Other races

Other races

Top of the ballot: Raising Arizona, Obama hits the road and Crist's still coy on Indie bid

Arizona rekindles the national immigration debate, Missouri Senate candidate Robin Carnahan (D) will finally appear with President Obama and Gov. Charlie Crist (R) has three days to decided his future.

Take 'em away boys

The passage of Arizona's anti-illegal immigration law has dragged the issue of immigration reform back into the national spotlight. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) suggested last week that he'll prioritize an immigration bill before energy reform. A best case scenario for Democrats' chances in November may be to appear to be working on the issue, while refraining from passing actual legislation.

President Obama acknowledged in a web video Monday that Latino voters were a key party of the coalition "who powered our victory in 2008," so giving them something to vote for in the midterms could help his party.

The Arizona bill may also be a wedge issue to corner Republicans on. The Florida Democratic Party sent out a release Tuesday that asked, "What do Crist and Rubio think of the AZ immigration law?" Put another way the question is, do Republicans support racial profiling? GOP candidates better get familiar with Arizona's new statute.

No longer ships in the night

Carnahan, the likely Democratic nominee for Senate in Missouri, will appear with Obama Wednesday when he stops in Macon as part of his "Main Street Tour," according to the Kansas City Star. It may be a sign that the president's numbers are improving in the Midwest. Earlier this year, Carnahan opted to be in DC for a fundraiser instead of joining Obama at an event for Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) in St. Louis.

Fancy meeting you here

Crist showed up at the ribbon cutting for a road construction project near the Miami International Airport Monday. Asked why he was at an event for a project funded by the stimulus program, Crist said: "Because it creates jobs for the people of Florida that I work for and that is first and foremost in my mind."

He maintains he hasn't made up his mind about an Independent run for Senate, but he certainly appears to be positioning himself that way. One concern, though, is would he refund the donations he received from people who thought of him as a Republican?

Crist: "You know, I think that's a decision that you have to make if you made a decision to go independent. I haven't made that decision yet."

Florida's filing deadline is Friday.

Other updates

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) wishes he could make it a trilogy.

"I'm one of those governors that actually, you know, wouldn't mind staying in another term as governor," Schwarzenegger said Monday at a press conference in Beverly Hills with Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle (D) and Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle (R)

"I totally agree what you say, Gov. Doyle, that after two terms you should get out and you should have a new breed of people come in and all that," Schwarzenegger said, according to the Sacramento Bee. "But there is also, you must admit, there's things that you see that you have started and you see movement, and all of a sudden you feel like it needs the follow through. You know, to go all the way, just like in the golf stroke, follow through, or in the tennis stroke, follow through. And now all of a sudden you're not there to follow through."


Obama makes early voting pitch to supporters

With polls showing parts of the Democratic base apathetic about the midterm elections, President Obama urged his supporters to rekindle their enthusiasm and vote in November.

"It will be up to each of you to make sure that the young people, African Americans, Latinos, and women, who powered our victory in 2008 stand together once again," he said in a video released Monday.

Foreshadowing his likely 2010 stump speech, the president warned that a cadre of "special interests" were looking to "undo all that we have accomplished."


Top of the ballot: Blago's back, Lowden's hit in Nevada and Ohio dollar figures

Illinois Democrats' worst fears appear to be coming true, the Nevada GOP Senate primary heats up and the Ohio governor's race will be pricey.

Bladojevich dominates Chicago papers

The trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) is back on the frontpages in Chicago Friday. His attorneys have filed a request to have President Obama testify on the governor's behalf.

Blagojevich's lawyers argued that Obama knows some key details about the governor's alleged attempt to sell the president's former Senate seat and could help prove his innocence.

The Chicago Tribune also has this interesting tidbit, "Quoting from a sealed prosecution memo, the defense team aired a previously undisclosed allegation that convicted influence peddler Antoin 'Tony' Rezko told investigators he tried to buy Obama's favor with illegal campaign contributions. Rezko, a top fundraiser for Obama and Blagojevich, is cooperating in the case against the former governor."

Obama, the Tribune notes, has "repeatedly said Rezko has never asked him to do anything improper and he has never done so."

Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and other Illinois Republicans have often said that corruption is the issue that favors them most going into November.

‘The truth has since come out’

Attorney Danny Tarkanian (R) is up with a radio ad hitting Republican rival Sue Lowden on her abortion stance. The new 30-second spot, which is running statewide on conservative talk show radio stations, says Lowden "told conservatives she was pro-life, but since then the truth has come out." It's apparently just the beginning from Tarkanian.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, "His campaign will be unleashing more radio ads as well as television spots that attempt to portray Lowden as flip-flopping on issues ranging from Yucca Mountain to government bailouts to taxes."

The GOP primary for right to face Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is June 8.

Back to Ohio

Former Rep. John Kasich (R-Ohio) outpaced Gov. Ted Strickland (D) for the second reporting period in a row, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Kasich raised $2 in the first quarter of the year to Strickland's $1.6, although the governor did raise a significant amount at the end of the previous reporting cycle.

The Democratic incumbent leads Kasich in cash on hand, $7.1 million to $5.2 million.

Other updates

That's one way to try to stop financial regulatory reform. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is accusing senior Securities and Exchange Commission staffers of spending more time surfing the Web for porn than doing their jobs, according to the Associated Press.


