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« Week In Midterms | Blog Home Page | Primary Unkind To Two Alabama Congressmen »

The Week Ahead: Countdown To Super Tuesday

Today, voters are voting in Alabama, New Mexico and Mississippi. We previewed the major storylines heading into the Alabama vote last week, including the interesting primaries in the race for governor and some Congressional races to watch.

In New Mexico, the key race is the Republican primary for governor. Lt. Gov. Diane Denish (D) is well positioned thus far in the race to succeed Bill Richardson (D), but the GOP field is wide open. It includes former state GOP chair Allen Weh, Susana Martinez -- endorsed by Sarah Palin -- and Pete Domenici Jr., son of the former senator. In Mississippi, the key race is the GOP primary in the 1st Congressional District, with the winner facing vulnerable Democrat Travis Childers.

But the week promises to be eventful as we candidates eight states campaign in the final week before the primary and runoff elections on June 8. That and more as we look at the holiday-shortened week ahead.

The White House: President Obama returned late Monday from a long holiday weekend in Chicago with the First Family. Much of the time was spent in private with friends and family near his Windy City home. A planned Memorial Day speech at the Abraham Lincoln Cemetery had to be canceled because of weather. Instead, he spoke to a small group near Andrews Air Force Base upon his return to Washington.

Today Obama was to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a visit that was canceled after Israeli forces opened fire on a flotilla attempting to reach Gaza. The president spoke to Netanyahu Monday and the White House has said little except to that it was awaiting more information. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was to visit Washington next week.

President Obama travels to Pittsburgh tomorrow for an event at Carnegie Mellon University, expected to focus on the economy. Also Wednesday, Obama meets with General Ray Odierno, and after his trip to Pennsylvania he'll host a concert at the White House honoring Paul McCartney.

On Thursday, Obama speaks on U.S.-India relations; Friday he hosts the Major League Soccer champion Real Salt Lake. Speaking of soccer, Obama will not attend the World Cup that begins a week from this Friday. Vice President Biden will do so instead, as part of a trip to Africa that begins this weekend. Today the veep is again busy with campaign duties, holding an event for New York Rep. John Hall.

Capitol Hill: The Hill is quiet for the week of Memorial Day, with members back in their districts getting face time with constituents. Both the House and Senate will return next week and work until the week of the Fourth of July.

Politics: We noted some time ago that the real Super Tuesday is June 8, which means it'll be a busy time for candidates look for their parties' nominations for some of the potentially marquee races in November. In particular, we'll be watching Republican Senate primaries in California and Nevada that may determine whether the party has a legitimate shot at retaking the Senate.

**Poll Watch:
Obama Job Performance: Approve 47.3 / Disapprove 46.1 (+1.2)
Congress Job Performance: Approve 21.4 / Disapprove 72.0 (-50.6)
Generic Ballot Test: Democrats +0.4

** In Case You Missed It: The week began with some major news on the House front, as Democrat Ed Case announced he would abandon his campaign for the Hawaii Congressional seat won in a special election just the week before by Republican Charles Djou. A divisive late September primary is likely now avoided, with State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa now essentially unopposed for the Democratic nomination. So the party's chances of winning the seat back are markedly stronger.