• AK-Sen: Following the news that the pro-Democratic Put Alaska First PAC was reserving $4 million in fall TV ad time, a whole bunch of GOP entities are doing the same. Republican Dan Sullivan is already looking past the primary and has paid for $480,000 in airtime, according to Reid Wilson, while American Crossroads is booking a monster $5.5 million for the stretch run. And the NRSC isn't wasting time, either, with a $2.2 million reservation for the final two months. In a cheap, sparsely populated state like Alaska, the ads powered by these sums will utterly blanket the airwaves, and it also shows that Republicans aren't expecting a walkover.
• LA-Sen: The Senate Majority PAC shared a new poll from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner with the Washington Post, undoubtedly aimed at painting a different picture for Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu than a few recent surveys have. (The poll was conducted May 5-8 and has a sample size of 600.) In the November jungle primary, Landrieu comes remarkably close to avoiding a runoff, taking 48 percent of the vote, while GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy earns 29, Republican state Rep. Paul Hollis 8, and Air Force vet Rob Maness 7.
That's by far the highest vote share Landrieu's ever seen in a four-way race—she's usually been stuck in the low 40s—so these are some extremely optimistic numbers for her. She'd also fare very well (all things considered) in a runoff with Cassidy, where she's tied at 49 apiece. Again, Landrieu's typically found herself in the low 40s even in a head-to-head scenario, so these are also rosy results for her.
Most of the previous polling in this contest, though, has been from firms with weak or thin track records, so while GQR obviously has a dog in this fight, they at least have a solid reputation. The key, as is so often the case, will be what we see from other pollsters. We were skeptical, too, when that first poll a month ago showed Mark Pryor up double digits in Arkansas, but then a bunch of subsequent data made that finding seem not entirely crazy. Louisiana could very well wind up doing something similar.
• ME-, NH-Sen: The King stay the King: Independent Sen. Angus King has, of course, decided to endorse one Republican and one Democrat for Senate this year. The Republican is his fellow Mainer, Sen. Susan Collins, who is a heavy favorite for re-election, so Angus isn't exactly putting himself out on a limb here. The other is Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, in neighboring New Hampshire, who does face a competitive election against Scott Brown. But will King actually lift a finger to help Shaheen? That doesn't seem like his style.
Meanwhile, as Steven Benen puts it, Brown still seems to be struggling badly with the basics:
But neither on the trail nor in an interview did the candidate make clear what he'd propose as an alternative to the president's health law. At one stop, he suggested repealing Obamacare but letting New Hampshire's beneficiaries be "grandfathered in" so they don't lose coverage. A spokeswoman walked that back in a subsequent conversation. "You can't grandfather people from something you're fully repealing," she said, emphasizing Brown's intent to wipe out Obamacare before entertaining a replacement.This is a perfect illustration of the predicament the GOP faces everywhere at this point: If you're still calling for the outright repeal of Obamacare, that means you are calling for people to lose their insurance coverage. Yet as incoherent as the idea of "grandfathering" beneficiaries in might be, there's no reason why Brown can't run with it ... unless he's seriously worried about losing the Republican primary to Bob Smith. He can't be, though, can he? That would be truly amazing.
• CO-Gov: GOP ex-Rep. Bob Beauprez's first ad starts off with black-and-white photos of Barack Obama and Gov. John Hickenlooper, accusing them of "letting us down" as various captions roll on screen ("Obamacare cancels 250,000 Colorado policies"). The spot then changes gears to sunny and colorful, as Beauprez promises to create jobs and "freeze non-essential regulations on day one." I'd really like to see what that last bit looks like, but Beauprez doesn't have an issues page on his website.
• FL-Gov: In a new ad, GOP Gov. Rick Scott says he doesn't care what his critics in the media say about him, because, as he bounces a tyke on his lap, "I spend every day worried about what my grandson will think of me." So we're all about "Does grandpa have the yummy candy today or the gross candy?"
• PA-Gov: Here's one more poll showing businessman Tom Wolf with a wide lead in the Democratic primary, just ahead of Tuesday's election. Muhlenberg College finds Wolf beating Rep. Allyson Schwartz 37-14, with Treasurer Rob McCord at 9 and former state environmental chief Katie McGinty at 5. That's actually down a touch for Wolf, who led Schwartz 42-16 at the end of April. But Wolf's been on the receiving end of plenty of attack ads, so this shift is unsurprising, and it's not like anyone's gaining on him.
And in a sort of strange new ad, GOP Gov. Tom Corbett's narrator gloats that the "Democrat [sic] fight for governor is getting' ugly." She then recounts some of the various attacks the top three candidates have launched at one another, but it'll all be over shortly, so who cares what Wolf's criticism of McCord is? She then goes on to praise Corbett's job creation record.
• CA-24: Republican businessman Justin Fareed hasn't raised much money, so it's doubtful his new TV ad (designed to boost his name recognition ahead of June's top-two primary) is airing very widely. In the spot, he mostly runs down the street toting a football, and while I get that Fareed played and coached the sport at UCLA, no one goes jogging with a pigskin tucked under his arm. Anyway, the accompanying narration explains that Fareed's "freedom platform" will leave Americans "free from debt, free to succeed economically, free from intrusive regulations."
• GA-12: Even though a recent poll showed him with a wide lead in Tuesday's GOP primary, businessman Rick Allen has decided to go negative on businessman Eugene Yu. In a new ad, Allen hammers Yu for running his own business into the ground and for floating his campaign a super-sketchy $700,000 loan whose source he's refused to identify. Allen might feel he's close to avoiding a runoff and thus wants to finish Yu off now, but the risk here is that his attacks will allow state Rep. Delvis Dutton to sneak into the second round. That would be a boon for Democratic Rep. John Barrow, because the shady Yu would almost certainly be easier for Allen to dispatch.
• NY-13: Following right behind the United Federation of Teachers, the Hotel Trades Council has also endorsed state Sen. Adriano Espaillat in his bid to unseat Rep. Charlie Rangel in next month's Democratic primary. The UFT and the HTC are two of New York City's four largest and most influential unions; the other two, 1199 SEIU (which represents health care workers) and 32BJ SEIU (which represents building workers) have not chosen sides yet. However, both backed Rangel in 2012, so their silence this year says something.
• TX-04: Texas' runoff elections are coming up quickly on May 27, and the most notable among them is in the state's conservative 4th Congressional District, where U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe is hoping to unseat veteran Rep. Ralph Hall, the oldest member of the House. Ratcliffe's consolidated a lot of support from the tea party establishment (including the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund), but a new Gravis Marketing poll shows him trailing the incumbent, 46-38. However, Gravis has a terrible track record, so there's no reason to assume it's right.
• NY State Senate: Ball's out: Republican state Sen. Greg Ball, who'd long kept folks guessing about his re-election plans, finally declared on Friday that he would not run for another term. Ball had previously hinted he might run for Putnam County Executive, but now he says he'll return to the private sector. Ball's seat offers Democrats one of their best pickup opportunities in New York, seeing as it went 51-48 for Barack Obama and Ball only squeaked out a 51-49 victory himself in 2012.
Ball had already been facing a rematch from Democrat Justin Wagner, who's been in the race since November. There's a school of thought that argues that the bizarre Ball, thanks to his extreme iconoclasm and penchant for off-message remarks, might be easier to beat than a blank slate. But Wagner has a big advantage in preparation on whomever the GOP nominates in Ball's place. Ball himself endorsed Terrence Murphy, a councilman from Yorktown, a city with a population of 36,000. No matter what, though, this will be a competitive race.