Top of the ballot

Businessman Tim Burns is the GOP nominee in the special election for the late Rep. John Murtha’s (D-Pa.) seat. Now the question is how much money he and the national GOP will put into the race. This is a swing district, but it’s a tough situation for Republicans. Democrats will be running hotly contested regular primaries for governor and Senate on May 18, while Republicans have little to speak of when it comes to driving their voters to the polls. Burns has the personal resources to self-fund, but he has only given his campaign $75,000 so far and doesn't raise much. The national GOP, meanwhile, would like to see Burns commit to spending a significant amount of his money before it starts spending its own on the race. Resources are at a premium at the NRCC, and it would rather not be bothered with a must-win type race. Expectations are low so far, but will they remain that way?

Health care albatross

Democratic pollsters Doug Schoen and Pat Caddell put into words what has been pretty apparent in polls, but that few Democrats have conceded – that the health care bill is a big political problem in 2010. "In the wake of the stinging loss in Massachusetts, there was a moment when the president and the Democratic leadership seemed to realize the reality of the health-care situation," they write in the Washington Post. "Yet like some seductive siren of Greek mythology, the lure of health-care reform has arisen again." Wow. They go further by saying the battle for public opinion is a lost cause. Reading that, it’s no surprise that in today’s paper, I found just one of 26 Democratic candidates willing to attach their name to the legislation. 

Melancon still in it

Democrats want to assure they have a chance against Sen. David Vitter (R-La.). The campaign of Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.) is releasing another poll showing him trailing the incumbent by 10 points. That’s the same margin he trailed by in another Anzalone Liszt poll in May 2009, and it tracks closely with early polling on the race. Since then, however, Rasmussen has released a couple polls showing Vitter leading by around 20 points. Rest assured, Melancon has a chance if he runs the right kind of campaign. But Vitter is hovering right around that 50 percent mark, and things will probably need to get a little dirty. This is Louisiana, though, so we can probably count on it.