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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 4/30 (April 30, 2012, 10:00 AM)

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7:52 AM PT: IN-Sen: Resigned, it seems, to letting the jaws of defeat snap shut around Dick Lugar, one of the main outside groups propping him up is abandoning the race. Politico's Alexander Burns reports that the American Action Network has halted all advertising, with a spokesman saying: "We've decided we're going to let this race play out." Apparently, the AAN is executing a form of triage: Nameless Republican operatives say that if they're going to have to live with Richard Mourdock as their nominee, it's better to dial down the negative attacks against him now.

However, the single-candidate super PAC dedicated to supporting Lugar, Indiana Values, is still forking out plenty of dough to attack Mourdock, with two separate expenditures (see here and here) totalling a quarter million bucks. And Lugar's own campaign has been spending freely in a desperate attempt to stay alive. But in a sign of just how dire things have become, Maggie Haberman points to this flyer produced by Eric Cantor's YG Action Network on behalf of Lugar which encourages non-Republicans to vote in Indiana's open primary. As my Daily Kos colleague Barb Morrill said, it's like Operation Hilarity without any hilarity.

8:06 AM PT: Pre-Primary Filings: Indiana, North Carolina, and West Virginia are all conducting primaries a week from Tuesday, which means that pre-primary FEC reports were due in those three states late last week. The reports cover only a short period, from April 1 through April 18, so few of the numbers really stand out. Perhaps most remarkable is one set of numbers that isn't there at all: Republican Robert Pittenger, the presumptive front-runner in the open NC-09, didn't bother filing a report at all. (I should also note that his campaign committee, which is not a corporate entity, has the ridiculous name of "Pittenger for Congress LLC." Maybe they tried filing with the SEC?) Other non-filers include Democrats Cecil Bothwell in NC-11 and Jonathan George in IN-09, but neither of these candidates are of any note. Pittenger's lapse, though, is quite glaring.

8:16 AM PT: FL Redistricting: Well, this is a bummer. Late on Friday, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of the legislature's new state Senate map, rejecting all challenges that the plan violated the anti-gerrymandering Fair Districts amendments and failed to heed the judges' instructions when they threw out the first version of the map in March. You can read the full opinion here (PDF). Democrats and outside groups say they're still considering other challenges, including at the trial-court level. And note that entirely separate lawsuits are still pending against the congressional map, which remains in limbo.

8:52 AM PT: NY Redistricting: New York's new state Senate map just received preclearance from the Department of Justice, though various lawsuits are still challenging the new lines on other grounds. What I had thought was the strongest line of attack against this Republican-drawn map doesn't appear to be faring too well, though: The state's highest court (confusingly known as the Court of Appeals) heard oral arguments last week on whether the GOP used a constitutionally valid method for adding a 63rd seat to the chamber, and it doesn't sound like the justices had much interest in the plaintiffs' complaints.



Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Second poll gives Democrat Heidi Heitkamp a five-point lead (April 30, 2012, 08:00 AM)

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Leading Off:

? ND-Sen: North Dakota Democrats have just put out a new poll from DFM Research that finds former AG Heidi Heitkamp leading GOP Rep. Rick Berg 49-44 in the open-seat Senate contest (up from 42-41 in December, numbers which were not publicized at the time). Barack Obama trails Mitt Romney by a very wide 51-32 margin, so you can't accuse this poll of being too rosy?especially since the spread was a narrower 40-28 in December. (Though 28% for an incumbent president in any state... ouch.)

This is only the second public survey of the race, and the first (from back in November) also showed Heitkamp on top by five points, 47-42. Republicans didn't have an answer to that poll, and if they don't have an answer to this one, either, then we may have to reconsider our "Lean R" rating here. Indeed, Berg paid $24,000 to Republican pollster Public Opinion Strategies for "survey research" in early January, and we never saw those numbers, so the absence of any contrary Republican data is starting to look a bit glaring.

Meanwhile, according to reports, they DSCC is about to go up on TV with an ad buy worth some $76K. (A sum like that goes pretty far in a tiny state like North Dakota.) As Politico's Maggie Haberman notes, that would make this the first independent expenditure by either national Senate campaign committee this cycle. We'll keep a look out for the DSCC's ad and bring it to you as soon as we see it.



