State by State

Indiana

Rep. Andre Carson (D) endorsed Sen. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaHealth care moves to center stage in Democratic primary fight Meghan McCain shares video of father shutting down supporter who called Obama an 'Arab' after Trump rally Poll: Majority of Democratic voters happy with their choices among 2020 contenders MORE (D-Ill.) for president on Wednesday, giving Obama the first endorsement from Indiana’s group of five Democratic House members and allowing Carson to associate himself with Obama as he faces a tough primary next month.

Carson was elected to the former seat of his late grandmother, Rep. Julia Carson (D), in a special election in March but faces a crowded primary on May 6 with state Rep. Carolene Mays, state Rep. David Orentlicher and former state Health Commissioner Woody Myers.

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“Sen. Obama is a fighter for working families, and part of a new generation of leadership that will bring needed change for our country, and I am proud to endorse him for president,” Carson said in a statement.

The remaining four Democratic lawmakers from the Hoosier State are still holding out.

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Kansas

Former Rep. Jim Ryun leads state Treasurer Lynn Jenkins, 50 percent to 34, in a GOP primary poll released by a pro-Jenkins group.

The poll, which was conducted for the state chapter of the Republican Main Street Partnership, showed the 2nd district congressional race narrowing from the 61-27 margin in a poll commissioned by Ryun from May 2007.

The winner of the primary will face freshman Rep. Nancy Boyda (D), who defeated Ryun in 2006.

The poll surveyed 451 self-identified likely primary voters last week by phone and was conducted by Mary Christine and Associates. Mary Christine Banwart is relatively unknown as a pollster but is an assistant professor of communications studies at the University of Kansas.

“The more voters in this district learn about Lynn Jenkins, the more her message resonates, and these poll numbers clearly reflect this,” said Ryan Wright, the executive director of the pro-Jenkins Kansas Traditional Republican Majority.

Ryun campaign manager Kyle Robertson suggested the poll wasn’t credible because it also tested a negative message about Ryun’s connection to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff: “It’s obvious that Lynn Jenkins will use dirty tactics to avoid discussing her latest plan to raise taxes on Social Security.”

— Aaron Blake


Minnesota

Iraq veteran Ashwin Madia beat the Democratic establishment candidate, and now he’s got the establishment behind him.

Madia on Wednesday became the newest member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) Red to Blue program, which will direct funding to his campaign.

He defeated state Sen. Terri Bonoff at the 3rd district Democratic endorsing convention over the weekend, and Bonoff made good on a promise not to pursue a contested primary.

Madia will likely face state Rep. Erik Paulsen (R) in the race to replace retiring Rep. Jim Ramstad (R) in a top swing district.

Madia could use the cash bump. Paulsen raised $380,000 in the first quarter and had $690,000 cash on hand on March 31, while Madia raised $200,000 and had $190,000 on hand.

The GOP endorsing convention is this weekend.

— Aaron Blake


New Hampshire

State Sen. Bob Clegg (R) is getting help for his House bid from an old friend.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) said his new political action committee, Huck PAC, will support Clegg in his bid to replace freshman Rep. Paul Hodes (D). Huckabee started the PAC on Tuesday to help Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain shares video of father shutting down supporter who called Obama an 'Arab' after Trump rally Graham: Every Republican president or nominee 'will be accused of being a racist' No presidential candidate can unite the country MORE (R-Ariz.) in the presidential election and “conservative, pro-life, pro-family” candidates in House and Senate races.

Clegg, chairman of Huckabee’s New Hampshire primary campaign, faces a tough GOP primary against talk radio host Jennifer Horn, who was recruited to run by the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Clegg echoed the “bipartisanship” theme from Huckabee’s presidential campaign while accepting the Arkansan’s support.

“Gov. Huckabee always talked about vertical politics — how people don’t care if the answers are liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat — they just want answers,” Clegg said in a press release.

— Walter Alarkon


New Jersey

Rep. Robert Andrews (D) declined to say Wednesday that his early support for the Iraq war was a mistake and noted that Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) also supported the war early on.

Andrews, who announced two weeks ago that he would challenge Lautenberg in a June primary, was pressed during a conference call about whether he thought his support for the war was a mistake. He wouldn’t answer directly.

“If we would have known the terrible cost in loss of life and limb, I think no one would have supported it,” Andrews said Wednesday.

Andrews helped draft the war resolution but has since turned against the war. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) faced a great deal of scrutiny on the presidential campaign trail for refusing to call her vote for the war a mistake.

Lautenberg’s campaign has been hammering Andrews for his role in authorizing the Iraq war, but Andrews fought back Wednesday, issuing a slate of past statements from Lautenberg supportive of the war.

Andrews made statements supportive of the war until as late as 2005, while Lautenberg, who wasn’t a member of the Senate when it voted in 2002 to authorize the war, voted against funding it in late 2003.

Still, Lautenberg’s earlier statements show he was initially on board.

“I’d like to believe we can [avoid the war], but I’ve got to tell you this, that — I’m on the president’s train on this one,” Lautenberg said on Fox News’s “Hannity and Colmes” in February 2003.

Lautenberg said in March 2003 on the same show: “The days of dissent, I think, are essentially over. People have a right to disagree, but if they’re disagreeing, they ought to disagree with the behavior of Saddam Hussein — the cruelty and madness with which he held people’s lives in fragile hands. But there’s no protest there, and I don’t get it.”

Lautenberg spokeswoman Julie Roginsky emphasized that Lautenberg got it right once he got all the information.

“Once Frank Lautenberg returned to the Senate, he saw firsthand intelligence that Rob Andrews, George Bush and Dick Cheney used to deceive us into war,” Roginsky said. “Year after year after year, while Rob Andrews enabled George Bush’s Iraq war, Sen. Lautenberg was leading the fight to bring our troops home.”

— Aaron Blake


Wyoming

Wyoming’s two Republican senators are not tamping down speculation that they might take the unusual step of switching their Senate terms.

Sen. Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziLawmakers concede they might have to pass a dreaded 'CR' Bottom Line Former GOP Rep. Cynthia Lummis files to run for Wyoming Senate seat MORE (R) has not yet announced whether he will ask Wyoming voters to send him back to the Senate for another six years in November, and his frustration with Republican leaders over committee assignments has fueled speculation that he may be looking for an exit from Capitol Hill.

Instead of leaving at year’s end, Enzi apparently might opt to switch terms with appointed Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoPoll: McConnell is most unpopular senator EPA hails Trump's work on reducing air pollution House passes bill to crack down on toxic 'forever chemicals' MORE (R).

Nothing in state law would preclude Enzi from filing to finish the remainder of the late Sen. Craig Thomas’s (R) term, which Barrasso is currently serving. In exchange, Barrasso would then file for a six-year term starting in 2009, instead of Enzi.

Barrasso said the first he heard of such a scenario was when he read about it in the Sunday edition of the Casper Star-Tribune.

“It’s the first I’ve ever heard of it,” Barrasso said this week. When pressed, he would not rule out the idea.

Enzi said he has a made a decision on whether to run, but is not prepared to make an announcement “on any topic whatsoever.”

“So you could speculate over anything that you want, but I’m not confirming or denying anything,” Enzi said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the two had yet to discuss the idea.

Wyoming candidates have to file their paperwork between May 15-30, and primaries aren’t held until Aug. 19.

— Manu Raju