Hello folks. Welcome to your morning roundup. This is a week with a lot of news, though none of it particularly earth shattering. Sort of like the middle chapter of a trilogy.
Romney: Governor Romney pokes a little bit of fun at Obama's new slogan "forward," though I only give him credit for trying, not for actual humor. "Forward is his new slogan. Forward what? Over the cliff?!" Oh well, at least he'd be better on the economy, if not humor.
More Romney: A small inside-the-beltway controversy is emerging over whether gay foreign policy advisory Ric Grennell was forced out of the Romney campaign for being gay. Reports are that people inside the campaign were making Grennell's job very difficult, but that official Romney higher ups were asking Grennell to stay. In any event, several misogynistic tweets from Grennell didn't make him a sympathetic character.
Newt: Speaker Gingrich finally dropped out of the presidential race yesterday. The camapign that once flamed out, then rose from the ashes, then flamed out again, is now over. Assuming Newt can pay off his debt, I think running for president was a net positive for Gingrich. More attention, more fame, more respect as a debater and intellectual presence in the GOP. On the other hand, expect to hear Newt's words about the Ryan plan and Romney make their way into Democratic campaign ads.
More Newt: Newt did not formally endorse Romney in his withdrawal announcement, but spokesman R.C. Hammond says "it's coming.'
Bachmann: Representative Bachmann, who had previously made a few positive comments about Rick Santorum, is set to formally endorse Romney today. Not much risk anymore. Only a matter of time before th rest of the candidates get on board.
WI-Presidential Race: The same poll that's discussed below, which was Walker ahead of Barrett by a point, also has Romney down to Obama by 9 points, 51-42. Walker is doing a great job, as these numbers demonstrate, separating his opponents from Obama himself.
IN-Sen: Uh oh, ethanol subsidies. Is this the wedge issue Lugar needs to claw back into the race against Mourdock? He has less than a week to make this work, but at least it's something for Lugar that may have some legs. Both Pence and Gregg, the Gubernatorial candidates, have praised ethanol, but Mourdock has stated that he opposes the subsidies. The ethanol industry in Indiana is nothing like Iowa's, but it may have some traction.
VA-Sen: PPP has Kaine leading Allen by 1, which is great news in my opinion. I made a few waves on Tuesday by saying that I think Kaine will outperform Obama in November. This poll clearly shows the opposite, and is making me reconsider. I'll stick with my initial gut feeling, against the evidence, but for now let's just say I'm happy we have a tight race in the Senate contest, even with a Dem leaning sample.
NM-Sen: In an example of thumbing the party in the eye, Senator Rand Paul has endorsed Greg Sowards over former Representative Heather Wilson. Sowards would have no shot against either Martin Heinrich or Hector Balderas, but Wilson -- who's been called "Queen RINO" by Sowards -- apparently isn't conservative enough for Paul.
RI-Sen: Sheldon Whitehouse is now facing a challenger from his left, Danny Laporte. Laporte is running on a platform of single-payer healthcare and letting prisoners serve only half their sentences if they obtain masters degrees while in prison. Best of luck, Danny Laporte!
HI-Sen: I like the tactic, though not the execution. Last month former Hawaii Governor and current Senate candidate Linda Lingle said that the state should vote to her so that the Senate contains pro-choice GOP women. But she also cast the debate about religious freedom in terms of "legislating women's health," terms that are a little too close to Democratic talking points. I'll accept a little of this if we can make this race close, but don't want this to go overboard. But I do like hitting Harono on missing a vote on student loan interest rates.
Wisconsin: The upshot is that Barrett leads the Dem primary, and Walker leads Barrett. Of course, Walker's lead doesn't account for the enormous amount of money advantage Walker will also have over Barrett once the Democratic primary ends. I'm not so confident on this race as to declare victory, but I like the looks of the Democrats apparent overreach in recalling Walker. Walker also has an even greater lead against Falk, should the primary race turn suddenly against Barrett.
CA-16: Though we failed to get an A-lister for this race against Jim Costa, I am stopping short of classifying this as a safe seat. The Fresno State Republicans are hosting a debate between the 3 GOP candidates about a mile away from where I grew up. Not sure who our best shot is here.
IL-13: As Erika Harold seeks the nomination to take over for Tim Johnson in IL-13, the state party chair says he hopes to have a decision by May 19. Apparently the potential candidates are being asked to self-vet, through an extensive questionnaire process that includes detailed personal questions. Hopefully our candidate can survive the media attention after the nomination occurs.
UT-4: You knew this was coming. Mia Love is being touted as the GOP's next biggest star. Frankly, I'm inclined to agree. From winning the race against Matheson this fall, to the Senate or Governorship of Utah next, and then who knows what after that.
John Edwards: Lest it be forgotten, John Edwards is a really bad person. Not one to agree with Elizabeth Edwards' politics, I still find it pretty awfult that her husband treated her with such incredible cruelty. Hard to believe his aides didn't intervene to stop him from running for the Democratic nomination, even after they knew the affair was going.
Americans Elect: The almost third-party is cancelling its online caucus this week, saying there isn't enough support for any of the candidates. At the earliest the caucus will be held the week of May 15, but maybe not even at that point.
NC-Amendment One: Voting in North Carolina may exceed the 2008 primary, despite no hot Democratic or GOP primary still happening. Amendment One -- the traditional marriage amendment that would preclude even domestic partnerships -- appears set to pass, even with the increased voter turnout.