Top of the ballot

It was a bad day to be a New York Democrat on Thursday. On the same day Gov. David Paterson had a long-awaited bomb dropped on him by the New York Times, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) was found to have broken House rules by the House Ethics Committee. Rangel was found to have knowingly accepted Caribbean trips prohibited by House rules, while Paterson will be under growing pressure to resign after a report that he and state police intervened in a top aide’s domestic violence case. The Rangel news broke late Thursday, leaving little time for fallout. As for Paterson, state Democrats have been somewhat reticent to speak out on the matter. So far, Rep. Dan Maffei and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand have taken the bait. The New York Daily News headline read simply: “Time to go.” If Paterson tries to hold on, though, look for more and more big party figures to start going public with their dismay. There has been a constant dance with Paterson, with establishment types not wanting to look too eager in forcing him out of the race, despite their preference for state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Adding intrigue to injury is the fact that Paterson has asked Cuomo, his potential primary opponent, to investigate the matter.

Murtha seat update

Democrats in the late Rep. John Murtha’s (D-Pa.) district set March 6 as the day they will recommend a candidate to the state executive committee, and shortly thereafter, the field shrunk by one candidate. Former Lt. Gov. Mark Singel abruptly withdrew from the race Thursday. Republicans meanwhile, still have yet to see their field grow. With so many races around the country filling up fast, it’s interesting that a special election isn’t drawing the same kind of GOP interest, at least yet. Businessman Tim Burns and 2008 nominee William Russell remain the only two GOP candidates.

Defining the outsiders

The Democratic campaign committees have been attacking GOP frontrunners and promoting the conservative underdogs who face them in races around the country. But they are moving to attack the outsiders too. As Marco Rubio has ascended, the national Democratic Party has moved to go after him, in addition to Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. Yesterday, the party hit Rubio hard amidst revelations that he charged personal expenses to a Florida GOP American Express card. The DSCC also included a few outsider candidates Thursday, including Tom Campbell and Chuck DeVore in California, in releases aiming to put them on the record for their health care ideas. And in Alabama, the DCCC hit Angela McGlowan and Henry Ross, along with frontrunning state Sen. Alan Nunnelee, on Social Security privatization. If these outsiders can win, they of course need to be defined early too.