Top of the ballot: FEC Day cometh; Crist leads as an indy

As I note in today’s paper, all eyes today will be on Senate candidates such as Rep. John Boozman (R-Ark.), Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.), former North Carolina state Sen. Cal Cunningham (D), former Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) and Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) to see what kinds of statements they can make with their numbers today.

In the House, Hawaii special election candidate Charles Djou (R) this morning announced raising $300,000 in the first quarter, bringing his cash on hand to $500,000.

State Senate president Colleen Hanabusa (D) previously announced raising $450,000 for the quarter. Former Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii) has not announced his totals.

Dems to hit GOP on Fair Tax

Democrats are preparing to hit a series of Republican candidates today for supporting the Fair Tax.

In fact, at least four of the top 10 candidates in the National Republican Congressional Committee’s (NRCC) Young Guns program are on record as supporting the Fair Tax, as is Pennsylvania special election candidate Tim Burns.

And Senate Democrats point to past reports and bill sponsor lists that indicate Senate candidates like Rep. John Boozman (R-Ark.), Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), former Rep. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.) and Marco Rubio have supported the concept of a national sales tax.

Democrats contend that the fair tax – which would abolish the IRS and provide a 23 percent national sales tax – would represent a tax increase on the middle class.

A way out for Crist?

A new Quinnipiac poll should provide Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) just about all the incentive he needs to make the switch and run as an independent.

While Crist trails Marco Rubio by 23 points in the GOP primary, he’s now showing a lead in a three-way general election matchup. It’s the first poll this year that shows Crist in front in that hypothetical scenario.

The primary matchup has Rubio leading Crist 56-33, while Crist leads Rubio 32-30 in the general election (Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek is at 24 percent).

Political observers are watching closely to see if Crist vetoes an education bill favored by Republicans. If he does, it could be a prelude to an independent run.

He has half a month, until the April 30th filing deadline, to decide.

Other updates

-Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s Senate campaign is the subject of a not-so-flattering New York Times profile today. Blumenthal is being criticized for his performance on the stump.

-A Talk Business poll in Arkansas shows Lt. Gov. Bill Halter closing to within single digits of Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) in their primary. He now trails 38-31. The poll also showed Boozman sailing in the GOP primary, 46-14 over state Sen. Gilbert Baker.

-Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) is set to announce his plans on running against Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) today. Anything but a ‘no’ would be a shock at this point.