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The interactive map above shows which party was leading just after 11 PM EST and what the percentage for the four main parties was. Orange is the center-left NDP, red is the centrist to center-left Liberals, blue is for the center-right Progressive Conservatives, and green is for the right-wing Wildrose Party.

Congratulations to the New Democratic Party, the social democrats who won control of the Alberta legislature for the first time ever tonight. This represents the first time a left-of-center party has won there in 85 years. Shocking is an understatement.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 9:32 PM PT (David Nir): Check out all that orange:

Map and cartogram of preliminary 2015 Alberta provincial election results

Tue May 05, 2015 at 9:39 PM PT (David Nir): For a detailed and sophisticated background on the circumstances that led to this historic sea change, check out James L.'s primer on Alberta's politics and his preview of tonight's election.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 10:29 PM PT: Here's an updated interactive map of the results: https://www.google.com/...

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Daily Kos Elections Liveblog Banner
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

Tue May 05, 2015 at 7:04 PM PT: Polls have closed! Stay tuned for results. Usually we start seeing numbers come in within 30 minutes or so, but we will keep a close eye on the numbers.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 7:19 PM PT: Daveberta has a good overview of key races to watch.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 7:22 PM PT: It's very, very early, but so far, the results are breaking down to 32% Wildrose, 31% NDP, 31% PC.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 7:27 PM PT: Results are still very, very early, but the Edmonton numbers are looking like a bloodbath for the PCs. CTV has called Edmonton-Strathcona for the NDP, which is Rachel Notley's seat. No surprise there.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 7:31 PM PT: With 177 polls reporting (of 7,141), the NDP is leading the popular vote by 37% to 29% to the PCs, 27% for the Wildrose. Still very early.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 7:32 PM PT: The NDP is currently leading in 38 seats; PCs 20; Wildrose 12.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 7:35 PM PT: CTV News in Edmonton is reporting that they are projecting an NDP government. They're not yet projecting whether that's either a minority or majority, yet.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 7:35 PM PT (Steve Singiser): With all ridings not yet reporting, it is worth noting that while 44 is the magic number later, it isn't now. As long as NDP can stay in the lead in more ridings than the combined total of PC/Wildrose, you gotta like their chances.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 7:36 PM PT (David Nir): HOLY WOW! 44 years of Tory rule, GONE!!!

BREAKING: CTV projects NDP victory in Alberta election http://t.co/... #ABvotes
@CTVNews

Tue May 05, 2015 at 7:39 PM PT: Folks, for progressive Albertans, this is a pretty emotional night. What a win.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 7:42 PM PT: Heh, a CTV reporter notes that the "mood is less than electric" in the PC Party headquarters right now.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 7:43 PM PT (David Nir): One amazing thing to consider: Tory Premier Jim Prentice did not have to call this election. He could have waited—in fact, he should have waited, as Alberta theoretically has a law that calls for fixed election dates every four years. Had he not presumptuously called this hasty election, the PCs would not have just gotten their asses so thoroughly kicked tonight.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 7:46 PM PT: The NDP is now leading or elected in 55 seats, well beyond the 44 needed to win a majority. What a historic night, my friends.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 7:47 PM PT (David Nir): One key thing to note for American observers is that the NDP's win is not like the Democrats suddenly winning a majority in the Deep South. For one thing, Canadian politics isn't as polarized and Canadian voters tend to be more elastic. But for another, the Tories and the far-right Wildrose are splitting the right-leaning vote almost perfectly.

At the same time, the center-left Liberal Party has finally died. That means you have a unified left under the NDP banner but a fractured right—a situation that almost never obtains under the U.S. two-party system. It's a proverbial perfect storm for the NDP, but it means a bright new day for Alberta progressives.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 7:57 PM PT: To give you an idea of what a Tory bloodbath this is, popular former Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel has lost longtime Tory stronghold Edmonton-Whitemud in a landslide to the NDP.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 7:59 PM PT: CTV is projecting the Wildrose to be the Official Opposition party of Alberta, relegating the PCs to third place in Alberta's legislature. Wow.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 8:01 PM PT:
BREAKING: CTV projects Wildrose official opposition, knocking PCs to 3rd place in Alberta
@CTVNews

Tue May 05, 2015 at 8:01 PM PT (Steve Singiser): Kids, here is but one small microcosm of the ass-kicking being visited on the PC tonight. In Edmonton-Glenora, the incumbent was Heather Klimchuk (PC), who defeated an NDP opponent in 2012 by a 38-26 margin. Tonight, her riding has already been called by the CBC. That's because, with about 25 percent of polls reporting, she is losing. By a 70-16 margin. Nothing like a little 66 point swing at the margin to take the wind out of your sails!