Daily Kos Elections Weekend Digest: Examining the presidential electoral map for November (April 28, 2012, 05:00 PM)

Welcome to the first week of the rest of the 2012 campaign cycle. And, as expected, it was actually a pretty sleepy week, on balance. There were some big headlines downballot (where two House incumbents found themselves on the outs after a key primary election), but the race for the White House might have seen its slowest week in terms of news and data in months.

The near future could get pretty interesting, though. North Carolina and Indiana head to the polls in a little more than a week, and the primary elections for the Wisconsin recalls fall on the same date. That touches off a four-week span with 10 states having primary elections of some sort.

The moral of the story?it is only going to be quiet for a minute or two. So rest up. As for this week's data and headlines, you can find them just past the jump in this "calm before the storm" edition of the Weekend Digest.



Daily Kos Elections Polling Wrap: Don't call it a comeback! (April 27, 2012, 08:00 PM)

Another day, another wild round of ping-ponging numbers from our ever-changing daily tracking polls for the presidential showdown. If you buy stock in the House of Ras (I know ... I know), then Barack Obama has had a sudden and marked surge of support, propelling him back into the lead for the first time in their tracker in well over a week. But if you buy stock in the venerable crew at Gallup, then Barack Obama has a solid lead, and has had it for several days now (of course, they had their whiplash moment last week).

I'd normally chalk all this up to the typical bit of float, but six points in three days is a pretty dramatic float.

Here are those numbers on this Friday lite edition of the Wrap:

PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION POLLING:

NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Obama d. Romney (50-43)

NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Obama d. Romney (47-46)

FLORIDA (Rasmussen): Romney d. Obama (46-45)

DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
AR-01--D (Talk Business/Hendrix College): Scott Ellington 15, Clark Hall 10, Gary Latanich 4

AR-04--R (Talk Business/Hendrix College): Tom Cotton 39, Beth Anne Rankin 39, John Cowart 4

FL-SEN (Rasmussen): Sen. Bill Nelson (D) 47, Connie Mack (R) 36; Nelson 44, George LeMieux (R) 30; Nelson 48, Mike McCallister (R) 29

A thought or two, as always, is after the jump.



Daily Kos Elections Weekly Open Thread: What races are you interested in? (April 27, 2012, 06:00 PM)



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 4/27 (April 27, 2012, 10:00 AM)

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9:00 AM PT: OH-Sen: Here's a copy of that new ad from Dem Sen. Sherrod Brown (his first) that we mentioned on Thursday. Brown is wasting no time, going hard after his Republican opponent, Treasurer Josh Mandel, over a series of stories about his hacky patronage hires of his college and campaign buddies that have percolated in the press for weeks. I think it's a pretty good spot, and I like that Brown is taking the gloves off early. You can watch it at the link or below:

9:04 AM PT: WI-Gov: Campaign finance reports covering the period of March 30 through April 23 are due on Monday in the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall, and Democrat Tom Barrett is already leaking his. He reports having raised $750K, of which he says 99% came from individual contributors.

9:24 AM PT: FL-18: Just passing along this latest bit of Allen West insanity for the lulz:

"This is so reminiscent of the Twilight Zone episode 'To Serve Man,'" West wrote. "Obama and his liberal progressive disciples are the modern day Kanamits."

For those of you not intimately acquainted with insults taken out of television episodes from 1962, the Kanamits were a race of nine-foot-tall aliens that come to Earth and cure famine, blight, and nuclear warfare. They also bring in advanced technology to solve the world's energy problems. In other words, the Kanamits were acting like dirty, rotten progressives.

The problem, though, is that the Kanamits don't have noble intentions -- their kindness is really just a not-very-elaborate ruse to fatten up the human race so they can be carted back to the Kanamit home planet to be eaten. A Kanamit book called To Serve Man that was discovered by the humans turns out not to be about helping man at all?it's a cookbook. (Get it? Serving man?)

West also added that he thinks there are 78 to 81 Kanamits serving in Congress today.

