• MI-11: Freedom's Defense Fund, a conservative group, is unleashing a new ad targeting attorney David Trott, who is challenging accidental Rep. Kerry Bentivolio in the GOP primary. The spot tells, in vivid detail, the story of Texana Hollis, a 101-year-old Detroit woman who was evicted from her home in 2011 and actually turned out into the street after her son failed to pay her mortgage. Hollis' possessions, says the announcer, were "thrown in the dumpster"—including her "life-saving medication." What does this all have to do with Trott? It was his eponymous law firm that foreclosed on Hollis.
Fortunately, thanks to a campaign led by writer Mitch Albom, Hollis was able to reclaim her home, which she'd lived in for 60 years. She died on New Year's Eve at the age of 103, but she most certainly hasn't been forgotten. It may be only be expedient that Trott's now getting ripped for what his firm did, but that's politics.
• AK-Sen: On Tuesday, when Club for Growth chief Chris Chocola teased that his organization would be issuing a new Senate endorsement, we crossed our fingers for Paul Broun. Sadly, it's not to be. Instead, they're backing former state Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan, who's running in the GOP primary in Alaska.
It's a rare occasion when the Club is on the same page as the Republican establishment, which has expressed a preference for Sullivan over Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell. It's also notable because tea party nut Joe Miller is in the race, too, and this means there likely won't be much in the way of outside help for his troubled cause, particularly since he had the Club's support in 2010.
Still, the fact that Sullivan has earned the extremists' seal of approval makes you wonder if he could have some real liabilities in the general election. Just take a look at some of the people they've endorsed in recent years, like Miller: Steve King, Ted Cruz, Richard Mourdock, Sharron Angle... you get the idea. Maybe Sullivan will be the next Pat Toomey, but he could also turn out to be the next Ken Buck.
• LA-, NC-, CO-Sen, CO-Gov: Thanks to the Cook Political Report, we've learned a bit more about that newly surfaced February poll of the Arkansas Senate race from Hickman Analytics on behalf of what Politico termed a "non-partisan client." Not so sure about that: Hickman may be a Democratic pollster, but their customer in this case was a front group called the Consumer Energy Alliance that's funded by the likes of BP, Chevron, and ExxonMobil and supports building the Keystone XL pipeline. So these guys clearly have an agenda, which explains all the questions about fracking and KXL.
What's also emerged is that Hickman conducted three other Senate polls on behalf of the CEA, in Colorado, Louisiana, and North Carolina. (They also checked the gubernatorial race in Colorado.) Even though multiple Republicans are challenging the Democratic incumbents in each of these contests, Hickman only asked about one challenger in each case:
P.S. While we're talking about Landrieu, the pro-Democratic Senate Majority PAC just filed an independent expenditure report for a $94,000 ad buy on her behalf, but the spot doesn't appear to be available anywhere yet.
• NE-Sen: A new survey from The Polling Company for Breitbart (!) finds former state Treasurer Shane Obsorn leading college president Ben Sasse 35-24, with banker Sid Dinsdale at 9, though it's clear from the writeup that the Breitbart gang is rooting for Sasse. The headline says that Sasse is "surging" (there are no trendlines), and the polling memo claims the race is "wide open" and that Sasse is "poised to challenge the presumed frontrunner."
There's been an interesting (and rare) split between movement conservatives in this race, though, in that FreedomWorks is backing Osborn while the Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund are both supporting Sasse. Evidently, Breitbart, a site that doesn't seem to play much in electoral politics, has come down on the side of the latter.
• OK-Sen-B: A month-old Tarrance Group poll conducted for Rep. James Lankford shows him beating former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon 47-17 in the GOP primary. That spread is somewhat smaller than the 54-18 edge Harper found a couple of weeks prior to Tarrance's survey.
• AZ-Gov: Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, who had long threatened to seek re-election even though third terms are forbidden by Arizona's constitution, has bowed to reality and won't try to challenge the law. Brewer declined to endorse in the crowded GOP primary to succeed her, but she did note that she has over $1 million sitting in two PACs she controls and plans to keep raising—and spending—money to support like-minded Republican candidates.