Tue May 05, 2015 at 8:01 PM PT: On local TV right now, I've seen more bodies at a farm equipment option. Empty chairs and dour faces everywhere. I love it!

Tue May 05, 2015 at 8:05 PM PT: For the beleaguered Liberals, their leader David Swann is leading, but longtime Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman, who has held Edmonton-Centre since 1997, has lost.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 8:17 PM PT: With 43 of 80 polls reporting, Jim Prentice is only leading by 40-33 in his home riding of Calgary-Foothills. Wow.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 8:22 PM PT: A couple of seats worth noting: The NDP appears to have won former PC Premier Ed Stelmach's riding (Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville), and the upstart centrist Alberta Party is leading by a significant margin in Calgary-Elbow, which was the seat of former Premiers Redford and Klein.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 8:23 PM PT: CTV is projecting PC leader Jim Prentice to win his home riding of Calgary-Foothills.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 8:25 PM PT (David Nir): Unlike 2012, when the polls badly blew the final results by 20 percent or more, this time, they were quite accurate. Our own Drew Linzer created the chart below, which found the NDP polling at an average of 41 percent. Right now, they're taking 40. Not bad.

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

Tue May 05, 2015 at 8:27 PM PT: CTV has called Calgary-Elbow for the Alberta Party, and Fort McMurray-Conklin for the Wildrose. With that, it appears that every leader will win their seat -- as long as David Swann can hold on in Calgary-Mountainview, that is.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 8:34 PM PT: CTV has called Calgary-Mountainview for Liberal leader David Swann. The Alberta Liberal Party lives on!

Tue May 05, 2015 at 8:48 PM PT: Check out our man Stephen Wolf's visualization of the riding-by-riding results so far, in map form!

Tue May 05, 2015 at 9:03 PM PT: Jim Prentice just announced that he is resigning from elected office, effective immediately.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 9:24 PM PT (David Nir): You'll want to check out this map (and follow Daily Kos Elections' Dan Donner on Twitter):

The Alberta election results as they were 20 minutes ago... http://t.co/...
@donnermaps

Tue May 05, 2015 at 9:31 PM PT (David Nir): Check out that massive orange blob:

Map and cartogram of preliminary 2015 Alberta provincial election results

Tue May 05, 2015 at 10:06 PM PT: The biggest winner tonight? Canada's pollsters, who desperately had to salvage their reputation after 2012's Alberta polling debacle.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 10:16 PM PT: CTV is reporting that trays of unopened champagne bottles are being carted away from the PC election headquarters, where all attendees have gone home and staff are tearing down Alberta flags from the walls.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 10:20 PM PT: It doesn't get any closer than this: In Calgary-Glenmore, PC incumbent Linda Johnson is in a literal tie with her NDP opponent, Anam Kazim, with both candidates scoring 7,015 votes with all polls reporting. This one's going to a recount, of course!

Tue May 05, 2015 at 10:30 PM PT (Stephen Wolf): Here's an updated interactive map of the results: https://www.google.com/...

Tue May 05, 2015 at 10:36 PM PT: Other close ridings: Little Bow, where the Wildrose won by 12 votes with all polls reporting and Chestermere-Rockyview, where the PCs lead by 7 votes with 84 of 92 polls reporting.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 11:01 PM PT: Folks, the DKE crew is signing off for the night. What an amazing election night – the most exciting campaign I've witnessed since the 2008 Presidential race! To recap, at present, with only a handful of polls outstanding province-wide, the NDP are leading or elected in 54 seats, the Wildrose in 21, the PCs in 10, and the Liberals and the Alberta Party with one seat each. A truly historic finish.

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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.

Discuss
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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