8:56 AM PT: NY-08: Are Democrats getting worried about the possibility that incendiary NYC City Councilman Charles Barron could actually defeat Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries in the June 26 primary? Well, I'm getting nervous. Why else would Barack Obama, who doesn't endorse in open-seat contests, invite Jeffries to a recent fundraiser in Manhattan—and make sure Jeffries had his photo snapped with the POTUS and Bill Clinton? And why would an unnamed "senior Democratic official" tell BuzzFeed that the President "wished [Jeffries] luck on the race"?
I've brought up Barron's outrageous beliefs a number of times, but I've mostly focused on his foreign policy rantings. What you might not be familiar with is that he's also opposed to same-sex marriage:
"I believe simply in an institution of marriage between a man and a woman. My wife and I believe that. We support every other thing regarding gay rights and we support everything but the marriage thing. We don't want to have people impose their values or beliefs on us and we're not imposing ours on you."And that's yet another reason to oppose Barron, one which MoveOn cited in their new endorsement of Jeffries. If Barron were to win, I don't think Democrats would even seat him as a member of their caucus. And in the event that he does, I think Democrats and the Working Families Party (which has given its ballot line to Jeffries) needs to prepare for a second battle in November, to help Jeffries, as the WFP candidate, beat Barron.
9:04 AM PT: WI Recall: This seems pretty pointless: GOP state Sen. Van Wangaard, who was defeated by ex-state Sen. John Lehman in their recent recall election battle, is demanding a recount. The official canvas showed Lehman winning by 834 votes, or 1.2%, which might not sound like a lot, but in terms of getting the results altered in a recount, it's an enormous mountain to climb. Since Lehman's victory would shift control of the Senate to Democratic hands, is this merely a delaying tactic to allow Republicans to call a special session and throw up a few last-second legislative roadblocks for Dems? Wanggaard claims that's not going to happen, and I suppose if the GOP wanted to do that, they could have already done so. So if he's telling the truth, then I have no idea what he's hoping to accomplish here.
9:39 AM PT: NY-07: Another NYC endorsement from Barack Obama, this time for Rep. Nydia Velazquez. Unlike Yvette Clarke in NY-09 (whom Obama backed just the other day), Velazquez faces a somewhat legitimate challenge from NYC Councilman Erik Dilan, who just announced a batch of local endorsements of his own. Importanly, Dilan has the support of Brooklyn Democratic chair Vito Lopez, who has long feuded with Velazquez.
9:49 AM PT: SC-07: As we wait the South Carolina Elections Commision's decision on whether to move ahead with a runoff following Tuesday's seriously screwed-up Democratic primary (expected on Friday afternoon), a local attorney has filed a lawsuit insisting that a runoff take place. It's not clear exactly who the plaintiffs are, but it's not the South Carolina Democratic Party, which said it wouldn't sue over the issue.
It's also worth noting that Preston Brittain, who is pushing for a runoff, didn't bother filing a pre-runoff fundraising report with the FEC on Thursday night, something he was obligated to do if, in fact, there were to be a runoff. It would have been wise to do so, just to send a message. Unsurprisingly, the candidate who doesn't want a runoff, Gloria Tinubu, didn't file a report either.
10:07 AM PT: Maps: Here's a very cool interactive map put together by the awesome folks at CUNY's Center for Urban Research. They've resurrected an extensive guide put together by four newspapers (including the New York Times) back in the 1940s which detailed every single neighborhood in the city, with a particular focus on the housing market. There are tons of photos and descriptions of each area, and you can zoom in on any part of town. A really fun blast from the past. In 1943, rents on my block were anywhere from $30 to $49... a MONTH!
10:14 AM PT (David Jarman): WATN?: He's baaaaaaack... and this time, it seems like he isn't biting off more than he can chew. Republican Dino Rossi (who lost two gubernatorial races and one Senate race) is now being talked about for a return trip to the Washington state Senate, where he got his original launching pad. In fact, it'd be his dream job, because he doesn't actually have to run for election -- it'd be as an appointed replacement for the remainder of the year, for Cheryl Pflug, who was Rossi's replacement in 2004 in LD-05 and who just resigned after being appointed to a Gregoire administration job -- and then he won't have to do anything -- since the legislature won't be in session for the rest of the year. (Which leaves his days free for more profit-from-foreclosure seminars.)
10:28 AM PT (James L): NY-13: Back in May, the gonzo (an)nihilists at the Campaign for Primary Accountability promised a wave of spending to wash out veteran Dem Rep. Charlie Rangel in his primary race. (A CPA spokesperson at the time claimed: “It’s safe to say we will be spending in the six-figure range... And we will be using radio, mail, online and targeted ethnic media and direct voter contact to reach the voters that need to be reached.”) Well, they've finally begun their spending spree against Rangel... and the early action is decidedly underwhelming – yesterday, the group filed a whopping $616.99 direct mail expenditure with the FEC. In total, they've spent less than $2500 against Rangel, with most of that money being spent on fundraising e-mails.
10:37 AM PT (David Jarman): California: California's primaries left a bad taste in a lot of Dems' mouths, not just because of the screwup in CA-31 but because the total Dem share of the vote seemed low in a lot of other competitive races. Last week our Steve Singiser pointed out that, based on presidential ballots submitted, Dem turnout seemed very low. And now here's an interesting analysis from National Journal that bolsters that point, but by looking at the 1998 and 2000 elections.
It turns out that in those two cycles, California used a quasi-jungle-style primary where voters could vote for a person from any party (but different from the current system, in that only the top vote-getter of each party advanced). Their analysis finds that in most competitive races, the Dem vote share increased significantly from the primary to the general. (For instance, James Rogan and Brian Bilbray 1.0 performed well in the 2000 primaries, respectively, and then went on to lose in November; and in 1998, the primary showed Bob Dornan would beat Loretta Sanchez in their re-match, which obviously didn't happen in November.) It's worth a full read, not just because it's an interesting slice of history but because it's a rare beast: an article where the Beltway media uses actual data to debunk pro-Republican conventional wisdom.
10:43 AM PT: WI-Sen: Hah! This ought to help burnish Tommy Thompson's conservative credentials. The AP did some sleuthing and discovered that the former Wisconsin governor, whom tea partiers and their ilk have never liked, gave money to two Democrats in 2008: Michigan Sen. Carl Levin and North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue, who was running in a hotly contested open-seat race at the time. A Thompson spokesman said the donations were "small, courtesy contributions to people he worked with as secretary or governor." I'm sure that'll work!
10:52 AM PT (James L): NM-Sen: The Defenders of Wildlife are out with a new ad (available at the link) that paints Republican Heather Wilson as a "Washington insider" and a friend of "lobbyists and corporate polluters". Size of the buy: $261K.
11:59 AM PT: Fundraising: As per usual, we've compiled pre-primary FEC fundraising reports for states which have primaries a week from Tuesday: Colorado, New York, Oklahoma, and Utah. We also have pre-runoff reports for South Carolina. There's a lot to chew over at the link, since the pre-primary reports cover over two months' worth of fundraising—the better part of the quarter. The Salt Lake Tribune has also rounded up numbers from the UT-Sen Republican primary. Sen. Orrin Hatch raised $569K and had $1.9 million left on hand as of June 6, while rival Dan Liljenquist took in $208K and had just $164K in the bank. The piece also explores the wide spending gap between the two men.
12:07 PM PT: CA-52: The DCCC has added San Diego Port Commission Chair Scott Peters to its Red to Blue program, which highlights candidates in top-tier races and offers them special assistance toward winning. Peters narrowly beat out former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña for the right to take on GOP Rep. Brian Bilbray in November.
1:14 PM PT: NYC City Council: New York holds municipal elections in odd-numbered years, so the NYC City Council hasn't conducted its decennial redistricting yet. It soon will, though: Mayor Mike Bloomberg just named his picks for the city's redistricting panel, while the council itself did so last month. A final map must be submitted by March of next year. So if you're interested in redrawing the Big Apple's councilmanic (yes, that's a word) map, here's a .DRF file of the existing district lines that you can import into Dave's Redistricting App to play around with. (Thanks to CUNY's Steven Romalewski, jeffmd, and twohundertseventy for helping to create this file.)
1:19 PM PT: Nevada: There's not much of political interest in PPP's latest batch of Nevada miscellany, though it's worth pointing out that Democrats lead on the generic legislative ballot by a 43-39 margin. There's also this amusing tidbit:
There's one thing Nevada voters across party lines can agree on: they love them some brothels. 64% think brothels should be legal to only 23% who think they should be illegal. The most striking thing in these numbers is that an equal 66% of Democrats and Republicans each think that brothels should be legal. In late March we found that only 20% of Nevada GOP voters supported gay marriage so that's an interesting take on family values there.
1:31 PM PT: NY-11: Among the many pre-primary FEC reports that were filed on Thursday night was GOP freshman Mike Grimm's. Why pay special attention to his? Because Grimm's managed to rack up an impressive $321K in legal fees thanks to a federal investigation of his shady campaign finance practices. Lucky for Grimm, his law firm, Patton Boggs, is accepting IOUs: The money he owes them is listed on his report under "debts," so he hasn't actually drawn down his considerable $1.2 million cash pile to pay his attorneys. He'll have to someday, though, because they ain't taking this case pro bono.
