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• AZ-08: That new DCCC ad clearly did the trick, because Republican Jesse Kelly has now decided it's better to be known as a craven flip-flopper rather than a dystopian wrecker. You'll recall that the D-Trip slammed Kelly for statements he made when he ran for this seat last cycle, particularly his desire to see Social Security and Medicare "eliminated." Now Kelly's reversed course and has updated his website to say: "I support preserving, protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare. I do not support privatizing, eliminating or phasing out these programs in any way." Amusingly (and helpfully), Kelly's campaign is nevertheless denying that there's "been any change of position," which deprives Kelly of the chance to at least make a clean break with the past. In other words, this anvil is still tied as firmly around his neck as ever.
• FL-Sen: Nice way to blow your credibility right on day one: Freedom PAC (I'm surprised that name wasn't taken already), a super PAC aimed at bolstering the candidacy of GOP Rep. Connie Mack, told media organizations a few days ago that it was running its first ad, attacking Dem Sen. Nelson. But now both Democratic and Republican trackers say there's no evidence that the group has made any buy whatsoever, and to make matters worse, a spokesman for the group "could not say when" the ad would appear on television. Pathetic.
• IN-Sen: Seems like that's all she wrote for Dick Lugar: Howey Politics' final poll just ahead of Tuesday's primary shows Lugar trailing Richard Mourdock 48-38 among Republican primary voters. That's a devastating, but not at all unexpected, drop for Lugar from Howey's late March survey, which had him up, but precariously so, at 42-35. You'd think that if Lugar had some better numbers of his own, he'd have shown them to us by now, no? Click the link for our full analysis of all the data, including a look at each side's closing ads.
• MA-Sen: So that new Elizabeth Warren ad, the one featuring Barack Obama extensively praising her? She's adding another $800K to the buy, which the New York Times says brings her television spending to a monster $1.6 mil since April 23. GOP Sen. Scott Brown is not on TV, though he has been running radio ads.
• MO-Sen: Missouri's junior senator, GOPer Roy Blunt, says he won't make an endorsement in the race against his senior counterpart, Claire McCaskill. Three Republicans are vying to take her on: Rep. Todd Akin, ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman, and rich guy John Brunner.
• NE-Sen: Jon Bruning, who either has the GOP nomination well-in-hand or is threatened for the nod by Don Stenberg, depending on whose views (and polling) you believe, is going with the former rather than the latter. His newest ad is a pivot toward the general election, featuring an attack on Bob Kerrey and Barack Obama. You can watch at the link.
• VA-Sen: Though the Majority PAC is a Democratic-aligned group, and though they're airing a new ad on behalf of Tim Kaine (a Democrat), you'd be forgiven for thinking this was a pro-Republican ad and George Allen was the Dem. They hit Allen for increasing spending as governor, and for supporting earmarks and increasing the debt as senator. Meanwhile, they praise Kaine for cutting spending as governor and eliminating the state tax. Confusing! (Also: Thanks to IE reports, we know that the size of the buy is $215K.) You can watch at the link or below:
• AZ-09: Some very ugly campaign mailers Democrat Andrei Cherny published when he ran for state Assembly in California a decade ago are coming back to haunt him in his race for Congress in Arizona. Both of Cherny's primary opponents, Kyrsten Sinema and David Schapira, have recently made an issue of them, but rather than admit he made a big mistake years ago, Cherny's defending himself, which seems like a very bad move. The Arizona Republic has the full details on the backstory, and I encourage you to read it, but let me just reproduce one of the fliers so that you can get a sense of what I'm talking about:
That was just one of them. There were at least two others:
The mailers insinuated that Cherny's Democratic opponent, Lloyd Levine, was pro-life and soft on crime, according to news reports from 10 years ago and a copy of a mailer obtained by The Republic. Two mailers tied Levine to an assemblyman "from South Central" Los Angeles who voted against bills on contraception coverage and gun control.
In response, Cherny lost a whole host of endorsements from prominent Democrats, and then went on to lose the race by double digits. Today, he still maintains the mailers "were accurate" and accuses his opponents of practicing "an ugly kind of politics" by trying to make hay of them. Now that's chutzpah.
• CA-26: The House Majority PAC is out with a sizable $140K cable buy, backing an ad supporting Democratic Assemblywoman Julia Brownley. As Roll Call's Kyle Trygstad notes, the ad makes a point of emphasizing Brownley's party affiliation, since there's a risk she might split votes with two other lesser-known Democrats in the race and allow a Republican (Tony Strickland) and an independent ex-Republican (Linda Parks) to sneak through the top-two primary. You can watch the spot at the link.
• CA-30: This new ad from the ridiculously-named super PAC that's backing Dem Rep. Howard Berman seems to set a new low in quality—worse, I think, even that that wretched George Maragos ad from the other day. Not only are the production values worse than something you'd see from a local furniture company, but the content is pretty remarkable. The ad actually touts an endorsement for Berman from GOP Rep. Darrell Issa! (Yes, this actually happened, though it's a bit fakey since Issa said he was only doing so because there are no legit Republicans in the race.)
Issa, though, isn't some moderate-ish Republican with crossover appeal—he's a hard-right radical who led the effort to recall Gov. Gray Davis and now acts as President Obama's tormenter-in-chief by ginning up endless bogus "investigations" as chair of the House Oversight Committee. This would be a bit like some outside group running a spot touting Karl Rove's "endorsement" of Howard Dean. And yeah, while I'm sure Berman's backers are trying to squeeze out any Republican votes they can for their guy in this all-party primary, Issa is such an extremist that I can't imagine anyone who is fond of him is all of a sudden going to pull the lever for a Dem on Issa's say-so. Anyhow, watch for yourself—you'll see Issa's mug in the bottom-left corner of the Brady Bunch-style screen that appears 17 seconds in. (P.S. The size of the buy is $81K.)
