sen. Gary Lambert is the only other talked-about option, but he served just a single two-year term before returning to active duty in the Marines last year and has a minimal profile. Remarkably, it's almost September and New Hampshire Republicans don't have a single serious candidate for either House seat, the Senate contest, or the governor's race, all of which feature Democratic incumbents.

Other Races:

PA-St. Sen: For an ostensibly blue state, Pennsylvania sure has been stuck with a Republican-controlled state Senate for an awfully long time—since 1994. However, in 2012, the Democrats managed to make some significant inroads with three pickups, reducing the Republican margin to 27-23. Normally, an off-year election wouldn't be likely to help Democrats close the gap further, but with Republican Gov. Tom Corbett looking doomed going into 2014, reverse coattails might spur some additional Democratic gains.

With Democrats needing three pickups to take control (and just two if Corbett loses), Friday brought the news of a third Republican-held open seat opening up. But while the first two GOP retirements came in solidly-red terrain, the retirement of 74-year-old Edwin "Ted" Ericksen in SD-26 is a strong Dem opportunity. The district is primarily in blue-leaning Delaware County in Philly's suburbs, including Upper Darby, Newtown Square, and Swarthmore. Like much of the southeastern Pennsylvania burbs, it has a GOP registration advantage and still leans Republican at the county and legislative level, but it's blue at the presidential and statewide level (56 percent for Obama, 58 percent for Sen. Bob Casey in 2012).

Potential GOP replacements include state Rep. Nick Miccarelli and Delaware County Council Chair Tom McGarrigle. One Democrat, Plumbers Union business manager John Kane is already in, but as an open seat, SD-26 will likely attract more contenders. Other similar suburban districts up in 2014, which have been represented for ages by the same moderate, but now elderly, GOP senators, include SD-12 in Montgomery County (Sen. Stewart Greenleaf) and SD-06 in Bucks County (Sen. Tommy Tomlinson), so keep an eye out for potential retirements there, too. By contrast, all 10 Democrats up in 2014 have already announced they're running for re-election.) (David Jarman)

Grab Bag:

Data: Rick Hasen points us to a tremendous resource called Election Passport, which offers historical election results for over 80 countries ("from Andorra to Zambia"), in many cases dating back to the middle of the last century. The oldest data set belongs to the Faroe Islands, a group of islands formally under Danish sovereignty that lie north of the UK on the edge of the Norwegian Sea. Want to know how the Logting went in 1906? Now you can!

KY Redistricting: The Democratic-controlled House and the GOP-led Senate easily passed new legislative maps in a special session last week, which were then quickly signed into law by Gov. Steve Beshear on Friday. (PDFs are available for both the Senate and House plans.) Last year's maps were invalidated by a court for splitting too many counties, contrary to state law; while this latest set seems to be an improvement on that front, it's not clear yet whether any aggrieved parties will still seek to challenge them.

Ohio: PPP's Ohio miscellany finds plurality support for same-sex marriage for the first time in the Buckeye State, with 48 percent in favor and 42 opposed. Less than two years ago, opposition ran strong, with voters approving of the idea at just a 32-55 clip. Meanwhile, GOP Sen. Rob Portman, who is not up for re-election until 2016, remains semi-anonymous and relatively unpopular, in the wake of his support for marriage equality and hostility toward expanded background checks for gun buyers. He has just a 29-39 job approval, a touch worse than his 26-34 score in April.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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