State by State

California

The Sacramento Bee on Sunday endorsed former Rep. Doug Ose in the Republican primary in the 4th congressional district, calling him the candidate “to get things done.”

Ose is in a tough intra-party fight against state Sen. Tom McClintock, who has received support from the anti-tax Club for Growth.

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The Bee’s editorial praised Ose for his oversight work on gifts given to presidents during his first stint in Congress, which lasted from 1999 to 2005. It criticized McClintock’s career as one that’s “long on eloquence and principle and short on results.”

Rep. John Doolittle (R), under investigation for ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, announced in January that he would not seek reelection.

Democrats in the district have already rallied behind retired Air Force Lt. Col. Charlie Brown as their nominee. Brown nearly defeated Doolittle in 2006, losing 49-46.

— Walter Alarkon


Kentucky

Kentucky’s two major newspapers, the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Lexington Herald-Leader, have split their endorsements in the Democratic primary fight.

In its endorsement, the Courier-Journal highlighted two-time gubernatorial candidate Bruce Lunsford’s experience and resources.

“Democrats interested in finally ending Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump-GOP tensions over Syria show signs of easing Trump again vetoes resolution blocking national emergency for border wall Trump invites congressional leaders to meeting on Turkey MORE’s [R] long publicly financed stay in Washington should vote for Bruce Lunsford in the senatorial primary,” the paper wrote. “Mr. Lunsford has the resources and energy needed to win in November, as well as the imagination and determination required to shine in the U.S. Senate.”

The Herald-Leader, in its endorsement of Louisville businessman Greg Fischer, noted Lunsford has higher name recognition and more resources at his disposal, but cited baggage associated with his two unsuccessful statewide campaigns and Fischer’s “fresh voice” as the reason for its endorsement.

The winner of the May 20 primary will take on Senate Minority Leader McConnell.

A recent SurveyUSA poll showed Fischer down 19 percent to Lunsford. Though the poll showed a wide gap between the two, Fischer has been gaining on Lunsford heading into the election after starting the race in the low single digits.

Lunsford has the support of institutional Democrats in Kentucky and the backing of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).

Fischer, meanwhile, has found a niche as the candidate of progressives and the liberal blogosphere.

Andy BarrAndy Hale BarrThe Hill's Campaign Report: Impeachment fight to take center stage at Dem debate McGrath raises nearly million in third quarter for bid to unseat McConnell Farm manager doubts story horse bit Pence: report MORE


Maine

Rep. Tom Allen (D-Maine), who is challenging GOP Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTrump-GOP tensions over Syria show signs of easing Susan Collins raises .1 million in third quarter Poll: 50 percent of Maine voters disapprove of Susan Collins's job performance MORE, on Monday became the latest superdelegate to endorse Sen. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaIraq is not yet lost, but if we continue to ignore it, it soon will be Obama praises marathon runners Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei for 'remarkable examples of humanity's ability' Each of us has a role in preventing veteran suicide MORE (D-Ill.).

“It is time to bring a graceful end to the primary campaign,” Allen said in a statement. “We now need to unify the Democratic Party and focus on electing Sen. Obama and a working majority in the United States Senate.”

The move has ramifications for both Obama’s presidential ambitions and Allen’s Senate campaign.

Allen’s challenge of Collins is one of the top upper-chamber races in the country. He has trailed by double digits in polling on the race, but the state’s Democratic lean and the concurrent presidential election are expected to boost his candidacy.

By endorsing Obama, Allen has sought to tie himself to the Democratic front-runner less than a week after primary results in Indiana and North Carolina pushed Obama even further toward the nomination.

While the GOP has attempted to use Obama as an albatross in conservative House districts, Maine is true blue in presidential elections and voted 59-40 for Obama over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in its Feb. 10 caucuses.

Allen had words of praise for Clinton but said it’s time to move forward when he announced his endorsement at his campaign headquarters in Portland. He noted that most of the nation’s primary voters have now spoken.

Obama praised Allen for opposing the Iraq war from the start, which is sure to be a theme in the Senate campaign.

“There’s no question that Tom’s record of service, his tenacity, and his judgment will make him an excellent senator,” Obama said. “I’m thrilled to be working alongside him in this critical election, and I look forward to working with him as president.”