: In the end, the weeks-long campaign by the DCCC to lure ex-Rep. Joe Schwarz, a moderate Republican, into a rematch against GOP Rep. Tim Walberg under the Democratic banner just didn't pan out. The 74-year-old Schwarz publicly toyed with the idea of running as a Democrat for some time, issuing all sorts of teaser statements and announcement deferrals. But ultimately, he just didn't have the fire in his belly for another bid, citing his distaste for fundraising, the fact that the district lines were redrawn, and his lack of interest in becoming a freshman in Congress yet again as reasons why he pulled the plug. With Michigan's filing deadline of May 15 rapidly approaching, this leaves Democrats with only obscure attorney Kurt Haskell in the race. I'd be surprised if Democrats can recruit a bigger ticket name after this disappointment. (James L)
• MN-01: You may recall that the Republican convention in the 1st District—to choose a nominee to take on third-term Dem Rep. Tim Walz—ended in a deadlock, with delegates unable to decide between state Sen. Mike Parry and former state Rep. Allen Quist after 23 rounds of balloting. There was originally talking of holding a second convention, but now those are off: Quist says he doesn't want to wait "for a convention that may not take place," so he's decided to forge ahead to the August 14 primary instead. Parry "quickly followed suit" and says he, too, will run in the primary. This is yet another example of how dumb and undemocratic these kinds of conventions are, though the good news here for Democrats is that the battle between Quist and Parry has already turned nasty—and now we get three more months of it.
• MN-02: Former state Rep. Mike Obermueller, who recently received the endorsement of local Democrats at the party's district-wide convention, was just added to the DCCC's "Red to Blue" list. (Two other Democrats who also sought their party's backing at the convention, Northfield City Councilman Patrick Ganey and Dakota County Commissioner Kathleen Gaylord, both deferred to Obermueller after losing the delegate vote and won't force a primary.) Obermueller will take on GOP Rep. John Kline in the redrawn 2nd District, which was made slightly bluer in redistricting.
• NM-01: Usually politicians try their hardest to avoid hot air balloons—the imagery is just too fraught. But New Mexico, of course, has tight relationship with ballooning, and as much as it pains me to say this, I think this ad from Democrat Marty Chavez, his first of the race, is actually pretty clever. Have a look at the link or below:
: It feels like every political analyst was just waiting for this one to happen, and now here we are: Bill Clinton has endorsed Rep. Bill Pascrell in his member-vs.-member primary fight against fellow Rep. Steve Rothman. I hardly need tell you that Pascrell was a Hillary Clinton supporter and Rothman a backer of Barack Obama, do I?
But Rothman made a good point about Bill Clinton's views on loyalty just a day earlier: Back when Clinton was facing impeachment proceedings over the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Rothman served on the House Judiciary Committee and says he offered a "very strong defense" of the president "day after day and night after night" and "not only in committee, but on a variety of cable news shows." I think it's very strange to see Clinton forsake someone who backed him to the hilt in his hour of greatest need simply because he didn't endorse his wife's presidential bid.
• PA-12: This is nice to see: Rep. Jason Altmire, who was just defeated by fellow Rep. Mark Critz in the Democratic primary a couple of weeks ago, is appearing with Critz and other leaders at a rally on Monday. Critz still faces a very tough re-election fight against Republican Keith Rothfus in November.
• WA-01: There've been a whole bunch of endorsements from various quarters for the various Democrats running in Washington's 1st District in the past few days, but probably the most notable is from the Communications Workers of America, who decided to back Suzan DelBene. (Interestingly, Darcy Burner herself was once a member of the CWA, according to PubliCola, but I guess that wasn't enough of a difference-maker.)
• Virginia: If Dem Sen. Mark Warner decides to seek re-election in 2014, he'd start (two-and-a-half years out) with a 51-40 lead over Gov. Bob McDonnell, who is almost certainly the strongest name the GOP could put up against him. PPP also has a bunch of other Virginia miscellany, including a look at whether voters support the state's unique one-term limit for governors. They're against it, actually by a 60-31 margin—though McDonnell's hypothetical re-elects are only 36-51, which might explain his somewhat soft performance against Warner. Meanwhile, Democrats have a hefty 47-38 lead on a generic congressional ballot, but with the state so heavily gerrymandered to benefit Republicans, it will be hard to make any pickups in the Old Dominion this year.
• IN-Sen: Hoosiers For Jobs spends $64K on new mailers attacking Richard Mourdock (R)
• VA-Sen: Majority PAC places a $215K TV buy on behalf of Tim Kaine (D) (see VA-Sen item above)
• TX-Sen: The Conservative Renewal Political Action Committee makes a $125K "print ad" buy in support of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R)
• CA-01: The Citizens for Prosperity and Good Government dish out $52K for radio ads backing state Sen. Doug LaMalfa (R) for his bid to replace retiring GOP Rep. Wally Herger
• CA-26: The House Majority PAC spends $141K on a TV buy backing state Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D) in this open seat primary (see CA-26 item above)
• CA-30: The Committee to Elect an Effective Valley Congressman makes an $81K media buy in support of Rep. Howard Berman (D) (see CA-30 item above)
• IN-05: The Campaign for Primary Accountability drops another $47K on TV and radio ads in support of ex-Rep. David McIntosh (R)
One interesting thing about the VA-Sen filing from Majority PAC is that it also contains a small expenditure in the Indiana Senate race: $9K worth of online ads against Dick Lugar! It seems that we may have some low key rat-fucking going on here. (James L)