-- Maybe this year's jungle primary results won't be as predictive next Tuesday as we once thought. Based on California history, the primary margins of 11.7% between Dan Lungren
and Ami Bera
and the 16.2% between Mary Bono Mack
and Raul Ruiz
would have meant fairly smooth sailing for both incumbents, and yet both are in real danger of losing next week. Conversely, Brian Bilbray
's 41% would normally be a death sentence for an incumbent, yet he still has a fighting chance for survival. And Rob McKenna
is still an even-money bet to win the Washington governor's race, despite losing the all-party primary by 4.2 percent to Democrat Jay Inslee
-- Plus, in Washington, McKenna has an advantage going into the final days of the campaign: nearly ten times the cash of his Democratic opponent, former Rep. Jay Inslee
. As of Thursday, McKenna leads Inslee in cash on hand with $358,337 to Inslee's $33,086, according to reports filed with the state's Public Disclosure Commission.
-- Talk about the luck of the Irish: Joe Donnelly
's political future sure looks different than it did two years ago. At this time in 2010, the Democratic congressman was sweating out a tough challenge from then-state Rep. Jackie Walorski
. Donnelly narrowly squeaked out a victory, but his time in Congress appeared destined to come to an end: Republicans controlling the Indiana legislature redrew his district with Walorski in mind. With the deck stacked against him, Donnelly opted against another House run, choosing instead to run for Senate. Then, Richard Mourdock
's primary upset of Sen. Dick Lugar
put the race in play for Democrats. Mourodck's subsequent series of gaffes, combined with Donnelly's highly effective television ads, now have the Democrat poised to win election
to the Senate. If that wasn't enough, Donnelly's beloved Fighting Irish have reclaimed their place
atop the college football world.
-- A sign of a campaign in trouble in Virginia: A $500,000 loan George Allen
made to his campaign this month, even as outside groups have poured tens of millions of dollars on his behalf into the TV airwaves. Still, it hasn't been enough for Allen to stay even financially with Tim Kaine
, who outraised him in every reporting period since he entered the race in 2011. In a race that's been deadlocked since April 2011, Kaine now enters Tuesday as the favorite regardless of the outcome at the top of the ticket.
-- Facing an unlikely uphill fight Tuesday night for the Senate majority, some Republicans are rallying around embattled Missouri Rep. Todd Akin
in the final days of the election. Akin and his allies are spending more than $2 million in the final week to try to vault him across the finish line in his battle against Sen. Claire McCaskill
. McCaskill retaliated with an ad featuring Romney and other Republicans disavowing Akin after his now infamous "legitimate rape" remarks. The uptick in spending on Akin's behalf is unlikely to overcome McCaskill's huge spending advantage throughout the fall.
-- Pat McCrory
's six-to-one cash advantage over Walter Dalton
is illustrative of why the Republican is heavily favored in the North Carolina gubernatorial race next week -- in a state that's being closely contested at the presidential level. The same could be said for Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin
swamping Republican challenger Bill Maloney
in West Virginia, a state guaranteed for Romney on Tuesday.
-- Ties to Congress -- often a point of attack -- can come in handy for a candidate in need of some crossover appeal. Former Sen. Bob Kerrey
, campaigning in conservative Nebraska, has spent his campaign presenting himself as a deficit-cutting moderate Democrat -- "I will challenge Harry Reid
as often as I annoy Mitch McConnell
" -- and endorsements this week by Republican former Sens. Alan Simpson
and Chuck Hagel
may help him affirm that independent maverick image. The boost from his former colleagues may not be enough to put him over the top, but at least he won't go down without a little help from his friends.
-- By praising President Obama and demonstrating a take-charge approach in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
didn't help Mitt Romney out this week, but boosted his own re-election prospects in 2013. Will Newark Mayor Cory Booker
, who also has received plaudits for his recovery efforts, want to take the risk of challenging the popular GOP governor or instead take the safer path for a Senate seat in 2014?
-- The runners who traveled to New York from across the world for this weekend's marathon won't be racing this weekend, but the controversy over whether to cancel/postpone the annual event in the wake of the devastation wrought by Sandy may serve as the starter's gun for next year's mayoral race. It was a good opportunity for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn
to distance herself from Bloomberg, and it also elevated Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer
, who earned an appearance on the "Today Show" for his opposition to staging the race this Sunday. Sandy will be remembered as a defining moment in the city's recent history; it also could define the candidates to become the city's next mayor.