• IN-Sen: Even if Wenzel Strategies is a dodgy pollster (they also poll for the batshit WorldNetDaily) and you aren't sure whether to trust their toplines, their trendlines aren't good for Dick Lugar at all. The Republican senator now trails his GOP primary opponent, Treasurer Richard Mourdock, 39 to 44, whereas in mid-March, he clung to a 45-39 lead in Wenzel's last poll (on behalf of Citizens United). That's a swing of eleven points, and the primary is just twelve days away.
And here's the dog that didn't bark: In his new pre-primary FEC report (PDF), Lugar shows a payment of $10K to Republican pollster National Research on April 9 for "polling research." That's on top of almost $74K he spent last quarter on the same expense. But of course, we haven't seen any recent internals from the Lugar camp. If their numbers offered any cause for optimism, don't you think we'd have seen at least a glimpse by now?
In any event, as the end-game approaches, the Club for Growth is hoping to deliver a knockout blow to the incumbent. They're spending $421K on a final ad asking "What's happened to Dick Lugar?" (Answer: He became a dirty libruhl.)
Lugar's also gotten an assist from some unlikely quarters: The Young Guns Network, which you can more-or-less view as a stand-in for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. It's not clear to me why Cantor (okay, his former aides who run the organization) care about saving Lugar's ass since he serves, you know, in the Senate. But maybe the $100K they're spending on mailers is some kind of penance for Cantor's notorious interference in the IL-16 primary, where he helped veteran GOP Rep. Don Manzullo out the door (and earned the wrath of many fellow Republicans for doing so).
• MI-Sen: Let's not forget that in addition to helpfully demonstrating he was a racist, Pete Hoekstra's "Debbie Spend-it-now" ad was also devoted to praising his good fiscal sense. So much for that: According to an analysis by the newsletter MIRS, the spot—which cost $200K to produce and air on Super Bowl Sunday—brought in just $22K for Hoekstra "in the days following the commercial airing." Remarkably, Hoekstra spent "only" $140K to broadcast the spot but somehow forked over a whopping $60K to produce the ad, whose offensiveness was matched only by the crappiness of its production values.
• MT-Sen: I love this new ad from Dem Sen. Jon Tester, in which he's determined to show not only that he hasn't "gone Beltway," but is actually bringing some Montana to DC—quite literally. You may recall a New York Times story earlier this year about Tester regularly lugging Montana-raised beef (that he slaughters himself) back to Washington with him, and it's that little detail which is the center of this ad, which features Tester taking a plane trip from his farm to the nation's capital. There are some pretty funny touches, including Tester running his cowboy boots through the scanner at the airport—and his steaks showing up on the x-ray machine. If there's any senator who can legitimately claim to have stayed true to his roots, it's definitely Tester. You can watch at the link or below:
• NC-Gov: Likely Republican nominee Pat McCrory just announced that he raised $1.7 million from Jan. 1 to Apr. 20 of this year and has $3.1 mil in the bank. Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, with the primary less than two weeks off, conservative think-tank Civitas has a new poll (courtesy SurveyUSA) showing Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton with a narrow 32-27 lead over ex-Rep. Bob Etheridge.
• WA-Gov: It doesn't quite rise to the same level of great-moments-in-losing-your-cool-in-front-of-a-tracker as "macaca," but Rob McKenna's snapping at a constituent with cameras rolling does play very much against his public persona. (The Republican gubernatorial candidate has meticulously cultivated the image of mild-mannered dweeb, well-aware that GOP fire-breathers just don't get elected statewide in Washington.) In response to a woman's questions about his reproductive rights stances, he first evaded, then after getting flustered went to the GOP well (deep to the well, maybe all the way back to the 1960s), barking at her: "Why don't you go get a job?" (David Jarman)
• WI-Gov: The RGA has a fairly unimpressive ad out attacking Democrat Tom Barrett, which wastes an awful lot of time on the front-end re-hashing a clip from one of Barrett's own ads. Indeed, it doesn't even get to the negatives until half-way through (an eternity in a 30-second spot), and mostly relies on footage of the 2011 protests against Gov. Scott Walker to make its point. (Which rather incongruously seems to be, "Electing Tom Barrett would mean more protests!" Okay, obviously they're trying to scare voters about those scary rallies from last year, but I don't know how effectively they deliver that message.) You can watch at the link or below:
Meanwhile, there are two new ads out supporting Kathleen Falk in the Democratic primary. The first is from her own campaign, touting her attempt to fight Scott Walker in court and her support from various organizations, including labor groups. The second is from Wisconsin for Falk, a mostly union-backed organization which says it's spending a million in paid media in the final week-and-a-half of the primary campaign. (That's on top of the $3 mil they've already thrown down.) This spot features Falk herself narrating about her desire to right Wisconsin's wrongs, though oddly, she doesn't actually speak her name aloud, so unless you recognize her voice or are paying attention to the title card that appears in the final two seconds, it's possible someone watching this ad wouldn't even know who it's for.
• AZ-08: Rothenberg's Jessica Taylor reports that her source say that the NRCC will begin a $150K broadcast buy starting on Friday, on behalf of their nominee, Iraq vet Jesse Kelly. Meanwhile, the DCCC plans to match that outlay in order to support their guy, Ron Barber. No independent expenditure reports have been filed yet, and we don't have copies of the ads, either, so keep an eye open.
• CA-02: Activist Norman Solomon is touting a new internal poll from Lake Research which he says shows him "in good position" to finish in the top two in June's primary—but we have long memories here at Daily Kos Elections, and if you look back to a prior Solomon poll (also from Lake) that he released in October, the trendlines aren't especially auspicious. The new survey has Assemblyman Jared Huffman at 18, Solomon at 10, Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams at 8, and businesswoman Stacey Lawson at 5. (The two Republicans in the race, including Dan Roberts, are at 3% or less.)
Last fall, though, Solomon's polling had the race at Huffman 16, Roberts 12, Solomon 11, Adams 4, and Lawson 4. So Huffman's ticked up a bit, Adams has doubled her share, and Solomon has dropped a point. Solomon still argues that he has a "clear path to finish in the top two" because his is the "second-most recognized candidate in the race" (after Huffman), but it looks like he's in a serious dogfight, and that his standing hasn't improved in the last six months.
• CA-30: Spigots are finally opening up in the Shberman race, where Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman are spending big to ensure they win a spot in June's upcoming top-two primary. Berman is going larger, putting up a million bucks on cable TV backing these three ads, two featuring veterans praising him and one painfully awkward spot that has his daughter delivering a campaign-style speech (complete with canned laughter and applause) about how great her dad is.
Meanwhile, Sherman is shelling out about $420K to air this spot touting a whole laundry list of accomplishments (narrated by an oddly insincere-sounding voice-over artist). Based on Sherman's lead in unanswered internal polls, it makes sense that he's spending less, since both men only need to worry about their name rec carrying them past the primary and into the general election. (The rest of the field is all Some Dudes.) That's when the real one-on-one race will begin, and if the last half a year is anything to go by, then I'm sure it will only get much uglier.
• IN-08, MI-01, ND-AL: The Blue Dogs endorsed a trio of former state reps in three races on Thursday: Dave Crooks in IN-08, Gary McDowell in MI-01, and Pam Gulleson in ND-AL. (They previously endorsed eight other candidates; Joshua Miller has the full list at the link if you'd like a refresher.) Interestingly, just the other day, Aaron Blake noted that when McDowell first ran last cycle, he "didn't embrace the label," though the man he was looking to replace, Bart Stupak, never did either. On the other hand, Both Gulleson and Crooks are looking to succeed former Blue Dogs who held the seats they're seeking until last cycle: Earl Pomeroy and Brad Ellsworth, respectively.
• MI-12: This is just kinda awesome.
• NY-06: Man, the various attempts to put up a phony candidate with a Jewish-sounding name has devolved into some serious Frick and Frack nonsense in New York's new 6th Congressional District. First there was Jeffrey Gottlieb, a Board of Elections employee who bailed because someone dug up the fact that he'd once been prosecuted for arson (!) in the 1970s (!)—for torching his own home, no less. Then there was attorney Stephen Green, who lasted a single day as a replacement for Gottlieb. Finally, there came allergist Robert Mittman—independently (?) of the Gottlieb/Green "campaign"—but he didn't want this flaming bag of dog poop any more than the others, so he, too, has decided to quit.
