CAMPAIGN OVERNIGHT: Back from recess, GOP starts off on two wrong feet

Two stubborn scandal-plagued lawmakers made one big headache for the GOP on Monday.

But while one’s defiance could cost the party a seat come November, the other  is likely to end up just another footnote in congressional lore at the end of the cycle.

Rep. Michael Grimm’s (R-N.Y.) indictment on Monday further jeopardizes what had already been a top target for Democrats, and his indication that he has no plans go go down quietly leaves the state GOP with no clear pick out of their already limited menu of options to replace him.

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Rep. Vance McAllister’s (R-La.) decision not to resign, despite calls from Louisiana GOP leaders to do just that, packs less of a punch for the party because he’s also decided not to run for reelection this fall. His decision to step down at the end of his current term delivers the party from what could’ve been a bloody primary in the otherwise safe 5th District.

But both gave the GOP grief on lawmakers’ first day back from its Easter recess, a day it would’ve rather spent trumpeting the nomination of high-profile female candidates in Utah and Virginia House races, or Secretary of State John Kerry’s criticism of Israel, or ... just about anything else.

If nothing else, they got the party off on two wrong feet on Monday.

SENATE SHOWDOWN

CO-SEN (UDALL): The League of Conservation Voters released an ad Monday accusing Americans for Prosperity of running a “smear campaign” against Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), saying the ads are part of a “big oil” campaign to elect Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) to Udall’s Senate seat.

GA-SEN (OPEN): Democrat Michelle Nunn uses her father, former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) in her latest ad, saying she tried to follow him on the basketball court but not into politics — until now. She reminds voters she led former President George H.W. Bush’s volunteer organization and makes no mention of her party ID.

Nunn released her ad with an email from former Atlanta Hawks star Dikembe Mutombo. “There aren’t a lot of things that get past me. So when people tell me that we should send more of the same type of leadership to Washington, I say no, no, no,” he wrote, alluding to his memorable Geico ad.

IA-SEN (OPEN): Businessman Mark Jacobs is under fire for telling MSNBC during an interview that “I don’t think U.S. senators make that much money” when asked whether the millionaire would give up his government salary if elected. Senators make $175,000 a year.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), a potential 2016 presidential candidate, threw his support behind former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker on Monday. Whitaker has lagged in GOP polling behind Jacobs and state Sen. Joni Ernst (R).

KY-SEN (MCCONNELL): The American Conservative Union is backing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) for reelection.

LA-SEN (LANDRIEU): Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) released a new ad featuring shipbuilder Boysie Bollinger. “Even though I’m a Republican and don’t always agree with her, Louisiana can’t afford to lose Mary Landrieu,” says Bollinger, citing her chairmanship of the Energy Committee, which means “more boats, more jobs and more oil and gas” for the state.

NH-SEN (SHAHEEN): The New Hampshire Republican Party has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s (D) campaign charging she attempted to illegally coordinate with a Democratic group supporting her reelection bid.

BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE

CA-31 (OPEN): Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee-backed Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar’s (D) first ad showcases both his grandmothers. EMILY’s List-endorsed Eloise Reyes Gomez has her first ad out too, telling viewers of her journey from working in the onion fields to becoming a lawyer.

FL-13 (JOLLY): 2012 nominee Jessica Ehrlich (D) won’t run this fall against newly elected Rep. David Jolly (R). Alex Sink, who lost to Jolly in last month’s special election, has also passed on running again.

WV-2 (OPEN): The Senate Conservatives Fund is launching a new ad for Republican Alex Mooney, the front-runner in the GOP primary to replace Senate candidate Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.). The minute-long radio ad calls Mooney, who formerly served as the chairman of the Maryland Republican Party before moving to West Virginia last February to run for the seat, “West Virginia’s conservative choice for Congress.”

OH-8 (BOEHNER): Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) Tea Party rival has lost his job as professor of a local Baptist college because of a Web video from his campaign that parodies erectile dysfunction ads and includes heavy doses of sexual innuendo.

2016 WATCH

SANTORUM: RUNNING FOR PREZ 'JUST TOUGH': Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) has a new book out this week, Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommitting to an America That Works. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s ramping up for another presidential bid.

"Yeah, I don't know if I can do this. It's just tough," Santorum told the AP over the weekend, citing his movie production career and his daughter’s health.

JEB BUSH TO KEYNOTE RJC LUNCHEON: Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) will headline the Republican Jewish Coalition’s leadership luncheon in Miami on May 22.

BIDEN ON THE ATTACK: Vice President Biden tore into the GOP, saying Republicans had abandoned the idea of “opportunity for all” in a speech to college students at The George Washington University.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“And then, on top of all that, I have an election to win.”

—Embattled Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), proclaiming his innocence and pledging to win reelection after being indicted on 20 counts Monday