9:15 AM PT: Special Elections: Johnny Longtorso:
Florida HD-44: This was an easy Republican hold on Tuesday night. Eric Eisnaugle will return to the Florida House following his defeat of Democrat Shaun Raja by a 74-26 landslide.This district went for Mitt Romney by a 53-46 spread, so obviously Democrats didn't contest it at all. And remember, there's another special coming up in Connecticut on Friday.
9:40 AM PT: TX-23: Paulist physician Robert Lowry, who finished third in the GOP primary with 19 percent of the vote, has thrown his support to former CIA agent Will Hurd in the May 27 runoff. Hurd faces ex-Rep. Quico Canseco, whom he edged in the first round of voting by just 0.6 percent. As Joseph Vogas notes, Hurd also had a small lead on Canseco in the 2010 primary (in which Lowry also ran and took third) but wound up losing the runoff by 5. Lowry endorsed Hurd in that race, too, but evidently it wasn't the difference-maker.
10:00 AM PT: IL-Gov: Somewhere out there, there must be some joker (with very angry kids) who's decided to leave his estate to Bill Gates. That guy probably works for the RGA, which is giving another $750,000 to self-funding billionaire Bruce Rauner. That brings the group's total outlay to $1.5 million so far, despite the fact that Rauner has already poured $6 million into his own campaign and can obviously dump in far more. I wonder how Tom Corbett and Sam Brownback feel about all this.
10:53 AM PT: LA-05: A long list of local Republicans—and a couple of Democrats, too—are so far mostly avoiding the question of whether they're interested in running against GOP Rep. Vance McAllister, who was recently caught making out with one of his now-former aides in a campaign office. (McAllister and the staffer are both married to other people.) No one has outright said "no," but some are more keen than others. The Times Picayune's Lauren McGaughy canvasses them all. The first batch all ran in the special election and are sorted by the order they finished in:
State Sen. Neil Riser (R): "too early to be talking about" it
Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo (D): "not planning on running"
Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway (R): "very content" with his current job
State Rep. Bob Johnson (D): "certainly very interested."
State Rep. Jay Morris (R): "no comment"
State Rep. Marcus Hunter (D): says he has no plans to run
State Sen. Elbert Guillory (R): keeping his eye on itOther possible Republicans include state Sen. Mike Walsworth and businessman Harris Brown. While this seat is dark red and Democrats would have a difficult time here under the best of circumstances, four different Democrats split the vote in the special, leaving Mayo to finish just 3 points behind McAllister. Had the party been united, McAllister likely never would have made the runoff. Mindful of this fate, Hunter promises that the party "will be running one Democrat this time, if I have anything to do with it."
State Rep. Charles "Bubba" Chaney (R): not commenting
State Rep. Frank Hoffmann (R): not commenting
11:15 AM PT: MA-Gov: In a new survey from Western New England University, Attorney General Martha Coakley leads Republican businessman Charlie Baker 54-25 in the Massachusetts governor's race, while state Treasurer Steve Grossman also beats Baker, but by a smaller 38-29 spread. For whatever reason, Coakley's advantage has increased since WNEU last polled the contest in October, when she led 54-34; Grossman's edge, on the other hand, has shrunk a bit from his earlier 43-30 lead.
12:21 PM PT: AK-, LA-, MI-Sen: Freedom Partners, the shadowy "secret bank" at the top of the Koch brothers' pyramid, has released three more ads attacking Democrats in Senate races: Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, and Michigan Rep. Gary Peters. The ads all deploy the same attack on Obamacare from the left, just as Freedom Partners' first spots in Colorado and Iowa did. Each Democrat is accused of "taking thousands" from the insurance industry in exchange for supporting Obamacare, which "gave health insurance companies billions."
It's a pretty neat trick for a conservative organization to slam Democrats as insurance industry shills for passing a health care plan originally developed by ... a conservative organization. But this is politics, and if Freedom Partners' polling shows that populist criticisms of the Affordable Care Act earn them more mileage than right-wing complaints, they're smart to use them.
12:23 PM PT (David Jarman): Elections: Daily Kos Elections fans are likely to have opinions about which elections bureaus are the best ones, but it probably turns on factors like who reports results the fastest or has the most thorough collection of historical results. There are many other factors, though, that go into whether an elections department is effective: return and rejection rates for mail-in, military, or provisional ballots, voter wait times, voter registration rates and turnout, recordkeeping completeness, post-election audits, and more.
Pew has tried to consolidate all that information into one state-to-state ranking. The results may or may not surprise you: the good-government states in the country's north central tier come out on top (North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are the top 3 for 2012), while the south and northeast dominate among the worst (with Mississippi, Oklahoma, and California the bottom 3). You can click through to see how each state fares on each factor, so there's a lot to explore.
12:33 PM PT: IA-Sen, -Gov: Suffolk University's new poll of Iowa's Senate race finds Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley beating all five GOP hopefuls he's paired with, but the undecideds are huge—around a third of the electorate. In every case, Braley takes around 37-38 percent of the vote while the Republicans score in the 20s. And in the gubernatorial race, which features a longtime incumbent seeking re-election, a quarter are still undecided, as Republican Gov. Terry Branstad "only" leads Democratic state Sen. Jack Hatch 42-32.
