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Tonight, voters in Alberta go to the polls in one of the most hotly-contested provincial elections in the province's history. Polling indicates an historic upset is possible, with the left-wing NDP in position to deal a crushing blow to the long-ruling Tories, but pre-election surveys have fooled us before in Canada. Polls close at 10 PM ET (8 PM local), and we'll be bringing you the results as they come in. Click here for our backgrounder on Alberta politics, and click here for our guide to the province's key electoral battlegrounds.

Results: Elections Alberta | ABVote.ca | CBC | Calgary Herald

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8:38 AM PT (Jeff Singer): FL-09: With Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson continuing to flirt with a Senate bid, potential candidates are laying the groundwork to succeed him in the House. Obama won this Orlando-area seat 62-37, and most of the action is expected to be on the blue side.

State Sen. Darren Soto has already said that he'll run for this seat if Grayson leaves, and Susannah Randolph, the congressman's district director, is also eyeing the contest. Randolph told Politico that "I wouldn’t say I’m interested. Yeah, I’d consider it for sure." However, Dena Minning, who runs MedExpert Consulting and is also Grayson's girlfriend, is also reportedly mulling a bid behind-the-scenes. Minning has yet to say anything publicly and both Soto and Randolph said they had no idea she was considering until Politico asked them. On Monday, Grayson said he'd decide on his Senate plans "in the next 30 days," so we shouldn't need to wait too long to find out if we'll have a primary fight here.

8:49 AM PT: Alberta: It's Election Day in the Canadian province of Alberta, and a 44-year Tory ruling streak looks set to come to an end in dramatic fashion. Our own James L. provides a preview of what to look for tonight as the returns roll in. We'll be liveblogging when polls close at 8 PM local time / 10 PM ET.

9:01 AM PT (Jeff Singer): KY-Gov: On Monday night, a woman who used to date says she used to date state Agriculture Commissioner and GOP primary candidate James Comer publicly accused him of hitting her and taking her to get an abortion while they were together in the early 1990s. Comer is denying the allegations and will hold a press conference today at 1 PM ET.

10:21 AM PT (Jeff Singer): AZ-Sen: PPP surveys both the GOP primary and general elections in Arizona, and let's just say they don't exactly bring good news for John McCain.

McCain, who is seeking a sixth term, has never had a great relationship with his party's base, and he posts a terrible 41-50 approval rating with GOP primary voters. So far McCain doesn't have a credible intra-party challenge, but PPP takes a look at a few hypothetical matchups. While McCain's ahead in all of them, his leads are not robust:

• 40-39 vs. Rep. David Schweikert

• 42-40 vs. Rep. Matt Salmon

• 44-31 vs. state Sen. Kelli Ward

• 48-27 vs. 2014 gubernatorial candidate Christine Jones

It's never a good sign for an incumbent to be far from 50 percent against lesser-known primary opponents, especially when a majority of your own party's voters already say they don't like you.

Still, there are a few problems for anti-McCain Republicans. Arizona doesn't have a runoff, so if two or more notable candidates go up against the incumbent, they could split the vote enough to secure him renomination with just a plurality. Ward hasn't committed to anything but she has formed an exploratory committee, and she might not be willing to get out of the way if a stronger contender gets in.

What's more, she's also barely known (she has a 12-15 statewide favorable rating) and she hasn't exactly impressed well-funded conservative groups who'd like to unseat McCain. (Last year, Ward held a hearing focusing on whether non-existent "chemtrails" are poisoning the air, an idea that's only embraced by conspiracy theorists.) Ward simply might not be strong enough to beat even a weak McCain, who is still a formidable campaigner.

In a perfect world for anti-McCain forces, Ward would stay out and Salmon would get in. After spending months showing little interest in taking on the incumbent, Salmon has started to change his tune a bit, recently telling The Hill "I'm not saying that I'm in. I'm not saying that I'm not in." Salmon, who served as the GOP's unsuccessful 2002 gubernatorial nominee, already has a healthy 40-12 favorability score with primary voters, but who knows if he'll actually run.

If Salmon sits it out, don't expect his friend and fellow congressman, David Schweikert, to take his place. Schweikert hasn't officially said no, but he sounds extremely unlikely to pull the trigger. Schweikert recently said that his wife is against a Senate bid, and he "would like to keep her around." Christine Jones also seems more interested in running for the House, which is just as well for her given how poorly she polls here.

So far, no credible Democrats have shown much interest in running in conservative Arizona, but PPP finds that Team Blue would have a good chance to put this Senate seat in play whether or not McCain advances to November. McCain is even more unpopular with the general electorate than he is with his own party, sporting an ugly 36-51 statewide approval score. PPP tested him against 2012 Senate nominee Richard Carmona, 2014 gubernatorial nominee Fred DuVal, and Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick and Kyrsten Sinema.

• McCain 40, Carmona 34

• McCain 40, DuVal 36

• McCain 42, Kirkpatrick 36

• McCain 42, Sinema 36

They also tested McCain's potential primary foes against just Carmona:
• Jones 36, Carmona 42

• Salmon 43, Carmona 35

• Schweikert 39, Carmona 39

• Ward 36, Carmona 39

While McCain leads all comers by 4-6 points, he's stuck at around 40 percent. Democrats haven't won a Senate seat in the Grand Canyon State since Dennis DeConcini was re-elected in 1988, but Carmona only lost 49-46 in 2012 while Mitt Romney was carrying Arizona 53-44. A combination of an unpopular incumbent and a better Democratic performance at the top of the ticket could give Democrats the chance to score an upset here. However, as PPP points out, the undecideds in these matchups strongly lean Republican, so the eventual GOP nominee should be able to make up some ground.

Right now, it's far from clear who Democrats will be able to land. Carmona hasn't announced anything publicly one way or another about his 2016 plans. DuVal recently said he wanted to run statewide, but he didn't say what office or what cycle he was thinking about. (Businesswoman Nan Walden, who was not tested in this poll, has also been name-dropped, but she's also been silent about her intentions.)

As for Reps. Kirkpatrick and Sinema, they've been quiet about their Senate aspirations, but their allies say they're waiting on the outcome of a key U.S. Supreme Court decision this summer that could invalidate the state's independent redistricting commission. If the court allows the GOP legislature to redraw the congressional lines, either or both members are likely to wind up in redder seats, and a Senate campaign would look a lot more appealing.

