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Leading Off:

WY-Sen: The race has only just begun, but PPP finds vice presidential daughter Liz Cheney starting in a deep hole against the man she's hoping to unseat in the GOP primary, Sen. Mike Enzi. Enzi holds a comfortable 54-26 lead, and he's quite popular with the kind of people who'd be voting in such a contest, sporting a 66-24 job approval rating versus a pretty weak 40-34 favorability score for Cheney. And in the event that Enzi were to retire, Rep. Cynthia Lummis would also edge Cheney among Republican voters, 41-34.

As a further sign of Cheney's rickety standing, she actually trails former Democratic Gov. Dave Freudenthal in a general election matchup, 45-42, and has statewide favorables of just 33-43. That's pretty remarkable, given how implacably Republican Wyoming is—Barack Obama has a 27-70 approval rating!—but despite Freudenthal's 55-22 favorables, Enzi would beat him by a wide 54-31 margin. (Here's another good example of Wyoming's redness: Gary Trauner, who almost won the state's lone House seat in 2006, loses to Enzi 66-19 and even Cheney 49-31.)

Unfortunately, it would likely be very difficult to lure Freudenthal out of retirement, especially since the odds of him getting to face Cheney are pretty long. That could all change, of course, if Cheney can raise lots of money and, as you have to imagine she will, goes on the attack. Undoubtedly her own polling has offered her a path to victory, but right now, it looks like she may have bitten off more than she can chew.


KY-Sen: The Dem-aligned Senate Majority PAC is out with a new ad targeting GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell, and it makes an interesting argument that's a bit more nuanced than the standard political fare. It begins by noting that McConnell has called himself a "guardian of gridlock," then argues that his own party has grown sick of his antics, referencing the recent showdown on several Obama nominations where John McCain shunted McConnell aside and cut a separate deal with Democrats.

It finishes with a clip of McConnell saying in a 2008 debate that "I've lived on a government salary for 30 years"—and, concludes the narrator, "30 years is long enough." I think the spot weaves a pretty good narrative and tells an effective story. Roll Call reports that the buy is for $270,000, not chump change.

NE-Sen: As expected, Midland University President Ben Sasse has joined the GOP field to replace retiring Sen. Mike Johanns. Already in the race is former state Treasurer Shane Osborn, and Roll Call reports that 2006 nominee Pete Ricketts is also close to entering, according to unnamed sources.

NH-Sen: Former Sen. Bob Smith, who was turfed out in a Republican primary by John Sununu back in 2002 after he temporarily left the GOP to become an independent, says he's not ruling out a comeback against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen next year. But not only is Smith 73 years old, he's also a flaky big talker. Back in 2009, he also filed paperwork for a Senate bid—in Florida. He eventually bailed, though, as Marco Rubio went on to dominate, so I wouldn't be surprised if this was all just meaningless chatter.

SD-Sen: After ex-Gov. Mike Rounds had the field to himself for ages, now a third potential rival for the GOP nomination may get into the race. State Rep. Stace Nelson says he's considering a run for Senate, which also features state Sen. Larry Rhoden and physician Annette Bosworth. But if movement conservatives fail to rally around a single anti-establishment choice, they risk splitting the anti-Rounds vote, thus giving him a smoother path to the nomination.

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, it looks like the establishment is starting to coalesce around former congressional staffer Rick Weiland. Retiring Sen. Tim Johnson, as well as ex-Sen. Tom Daschle (Weiland's old boss), and two former North Dakota senators, Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad, are all hosting a fundraiser for Weiland on Wednesday.


CT-Gov: State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, the son of the late U.S. Rep. Stewart McKinney, just became the first prominent Republican to launch a challenge to Dem Gov. Dan Malloy. Several other Republicans are still looking at the race, most notably 2010 nominee Tom Foley, who has made it pretty clear he wants to run but still has not formally declared.

TN-Gov: State House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, who acknowledged last year that he'd be a serious longshot in a race against GOP Gov. Bill Haslam, has decided to seek re-election rather than serve as a sacrificial lamb. To date, no other notable Democrat has expressed any interest in running for governor.

