OVERNIGHT CAMPAIGN: Super-PAC power

TWEET OF THE DAY: “Heading to lunch w/ my good friend & former colleague @RickSantorum.” — Sen. David Vitter (R-La.)


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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I'm not familiar with precisely what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was," Mitt Romney, asked about a comment he made on the Rev. Jeremiah Wright in a February interview with Sean Hannity


AD WATCH:

President Obama is appealing to military voters in a new ad featuring himself and first lady Michelle Obama.

The Obama campaign is urging the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to rebuff a Republican group that wants to run issue ads against Obama without disclosing who paid for them.

Mitt Romney's campaign is going on air with its first ad of the general election in the next few days. "It will be a positive ad about the things I will do if I were president. It's contrasting with the president's ad which came out, once again, as a character assassination ad," Romney said in Florida.

Two Democratic super-PACs are going back on the air with buys in Montana and Missouri, a Republican ad-buy tracker told The Hill. Patriot Majority will spend $200,000 on broadcast ads in Montana beginning on Friday and running through June 5, while Majority PAC will spend $160,000 on ads in St. Louis and Kansas City beginning Friday and running through May 31. 


BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE:

The National Republican Congressional Committee has moved eight candidates to its "Contenders" list, the second-highest ranking for its challengers.

Arizona: The political arm of FreedomWorks, a Tea Party group, has taken sides in an intra-party GOP primary, backing Rep. David Schweikert over Rep. Ben Quayle. And the candidates in the special election to replace former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) squared off in their first debate in Tucson, Ariz. Both Jesse Kelly, the Republican, and Ron Barber, the Democrat, accused each other of lying and dodging straightforward policy questions. The election is June 12.

New Hampshire: The two House races in New Hampshire are both shaping up to be close races, according to a new survey by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling. Rep. Charlie Bass (R-N.H.) is locked in a dead heat with Democrat Ann McLane Kuster, who came within 4,000 votes of ousting Bass two years ago. In the Granite State's other district, former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) is up four points on Rep. Frank Guinta, the Republican who unseated her in 2010.

New Jersey: Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) has a new cable ad calling himself a "scrappy fighter" and touting his endorsement from former President Clinton. It also hits his primary opponent, fellow Democratic Rep. Steve Rothman (N.J.), for what he deemed an unfair attack ad. The Rothman ad accused Pascrell of wanting lower taxes for the rich. Pascrell's ad points out that PolitiFact gave Rothman's ad a "pants on fire" rating.

New Mexico: Marty Chavez, who’s running for an open seat in Albuquerque against Eric Griego, is up with a new ad touting his support for Obama's energy standards and his endorsement from former President Clinton.

Rhode Island: Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) is in serious danger of losing his primary, according to a new poll from WPRI, which shows him leading opponent Anthony Gemma by a narrow 40 to 36 percent.

Texas: The League of Conservation Voters is sending out $100,000 worth of direct mail pieces attacking former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas) on environmental issues. Rodriquez is running for his old House seat. 


SENATE SHOWDOWN:

Florida: Former Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fla.) accused his Senate primary opponent, Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), of exploiting the name recognition and popularity of his father, a former Florida senator of the same name. “He’s trying to run a campaign where people will mistake him for his father,” LeMieux said Thursday on MSNBC.

Indiana: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will attend a fundraiser in Indiana for state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) on June 4.

New Mexico: Rep. Martin Heinrich (D) is up with his second ad of the campaign, a positive spot in the lead-up to the early June primary against Hector Balderas.

North Dakota: Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.) has a seven-point lead over Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, 51 percent to 44, in a poll by Forum Communications Co., which owns multiple newspapers in North Dakota. There are questions about the poll’s sampling of voters, however — the poll questioned likely primary voters and not likely general-election voters. 


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Staying on message: Mitt Romney kept hitting the debt drumbeat, this time at a campaign stop in Jacksonville, Fla.

Veep, Veep: Tim Pawlenty — a possible Romney VP pick — attacked Vice President Biden during an appearance on MSNBC.

Dark shadows: Romney and the Republican National Committee could be building a “shadow party” in Nevada.

Money, money: Romney and the RNC raised a combined $40.1 million in April.

Tar Heel tales: Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, in an interview with The Hill, dismisses doubts about holding the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina and expresses confidence Obama will win the state.


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