The Note: Kissing Ben Nelson

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Gov. Edward Rendell (D-PA), while himself running for re-election, urged gay rights activists in Pittsburgh to defeat Republican Senator Rick Santorum with "dignity," "fairness," and "understanding." LINK

USA Today wins the award for oddest lede this morning: "Amid the sweaty crowds at Red Belly Day, bypassing the gospel singers, the funnel cakes and the belly-flop contest in the Suwannee River, the true believers find their way to Rep. Katherine Harris." LINK

The Washington Times has Sen. Debbie Stabenow straddling the immigration fence (pun intended). LINK

The Washington Times writes up the Tennessee Senate primary, and sees trouble ahead for the GOP. LINK

Underdog senatorial candidate Jon Tester -- who has recently gained traction against longtime frontrunner John Morrison -- strayed from political slogans in his last weekend of campaigning and instead pushed the idea that he is most likely to win in the general election. LINK

Tester told the Billings Gazette's Mike Stark, "For them [voters] the investment right now is that they want someone that can beat [Sen.] Conrad Burns in November." At a Sunday BBQ, a supporter told Tester, "You better win." The farmer-turned-politician responded, "If I don't win, you can kick me in the butt."

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Republican frontrunner Thomas Kean, Jr. have agreed to two televised debates on June 25th and June 26th if they win their parties' nominations tomorrow. LINK

2006: Governor:

In the aftermath of the South Dakota anti-abortion law, Monica Davey of the New York Times takes a look at how the abortion issue is playing in state races this year with a primary focus on the Democratic gubernatorial primary in Iowa. LINK

(Be sure to read all the way down to enjoy a Yepsen quote, the Des Moines Register poll results, and Maria Comella refusing to make her boss available for a chat with Davey.)

Although that Des Moines Register poll shows Chet Cullver leading in the Iowa Democratic gubernatorial primary, the paper reports that the candidates expect it to be close. "That poll had Culver receiving support from 36 percent of likely Democratic primary voters, compared with 28 percent for Blouin and with 21 percent for Fallon. Lesser-known candidate Sal Mohamed, a Sioux City engineer, had 1 percent in the poll." LINK

The New York Post's Lovett explores John Faso's Democratic roots in his profile on the Republican Party designee for governor. LINK

Fred Dicker reports New York GOP chairman Minarik will now pivot from being a Weld supporter to urging him to drop out of the race to avoid a primary. LINK

Wayne Slater and Robert T. Garrett of the Dallas Morning News report that the normally cohesive Republican Party in the Lone Star State is fighting an internal battle during its annual convention. LINK

"The red-state faithful have seen the GOP battered on the national stage by a string of miscues that has ignited Democratic hopes of gains in the fall," the authors write, but leaders have also been "insulted" locally by Gov. Rick Perry's business taxes to fund public schools and a lacking commitment to "family values," so says Christian leader, Rev. Rick Scarborough.

Sunday's Boston Globe report on Deval Patrick's big convention win: LINK

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