Citizens United and the political fallout of the SCOTUS pick

The Hill's Jay Heflin notes this interesting new Q-poll:

A nationwide poll from Quinnipiac found that 79 percent of respondents disapprove of the recent Supreme Court ruling on the Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission case.

The Court essentially ruled that corporations and unions are entitled to free speech and, therefore, could contribute funds directly to a political candidate. Opposition to this decision was strong across the political spectrum, according to the poll.

The poll also found that 78 percent of voters think the Court allows political views to enter into their decisions. 

The fact that so many people disapprove of the Citizens United ruling may help limit the political fallout of President Obama's pending Supreme Court appointment.

UCLA's Eugene Volokh made this point on PBS's NewsHour Wednesday night: 

"The issue here is the politics, that here you have a -- a Republican Party which thinks it has a good shot at making very substantial gains in November, possibly even flipping one or both chambers. You have got an administration that certainly doesn't want that to happen.

Now, given the Republicans' past statements that they're not going to endorse filibusters, or that -- or that they oppose filibusters of Supreme Court nominees -- these are statements during the Bush administration -- I don't think the Republicans are going to filibuster.

I think it is pretty clear that the president is going to get the majority that he needs to get to get the person -- the person confirmed. The real question is at what cost in November. To what extent will the Republicans being able to portray this, this candidate, as emblematic of the liberal Democrats being out of touch with the public on culture war type issues, such as same-sex marriage, such as National Day of Prayer, such as 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance?"

Democrats potentially could avoid a bruising debate over cultural issues by talking up the Citizens United case instead.

An Obama administration official said this week that the president will make his pick by May 26, although it could come "well before then."


Top of the ballot: The TV ad edition

There's an air war happening in Hawaii, Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) is gearing up the attack machine and President Obama makes some Midwestern travel plans.

Air Hawaii

Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou (R) takes aim squarely at his Democratic opponents and their "insider friends from Washington" in his latest spot.

"The only special interest I care about is yours," Djou says at the end of the 30-second TV ad, which went up Tuesday. It's a quick response to the two attack ads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been running against him.

The DCCC went up Tuesday with its second spot attacking Djou on jobs and his support for "cutting thousands of teachers." The 30-second ad is airing in the Honolulu media market, which covers the entire state.

Djou faces Democrats Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case in the special House election set for May 22, and things are likely to get nastier as the vote approaches.

Reporting for duty

On the same day that Sestak dropped his minute-long bio ad, Sen. Arlen Specter’s (D-Pa.) campaign released a spot questioning his military record. Trailing as he is in the polls, Sestak will have no choice but to go negative on Specter if he wants to win the Democratic Senate primary.

And he plans to, he told the New York Times. The paper reported, "When asked whether his next round of TV ads would include a negative one against the  senator, Mr. Sestak said he would keep pointing out that until recently, Mr. Specter had voted more often with Republicans, and with President George W. Bush, than with the Democrats."

Pennsylvania Democrats are bracing for a war of attrition.

Down on Main Street

Obama will travel to Missouri, Iowa and Illinois next week as part of a three-state swing to talk to real voters about real issues, according to several reports.

It'll be his second trip to Iowa in almost a month and Democrats sound happy about it.

"I've talked about the need for him to get out and talk to people about what concerns them in the heartland," Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) told the Des Moines Register. "I'm just excited to see that he's coming out here and expressing interest in discussing these things."

Other updates

Obama will return to California in May for another fundraiser for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Republicans smell blood. Former Rep. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.) is up with a new TV spot that doesn't attack his primary opponents but the Democratic incumbent.

Campbell's ad uses footage from a Senate hearing last summer wherein Boxer insisted Brig. Gen. Michael Walsh, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, call her "senator" and not "ma'am." Campbell calls it a "sign of arrogance." His campaign told the Sacramento Bee that the new ad is running on cable stations statewide. Campbell has to get past the June 8th primary before he can face Boxer.


Rahm Emanuel: 'I would like to run for mayor'

Rahm Emanuel admitted he wants to return home and run for mayor of Chicago some time in the near future.

"I hope Mayor Daley seeks reelection. I will work and support him if he seeks reelection," the White House chief of staff told PBS's Charlie Rose in an interview. "But if Mayor Daley doesn't, one day I would like to run for mayor of the city of Chicago."

He added, "That's always been an aspiration of mine even when I was in the House of Representatives."

There were conflicting reports over the last few months about whether he actually wanted to run for the Windy City's top job.

Richard Daley is set to surpass his father as the longest serving mayor if he sees out his current term, which expires next year. Some reports suggest he plans to run again, which means Emanuel would be looking at a 2015 bid. 

Emanuel, a former aide to Daley, also told Rose that he no longer was interested in becoming speaker of the House.


Video: California Dem chair says Obama voters motivated by 'pot'

Recent polls have shown key parts of the Democratic base are less motivated than their Republican counterparts to vote this cycle but that doesn't worry California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton.

Burton said young people will go to the polls in November with a specific issue in mind -- pot.

Young supporters of President Obama will turnout in order to support the ballot initiative to tax and regulate pot in California, Burton told the San Francisco Chronicle Friday before the state party’s convention kicked off in Los Angeles. 

Here's the video: