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Leading Off:

NE-Sen: Whoa. Nebraska's open Senate race doesn't get a lot of attention, largely because it's a safely red seat where all the action is in the Republican primary, but this is definitely one of those "read the whole thing" links, stat. Here's the extraordinary, eye-popping lede to whet your appetite:

Dogged by questions about his 2001 decision to land a crippled Navy EP-3 reconnaissance plane in China, U.S. Senate candidate Shane Osborn has distributed an official-looking Navy memo supporting his account.

The memo, written Aug. 8, 2013, on Navy letterhead, is titled "Disposition of actions by EP-3E flight crew on April 1, 2001." It explains that Osborn's plane was authorized to land on China's Hainan island "due to the extreme circumstances and condition of this aircraft."

But The World-Herald has learned that the unsigned memo was not authorized by the Navy, or vetted through normal channels, and was written as a favor to Osborn by a Navy buddy working at the Pentagon.

"We cannot confirm the authenticity of this document," said Lt. Cmdr. Katie Cerezo, a Navy spokeswoman. "We couldn't discuss a memo that we can't authenticate."

Just wow. Osborn forged a memo to cover his ass, and the Navy is dismissing it on the record? That's not something you see often, to say the least. But the story gets even more incredible. The author remains anonymous because, according to the paper, "his career could be jeopardized" if he comes forward, and his actions "could potentially lead to a criminal charge of violating orders or dereliction of duty." Here's a thought: If you have to shield your identity while helping your buddy in order to avoid prosecution, then maybe you're not really "helping" him after all.

Faking up military documents is a pretty grave sin, and entire campaigns have gotten derailed for less. Osborn is locked in a competitive Republican primary against Midland University President Ben Sasse, and while he's had small leads in recent polling, these revelations could alter that state of affairs in a hurry. Indeed, Osborn's running heavily on the EP-3 incident and has even been airing ads touting his deeds (though some veterans question both his actions and the fact that he's "bragging" about them).

But again, go and read it all for yourself—"hard to believe" doesn't even begin to describe it.

Senate:

AK-Sen: Judging by the content of American Crossroads' new ad, it seems like Democratic hits on Dan Sullivan's residency status have drawn some blood. The spot is narrated by none other than Condoleezza Rice, who praises Sullivan for his "tireless" "defense of his country," as shown by "his service in the military" and "in the White House and the State Department," where he served as an assistant secretary when Rice was secretary of state. Rice then claims Sullivan "faces political attacks because he wanted his family by his side." "Remember," Rice urges, a bit patronizingly, "that serving our country required some time in our capital."

There's also a new poll of the race from Rasmussen. The numbers: Sen. Mark Begich (D): 43, Mead Treadwell (R): 47; Begich: 44, Dan Sullivan (R): 44; Begich: 49, Joe Miller (R): 38.

CO-Sen: Republican Rep. Cory Gardner is proving to be quite a piece of work:

Congressman Cory Gardner, who has been hammered for his position on social issues ever since he jumped into the U.S. Senate race, dropped a political bombshell Friday with his revelation that he was wrong to have supported previous personhood efforts.

He said that after learning more about the measures, which would have had the impact of outlawing abortion, he realized the proposals also could ban certain forms of contraception, a prohibition he does not support. [...] He did not say when he changed his mind on personhood, but said he began examining it more closely after voters rejected it by a 3-to-1 margin in 2010.

"The fact that it restricts contraception, it was not the right position," Gardner said.

Gardner's spin is pretty much an open and shut case of political bull. He bragged about supporting the personhood amendment on the campaign trail in 2010 while seeking the GOP nomination for his House seat, but now that he's running for the Senate, he's claiming that if he'd only understood what the proposal would actually do, he never would have supported it.

The thing is, it was obvious at the time that the personhood amendment was an idea only a conservative Neanderthal could embrace. That's why three quarters of Colorado voters rejected it at the ballot box, not once, but twice. Heck, even Mississippi voters shot the idea down.

But now, despite serving as an outspoken proponent of the losing side each time it came up for a vote, Gardner wants people to believe that if he had understood the implications of the personhood amendment, he never would have supported it? Come on. That'd be like someone saying they never would have backed the death penalty if they realized that the death penalty involved executing people. It just doesn't pass the smell test.