1:41 PM PT: It also sounds like things got rather testy at a debate on Friday between Hatch and Liljenquist. It's the only debate of the primary, and it took place on radio, so viewers could not see Hatch as he "sometimes flushed red with anger and wrung his hands under the desk as he talked" or Liljenquist as he "often pointed his finger as he aggressively took on his Republican rival." Click through for details on the (rather hostile) words that were actually exchanged between the two.
1:46 PM PT: VA-Gov: In a long-anticipated move that seems almost certain to boost the candidacy of AG Ken Cuccinelli, the Virginia Republican Party formally decided to pick its 2013 gubernatorial nominee via convention rather than through a primary. Cuccinelli, a favorite of movement conservatives, will benefit from a smaller field of play dominated by hardcore activists, though early polling of a hypothetical primary showed him leading Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling. I'm not even sure how Bolling has any shot at the nomination now and I wouldn't be surprised if he gave up. (NB: The GOP will also select LG and AG nominees at the convention.)
1:56 PM PT (David Jarman): Dark money: Despite all the hand-wringing over Citizens United, there's been very little activity actually involving corporations publicly giving money to political campaigns -- probably because of all the trouble Target with its customer base when it was the first to try it in the 2010 election cycle. But now we've gotten a big move on that front: mega-insurer Aetna just got caught giving $7.8 million to two groups that have run millions of dollars worth of political ads for Republican candidates: the Chamber of Commerce and the American Action Network. Or, maybe, this kind of corporate giving happens all the time and we just have no way of knowing it -- AAN is a 501(c)(4), meaning its donors don't need to be disclosed. The only reason this came to light was because of an accidental filing by Aetna.
1:58 PM PT: American Crossroads: We have some details on the size of the buys of American Crossroads' new broad-spectrum attack on several Democratic Senate candidates. In NE-Sen, they're spending $128K; NV-Sen, $167K, and VA-Sen, $358K. And in NM-Sen, they're adding another $119K to their previous buy a week earlier (which was for the same amount), presumably to re-up this positive spot on behalf of Republican Heather Wilson.
2:04 PM PT: ND-Sen: It looks like the Democratic-aligned Majority PAC is increasing their buy in support of this ad they launched hammering GOP Rep. Rick Berg about a week ago. They're throwing another $67K on to the barbie, same as last time.
2:10 PM PT: NY-13: The Campaign for Our Future, which is hoping to boost the candidacy of former DNC official Clyde Williams in the Democratic primary, just threw in another $30K on mailers attacking Rep. Charlie Rangel. I have to believe, though, that these flyers will help state Sen. Adriano Espaillat far more than they'll help Williams, since they're focused on dragging down Rangel—and only Espaillat really has the name rec to go toe-to-toe with the incumbent.
2:14 PM PT: OH-Sen: SEIU COPE (thank god they invented acronyms, because that stands for "Service Employees International Union Committee On Political Education") is dropping another $263K, nearly doubling their alread-considerable buy behind this ad hammering Republican Josh Mandel.
2:38 PM PT: NV-Sen: There are four new ads to tell you about in the Nevada Senate race. I really dig the hook in Dem Rep. Shelley Berkley's first spot, which features "weather forecasters" predicting lots of sunshine and high winds in the Silver State—perfect, the narrator points out, to support a clean energy economy (and the jobs that come with it).
The second is a response to the new Crossroads ad which tries to accuse Berkley of ethical violations regarding her successful efforts to keep the state's only kidney transplant center open. Of course, Crossroads doesn't mention those details, but rather selectively cites the original over-heated New York Times piece that set this nonsense in motion and claims she "twisted arms to get federal dollars for her husband's business." In her own spot, Berkley points out that both she and her opponent, Sen. Dean Heller, worked together to protect the center and quotes a Las Vegas Sun editorial that declared that any accusations of a "conflict of interest" were "ridiculous."
Meanwhile, Heller is out with his first ad of the race, a spot in which he touts his plan to force members of Congress to go without pay unless they pass a budget. Heller, who was first elected to the House in 2006, then elevated to the Senate last year, tries to pretend he has some other job, saying: "Congress hasn't passed a budget in over three years. They do a lot of talking, but they haven't done their job in over three years." They?
Finally, the Patriot Majority PAC (a group linked to Sen. Harry Reid) is also up with a new ad, attacking Heller for supporting the Ryan budget plan that would "essentially end Medicare." The ad is backed by a $181K buy and is reportedly airing in Reno.
2:55 PM PT: SC-07: According to local station WLTX, the South Carolina Elections Commission has ruled that there will not be a runoff between Gloria Tinubu and Preston Brittain for the Democratic primary. All we have is a tweet so far, though, so no word yet on any possible further legal action.