The Note: Naughty and Nice

The AP's Beth Rucker profiles Democratic Senate hopeful, Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN), crediting him with appealing to a wide swath of voters with his social conservatism but Noting that a number of obstacles remain in his way: his party affiliation (Al Gore, a Tennessean, failed to carry the state in 2000), his race (no black has been a Southern Senator since Reconstruction), and family issues (his father and uncles, elected officials, have been accused of fraud and bribery). LINK

"The millionaires amendment" has been triggered in the Maryland Senate race, as largely-unknown Democrat candidate Josh Rales has infused his campaign with much needed cash: $1.3 million of cash. LINK

2006: House:

It seems Sen. Lieberman is not the only Democrat facing a challenge from the left: In Massachusetts' 9th District, pro-war Rep. Steve Lynch (D-MA) faces an increasingly impassioned primary opponent in Phil Dunkelbarger. Though "Dunk" is short on cash and has yet to harness the power of the liberal blogosphere and progressive networks, he is "surprisingly effective" as a polemicist and may well engage Lynch on a tough debate about a war Lynch's constituents overwhelmingly dislike. The Boston Phoenix's Adam Reilly has the story: LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton looks at the results of the latest gubernatorial poll in California, which shows the Governor has shored up his support among Republicans and rehabilitated his image with moderates and independents. LINK

But it remains a wee bit early for Steve Schmidt to start spending his bonus money.

2006: Governor:

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich (R-MD) hits the Baltimore market with a targeted, week-long television ad focusing on Maryland's low unemployment and increased test scores. LINK

Texas' independent gubernatorial candidates, Richard Friedman and Carole Keeton Strayhorn, are showcasing their individualistic streaks with attempts to get their nicknames ("Kinky" and "Grandma," respectively) on the ballot. They eagerly await Secretary of State Roger Williams' verdict: LINK

2006: downballot:

The Wall Street Journal's Christopher Cooper reports that "Democrats appear to be in the better position" when it comes to state legislative elections where a shift of no more than five seats would bring a new party to power in 29 legislative chambers across the nation. With the Supreme Court giving the green light for states to pursue mid-decade redistricting, "political observers say the fate of about 15 congressional seats nationwide could hang in the balance."

Corzine shuts down the Garden State:

The Newark Star-Ledger's Deborah Howlett reports that, according to Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-NJ), the "excess of testosterone" is at fault for the budget impasse and shutdown of the state government. Female lawmakers are now talking among themselves to find a compromise between proposed ideas by Gov. Jon Corzine and Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts, but it might be too late. LINK

The New York Times also looks at the Corzine/Roberts relationship and wonders if the shutdown is more about control over the New Jersey Democratic Party than it is about solving the state's fiscal crisis. LINK

Politics of same-sex marriage:

"New York's highest court has ruled that gay marriage is not allowed under state law," reports the Associated Press.

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