9:51 AM PT: IL-13: Well, here's one way to handle allegations that you arranged to hand off your seat in Congress via a back-room deal following a last-minute retirement: push the guy you're accused of hooking up off a cliff. That's what Rep. Tim Johnson has done to former chief-of-staff Jerry Clarke, who expressed interest in getting tapped as a replacement by local Republicans soon after Johnson unexpectedly announced he would not seek re-election. Johnson now says he thinks that none of his former staffers should be considered, though of course, the fourteen county chairs who will pick a new candidate are free to ignore him. Still, Clarke can't be happy about this turn of events.

10:04 AM PT: NJ-Sen: Republican state Sen. Joe Kyrillos' charmed life continues (for now): He just pulled in $400K in a single night thanks to a fundraiser headlined by Mitt Romney, and The Hill's Josh Lederman confirms that all of this cash is going into Kyrillos' coffers?none for Mittens. You'll recall that last quarter, fully $600K of the $917K Kyrillos raised came from just one event, hosted by Gov. Chris Christie. You've gotta wonder how many times Kyrillos can keep going back to the super-star fundraiser well, though.

10:21 AM PT: WATN?: The fate of former state Sen. Carl Kruger's old Senate seat may still be in limbo, but his own is not: Kruger was just sentenced to seven years in prison on corruption charges, which he pleaded guilty to last year. I'm frankly apalled that the judge gave Kruger less time than the 9 to 11 years that federal guidelines called for, on account of his purported "good deeds"?the man was corrupt as sin and accepted millions in bribes over the years. The damage he inflicted on the state for his own personal benefit isn't mitigated by some supposed good he may have once done. But at least he's out of office now, and justice has been served.

11:17 AM PT: MO-Gov: Man, Dave Spence is such a joke. In a campaign beset by problems almost from the start, here's the latest: One of his pr flacks, instead of sending a press advisory in a recent email blast to the media instead shot around a private, internal briefing book designed for campaign eyes only. It contained tips on at least one hot-button topic: how to avoid looking like a birther without actually renouncing birtherism. Have a look-see:

In it, she offered Spence advice in case he was approached by reporters quizzing him on topics such as his recent suggestion that he didn't know whether or not Obama is a Muslim.

"This is not an issue that I felt was pertinent to my candidacy for governor and expressed those sentiments," Briggs offered as a potential answer. "However, if the media insists that this is a critical issue that must be addressed, I will be clear. President Obama says he is a Christian, and I take him at his word."

11:33 AM PT: CA-31: The National Association of Realtors, one of the more active groups on the independent expenditure front in recent cycles, is going in pretty big for GOP Rep. Gary Miller, who faces a serious fight for his political life in a new blue-leaning district he's carpetbagging into. (Number of constituents Miller represents in the 31st: zero.) But the Realtors don't want to see him lose, so they're throwing down $118K on mailers for Miller, ahead of the June primary. Interestingly, they've also paid for a poll from the Tarrance Group, a Republican pollster, but I'd be surprised if we ever publicly saw the results of that survey.

12:17 PM PT: NH-01, NH-02: The University of New Hampshire has tested favorability ratings for the state's two freshman members of Congressman for a while now, but it looks like this is the first time they've polled actual head-to-head matchups against their 2012 Democratic opponents. Both races look very competitive, though interestingly, Team Blue is performing better in the less-talked-about 1st District rather than the 2nd, which has been viewed as a top-tier race from day one. In NH-01, ex-Rep. Carol Shea-Porter leads the man who beat her two years ago, Rep. Frank Guinta, 44-39, while in NH-02, Annie Kuster edges the guy who beat her last cycle, Rep. Charlie Bass, 40-39.

Interestingly enough, this is actually the second set of polling which shows the CSP-Guinta matchup looking more favorable for Dems than the Kuster-Bass rematch. Back in January, a conservative-leaning think tank commissioned two polls from Pulse Opinion Research (aka Rasmussen-for-hire) that also had Shea-Porter doing better than Kuster. The usual caveats apply to anything Rasmussen-related, but at the time, Granite Stater Dean Barker opined that the numbers confirmed his "hunch that the first district will be more competitive than conventional wisdom says, and the second will be a bit harder to flip than everyone assumes." UNH has its own faults, but these results give further credence to Dean's contrarian viewpoint.