We haven't seen any other recent polling of either the GOP primary or general, so we can't make any definitive conclusions about McCain's strength. If PPP is right, McCain is in real danger of being denied renomination, and Team Red could very well lose this seat in November with or without him. However, McCain proved in his dominant 2010 primary victory that he's more than capable of exploiting his opponent's weakness, and we can never count him out. Arizona is also still a red state, and Democrats have had trouble making inroads here for the last several cycles. But if the right candidates show up, it looks like we're in for an intense contest next year.

10:56 AM PT (Jeff Singer): KY-Gov: The May 19 Kentucky GOP gubernatorial primary may be one for the books. Last week, we learned that a blogger named Michael Adams was accusing state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer of violent abusing his girlfriend in college, but he did not provide any evidence. Comer denied the allegations and threatened legal action after it was revealed that Adams had been in communication with primary rival Hal Heiner's campaign. It looked like Heiner was part of a smear campaign that was about to backfire... until Monday night. Marilyn Thomas, who says she dated Comer in college in the early 1990s, wrote a letter to the Courier-Journal claiming that Comer physically and mentally abused her, and took her to get an abortion.

Thomas says that a paper proving the abortion took place is in a bank lock box that she doesn't have immediate access to, but Thomas' college roommate is backing up her story. The roommate recalls that Thomas would frequently return home with bruises, and that Thomas would always claim they were from accidents. Thomas' mother also says that Comer once called her home one morning and "he said something about your daughter's going to be killed. ... It was something like that." However, Comer's old college roommate says that he never saw any abusive behavior from the candidate at all.

Comer's camp is denying everything, and his lawyer is promising a "devastating lawsuit" against the Courier-Journal. In a Tuesday press conference, Comer denied all of Thomas' allegations and said that "[a]ll legal options are on the table." Needless to say, this is an ugly situation and there's no way to know what will happen next. But it's safe to say that one way or another, this story will define the final two weeks of the race between Comer, Heiner, and tea partying businessman Matt Bevin.

11:25 AM PT (Jeff Singer): IL-18: State Sen. Darin LaHood looks like he'll have an easy time in the July 7 primary against political consultant and Breitbart News editor Mike Flynn, but he's taking no chances. LaHood tells Roll Call that he's raised $500,000 since getting into the race in mid-March, a very solid sum. This seat is heavily Republican, and LaHood should have little trouble holding it for Team Red in the Sept. 10 special.

But the eventual winner should probably hold off on inviting ex-Rep. Aaron Schock to his swearing in. Schock resigned from this seat in disgrace after the world found out about his habit of billing taxpayers for his luxurious life, and possibly charging the government thousands of dollars for phony millage reimbursements. As Politico reminds us, Schock is legally required to fill out a financial disclosure statement within 50 days of leaving office... which he hasn't done. A grand jury is looking into his practices in office, and campaign donors are accusing him of misusing their money.

But if you're hoping to ask Schock for his side of the story, good luck: An attorney for one of the donors has filed court documents saying he can't find the ex-congressman. Schock quickly let off a snarky tweet geotaged from Illinois, so whatever he's doing, at least he's not hiking the Appalachian Trail.

11:39 AM PT (Jeff Singer): FL-18: On Tuesday, former state Rep. and 2014 GOP nominee Carl Domino announced he would once again run for this light red seat. Domino lost to Democratic incumbent Patrick Murphy (who is vacating this seat to run for Senate) by a brutal 60-40 margin despite having a wave at his back, so the NRCC isn't exactly going to be jumping for joy. But in fairness to Domino, Murphy's strong campaign seems to have done more to defeat Domino than any actual mistakes he made. In fact, Domino did run a pretty good ad, so maybe he can do better with national party support and no Murphy to worry about.

Domino says he's willing to spend another $1 million of his own money this cycle, so it could help him in a primary. Right now, Domino will only face Martin County School Board Member Rebecca Negron, though state Rep. Pat Rooney is expected to announce his plans soon, and other Republicans are mulling the contest.

12:21 PM PT (David Jarman): Philadelphia mayor: State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams is out with another ad, this time going negative against ex-city councilor Jim Kenney, hitting Kenney over a quote he gave in 1997 complaining about restrictions on what the police can do. It's a little surprising that Williams is releasing a negative ad from his own campaign (instead of staying positive and relying on his Super PAC friends to smack Kenney), but the subject matter is consistent with his campaign's previous ad, where one of his selling points was his stance against police brutality. It's a potentially effective ad, but the size of the buy is only $40,000, so it won't be seen much.


2:04 PM PT: IL-Sen: Though much of Illinois' Democratic establishment has expressed support for Rep. Tammy Duckworth's Senate bid, the National Journal's Andrea Drusch reports that some African-American leaders (and former Obama chief of staff Bill Daley) are trying to recruit a black candidate into the race. Interestingly, they're focused on Chicago Urban League CEO Andrea Zopp, whose name has surfaced only recently, rather than Rep. Robin Kelly, who's been weighing a bid for months.

Zopp sounds quite eager, saying she's currently polling the contest and " if that poll comes out positive, then I have every strong expectation that I am going to get into the race." But she's a political unknown and would start off with a deficit against Duckworth in both name recognition and money. It's also not clear just how much enthusiasm there is for a primary fight. The only Zopp supporter Drusch even cites by name is Daley, who thinks Democrats would be "idiots" not to nominate an African American lest turnout among black voters suffer—concerns that Zopp herself waved off. If she has other backers, though, they apparently aren't speaking up yet.

2:16 PM PT (Jeff Singer): NJ-02: This South Jersey seat has frustrated Democrats for a long time. Obama won this district 54-45, but GOP incumbent Frank LoBiondo has always won with ease. Democrats ran a credible candidate last cycle, but LoBiondo still dominated 62-37. Local and national Democrats believe that state Sen. Jeff Van Drew can put this district on the map, and PolitickerNJ reports that the DCCC is "actively recruiting" him. Van Drew confirms he's met with DCCC staffers, but all he would say about his plans is that he's "honored they would consider me," but that he's focusing on this year's local Assembly race.

Landing Van Drew would be a huge recruiting coup for the DCCC, but we shouldn't hold our breath. Van Drew has said no to House bids in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014. Van Drew may be waiting for LoBiondo, who is about to turn 69, to retire. But while LoBiondo's fundraising has been weak this year, there's no indication that he's ready to call it quits. We'll see what happens, but it may be too much to hope that Van Drew makes the jump this time after staying put for the last five cycles.