• IA-Gov: Hrm. That recent Selzer & Co. poll of the Iowa governor's race suffered from some pretty serious internal contradictions, but now another survey is also showing some horserace slippage for GOP Gov. Terry Branstad. Quinnipiac finds Branstad leading Democratic state Sen. Jack Hatch 46-35, down from 49-33 in December, which could very well be a bit of noise. Still, it does show movement in the same direction that Selzer did. Branstad's unlikely to face much trouble for re-election, but it's still worth keeping an eye on this one.
• AZ-07: Former Rep. Harry Mitchell is something of a legend in Arizona politics, thanks in large part to his decades-long tenure as mayor of Tempe. (The city even erected a statue in his honor, even if it's a bit more on the conceptual side.) So earning his endorsement is a good get for state Rep. Ruben Gallego, who is running in the Democratic primary for the open 7th District. However, as Rebekah Sanders notes, in the 9th District last cycle, Mitchell backed then-state Sen. David Schapira, who lost to now-Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.
• CA-33: Another boost for state Sen. Ted Lieu, fresh off earning the formal endorsement of the California Democratic Party over the weekend: The state branch of the SEIU, which represents over 700,000 workers statewide, has given him their support. Lieu's chief rival to replace retiring Rep. Henry Waxman is former Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel, a fellow Democrat, though an assortment of other lesser-known candidates are also running.
• CA-41: Uh, okay. A new poll from Wenzel Strategies for Riverside City Councilman Steve Adams finds him tied with freshman Rep. Mark Takano at 42. This district went 62-36 for Obama, Takano won 59-41 against a very well-funded opponent in 2012, and Adams hasn't even cracked $100,000 in fundraising. Garbage in, garbage out.
• FL-13: For what it's worth DCCC chair Steve Israel says he called Alex Sink and left a message suggesting she run again in November, when he expects Democratic turnout to be better. Israel added that Sink hasn't phoned him back yet.
More importantly, if you want to read the best post-mortem on the special election out there, check out Ed Kilgore's take (with an assist from Tom Schaller). Kilgore stresses, exactly as we have, that it's all about the falloff in Democratic turnout, and illustrates the problem acutely.
• IL-13: With just a few days to go before Tuesday's Democratic primary, former judge Ann Callis has released her third (and presumably final) television ad. The narrator mentions her creation of special veterans' courts (something she talked about in a prior spot) and her endorsement from Sen. Dick Durbin, but most of the ad is about Callis' commitment to "protecting Social Security and Medicare, not privatizing them." That's direct pushback against a dirty ad by her main rival, physics professor George Gollin, who baldly twisted a clip of Callis to make it seem like she wanted to undermine Social Security.
Adams, who has the backing of EMILY's List, also raised the most money in the fourth quarter, $113,000, versus $70,000 for Graham. The primary is May 6. If no candidate clears 40 percent, a runoff will be held on July 15.
State Rep. Alma Adams: 26 State Sen. Malcolm Graham: 19 Ex-Charlotte-Mecklenberg
School Board Chair George Battle:
9 Ex-Charlotte City Councilor
James "Smuggie" Mitchell:
9 State Rep. Marcus Brandon: 4 Attorney Curtis Osborne: 3 Some Dude Rajive Patel: 1 Undecided: 29
• NY-22: Huh. Republican Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney is reportedly gearing up to challenge sophomore Rep. Richard Hanna in this June's GOP primary, and, at least according to unnamed sources, is starting to circulate petitions to get on the ballot. Hanna has one of the most moderate records in the House Republican caucus, and he's openly trashed his own party at times, even exhorting women to donate to Democrats back in 2012 because "[s]o many of your rights are under assault." He also has a terrible lifetime rating with the Club for Growth.
