Ballot Box

Rasmussen: California GOP House candidates in 'serious trouble'

The California Republican Party is in "serious trouble" and will struggle to win competitive House seats in the state, conservative pollster Scott Rasmussen told a southern California radio show on Friday.

"Republicans have not done well there," he said, "so national Republicans put less effort in there. It doesn't become terribly important in the Republican nominating process for the White House, and as that leads to more neglect, it just reinforces the problem."

Because of a new non-partisan redistricting map in the state, there are a number of seats in play in California this fall. Republicans have increasingly struggled to win statewide in California as a fast-growing Hispanic population has flocked to the Democrats, and the state party is not in good shape.


Barrett focuses on criminal probe of ex-Walker aides in debate

In a sometimes-heated final debate Thursday night, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) drilled in on the ongoing criminal investigation of some of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's (R) former aides.

Walker and Barrett have run hard-hitting ads questioning each other's honesty in recent days — Barrett's targeted the probe, while Walker's ads have questioned whether his police department has doctored statistics on violent crime. Both topics were the focus of the debate, and showed that in a race that started out as a referendum on labor rights, the final days will be fought on more personal territory.

"I have a police department that arrests felons," Barrett said at one point, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "He has a practice of hiring them."

Thirteen former Walker aides from his time as Milwaukee County executive have been granted immunity in the case in exchange for their cooperation, including Walker's former spokeswoman at the department, whose name was added to the list this week.

Walker criticized Barrett for how his police department has handled crime statistics. Barrett has touted a drop in violent crime, but a Journal-Sentinel piece showed much of that drop might have derived from massaged statistics.

The two will face off in the recall election on Tuesday. Walker has led narrowly in most nonpartisan polls, but Barrett hopes that a visit Friday from former President Bill Clinton will help stir up enthusiasm for his campaign.


White House hopeful Johnson becomes eligible for federal matching funds

Gary Johnson is the second 2012 presidential candidate qualified for federal matching funds, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) announced Thursday.

Johnson, the libertarian presidential nominee, filed the documents to qualify for matching federal funds on April 27. The former New Mexico governor initially ran as a GOP presidential hopeful, but switched to the third-party ticket in December and endorsed Ron Paul for the 2012 GOP Iowa caucuses.

Buddy Roemer, who initially ran as a Republican and then switched to the reform ticket, was the first candidate to qualify for funds in February 2012. Roemer dropped out of the race Thursday, citing his failure to qualify for the November ballot in any of the 50 states.


Vern Buchanan reserves $4M in fall airtime

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) has made a huge $4 million airtime reservation for the fall campaign, according to a memo circulated by his campaign.

The reservation is a sign that Buchanan, a wealthy auto dealer, is willing to spend huge amounts of his own money to stay in Congress. His campaign had just shy of $1.5 million in the bank as of the end of March, a total that includes a nearly $500,000 contribution from the candidate.

Buchanan sits in a GOP-leaning seat based in the Tampa Bay area, but is facing an ongoing Ethics Committee investigation into whether he attempted to procure a false affidavit from a witness testifying about allegations of a straw-donor scheme. 

But it will be a costly venture for Democrats to try to knock him off — Tampa will be one of the most expensive media markets in the country this fall, because it covers a key swing area in a key swing state for the presidential campaign, a Senate race and a number of House races.

The Hill rates the race "lean Republican."