8:14 AM PT: NH-Sen: In their first poll of the New Hampshire Senate race, Suffolk University finds Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen beating Scott Brown 52-39. That's the first poll in a very long time to find Shaheen over 50 against Brown. Those numbers seem a bit gaudy, but oddly, Suffolk's final New Hampshire polling in 2012 badly underestimated Democratic margins in both the presidential and gubernatorial contests.
8:57 AM PT: KS-Sen: You may recall that when conservative columnist Byron York tried to find out how many days GOP Sen. Pat Roberts had spent in Kansas lately, the campaign initially told him they'd provide the data but then reneged. This was a foolish move, because York managed to get his hands on the stats anyway (via an anonymous source), so Roberts gave up the opportunity to control the release of information. Maybe it wouldn't have mattered anyway, though, since the numbers do not look good for the senator:
Roberts was in Kansas for all or part of 65 days in 2012. The Senate was in session in Washington for 149 days, although that figure includes a number of days when there were so-called pro forma sessions when no business was done. But even counting all the pro forma days as work days, that leaves 151 days in 2012 when the Senate was not meeting and Roberts was not in Kansas, versus the 65 days Roberts was in his home state.Including the pro forma days is very generous to Roberts, but even with those counted, he only spent 30 percent of his "free" time in his home state. And Roberts doesn't dispute the figures. Rather, he told York: "I don't measure my service in days. I try to measure it in results." The problem there is the word "I"—it doesn't matter what Roberts thinks. It matters what Republican primary voters think. Roberts may yet survive because his tea partying opponent, physician Milton Wolf, revealed himself as a ghoulish jackass, but all the accomplishments in the world don't matter if the folks voting for you think you're out of touch.
9:54 AM PT: TN-09: Just the other day, it occurred to me that for the first time in his career, Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen, a white guy who represents a majority black congressional district, hadn't earned a primary challenge from an African American opponent. Evidently, I spoke to soon, because Roll Call says that wealthy attorney Ricky Wilkins, who is black, is planning to run against Cohen, according to a nameless source.
Starting with his first bid for re-election, Cohen has turned back every opponent he's faced by huge margins, though Wilkins can reportedly self-fund, and Cohen earned himself some unwanted attention last year regarding tweets involving a young woman he thought was a daughter he never knew (but later turned out not to be). Still, while perhaps a bit off-putting, this is hardly the stuff of scandal, and it doesn't seem like the outcome will be any different for Wilkins than it's been for all those who've come before him.
10:09 AM PT: Shaheen also crushes a variety of lesser-known GOP alternatives, taking around 52-53 percent in every matchup. And in a very hypothetical primary, Brown leads ex-Sen. Bob Smith 33-12, with everyone else barely registering.
Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan's numbers are even stronger. In her closest pairing, she leads Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas (who, like Brown, hasn't actually said he's running) by a 53-28 spread. Everyone else trails by an even wider margin. Gatsas also leads in the (again, very hypothetical) GOP primary, but with just 15 percent; the rest are all in single digits.
10:56 AM PT: AZ-Sen: Sweet Enola Gay, son! Republican Sen. John McCain has earned the rare distinction of becoming the most unpopular senator in the nation, according to PPP. With a job approval score of 30-54, he's disliked by Democrats and Republicans alike. And if he seeks re-election in 2016 (he'd be 80 on Election Day), 2012 Senate nominee Rich Carmona and ex-Rep. Gabby Giffords would both tear him up like a Kleenex at a snot party: Giffords leads McCain 42-35, while Carmona sports a similar 41-35 edge. (Thirty-five! Wow!)
Ex-Gov. Janet Napolitano's long stint in DC, however, has poisoned her image with voters: Her favorability rating has sunk to 36-52 and she actually trails McCain 44-36. With numbers like that, though, there's little chance of her being the Democratic nominee. And with McCain's numbers the way they are, you almost have to think Democrats would be better off facing him rather than vying for an open seat, though of course, we're a long way from 2016.
11:14 AM PT: NY-Gov: Despite a seemingly sharp drop in his approval rating according to Marist, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo still crushes his newly announced Republican challenger, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. Marist unfortunately uses the misleading excellent/good/fair/poor rubric, so it now looks like Cuomo has a "negative" rating of 42-56, down from 52-44 in November. He almost certainly isn't under water, though, since 38 percent give him "fair" marks (the option that makes this system so troublesome) while only 18 percent rate his work as "poor." And the fact that Cuomo's punishing 65-25 edge over Astorino is virtually unchanged from his 65-23 advantage last year is further proof.
11:21 AM PT: NY-04: A bit unexpectedly, Democrats will have a primary in New York's 4th Congressional District after all. Nassau County Legislator Kevan Abrahams had been exploring a bid for a little while, but it seemed unlikely to go anywhere after the Democratic establishment (including retiring Rep. Carolyn McCarthy and the DCCC) rallied around Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice. But Abrahams has decided to make a go of it regardless. Rice has greater name recognition and will almost certainly have more money, though, so she's the favorite for the nomination, and Democrats likewise remain favored to retain this seat.
11:31 AM PT: AZ-09: In an entirely transparent bit of trolling, the NRCC is running a new radio ad and robocalls attacking Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema over Obamacare. This is obviously a "you can expect more of this if you seek re-election in the 9th District" signal, since Republicans would very much like to see Sinema switch over to the safely blue 7th instead. It's a good object lesson for Sinema, though: If the GOP wants you to do something, you should probably do the opposite.
11:41 AM PT: ID-02: Rep. Paul Ryan has endorsed fellow Rep. Mike Simpson for re-election, and while this move may have more to do with Ryan trying to bet on a winner in order to further his presidential ambitions, but Simpson certainly benefits as well. Ryan still has a lot of cred with movement conservatives, and Simpson is busy fending off a pesky challenge from attorney Bryan Smith, who has the backing of the Club for Growth and is trying to present himself as the purer alternative.
11:52 AM PT: NY-21: Oy vey. When you're starting off as an unknown candidate whose roots seem to be tied more to Brooklyn than the North Country, the last thing you want is to help foster a media narrative that you're "elusive"—which is exactly the word a new NPR story uses to describe Democratic filmmaker Aaron Woolf right off the bat. The worst part is that Woolf doesn't dispute the characterization but claims that his "relative invisibility in the press has not been inaction" because he's been "on the road ... talking to people."
Interacting with voters is an important part of any campaign, of course, but modern politics requires a minimal level of walk-and-chew-gum ability, so there's no good reason why Woolf hasn't conducted any interviews yet. He also doesn't even have a firm date yet for his official campaign kickoff. To be fair, plenty of first-time candidates struggle initially, and many eventually find their footing. But this is not an auspicious start for Woolf, and time is finite.
12:58 PM PT: NY State Senate: New York Democrats just scored a strong recruit for a key Republican state Senate seat on Long Island. Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg, who briefly ran against Rep. Peter King in 2008 but had to step aside due to health issues, will run in the 8th District, which was left vacant at the end of last year when GOP Sen. Charles Fuschillo resigned. The 8th went for Obama by a 56-43 margin, which is actually pretty red by Senate district standards, but Democrats will have a good shot at a pickup here. Republicans don't yet have a candidate, but two possibilities include Nassau County Legislator Michael Venditto and Assemblyman Joseph Saladino.
1:17 PM PT: PA-Gov: A strange new poll from Robert Morris University (nope, can't say I'd heard of them before) finds businessman Tom Wolf with a huge lead in the Democratic primary, but the full survey, which was conducted entirely online, only canvassed "501 Pennsylvania adults"—not even registered voters, apparently—so the sample of "likely Democratic voters" must have been very small indeed. The write-up also refers to state Treasurer Rob McCord as "Bob" McCord. There were no general election matchups.