2:31 PM PT (Jeff Singer): FL-Sen, 06: The Associated Press reports that Rep. Ron DeSantis will kick off his campaign on Wednesday, which will make his the first credible Republican in the race. DeSantis is close to well-funded anti-establishment groups like the Club For Growth, so he should have the financial firepower to get through the primary. DeSantis is very unlikely to have the field to himself though, with several other Republicans mulling bids. DeSantis' departure from the House could set off a crowded GOP primary in his coastal seat, which includes St. Augustine and Daytona Beach, but it should stay red at Romney 58-41.

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Kentucky Republican gubernatorial candidate James Comer
Republican gubernatorial candidate James Comer
The May 19 Kentucky GOP gubernatorial primary may be one for the books. Last week, we learned that a blogger named Michael Adams was accusing state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer of violently abusing his girlfriend in college, but he did not provide any evidence. Comer denied the allegations and threatened legal action after it was revealed that Adams had been in communication with primary rival Hal Heiner's campaign. It looked like Heiner was part of a smear campaign that was about to backfire ... until Monday night. Marilyn Thomas, who says she dated Comer in college in the early 1990s, wrote a letter to the Courier-Journal claiming that Comer physically and mentally abused her, and took her to get an abortion.

Thomas says that a paper proving the abortion took place is in a bank lockbox that she doesn't have immediate access to, but Thomas's college roommate is backing up her story. The roommate recalls that Thomas would frequently return home with bruises, and that Thomas would always claim they were from accidents. Thomas's mother also says that Comer once called her home one morning and "he said something about your daughter's going to be killed. ... It was something like that." However, Comer's old college roommate says that he never saw any abusive behavior from the candidate at all.

Comer's camp is denying everything, and his lawyer is promising a "devastating lawsuit" against the Courier-Journal. In a Tuesday press conference, Comer denied all of Thomas's allegations and said that "[a]ll legal options are on the table." Needless to say, this is an ugly situation and there's no way to know what will happen next. But it's safe to say that one way or another, this story will define the final two weeks of the race between Comer, Heiner, and tea partying businessman Matt Bevin.

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U.S. Senator John McCain speaks during a news conference at the U.S. embassy in Kabul January 2, 2014. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX16ZTP
Republican Sen. John McCain
PPP surveys both the GOP primary and general elections in Arizona, and let's just say they don't exactly bring good news for John McCain.

McCain, who is seeking a sixth term, has never had a great relationship with his party's base, and he posts a terrible 41-50 approval rating with GOP primary voters. So far McCain doesn't have a credible intra-party challenge, but PPP takes a look at a few hypothetical matchups. While McCain's ahead in all of them, his leads are not robust:

• 40-39 vs. Rep. David Schweikert

• 42-40 vs. Rep. Matt Salmon

• 44-31 vs. state Sen. Kelli Ward

• 48-27 vs. 2014 gubernatorial candidate Christine Jones

It's never a good sign for an incumbent to be far from 50 percent against lesser-known primary opponents, especially when a majority of your own party's voters already say they don't like you.

Still, there are a few problems for anti-McCain Republicans. Arizona doesn't have a runoff, so if two or more notable candidates go up against the incumbent, they could split the vote enough to secure him renomination with just a plurality. Ward hasn't committed to anything but she has formed an exploratory committee, and she might not be willing to get out of the way if a stronger contender gets in.

What's more, she's also barely known (she has a 12-15 statewide favorable rating) and she hasn't exactly impressed well-funded conservative groups who'd like to unseat McCain. (Last year, Ward held a hearing focusing on whether non-existent "chemtrails" are poisoning the air, an idea that's only embraced by conspiracy theorists.) Ward simply might not be strong enough to beat even a weak McCain, who is still a formidable campaigner.

In a perfect world for anti-McCain forces, Ward would stay out and Salmon would get in. After spending months showing little interest in taking on the incumbent, Salmon has started to change his tune a bit, recently telling The Hill "I'm not saying that I'm in. I'm not saying that I'm not in." Salmon, who served as the GOP's unsuccessful 2002 gubernatorial nominee, already has a healthy 40-12 favorability score with primary voters, but who knows if he'll actually run.

Head below the fold for more.

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Chart of 2014-15 Alberta provincial election polling
(click to enlarge)

Today's the day, friends: We're finally at the finish line of the craziest three-way race Alberta has ever seen, and a surprising front-runner has emerged to dominate the polls.

So how did we get to this point in rock-ribbed, conservative Alberta? How exactly does a province that has elected, and re-elected, Progressive Conservative governments for 44 years find itself on the precipice of electing a left-wing New Democrat as premier? If you're scratching your heads, our recent Alberta politics primer is a good place to start, but this already unusual campaign has managed to shift dramatically even in the past two weeks.

During this stretch, Albertans have witnessed the strongest NDP effort of their lives. Led by the charismatic Rachel Notley, who by all accounts won the election's only televised leader's debate, the NDP has surged to historic polling highs in Alberta in rapid fashion, as the chart above shows. The NDP has only been growing stronger by the day and even appears to be drawing support from some former Wildrose Party voters who are eager to back a horse that can finally put an out-of-touch regime to pasture.

As for the far-right Wildrose, their one-note anti-tax message, trumpeted by former federal Conservative MP Brian Jean, has failed to catch fire in the same way that their insurgent campaign did in 2012. However, to the NDP's advantage, the Wildrose appears to be almost perfectly splitting the right-leaning vote with the PCs. At the same time, the predictable Tory fear mongering aimed at portraying the NDP as a radical socialist party has fallen on deaf ears. Along with the imminent demise of Alberta's Liberal Party, that's allowed the NDP to consolidate centrist and left-leaning voters under their big orange tent.

One stunning story illustrates just how bizarre this election has been. The NDP received a last-minute gift from the electoral gods on Friday, when five Tory-connected business executives held a press conference in a penthouse boardroom to attack the NDP's plan to modestly raise the corporate income tax rate. These CEOs even warned that they would stop donating to charitable causes (specifically threatening a prominent children's hospital!) if the NDP were to win. The backlash to this startling, Romney-esque debacle was so severe, it felt almost as if the NDP had scripted the presser themselves. Few parties are blessed to see their opponents immolate themselves with a catastrophe of this caliber.

When planning our election preview coverage, we had initially intended to provide an overview of the top races to watch. But as we approach zero hour, there are very few races where the PCs, who currently hold a commanding 70 of 87 seats in Alberta's legislature, are not threatened—or at least, so it appears.

In 2012, pre-election polls showed wide leads—often double digits—for the Wildrose, which looked set to end the Tories' long reign. But the PCs managed to terrify left-wing voters with the prospect of a Wildrose victory, and many abandoned the Liberals and NDP to vote for the one party that could stop the Wildrose, the Tories. That shift wasn't picked up in the polling, leading to a huge embarrassment for multiple firms when the PCs scored a 10-point victory.

