• FL-Gov: PPP's brand-new Florida poll shows that their January survey was no outlier—and that's some very bad news for GOP Gov. Rick Scott. As you can see, he's still mired at about 40 percent (trendlines in parentheses):
• 37-44 vs. Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio (39-43)
• 40-45 vs. 2010 nominee Alex Sink (40-47)
• 42-36 vs. state Sen. Nan Rich (41-37)
There are many reasons for Scott's poor standing: enacting unpopular budget cuts, presiding over a lousy economy, and warring with the legislature certainly haven't helped his image. Lately, he's tried to turn things around by making nice with the same teachers he's previously ripped, and more notably, by doing an about-face on expanding Medicaid as encouraged by the Affordable Care Act. Neither seem to be helping, especially since Republican legislators are much more interested in pursuing their own Medicaid plans.
Indeed, the Florida GOP establishment seems pretty unhappy with Scott in general. The local press keeps asking prominent Republicans if they want to challenge their nominal leader in a primary, and while no one has taken the bait so far, no one has offered anything close to a full-throated defense of Scott either—or even a half-throated one. Tom Jensen keeps pursuing the question, too:
Only 42% of Republican primary voters say they want Scott to be their candidate again next year to 43% who say they would prefer someone else. It's moderate Republicans who really want to dump Scott (34/55) while ones identifying as "somewhat" (43/38) or "very" (46/42) conservative tepidly support him. Scott does at least lead named potential primary challengers at this point—it's 46/27 over [state AG] Pam Bondi, 48/24 over [Agriculture Commissioner] Adam Putnam, and 54/13 over [Rep.] Ted Yoho.Probably the biggest thing holding people back is Scott's immense wealth: Even if someone like Bondi figures she could beat him in a primary, she'd have to endure an assault worth tens of millions of dollars for the privilege. That alone may ensure Scott is once again the GOP nominee. (Incidentally, PPP asked about Bondi last time, too, and while the movement is small, it's in her direction: Scott led her 49-25 in January.)
Whoever the Democratic nominee is will of course also have to endure a serious pummeling by Scott, though the prize still looks like it's Charlie Crist's for the taking. He continues to lead a hypothetical primary field with 50 percent; next closest is Sink with just 21. (These numbers are virtually unchanged since the last poll.) Crist's been mum ever since he switched parties and joined the Democrats, but with Scott continuing to rack up horrific poll numbers like these, the race has to look more tempting than ever.
• AR-Sen: Will Dem Sen. Mark Pryor have a tough re-election fight on his hands? Very probably. But is he actually down 43-35 in a hypothetical matchup with freshman Rep. Tom Cotton, as a new conservative poll claims? I seriously doubt it. The Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund are pushing these numbers from Basswood Research, but if the implausibly low toplines for Pryor aren't enough to set your spidey sense tingling, try this: The two groups are also claiming they conducted a January poll that had Pryor's favorables at 53-25. In their new survey (in the field this month), they say Pryor's dropped all the way to a 36-36 rating, supposedly thanks to a "series of ads" they've run "tying him to President Obama." Sorry, not believing that.
• MA-Sen: Dem Rep. Stephen Lynch is out with his second ad; like his first, it's a biographical spot, except this time, it features all sorts of reg'lar people proclaiming "I am Stephen Lynch" because they share some blue collar-ish characteristic with him (like going to college at night or being an ironworker). There's no word on the size of the buy this time.
• WI-Gov: GOP Gov. Scott Walker's job approvals look pretty much the same as ever in Marquette's new poll: 50 percent positive versus 44 percent negative. In October, it was 49-44. Marquette didn't ask any hypothetical head-to-head matchups for the 2014 gubernatorial race.
• NY-13: For the past couple of cycles, prognosticators and politicians have wondered whether this will finally be the year that Rep. Charlie Rangel retires. But Rangel, an octogenarian whose reputation suffered badly in recent times thanks to a host of ethical violations that led to a formal censure by the House, hasn't shown much interest in leaving, despite winning the Democratic primary by barely more than a thousand votes over state Sen. Adriano Espaillat last June. So he's likely to face another battery of challengers if he sticks it out again, and the first one out the gate is a guy who sought to unseat him in 2010: former Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV. Powell, who lost 51-23 three years ago and then endorsed Rangel last time, has now filed paperwork with the FEC, but he hasn't formally launched a campaign yet.
• OR-03: Dem Rep. Earl Blumenauer is well-known for his interest in transportation issues, but he says he doesn't want to replace Ray LaHood as Secretary of Transportation. (LaHood has said that he'd like to step down from the job but will stay on until a successor is chosen.)
• SC-01: Unsurprisingly, ex-Gov. Mark Sanford earned one of two spots in the GOP runoff after last night's special primary in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District. Sanford took 37 percent of the vote—far ahead of his nearest rival, but well below the 50 percent mark needed to clinch the Republican nomination outright. Second place is far less clear, though. With 100% of precincts reporting, former Charleston City Councilor Curtis Bostic finished with 13 percent, but state Sen. Larry Grooms was fewer than 500 votes back at 12 percent. Grooms did not concede and is preparing for a recount.
There's precious little time for one, though, with the second round of voting scheduled for April 2. If things drag out, it could help Sanford seal the deal in two weeks' time and make it harder for anti-Sanford forces to coalesce around whomever his opponent turns out to be. Whatever happens, though, the eventual winner of the Republican nomination will take on Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of TV personality Stephen Colbert, on May 7.
• WATN?: Republican ex-Rep. Mary Bono Mack already said she won't run for office ever again. Now she's sealed that with a new DC lobbying gig at FaegreBD Consulting.