Top of the ballot: Primary day, Memorial hangover edition (Updated)

Voting is under way in competitive primaries in Alabama, Mississippi and New Mexico, it seems New York Democrats have a burn book for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) may not get a coronation after all.

Who can it be now?

In Mississippi most attention will be on the first district House primary where Republicans Angela McGlowan, Henry Ross and Alan Nunnelee are vying to take on Rep. Travis Childers (D-Miss.). The primary left a bad taste in Republicans' mouths last cycle, but this time officials are hopeful the base will unite after Tuesday.

In Alabama, Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) is bidding to become to the first African-American governor. He faces state Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks in the Democratic primary, but whoever emerges from the crowded GOP primary is favored to win the governorship.

On the House side, Rep. Parker Griffith (R-Ala.), once a member of the Democratic party, faces Republican primary voters for the first time. He's up against Republicans Mo Brooks and Les Phillip for the nod. 

Meanwhile, freshman Rep. Bobby Bright (D-Ala.) will find out whether he'll face a Tea Party candidate in November. Marine veteran Rick Barber (R) had claimed that mantle but primary rival Martha Roby has establishment support and a financial advantage.

In New Mexico, former Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) is expected to brush past farmer Cliff Pirtle (R) and earn the chance to challenge Rep. Harry Teague (D-N.M.).

Republicans have five choices for governor in the state, which include Susana Martinez, Allen Weh, Doug Turner, Janice Arnold-Jones and Pete Domenici Jr., the son of the former New Mexico senator.

The winner of the GOP nod will face Lt. Gov. Diane Denish (D), who doesn't face a primary challenge. Gov. Bill Richardson (D) is term limited.

Don't keep it under your bed

While Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) toyed with challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in the primary last year, her campaign developed an "oppo book" on the appointed senator, according to the New York Daily News. After the congresswoman dropped the idea of a challenge and former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) "took up the cause," Maloney apparently gave him the book. Ford ultimately decided to forgo a run. 

The Daily News reported that Maloney's campaign spokeswoman, Alix Anfang, didn't deny the story, but noted: "Congresswoman Maloney fully supports Senator Gillibrand. She has been a remarkable leader, fighter and a strong partner on the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which they have co-sponsored."

On Tuesday, however, Anfang told The Ballot Box the paper's story is incorrect. "We did not have an oppo book at all," Anfang said. "And nothing was given." The campaign has asked for a correction to the Daily News story, she added.

A source close to Ford also denied an "oppo book" was ever exchanged. "Maybe she put it in the mail. We never got it," the source said.

Iowa surprise?

With only a week to go before the Iowa gubernatorial primary, businessman Bob Vander Plaats is starting to catch up to former Gov. Terry Branstad (R). Vander Plaats had 31 percent support in a new Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday, while Branstad currently stands at a "surprisingly low" 46 percent. Republican Rod Roberts rounds out the field at 13 percent.

—Updated at 10:16 a.m. 


More in Governor races

Manchin to decide on gubernatorial bid by Memorial Day

Read more »