But there's a problem: It's too late for Mittman to get off the ballot, unless his nominating petitions get thrown out. I think there's a good chance they will, since signature challenges are indeed already pending, and I can't imagine that whoever put Mittman on the ballot in the first place did a bang-up job circulating petitions. So I suspect in the end, this whole farce—designed to hurt the chances of Assemblyman Rory Lancman in the Democratic primary—will finally get interred.
• TN-03: Ordinarily, I avoid stories like "Congressman So-and-so's son gets arrested for public intoxication" or crap like that—I just generally don't think it's newsworthy when some kid fucks up just because his or her dad happens to be prominent. This one is a bit different though: Michael Mayfield, son of wealthy dairyman and congressional candidate Scottie Mayfield, was just arrested on vandalism charges, for slashing the tires of a staffer for Rep. Chuck Fleischman. Mayfield admitted to doing so, and also, he isn't some dumb teenager—he's 33. Oy! I'm sure pops ain't happy about this.
• OR-St. House: The Oregon state House Democratic primary in HD-48 may be a little down in the weeds for us, but with that chamber currently split 30-30, replacing a Dem (Mike Schaufler) who often votes with the Republicans with a solid labor progressive (Jeff Reardon) is a big deal. And this is a minor bombshell: After he was caught accepting a $3,000 contribution from Koch Industries, Schaufler sheepishly gave back the donation, though not after his Koch brothers connections made all the local media. That's thanks to Oregon's unique system of rolling contribution reporting (something that would be great, and perfectly technologically feasible, to have on a national level), which lets these kinds of contributions get spotted almost immediately. (David Jarman)
• WI Recall: The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee—the official party committee which works on state legislative races—is out with its own polling of the Wisconsin state Senate recalls which differ considerably from the less-than-optimistic numbers PPP found about ten days ago. You'll want to check out their full memo (PDF), which offers a lot more detail than is typical, including comparisons to rarely-seen performance numbers from the National Committee for an Effective Congress. But here's a summary of the surveys (from Myers Research):
SD-21: John Lehman (D): 51, Van Wanggaard (R-inc): 47Note, though, that the SD-23 poll is a month old and the SD-21 poll is from early April. Only SD-29 was surveyed recently.
SD-23: Kristin Dexter (D): 47, Terry Moulton (R-inc): 49
SD-29: Donna Seidel (D): 45; Jerry Petrowski (R): 51
• Attorneys General: In this Reuters story about Republican AGs feeling their oats (about healthcare reform, immigration law, etc.) was this interesting factoid:
The ranks of Republican attorneys general have swelled dramatically in the last decade, resulting in a nearly even nationwide partisan split that is unprecedented in modern history. Republican attorneys general now number 24 of the 50 state attorneys general, compared with just 12 as recently as 2000.• Demographics (CA) (PDF): A new USC study of California's population has come up with a pretty startling conclusion: the state's rate of growth is much slower than previously expected. The state had originally been predicted to hit the 50 million mark in 2032, but now that's been pushed back to 2046. Could we start seeing California losing House seats in the future? (It's already on that trajectory; 2010 was the first time in ages that it didn't gain House seats.)
The plateauing may have a lot to do with the slowdown in immigration (something we touched on earlier this week); the foreign-born percentage of the California population is expected to stay flat. The white population of California will increasingly take the form of senior citizens, with their replacements in the workforce primarily the children of immigrants. (Which, even if California loses electoral heft, should serve to make it even bluer.) (David Jarman)
• Demographics (NYC): The New York Observer's Colin Campbell has an interesting local color piece on changes in the Jewish communities in Brooklyn, and what that means for politics. The growing influence of Hasidic, Haredi, and Russian Jewish communities has meant the growth of dark-red pockets in the midst of the otherwise dark-blue borough. That's reached enough of a critical mass in recent years that it's starting to be felt in election results, especially the recent Republican win in the NY-09 special election and also the New York state Senate special election that's currently in recount limbo. (David Jarman)
• Texas: PPP has some interesting polling in their batch of Texas miscellany, including some numbers on Lyndon Johnson (44-30 favorables, vs. 54-32 for Bush père and 48-44 for Bush fils). There are also Rick Perry re-elects (still not good) and polling on the popularity of the state's various large cities (San Antonio & Austin tops, El Paso at bottom).