Tenney would undoubtedly run to Hanna's right (she's apparently consulted with Conservative Party chair Michael Long about this move), and given how tolerant Republican primary voters tend to be of guys like Hanna, she'd have a shot at winning, at least on paper. However, Hanna has half-a-million bucks stockpiled, and Tenney would have little time to mount a serious campaign. Even so, Democrats need to find a warm body of their own in a hurry, as no Democratic candidates have declared. But if Tenney were to pull off the upset, Team Blue would want to compete for this swingy seat, seeing as Mitt Romney carried it by less than half of one percent.
• WV-03: The race in West Virginia's 3rd Congressional District is really starting to feel like a bit of unfinished business from 2010. Now you have Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall saying things like "I probably have supported George Bush more than I have Barack Obama," which sounds an awful lot like the tune a lot of Blue Dogs unsuccessfully tried dancing to four years ago. (It's definitely played on a piani with a cartoon character firing a revolver at your feet.)
Rahall also insisted that his polling shows nothing like the 54-40 margin recently seen in a survey from his Republican challenger, state Sen. Evan Jenkins—but he declined to say what his own numbers were, which is always troubling sign. They're probably better, but if Rahall's not sharing them, then they're probably not very good, either.
• NH Executive Council: One other special election didn't go the Democrats' way either on Tuesday night. Republican Joe Kenney narrowly defeated Democrat Mike Cryans, 52-48, for a seat on New Hampshire's five-member Executive Council, a unique body that has veto power over certain gubernatorial decisions. The district (numbered the 1st) had been held for ages by an old-school moderate New England Republican who died last year, and it actually went for Barack Obama 54-44. Democrats still retain a 3-2 majority on the council, though, and will get another crack at Kenney this fall, when they anticipate that turnout will be more favorable.
• New Mexico: On Tuesday, the candidate filing deadline passed in three different states: New Mexico, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. New Mexico will hold its primary on June 3, and the state has a list of candidates here.
Republican Gov. Susan Martinez is running for re-election and faces no primary opposition. Five Democrats are running against her: Attorney General Gary King (who is also the son of former Gov. Bruce King); state Sens. Linda Lopez and Howie Morales; former Albuquerque Chief Administrative Officer Lawrence Rael; and businessman Alan Webber. King is probably the highest-profile candidate, but Morales scored an important victory on Saturday by winning the party's pre-primary convention vote, earning him an automatic spot on the ballot. (King finished last, in fifth place, and will have to petition his way on, as will Lopez.) There's been zero horserace polling out of New Mexico, but Martinez appears to be as popular as ever. Daily Kos Elections rates the general election as Likely Republican.
There are a few competitive primaries for downballot statewide offices. Two Democrats are running against each other for the nomination for lieutenant governor. (New Mexico is one of a few states that nominates candidates for governor and lieutenant governor separately, but then has them run together in the general, known as a "shotgun wedding" system.) Three Democrats and one Republican are running in the open race for treasurer. In the race to succeed King as attorney general, two Republicans are running to face Democratic state Auditor and 2012 Senate candidate Hector Balderas in November. Each party is only fielding one candidate each for secretary of state, state auditor, and commissioner of public lands.
In the federal contests, Democratic Sen. Tom Udall and all three of the state's house members are running for re-election. None of them are facing any serious primary challengers, and Daily Kos Elections rates Udall and Democratic Reps. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Ben Ray Luján as safe in November.
Unlike his colleagues, 2nd District GOP Rep. Steve Pearce may have to fight to keep his seat. Pearce will face former Democratic Eddy County Commissioner Rocky Lara, who out-raised Pearce in the last fundraising quarter. Lara also got some good news Wednesday when her only primary opponent, attorney Leslie Endean-Singh, dropped out. Pearce still starts out as the clear favorite: This southern New Mexico district backed Romney 52-45, and Daily Kos Elections rates it as Likely Republican. (Jeff Singer)
Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber won a close race for his seat in 2010, but his re-election prospects in this blue state look good. Six Republicans are competing to take on Kitzhaber and the most credible one looks like state Rep. Dennis Richardson. Daily Kos Elections rates the race as Likely Democratic.
