• FL-Sen: Oh man. You just have to listen to this YouTube:Though it doesn't do justice to Mike Haridopolos's disastrous interview on a right-wing radio show, if you can't listen, you can at least check out a partial transcript here. In short, the host (Ray Junior) asked Haridopolos no fewer than ten times — in withering prosecutorial fashion — whether he supported the Ryan plan. After refusing to answer (no fewer than ten times), Junior cut the line on Hardipolos's call.
In a feeble attempt at damage control, Haridopolos then tried to say he "support[s] almost every provision" of the Ryan budget, which led rival Adam Hasner (who is very much pro-Ryan) to attack him as a waffler. Finally, at the end of a very bad day, Haridopolos said he'd vote against the Ryan plan. I told you this guy was pathetic.
• NJ-Sen: Farleigh Dickinson University has a new poll pitting Dem Sen. Bob Menendez against wealthy biotech exec John Crowley, who seems like he's ready to make a run but hasn't actually announced yet. The half-unknown Menendez leads the totally unknown Crowley by a 45-26 score. (In January, it was 44-30.) Menendez is only getting 78% of Democrats, but I see no reason why he won't do much better than that (in 2006, he got 92%). I also note that the share of respondents identifying as Republicans dropped from 38% to 33% in this survey.
• NV-Sen: It definitely doesn't sound like wealthy lawyer (and electric car entrepreneur?) Byron Georgiou is interested in quitting the race. In a recent interview with a local TV news station, he complained about Harry Reid and the Dem establishment trying to clear a path to the nomination for Rep. Shelley Berkley. I wouldn't necessarily be against a good, clean primary, but if Georgiou plans to attack Berkley for her vote in favor of TARP (the article mentions he "pointedly disagrees with the bank bailouts"), then I won't be pleased.
• OH-Sen: Dem Sen. Sherrod Brown's polling numbers from PPP just keep looking better and better. (Full post at Daily Kos Elections.)
• UT-Sen, UT-03: Phew! I was getting worried it might not happen — the cellar was starting to run low on cat fud. But fortunately, the Salt Lake Tribune reports that Rep. Jason Chaffetz is telling Republican power brokers that he's moving ahead with a challenge to Sen. Orrin Hatch. Chaffetz himself refuses to confirm, but says he's "gravitating" towards a run. Here's a trivia question for you: Has anyone ever reached the Senate by first primarying a member of the House, then primarying a sitting Senator? (Remember, Chaffetz knocked off fellow Republican Rep. Chris Cannon in an internal GOP battle in 2008.)
• CA-26: Assemblyman Anthony Portantino jumped into the race against David Dreier very early on, undoubtedly aware that redistricting could (and likely would) wreak havoc with the heavily gerrymandered 26th. In a recent interview, Portantino made it sound as though he'd run for Congress no matter where his hometown (the interestingly-named La Cañada Flintridge) winds up in. The problem is that LCF could wind up in a district held by one of Portantino's fellow Democrats — or in the much-less-friendly confines of Republican Buck McKeon's 25th. So it'll be interesting to see what Portantino does.
• IL-16: After initially saying he'd run in the new 16th CD — which would have meant a possible primary battle with veteran Rep. Don Manzullo — freshman GOPer Adam Kinzinger is now saying he hasn't made up his mind. Someone check to see if any of Kinzinger's prize racehorses have gone missing their heads.
• NV-02: Nevada's Supreme Court is asking litigants in the suit over how candidates are to be picked for the special election if it would be possible to delay the special election past Sept. 13, to give the court more time to render a decision. Roll Call suggests that the election could take place as late as the first week in November without running afoul of state laws. But I don't understand why the court should need so long to deliberate — this case is purely a matter of statutory interpretation with little or no factual record. In other words, it should be pretty straightforward one way or the other.
• NY-09: I've been half-watching this idiotic Anthony Weiner story out of the corner of my eye, wondering if we'd reach a point where I actually felt compelled to stick something in the digest. Well, now, we have. Weiner doesn't seem to be managing what should have been a dumb, one-day prank story particularly well, since he's now declared that he "can't say with certitude" whether the now-infamous photo which appeared on his Twitter feed was actually of his own johnson. Seriously, dude, wtf?
