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« Health Care Fight Returns To Town Halls | Blog Home Page | The Week Ahead: Out Like A Lamb »

Palin Rallies The Right

Sarah Palin took the stage today at the Pima County Fairgrounds in an effort to give Arizona Sen. John McCain the same kind of conservative base boost she brought to his presidential candidacy two years ago. McCain is facing a challenging GOP primary opponent in former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, who is attempting to paint himself as the true conservative in the race.

The McCain campaign hopes Palin's presence will shore up his conservative base in the state, some of whom are upset over stances he's taken on issues such as immigration reform. Palin also wrote an op-ed in the Arizona Republic this morning talking up McCain's accomplishments.

"For the good of our entire country and the future of your state, please send John McCain back to the United States Senate," wrote Palin.

Palin is active in congressional politics this year, not only defending Republicans but also attacking Democrats. She will reportedly attend the Tea Party event in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's Nevada hometown tomorrow afternoon and has listed 17 Democratic House member targets on her Facebook page.

After the jump, a look at This Week In Midterms.

SENATE
ARIZONA: The 2008 gang is getting back together, as we noted above. The L.A. Times picked up on the event and ran a story today that looks into the irony of the race: "The traits that turned McCain into a national figure -- his ambition, his go-against-the-grain persona, his willingness to work with Democrats on climate change, judicial appointments, immigration and more -- are being used to question his loyalty to the state and his party."

CALIFORNIA: Caroly Fiorina got some much-needed good news this week in the form of a Republican primary poll that found the former corporate executive leading her two rivals. Fiorina had trailed former Rep. Tom Campbell by 6 and 9 points in two polls out earlier this month. The new PPIC poll also found her statistically tied with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D).

FLORIDA: Charlie Crist went up with his first TV ad of the campaign this week, and a new poll out today finds the Republican primary race far closer than others have. The Mason-Dixon survey has Marco Rubio up 11 over Crist. The two will have a chance to make their cases to the masses this weekend as they face off in a debate on Fox News Sunday.

INDIANA: Republicans promised that this week's health care votes in Congress will have repercussions for Democrats in November, and former Sen. Dan Coats (R) wants to make sure that's true here as well. Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D), the likely Democratic Senate nominee, voted in favor of the bill, and Coats ran an op-ed on RCP to respond.

UTAH: The fiscally conservative Club for Growth is out to take incumbent Republican Sen. Bob Bennett in the primary. The New York Times wrote yesterday: "There is no bigger quarry in the eyes of many conservative activists than Mr. Bennett, who has drawn seven challengers and will not know for six weeks whether he will even qualify for the ballot. His fate is being watched not only by grass-roots conservatives testing their ability to shape the party, but also by many elected Republicans in Washington who are wondering, If Bob Bennett is not conservative enough, who is?"

LEFTOVERS: AR Sen. Blanche Lincoln's (D) poll numbers are still unsustainable for a successful incumbent candidate. ND Gov. John Hoeven (R) continues to look like a shoo-in for the open Senate seat. WA Sen. Patty Murray (D) looks good in a new poll, if 2008 voter turnout models hold true in 2010. NC Sen. Richard Burr (R) continues to hold off all Dem opponents. PA Senate candidate Pat Toomey (R) leads Sen. Arlen Specter and Rep. Joe Sestak. WI Sen. Russ Feingold (D) leads former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) by 3 points.

GOVERNOR
NEW YORK: All the sudden, Republicans are the ones with a primary on their hands. But two new polls, from Siena and Marist, show Rick Lazio (R) has the early advantage. Levy still needs to get on the ballot. Both are courting Republicans as the convention nears. But Levy still has the hurdle of his long record in Democratic politics. The state GOP Chair faces criticism for recruiting Levy.

MICHIGAN: Mike Cox is among the AGs seeking to repeal health care reforms. He, too, faces a crowded GOP primary. The GOP looks to have the edge another poll finds.

FLORIDA: McCollum still leads in the latest Rasmussen poll. McCollum is leading the charge among Attorneys General to challenge the health reform law. Democrats make hay about McCollum hiring an outside counsel and friend to handle the suit.

NEVADA: Gov. Jim Gibbons is pushing the state AG to challenge health reform. His primary rival, former Attorney General Brian Sandoval, decided to back that effort after initially holding fire.

CALIFORNIA: The trend is good for Republican Meg Whitman, even though Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) approval has hit an all-time low. Whitman primary challenger Steve Poizner links her to Obama on immigration policy in a new ad. Whitman is still spending big.

PENNSYLVANIA: A Franklin & Marshall poll shows Democrats with no clear frontrunner to succeed Gov. Ed Rendell (D). Attorney General Tom Corbett (R) looks strong in the general election, per Rasmussen. Corbett, too, is challenging health reform law. But Rendell wants him to drop the suit. Philly Mayor Michael Nutter endorsed a new Democratic entrant, state Rep. Dwight Evans.

MARYLAND: It looks like former Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) is ready to make it official and announce his candidacy, setting up a rematch against Martin O'Malley.

OHIO: A new PPP (D) poll showed John Kasich (R) leading incumbent Ted Strickland (D).

THE REST: Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer (R), running in the crowded GOP primary in South Carolina, proposes a constitutional convention to overturn health care reform. Republicans look ready for a pick-up in Tennessee. The open-seat Wisconsin race is a toss-up. Incumbent Jan Brewer (R) trails in Arizona, though other Republicans would fare better. Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie (R) leads all Democrats in Vermont. Connecticut's number two launched an ad. Gov. Pat Quinn (D) wants Paul Simon's daughter to be his running mate. Democrat-turned-indie Tim Cahill is getting a lot of mileage for his critique of health care legislation. But he faces scrutiny over donations to his campaign. Former Trail Blazer Chris Dudley launched an ad as he runs as a Republican for Oregon governor.

HANDICAPPER WATCH
Cook Political Report:
* VA-11 from Likely D to Lean D
* PA-3 from Likely D to Lean D
* OR-5 from Likely D to Lean D
* NY-24 from Lean D to Toss Up
* IL-11 from Likely D to Lean D
* FL-24 from Lean D to Toss Up
* AZ-01 Likely D to Lean D
* SD Gov from Solid R to Likely R
* AK Gov from Likely R to Solid R
* WY Gov from Lean R to Likely R
* MI Gov from Toss Up to Lean R
* MA Gov from Lean D to Toss Up
* ME Gov from Likely D to Lean D

Rothenberg Political Report:
* AZ Gov from Lean D takeover to Toss Up
* MA Gov from Narrow D Advantage to Toss Up
* NV Gov from Narrow R Advantage to Clear R Advantage
* OR Gov from Safe D to Clear D Advantage
* NY Gov from Clear D Advantage to Safe D

RCP PROJECTIONS
Senate: GOP +7
Governor: GOP +4
House Map