Could it happen again? We can't rule it out, though a replay of 2012 would represent the polling industry's worst disaster of all time in pretty much any country. But in the absence of contradictory information, the PCs appear to be on the verge of destruction, and that renders the idea of bucketing seats into categories like "safe Tory" pointless. Instead, we'll go on a brief geographical tour of Alberta to give you the lay of the land. Head below the fold to join us on this journey.

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Florida Democratic Senate candidate Patrick Murphy
Leading Off:

FL-Sen: On Monday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee offered its endorsement to Rep. Patrick Murphy, making him the third candidate to earn the group's formal backing this year. The committee also joins a long list of Murphy supporters, including several members of Congress, approximately half the Democrats in the state legislature, and ex-Gov. Charlie Crist.

The move might be aimed at dissuading Rep. Alan Grayson from pursuing a Senate bid of his own, but the wealthy Grayson, who has a big donor list and can also self-fund, isn't likely to be deterred by such a development. Indeed, his only response was to scoff:

"Florida Democratic voters choose our party nominee, not out-of-touch party bosses sipping cognac in a smoke-filled room in Washington, D.C."
D.C.'s had a smoke-free workplace law in effect for almost a decade, so this Tammany-esque imagery is probably as alien to average folks as rotary phones and 8-tracks. Be that as it may, despite his characteristic brashness, Grayson is proceeding cautiously. He went on Fox News Radio on Friday to tell Alan Colmes he'll decide whether to run "in the next 30 days," and he recently informed Roll Call that he's "doing the kind of due diligence that one does before announcing, looking at polls, things like that."

So while Grayson may profess not to care about what the DSCC thinks, he evidently does care—somewhat surprisingly—about what the polling says. But there's a lot polls can't tell you, particularly because both Murphy and Grayson have limited name recognition, and that's where historical knowledge, pattern recognition, and intuition all come in. Most strategists believe the centrist Murphy would make the stronger general election candidate, while many progressive activists are convinced the outspoken Grayson would motivate voters better. It's clear which side the DSCC comes down on.

But more worrisome than the possibility that Democrats might put forward the weaker of two candidates is the prospect of a nasty primary sapping resources from the eventual nominee and damaging his reputation, making it that much harder for the party to pick up this open seat. Grayson has already publicly sniped at Murphy, so the idea that we might see a clean fight focused on the issues doesn't seem especially likely. That's why Murphy and the DSCC are still hoping that Grayson will stay out. Grayson has said he'll "probably" run, but who knows? Maybe he won't like what his polls have to say after all.

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Patrick Murphy
Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy (at left)
On Monday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee offered its endorsement to Rep. Patrick Murphy in Florida's open-seat Senate race, making him the third candidate to earn the group's formal backing this year. The committee joins a long list of Murphy supporters, including several members of Congress, approximately half the Democrats in the state legislature, and ex-Gov. Charlie Crist.

The move might be aimed at dissuading Rep. Alan Grayson from pursuing a Senate bid of his own, but the wealthy Grayson, who has a big donor list and can also self-fund, isn't likely to be deterred by such a development. Indeed, his only response was to scoff:

"Florida Democratic voters choose our party nominee, not out-of-touch party bosses sipping cognac in a smoke-filled room in Washington, D.C."
D.C.'s had a smoke-free workplace law in effect for almost a decade, so this Tammany-esque imagery is probably as alien to average folks as rotary phones and 8-tracks. Be that as it may, despite his characteristic brashness, Grayson is proceeding cautiously. He went on Fox News Radio on Friday to tell Alan Colmes he'll decide whether to run "in the next 30 days," and he recently informed Roll Call that he's "doing the kind of due diligence that one does before announcing, looking at polls, things like that."

So while Grayson may profess not to care about what the DSCC thinks, he evidently does care—somewhat surprisingly—about what the polling says. But there's a lot polls can't tell you, particularly because both Murphy and Grayson have limited name recognition, and that's where historical knowledge, pattern recognition, and intuition all come in. Most strategists believe the centrist Murphy would make the stronger general election candidate, while many progressive activists are convinced the outspoken Grayson would motivate voters better. It's clear which side the DSCC comes down on.

But more worrisome than the possibility that Democrats might put forward the weaker of two candidates is the prospect of a nasty primary sapping resources from the eventual nominee and damaging his reputation, making it that much harder for the party to pick up this open seat. Grayson has already publicly sniped at Murphy, so the idea that we might see a clean fight focused on the issues doesn't seem especially likely. That's why Murphy and the DSCC are still hoping that Grayson will stay out. Grayson has said he'll "probably" run, but who knows? Maybe he won't like what his polls have to say after all.

Discuss
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8:27 AM PT (Jeff Singer): NY State Assembly: Tuesday brings us one of the strangest special elections we've ever seen. Johnny Longtorso gives us the rundown:

New York AD-43: This is an open Democratic seat in Brooklyn, taking in parts of Crown Heights and Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Obama won this seat 93-7 but there's no Democratic nominee for this election, and it's a bit of an odd story as to why.

Guillermo Philpotts, a perennial candidate who ran for the State Senate in 2014 and finished third in the Democratic primary with a whopping 5 percent of the vote, was chosen as the nominee for the special election. Why was Philpotts selected over a more legitimate candidate? Apparently he managed to put his allies onto the local committee (there were ten members on the committee, and three of those had the same surname).

However, despite this cunning political move, Philpotts is apparently weaker on the administrative side of things, because he failed to file a certificate of nomination with the Board of Elections. Philpotts was thrown off the ballot, and the Democrats had no official nominee in the district.

That leaves us a four-way race. Shirley Patterson, a former school board member and Democratic district leader who lost the nomination to Philpotts, is on the Independence Party line. Diana Richardson, a former State Senate constituent affairs director, has the Green and Working Families lines.

Geoffrey Davis has his own "Love Yourself" ballot line. Davis is also a Democratic district leader for this district and the brother of the late Councilman James E. Davis. Davis ran for the council seat after his brother was killed by a political opponent in 2003, but he lost to none other than current New York City Public Advocate Letitia James. Finally, Menachem Raitport is on the Republican and Conservative lines. Raitport ran for this seat in 2014 and got just 4 percent, so the GOP can't expect an upset even in this chaotic field. But it's anyone's guess as to which of the other three will prevail here.