1:58 PM PT: AR-Sen: The conservative American Action Network is set to launch a $1 million ad campaign going after three Democratic senators and six Democratic congressmembers over cuts to Medicare Advantage due to the Affordable Care Act. Half will get targeted on TV (though the spots are not yet available): Sens. Mark Pryor (AR), Mary Landrieu (LA), and Kay Hagan (NC), and Reps. Rick Nolan (MN-08) and Nick Rahall (WV-03). The rest—Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01), Joe Garcia (FL-26), John Tierney (MA-06), and Tim Bishop (NY-01)—will only face online advertising. The exact spending breakdowns are available at the link.
2:31 PM PT: IL-13: Here's that ad from Democrat George Gollin we heard about a little while ago. The spot, backed by a reported $48,000 buy, starts off with an announcer saying "This formula has failed us," as a hand quickly scrawls a few slogans on a whiteboard about how the tea party and Washington both suck. She goes on to describe Gollin as a "principled progressive who always takes a clear stand," then follows with a list of his priorities (for increasing the minimum wage, against repealing health care reform, etc.).
2:34 PM PT: TX-04: GOP Rep. Ralph Hall just got a boost in his quest to hang on to his House seat, as tea partier Lou Gigliotti, who finished third with 16 percent in Tuesday's primary, has endorsed him for the May 27 runoff. In the second round, Hall faces former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe, whom he led 45-29 on primary night.
2:44 PM PT: NC-Sen: Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis has a new TV ad, an introductory biographical spot in which he says he worked his way up from paperboy to partner at IBM, despite skipping college to work and only earning his degree later in life. Tillis says that his "story's not special—in America, it happens all the time," which is certainly a myth we like to tell ourselves. But, he adds, "the trainwreck in Washington puts all that at risk." It's a very non-partisan ad for a guy who has to win a GOP primary first. Tillis claims he's spending $1.1 million to air the ad, which is a large sum for a single spot, but oddly, he's skipping the state's two biggest media markets, Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham.
2:59 PM PT: FL-13: The DCCC has tossed one final (?) ad into the mix in the Florida special election, featuring a pair of seniors who castigate Republican David Jolly over his plans for Medicare and Social Security. A woman (who sounds remarkably like actress Linda Hunt) starts off: "Here's what bothers me: David Jolly lobbied for those that want to privatize Social Security." A man then takes over, as the pair watches a clip of Jolly on a laptop saying, "Social Security is not guaranteed"—a line Tyler Yeargain predicted would inevitably make its way into a D-Trip ad as soon as Jolly got done saying it.
3:12 PM PT: VA-10: Republican Navy vet Howie Lind is reportedly airing a TV ad, though his campaign is refusing to say how big the buy is—and given how expensive the Northern Virginia media market is, it's certainly not going to reach many eyeballs. But those few who do glimpse will hear a narrator intone that "Barack Obama is destroying America, but too many Republicans are more worried about the media than our country." I guess that counts as a rank insult, since what right-thinking conservative would ever care what the filthy lamestream media ever thinks, right?
Lind's sniping is likely aimed at the GOP frontrunner, Del. Barbara Comstock, but she's probably pleased Lind is running this ad. That's because Lind is only likely to split the true believer vote with Del. Bob Marshall, making life easier for Comstock ahead of the April 26 firehouse primary.
3:27 PM PT: IL-Gov: With less than two weeks to go before the GOP primary and trailing badly in the polls, state Sen. Kirk Dillard and his allies are finally making a desperate dive for the goal line. Dillard's own TV spot (his first) almost reflects that desperation, cramming a million different issues into 30 seconds (fighting tax hikes, cutting spending, getting endorsed by teachers, jobs jobs jobs).
Meanwhile, a group called the Fund for Progress & Jobs (which is actually funded by unions—yeah, Illinois politics can be weird) is spending $700,000 to run its own pro-Dillard ad. This one is a bit less frenetic but it still covers a lot of ground, mostly the same stuff as in Dillard's own ad.