• VA-LG: E.W. Jackson isn't just an oppo researcher's dream, he's an oppo researcher's mescaline-fueled fantasy bender riding on pegasus-back. Every day there's something new and amazing about the Virginia GOP's lieutenant governor nominee; here's the latest:
In an April 28, 2011 statement while he was a Senate candidate, conservative minister and lawyer E.W. Jackson held up the three-fifths clause as an "anti-slavery" measure. The context of his statement was to attack President Obama after a pastor at a church service he attended referred to the three-fifths clause as a historical marker of racism.Obviously this needs no further elaboration. Meanwhile, Jeff Shapiro of the Richmond Times Dispatch claims that Jackson "may be facing a rear-guard effort to strip him of the nomination" by Republicans terrified of his candidacy. But, he adds, "there apparently is nothing in the GOP's rules authorizing anyone or any committee to remove a duly nominated candidate for state or local office." So sorry!
"Rev. [Charles Wallace] Smith must not have understood the 3/5ths clause was an anti-slavery amendment. Its purpose was to limit the voting power of slave holding states," Jackson, an African-American, said in his statement.
• MA-Sen: You know you've screwed up pretty hard when a straight news piece flat-out says you're lying, given the strong reporterly inclination toward he said/she said at all costs. So props to the Boston Globe's Michael Levenson for not hesitating to call out Gabriel Gomez, who, in a new ad, doubled down on his claim that Dem Rep. Ed Markey "actually blames Gomez for the Newtown shooting." Nuh-uh, says Levenson:
Despite what the ad says, Markey has not blamed Gomez for the Newtown shooting. Markey has released an ad that highlights Gomez's opposition to an assault weapons ban and to limits on high-capacity magazines, "like the ones used in the Newtown school shooting."Right on. Meanwhile, congressional scholar Norm Ornstein gives Gomez a paddling for repeatedly claiming on the campaign trail that Markey hasn't sponsored any bills that have become law in the past two decades. Ornstein rules it "at best, a shaky attack" and adds, "I've watched Markey since he came to the House and I've written many times before that he's one of the most effective legislators." The bottom line is that Markey has contributed lots of important legislation that wound up as part of larger bills, and unlike the Stanley Cup, Congress doesn't emblazon every contributor's name on the front. If these kinds of stupid attacks keep up, though, maybe someday they will!
• MI-Sen, MI-08: Senate Republicans are trying to convince Rep. Mike Rogers to make a go of it in Michigan's Senate race, but even with the seat being open next year, it'll be an uphill battle for any member of the GOP. There's also another temptation for Rogers, which is that President Obama could conceivably appoint him to head up the FBI when current director Robert Mueller's term is over in September. (Rogers is a former FBI agent himself.) That post comes with a 10-year term, which is a lot of job security in Washington, DC. Some Democrats are pretty wary, though, of the idea of giving a partisan like Rogers the power to investigate, among other things, the White House.
That's a pretty unappealing prospect, but a Rogers appointment would also force a special election in his 8th Congressional District. Since his 160-vote win when he first ran in 2000, Rogers has never had trouble getting re-elected there, but it's a seat that went for Mitt Romney by just a 51-48 margin. So without an incumbent, this seat could be a pickup opportunity for Democrats.
• NC-Sen: From PPP's monthly North Carolina poll:
For the first time in our polling of the 2014 Senate race Kay Hagan doesn't lead all of her challengers. [Cherie] Berry pulls even with her at 45%, owing in large part to a 56/36 advantage with independents. She has a +9 net favorability rating at 29/20 and pulls off the unusual feat of being viewed positively by Republicans (33/22), Democrats (29/19), and independents (25/21) alike.These numbers aren't too different from what Hagan's seen in the past, though I can't say I really agree with Tom Jensen that she's the favorite to win. It's possible she has a slight edge, just because the GOP field has been so slow to take shape (there's still not a single declared candidate in the race), but if I'm a Democrat seeking re-election in a midterm year in a red state, I don't think I'd love finding myself at 45 or 46 percent 18 months out.
Hagan does, however, still have leads ranging from 4 to 11 points against the rest of the potential GOP field of candidates. She's up 4 on Phil Berger at 46/42, 6 on Mark Harris at 46/40, 7 on Jim Cain, Thom Tillis, and Virginia Foxx at 48/41, 48/41, and 49/42 respectively, 9 on Renee Ellmers at 48/39, and 11 on Lynn Wheeler at 48/37. Hagan's approval this month comes in at 46/40 and she continues to look like a favorite for reelection overall.