9:50 AM PT (Jeff Singer): LA-Gov, Sen: After only recently ruling out his own bid gubernatorial bid, GOP state Treasurer John Kennedy is endorsing Sen. David Vitter. Kennedy is hoping that if Vitter becomes governor, he'll appoint Kennedy to his Senate seat, so this move comes as no surprise. However, Reps. John Fleming and Charles Boustany are also competing for Vitter's love, and there's no guarantee Vitter would choose any of these three men if he becomes governor.

While Vitter is the clear favorite to win this fall's gubernatorial race, he wouldn't be the first frontrunner to falter. The senator's chances of losing would increase if either Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne or Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle edges out Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards in the October jungle primary for the second runoff spot. While even a conservative Democrat like Edwards would have a very difficult time beating Vitter in this red state, Angelle or especially the relatively moderate Dardenne would have an easier time peeling off enough Republican voters to upset Vitter. Right now, polls indicate that a Vitter-Edwards runoff is the most likely outcome, but it's still too early to be sure.

If Vitter somehow loses, it's not clear if he'll turn around and run for re-election to the Senate in 2016. When asked, Vitter only said, "I’m not really focused on that right now. I’m only focused on this race for governor," which is pretty much what you'd expect him to say at this stage.

10:08 AM PT (Jeff Singer): MO-Gov: Yet another Republican is taking a look at this open seat race. State Sen. Bob Dixon's name has been floated, and he did not deny his interest. Dixon told that PoliticMo that he'll "have something to say to all Missourians soon," though he didn't give much information beyond that. Dixon, who hails from Springfield, has a relatively good relationship with labor, which could help in a general. But Dixon only starts with $102,000 cash-on-hand, and he'll need a lot more for what's expected to be a crowded and expensive primary.

10:35 AM PT (Jeff Singer): MD-08: The Democratic primary for this safely blue seat is about to get very crowded. Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez kicked off her campaign over the weekend, and she could stand out as the only Hispanic contender. However, Gutierrez has a reputation as a weak fundraiser, something that could hold her back in a seat located in the expensive Washington media market. Gutierrez does acknowledge her distaste for raising money, but says she is prepared to step it up. At 75, Gutierrez would be one of the oldest freshmen House members ever, though she wouldn't overtake Illinois Democrat James Bowler, who was elected in 1953 at the age of 78.

Gutierrez joins Del. Kumar Barve, state Sen. Jamie Raskin, and former Obama Administration aide Will Jawando in the primary, and it sounds like they're about to get more company. Former Montgomery County Councilmember Valerie Ervin says she's "very close right now," and is expecting to announce in mid-May. Kathleen Matthews, an executive at Marriott and the wife of MSNBC talking head Chris Mathews, also sounds ready to jump in. Matthews tells Bethesda Magazine that sometime in the near future she "will be announcing my departure from Marriott to start up a campaign."

Dels. Ariana Kelly and Jeff Waldstreicher are also publicly mulling a bid. Bethesda Magazine tells us that Waldstreicher, a labor ally, is expected to finalize his plans by the end of the month. Waldstreicher and Gutierrez represent the same territory in the legislature (many Maryland state House seats elect three members), so they could cause problems for each other if they're both in. Kelly didn't offer a timeline for when she'll decide, though she acknowledged she "wouldn’t be the frontrunner in the field." But Kelly's Bethesda-based seat has a big cluster of primary voters, which could help her in a crowded race.

12:17 PM PT (Jeff Singer): Anchorage Mayor: Tuesday's runoff in Alaska's largest city has turned an incredibly nasty affair. Over the last week, the contest has revolved around whether Democrat Ethan Berkowitz once seriously said that fathers should be able to marry their sons, a sentence I never thought I'd ever write.

Here's the background on this bizarre matter. Anchorage Baptist Temple pastor Jerry Prevo claimed that Berkowitz supported father-son marriages on his radio show in October. Berkowitz's Republican rival Amy Demboski was asked about the matter on a radio show and rather than denounce it, she said it "would be interesting to hear" the recording. The station did not keep a copy of the show, but finally, Berkowitz's conservative co-host Bernadette Wilson came forth and announced that Berkowitz had seriously said that an incestous marriage would be justified during a debate about same-sex marriage. However, the station manager says that Berkowitz was clearly making the remarks out of frustration as "hyperbole."

Berkowitz first refused to dignify the accusations, and he's now saying that Wilson remembers the show wrong, and that he of course does "not support fathers and sons marrying." The matter has dominated the last week of the race and even popped up at a debate, where Demboski once again said that she thinks Berkowitz actually supports incest.

The entire situation has been ugly and has led third-place primary finisher Andrew Halcro to make a last-minute Berkowitz endorsement. But it's anyone's guess how this voters will interpret this whole mess. To complicate things further, Demboski has been denying accusations that she lied under oath during her divorce almost 20 years ago. The good news for Anchorage is that this nasty election is about to be over.

12:42 PM PT: FL-Sen: On Monday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee offered its endorsement to Rep. Patrick Murphy, making him the third candidate to earn the group's formal backing this year. The committee also joins a long list of Murphy supporters, including several members of Congress, approximately half the Democrats in the state legislature, and ex-Gov. Charlie Crist.

The move might be aimed at dissuading Rep. Alan Grayson from pursuing a Senate bid of his own, but the wealthy Grayson, who has a big donor list and can also self-fund, isn't likely to be deterred by such a development. Indeed, his only response was to scoff:

"Florida Democratic voters choose our party nominee, not out-of-touch party bosses sipping cognac in a smoke-filled room in Washington, D.C."
D.C.'s had a smoke-free workplace law in effect for almost a decade, so this Tammany-esque imagery is probably as alien to average folks as rotary phones and 8-tracks. Be that as it may, despite his characteristic brashness, Grayson is proceeding cautiously. He went on Fox News Radio on Friday to tell Alan Colmes he'll decide whether to run "in the next 30 days," and he recently informed Roll Call that he's "doing the kind of due diligence that one does before announcing, looking at polls, things like that."

So while Grayson may profess not to care about what the DSCC thinks, he evidently does care—somewhat surprisingly—about what the polling says. But there's a lot polls can't tell you, particularly because both Murphy and Grayson have limited name recognition, and that's where historical knowledge, pattern recognition, and intuition all come in. Most strategists believe the centrist Murphy would make the stronger general election candidate, while many progressive activists are convinced the outspoken Grayson would motivate voters better. It's clear which side the DSCC comes down on.

