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Leading Off:

Colorado: Welcome to Crackpottopia! That's one former poli sci professor's dead-on term for a new "plan" hatched by frothing conservatives in Weld County to split off the northeastern chunk of Colorado into a sparkling wingnut paradise with the original name of "North Colorado." (You can see a map of the, uh, affected region here.) The tiny proposed statelet would have a population of under 340,000—far smaller than even Wyoming—and would have gone for Mitt Romney 58-39, which of course is exactly the idea. Colorado Republicans just can't seem to deal with the fact that elections have consequences, and they've been driven absolutely nuts by a series of new laws passed by Democrats in the legislature, in particular with regard to gun safety and, now, renewable energy.

And this inability to tolerate reality has seeped deep into the GOP bloodstream. Indeed, Rep. Cory Gardner, a prominent figure and supposed "rising star," all but embraced the secessionistas:

"The people of rural Colorado are mad, and they have every right to be. The governor and his Democrat colleagues in the statehouse have assaulted our way of life, and I don't blame these people one bit for feeling attacked and unrepresented by the leaders of our state."
This same strain of anger is also motivating the effort to recall state Senate President John Morse, which at least has a somewhat better chance of succeeding. Obviously as a legal or practical matter, this whole "North Colorado" thing is dead on arrival, unless someone starts lobbing cannonballs at Fort Sumter. Didn't work out too well the last time they tried that, though.

Senate:

MA-Sen: New ads from the DSCC and the Senate Majority PAC are now available for your viewing pleasure. The DSCC spot (backed by a reported $500,000) attacks Republican Gabriel Gomez for wanting to protect "special tax breaks for corporations and multi-millionaires—like himself" and for supporting "cuts to Medicare" and "eliminating coverage of mammograms and cancer screenings." SMP's ad hits similar themes, saying that Gomez wants to cut Social Security benefits and raise the retirement age. The PAC's buy was for a reported $750,000, but their newly filed independent expenditure form says they've spent only $500,000. (Such purchases are often made in installments, though, so there may be more to come.)

NJ-Sen: A spokesman for state Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver says she is "seriously considering" a run for Senate, but there really isn't any time for "considering," seeing as candidates have to submit 1,000 signatures by Monday at 4 PM ET in order to qualify for the upcoming special election. So either she's already out gathering petitions, or she ain't (I'm guessing it's the former, though I suppose she may or may not submit them).

And here's one guy who, thankfully, is definitely not submitting anything: Geraldo Rivera, who offers some extended analogy to the Lord of the Rings as to why he won't seek the GOP nomination. I think he tries to compare himself to King Théoden, but obviously Gollum is a much better fit.

Gubernatorial:

NE-Gov: One new potential Republican name in the mix for governor belongs to Charles Herbster, whom Nathan Gonzales describes as a "millionaire cattle rancher" who "has personal money and inroads in the evangelical Christian community that could boost his candidacy."

PA-Gov: Quinnipiac's new Pennsylvania poll is little changed from its prior survey in late April. Rep. Allyson Schwartz leads GOP Gov. Tom Corbett 45-35, compared with 47-34 previously, while state Treasurer Rob McCord puts up a similar 43-35, versus 44-35 last time. These numbers are all the more remarkable (and utterly deadly for the incumbent) given that both Schwartz and McCord are almost completely unknown on a statewide level.

The one thing that has changed is the Democratic primary, where ex-Rep. Joe Sestak has taken himself out of the running with his super-early declaration for the 2016 Senate race. Sestak had been tied at 15 percent with Schwartz, but now she's the only candidate to register in double digits, at 18. The next-closest is Kathleen McGinty at 5 while McCord is at 4, but there's still an enormous 63 percent undecided, so Schwartz still has lots of support to consolidate.

House:

MN-07: It would be kind of awesome if GOP efforts to push Rep. Collin Peterson into retirement utterly backfired—and it seems like they may have:

In an interview, Peterson, who turns 69 later this month, denied the rumors about retirement and a Florida condo and said the recent Republican efforts to push him out the door were having the opposite effect.

"I went from neutral on running again to 90 percent just because of this stupid stuff they're doing," said Peterson about the mobile signs and retirement rumors. "You can't let these people be in charge of anything, in my opinion."

In addition to those rumors about Peterson buying a home in Florida, that "stupid stuff" includes a smattering of robocalls and one of those billboard trucks claiming that Peterson wants to "put the IRS in charge of your healthcare." If a guy like Peterson, who eschews the appearance of partisanship whenever possible, is willing to go on record calling the Republicans too dumb to run the country, then you know they must be mind-bogglingly brain-dead indeed.

Grab Bag:

Immigration: On Thursday, the House passed an amendment to a homeland security funding bill authored by rabid anti-immigrant Rep. Steve King that would end a DHS policy that permits delaying deportations of young undocumented immigrants—a reverse DREAM Act, in other words. The vote went almost exactly along party lines, with very few crossovers. Conservative Democratic Reps. John Barrow (GA-12), Mike McIntyre (NC-07), and Nick Rahall (WV-03) voted in favor, while Republican Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Devin Nunes (CA-22), David Valadao (CA-21), Jeff Denham (CA-10), Spencer Bachus (AL-06), and Mike Grimm (NY-11) were opposed.

Perhaps most notable are some of the Republicans not on the list above, in particular, Reps. Mike Coffman (CO-06) and Gary Miller (CA-31). They both occupy two of the bluest districts held by the GOP, and they're both in areas where the Latino vote is likely to play a crucial role next year. Coffman in particular has tried to reinvent himself as more of a moderate on immigration, after years of outright hostility; Miller, meanwhile, seems like he's ready to give up, since he's refused to even confirm that he's running for re-election. But if they want to make themselves unelectable, by all means, go for it.

Bachus's vote against the legislation is also a bit odd. He hails from one of the most conservative districts in the entire country, and Alabama has for some time been one of the most hostile states toward immigrants. (All of the other Republican nays except Nunes sit in swingish or light blue territory.) Bachus faced a primary challenge last year, and while he won handily against a fractured field, he did so with just 61 percent of the vote, so his opposition to the King amendment could very well provide fuel for future opponents.

Maps: There's nothing political about this link (at least not overtly), but here's a great series of maps published by N.C. State grad student Joshua Katz detailing regional linguistic divides throughout the United States, based on the earlier work of Prof. Bert Vaux. (Business Insider, which seems to have popularized Katz's work, has put together a slideshow of some of the most compelling.) Everyone is familiar with the great soda/pop/coke divide (famously portrayed in this much older map), but I was amazed to find out that most of the country is unfamiliar with the term "sunshower," and that only a tiny slice of America understands that "Mary," "marry," and "merry" are all pronounced differently. As someone who married a Mary, these distinctions are very important to me! How can you all be so wrong?

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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