• SD-Sen: This Politico report on Democratic recruitment efforts in South Dakota is just mind-bendingly depressing. There's a lot worth excerpting, but here's the nut:
The South Dakota Senate race is turning into a tense feud between two longtime Democratic power brokers: Harry Reid and Tom Daschle. [...]The rest of the article makes clear how unhappy Reid and national Democrats are with this turn of events, with Reid even saying that Weiland is "not my choice," and DSCC chair Michael Bennet saying only "We are looking at all our races" when asked if his organization would back Weiland. But the piece only elliptically gets at Daschle's motivations for wildcatting in this manner, and doesn't really try to explain Weiland's motivations for wanting to run in the first place at all. The two men have a very longstanding personal and professional relationship, and Daschle insisted that "I can't imagine I'd have any other choice" but to back Weiland.
Reid and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee wanted to recruit former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.) as their candidate to replace Johnson in 2014. As he spent weeks attempting to clear the field for Herseth Sandlin, Reid met privately with Johnson and his wife to ask them to persuade their son Brendan not to run for the seat, sources say. Or at the very least, let Herseth Sandlin make her decision on whether to get into the race before deciding whether Brendan Johnson should jump in.
But against Reid's will, Daschle—Reid's predecessor as Democratic leader and a South Dakota native—was privately encouraging a longtime former aide and personal friend, Rick Weiland, to mount a bid of his own.
Daschle's endorsement of Weiland helped persuade Herseth Sandlin to pass on the Senate race, according to Democratic sources close to the issue. Reid and top Senate Democrats were stunned and outraged by Daschle's move, a sentiment Reid communicated directly to the former senator, according to several people familiar with the incident.
But why did Weiland have to run in the first place? Reading between the lines, it sounds like Weiland and his backers were unhappy with Herseth Sandlin's more conservative record. In South Dakota, though, Democrats have to go with their most electable choice, and that's Herseth Sandlin. No one else even really comes close. It would be the height of folly to risk our majority in the Senate because Herseth Sandlin "isn't progressive enough." Needless to say, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would be far less so. Sadly, though, unless the DSCC can convince Herseth Sandlin to change her mind, it looks like this mistake has already been made.
P.S. I guess if you're really eager for another choice, sports and entertainment broadcaster Pat O'Brien told Adam Carolla in a new interview that one of his mentors, political science professor William Farber, "always wanted me to run for office in South Dakota—which I still may do." O'Brien grew up in Sioux Falls, but he's also 65, so if he really does want to make the leap, he won't have many opportunities after this.
• NJ-Gov: Here's Barbara Buono's first TV ad, the one backed by that million dollar buy. In the first half, she attacks GOP Gov. Chris Christie on New Jersey's unemployment rate, while the back end is devoted to biographical details. Christie, meanwhile, is out with his third ad, linking Buono to ex-Gov. Jon Corzine and accusing them of increasing taxes and spending.
• VA-Gov: Republican AG Ken Cuccinelli has confirmed that his office referred an investigation of Gov. Bob McDonnell's financial disclosure statements to Richmond prosecutor Mike Herring, but only after the Richmond Times Dispatch revealed the existence of the inquiry via a freedom of information request to Herring's office. Herring is also conducting a review of Cuccinelli's own disclosures, which, like, McDonnell's, have omitted gifts received from nutritional supplements company Star Scientific. Cuccinelli later amended his after getting called on it, but he has to be holding his breath as Herring delves into both sets of financial statements.
And note that this is in addition to a separate FBI probe into McDonnell's relationship with Star Scientific. If McDonnell winds up getting burned, it's hard to imagine that Cuccinelli won't at least get singed as well.
Meanwhile, Democrat Terry McAuliffe is out with his second ad of the campaign, and unlike his introductory biographical spot, it directly addresses an issue of substance, and one that I'm a little surprised to see take center stage. In the spot, the narrator attacks "tea party Republicans" for refusing to support McDonnell's big transportation funding bill earlier this year, and praises McAuliffe for rallying legislative Democrats behind it. (It ultimately passed.) The legislation is certainly not uncontroversial, but I guess McAuliffe's polling must show it as a net positive—and it also gives him a chance to tie himself to the still-popular McDonnell and drive a wedge into the GOP.
• CA-31: Ten more California House Democrats have endorsed Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar as he tries to elbow aside ex-Rep. Joe Baca and attorney Eloise Reyes; the full list is here. Notably, most are members elected in just the last four years, with only three veterans among the bunch. In any event, this minyan joins Reps. Loretta Sanchez and Gloria Negrete McLeod, who both gave their backing to Aguilar a few weeks ago. Here's a question: Will a single former colleague of Baca's lend him support? He's disliked enough for me to think he could get left out in the cold.
• CA-41: Greg Giroux notes that Riverside City Councilman Steve Adams has filed a statement of candidacy to take on freshman Dem Rep. Mark Takano in the 41st. But while this seat looked potentially competitive last year, Takano beat a top GOP recruit, Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione, by a punishing 58-42 margin, so I doubt he'll be seriously threatened this cycle.
• HI-01: In Roll Call's latest "Farm Team" installment, Emily Cahn takes a look at the long list of Democrats who could potentially run in the primary for Hawaii's open 1st Congressional District. Only one candidate has declared so far, Honolulu City Councilmember Stanley Chang, but many more could join. On the list: state Rep. Mark Takai, state Sen. William Espero, Honolulu City Councilmember Ikaika Anderson, and two of our least favorite Democrats of all time, former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann and ex-Rep. Ed Case. (God, are we really not done with him?) Cahn adds that "local operatives" think state Sen. Jill Tokuda and Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui are unlikely to run this time around.
• MI-14: State Rep. Rudy Hobbs was the first out the door to announce his candidacy for Michigan's open 14th Congressional District, and now he's already secured a big-name endorsement. Veteran Democratic Rep. Sandy Levin, who represents the neighboring 9th, has given Hobbs his backing in what will undoubtedly be a crowded primary.
• Erie County Exec: In addition to Todd Platts (see below), another former member of Congress from Pennsylvania also began a political comeback on Tuesday night. Ex-Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, who represented the old 3rd District for a single term from 2009-11, unseated incumbent Erie County Executive Barry Grossman in the Democratic primary by a narrow 52-48 margin. Given the county's clear blue lean, Dahlkemper will be the favorite in the fall. Could she make it all the way back to the House some day? That would be difficult, since Erie is now split between two very red districts, the 5th and the redrawn 3rd. But you never know.
• LA Mayor: On Tuesday night, in the highest profile contest of the evening, three-term Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti scored a solid victory over City Controller Wendy Greuel, thus making him the next mayor of America's second largest city. Garcetti nabbed 54 percent of the vote, and as this handy map shows, he earned the majority by running up the score in his own council district, as well as the Westside. Greuel did well in the northeastern San Fernando Valley and in South Los Angeles.
In other citywide contests, little-known attorney Ron Galperin easily defeated veteran City Councilman Dennis Zine (a rare Republican on the bench in Los Angeles), while one-term City Attorney Carmen "Nooch" Trutanich was crushed by former Democratic Assemblyman Mike Feuer. (Steve Singiser)
• Northampton County Exec: Here's one more Pennsylvania-related item. Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan, whom you may remember from his unsuccessful 2010 run against GOP Rep. Charlie Dent in PA-15, just won the Democratic primary for Northampton County Executive over two other candidates. He'll be the favorite in November, and this new job could act as a stepping stone for yet a further promotion somewhere down the line.
• NYC Mayor: Blargh. So Anthony Weiner has officially joined the Democratic primary for NYC mayor. Blargh again. I'm really appalled at the prospect of a potential runoff between him and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, which is exactly what's in the offing, according to Quinnipiac's newest poll. Quinn remains in first, but with just 25 percent, down from 28 last month and a long way from the 37 percent she sported in February. (It takes 40 percent to avoid a runoff.)
The rest of the field, as ever, is all but unchanged. Weiner remains at 15, while Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Comptroller Bill Thompson are tied at 10. Comptroller John Liu has slipped from 9 to 6, making his longshot bid for the runoff appear even longer. What's especially weird is how right-leaning so many of these candidates are. Quinn's long attempted to market herself as a Bloomberg clone (for all the good that's done her); Thompson has made a point of refusing to call for an end to stop-and-frisk and is both Rudy Giuliani and Al D'Amato's preferred Democrat; and Weiner has simply reverted to being the kind of conserva-moderate he always was in Congress, before he learned he could earn airtime on MSNBC by churning out faux-populist rants.
De Blasio and Liu are running much more progressive campaigns, but neither has yet to catch fire. Then again, I suppose no one really has. Thanks to public financing, all candidates are on a strict budget, so no one is advertising on TV and the race simply hasn't heated up. That will change at some point, but I'd say overall that this contest has experienced an arrested development. Awww yeah, Arrested Development is back! Now that's much more enjoyable to think about. I think I'll go have a mayonegg.
• Pittsburgh Mayor: City Councilman Bill Peduto cruised to a 52-40 victory over former state Auditor Jack Wagner in the Democratic primary for Pittsburgh mayor on Tuesday night. The heavily Democratic city hasn't had a Republican mayor since the early 1930s, so Peduto's success in scoring his party's nomination means he's all but certain to win the job outright later this year.
• Portland, OR: In a huge victory for junk science and fear mongering, voters in Portland, Oregon have preserved their precious bodily essences—and their right to bad teeth—by rejecting a measure to fluoridate the city's water supply. The effort failed by a 60-40 margin, almost twice as wide as what SurveyUSA's polling had found, making it the fourth time since 1956 that this inexpensive, common-sense health measure has gone down to defeat in Portland. It also makes Portland the only city among the nation's 30 largest without fluoridated water. And coming up on the ballot here later this year is a measure to ban cameras because they steal your soul.
• Special Elections: Republicans pulled off a major upset in a California state Senate race on Tuesday night. Johnny Longtorso has all the details:
California SD-16: Republican Andy Vidak won this seat outright, picking it up from the Democrats. He got 52 percent of the vote, while Democrat Leticia Perez got 42 percent. Democrats Frank Ramirez and Paulina Miranda each got about 3 percent of the vote, while Peace & Freedom candidate Mohammed Arif got 1 percent.California's SD-16 is pretty frustrating, and it's now the second Democratic seat in a row that ex-state Sen. Michael Rubio has helped place in GOP hands. Last cycle, he dropped out of the race in the open CA-21, leaving Dems with a weak alternative who got clobbered in the fall. That move was at least understandable, since Rubio had just had a child who was born with Down syndrome.
California AD-80: ConservaDem Steve Castaneda got clobbered, only getting 28 percent of the vote against fellow Dem Lorena Gonzalez, who took the rest.
Pennsylvania HD-42: Democrat Dan Miller easily held this seat for his party, defeating Republican Dan Remely by a 57-37 margin, with Libertarian George Brown pulling in 5 percent.
Pennsylvania HD-95: Another Dem hold, with Kevin Schreiber beating Republican Bryan Tate by a 53-39 margin. Green Party candidate William Swartz got 8 percent.
But earlier this year, he abruptly resigned his Senate seat to take a job with Chevron, triggering this special election. Huge sums were spent on Perez's behalf (though Vidak spent a lot as well), but it evidently wasn't enough. This is a very disappointing setback, particularly since had Perez won, she'd have been a good option to take on GOP Rep. David Valadao in the 21st. She still could, of course, but it's a troubling sign that Democrats couldn't hold on here.
• York County, PA: Well, this sure is an odd one. For inexplicable reasons, former GOP Rep. Todd Platts decided to retire last year... and then, despite a near-total lack of legal experience, decided to run for a local judgeship in his native York County. Thanks to his thin resume, he earned a "not qualified" rating from the local bar association, but nevertheless secured the Republican nomination on Tuesday night. But—and there's a big "but" here—Platts also lost the Democratic primary even as he was winning the Republican one.
What the whut? you might be asking. Well, both Platts and his opponent, incumbent Michael Flannelly, cross-filed in both primaries. On the GOP side, Platts won 56-44, but in the Democratic contest, Flannelly won, also by a 56-44 margin. That means the two will face off again for this 10-year judicial term in November. It will definitely be a strange race, since Flannelly is genuinely a Republican, and Democrats are outnumbered in the county. But name recognition and incumbency could propel him to a very unusual victory.
• MA-LG: Well, that's a pretty abrupt departure from the political scene. Less than half a year ago, it looked like Lt. Gov. Tim Murray was gearing up to seek the Democratic nomination for governor; now, however, he's resigning his post to take a gig with a local chamber of commerce. Murray was the subject of an ongoing campaign finance investigation, and while he insists his departure has nothing to do with that inquiry, it's hard not to wonder if he's hoping to get out of the spotlight before anything big breaks. Anyhow, the LG post won't be filled until the next election, which means that Secretary of State William Galvin is now next in line and will serve as acting governor whenever Gov. Deval Patrick leaves the state.