But more worrisome than the possibility that Democrats might put forward the weaker of two candidates is the prospect of a nasty primary sapping resources from the eventual nominee and damaging his reputation, making it that much harder for the party to pick up this open seat. Grayson has already publicly sniped at Murphy, so the idea that we might see a clean fight focused on the issues doesn't seem especially likely. That's why Murphy and the DSCC are still hoping that Grayson will stay out. Grayson has said he'll "probably" run, but who knows? Maybe he won't like what his polls have to say after all.

1:18 PM PT (Jeff Singer): IN-Sen: Republican Rep. Marlin Stutzman did surprisingly well in the 2010 primary for this seat back when he was just a little-known state senator, and he sounds ready to give it another shot. Stutzman will make a "major announcement"on Saturday May 9, though he didn't say much beyond that. It sounds like he's in, though he wouldn't be the first would-be Senate candidate to pull the rug out from under us: Who knows, maybe his major announcement is that he's running for re-election, or introducing the American Free Freedom Act.

Right now, Eric Holcomb, a former state party head and former chief of staff to retiring Sen. Dan Coats, has the primary field to himself. A battle between the establishment friendly Holcomb and tea partying Stutzman would definitely be fun to watch, though other Republicans are eyeing the seat.

1:26 PM PT (Jeff Singer): NH-Sen: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. A little while ago, Granite State tea party chieftain Ovide Lamontagne, who most recently served as the GOP's 2012 gubernatorial nominee, refused to rule out a primary campaign against Sen. Kelly Ayotte. Lamontagne's chances weren't good, but he could have forced Ayotte to waste resources and lurch to the right. Alas, a "source with knowledge of Lamontagne’s thinking" tells the Boston Globe that Lamontagne’s not interested. We haven't heard from Lamontagne himself but he'd probably be publicly contradicting the story if it weren't true.

1:39 PM PT (Jeff Singer): NY-01: Freshman Republican Lee Zeldin has just picked up his first credible Democratic opponent on this swingy eastern Long Island seat. Suffolk Planning Commission Chairman David Calone, a venture capitalist, quietly opened up a campaign committee a few weeks ago, and he tells the local publication innovateli that he's looking forwards to the campaign. Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn and former Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko are also looking at this seat, though they haven't said much about their plans.

Obama carried this seat by a 0.5 margin, and both sides will need to spend a ton of money to advertise in the New York media market. Long Island has been quite friendly to Republican incumbents, and ousting Zeldin won't be easy. Still, Democrat Tim Bishop held this seat for 12 years (albeit often by narrow margins) until questions about his ethics and the GOP wave dealt him a 54-46 defeat. If Team Blue is going to get this seat back, they probably need to do it in 2016 before Zeldin can become entrenched.

2:04 PM PT (Jeff Singer): Philadelphia Mayor: With only about two weeks to go before the May 19 Democratic primary, allies of state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams are seriously stepping up their advertising presence. American Cities, a super PAC funded by wealthy people who share Williams support for charter schools and other elements of Michelle Rhee-esque education reform, has gone from spending $500,000 a week on ads to $800,000. Their new spot features a construction worker praising Williams for his work on the Diversity Apprenticeship Program, which he credits for changing his life.

American Cities has spent $3.2 million to date, while Williams' campaign has been off the air since mid-April. By contrast, two labor-funded groups backing primary co-frontrunner ex-Councilor Jim Kenney have spent $1.2 million so far. But Kenney has a new spot of his own, which is part of a $300,000 one-week buy. The ad features state Rep. Dwight Evans and Councilor Marian Tasco, two prominent Northwest Philadelphia African American politicians, portraying Kenney (who is white) as a compassionate man who is willing to do the hard things.

Ex-District Attorney Lynn Abraham doesn't have any major outside backers, and she's needed to make do with what she has. The Abraham campaign, which recently unveiled their first ad, says they'll be spending $175,000 for each of the next two weeks, and $200,000 for the final week of the contest.

2:07 PM PT (Jeff Singer): NY-01: Hat/Tip to BluntDiplomat for the Calone news.

2:14 PM PT: NY State Senate: We're having a party and everyone's indicted! On Monday, federal agents arrested Republican state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam on charges of extortion, fraud, and soliciting bribes. The criminal complaint is sadly comical, as the younger Skelos embarrassingly tried to avoid detection like a two-bit thug from The Wire,  thinking he could avoid the authorities by using "burners" and FaceTime.

The arrests also mean that Skelos is the third Senate majority leader in a row (more or less, if you don't count Pedro Espada) to face corruption charges; Democrat Malcolm Smith and Republican Joe Bruno did as well (though Bruno's conviction was later tossed on appeal). It's very hard to keep track of all New York's scumbag lawmakers, though, so Lohud.com has very helpfully assembled this database of villainy, detailing which legislators have faced ethical or legal accusations since 2000. Including Skelos, the count is up to a stomach-churning 39 over the last decade-and-a-half.

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Anchorage mayoral candidate Ethan Berkowitz
Democratic candidate Ethan Berkowitz
Tuesday's runoff in Alaska's largest city has turned an incredibly nasty affair. Over the last week, the contest has revolved around whether Democrat Ethan Berkowitz once seriously said that fathers should be able to marry their sons, a sentence I never thought I'd ever write.

Here's the background on this bizarre matter. Anchorage Baptist Temple pastor Jerry Prevo claimed that Berkowitz supported father-son marriages on his radio show in October. Berkowitz's Republican rival Amy Demboski was asked about the matter on a radio show and rather than denounce it, she said it "would be interesting to hear" the recording. The station did not keep a copy of the show, but finally, Berkowitz's conservative co-host Bernadette Wilson came forth and announced that Berkowitz had seriously said that an incestous marriage would be justified during a debate about same-sex marriage. However, the station manager says that Berkowitz was clearly making the remarks out of frustration as "hyperbole."

Berkowitz first refused to dignify the accusations, and he's now saying that Wilson remembers the show wrong, and that he of course does "not support fathers and sons marrying." The matter has dominated the last week of the race and even popped up at a debate, where Demboski once again said that she thinks Berkowitz actually supports incest.

The entire situation has been ugly and has led third-place primary finisher Andrew Halcro to make a last-minute Berkowitz endorsement. But it's anyone's guess how this voters will interpret this whole mess. To complicate things further, Demboski has been denying accusations that she lied under oath during her divorce almost 20 years ago. The good news for Anchorage is that this nasty election is about to be over.