Oh, and if Gardner's lame and unconvincing spin sounds familiar to you, maybe it's because in 2010 he flirted with birtherism, ultimately deciding to announce—through his campaign manager—that he believed President Obama was "most likely" a U.S. citizen. (Jed Lewison)

NH-Sen: Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen keeps hoping to get further mileage out of Scott Brown's refusal to sign a "people's pledge" to keep third-party spending out of New Hampshire with a new radio ad that features a clip of Brown bragging about the pledge he signed in 2012 (back when he was seeking re-election in Massachusetts, of course). Brown's responses to date have consisted largely of misdirection and bluster, but as for that other looming issue in the race—you know, the whole carpetbagging thing—he's just throwing up his hands:

"Do I have the best credentials? Probably not. 'Cause, you know, whatever. But I have long and strong ties to this state," he told The Associated Press. "People know." Brown spent the first year and a half of his life living in New Hampshire before his family moved to Massachusetts.
No, no, dude! You mean "bqhatevwr"!

Gubernatorial:

MA-Gov: Charlie Baker, the 2010 Republican nominee for governor who's trying once again this year, appears to have won his party's nomination outright with a victory at the state GOP convention over the weekend. However, even though Baker took 83 percent of the delegates' votes, his little-known tea party rival, Mark Fisher, came just inches away from hitting the 15 percent mark he needed to earn a spot on the September primary ballot. Fisher, who only needed about six more votes out of over 2,500 cast, says he might sue to overturn the results; Baker, obviously, would like to have this all sewn up now.

NY-Gov: Siena: Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D): 61, Rob Astorino (R): 26. (Feb.: 64-22 Cuomo.)

PA-Gov: Wealthy businessman Tom Wolf is out with yet another ad, this time making the case that his company is "the largest distributor of kitchen cabinets in the nation" and produces "American-made products that are beating out Chinese imports." Wolf pivots to say that, as a result, he knows "that Pennsylvania can be a leader in manufacturing," but only if the state "invest[s] in education and a skilled workforce."

WI-Gov: Gravis Marketing: Mary Burke (D): 44, Gov. Scott Walker (R): 49.

House:

AZ-07: Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski, who had been considering a bid for retiring Rep. Ed Pastor's House seat, has decided to take a pass. Instead, he's endorsing state Rep. Ruben Gallego in the Democratic primary.

CO-03: After their first candidate, Pueblo County Commissioner Buffie McFadyen, abruptly entered and left the race in the space of a month, Democrats have found a replacement. Former state Lottery Director Abel Tapia, who also served for many years in both the state House and Senate, has decided to run against sophomore GOP Rep. Scott Tipton. Colorado's 3rd went for Romney 52-46, and Tapia's getting a late start, but he at least brings a legitimate political pedigree to the race.

NC-03: The Ending Spending Action Fund, a conservative group created by Nebraska billionaire Joe Ricketts, is running an ad targeting iconoclastic Republican Rep. Walter Jones, who faces a primary challenge from former George W. Bush aide Taylor Griffin. The spot, backed by a reported $78,000 buy, attacks Jones as a congressman who's "forgotten" the "North Carolina values" he once shared and is now "the most liberal Republican in Congress." Jones has survived many challenges from the right, but Griffin actually outraised him last quarter and seems to pose the most serious threat Jones has faced to date. The primary is May 6.

NY-04: New York's labor-backed Working Families Party is endorsing Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, who is running to succeed retiring Rep. Carolyn McCarthy. Rice has the support of the DCCC (and McCarthy herself), but she faces a Democratic primary with Nassau County Legislative Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams.

Other Races:

Special Elections: Johnny Longtorso covers Tuesday's upcoming action:

Alabama HD-53: This is an open Democratic seat in Birmingham. The candidates are Democrat Anthony "Alann" Johnson, a minister, and Republican Willie "W.A." Casey, a real estate broker. This district was eliminated in redistricting, so the winner here will have a short career in the House.

California SD-23: This is an open Republican seat located in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. The district has a Republican lean, voting 52-46 for Mitt Romney in 2012. There are five candidates running in this open primary, including Democrats Ameenah Fuller and Ron O'Donnell, Republicans Mike Morrell and Crystal Ruiz, and Libertarian Jeff Hewitt. Of the five, three hold elected office: Morrell is in the Assembly, Ruiz is the mayor of San Jacinto, and Hewitt is on the Calimesa City Council. Fuller ran for SD-25 in 2012, coming in third in the three-way open primary with 5 percent of the vote. O'Donnell is an educator and author.

Grab Bag:

Radio: Last week, the excellent Joe Sudbay invited me on to the Michelangelo Signorile Show on SiriusXM, which he was guest-hosting, to talk about the 2014 Senate picture. You can listen to our segment here, and a big thanks to Joe for having me on!

Senate: In response to the Koch brothers' manic spending spree, two major groups of Democratic allies are launching their own counter-attacks. The Senate Majority PAC is preparing to shell out $3 million to help Democrats in Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, and North Carolina, nearly as much as the $3.6 million the group had previously spent all cycle. Around $1 million is targeted for the Tarheel State; the rest will each get $500,000.

The only ad we have so far is from Colorado, where an earlier report indicated a much smaller buy. The spot lambastes the now-notorious Americans for Prosperity cookie-cutter commercial that's aired in over half a dozen races. A narrator invites viewers to "take a closer" look at those ads, explaining that the woman featured in them is "an actress," promoted by "insurance companies and out-of-state billionaires." These same people are supporting GOP Rep. Cory Gardner because he wans to "end Medicare's guarantee, giving billions in profits" to the insurance industry.

Meanwhile, a coalition of environmental groups that includes the Sierra Club and the Environmental Defense Fund is spending $5 million to oppose the Kochs, who after all made their fortune in the energy industry. Half will go to an 11-state field program while half will be spent on TV ads in four states: North Carolina, Iowa, Michigan, and Maine. Wait a minute, Maine? Yeah, annoyingly, the greens are trying to demonstrate some bipartisan cred by supporting Republican Sen. Susan Collins in addition to the three Democrats they're backing, but if they're going to waste their money like this, at least it's not on a competitive race.

In any event, you can view all the ads here, and unlike the Kochs', they aren't one-size-fits-all. Most are actually job-centric: Collins is praised for "confronting climate change that threatens our water" as footage of lobstermen rolls; Iowa Rep. Bruce Braley for "passing the bipartisan farm bill" and "boosting advanced bio-fuel and wind-power technologies"; and Michigan Rep. Gary Peters for fighting "for the auto rescue" and "investments in fuel efficiency." The spot on behalf of North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan is more explicitly environmental in focus, trashing attacks from "oil industry billionaires" and thanking Hagan for "holding corporate polluters accountable."

WATN?: Of course Blanche Lincoln is now lobbying for Sheldon Adelson. Of course.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Why'd ya do it, Shane? Why? I admired you, even (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MartyM, mikejay611

    though you're a Republican, and I dare say plenty of others feel the same way. Sheesh.

  •  Enviro groups should be supporting Shenna Bellows (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    abgin, wdrath, camlbacker

    in Maine. The race in ME-Sen is declared uncompetitive, but that is largely because groups like the Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, and Environmental Defense endorse and support "moderate" Senator Collins instead of the strong environmentalist and progressive libertarian Democrat Shenna Bellows. Collins voted for the KXL pipeline. She has a mediocre Progressive Punch lifetime score of 59.6% on the environment and a terrible 39.8% lifetime score on crucial environmental issues. And, of course, since Collins is a Republican, she supports the Republican leadership and agenda which is terrible for the environment.

    Collins exemplifies the saying "a moderate is someone who is there for you when you don't need them." Shenna Bellows would be a strong and consistent advocate for the environment. Collins is a friend of the environment only when it doesn't much matter.

    •  uh, no (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sulthernao, Aquarius40

      Maine is declared uncompetitive because we lost by 23% in 2008, one of the best years we've ever had, despite having an A-list recruit (a congressman, for crying out loud). Collins is unbeatable.