It's a similar story for freshman Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley, who won a tight race in 2008. Five Republicans are lining up to take him on. It looks like the main contenders will be surgeon Monica Wehby and state Rep. Jason Conger. We also rate this seat as Likely Democratic.
All five of Oregon's House members are seeking another term. Republican Rep. Greg Walden, the delegation's lone Republican and the head of the NRCC, is the only one to face a credible(ish) primary challenger. Democrats would undoubtedly love for Klamath County Commissioner Dennis Linthicum to at least distract Walden from his national campaign duties, but so far Linthicum's fundraising has been very unimpressive. In any case, Walden's reliably conservative second district will stay in Republican hands.
Most of the rest of the state's House seats are also expected to easily stay with the party that holds them. The one incumbent who looks to be in any danger is Democratic OR-05 Rep. Kurt Schrader. Three Republicans are running here: veteran Nathan Page; former congressional aide Ben Pollock; and Clackamas County Commissioner Tootie Smith. Obama only won this Willamette Valley district 51-47, but Schrader has won re-election here three times in the past (including during the 2010 red wave). Daily Kos Elections rates the race as Likely Democratic. (Jeff Singer)
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett has racked up horrific approval ratings, due in large part to his handling of the Penn State football scandal and his cuts to education funding. So while many of his fellow Republicans may wish otherwise, Corbett is running again and faces only minor primary opposition.
Six Democrats are running to unseat the Governor: former state Department of Environmental Protection Secretaries John Hanger and Katie McGinty; Treasurer Rob McCord; Rep. Allyson Schwartz; former Auditor (and 2010 candidate) Jack Wagner; and wealthy businessman Tom Wolf. So far Wolf is the only candidate spending serious money and he has taken a lead in the polls, but it's still early. The winner of the Democratic primary will start out with the edge against Corbett: Daily Kos Elections rates the general election as Lean Democratic.
As in New Mexico, lieutenant governor candidates are nominated in separate primaries, then paired with the party's gubernatorial nominee for the general. Republican Lt. Gov Jim Cawley has the unfortunate task of serving as Corbett's running mate, but faces no primary foe. Six Democrats, meanwhile, are running for the job: former Rep. Mark Critz; Harrisburg City Councilman Brad Koplinski; state Rep. Brandon Neuman; former Penn State assistant football coach Jay Paterno (the son of the late longtime coach Joe Paterno); Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith; and state Sen. Mike Stack.
Of Pennsylvania's 18 House members, two are not running again. Sixth District GOP Rep. Jim Gerlach is retiring from his competitive suburban Philadelphia seat. On the Republican side, Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello has the field to himself. Two Democrats are facing off: physician and 2010 and 2012 nominee Manan Trivedi, and businessman Mike Parrish. Romney won PA-06 51-48, and Daily Kos Elections rates it as Lean Republican.
In the race to succeed Schwartz in PA-13, four Democrats are in. They are former Rep. (and Clinton-in-law) Marjorie Margolies; physician Val Arkoosh; state Rep. Brendan Boyle; and state Sen. Daylin Leach. This seat is rated as Safe Democratic. Obama won the district, which includes parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County, 66-33.
Thanks to a fiendish Republican gerrymander, there aren't many competitive seats in this Democratic-leaning state. One exception is PA-08, located in Bucks County. Republican Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick faces two Democrats: veteran Kevin Strouse (who at one point had earned some DCCC love) and publishing company owner Shaughnessy Naughton (an EMILY's List endorsee). The district is very closely divided, with Romney carrying it by less than one tenth of a percent. However, Fitzpatrick is a tough opponent and easily won re-election in 2012. We rate the race as Likely Republican.
The rest of the state's delegation looks like they have little to worry about in either a primary or a general. In the safely red PA-09, Republican Rep. Bill Shuster has drawn the ire of some conservatives. However, Shuster faces a very poorly funded primary opponent in tea partier Art Halvorson and should easily win. (Jeff Singer)