1:00 PM PT: GA-Sen: The Republican Senate primary in Georgia is about to get even more turbulent, with the American Future Fund now endorsing former Secretary of State Karen Handel—and preparing to spend on her behalf. AFF's move follows one from Ending Spending, which has already put over $1 million into the race slamming both GOP Rep. Phil Gingrey and presumptive Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn. Who Ending Spending is for, however, remains a mystery.
1:20 PM PT (Darth Jeff): President-by-LD: Stephen Wolf brings us another set of interactive maps visualizing the results of the 2012 presidential result by state legislative seat. This time he brings us Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and South Dakota.
There's a lot of interesting stuff here: For example, the Republican hold on the Michigan House looks potentially tenuous given Gov. Rick Snyder's mediocre approval rating. Over in Minnesota the court-drawn House map gives Republicans a chance to retake the chamber after two years of Democratic control. For previous editions of this series see here and here.
1:33 PM PT: WI-Gov: St. Norbert's new Wisconsin poll somehow has GOP Gov. Scott Walker up 56-40 on Democrat Mary Burke, despite the fact that no other pollster has ever shown him in the 50s, and he's never sported a lead of more than 7 points. This one has "outlier" written all over it.
1:50 PM PT: NE-02: Businessman Dan Frei has leaked an internal showing Rep. Lee Terry with just a 47-36 lead in the GOP primary. But Frei (whose campaign is penniless) is refusing to share the pollster's name, and we all know what that means.
1:54 PM PT: FL-13: St. Pete Polls finds that newly elected GOP Rep. David Jolly would beat Democrat Alex Sink, his rival in last month's special election, by just a 48-46 spread in a rematch. That's identical to Jolly's actual margin of victory, so it's a bit surprising he hasn't gotten any kind of bounce off of his win, assuming St. Pete is accurate. (For what it's worth, their final poll before the special had the race tied at 46, but it came two weeks before Election Day.) Sink says she's still considering a second bid.
1:58 PM PT: LA-05: But can McAllister really hang on? Unnamed sources tell The Hill that state GOP chair Roger Villere has been trying to talk to McAllister so that he can ask him to resign, but McAllister has allegedly been ducking Villere's calls and emails. Usually this just means that the pressure will soon get directed through public, rather than private, channels.
2:20 PM PT: PA-Gov: Another new ad from Democratic businessman Tom Wolf, this time featuring his daughters praising their dad for his encouragement while Wolf adds that there's "no excuse" for the wage gap between men and women.
2:25 PM PT: SD-Sen: In his first ad of the campaign, Democrat Rick Weiland invokes some very Howard Dean-esque themes. The narrator addresses those who want to "take back our country" and rattles off a list of South Dakota towns, concluding with the message that "we promise they'll be hearing us all the way to D.C."
2:31 PM PT: MI-03: Businessman Brian Ellis' second ad of the GOP primary attacks Rep. Justin Amash for his vote against a bill that would have banned "gender selection abortions," just as he did in first spot. Ellis also hits Amash for another iconoclastic "nay," this time against a balanced amendment, and adds that Amash "voted with President Obama 51 percent of the time—the most of any Republican," citing CQ scores.
2:43 PM PT: NM-Gov: Republican Gov. Susana Martinez is out with her first ad of her re-election campaign. It's a minute-long laundry list that claims a million different accomplishments, but the most interesting bit comes at the start, when the narrator mentions that Martinez was "the first Hispanic woman governor in American history." Later, the narrator says that in New Mexico, "Hispanics lead the nation on Advanced Placement tests," so Martinez is evidently trying to reach out to the state's considerable Latino community.
2:49 PM PT: OK-Sen-B: In his newest ad, Republican T.W. Shannon attacks Barack Obama for "pushing people into dependency." Continues Shannon: "When government becomes the provider, all of God's children suffer." He adds that when he served as speaker of the state House, he "passed a measure requiring welfare recipients to work for their benefits." Meanwhile, a group called the First Amendment Alliance is running a platitude-filled spot praising Rep. James Lankford for fighting "President Obama's intrusive government."
2:58 PM PT: FL-19: The Tea Party Express is trying to prove its not just a bunch of grifters making a name (and money) for itself off of the "tea party" label with a new ad in support of Republican businessman Curt Clawson. The spot features several different local tea party leaders all praising Clawson, though of course, it probably would have been easy enough to find another batch of tea party leaders all ready to say the exact opposite.
3:23 PM PT (Darth Jeff): 1Q Fundraising:
• GA-Sen: Paul Broun (R): $345,000 raised, $230,000 cash-on-hand; Phil Gingrey (R): $326,000 raised
• VA-Sen: Mark Warner (D-inc): $2.7 million raised, $8.8 million cash-on-hand
• CA-21: Amanda Renteria (D): "More than $300,000" raised
• CA-33: David Kanuth (D): "Over $800,000" raised (in less than two months)
• CO-05: Irv Halter (D): $165,000 raised, $217,000 cash-on-hand
• CO-06: Andrew Romanoff (D): $604,000 raised, $2.1 million cash-on-hand
• IL-10: Brad Schneider (D-inc): $550,000 raised, $1.3 million cash-on-hand; Bob Dold! (R): $520,000 raised, $1.3 million cash-on-hand
• PA-13: Daylin Leach (D): $335,000 raised, $660,000 cash-on-hand
• WV-03: Nick Rahall (D-inc): $325,000 raised, $1.1 million cash-on-hand; Evan Jenkins(R): $200,000 raised, $500,000 cash-on-hand
• DSCC (D): $8.1 million raised (in March), $22 million cash-on-hand