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• SC-01: Whoa! The AP reported late on Tuesday evening that Jenny Sanford, the ex-wife of Republican Mark Sanford, filed a legal complaint in February claiming that her former husband trespassed on her property, something apparently forbidden by their divorce settlement. Sanford is due to appear in court on the charge two days after the May 7 special election to fill South Carolina's vacant 1st Congressional District. Sanford "had no immediate comment," though I'd expect him to dispute the details of his former wife's allegations, or at least how she's characterized things.
Regardless, this seems like the kind of mess that could really hurt him, especially since this is at least the second time Jenny Sanford has made such a complaint, according to the AP? I've long believed that the things that get you in the most trouble in politics are the things that can't be defended on partisan grounds. There's always someone willing to provide cover for every outrageous, spittle-flecked right-wing rant a Republican candidate might offer up, but who wants to come out in favor of trespassing? I mean, maybe some nutter wants to pretend this is some libruhl conspiracy, but good luck with that. And of course, Sanford himself has some pretty serious credibility issues, so I suspect that if it comes down to Jenny's word versus Mark's, he's not going to emerge the winner.
Meanwhile, on a different matter entirely, House Majority PAC, which you might think of as the unofficial super PAC arm of the DCCC, was set to go up Tuesday with a flight of ads in the SC-01 special election on behalf of Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch. However, in light of the Boston bombings, the group has elected to delay its television run. Once HMP does jump in, they'll be the first outside group to spend money since the GOP runoff, suggesting they think Colbert Busch has a chance to pull off an upset.
Now that the FEC's first quarter deadline has passed, Daily Kos Elections is pleased to bring you our traditional House fundraising roundup. Because it's early in the cycle, we've cast our net wide and have provided numbers for every single candidate (including incumbents in safe seats and Some Dudes who've gotten a head start) who filed a report. Click through for all the data. There are also a few more Senate numbers that have trickled in:
• AR-Sen: Rep. Tom Cotton (R): $526K raised, $560K cash-on-hand (Cotton hasn't declared yet, but that's a lot of money for a safely Republican district)
• GA-Sen: Rep. Phil Gingrey (R): $666K raised, $2.4 mil cash-on-hand; Rep. Paul Broun (R): $209K raised, $217K cash-on-hand; Rep. Jack Kingston (R): $846K raised, $1.8 mil cash-on-hand; Rep. Tom Price (R): $571K raised, $2.1 mil cash-on-hand; Rep. John Barrow (D): $436K raised, $440K cash-on-hand (only Gingrey and Broun have actually declared, and those Broun numbers look very weak to me)
• HI-Gov/Sen: Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D): $230K raised, $248K cash-on-hand (Hanabusa is still deciding which race to run in, or whether to seek re-election)
• IA-Sen: Rep. Steve King (R): $93K raised, $90K cash-on-hand (doesn't look like he'll run for Senate)
• MT-Sen: Sen. Max Baucus (D): $1.5 mil raised, $4.8 mil cash-on-hand
• MI-Sen: Rep. Gary Peters (D): $373K raised, $800K cash-on-hand (considering Peters now represents a safe seat, you could easily argue this points to a Senate bid)
• SC-Sen-A: Could Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham finally be getting a legitimate primary challenger? Businessman Richard Cash, who "owns a fleet of ice cream trucks and a used car business," says he's going to run against Graham, and he's definitely planning to do so from the right, with a bunch of evangelical fervor thrown in there as well.
While it may not sound like Cash has the most impressive of resumes on the surface, he very nearly became a congressman back in 2010, losing the GOP runoff in South Carolina's then-open 3rd District to Jeff Duncan by a mere 3 percentage points. He didn't raise a ton of money (only about a quarter million bucks), but that makes his close showing all the more impressive. However, if Cash were to have a genuine shot at unseating Graham, he'd need some outside help, and it's not clear that he has the kind of profile the Club for Growth finds appealing.
• NM-Gov: A second Democrat is poised to enter New Mexico's gubernatorial race. State Sen. Linda Lopez says she's "gearing up" and expects to make an official announcement next week. She'd join state Attorney General Gary King, who declared his candidacy last year, but the field could get more crowded still. State Sen. Tim Keller says he, too, is considering the contest, though he likely won't decide until this summer, after his wife gives birth. And Steve Terrell of the Santa Fe New Mexican adds that yet another state senator, Joe Cervantes, may also be looking at a bid. Oh, one more: State Rep. Moe Maestas says he's "interested," too.
