New Hampshire Republican Rep. Frank Guinta in better days
• NH-01: Republican Rep. Frank Guinta, who represents New Hampshire's swingy 1st District, has spent the last few years ignoring questions about a mysterious six-figure donation he made to his campaign in 2010. Guinta's financial statements say that he didn't have that type of money to spend, but he continued to claim that it was a bookkeeping error that caused the problems. Guinta paid a large fine to the FEC on Wednesday but if he was hoping he'd be able to put this story to bed, he was very wrong.
Guinta quickly canceled a town hall, something that Granite State reporter John DiStaso flagged as a bad sign for him. But things really went downhill on Friday, when the powerful conservative paper the Union Leader printed an editorial from its publisher Joseph W. McQuaid simply saying, "Frank Guinta is a damned liar."
GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte isn't being as aggressive, but she's in no hurry to defend Guinta. When asked if the congressman should resign, Ayotte said "[t]hat's a decision that's his, but time will tell." Ayotte has a potentially tough re-election campaign next year, and it's no surprise that she hopes that Guinta will just go away rather than cause her trouble. Other prominent Republicans aren't being any more supportive, and the Boston Globe's James Pindell reports that they're actively looking for another candidate.
Guinta continues to maintain that the donation was legitimate, arguing that it came from his parents' checking accounts. According to Guinta, he deposited $381,000 in their account, they paid him back, and he used that money on his campaign. However, attorneys interviewed by the Union Leader say this explanation just isn't valid. His parents would still own the money, and it doesn't matter if he deposited it himself. While Guinta can spend as much of his own funds as he wants on his campaign, his parents can't legally drop anywhere near $381,000 into his warchest. Guinta says he'll produce documents showing this was his money, though one lawyer points out that if he could have just proven that to the FEC, this whole mess would have been avoided.
Obama won this seat 50-49, and Democrats were going to target Guinta no matter what. Businessman Shawn O'Connor is already running, and former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter is considering a fourth match with Guinta; Executive Councilor Chris Pappas also hasn't ruled anything out. But Guinta may have to worry about a primary challenger first, and the fact that powerful conservatives aren't defending him doesn't speak well of his chances. Guinta reiterated on Friday that he's running again in 2016, but it's likely that he's going to get a lot of pressure from the NRCC to resign or retire so they can have a candidate without his baggage. Things are moving fast here, and we'll be keeping a close eye on all the developments.
• AK-Sen, AL: Neither Sen. Lisa Murkowski nor Rep. Don Young are any stranger to GOP primary challenges. Murkowski, a relative moderate, actually lost to tea partying businessman Joe Miller in a 2010 shocker before winning the general in a write-in. Young, who at the time was under federal investigation, only defeated then-Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell by 304 votes during their 2008 bout. And as Roll Call's Simone Pathe reports, both incumbents should get ready for another round.
Pathe talks to Miller, whose 2014 Senate bid ended in the primary, and state Sen. Mike Dunleavy about their 2016 plans. Neither man ruled anything out, and Dunleavy even said that he might make up his mind within a week. GOP operatives tell Pathe that one man will likely face Murkowski while the other will go after Young.
Murkowski isn't taking her primary for granted and is already planning ahead, but there's no word on what Young is up to. However, while the longtime congressman pissed off plenty of voters last year with his offensive comments about a high school student's suicide, the clown-car may save him. Ex-Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell is being vague about his plans, but Roll Call says he's more likely to run against Young than Murkowski. Treadwell waged a very weak Senate campaign last year, but his presence could be enough to split whatever anti-Young vote there is.
Democrats would love to take advantage of chaos on the GOP side to snag a seat in this red state. But while ex-Democratic Sen. Mark Begich hasn't ruled out a campaign for either post, he seems happy at his new lobbying gig. State operatives say that Begich might be interested in a comeback, but only if Murkowski looked like she was about to lose her primary again. After Begich, the bench gets very slim.
• FL-Sen: GOP Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera looks very likely to run for his friend Marco Rubio's open Senate seat, but he's in no hurry to make it official. Lopez-Cantera tells the Miami Herald that he's "still exploring" and that he and his team "won't make a final decision until probably later on this summer." It would be a huge surprise if Lopez-Cantera didn't get in when all was said and done but then again, state CFO Jeff Atwater demonstrated last month that being an all-but-certain candidate isn't the same thing as being an actual candidate.
