On the upswing (Doug Turner, R-NM)
The outsider campaign of Doug Turner continues to pick up steam. First, a poll (a bit dusty from two weeks ago) showed Turner as one of the two top GOP candidates in the general election. Then, Turner reported raising $400,000 in the 1st quarter of the year, although ~ half of this was a loan to his campaign. Still, this sum is competitive with other GOP candidates. Finally, the campaign recently released a new ad in the race that is going to be aired statewide (it helps that his business, DW Turner, is a public relations company). All in all, Turner has competitive momentum on his side.
Turner has been running the outsider's campaign in New Mexico. He chaired both of Gary Johnson's successful runs for Governor on the Republican ticket. Lately, Turner has been launching a crusade against cap and trade.
Libertarian Slugfest (Kristen Davis and Warren Redlich, L-NY)
The most interesting bids in the New York gubernatorial race are not on the Republican side, where recent Democrat Steve Levy is taking on moderate Republican Rick Lazio. Nor is it in Democrat Andrew Cuomo, the overwhelming favorite to win. And it is definitely not in Carl Paladino.
No, the most interesting race is on the Libertarian ticket. Two cultural factions of the LP are at war in New York. First, we have the tea partying, more conservative faction embodied in Guilderland town board member Warren Redlich. On the opposite side is former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer's madam, Kristen Davis. She is running a bit of an unorthodox campaign with some more traditional faces mixed in.
Both are running competitive campaigns. Redlich definitely has more of a traditional base in Libertarian politics (his campaign manager is LP state chair Eric Sundwall); however, Davis has actively advocated for libertarian politics and has been working Libertarian events since the campaign started. Redlich, for his part, stated that he would consider running for another office if Davis wins the nomination.
Defeat (Holly Turner, R-TX-State House)
Holly Turner has lost her bid for state representative to Paul Workman in a runoff. Workman will carry on his bid in the general election in District 47 against Valinda Bolton, the incumbent Democrat. The district is considered a swing district, previously occupied by a Republican before Bolton won a close race in 2006.
Fighting to Lose (Stephen Broden, R-TX-30)
Yes, he has no chance. Still, Pastor Stephen Broden wants to give it one hell of a run. Despite running against popular Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson in the Democratic North Texas district, Broden is still running to win. He is running a bit of an unconventional campaign, openly pointing out his race (he is African-American) could help him and lavishing praise on Ron Paul (despite those old newsletters). At the very least, a prominent campaign could give Broden good name recognition for another run. Broden recently clinched the Republican nomination in a runoff against Dallas lawyer Sheldon Goldstein.
Competitive But Needing Help (Adam Kokesh, R-NM-03)
The Republican Party decision that Kokesh needed more signatures to get on the ballot appears to have hurt the campaign. Although Kokesh raised 57k in the 1st quarter for his race (a nice sum in such a blue district), he only has 12k on hand. Essentially, the campaign is almost out of money, which isn't good in a contested primary.
Sometimes Patriotism and Politics Don't Mix (RJ Harris-R-OK-04)
Constitutional conservative RJ Harris has hit a roadbump in his bid to primary Republican Rep. Tom Cole. A member of the Oklahoma National Guard, Harris has received orders to deploy to Afghanistan this summer for one year. While it is true a military record is good for a campaign, this is a net negative for RJ. He needs to build name recognition when attempting to take on an incumbent, so being away in a foreign country is not a good way to do it. Nevertheless, one must applaud Harris for the willingness to deploy in the thick of his campaign.
Good Time (Rand Paul, R-KEN)
Rand Paul must be having an amazing time right now. Earlier this week a new Survey USA poll had Paul with a dominating lead over Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson in the Republican primary, despite the latter's negative campaign as of late. (Paul leads 45-30 with 19% undecided) Interestingly, the Democratic race continues to be fluid with moderate Attorney General Jack Conway catching back up to conservative Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo.
Rand Paul's good news kept coming though. Senator Jim Bunning, who currently holds the seat, has endorsed Rand Paul to succeed him (Bunning's rival McConnell backs Grayson in the race). This should help Paul in North Kentucky, Bunning's stronghold.
Finally, it doesn't hurt when Grayson says Sarah Palin is unqualified to be president in a conservative state (You Betcha!)
Heated primary (John Hostettler, R-IN)
Former Representative John Hostettler's campaign has gotten a few encouraging sparks recently. First, an internal poll was leaked showing Hostettler at 26% and former Senator Dan Coats at 29% in the Republican primary. The only problem? We don't know WHICH camp released the data. If it was Coats' camp, expect Hostettler to be doing better. If it was Hostettler, then Coats would be higher. We just don't know and really need a scientific poll!
Also, Representative Ron Paul has endorsed John Hostettler in the Republican primary. This could help Hostettler with his historically anemic funding.
Gaining strength (Ron Paul, R-TX)
No, he hasn't announced yet. But that hasn't stopped him polling competitively with Barack Obama. A recent Rasmussen poll pegs Obama v Paul at 42-41, within the margin of error. No other Republican has polled this well against President Obama. Still, pollster Nate Silver points out the flaws of this survey. Rasmussen has a Republican House effect, inflating Paul's numbers to within 1 rather than the more realistic 10. (An older poll from Public Policy Polling, a bit more credible, verifies this with Paul running behind at 46-38).
Still, we can take some important lessons from the poll. Ron Paul underperforms with the Republican base compared to other fellow GOP'ers. Second, he dominates the independent vote against Obama. Finally, his crossover to Democrats beats Obama's crossover to Republicans.