It’s primary day in Texas, where the magic number is
50-plus-one for Gov. Rick Perry (R). That’s what he needs if he wants to save
the time, trouble and money of a six-week runoff with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison
(R). Either way, it’s hard to see Perry losing this primary, but it’s going to
be interesting to see how much of a fight Hutchison puts up. After that, get
ready for the continuation of the will-she-or-won’t-she soap opera about
whether or not Hutchison will resign her Senate seat. She has said her pledge
to resign remains intact, but many, including admittedly the Ballot Box, are
dubious. The GOP doesn’t need to risk losing another seat, just as some pundits
are starting to talk about them regaining the majority in the Senate, and the
pressure will be on for Hutchison. What’s more, if she resigns, she’d be giving
the man who beat her, Perry, the right to replace her with a temporary
appointment. That wouldn’t sit well with her.
Be sure to check back at the Ballot Box tonight, where we
will be live-blogging the results from Texas. The GOP primaries to face Reps.
Chet Edwards (D-Texas) and Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas) are also on the ballot.
Specter surge or outlier alert?
Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) inexplicably took the lead over
former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) in the latest Quinnipiac poll on the race. It’s
hard to see what might have caused Specter, who has trailed by double digits in
other recent polls, to surge to a 49-42 lead over Toomey. It also shows Specter
with a net-positive (48-45) job approval rating, which is widely different than
other polling – Franklin and Marshall recently showed Specter’s job numbers at
30-62, with him trailing Toomey 44-34. The one area where it does echo other
polls is the primary, which shows Specter leading Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.)
53-29. At this point, though, the poll has to be considered an outlier.
Have you driven a Ford (out of the race) lately?
We shouldn’t be terribly surprised that former Rep. Harold
Ford Jr.’s (D-Tenn.) primary against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) was so
quickly aborted. Ford’s launch was about as rough as they come, and his past
issue positions made him a tough sell in a blue state so soon after his last campaign.
The good thing for Gillibrand is that this threat, moreso than the others
before it, really seems to have swung her campaign into high gear. If Mort
Zuckerman or former Gov. George Pataki are really serious about taking a shot
at her, they now know what they will be dealing with. And despite some lukewarm
job approval numbers for Gillibrand, she’s shown she can more than hold her own
in a statewide contest.