• FL-26: Surely we can't get this lucky—can we? Just before Friday's filing deadline, Republican ex-Rep. David Rivera said he'd run for the seat he lost two years ago, despite being under federal investigation for campaign finance fraud, and despite the fact that the GOP already has a decent recruit in Miami-Dade School Board Member Carlos Curbelo.
Rivera is as delusional as can be, saying the investigation was motivated by "lies" on the part of the Miami Herald (which broke the story wide open a couple of years ago), even though one conspirator has already pleaded guilty and another, Rivera's some-time girlfriend, is behind bars awaiting trial. (If you need a refresher on the underlying scandal, click here.)
At the very least, Rivera will serve as a very unwelcome distraction for his own party, and he'll force Curbelo to waste money on the primary. There's also a non-zero possibility that he could actually win the GOP nomination thanks to his name recognition, in which case Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia, the man who beat Rivera in 2012, would be all smiles.
• GA-Sen: Businessman David Perdue returns to the crying babies theme he's used before, telling viewers in his new ad that "if you like the results coming out of Washington right now, then pick one of these four professional politicians," as a shot of four howling tykes (each wearing a shirt with the name of one of Perdue's opponents) rolls on screen.
• NE-Sen: The conservative 60 Plus Association, one of the Kochtopus' many tentacles (though occasionally one with a mind of its own), has decided to direct its grasp toward a fellow traveler for once. In a minute-long spot reminiscent of the infamous Swift Boat ads, a series of Nebraska veterans slam Republican Shane Osborn over a fake Navy memo he pushed a friend to write that supported his decision to make an emergency landing at a Chinese airbase after the reconnaissance plane he was piloting sustained serious damage in a mid-air collision with a Chinese jet in 2001.
These vets lay into Osborn hard, saying his actions "show a total lack of character" and all but accusing him of violating military codes of conduct. This race has definitely turned very nasty, as Osborn has likewise been savaging his GOP primary opponent, Ben Sasse, as a closet supporter of Obamacare.
And the nomination is still very much up for grabs. A new poll from NSON Opinion Strategy for the Tea Party Express finds Sasse leading Osborn 29-27, with 28 percent still undecided. (TPX hasn't endorsed in the race, but just about every tea-flavored group is backing Sasse.) The primary is just around the corner on May 13.
• OR-Sen, -Gov: Well, it looks like Mary Cheney's new polling firm, Vox Populi, is happy to abandon any effort at establishing a reputation for seriousness right out the gate. In their new Oregon poll for the conservative website Daily Caller, before getting to any horserace questions, Vox Populi asked respondents the following highly charged, muddled question:
Thinking about the Affordable Care Act, sometimes called ObamaCare, and the Cover Oregon program, would you describe them as successes, failures or something in between?Bringing up Cover Oregon is particularly incendiary because Oregon's home-grown exchange is probably the most troubled in the nation. (In fact, it will probably get nuked in favor of the federal exchange.) It's certainly very likely to come up on the campaign trail, and it won't be a positive for Democrats, but inserting a question like this at the start of a poll is just begging for results that skew in favor of the GOP.
And lo and behold, that's exactly what Mary Cheney got. Vox finds Republican surgeon Monica Wehby leading Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley 45-41, even though limited prior polling has shown Merkley ahead. The poll also didn't bother testing state Rep. Jason Conger, even though he has every chance of winning the GOP primary, so that raises questions, too.
Vox did ask about the governor's race, though, and the numbers there are also very gaudy for Republicans: Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber is tied with state Rep. Dennis Richardson at 44. Again, though, these are results to be wary of, and with good reason.
• NE-Gov: We've got a trio of new Republican ads in the Nebraska governor's race. Businessman Pete Ricketts touts an endorsement from ex-Gov. Kay Orr, who praises his conservative values. State Auditor Mike Foley literally rolls up his sleeves and says he's "found and exposed waste and abuse of your money." Finally, state Sen. Beau McCoy's wife touts his "pro-life" values and says he passed a law "allowing a woman to see an ultrasound of her unborn child before having an abortion." "Allow" is an interesting word—the legislation requires an ultrasound to be taken and displayed.
• PA-Gov: There wouldn't happen to be a Pennsylvania gubernatorial primary coming up in a couple of weeks, would there? Because Friday saw the release of five different ads, in a race with only four candidates. If you need a one-sentence distillation: Tom Wolf, still the frontrunner, has a big target on his back now, and his two ads see him increasingly on the defensive.
One of Wolf's spots features a statement from York, Pennsylvania's current mayor, Kim Bracey, who's African-American. The controversy is over Wolf's 2001 support for York's then-mayor, Charles Robertson, who was at that point under indictment for his role as a police officer in a 1979 race riot (Robertson was found not guilty in 2002). That same incident is the subject of Rob McCord's new ad, where the narrator pointedly asks, "Why would [Wolf] chair the campaign of a man arrested for his role in a race riot, one that left a black woman dead?"
