8:55 AM PT: MT-Sen: Three more Democrats, all members of the same family, are saying no to a Senate bid. Former Rep. Pat Williams has declined to run for Montana's open Senate seat, as has his wife, ex-state Sen. Carol Williams, and his daughter, Whitney Williams, who was an aide to Hillary Clinton when she was first lady. Pat Williams was apparently the most heavily courted of the three, but he's 75 and cited some health issues, as well as a desire to "continue what I'm doing—sitting on my porch looking at Missoula," as his reasons for not getting back into the arena.
9:36 AM PT: SD-Sen: Could conservative meddlers finally have landed the rabble-rouser they need to stop ex-Gov. Mike Rounds? State Rep. Stace Nelson just announced that he'll be joining the GOP primary, making him the fourth candidate in the race. Typically, a well-known figure like Rounds would prefer to have the anti-establishment vote split multiple ways, but Nelson likely has more appeal for tea partiers than the two other lesser contenders who were already running and might be able to unite the anti-Rounds forces to his banner.
Who are those other two hopefuls, and what are their flaws? Well, state Sen. Larry Rhoden serves as the party's majority whip, meaning he supported Rounds's budgets when he was governor, thus making it hard for him to get real distance from Rounds now. Meanwhile, physician Annette Bosworth seems totally unhinged, posting a photo of herself on Facebook wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt and calling the Marxist guerilla leader her "beacon." (Seriously. Click the link. And yes, she claims she's a Republican.)
But Nelson is just the kind of obnoxious ultra-conservative that the Club for Growth loves—he managed to get kicked out of his own party's caucus last year for being so disruptive. Nelson obviously doesn't have money or name recognition, but he's undoubtedly fearless, and with the right kind of outside help, he could cause a ruckus.
9:58 AM PT: MD-Gov: Hoo boy. Attorney General Doug Gansler definitely wishes he hadn't been recorded making these remarks to campaign volunteers about his Democratic primary rival, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown:
I mean, right now his campaign slogan is, "Vote for me, I want to be the first African American governor of Maryland." That's a laudable goal, but you need a second sentence: "Because here's what I've done, and here's why I've done it."I don't think that's actually Brown's slogan, no. But Gansler himself is a remarkable hypocrite, admitting in the same meeting that his choice of running mate will be entirely driven by race:
It will be an African American, and it will be someone from Baltimore or Prince George's. I cannot overstate the amount of pressure I have from both of those places to get a person from there.Gansler also compared his candidacy to that of Ken Cuccinelli and Tom Corbett, two Republican attorneys general in neighboring states (Virginia and Pennsylvania) who won election in recent years. Great role models, those two. And to cap things off, Gansler seems to want to pitch this primary as another Obama/Clinton proxy fight, noting that he endorsed the president early on in 2008, while saying Brown "went a different direction" in supporting Hillary Clinton. But Clinton is as popular as ever now, so this hardly strikes me as a wise fight to pick. Then again, nothing Gansler's said here qualifies as wise in any way.
10:22 AM PT: WV-Sen: This is as thin as it gets, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just said in an interview that Democrats have a recruit in West Virginia "who should be announcing shortly." Could it be Secretary of State Natalie Tennant? She's the most prominent person left who hasn't withdrawn from consideration. And for what it's worth, Reid also added that Democrats are talking to three potential candidates in Montana.
12:32 PM PT: NYC Mayor: Look out! Quinnpiac's new poll of the NYC mayoral Democratic primary shows Public Advocate Bill de Blasio surging into the lead for the first time, taking 30 percent among likely voters, with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn at 24, former Comptroller Bill Thompson at 22, and ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner descending to also-ran status at just 10. Two weeks ago, Quinn had a 27-21 lead over de Blasio, with Thompson close behind at 21 and Weiner already faded to 16.
Since then, though, de Blasio's gone up with a compelling first spots about stop-and-frisk featuring his 15-year-old son. De Blasio's also received a lot of glowing press coverage lately (including a profile on the front page of the New York Times) highlighting his progressive credentials. But whether it's the TV ads or the positive media treatment (or bother), de Blasio's gotten real a bounce; Quinn, on the other hand, did not see the same thing after going on the air, despite spending similar sums. (Her first ad was pretty generic and boring.)
And based on his recent performance, Quinnipiac has started including de Blasio in their hypothetical runoff scenarios, where he also wrecks shop. He leads Quinn 54-38 and Thompson 50-41 (and, comically, Weiner as well, by a 72-22 spread). While it might be tempting to chalk up de Blasio's bigger margin over Quinn versus Thompson to the first pair's wide ideological gulf, Thompson also beats Quinn, 51-41, which suggests to me that we may be looking at more of a likeability gap. Quinnipiac unfortunately doesn't ask for candidates' favorables, so it's hard to say for sure, but Quinn even manages to do worse in a runoff with Weiner (winning by "only" 60-31), so it just seems that she's not very well-liked in general.
Of course, there's still a month to the primary, and as this poll shows, things can change fast. Thompson, for instance, might earn his own bump once he finally goes on the air, and even Weiner could scrape together a few more votes when he starts advertising, too. But for today at least, Bill de Blasio gets to feel very good.