VA-Gov: The Republican Governor's Association is riding to Ken Cuccinelli's rescue, helping him to make up a fundraising shortfall by airing ads of their own. Their first spot attacks Democrat Terry McAuliffe for creating jobs overseas, rather than Virginia, mostly featuring footage of McAuliffe talking about building a manufacturing plant in China. Meanwhile, the Virginia Democratic Party is running their third ad, in which the narrator says Cuccinelli is on a "mission" to "overturn Roe v. Wade." He's also apparently been on a mission to ban adultery: Politico has helpfully unearthed a 2008 interview where Cuccinelli said laws prohibiting extramarital sex "ought to stay on the books" and that "it wouldn't hurt to enforce them more."


HI-01: The slow-to-develop Democratic primary to replace Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (who is running for Senate) finally has a second candidate. State Sen. Will Espero just jumped into the race, joining Honolulu City Councilman Stanley Chang, who'd been running ever since Hanabusa declared her intention to seek a promotion. Espero is another recent convert to the cause of marriage equality: He voted against civil unions in the legislature but now says he supports same-sex marriage. It certainly seems like we've reached the point where no one thinks they can win a Democratic primary for Congress if they're on the wrong side of the issue.

IL-13: It looks like former judge Ann Callis won't have a clear path to the Democratic nomination after all. Physics professor George Gollin, who has also made a name for himself as a crusader against diploma mills, has decided to enter the primary for the right to take on freshman Rep. Rodney Davis next year (or attorney Erika Harold, if she succeeds in bumping off the incumbent for the GOP nod). Unusually, DCCC chair Steve Israel said earlier this month that his organization would be "supporting" Callis over Gollin, a rare endorsement for the D-Trip. Gollin has never run for office before, though, and his ability to make an impact remains to be seen.

MT-AL: Charles Johnson of the Billings Gazette takes a look at five potential Republican successors to Rep. Steve Daines, in the event that he winds up running for Senate. On the list are former Secretary of State Brad Johnson, state Sens. Matt Rosendale and Jon Sonju, state Rep. Scott Reichner, and former state Sen. Ryan Zinke, all of whom have expressed interest if the seat becomes open. Click through for more details on each.

NH-01: Dan Innis, dean of UNH's business school, says he's considering a run against Dem Rep. Carol Shea-Porter in New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District next year. One interesting detail is that Innis is gay, and he and his husband were featured in a celebratory piece in the Portsmouth Herald last year when a GOP attempt to repeal same-sex marriage went down to defeat in the legislature.

Other Races:

NYC Comptroller: Eliot Spitzer is out with his first TV ad, a minute-long spot which he starts by saying "I failed—big-time" but then quickly transitions to talking about his fights against Wall Street back in the day, arguing that his detractors are the same powerful interests who resented his efforts to regulate their behavior. Spitzer promises to continue those fights as comptroller, and in so doing, he almost entirely elides his brief and disastrous term as governor.

That's exactly what I'd do if I were him, though, since the position of comptroller is much more similar to that of attorney general, where he met with real success. The arrogance and inability to build relationships that predictably ruined his gubernatorial tenure won't really be liabilities in a regulatory role like comptroller, and Spitzer's basically saying that you want the old "steamroller" to get elected to this job.

NYC Mayor: Oy vey:

I said that other texts and photos were likely to come out, and today they have. As I have said in the past, these things that I did were wrong and hurtful to my wife and caused us to go through challenges in our marriage that extended past my resignation from Congress.

While some things that have been posted today are true and some are not, there is no question that what I did was wrong. This behavior is behind me. I've apologized to Huma and am grateful that she has worked through these issues with me and for her forgiveness. I want to again say that I am very sorry to anyone who was on the receiving end of these messages and the disruption that this has caused. As my wife and I have said, we are focused on moving forward.

Anthony Weiner, of course. Note that he's pretty much admitting ("extended past my resignation") that this behavior continued even after he left Congress, as the site that broke this story alleges.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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