Wolf's other spot contains testimonials from employees at his family business, which ran into hard times in the period in the late 2000s, when Wolf served in Gov. Ed Rendell's administration. The workers say Wolf promptly turned the company around when he returned. However, Allyson Schwartz has an ad on the same subject, and her version of the story focuses on Wolf's millions in profits from the sale of the firm and the hundreds of employees who lost their jobs.
Finally, the race's fourth wheel, Katie McGinty also has a 15-second ad out, but she's staying out the fray. Instead she, like Schwartz previously, touts her support for Obamacare, as well as a promise to undo Corbett-era education cuts. (David Jarman)
• AR-02: State Rep. Ann Clemmer's new ad is ridiculous enough that it made me laugh. As a tubby tabby rolls about in a pile of cash, the narrator keeps berating "fancy fat cat French Hill," Clemmer's well-funded GOP primary opponent, over and over. "Fancy French Hill," he says, "fakes conservatism" and "funded a federally indicted Democrat," an apparent reference to this story.
• CA-17: Democrat Ro Khanna takes a different tack in his latest ad, which features a former local union president who says that when his auto plant closed, Khanna "was instrumental in bringing a grant to help people get jobs."
• FL-13: You really have to wonder what the DCCC is thinking in Florida's 13th District. Right at the filing deadline, they succeeded in landing a new recruit to take on GOP Rep. David Jolly, Army and Marines vet Ed Jany. But there are a ton of problems with his candidacy right out the gate. For one, Jany was a Republican until October. Ordinarily, that's just fine—the Democrats should embrace folks who've give up on the Republicans.
But thanks to Florida law, which requires that candidates be a member of their party for a year, Jany can't actually run on the Democratic line and will have to run as an independent! (You may remember the same fate befell former GOP state Sen. Nancy Argenziano in Florida's 2nd in 2012.) So that's already a mess. It also means Democrats can't afford to have an actual Democrat in the race (oy!), lest the vote get split. At least that fate has apparently been avoided.
But that's hardly the only issue. Indeed, Jany doesn't actually live in the district and isn't registered to vote there. Rather, he lives in neighboring Tampa, which is a bit like residing in Minneapolis but running in St. Paul. So it's even more surprising that Democrats wanted to recruit Jany, given that one of the GOP's favorite attack lines against Alex Sink during the special election was the fact that she lived outside the district before deciding to run.
What makes this all the more galling is that Democrats strong-armed local pastor Manuel Sykes out of the race in a rather nasty, over-the-top fashion. One of the alleged knocks against Sykes was that he, too, did not live in the district, but Sykes says he was only recently redistricted out. What's more, he's actually from Petersburg, the city at the heart of the district that's been brazenly gerrymandered to keep its core of black voters out of the swingy 13th and locked into the solidly blue 14th instead.
And race was an ugly factor here, too, seeing as Pinellas County Democratic chair Mark Hanisee explicitly cited the district's small African-American population as a reason why Sykes, who is black, should not run. Never mind that Hanisee wasn't even right about the numbers. Barack Obama carried this district in both 2008 and 2012, so the notion that a black candidate can't win here is ridiculous.
Jany certainly has an impressive military record, earning a Bronze Star, and he also served as a police officer and was shot in the line of duty in 2003. He may yet surprise us. But he starts off with several serious obstacles to victory, in a race that was never going to be easy in the first place.
• MI-13: Hoo boy. Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett now says that Democratic Rep. John Conyers did not turn in a sufficient number of valid signatures to qualify for the ballot, apparently because two of the people who circulated petitions for him lacked valid voter registrations. However, Garrett cautioned that a final ruling won't come until Wednesday, and presumably there will be further challenges and perhaps litigation at that point.
Also bear in mind that if he does get bumped, Conyers could still run in the primary as a write-in. Ex-Rep. Thad McCotter tried to do this in the 11th District last cycle after his ignominious ballot access debacle but ultimately dropped out. With his unique name recognition, Conyers would likely have an easier time of things.
• NE-02: GOP Rep. Lee Terry probably doesn't have a whole lot to fear in his upcoming primary with businessman Dan Frei, but he evidently doesn't want to leave anything to chance, since he's running a new TV ad. (Of course, we don't know how much he's spending.) The spot is very much in the Americans for Prosperity Style, featuring a woman who claims that after her insurance policy was cancelled, her "monthly expenses were gonna go up, minimum, by $300 a month." She then says she's "grateful for what Congressman Terry is doing to fight Obamacare," as if endless votes to repeal the law are going to help her financially.
• NY-01: In a new spot, GOP state Sen. Lee Zeldin revisits a theme that's come up in several ads before: accusing his primary opponent, attorney George Demos, of being a "Nancy Pelosi Republican." (Don't worry, your worldview can remain intact—Demos is still a crazy wingnut. The claim is based on some attenuated connection via Demos' wife's father.) The second half of the ad praises Zeldin for, among other things, not supporting Obamacare, something Demos has repeatedly accused him of.