• NE-02: If this new Global Strategy Group internal for Democratic state Sen. Brad Ashford is correct, GOP Rep. Lee Terry is in a heap of trouble. Terry, who barely won renomination despite outspending his Some Dude opponent 20-to-1, is tied with Ashford at 41 apiece, while Libertarian Steven Laird takes 4 percent.
Note that this matchup did not include former GOP state Sen. Chip Maxwell, who says he's going to petition his way on to the ballot as an independent in order to give conservative voters an alternative to Terry. Ashford didn't release such a matchup (who can say why?), but you've gotta believe that Terry, whose job approval rating is an abysmal 36-63, would look even more vulnerable with Maxwell in the mix.
What's also interesting is that these numbers are very similar to those from a DCCC poll taken late last fall, at the height of the government shutdown, when Terry was doing himself no favors. At the time, a different Democrat was running, but if Terry's still mired in the low 40s, he's really managed to wound himself in a way that might not be fixable.
Still, Ashford needs to step it up—he's only raised $123,000 to date. But if he can take his campaign to the next level, then Democrats could very well steal a seat out from under the Republicans.
• AR-Sen: American Crossroads is spending $440,000 on a new ad linking Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor with Obama. I'll give them points for creativity: The spot features a spelling bee where "Pryor" is the word, and when the contestant asks for the definition, she's told, "A Washington liberal, out of touch with Arkansas, voted for Obama 90 percent." The girl ends up spelling Pryor as O-B-A-M-A, which the judges declare is close enough. If Pryor wins, I wonder if Karl Rove and friends will end up emulating another fictional spelling bee and realize Life is Pandemonium.
Crossroads also pushed out a poll from Public Opinion Strategies with its new ad, but they don't seem to be shouting it from the rooftops. Buried at the end of Roll Call's writeup is a brief mention that GOP Rep. Tom Cotton is up 46-41 on Pryor. Given the recent spate of decent-to-good polling for Pryor, you'd think Karl Rove would want to make a bigger deal about this poll, though, right? (Jeff Singer & David Nir)
• HI-Gov: Boy, this is not a great poll for an incumbent to be releasing: Gov. Neil Abercrombie says that SMS Strategies gives him just a 42-28 lead on state Sen. David Ige, who's challenging him in the Democratic primary. Ige may be an elected official, but his profile borders on Some Dude as far as a statewide race is concerned, and he only raised $84,000 in his first six months on the campaign trail. (Abercrombie had $2.2 million in the bank at the end of last year.)
But the incumbent has, in scattered polling and anecdotal news reports, appeared to be oddly unpopular, and a Merriman River survey from February showed him tied with Ige at 37. An earlier Ward Research poll put Abercrombie on top 47-38, but his own numbers really aren't much better, especially since he's at just 42 against an unknown opponent. What's more, SMS's poll was in the field for an entire month—from March 24 to April 25—which is a bizarre length of time. It's also strange that the Abercrombie campaign waited so long to share these results.
And even if Abercrombie does survive his primary, these numbers indicate a worrying weakness for the general election. It's going to be a strange affair, with former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann both seeking rematches—the former on the Republican banner once more, and the latter as an independent. Abercrombie beat Hannemann soundly in the 2010 Democratic primary, but if he can't bring Ige voters back into the fold (many of whom may be Republicans, since Hawaii has open primaries), they may desert him for his one-time intra-party rival.
Might it be enough for Abercrombie to lose? Given how difficult it is to poll Hawaii, that's hard to say, which also means it's hard to rule out. No matter what, though, as Skaje says, we're in for an interesting election year in the Aloha State.
• PA-Gov: He's dead, Jim. PPP's new Pennsylvania poll, taken in the wake of businessman Tom Wolf's resounding win in the Democratic primary, shows Wolf pulverizing GOP Gov. Tom Corbett by an extraordinary 55-30 margin. That's a sizable increase on the already-serious 44-32 lead Wolf had back in November, the last time PPP tested the general election.
And while the primary did turn somewhat negative toward the end, Wolf's emerged looking good, with a strong 47-20 favorability score. Even Republicans don't particularly dislike him, giving him a 29-32 rating, and 24 percent say they'll vote for him. Corbett, meanwhile, sports incredibly dreadful job approvals of just 27 percent positive to a whopping 58 negative. (His cuts to education funding and his mishandling of the Penn State sexual abuse scandal are key reasons for his deep unpopularity.) What incumbent could possibly win with numbers like that?
So the real question at this point is whether the Republican Governors Association's own polling looks anything like PPP's—in other words, whether Corbett gets triaged now, or if Republicans hold out any hope of resuscitating him. But unless PPP is way, way off, it's hard to see how this corpsicle can be revived.
And if Corbett does get left for dead, the real worries for the GOP then move downballot. Democrats are hopeful they can take back the legislature, particularly the state Senate, where Republicans hold a relatively slim 27-23 edge. It's certainly no easy task, particularly in a midterm year, but with Corbett looking like serious deadweight at the top of the ticket, it's definitely within reach, and 2014 could be a very good year for Pennsylvania Democrats.
• LA-06: State Rep. Lenar! Whitney is the latest candidate to enter the race for Rep. Bill Cassidy's seat, joining a crowded field that includes fellow Republicans Garrett Graves, a former advisor to Bobby Jindal, and state Sen. Dan Claitor. Emily Lane at the New Orleans Times-Picayune notes that Whitney, who hails from Houma, is the only Republican from the southern part of the district.