12:31 PM PT: CA-52: The Progressive Change Campaign Committee just endorsed former Assemblywoman Lori Saldana in the redrawn 52nd District, a newly-competitive seat represented by Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray. Saldana, however, is vying for the Democratic nomination with San Diego Port Commission Chairman Scott Peters, who has outraised her and currently has $251K on hand versus Saldana's $96K.

12:37 PM PT (David Jarman): North Carolina: For fans of the Tar Heel State, the Civitas Institute has some super-cool online tools available for political analysis. One is for the upcoming primary election, letting you keep track of how votes have been submitted so far, and the location, party registration, and race of the voters so far. The other lets you look at voter registration statistics by county, including party and race numbers, and month-to-month changes over the last four years.

1:10 PM PT: ND-Sen: Doubters, you now face your second test: North Dakota Democrats have just put out a new poll from DFM Research that finds former AG Heidi Heitkamp leading GOP Rep. Rick Berg 49-44 in the open-seat Senate contest. This is only the second public survey of the race, and the first (from back in November) also showed Heitkamp on top by five points, 47-42. Republicans didn't have an answer to that poll, and if they don't have an answer to this one, either, then we may have to reconsider our "Lean R" rating here. (Note that Barack Obama trails Mitt Romney by a very wide 51-32 margin, so you can't accuse this poll of being too rosy.)

Apparently the DSCC is already a believer: According to reports, they're about to go up on TV with an ad buy worth some $76K. (A sum like that goes pretty far in a tiny state like North Dakota.) As Politico's Maggie Haberman notes, that would make this the first independent expenditure by either national Senate campaign committee this cycle. Anyhow, we'll keep a look out for the DSCC's ad and bring it to you as soon as we see it.

1:28 PM PT: And here's another awfully quiet pooch: Berg paid $24,000 to Republican pollster Public Opinion Strategies for "survey research" in early January. Did we ever see that poll? Nope.

2:00 PM PT: FL-Sen: Bill Nelson (D-inc): 47 (36), Connie Mack (R): 36 (43); Bill Nelson (D-inc): 44 (41), George LeMieux (R): 30 (38); Bill Nelson (D-inc): 48 (42); Mike McCalister (R): 29 (38)

2:12 PM PT: The trendlines, by the way, for that North Dakota poll, had Heitkamp with a much narrower 42-41 lead back in December. Obama was doing better, though?well, if you can call an incumbent president clocking in at 28% "better"?but only because Romney was at just 40. Now that Mitt's cleared the primary field, he appears to be consolidating Republican support.

2:31 PM PT: NE-Sen: Democrat Bob Kerrey is out with yet another new ad, this one bemoaning the costs of our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and arguing that war with Iran would make those two horrible conflicts "look like a cakewalk."

2:33 PM PT: NC-08: It looks like the battle is on between House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's YG Action Fund and the Club for Growth. The super PAC run by Cantor's ex-aides are spending $23K to put out mailers on behalf of former congressional aide Richard Hudson in the GOP primary, while the CfG is backing dentist Scott Keadle. Neither man has fundraised impressively, though both have made low-six-figure loans to their own campaigns, so the effect of outside influence in this race could be large. However, the primary is just around the corner on May 8, so there isn't much time left to make a difference.

2:43 PM PT: IN-Sen: Dick Lugar now has a second ad out featuring an endorsement from Gov. Mitch Daniels, which looks like it was filmed in the same session as the first one. The introductory words of the ad: "I'm not for Dick Lugar 'cause of what he's done." Look, I understand the rhetorical framing Daniels is using here (next phrase: "but because of what he can do"), but really, that doesn't seem like a great way to open a commercial. It also doesn't pack much emotional punch, which I think is actually something you can say about Dick Lugar and his entire campaign just in general.

2:46 PM PT: I meant to say this yesterday, but I just wanted to offer a huge public "thank you" to James Allen, SaoMagnifico, sapelcovits, and Xenocrypt for the stupendous job they did manning the Live Digest on Tuesday and Wednesday. We were delighted they could all step in, and I hope you enjoyed reading what they had to say! And we're looking forward to the next opportunity as well. Thanks again, guys!



Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: The end-game approaches for Dick Lugar (April 27, 2012, 08:00 AM)

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Leading Off:

? IN-Sen: Even if Wenzel Strategies is a dodgy pollster (they also poll for the batshit WorldNetDaily) and you aren't sure whether to trust their toplines, their trendlines aren't good for Dick Lugar at all. The Republican senator now trails his GOP primary opponent, Treasurer Richard Mourdock, 39 to 44, whereas in mid-March, he clung to a 45-39 lead in Wenzel's last poll (on behalf of Citizens United). That's a swing of eleven points, and the primary is just twelve days away.

And here's the dog that didn't bark: In his new pre-primary FEC report (PDF), Lugar shows a payment of $10K to Republican pollster National Research on April 9 for "polling research." That's on top of almost $74K he spent last quarter on the same expense. But of course, we haven't seen any recent internals from the Lugar camp. If their numbers offered any cause for optimism, don't you think we'd have seen at least a glimpse by now?

In any event, as the end-game approaches, the Club for Growth is hoping to deliver a knockout blow to the incumbent. They're spending $421K on a final ad asking "What's happened to Dick Lugar?" (Answer: He became a dirty libruhl.)

Meanwhile, the GOP establishment (via the American Action Network) is running another anti-Mourdock spot, though I personally find the onslaught of information it contains to be cacophonous and confusing:
Lugar's also gotten an assist from some unlikely quarters: The Young Guns Network, which you can more-or-less view as a stand-in for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. It's not clear to me why Cantor (okay, his former aides who run the organization) care about saving Lugar's ass since he serves, you know, in the Senate. But maybe the $100K they're spending on mailers is some kind of penance for Cantor's notorious interference in the IL-16 primary, where he helped veteran GOP Rep. Don Manzullo out the door (and earned the wrath of many fellow Republicans for doing so).



Daily Kos Elections Polling Wrap: Welcome to contrary poll-a-palooza! (April 26, 2012, 08:00 PM)

Today's data is like some odd play off of that old elementary school stand-by: "Opposite Day".

Used to seeing data showing Barack Obama with a modest lead over Mitt Romney? There are only two presidential polls out today, and both of them give Romney a slight edge.

Used to seeing longtime veteran GOP Sen. Dick Lugar struggling, but at least leading, his tea-infused challenger Richard Mourdock? A new poll out today has Lugar down five.

Worried after last week's PPP polls showed that the legislative recall elections in Wisconsin might face an uphill battle? A new set of polls out today put the Democrats in the lead in one race, and within striking range of two more.

Welcome to pollster Opposite Day! Here's the data:

PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:

NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Romney d. Obama (48-45)

NATIONAL (YouGov/The Economist): Romney d. Obama (47-46)

DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
CA-02 (Lake Research for Solomon): Jared Huffman (D) 18, Norman Solomon (D) 10, Susan Adams (D) 8, Stacey Lawson (D) 5 (++)

IN-SEN?R (Wenzel Strategies for Citizens United): Richard Mourdock 44, Sen. Dick Lugar 39

NH-01 (Univ. of New Hampshire): Carol Shea-Porter (D) 44, Rep. Frank Guinta (R) 39

NH-02 (Univ. of New Hampshire): Anne Kuster (D) 40, Rep. Charlie Bass (R) 39

NC-GOV?D (SurveyUSA for the Civitas Institute): Walter Dalton 32, Bob Etheridge 27, Bill Faison 4 (++)

WI-SD-21 (Myers Research for the DLCC): John Lehman (D) 51, Sen. Van Wangaard (R) 47

WI-SD-23 (Myers Research for the DLCC): Sen. Terry Moulton (R) 49, Kristin Dexter (D) 47

WI-SD-29 (Myers Research for the DLCC): Jerry Petrowski (R) 51, Donna Seidel (D) 45

(++)?Other candidates in the race were tested, but polled at or under 3 percent.

A few thoughts, as always, after the jump.