Discuss
Attorney General Beau Biden (D-DE) (L) and Vice Presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) gesture on stage at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado August 27, 2008. U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) is expected to accept the Democratic presidential nomination at the convention on August 28.  REUTERS/Chris Wattie            (UNITED STATES)   US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008  (USA) - RTR21RH5
Possible Delaware gubernatorial candidate Beau Biden with his father Vice President Joe Biden
Leading Off:

DE-Gov: It's still anyone's guess if former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden, will run for governor next year. Biden, a Democrat, took a job at the law firm Grant & Eisenhofer in January and is now expanding his work there, which is usually not something you do in preparation for a gubernatorial bid.

The firm's co-founder says that Biden's move "doesn't change anything for him politically. He will make an excellent governor," but Biden's camp has said little about his political aspirations in months. Biden himself kept a very low profile even before leaving office early this year, and he doesn't appear to be taking any steps to prepare for a campaign. There has also been speculation that Biden's health hasn't been good, and his silence isn't exactly putting these rumors to rest.

One potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate is sounding impatient. New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon won't run against Biden, but he's likely to take a look if he sits the contest out. Gordon says that he spoke with Biden last month and told him that he needed "to get out and let people know you're still running." Gordon says that he's also talked to the people who are expected to run the Biden campaign "and they say they're getting ready for him to run," but Gordon notes that Biden needs to make an announcement at some point. Rep. John Carney has also talked about seeking the governorship if Biden doesn't, something he probably wouldn't be discussing if he thought the ex-attorney general was all-in.

If Biden knows he's going to run, there's no reason he can't just say so now and clear up any confusion. It sounds like he's genuinely unsure what to do, but he doesn't want to look publicly indecisive or feed rumors about his health.

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The Who — Won't Get Fooled Again (1971)
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9:12 AM PT (Jeff Singer): NRCC: On Friday, the NRCC added eight more members to its Patriot program, which designates which incumbents it plans to expend resources to protect. The names are below, with the Obama-Romney numbers for each district in parentheses, and each member's 2014 performance in brackets:

• Jeff Denham, CA-10 (51-47) [56-44]

• Steve Knight, CA-25 (48-50) [54-46, against another Republican]

• Rodney Davis, IL-13 (49-49) [59-41]

• Dan Benishek, MI-01 (45-54) [52-45]

• Tim Walberg, MI-07 (48-51) [53-41]

• Elise Stefanik, NY-21 (52-46) [55-34]

• Ryan Costello, PA-06 (48-51) [56-44]

• Barbara Comstock, VA-10 (49-50) [56-40]

While the first 12 Patriot members either represented blue seats or had close races in 2014, this new crop is a bit more safe. Only Dan Benishek, who holds Romney's best seat here, beat a Democrat by only a single-digit margin. Most of these districts are swingy or just light red, but these members look like they'd be in good shape absent a Democratic wave. National Democrats have some candidates in mind for CA-25, MI-01, PA-06, and VA-10, and already have a credible contender in MI-07. Things have been a lot more quiet in CA-10, IL-13, and NY-21, though we're still early in the cycle.

It is notable that the NRCC added Elise Stefanik, who represents a competitive Upstate New York seat, after the DCCC appeared to ignore her on their initial target list. It's also interesting that Iowa Rep. Rod Blum, who represents a 56-43 Obama seat but voted against John Boehner in this year's speaker election, has once again been omitted.

9:21 AM PT (David Jarman): UK parliamentary election: Game of Thrones and next week's elections in the United Kingdom are both impenetrably complex to the uninitiated, as tribal rivals form and break coalitions in the quest to control an isolated island with bad weather. Not only that, they both take place in locations with names like Casterly Rock and the Vale of Glamorgan. So which is it, a parliamentary constituency or a GoT location? Take our quiz and find out!

10:11 AM PT (Jeff Singer): DE-Gov: It's still anyone's guess if former Democratic Attorney General Beau Biden will run for governor next year. Biden took a job at the lawfirm Grant & Eisenhofer in January and is now expanding his work there, which is usually not something you do in preparation for a gubernatorial bid.

The firm's co-founder says that "doesn't change anything for him politically. He will make an excellent governor," but Biden's camp has said little about his political aspirations in months. Biden himself has kept a very low profile even before leaving office early this year, and he doesn't appear to be taking any steps to prepare for a bid. There has also been speculation that Biden's health hasn't been good, and his silence isn't exactly putting these rumors to rest.

One potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate is sounding impatient. New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon won't run against Biden, but he's likely to take a look if he sits the contest out. Gordon says he spoke with Biden last month and told him that he needed "to get out and let people know you're still running." Gordon says that he's talked to the people who are expected to run the Biden campaign "and they say they're getting ready for him to run," but Gordon notes that Biden needs to make an announcement at some point. Rep. John Carney has also talked about seeking the governorship if Biden doesn't, something he probably wouldn't be discussing if he thought the ex-attorney general was all-in.

If Biden knows he's going to run, there's no reason he can't just say so now and clear up any confusion. It sounds like he's genuinely unsure what to do, but he doesn't want to look publicly indecisive or feed rumors about his health.

10:43 AM PT (Jeff Singer): WATN: On Friday, former Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Marty Meehan, who has served as chancellor of UMass-Lowell since 2007, was chosen to head the entire UMass system. Aside from briefly flirting with a Senate bid in 2009, Meehan has shown no real interest in returning to elected office, and his new post probably takes him out of politics once and for all.

If Meehan is completely done running, there's no reason for him to continue to hold onto his $4.4 million war chest. Meehan's non-partisan job may prevent him from giving the money to the DCCC or to another candidate, but there's no reason for him not to refund his donors or donate it to charity. Of course, Meehan has had about 8 years to dispose of his funds, and he proved back in 2006 that he didn't care if the money went to waste, so we shouldn't get our hopes up.

11:13 AM PT (Jeff Singer): CA-25: Freshman Republican and noted ass-dropper Steve Knight just picked up his first Democratic opponent, though he'll have a lot to prove. Lou Vince, a police officer and town councilor in Agua Dulce (population 3,300) announced on Thursday that he's in. Vince ran for Los Angeles County sheriff last year and placed last in a field of seven candidates, taking only 5 percent. Santa Clarita Water Board Member Maria Gutzeit is also thinking about running and she has been talking to the DCCC.

On paper this northern Los Angeles County district is winnable for Team Blue. Romney only carried it 50-48, and Knight is a terrible fundraiser. But this area is ancestrally Republican, and the Knight name is well-regarded here. Knight served in the legislature for several years and his father Pete Knight also was a longtime politician and famous test pilot. 2016 may be the year this seat finally goes blue, but it's going to take a lot of work.