      TX-17 (Bill Flores-R), TX Sen-14 (Kirk Watson-D), TX HD-50 (Celia Israel-D). Senate ratings map (as of 3/10/14)

      by Le Champignon on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 06:13:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rudy Boschwitz (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus

        won the Senate in Minnesota by 17% in 1984, but then lost to the unknown Paul Wellstone in 1990. Maine is a blue trending state with a strong environmental streak and with Democrats energized by a crazy Tea Party Republican governor. If the environmental groups supported Bellows over Collins, a lot of Mainers would reconsider their support for Collins. Part of why Collins wins is because she gets support from groups like EDF and LCV despite her mediocre environmental record and even though the Republican Party has gone full Tea Party anti-environment.

        Wait for a few more polls before declaring Collins "unbeatable".

        •  Again, no (0+ / 0-)

          Boschwitz lost in 1990 due to a personal unpopularity with the voters that Wellstone exploited. He also exploited the growing Democratic dominance of the state. 1984 was also a Republican year where Mondale was shut out nationwide - he only won his state by 0.2%. 1990, on the other hand, was a much more favorable election year for us.

          Besides, Collins is emphatically not Boschwitz, and Wellstone is emphatically not Bellows. Collins' approval is well into the 60s. You just can't knock off an incumbent like that.

          And again, history has shown Collins to be unbeatable. If we couldn't win in 2008, why would we win in 2014? Do you seriously think Bellows is stronger than a guy who represented half the state since 1996?

          TX-17 (Bill Flores-R), TX Sen-14 (Kirk Watson-D), TX HD-50 (Celia Israel-D). Senate ratings map (as of 3/10/14)

          by Le Champignon on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 09:31:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nothing is certain (0+ / 0-)

            In 1990, Democrats picked up one Senate seat (Wellstone) and 9 House seats. It was an ok year for Democrats, but not that great. Wellstone ran a strong populist campaign, which worked.

            Shenna Bellows has never held office, but she has led two winning grassroots statewide campaigns (marriage equality and voting rights). That is significant. She's not well known, but she is working tirelessly to build a grassroots campaign and she's getting pretty good press in Maine. She is working hard and not giving up.

            I'm frustrated with your certainty and negativity. Yes, Collins is a strong incumbent and will be very tough to beat. But so is Mitch McConnell, and Kentucky is a lot more conservative than Maine -- should we just throw in the towel now? If Shenna Bellows won, she would likely be a much more progressive force in the Senate than Alison Lundergan Grimes (or Michelle Nunn or Natalie Tennant for that matter). I give progressive candidates the benefit of any doubt until close to the election -- to me, the value of a possible progressive win is very large even if it is not likely. Maine is a cheap state -- even a little help might enable Bellows to win, especially if Collins slips or circumstances change. Remember, Chris Christie had favorability ratings in the 60s just a few months ago. Things can change, and sometimes they do.

            •  Loserspeak (0+ / 0-)

              There's a thing known as "Loserspeak" that campaigns often engage in when they know they're losing badly. One example is "I'm running a grassroots campaign". BS. Collins is running a grassroots campaign. The last PPP poll showed Collins beating Bellows by 14% ... among Democrats. She was leading 61% to 20% among the general electorate.

              Contrast that with McConnell, whose approval rating is lower than Obama's in KY.

              You can give her the benefit of the doubt if you'd like, but don't give her your money. Give it to someone else who can use it - Hagan, Grimes, Nunn, or Walsh would be prime donation targets. Scoff at their politics if you'd like, but our majority is built on the backs of conservadems, not progressives.

              TX-17 (Bill Flores-R), TX Sen-14 (Kirk Watson-D), TX HD-50 (Celia Israel-D). Senate ratings map (as of 3/10/14)

              by Le Champignon on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 07:40:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Pryor was even uncontested in 2008 (0+ / 0-)

        And other Democrats where leading the polls by 10%+ one year ago vs the same people that now are tied with them.

        It is a mistake to fight not for ME-Sen.

  •  More doom and gloom from Stuy (0+ / 0-)

    http://blogs.rollcall.com/...

    Independents leaning to the party not controlling the white house in an off year election is not unusual.

