Varying Markey Leads in Polls; SD Signs Point Against Johnson's Son; Sanfords Settle Trespass Charge

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  • Ex-U.S. Embassy Tripoli dep. chief of mission Greg Hicks "gave a riveting minute-by-minute account on Wednesday of the lethal terrorist attack in Benghazi" last year and "described its contentious aftermath" at a "charged" House hearing "that reflected the weighty political stakes perceived by both parties" (New York Times).
  • Pres. Obama "plans to announce two modest executive actions designed to help boost" the economy during a visit Thursday to Austin (Washington Post). TX Gov. Rick Perry (R) "will greet Obama on the tarmac" (CNN).
  • The Census Bureau released a report Wednesday on "voting and registration by various demographic and socioeconomic characteristics" (release). The report "confirms" the black voter turnout exceeded white turnout, but it also "undercuts a number of other widely-reported demographic analyses" of WH '12 (Pew Research Center). GMU prof. Michael McDonald: "Perhaps the most revealing new finding is a dramatic decrease in the youth vote, which has important ramifications for future elections" (Huffington Post).
  • MO-08 special: State House Speaker Pro Tem Jason Smith (R) "has come out with the first television ad" before the June 4 special, "a classic introduction piece" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).
  • MA SEN special: Ex-Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez (R) claimed a $281.5K income tax deduction in '05 "for pledging not to make any visible changes to the facade" of his home "under a federal law designed to protect historic homes," but he was "already barred from making any changes to the exterior of their home under the bylaws of the local Historical Commission, raising the question as to whether their donation ... had any monetary worth" (Boston Globe).
  • SD SEN: '96 SD-AL nominee/'02 SD-AL candidate Rick Weiland (D), a former aide to Sen. Tom Daschle (D), will run for SEN and said U.S. Atty Brendan Johnson (D) "won't run ... as some had urged." Weiland "spoke to" Johnson "before making his announcement." Weiland: "I wouldn't be here if I didn't feel that Brendan [wasn't] going to get into this race" (Sioux Falls Argus Leader).
  • Battle for the House: The DCCC "will launch Jumpstart" today, "a program aimed at providing support" to "top" '14 prospects: farmer/beekeeper Michael Eggman (CA-10), Redlands (CA) Mayor Pete Aguilar (CA-31), ex-Madison Co. Chief Judge Ann Callis (IL-13), Bob Graham daughter Gwen Graham (FL-02), '12 nominee Jim Graves (MN-06), NYC Councilor Domenic Recchia (NY-11), '10 CO SEN candidate/ex-state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (CO-06) and ret. Army Ranger Kevin Strouse (PA-08) (Politico). The NRCC "will launch Red Zone, a program aimed at unseating seven elusive" House Dem incumbents in "conservative" CDs: Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01), Ron Barber (AZ-02), John Barrow (GA-12), Collin Peterson (MN-07), Mike McIntyre (NC-07), Jim Matheson (UT-04) and Nick Rahall (WV-03) (Politico).
  • FL-26: Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall (R), "who has spent the past few months opposing the Miami Dolphins' now-defunct push for a subsidized stadium renovation, plans to challenge" Rep. Joe Garcia (D) (Miami Herald).
  • IL-10: Ex-Rep. Robert Dold (R) "has written backers saying he'll be a candidate" for the seat he lost in '12 (Chicago Tribune).
  • SC-01: Rep.-elect Mark Sanford (R) and ex-wife Jenny Sanford "have come to an agreement" on an alleged tresspassing incident in Feb. and "will not have to go to court" (WCIV-TV).
  • TX-04: Rep. Ralph Hall (R), at 90 years of age the oldest member of the House in its history, "announced this week he will seek another term" (Houston Chronicle).
  • FL GOV: Ex-GOP Gov. Charlie Crist (D), who "signed the petition" in '06 for the state's "gay marriage ban initiative," announced Wednesday on his Facebook page, "I most certainly support marriage equality in Florida and look forward to the day it happens here" (Tampa Bay Times).
  • IA GOV: Gov. Terry Branstad (R) has hired Romney WH '12 NH state dir. Phil Valenziano as his pol. dir., "a clear indication that Branstad is preparing to run" for reelection (The Iowa Republican).


  • According to a new Pew Research Center poll of nat'l adults, conducted 5/1-5, 51% approve of the way Obama is handling his job as POTUS, while 43% disapprove. In the previous poll, conducted 3/13-17, 47% approved of Obama, and 46% disapproved (release).
  • MA SEN special: According to a new Suffolk Univ./WHDH-TV poll of special election LVs, conducted 5/4-7, Rep. Edward Markey (D) leads Gomez, 55-38% (release). A separate WBUR-FM poll of special election LVs, conducted 5/5-6 by MassINC Polling Group, shows Markey leading Gomez, 46-38% (release).


Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day

• In the course of talking to super PAC donors, one theme keeps coming up: Someone is telling them the RNC isn't a good place to put their money. The political money pie is finite, and outside groups want some of the RNC's slice.

• The sudden emergence of Rick Weiland -- and his early showing of support from the "Draft Brendan Johnson" camp -- could be a sign some SD Dems still aren't comfortable with Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. More than a few "Draft Brendan" activists cited her vote against Obamacare and others like it, and even without the once-heir apparent in the race, it seems they still prefer a progressive alternative to the former congresswoman.



  • "And as a home-state rule," House Budget Cmte Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) "drinks only Miller Lite." So at a recent "secret" meeting at Brasserie Beck with WH CoS Denis McDonough, "I ended up getting some lager I'd never heard of," Ryan said (Time).
  • Ex-Romney WH '12 staffer Gabriel Schoenfeld's new tell-all book "is a stinging account of what went on" inside ex-MA Gov. Mitt Romney's (R) Boston HQ, and "it is one that is generating significant anger among other former Romney staffers now eager to discredit Schoenfeld" (Boston Globe).
  • At an event Thursday at the Hudson Co. Correctional Center women's unit, NJ Gov. Chris Christie (R), "speaking to reporters, said he was 'absolutely not' uncomfortable" appearing alongside ex-NJ Gov. Jim McGreevey (D) (Bloomberg).
  • "Right now Jodi Arias is regretting not killing an ambassador or Philadelphia infant" -- Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), in a tweet as cable news covered the guilty verdict delivered against Arias on Wednesday (Daily Caller).
  • "A North Miami (FL) mayor candidate was attacked at his campaign headquarters by an acquaintance who was upset that he is seeking higher office" (Miami Herald).
  • The DC Taxicab Commission voted Wednesday "to require that all ... cabs install the equipment to accept credit card payments by Aug. 31. For real this time" (Washington City Paper).


  • PA is second only to NY in the number of House members it has sent to DC, 1,029.
  • The winner is Brian Vanderbloemen, who did not provide a new Swizzle challenge. Here's a question from Tuesday's winner, Steven Bergsbaken: "In baseball what is it called when a player strikes out four times in one game?" The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.



"You don't have a dimple. You've got to have a dimple in it" -- House Speaker John Boehner, demonstrating to Bloomberg's Peter Cook how to tie a necktie (Bloomberg).


"Your tractors uprooted my tree. Your posse hunted my family. Your gunmen kidnapped my nephew. Your rat insulted my wife - and you shot off my tail. I'm not leaving here without that necktie" ("Fantastic Mr. Fox").

Reid Wilson, Editor-in-Chief

Steven Shepard, Polling Editor