11:18 AM PT: Site News: FYI, Daily Kos will be offline for about one to three hours Saturday morning, starting at 11 AM ET. You can read more about the reason for the planned outage (the last before the upcoming major upgrade to Daily Kos itself) here.

11:29 AM PT (Jeff Singer): KY-Gov: State Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has another ad out ahead of the May 19 GOP primary. This new spot takes a not-so-subtle shot at wealthy ex-Louisville Councilor Hal Heiner, with Comer starting by bragging about how he's "not a lawyer, a multimillionaire or a typical politician." (Personally, I think that claiming you're not a "typical politician" is the most typical politician thing ever, but I digress.)

Comer continues, saying where he comes from, "faith and family come first," another contrast between Heiner's Louisville background and Comer's rural upbringing. The rest of the ad is Comer talking about his accomplishments in office. This ad isn't the most hard-hitting stuff, but the airwaves might get a bit nastier in the next few weeks. Heiner's campaign was recently connected to a blogger who has been accusing Comer of domestic violence without any evidence, and Comer sounds like he's ready to make the story an issue.

11:47 AM PT (David Jarman): Philadelphia mayor: Here's a timely new ad from the campaign of state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, who's neck-and-neck with Jim Kenney in the race for the Democratic nomination in Philadelphia's mayoral race. It prominently features Williams' young grandson, against a background message of "Zero tolerance for excessive force and police brutality." While his grandson is too young to make his own Dante de Blasio-style pitch to the camera, the message is still clear.

11:53 AM PT (David Jarman): UK parliamentary election: If the UK election has piqued your interest, one other time-suck you might check out is the interactive map of the demographics of every parliamentary constituency, courtesy of the Office for National Statistics and their data from the 2011 UK census. While there are lots of places online where you can see predicted votes in each constituency, if you're interested in the "why" behind the votes (i.e. how race, income, age and employment correlate with party support), here's the next step.

11:56 AM PT (Jeff Singer): FL-Sen: Well, maybe former state Attorney General Bill McCollum is serious about another Senate bid after all. The longtime GOP politician confirmed a few weeks ago that he was fielding calls urging him to run, but he didn't come across as especially excited. But on Thursday, McCollum said that he is interested and considering, and that he's "being told by other people in the party that there are concerns that the other potential candidates are not well known as we need to hold the seat." McCollum gave a loose timeline for when he'll decide, saying it will probably be "sometime this summer."

McCollum has managed to climb pretty high in Florida politics, but has always failed to reach the summit. McCollum represented an Orlando-area House seat for 20 years, but lost his first Senate bid to Democrat Bill Nelson by a 51-46 margin. McCollum tried again four years later but was defeated in the primary by Mel Martinez 45-31. McCollum won the attorney general post in 2006 and spent much of the 2010 cycle as the presumptive GOP nominee for governor. However, the ultra-wealthy Rick Scott threw his hat into the ring only a few months before the primary and spent his way to a 46-43 victory.

McCollum seemed done with elected office after that, but he might have one last campaign in him. McCollum is 70 which is a bit old to start a Senate career, though that's not stopping Ted Strickland from running over in Ohio.

12:06 PM PT: IL-Sen: Some key chunks of the Democratic establishment have already lined up behind Rep. Tammy Duckworth's bid for Senate, but fellow Rep. Robin Kelly continues to explore a run of her own, and according to Roll Call, she just met with the DSCC to discuss the race. It's anyone's guess what they might have discussed, though. Do D.C. Democrats prefer that Kelly stay out, or are they content to stand aside? We don't know, but Kelly's definitely not the wait-your-turn type, seeing as she took on a pair of seemingly more powerful candidates in the 2013 special election to replace disgraced ex-Rep. Jesse Jackson—and won.

In addition to Kelly, state Sen. Napoleon Harris and Urban League CEO Andrea Zopp are also considering the contest, but Kelly would almost certainly represent the biggest threat to Duckworth's hopes. On the flipside, as Emily Cahn points out, Zopp and Harris could cause trouble for Kelly, since all three would draw from a similar base of support among black voters in Chicago. Believe it or not, though, there's not an incredible amount of time left: Illinois holds its primary in March of next year, so Kelly et al. have to decide soon.

12:11 PM PT (Jeff Singer): PA-08: Well, here's a bit of a surprise. GOP state Rep. Gene DiGirolamo sounded pretty interested in running for this open Bucks County swing seat at the beginning of the year, but he announced on Friday that he'll sit the contest out.

The GOP has a good bench here so they should be able to recruit a viable candidate, but it's not clear who will step up. Bucks County Commission Chair Robert Loughery and state Rep. Scott Petri have both been mentioned, and they'll probably receive more encouragement now that DiGirolamo is out. Some Republicans  have expressed optimism that they can convince retiring Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick to reverse course, but Fitzpatrick has shown no interest in breaking his self-imposed term-limit. On the Democratic side, we have a duel between 2014 candidate Shaughnessy Naughton and state Rep. Steve Santarsiero.

12:29 PM PT (Jeff Singer): San Antonio Mayor: Holy shit, there's a poll! On behalf of the San Antonio Police Officers Association, Anderson Williams Research takes a look at the May 9 non-partisan primary. They find ex-state Sen. and 2014 Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Leticia Van de Putte taking first with 29, with interim Mayor Ivy Taylor close behind at 24. Former state Rep. Mike Villarreal and ex-Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson are at 18 and 17 percent respectively. In the likely event that no one clears 50 percent, the two candidates with the most votes will advance to a runoff.

We haven't seen any other polls here, though the San Antonio Express-News's Gilbert Garcia alludes to other surveys that show Taylor and Van de Putte making the runoff. Taylor's performance is a bit surprising given how late she got into the race and some bumps during her brief tenure as the city's chief executive.

However, Garcia argues that Republican voters are boosting Taylor against her three fellow Democrats. Back in 2013, Taylor was a vocal opponent of the city's non-discrimination ordinance that was aimed at protecting gay residents. Taylor stirred up more controversy last month when she characterized the NDO a "waste of time." Taylor has backtracked a bit, and is now calling for the NDO ordinance to be expanded. Still, plenty of gay groups don't trust her, while social conservatives are much more sympathetic. It doesn't hurt that Taylor's campaign manager worked on Republican Will Hurd's successful congressional race last year and that she's allied with two conservative city councilors.

1:08 PM PT (Jeff Singer): PA-08: And even though former GOP Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley  recently took a high-profile position with the United Way, he still gets mentioned as a potential contender.

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