AZ-Pres: Dead heat in Arizona (April 26, 2012, 10:18 AM)

President Obama and Mitt Romney
(White House photo, Rebecca Cook/Reuters)
Merrill/Morrison Institute. Arizona RVs. April 10-14, 16-20. 4.4%.
Romney: 42
Obama: 40
Behavior Research Centers/Rocky Mountain Poll. Arizona RVs. April 7-19. 4.4%. (Jan results)
Obama: 42 (37)
Romney: 40 (43)
Arizona has 11 electoral votes, so it's a big prize?and not the kind of state that Mitt Romney wants to be in play. It seems that while his embrace of SB 1070 might have helped him in the primary, it's not giving him a boost in the general.



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 4/26 (April 26, 2012, 10:00 AM)

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7:48 AM PT: CA-02: Activist Norman Solomon is touting a new internal poll from Lake Research which he says shows him "in good position" to finish in the top two in June's primary?but we have long memories here at Daily Kos Elections, and if you look back to a prior Solomon poll (also from Lake) that he released in October, the trendlines aren't especially auspicious. The new survey has Assemblyman Jared Huffman at 18, Solomon at 10, Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams at 8, and businesswoman Stacey Lawson at 5. (The two Republicans in the race, including Dan Roberts, are at 3% or less.)

Last fall, though, Solomon's polling had the race at Huffman 16, Roberts 12, Solomon 11, Adams 4, and Lawson 4. So Huffman's ticked up a bit, Adams has doubled her share, and Solomon has dropped a point. Solomon still argues that he has a "clear path to finish in the top two" because his is the "second-most recognized candidate in the race" (after Huffman), but it looks like he's in a serious dogfight, and that his standing hasn't improved in the last six months.

8:02 AM PT: WI Recall: The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee?the official party committee which works on state legislative races?is out with its own polling of the Wisconsin state Senate recalls which differ considerably from the less-than-optimistic numbers PPP found about ten days ago. You'll want to check out their full memo (PDF), which offers a lot more detail than is typical, including comparisons to rarely-seen performance numbers from the National Committee for an Effective Congress. But here's a summary of the surveys (from Myers Research):

SD-21: John Lehman (D): 51, Van Wanggaard (R-inc): 47

SD-23: Kristin Dexter (D): 47, Terry Moulton (R-inc): 49

SD-29: Donna Seidel (D): 45; Jerry Petrowski (R): 51

8:15 AM PT: IN-Sen: Even if Wenzel Strategies is a dodgy pollster (they also poll for the batshit WorldNetDaily) and you aren't sure whether to trust their toplines, their trendlines aren't good for Dick Lugar at all. The Republican senator now trails his GOP primary opponent, Treasurer Richard Mourdock, 39 to 44, whereas in mid-March, he clung to a 45-39 lead in Wenzel's last poll (on behalf of Citizens United). That's a swing of eleven points, and the primary is just twelve days away. What odds would you give on Lugar surviving?


8:38 AM PT: NY-06: Man, the attempt to put up a phony candidate with a Jewish-sounding name has turned into some serious Frick and Frack nonsense in New York's new 6th Congressional District. First there was Jeffrey Gottlieb, a Board of Elections employee who bailed because someone dug up the fact that he'd once been prosecuted for arson (!) in the 1970s (!)?for torching his own home. Then there was attorney Stephen Green, who lasted a single day. Finally, there came allergist Robert Mittman, but he didn't want this flaming bag of dog poop any more than the others, so he, too, has decided to quit.

But there's a problem: It's too late for Mittman to get off the ballot, unless "his" (aka Gottlieb's) nominating petitions get thrown out. I think there's a good chance they will, since signature challenges are indeed already pending, and I'm sure the corrupt schmucks who put Gottlieb on the ballot in the first place didn't exactly do a bang-up job circulating petitions. (Gottlieb's first name was mis-spelled on his forms.) So I suspect in the end, this whole farce designed to hurt the chances of Assemblyman Rory Lancman in the Democratic primary will finally get interred.

8:59 AM PT: Attorneys General: In this Reuters story about Republican AGs feeling their oats (about healthcare reform, immigration law, etc.) was this interesting factoid:

The ranks of Republican attorneys general have swelled dramatically in the last decade, resulting in a nearly even nationwide partisan split that is unprecedented in modern history. Republican attorneys general now number 24 of the 50 state attorneys general, compared with just 12 as recently as 2000.



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