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« Four Things To Watch In Alabama's Primaries | Blog Home Page | The Week Ahead: Countdown To Super Tuesday »

Week In Midterms

Just one state held a primary election this week, so there were not many votes to analyze. But in Idaho's 1st district, the National Republican Congressional Committee's preferred candidate, Vaughn Ward, lost by a wide 9-point margin to Raul Labrador, who was backed by local tea party groups.

For the second week in a row, some political observers questioned the NRCC's effectiveness so far in what's expected to be a good year for the party. Last week questions arose after Democrat Mark Critz retained -- by an 8-point margin -- an open Pennsylvania seat in a special election for a district ripe for a GOP pick-up.

Well, the committee will have another chance to prove its chops Tuesday in Alabama's 2nd district primary, where yet again an NRCC "Young Gun" candidate, Martha Roby, is up against tea party-backed Rick Barber.

Also holding primaries June 1 are Mississippi and New Mexico.

SENATE

NEW POLLS:

California - Primary; California - Primary; Connecticut; Florida; Kentucky; Nevada - Primary & General; New York - Primary & General; North Dakota; Ohio; Oregon; Washington; Washington; Wisconsin.

CALIFORNIA: It's heating up out West where Republicans are scrapping in anticipation of the June 8 primary and for the chance to take on Sen. Barbara Boxer (D). This week, President Obama paid his second fundraising visit to the state in the last two months. Meanwhile, the Republicans debated, and Carly Fiorina took big leads in recent polls and went statewide with TV ads.

CONNECTICUT: More drama in the Nutmeg State this week as Rob Simmons dropped his bid for the GOP nomination after previously stating he would fight on despite losing the party's endorsement last Friday. Meanwhile, Blumenthal shook off the horrible week he had and found himself up 25 points against the person the GOP did endorse, Linda McMahon. He was still the butt of a joke by the vice president, however.

NEVADA: There are many factions of establishment Republicans in the state and they are split over whether tea party-backed Sharron Angle is the right person for the job -- both as the Republican nominee and as the senator who will represent them for the next six years. A Mason-Dixon poll out today shows she is now statistically tied with establishment favorite Sue Lowden, while Lowden performs better against Reid.

PENNSYLVANIA: Hoping to focus on the oil spill that's dismayed much of the country, President Obama was asked during his press conference Thursday to explain Senate nominee Joe Sestak's claim that the White House had offered him an executive branch job to entice him away from running against Sen. Arlen Specter. The White House released findings of its internal investigation today, stating in a report that it did nothing improper or illegal.

WASHINGTON: Republican Dino Rossi, a twice-failed gubernatorial nominee, announced his Senate candidacy Wednesday in an online video on his campaign website. His decision to run was no surprise, but it instantly moved the seat into more vulnerable territory for the Dems. Two polls out this week found Sen. Patty Murray (D) below 50% and leading by small margins.

GOVERNOR

NEW POLLS:

California - General; California - Primary; California - Primary; Connecticut; Florida - Primary & General; Massachusetts; Minnesota; New York - Primary & General; Ohio; Oregon; South Carolina - General; South Carolina - Primary; Texas.

CALIFORNIA: Meg Whitman's camp claimed this week that Steve Poizner's attack ad blitz has barely had an impact. The unexpected emergence of illegal immigration as an issue has forced Whitman to the right. Whitman has now spent more than $80 million on her campaign.

IDAHO: Gov. Butch Otter (R) won his primary with just 55 percent of the vote. Do Democrats have a chance?

FLORIDA: The St. Pete Times says Bill McCollum's camp is "flailing" in its efforts to counter a surge by Rick Scott in the GOP primary. An outside group with ties to McCollum has launched ads attacking him. Another GOP candidate, Paula Dockery, dropped out of the race.

NEW YORK: Andrew Cuomo has named the mayor of Rochester as his running mate. Robert Duffy is "is credited with creating a public integrity unit, cutting property taxes and bringing crime down to a 25-year low," the Daily News reported. Meanwhile, the GOP field got even more crowded, with RGA chair Haley Barbour curiously welcoming the newest entrant, Myers Mermel, into the race. The Independence Party endorsed Cuomo.

SOUTH CAROLINA: The GOP primary was rocked this week by allegations by a political blogger of an alleged affair with state Sen. Nikki Haley. She denied the claim, but said today she will deal with it after the primary election. Haley quickly launched an ad featuring Sarah Palin after the allegation was made. Rep. Gresham Barrett (R), being hit by his GOP rivals for supporting TARP, turned to former Vice President Cheney for an endorsement.

THE REST: Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) is getting more aggressive in his bid to hold his seat. Wyoming Democrats will likely be unable to field a strong candidate by today's filing deadline. Overshadowed by the Senate race, former Ambassador Tom Foley edged Lt. Gov. Michael Fidele for the Connecticut GOP's endorsement. AFSCME and the DGA have jumped into the fray with a TV ad bashing GOP hopeful John Kasich over Wall Street ties.

HANDICAPPER WATCH
Cook Political Report:
* Washington Senate from Solid Democrat to Toss Up
* Oregon Governor from Likely Democrat to Lean Democrat
* HI-01 from Lean Republican to Toss Up

Rothenberg Political Report:
* Washington Senate from Safe Democrat to Narrow Advantage Democrat
* ID-01 from Toss Up to Lean Democratic
* HI-01 to Toss-Up

RCP PROJECTIONS
Senate: GOP +6
Governor: GOP +4
House Map

--Mike Memoli and Kyle Trygstad