• TN-09: Déjà vu all over again: For the fourth straight cycle, an African-American challenger is trying to topple Rep. Steve Cohen, a white congressman who represents a majority-black district in Memphis. After winning the Democratic primary to replace ex-Rep. Harold Ford in 2006, Cohen successfully faced down an independent candidacy from Ford's younger brother Jake that November. He then beat back the shameful Nikki Tinker in the 2008 primary, and the shameful and corrupt Willie Herenton in 2010, in both cases by massive 4-to-1 margins. Now Memphis City Schools board member Tomeka Hart wants to take on Cohen, a vocal progressive with a terrific voting record. With Cohen's history of electoral success, I have no idea how Hart plans to win.
• UT-03: With Rep. Jason Chaffetz on his way out the door (see UT-Sen bullet above), state Rep. Carl Wimmer says: "I would be very, very surprised if you don’t see me on the ballot for Congress.” This is Utah, so do I need to tell you that Wimmer is a Republican?
• WA-01, WA-10: Former Dem state Rep. Laura Ruderman says she plans to run for Jay Inslee's 1st CD seat if he runs for governor (a move no one seems to be betting against), or possibly in the new 10th CD if it includes her hometown of Kirkland.
• WA-08: This is not something you see every day: Democratic state Rep. Roger Goodman, who is nominally running in the 8th but is more likely to wind up running in the 1st or 10th, wants to push marijuana reform at the federal level. There's no chance of that happening in Congress, of course, but maybe Goodman is just trying to distinguish himself.
• WI-01: Steve Peoples gives us some background on businessman and Kenosha County supervisor Rob Zerban, the Republican-turned-Democrat who is taking on Paul Ryan.
• MN Ballot: I have a feeling the polling is going to be all over the place on this one, since question wording seems to make a huge difference to the outcome. PPP finds Minnesota voters evenly split on an amendment to the state constitution that would outlaw same-sex marriage — contrasting with a Star Tribune poll that showed a majority opposed and a SurveyUSA poll which had a majority in favor. But Tom Jensen thinks that opinions on gay marriage are shifting so rapidly that he expects the numbers to improve by Nov. 2012. P.S. Gov. Mark Dayton gets pretty decent approval numbers, 51-38, and Democrats lead the generic legislative ballot 49-40.
• VA St. Sen.: Good news for Virginia Democrats: Chuck Colgan, the 84-year-old president pro tem of the state Senate, says he'll seek re-election this fall. Colgan's district will be a tough one for even him to hold, but having him on the ballot improves our chances of keeping our narrow 22-18 majority in the chamber.
• NRCC: The NRCC launched the 2011-12 version of its defensive effort known as the Patriot Program (the equivalent of the D-Trip's Frontline). Ten names (seven actual freshmen, two "red-shirt" freshmen, and one veteran) are on the list — click the link for names.
• Alabama: Alabama's proving to be yet another state where, despite total GOP control of the redistricting process, parochial concerns have led to a split between the lower chamber of the legislature and the upper. After the Senate passed a congressional map, the House went and passed a somewhat different version of its own. State Sen. Cam Ward actually got his buddies in the House to do him a solid: He wants his home base of Chilton County to stay in the 6th CD so that he can run for Rep. Spencer Bachus's seat when he retires, and so the House drew a map accomplishing just that. State Sen. Scott Beason also has his eye on Bachus's seat, though, which is why he pushed the Senate to adopt a map that forced Ward out of the district. Trent opines:
I suspect that Ward's plan ends up passing because it does a marginally better job of shoring up AL-03 for Mike Rogers. And Ward's plan came out of the reapportionment committee, so it helps the GOP with their good-government messaging if they choose the plan with greater transparency rather than Beason's last-minute substitution. Plus, Ward is just more likable than Beason, which never hurts.
• Florida: As expected, the Department of Justice granted preclearance to Florida's "Fair Districts" constitutional amendments which change the way legislative and congressional redistricting must be carried out. You may recall that Gov. Rick Scott dragged his feet in requesting preclearance, and the GOP leaders of the legislature did their best to undermine it, but that evidently had no effect. There's still a lawsuit pending to block implementation of the amendments, but it's hard to see it succeeding.
• Nevada: Act two of the Silver State's kabuki cartography has come to a close, with Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoing the Democratic-passed redistricting maps for a second time. Dems say they are unlikely to try yet again, with the legislative session ending in just a few days (June 6).
• Texas: We delve into the strange backstory behind the GOP's devilish proposed gerrymander in the Lone Star State. (Full post at Daily Kos Elections.)