• CO Recall: A Colorado judge has ruled that recall elections of two Democratic state senators targeted by conservatives over their support for new gun safety legislation should proceed, upholding a decision by the Secretary of State's office that the language on the petitions used to collect signatures complied with the law. Shortly after the ruling was issued, Gov. John Hickenlooper scheduled the recalls for both John Morse and Angela Giron for Sept. 10. Both campaigns subsequently said they will not appeal the court's verdict, so unless someone else with standing wants to intercede, that means it's game on.
• GA-Sen: Strange that Rep. Jack Kingston thinks the way to win a GOP primary is to associate himself with No Labels.
• KY-Sen: While Alison Lundergan Grimes is mostly laying low, a super PAC supporting Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell is set to begin airing ads attacking her, starting this Friday. According to Politico, the buy (on behalf of Kentuckians for Strong Leadership) is for $270,000. Grimes, meanwhile, has said she'll formally kick off her campaign on July 30.
• NH-Sen/Gov/01: Republican Executive Councilor Chris Sununu is taking the same path as his brother, ex-Sen. John Sununu, and won't run for governor or federal office this cycle. Instead, Sununu says he intends to run for re-election to the council, an unusual body that has veto power over certain gubernatorial decisions.
Speaking of NH-01, the NRCC shared some details from a poll conducted by Harper Polling with reporter James Pindell. The survey, taken earlier this month, has ex-Rep. Frank Guinta beating Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter 48-41, and also gives Shea-Porter a 41-41 job approval rating. (Guinta hasn't announced anything yet.) However, the poll also included that axe-grindy "do you want a Republican who will be a check and balance to President Obama or a Democratic candidate who will help President Obama to pass his agenda" question, and there's been some dispute about whether Harper places that query before or after their horserace head-to-heads, so the usual grains of salt apply.
• MD-Gov: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown just secured the endorsement of a third member of Congress in the Democratic primary, Rep. Steny Hoyer. Hoyer, of course, is the second-ranking Democrat in the House and wields a lot of power, though we usually see him flexing his muscles in Congress. Previously, Reps. Elijah Cummings and Donna Edwards gave their backing to Brown.
• VA-Gov: Just like PPP's, Quinnipiac's new Virginia poll features a small lead for Democrat Terry McAuliffe and a lot of voters not choosing either side. McAuliffe is up 43-39 over Ken Cuccinelli, virtually unchanged from his 43-38 edge in May. Interestingly, though, McAuliffe saw a decent jump in his favorability rating, from 22-17 to 30-19, while Cuccinelli saw the reverse, falling to 31-30 from 31-24, but that doesn't seem to have affected the toplines.
Quinnipiac also says Virginia voters support same-sex marriage by a 50-43 margin, but it appears that this is the first time they've ever asked that question, so there are no trendlines to help put those numbers in context. (And PPP doesn't seem to have polled on this topic in a while here, either.)
• CA-31, CO-06, NV-03: The pro-Democratic House Majority PAC is going up with new Spanish-language TV ads targeting three vulnerable Republican incumbents on immigration: Gary Miller in California, Mike Coffman in Colorado, and Joe Heck in Nevada. The group says they plan to spend $175,000 across all three districts over a two-week period. Links to the ads, as well as English translations, can be found here.
• GA-04: DeKalb County Sheriff Tom Brown is forming an exploratory committee to consider a challenge to fourth-term Rep. Hank Johnson in the Democratic primary, and several local officials are backing his cause. The case against Johnson in this dark-blue seat has both some typical and very atypical elements. Brown's on-the-record criticism of the incumbent centers around his claim that, despite a seat on the House Transportation Committee, Johnson has failed to deliver for the district.
But Brown allies also point to some odd behavior from Johnson in the form of some can't-quite-tell-if-he's-really joking remarks the congressman has made about Guam tipping into the sea and, more recently, the consequences of the scarcity of helium. (Johnson made some fourth grade-level gags about the loss of squeaky voices, but helium actually has vital medical and industrial uses.) It's not yet clear if Brown will actually go through with the race—he says he would expect to be outraised—but it's one to keep an eye on.
• KY-06: Lumber company owner Joe Palumbo, who first mooted a bid against freshman GOP Rep. Andy Barr in March, has decided to take the plunge. Palumbo will actually start off with a bit of name recognition in the Democratic primary, since his mother is longtime state Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo and his wife is a local TV news anchor.
• MI-07: This is some very good (and unexpected) news for Democrats. Former state Rep. Pam Byrnes just announced that she's running against GOP Rep. Tim Walberg in Michigan's 7th Congressional District, putting a swingish seat into play for Team Blue. This district went for Mitt Romney by just a 51-48 margin in 2012, meaning that it ought to be competitive with the right candidate.