• MI-03: A new poll from Practical Political Consulting for MIRS, a local tipsheet, finds Rep. Justin Amash beating businessman Brian Ellis 42-23 in the Aug. 5 GOP primary. That's a bit closer than the 53-23 lead a recent FreedomWorks poll gave to Amash, but it's still pretty wide. However, Ellis still has a couple of months to change the state of play.
• NY-21: For the first time all cycle, Karl Rove's American Crossroads is going negative in a GOP primary. The group is spending $240,000 to target Wall Street executive Matt Doheny, who faces former Bush aide Elise Stefanik, with a very personal ad pointing out his flaws. The spot criticizes Doheny as a "multi-millionaire" who's lost three races in the past and was "sued twice for not paying rent on his New York City apartment," a nice jab at his carpetbagging ways. Doheny was also "charged twice for boating under the influence," and the actual story sounds even worse than the ad makes it out to be—a real rarity in politics! So you can understand why the Republican establishment would prefer not to nominate Doheny once again for this swingy open seat.
• Philadelphia Mayor: Incumbent Democrat Michael Nutter will be termed out next year, setting up a wide open battle for the mayoralty in Philadelphia, America's fifth largest city. PPP surveys the May 19 Democratic primary on behalf of prospective candidate and City Controller Alan Butkovitz, finding no clear favorite. City Council President Darrell Clarke leads Butkovitz 14-12, with other potential candidates all at 10 percent or less and 41 percent undecided. But whoever eventually emerges from with the nomination should have no problem winning in November 2015. (Jeff Singer)
Republican Gov. Sean Parnell is seeking a second full term. He faces three primary challengers, but the most serious (though still a longshot) looks like former state party chair Russ Millette. Two Democrats are running, with former Permanent Fund Executive Director and ex-Juneau Mayor Byron Mallot looking like the clear favorite. Former Valdez Mayor Bill Walker, who was a Republican until recently, is running as an independent. Walker ran in the 2010 GOP primary and lost to Parnell 50-33, and he complicates what should otherwise be an easy re-election for the incumbent. Daily Kos Elections rates the general as Likely Republican.
Two Republicans are running for the open lieutenant governor's post, with Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan (not to be confused with the Senate candidate of the same name) looking like the clear favorite over Kenai Peninsula Borough Assemblyman Kelly Wolf. The winner will likely face Democratic state Sen. Hollis French. In Alaska, the governor and lieutenant governor are nominated separately, but run together on a "shotgun marriage" ticket in the general.
Democratic Sen. Mark Begich is running for a second term and is already a top GOP target. Three notable Republicans are running: 2010 nominee Joe Miller; former state Attorney General Dan Sullivan; and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell. Sullivan seems like the only Republican who is running a strong campaign and looks like the man to beat in the primary. We rate the general as a Tossup.
Someday, longtime Republican Rep. Don Young will retire, but it won't be this year. Young faces minimal primary opposition and we rate the general as Safe Republican. (Jeff Singer)
• Campaign Finance: A new study of doctors' campaign contributions finds that on the whole, physicians no longer lean Republican, as they once did. A big reason is the increase in the number of female practitioners, who only give 27 percent of their donations to the GOP, versus 57 percent from male doctors.
There's also a pretty clear correlation with income, as doctors who make more tend to give more to Republicans. One big outlier: ophthalmologists, who are on the lower end of the pay scale (relatively speaking) but still lean heavily Republican. No one's quite sure why, though of course, one of the best-known Republicans in Congress is rogue ophthalmologist Rand Paul.
Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is running for a second term. Brownback shouldn't have much a problem in the primary against landscaping contractor Jennifer Winn, but the general looks like another story. Democratic House Minority Leader Paul Davis is running, and with Brownback very unpopular, it looks like he has a chance to pull off an upset in this dark red state. We rate the general as Lean Republican.
Republicans have a very crowded primary for the open state insurance commissioner position. Republican incumbents are running for reelection for attorney general, secretary of state, and state treasurer. In the secretary of state's race, Republican Kris Kobach faces former state Sen. Jean Schodorf, a former Republican state senator turned Democrat.
Republican Sen. Pat Roberts is also running again. Roberts' tenuous connections to the state have left him vulnerable to a primary challenge. However, tea partying physician and distant Obama relative Milton Wolf has his own flaws and may not be up to the task. The Democrats are fielding Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor. We rate the general as Safe Republican.
All four of the state's Republican House members are running again. We rate each of the general elections as Safe Republican. However, 4th District Rep. Mike Pompeo will need to watch his back in the primary: He faces former Rep. Todd Tiahrt, who vacated the seat in 2010 to run for the Senate. (Jeff Singer)
Republican Gov. Scott Walker is seeking another term. The Democrats are fielding Madison School Board Member and businesswoman Mary Burke, who faces minimal primary opposition against state Rep. Brett Hulsey. The general is expected to be a very polarizing race, and we rate it as Lean Republican. Republican Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, meanwhile, faces two Democrats (the lieutenant governor is nominated separately from the governor but runs on the same ticket).
Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is retiring, and a fierce contest to succeed him is expected. Three Democrats are running: Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ; Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne; and state Rep. Jon Richards. The winner will face Republican Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel.
The (mostly powerless) treasurer's office is also open, with two Democrats and two Republicans running. Democratic Secretary of State Doug LaFollette faces two Republicans.
Republican Rep. Tom Petri is calling it quits in the 6th District, and three credible Republicans are running: state Sens. Glenn Grothman and Joe Leibham, and state Assemblyman Duey Stroebel. The Democrats are fielding Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris. We rate the general as Likely Republican. The state's other seven House members are running again and face little primary or general election opposition. (Jeff Singer)