— Aaron Blake


Nebraska

Democrats will choose between businessman Tony Raimondo and former congressional candidate Scott Kleeb in their Senate primary Tuesday.

Raimondo and Kleeb present stark contrasts, with the former an erstwhile Republican businessman running for his first political office and the latter a young rancher who turned in a strong performance in a conservative congressional district in 2006.

Raimondo is attractive as a candidate who can self-fund part of his candidacy, but Kleeb has more campaign experience and was previously on national Democrats’ radar after he took 45 percent in an open-seat race against now-Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.).

The winner will face former Agriculture Secretary and former Gov. Mike JohannsMichael (Mike) Owen JohannsMeet the Democratic sleeper candidate gunning for Senate in Nebraska Farmers, tax incentives can ease the pain of a smaller farm bill Lobbying World MORE (R), who enters the general election as the favorite.

— Aaron Blake

 

New Jersey

NARAL Pro-Choice America, one of the Democratic Party’s most powerful special interest allies, announced Monday that its political action committee would endorse Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) in his primary contest against Rep. Robert Andrews.

The endorsement is a significant boost to Lautenberg because NARAL Pro-Choice America, a leading national advocate for abortion rights, claims more than 25,000 activists in New Jersey.

“His leadership is even more important in this Senate, where every choice-related vote is close,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, in reference to Lautenberg.

Keenan cited Lautenberg’s support of legislation that abortion-rights advocates consider high priorities: the Freedom of Choice Act and the Prevention First Act.

The Freedom of Choice Act would declare that women have the right to terminate pregnancies. The Prevention First Act would expand access to healthcare services to reduce unintended pregnancies.

Andrews campaign Chairman Michael Murphy said he was surprised by NARAL’s endorsement because Andrews has received a 100 percent rating from the abortion-rights group in the past.

“We’re a little surprised and somewhat confused they would fail to endorse both people or take no position when the two candidates have identical records on issues of importance to them,” he said.

— Alexander Bolton


North Carolina

A pair of new polls confirm that a close race looks to be forming between Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) and state Sen. Kay HaganKay Ruthven HaganWarning signs flash for Tillis in North Carolina Tillis trails Democratic challenger by 7 points in North Carolina poll North Carolina businessman will challenge Tillis in GOP primary MORE (D).

Hagan, who won the Democratic primary a week ago, is in a statistical tie in one poll and trailing by five in another. The two polls come on the heels of a Research 2000 poll from late April, commissioned by the liberal Daily Kos website, that showed Dole ahead 48-41.

The latest poll, released Monday by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, showed Dole up 48-43. Rasmussen released a survey last week with Hagan actually ahead by one point, 48-47.

The race is considered a second-tier target for Democrats, after several big-name candidates passed. But Hagan, the choice of national Democrats, easily emerged from the primary and has raised more than $1.5 million so far.

Dole’s campaign pointed out that all three polls were automated phone polls.

“Everyone knows the information gathered from this method is completely worthless,” said spokesman Hogan Gidley.

— Aaron Blake


Utah

Rep. Chris Cannon nearly became the second Republican this cycle to succumb to a primary challenge when former gubernatorial aide Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzHouse Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke GOP senators decline to criticize Acosta after new Epstein charges MORE came within 10 votes of knocking him off at the state GOP convention on Saturday.

Chaffetz won 563 delegates, compared to 391 for Cannon, beating the incumbent 59-41 but coming up just shy of the 60 percent he needed to lock up the nomination. The two will head to a primary June 24.

Cannon might have survived thanks to the support of David Leavitt, the brother of Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt and a former Juab County attorney, who threw his support to Cannon after being eliminated in the second round of voting.

It is the second straight convention in which Cannon has lost. His moderate views on illegal immigration have rubbed some party activists the wrong way, and he has repeatedly faced primary challenges, winning with 56 and 58 percent in his past two primaries, respectively.

Chaffetz is a former chief of staff to Gov. Jon Huntsman (R). He has raised about $100,000 thus far and had about $30,000 in cash on hand as of April 20.

Also at Saturday’s convention, the Deseret News reported that Sen. Bob Bennett (R) said he would run for a fourth term in 2010, when he will be 77 years old.

— Aaron Blake