Indeed, Democrat Mark Schauer (who is now running for governor) actually held this seat under the old lines for a single term before getting washed out in the 2010 wave by Walberg, whom he'd defeated two years earlier. But Walberg is not an especially strong candidate, and he only won by 10 points last year, despite facing an opponent who raised almost nothing.
Byrnes, who also served as the House Speaker Pro Tempore, ought to be able to do much better. Chris Savage of the local news site Eclectablog describes her as a "moderate progressive" and a good fit for the district. Byrnes did lose a primary for state Senate in 2010 after getting termed out of the House, but it sounds like she's ready to get back in the game—and give Walberg a serious run for his money.
• MN-08: Here's another NRCC poll from Harper Polling, this time of Minnesota's 8th Congressional District. The survey, from early July, shows Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan in a 36-36 tie with retail executive Stewart Mills, who recently entered the race. That's a lot of undecideds, and the sample also seems to be pretty red, too, at 32 percent Republican to just 28 percent Democrat, with 40 percent independent. Even in a midterm year, GOP voters don't seem likely to outnumber Dems in the blue-tilting 8th.
• MT-AL: I don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves, since GOP Rep. Steve Daines still hasn't said whether or not he'll run for Senate, but if he does, the DCCC is reportedly trying to recruit John Lewis, Sen. Max Baucus's state director, to run for Daines's House seat. Local Democratic activists are also talking up first-term state Rep. Amanda Curtis, who became known for a series of daily videos she produced during the legislative session, as a possibility as well, and she says she's considering it.
• Boston Mayor: Thanks to his large fundraising advantage, Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley will be the first candidate in Boston's mayoral race to go on the air, starting with no fewer than four different spots next week. City Councilor Felix Arroyo is also slated to begin advertising, with an ad in Spanish that will air on Spanish-language stations.
On a related note, the Massachusetts Office of Campaign & Political Finance maintains a truly awesome interactive website that keeps track of fundraising and spending with all sorts of cool graphics, and in almost real time. (Candidates are required to file reports bi-weekly.) If you click that link, for instance, you'll see a bar chart of every campaign's cash-on-hand (Conley leads with $1.2 million, while City Councilor John Connolly is in second with $660,000), but you can also see line charts of, for instance, each candidate's monthly spending. Every race should have a tool like this.
• IA Senate: This is terrific to see. At local blog Bleeding Heartland, DesMoinesDem has incorporated our presidential results for Iowa's legislative districts into a new seat-by-seat analysis of which Senate districts could potentially flip in next year's elections. As you may know, Democrats maintain control of the chamber by only the narrowest of margins (26 to 24), so holding the Senate is a major concern heading into 2014. So if you want to get into the weeds of where this battle will be fought, DMD's roundup is definitely for you.
• NYC Mayor: It looks like the very slow-to-launch New York City mayoral race is finally getting underway, at least as far as paid media is concerned. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn just became the first candidate to start airing TV ads in the Democratic primary, leading off with a spot that touts a long list of accomplishments meant to portray her as someone "fighting for the middle class." Like the rest of the field, Quinn has opted into the city's public funding system, which means she can spend no more than $6.4 million in the primary. That means she's taking a risk by going up this early: She has the airwaves to herself for the moment, but at the cost of reducing what she'll be able to spend as Election Day draws nearer.
Quinn also got some good news from Siena College's first poll of the race (PDF), which also came out on Thursday. Unlike Quinnipiac and Marist, both of whom have seen ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner shooting into first place, Siena has Quinn on top, 27-18. The rest of the field, though, looks pretty similar to what other pollsters have found, with former Comptroller Bill Thompson and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio tied at 11, and Comptroller John Liu lagging at 7.
• Seattle Mayor: Survey USA, on behalf of KING-TV, is out with one more poll of Seattle's mayoral primary (and with the race less than three weeks away, it may be their last). And here's something new: It's the first poll to show state Sen. Ed Murray in the lead, or even surviving the top-two primary. Murray's at 22, with troubled incumbent Mike McGinn at 21, ex-City Councilor Peter Steinbrueck at 14, and City Councilor Bruce Harrell at 11.
Contrast that with their May poll, which had McGinn at 22, Steinbrueck at 17, Murray at 15, and Harrell at 12. What happened in between the two polls? A number of establishment endorsements for Murray from both the left (Washington Conservation Voters, Ron Sims) and, by Seattle standards, the right (Seattle Times, Chamber of Commerce). (David Jarman)