• AZ-07: Writing in the Arizona Republic, Elvia Diaz offers some good local color on the race to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Ed Pastor. Diaz explains that five powerful families, including Pastor's, have dominated Latino politics in the area for years, but they largely remained united behind the incumbent during his two-decade-long tenure. With Pastor now departing the scene, though, there's a clash brewing between these various factions, which are dividing their loyalties between the three Democrats in the race: Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, ex-state Rep. Ruben Gallego, and state Sen. Steve Gallardo.
You may be surprised, just based on her surname, to learn that Wilcox is Hispanic, but indeed she is. She hails from one of these five prominent families, and she recently earned Pastor's endorsement. So, too, does Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski, who's given his support to Gallego. One thing is for sure, though: Unless another big name gets in, this seat will remain in Latino hands, as all three candidates in this dark blue district are of Mexican-American descent.
• AK-Sen: A goofy ad from yet another Koch front group, this one called the American Energy Alliance, tries to claim that Democratic Sen. Mark Begich supports a "carbon tax" in D.C. but tells voters he opposes it at home. The size of the buy is a considerable (for Alaska) $526,000.
• NC-Sen: SurveyUSA has released their first poll of the general election for North Carolina's Senate race, on behalf of a local media outlet (their typical sort of client). The firm finds Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan trailing all comers:
• 45-46 vs. state House Speaker Thom TillisThese margins are all a bit worse for Hagan than they were in PPP's last poll, where she had small leads or tied most of these candidates. Her job approval rating is also a pretty crummy 38-50, but scarcely a week earlier, SUSA gave her a 34-54 score! Needless to say, Hagan's approvals didn't suddenly bounce up 8 points in just a few days, so this should simply serve as a reminder of just how wobbly SurveyUSA can be.
• 45-47 vs. physician Greg Brannon
• 44-46 vs. nurse practitioner Heather Grant
• 44-46 vs. former Shelby Mayor Ted Alexander
• 43-47 vs. Baptist pastor Mark Harris
Meanwhile, the GOP primary is as unclear as ever, with Tillis leading Brannon 23-15 and Harris the only other person in double figures at 11. In that previous poll, though, Tillis was up 28-15, with Grant at 11 and Harris at just 6. So there's another lesson here: It's hard to get a consistent read on primaries where candidates have low name recognition.
• GA-Gov: A new poll from Landmark Communications and Rosetta Stone Communications, taken on behalf of Channel 2 Action News, finds Republican Gov. Nathan Deal with just a 43-39 edge on his Democratic challenger, state Sen. Jason Carter. That's very similar to the HuffPo Pollster average, which stood at 41-38 in favor of Deal before this latest survey was incorporated.
• MI-Gov, -Sen: A new poll from the Marketing Resource Group finds Republican Gov. Rick Snyder leading Democratic ex-Rep. Mark Schauer 47-39, which is down from Snyder's 50-36 advantage in October. In the Senate race, Republican former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land edges Democratic Rep. Gary Peters 40-38, all but unchanged from last time, when Land was up 40-39.
• CA-07: Republican ex-Rep. Doug Ose, who faces more conservative challengers on his right flank in his bid to unseat freshman Democrat Ami Bera, is trying to shore up his credentials with his first ad of the race. Using the increasingly common shtick of "dude drives around in his car while occasionally stealing glances at the cameraman in his front seat," Ose declares: "We need to get out of debt. Debt is an anchor that will drown us." That's such a weird metaphor, though. Anchors don't cause you to drown.
• CO-04: Former Cranston, Rhode Island Mayor Steve Laffey is the first Republican to hit the airwaves in Colorado's open 4th Congressional District, and wow is his ad awful. It's a poorly edited spot featuring his four kids who take turns saying: "He is kind. He only likes thing made in America. He always wins at Monopoly. He likes to talk to the cows. He is very smart. He pays me a quarter to chase the geese away." That is the entirety of the ad. Maybe some people will find it endearing. I am not one of those people.
• NJ-12: Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman has released an internal poll of the Democratic primary for retiring Rep. Rush Holt's seat, conducted by Garin-Hart-Yang. The survey finds her neck-and-neck with state Sen. Linda Greenstein, who sports a narrow 29-28 lead, while Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula earns just 7 percent of the vote and 38 percent are undecided. That compares to a 30-20 advantage for Greenstein in a month-old poll taken by Global Strategy Group for her own campaign. (Chivukula was at 7 then as well.)
• WV-03: The Koch-backed American Energy Alliance is also running a new spot attacking Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall over carbon taxes, too. (See our AK-Sen item above.) Rahall, says the narrator, "voted for a budget that includes a devastating carbon, which would kill coal and destroy West Virginia jobs. A budget so extreme, even Nancy Pelosi opposed it." The vote in question was for the Progressive Caucus' alternative budget, which Rahall very surprisingly supported last year. The buy is reportedly $113,000.
• DC Mayor: On Tuesday, Democratic primary voters in Washington, D.C. went to the polls and the results were not good for Mayor Vincent Gray. The incumbent lost to Councilmember Muriel Bowser by a 44-32 margin, a result much wider than the polls predicted in the last week of the campaign. Bowser will enter the November general election as the overwhelming favorite against independent Councilmember David Catania. Had the scandal-tarred Gray emerged as the nominee, Catania could have made things interesting, but he faces a very uphill climb against Bowser in this solidly Democratic city.