• IL-Sen: On Friday, Chicago Urban League President and CEO Andrea Zopp announced that she will seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Sen. Mark Kirk. Zopp will face at least Rep. Tammy Duckworth in the primary; Rep. Robin Kelly and state Sen. Napoleon Harris have also been talking about running, though they can't be happy with the idea of competing against another African American from Chicago.
While national Democrats have indicated that they prefer Duckworth, the DSCC has not gotten involved here. Some African American leaders have been working to recruit Zopp, and she'll also have the backing of former Obama chief of staff Bill Daley. Zopp's time as a corporate lawyer should also give her the connections she'll need to raise money.
However, her service on the Chicago School Board is a potential liability, since Zopp signed onto the controversial decision to close 49 public schools. Mayor Rahm Emanuel easily won re-election last month despite his role in the closures, but unlike Chuy Garcia, Duckworth will have the resources to hit Zopp on this issue if she wants to. Kirk will have a tough time winning re-election next year no matter what, but the GOP is not going to complain if Duckworth and Zopp use up their resources going after each other while Kirk consolidates his warchest.
• IN-Sen, Gov: On Friday, former Democratic Rep. Baron Hill announced that he will run for Indiana's open Senate seat. Hill, who was unseated in the 2010 GOP wave, originally looked likely to run for governor, but GOP Sen. Dan Coats' retirement changed his calculations. Hill has the Democratic primary to himself so far, but state Rep. Christina Hale has been talking about running as well. National Democrats would love for ex-Sen. Evan Bayh to jump in, but Bayh says it's unlikely.
Hill first ran for the Senate all the way back in 1990, losing to Coats 54-46. Hill made it to Congress eight years later, winning a conservative but ancestrally blue southern Indiana district. Hill narrowly lost his 2004 re-election campaign to Mike Sodrel but regained his seat in 2006 and easily held on in 2008. However, the 2010 GOP wave was too much, and Hill was unseated by Todd Young by a decisive 52-42 margin. Hill became a lobbyist afterwards, something the GOP will no doubt remind voters if they face him next year.
Hill's entrance gives Democrats a credible candidate who can raise money and knows how to campaign. But Indiana is a conservative state, and Hill is going to need a lot to go right if he's going to win next year. Team Blue would love it if tea partying Rep. Marlin Stutzman, who has a bad relationship with his party establishment, emerged as the GOP nominee, but it's no sure thing. Former Coats aide Eric Holcomb is in and several other candidates are considering, including Young. Needless to say, we'll be watching the developments closely.
• IN-Gov, 03: Well, this would be a weird move. We recently noted that wealthy auto dealer Bob Thomas is talking about running against Gov. Mike Pence in the GOP primary, which would be a very upward climb even after Pence's recent problems. However, Thomas says he was planning to run for the open 3rd District before people began urging him to challenge Pence.
Thomas did pretty well in the 2010 primary against incumbent Mark Souder, and he'd have a good shot at prevailing in a crowded primary this time. But while Thomas predicts he'll decide which office to seek by July, he's already declared that "[i]f Pence runs, I'm going to run against him." Either Thomas thinks Pence is a lot more vulnerable with members of his own party than he appears to be, or he just really hates the governor.
• KY-Gov: Two recent polls find Hal Heiner locked in a tight three-way battle with James Comer and Matt Bevin ahead of Tuesday's GOP primary, but his new ad doesn't exactly project confidence. The spot stars Heiner, and right off the bat he reminds viewers about "the abuse charges against Jamie Comer." Heiner then accuses both Comer and Bevin of "using these charges to score political points." Heiner also hits both his rivals for attacking Comer's ex-girlfriend and three witnesses who said he abused her in college, before calling on voters to "reject this type of politics."
Heiner seems to realize that he can't allow Bevin to emerge unscathed from the controversy while he and Comer nuke each other. Still, the entire ad feels insensitive, and perhaps even a bit exploitive. We'll find out soon if Heiner has the support he needs to advance to the general, but this just isn't the type of spot you run if you think you're in decent shape.
Along with Comer's ex-girlfriend Marilyn Thomas, two of Thomas' former roommates have publicly stated that Comer abused her either physically or mentally. On Friday, GOP state Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr, a Heiner supporter, told the Courier-Journal that she has three lifelong friends who have known about Comer's actions for the last two decades, and Forgy Kerr says she "knows" that the allegations are true.