1:18 PM PT: AR-04: Two leading Republicans have now jumped into the race to succeed Re. Tom Cotton, who is running for Senate. State House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman and Lt. Gov Mark Darr, probably the highest-profile candidates in the district, both entered the GOP primary one after another this week, Darr on Monday and Westerman on Tuesday. Roll Call's Emily Cahn also spoke with a new potential Democratic recruit, Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commissioner Greg Hale, whom we mentioned back in January. Hale currently works for the Clinton Foundation and previously served on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign—good connections to have in Arkansas—and he says he's considering the race.
1:35 PM PT: NJ-Sen/Gov: The Newark Star-Ledger conducted a review of the campaign finance filings of Cory Booker, Democrat, and Chris Christie, Republican, and found that 59 donors (most apparently quite wealthy) have given to both candidates this election cycle. In total, this group has donated $300,000 to Booker and $212,000 to Christie, though each has raised about 30 times as much as that overall. Probably the most prominent person on the list is Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, though the paper goes into much greater detail about the various big names and what their motivations might be for giving to both men.
1:50 PM PT: WV-02: Financial consultant Ron Walters, Jr. has joined the field of Republicans hoping to succeed Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, and though he doesn't seem to have any elective experience of his own, his father and brother are bother members of the state legislature. Meanwhile, state Delegate Suzette Raines is also adding her name to the list of those considering a run in the GOP primary.
2:06 PM PT: MN-03: Ah, bummer. Former TV news anchor Don Shelby, whose potential candidacy got local and national Democrats seriously excited, has decided not to run against GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen next year. Shelby made it plain in previous comments that he didn't quite share his supporters' enthusiasm, but I do wish that Rep. Collin Peterson hadn't cracked out of turn and prematurely revealed the DCCC's delicate recruitment efforts here.
2:17 PM PT: CO Recall: Things just went really haywire with the Sept. 10 recall election of Democratic state Sen. Angela Giron, at least in terms of how it will be conducted. A new Colorado law calls for all elections to be conducted entirely by mail, but a judge just scotched those rules in this case because the state constitution specifically allows candidates in recalls to petition their way on to the ballot as late as 15 days before Election Day.
That means the election may instead be conducted at traditional polling places, though the whole thing is quite a mess. Among other things, overseas ballots have to be sent out 45 days before an election, and beyond that, officials will have very little time to prepare for the election itself, especially since it will take some time for the Secretary of State to review the signatures each candidate must submit. And even though the lawsuit that prompted this ruling was filed in the Giron recall, it seems that the recall of state Senate President John Morse will likely have to follow the same procedures—whatever those may be.
2:29 PM PT: GA-12: The silly season of campaign committee ads continues, with the NRCC running a $10,000 spot going after Rep. John Barrow over the Affordable Care Act. Barrow voted against the ACA but has since also voted against repealing it—proof once more that when it comes to high-profile legislation, your opponents will find a way to attack you no matter how you cast your vote. Also, in what I'd imagine is a preview of things to come, the narrator also cites Dem Sen. Max Baucus's infamous worry that implementation of Obamacare will be a "huge train wreck." Thanks a lot, guy.
2:40 PM PT: NC-Sen: Another month, another PPP poll of the North Carolina Senate race. There's a little slippage for Sen. Kay Hagan against her actual and potential GOP opponents: In July, she led the field by anywhere from 10 to 15 points; now, her edge ranges from 7 to 11. That kind of small gyration is something we've grown quite accustomed to by now, though, and the contest is still a very long way from truly being engaged.
4:07 PM PT: KY-Sen: It turns out that the American Chemistry Council isn't just running ads on behalf of GOP Rep. Mike Simpson, the Club for Growth's latest chew toy. They're also up with a spot on behalf of Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, reportedly backed by a $400,000 buy, as well as a number of other pols, including a couple of Democrats (North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan and New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall) and two more Republicans (Michigan Rep. Fred Upton and Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise). You can find all the ads, which are all very similar and generically positive, here. Amusingly, the GOP commercials all talk about cutting government, while the Dem spots manage to leave that little bit out.
4:29 PM PT: VA-Gov: A pair of new ads in Virginia today, one from each side. Democrat Terry McAuliffe's spot features an endorsement from former Republican Delegate Katherine Waddell. The RGA, meanwhile, continues to try making hay out of McAuliffe's involvement the electric car company he founded, but once again, they confusingly flip between messages. The ad first criticizes McAuliffe for not locating the firm's facilities in Virginia, then mentions the vague specter of "federal investigations," and finally concludes with a claim that company was "selling visas to wealthy Chinese investors"—while slapping a question mark on the screen as if to say, "who knows? maybe!"
Meanwhile, a new report confirms that the state's inspector general is looking into another matter that has been the subject of two McAuliffe ads so far: emails sent by a lawyer in Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's office, who tried to help energy companies fight claims by landowners alleging that royalties have been improperly withheld from them. Unsurprisingly, one of the companies, CONSOL Energy, is also a major Cuccinelli contributor and has donated over $111,000 to his campaign.