Bowser's victory was by no means inevitable. When the primary began, she was one of several Gray challengers. A mid-January poll showed her battling several other candidates for second place, with Gray clearly in front. Had Bowser not stood out from the rest of Gray's opponents, it's very possible that the anti-Gray vote would have been split enough to allow the mayor to win with a plurality. However, over time, Bowser emerged as Gray's most prominent challenger and she began consolidating votes. On Tuesday, she won more than enough to deny the incumbent the plurality win he needed.
While both Bowser and Gray are African Americans, voting largely broke down along racial lines. This map by Matthew Isbell demonstrates how Bowser carried most of the city's white precincts, while Gray won many of the city's African American areas. As Isbell notes, there was a similar pattern in 2010's Democratic primary, when Gray unseated Adrian Fenty (who is also African American). However, Bowser did better in predominantly African American areas than Fenty, which made all the difference on Tuesday. (Jeff Singer)
• Special Elections: Johnny Longtorso recaps Tuesday's action, and there's something very unexpected in the results:
Alabama HD-53: Democrat Anthony "Alann" Johnson defeated Republican Willie "W.A." Casey by a 68-32 margin.Check out that 4th Hampden House seat in Massachusetts—Democrats managed to pick it up, even though it only went 52-46 for Barack Obama. It's also been GOP-held turf for since 1979, so this is exactly the sort of district you would not expect Democrats to perform well in in a special election. But like they say about baseball, this is why they play the games.
Massachusetts Senate, 5th Middlesex: Democrat Jason Lewis defeated Republican Monica Medeiros by a 53-47 margin.
Massachusetts House, 4th Hampden: This was the only seat that switched parties Tuesday night. Democrat John Velis defeated Republican Dan Allie by a 53-47 margin.
Massachusetts House, 16th Suffolk: Democrat Roselee Vincent easily defeated Republican Todd Taylor, winning by a 68-32 margin.
• Waukesha County, WI: Maybe this will finally put an end to all the Kathy Nickolaus jokes: Everyone's favorite former election clerk got absolutely pasted Tuesday night in a comeback bid for Waukesha County supervisor, losing to incumbent Dave Zimmerman by a 65-35 margin. And no, the vote tallies haven't changed today.
• President-by-LD: Stephen Wolf has another set of interactive maps visualizing the results of the 2012 presidential result by state legislative seat. This time he hits Ohio, New Hampshire, and Wyoming. For a look at another 11 states (including California, Colorado, and New York), see his previous entry here. (Jeff Singer)
• Virginia: Filing closed Thursday for major-party candidates in Virginia, but unfortunately, there's still no comprehensive statewide list. (Johnny Longtorso explains why.) The State Board of Elections does have a list of most candidates, while the remainder can be found through the Virginia Public Access Project.
The statewide primary is June 10, but many nominations will be officially decided before then. The Republicans will hold a convention on June 7 to select their nominee for US Senate. Of the four candidates, the clear favorite is former RNC chair Ed Gillespie. While conventions can be unpredictable, none of Gillespie's opponents look like anything more than Some Dudes. The winner will face Democratic Sen. Mark Warner in a race Daily Kos Elections rates as Likely Democratic.
The other race to watch before June 10 is in Northern Virginia's 10th District. Longtime Republican Rep. Frank Wolf is retiring and six Republicans are running to succeed him. The frontrunner looks like Del. Barbara Comstock, with Del. Bob Marshall serving as her main opponent. The nominee will be selected on April 26 in a firehouse primary. Democrats would prefer to face Marshall, who has a long history of extremism. The winner will face Democratic Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust. The district backed Mitt Romney 50-49, and we rate it as Lean Republican.
There is one primary worth watching on June 10, and oh what a primary it is. Democratic Rep. Jim Moran's retirement led to a flood of Democratic politicians running for his Northern Virginia seat. Here is a roundup of all 11 candidates running:
Don Beyer: Former Lieutenant Governor, 1997 gubernatorial nomineeIt's worth noting that unlike many Southern states, Virginia does not conduct runoffs. The good news for whoever emerges from this primary is that the district is Safe Democratic.
Lavern Chatman: Former Northern Virginia Urban League president
Adam Ebbin: State senator
Bill Euille: Alexandria mayor
Charniele Herring: State delegate and former state party chair
Patrick Hope: State delegate
Derek Hyra: College professor
Satish Korpe: Activist
Mark Levine: Radio show host
Alfonso Lopez: State delegate
Bruce Shuttleworth: 2012 candidate
The state's nine remaining House members are running for re-election and most face minimal primary and general election opposition. One possible exception is House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who represents the 7th District and faces a challenge in the Republican primary from college professor Dave Brat. Many anti-establishment conservatives would love to unseat Cantor, but beating him requires giant-slayer powers. We rate the general election as Safe Republican.
Republican Rep. Scott Rigell in the 2nd District is the only House incumbent looking vulnerable in November. Rigell will face Democrat Suzanne Patrick, a former Navy officer. The district voted for Obama 50-49, but the relatively moderate Rigell is a tough candidate. We rate the general as Likely Republican. (Jeff Singer)