• VA-Gov, -AG, LG: Johnny Longtorso has helpfully rounded up first quarter campaign finance filings from all the notable candidates for Virginia's three statewide races this fall. (The data itself comes from the Virginia Public Access Project.) Democrats appear to be doing well:
Terry McAuliffe (D) - Raised $5.1 million, $5.2 million on hand
Ken Cuccinelli (R) - Raised $2.4 million, $3 million on hand
Mark Herring (D) - Raised $151K, $234K on hand
Justin Fairfax (D) - Raised $141K, $84K on hand
Mark Obenshain (R) - Raised $103K, $179K on hand
Rob Bell (R) - Raised $85K, $553K on hand
Aneesh Chopra (D) - Raised $450K, $920K on hand
Ralph Northam (D) - Raised $450K, $307K on hand
Pete Snyder (R) - Raised $277K, $179K on hand
Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R) - Raised $257K, $151K on hand
Corey Stewart (R) - Raised $146K, $363K on hand
Susan Stimpson (R) - Raised $128K, $70K on hand
Earl Jackson (R) - Raised $114K, $31K on hand
Scott Lingamfelter (R) - Raised $72K, $27K on hand
As Johnny notes, though, legislators and state officials were prohibited from raising money while the legislature was in session. The most recent session ran from Jan. 9 through Feb. 23, so some of these totals may be smaller than they'd otherwise have been.
• CA-31: It begins. Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar is already cranking up the Gatling gun against fellow ex-Rep. Joe Baca, who is trying to bogart the mantle of Democratic standard-bearer in California's 31st Congressional District. Aguilar sent out a press release on Tuesday reminding the media that, rather remarkably, Baca's now seeking to run against a Republican he wholeheartedly endorsed last cycle! Not only did Baca offer fulsome praise for Rep. Gary Miller last year, Miller even sent out a mailer featuring a photo of Baca and touting his many positive comments. (Scroll down here to see copies.) It's just a preview, of course, but this ought to give Baca a taste of what he can expect further down the line from Aguilar—and perhaps the DCCC as well.
Yep, it looks like the D-Trip is indeed planning to take sides in this race. DCCC chair Steve Israel recruited Aguilar hard during the off-season and was reportedly the "special guest" at a Los Angeles fundraiser for him earlier this month, though admittedly that was before Baca's entry. (The committee also apparently "set up a website for backers to donate to Aguilar's campaign.") While it's unusual for the DCCC to get involved in an internal Democratic battle, California's perverse top-two primary system presents unusual challenges. To avoid a repeat of last year's debacle, where a split Democratic field led to Miller facing off against a fellow Republican in November, it makes sense that national Dems want to rally around a single candidate. And, like Aguilar's broadside, they may also be trying to send a message to Baca to reconsider.
• IL-11: I'm pretty confused as to why there's so much Republican interest in Rep. Bill Foster's 11th District, a seat both he and Barack Obama carried by 17 points. But hey, if the GOP wants to engage in a colossal waste of time and effort, I'm all for it. Anyhow, the latest name to emerge is that of conservative talk radio host Ian Bayne, who rather unhelpfully (for his sake) has spent much of his recent past as a political operative in Massachusetts. Bayne joins Grundy County Board Member Chris Balkema and state Rep. Darlene Senger, who have both filed FEC paperwork, in the field of candidates currently looking at the race. (Senger appears to be the establishment choice, for whatever that's worth.)
• MI-11: Ah, Kerry Bentivolio, ever the screwup. The accidental congressman, who raised all of $70,000 in the first quarter of this year, seems like he's trying to hide some pretty hefty debts by operating two separate campaign committees. While repeat candidates often form new committees for their subsequent bids, it's pretty unusual to see an incumbent do so. And it's all the more notable since the new committee says it's debt free while the old one owes over $200,000. The lion's share of that debt, $89,000, is apparently owed to Bentivolio's former campaign manager, a sum the report lists as "disputed."
This unorthodox filing approach didn't fool the Detroit Free Press, which reports that a Bentivolio spokesman claimed "the reports were split so that one looks forward to 2014 while the other settles issues from 2012." That really doesn't make any sense, since there's no rhyme or reason as to which contributions appear in which report, and it's not as though there was some mid-quarter date cutoff the campaign used. (Receipts from as late as March 21 are recorded in the supposedly "backward-looking" filing.) Anyway, this all just offers yet another reason to expect that a more capable local pol will try to oust Bentivolio in next year's GOP primary.
• PA-13: One Democrat in and one Democrat out. Former City Controller Jonathan Saidel has abandoned his bid to replace Rep. Allyson Schwartz, citing ex-Rep. Marjorie Margolies' interest in reclaiming her old seat. (She dropped the "-Mezvinsky" from her last name a while back, after divorcing her husband.) Saidel had only just joined the race last month, but a new candidate has stepped up to take his place. Greg Giroux points out that longtime state Rep. Mark Cohen has filed paperwork with the FEC, though he seems to have done so rather quietly, which was Saidel's m.o., too.
• NYC: Here's a cool set of interactive charts from the New Yorker. You can select any subway line in the city and the graph will show you the median income for every census tract along that line that houses a subway stop. The charts also contain markers that denote where the lines change boroughs, which often correlates with huge jumps and falls income, though by no means always. There's an accompanying short description, with some highlights showing just how extreme income inequality is in New York City, available here.