One of them, Tim Janes, said that he was best friends with Jim Coursey when he was dating Thomas in the mid-1990s, before Comer's political career started. Janes says that Thomas "confided to me in 1995 that Jamie Comer had abused her, how he controlled and how domineering he was to her." Coursey's sister also says that she knew for years that Thomas had been in an abusive relationship in college, though she wasn't aware of Comer's involvement. So far, Thomas' story doesn't appear to have knocked Comer out of contention, but he can't be happy that this is getting more oxygen right before the primary.
• MO-Gov: State Sen. Mike Parson entered the GOP primary shortly after gubernatorial candidate Tom Schweich committed suicide, and he's made it clear that he's going to make the nasty attacks his friend experienced in his final days an issue. So it's no surprise that ex-Sen. John Danforth, who served as a mentor to Schweich, has donated $10,000 to Parson's campaign, though he hasn't formally endorsed him. Danforth made headlines at Schweich's funeral when he blamed ugly campaign tactics for the tragedy, and the respected elder statesman's support for Parson should send a signal to primary voters who are also disgusted by what happened.
• CA-46: That didn't take long at all. Rep. Loretta Sanchez kicked off her Senate bid on Thursday, and ex-state Sen. Lou Correa quickly announced that he'll run to succeed her. Correa represented over three-fourths of this safely blue seat in Sacramento until last year, so name recognition will be not problem for him. Several other Democrats are reportedly eyeing this seat, and Voice of OC adds Santa Ana City Councilman Vincent Sarmiento to the pile.
• FL-18: On Thursday, GOP St. Lucie County Commissioner Tod Mowery kicked off his bid for this open coastal seat. Mowery will face Martin County School Board member Rebecca Negron and 2014 nominee Carl Domino in the primary, but plenty of other Republicans are eyeing this race. Romney carried this seat 52-48 and both parties are likely to seriously contest it next year.
• MD-06, Sen: Republican Dan Bongino came surprisingly close to beating Democratic Rep. John Delaney last year, and back in March he talked about seeking a rematch or running for Senate. But Bongino has instead moved to Florida, which is definitely an uncommon way to decline a campaign. (Hat-Tip Politics1)
Delaney may soon have a credible Republican foe though. Del. David Vogt recently formed a campaign committee, though he says he's still considering.
• NV-04, 03: Wealthy Communities in Schools of Nevada Board President Susie Lee had met with the DCCC about a campaign against Republican incumbent Joe Heck in the swingy 3rd District. But via Jon Ralston, Lee says she'll challenge freshman Republican Cresent Hardy in the much bluer 4th instead. That's not particularly good news for national Democrats: State Sen. Ruben Kihuen and ex-Assemblywoman Lucy Flores are already opposing Hardy, while there are a lot fewer candidates willing to go toe-to-toe with Heck.
• Philadelphia Mayor: A whole slew of prominent Philadelphia politicians jumped in at the last minute to endorse their preferred candidates in the Democratic primary -- too late to have much effect, really, given that the election is on Tuesday. State Sen. Vincent Hughes, who's been weighing a jump into the Senate race, backed ex-City Councilor Jim Kenney. Kenney's increasingly large lead in the polls didn't seem to deter a number of local establishment politicians from getting behind state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, though, including Rep. Chaka Fattah, District Attorney Seth Williams, Lt. Gov. Mike Stack, and ex-City Controller Jonathan Saidel.
• Alberta: We have one more result to report from May 5's thrilling Alberta election, which saw the left-leaning NDP deliver a crushing deathblow to the province's 44-year Progressive Conservative dynasty. On election night, it appeared that the results from Calgary-Glenmore produced a perfect tie between PC incumbent Linda Johnson and NDP challenger Anam Kazim, each with 7,015 votes apiece. Elections Alberta has completed their recount and declared Kazim the winner by a 6-vote margin. The result means the NDP has won 54 of the legislature's 87 seats, with the Wildrose winning 21 and the Tories a mere 10. Johnson, for her part, says she may request a judicial recount of the ballots.
• Redistricting: The Washington Post has curated an amusing collection of gifs that's not very likely to go viral on Facebook, unless your only Facebook friends are other Daily Kos Elections fans. The gifs track changes in the boundaries of congressional districts in key states and metro areas over the decades, as they get not just smaller and smaller but also more convoluted, squiggly, and abstract.
Of course, the article doesn't have space to go much deeper than "zomg! funny-looking boundaries!" A more sensitive treatment of the problem is Stephen Wolf's fascinating new series on gerrymandering, which starts with an explanation of how compactness is really the least of our worries when it comes to how line-drawing is used to reinforce existing power arrangements.
The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir and Jeff Singer, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, and Taniel.