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 05:51:04 AM PDT

  •  Yet another Maverick with a Difference (3+ / 0-)

    If Osborn were a D, sure, he would have withdrawn already.  But the Rs are very forgiving of any sort of wrongdoing from their own kind, and their candidates themselves don't generally have a sense of shame that anyone can detect.

    But in this case, the wrong-doing is by a guy in uniform, so all is definitely forgiven, in spades.  In fact, anyone who attacks will be the one in for denunciation, not Osborn.  Why, the brass -- kowtowing to the Kenyan Usurper to hold down a maverick, just because he's a True Conservative -- are the ones to blame.  Osborn is a double hero!  Once against the Heathen Chinee, and then against the Kenyan Usurper.

    The only thing holding him back from their VP slot in 2016 would be his own senses of shame, if he's got one.

    The states must be abolished.

    by gtomkins on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 06:20:27 AM PDT

  •  an unsigned, unauthenticated memo concerning (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40

    an incident that Osborn now brags about sounds pretty goddamed fishy to me, yet he'll probably still have thousands of poor folks who vote for him b/c it's the patriotic thing to do.

  •  Chart on outside spending in senate races (0+ / 0-)

    and some house races.

    http://cookpolitical.com/...

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 06:51:57 AM PDT

  •  I'm thinking that WI governor race (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    madmojo

    is looking more winnable. I'd love to see those numbers reversed, but Snot Walker is under 50% and for God's sake what do anyone but the Teabaggers and the One Percent see in that clown?

    And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

    by Pale Jenova on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 07:17:20 AM PDT

    •  I still believe (3+ / 0-)

      that a not insignificant percentage of the voters who supported Walker in the recall election did so only or primarily because they do not like recalls absent evidence of criminal activity.  Many, maybe even most of those people, will think twice about supporting him this year.  I only wish we had a Dem candidate with a bit more gravitas.

      MI-8, 71, married, 7 children, 16 grandchildren, retired, independent but progressive

      by jimmich on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 08:56:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A ray of light in Cook's pessimism (0+ / 0-)

    Conventional wisdom has labeled Pryor as the walking dead, even though multiple private Democratic polls (by different pollsters) have never showed him down as much as a single point. The one high-quality public poll where all the details are available—conducted by the Democratic polling firm of Hickman Analytics for an energy-industry group—had Pryor ahead of Rep. Tom Cotton by 3 points among all likely voters, and 2 points behind among definite voters; both are margin-of-error variances. This is an example how the perception of a race often can be driven by sketchy polling.

    http://www.nationaljournal.com/...

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 07:23:45 AM PDT

  •  And people wonder why Democrats stay home in (3+ / 0-)

    the midterms.

    Nebraska's open Senate race doesn't get a lot of attention, largely because it's a safely red seat where all the action is in the Republican primary
    Might as well give up now, despite a very strong candidate in Dave Domina.

    The sun's not yellow, it's chicken. B. Dylan

    by bgblcklab1 on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 08:59:28 AM PDT

  •  Fox noise on the front page (0+ / 0-)
    Osborn forged a memo to cover his ass, and the Navy is dismissing it on the record?
    According to the link Osborn asked a buddy to get him something to help him out. The buddy went to a buddy working at the Pentagon. How does that translate to forgery? Is it stupid. Yes.

    The best part of winter is watching it on my tv in Hawaii.

    by UTRepub on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 09:04:20 AM PDT

    •  Osborn may not have forged a memo... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      larryrant, Odysseus

      ...but if he asked a guy to create a memo that purports to speak for the Navy, using official Navy resources to do so I should think some laws were broken, at least ethic breached. The guy in the Pentagon realizes his ass is on the line.

      This is just the kind of thing that can get a Republican elected when they do it and a Democrat in disgrace if they did it.

      Different voter basses...

      •  No proof Osborn asked a guy to write a memo. (0+ / 0-)

        We castigate Fox Noise for doing this and rightly so.  I'm writing the CNO to investigate the memo because it is a violation of the UCMJ.

        The best part of winter is watching it on my tv in Hawaii.

        by UTRepub on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 01:26:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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