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- In IA SEN, the "right-leaning" Priorities for Iowa launched a new TV ad attacking Rep. Bruce Braley (D) for calling Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) a "farmer from Iowa who never went to law school" at a private fundraiser. The spot closes with the narrator saying: "Tell Bruce Braley we'd rather bet the farm on Grassley that a bunch of trial lawyers from Texas." The ad will run statewide on broadcast, cable and online at a cost of $250,000 for the next 10 days. (Des Moines Register)
- Also in IA SEN, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) endorsed state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) (release), while the Citizens United Political Victory Fund endorsed radio talk show host Sam Clovis (R). (release)
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee endorsed Braley and Rick Weiland (D), a former aide to Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD), in SD SEN. (release)
- In MI SEN, Rep. Gary Peters (D) launched two new biographical TV ads -- his first of the campaign -- that "will run over a seven-week period across the state with a buy totaling seven figures." In the first ad, a 30-second spot, Peters talks about how he was "was raised in an average Michigan middle class home." Peters is joined by his wife Colleen in the second ad, 60-second spot, which emphasizes their "middle class roots." (release)
- In NC SEN, Senate Majority PAC (D) launched a new statewide TV ad saying Charles and David Koch picked state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) "to play for them." The narrator says that as speaker, Tillis "passed a tax cut for the wealthiest," and that in the Senate "he'll support a plan that ends "Medicare as we know it." (release)
- In LA SEN, Senate Majority PAC (D) launched a new statewide TV ad saying the Koch brothers "funded the fight to let flood insurance premiums soar," and "now they're spending millions to buy a seat for" Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) "so he can fight for them." (release)
- In SD SEN, former Gov. Mike Rounds (R) released a new positive 60-second TV ad saying "Washington can learn a lot from the people of South Dakota" Rounds "has purchased at least $370,000 in TV ads in April, May and June. ... That money will buy more than 2,200 ads – the first TV ads Rounds has aired this campaign." (Sioux Falls Argus Leader)
- In CA-07, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) endorsed former congressional aide Igor Birman (R). (Los Angeles Times)
- In CA-17, "an East Bay Republican official claims in a lawsuit" that former Obama administration official Ro Khanna (D) "recruited two last-minute Republican candidates to split the GOP vote and restore his position as the top challenger to" Rep. Mike Honda (D). "The lawsuit provides no direct evidence proving Khanna helped get Joel Vanlandingham and Vinesh Singh Rathore into the race, and Khanna's campaign blasted the allegation as baseless Wednesday." (San Jose Mercury News)
- In ID-02, Rep. Mike Simpson (R) launched his second TV ad, attacking attorney Bryan Smith (R) as "a personal injury lawyer who's enriched himself by filing over 10,000 lawsuits." (release)
- In IL-10, Planned Parenthood endorsed Rep. Brad Schneider (D) over former Rep. Bob Dold (R). Planned Parenthood stayed out of the race between the two in 2012. (Chicago Sun-Times)
- In the FL-19 Special, Palin endorsed state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto (R). (release)
- In NY-22, Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney (R) "will move forward with ... a primary challenge against" Rep. Richard Hanna (R). (Syracuse Post-Standard)
- In AR GOV, former Rep. Mike Ross (D) "is criticizing" former Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R) "for his role prosecuting the impeachment case against" former President Bill Clinton, "saying it showed how partisan" he is. (AP)
- In PA GOV, former Auditor General Jack Wagner (D) "dropped his late-starting quest ... Wednesday, acknowledging that he hadn't been able to raise enough money to be competitive in the multi-candidate field. ... Wagner said he wasn't ready to endorse any of his recent rivals. ... His departure leaves four Democrats vying for the right to take on" Gov. Tom Corbett (R). (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- In VA SEN, a new Quinnipiac University poll of RVs, conducted March 19-24, shows Sen. Mark Warner (D) leading former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie 46-31%. (release)
- In WI GOV, a new Marquette University Law School poll of RVs, conducted March 20-23, shows Gov. Scott Walker (R) leading former Trek Executive Mary Burke (D) 48-41%. In the previous poll, conducted Jan. 20-23, Walker led Burke 47-41%. (release)
- In CA GOV, a new Public Policy Institute of California poll of primary LVs, conducted March 11-18, shows Gov. Jerry Brown (D) leading with 47%, compared to 10% for state Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R) and 2% for both former Treasury Department official Neel Kashkari (R) and Laguna Hills Mayor Andrew Blount (R). (release)
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• Mark Warner is favored to win a second term, but today's Quinnipiac poll shows why Ed Gillespie decided to run against him. Warner's job approval is a solid 55%, but his re-elect and favorability are under 50, at 49%. And in a three-way race with Sarvis included on the ballot test, Warner notches just 46% against the little-known Gillespie. If there's a wave election. this is the type of seat that flips.-- Josh Kraushaar
• Republican CA GOV candidate Neel Kashkari is running to give the state GOP a respectable ticket-topper in November, but as the new PPIC poll shows, he's starting from scratch, behind tea party Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R) in the race for second place. Maybe the poll will kickstart a new round of Kashkari fundraising, which "tapered after a fast start" when he declared his candidacy. Donnelly may be all but broke, but Kashkari still needs a lot more money to get known in such a big state. -- Scott Bland
• Scott Walker appears to have emerged unharmed from the release of the John Doe emails back in February. Yesterday's new Marquette poll shows his lead over Burke almost unchanged from their last poll in January. Walker's approval rating, however, did flatten out from 51-42% in January to an even 47-47% in the new poll, raising questions of whether Burke missed an opportunity to capitalize off the scandal and gain ground in the race. -- Karyn Bruggeman
• Republicans are wasting no time pouncing on Bruce Braley's gaffe about Sen. Chuck Grassley being a "farmer from Iowa who never went to law school," with Priorities for Iowa slamming him in a $250,000 ad buy and the NRSC launching robocalls. Braley quickly apologized for the remarks, but this firestorm isn't going away anytime soon. -- Julie Sobel
HAIR OF THE DOG
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon (D) "was arrested Wednesday on public corruption charges after a four-year investigation. ... Cannon was charged with theft and bribery after an FBI sting operation. ... He was released on an undisclosed bond, pending indictment. Authorities said Cannon took bribes from undercover FBI agents five times -- the most recent on Feb. 21 when he took $20,000 in cash in the mayor's office -- and a trip to Las Vegas. ... At a Jan. 17, 2013 meeting, one FBI agent gave Cannon $12,500 in cash by putting it on a coffee table in front of him. Cannon, according to the affidavit, looked nervously toward a window and covered the money with a folder. After the agent closed the blinds, Cannon put the money to his ear and fanned the bills." (Charlotte Observer)
- California state Sen. Leland Yee (D) "has been arrested on public corruption charges as part of several arrests made by the FBI Wednesday morning during a massive FBI sting. U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag ... said that Yee and Raymond 'Shrimp Boy' Chow, leader of the Chee Kung Tong Free Masons in San Francisco, were among 26 defendants charged in a federal criminal complaint. ... Yee was charged with conspiracy to traffic in firearms without a license, and to illegally import firearms as well as a scheme to defraud citizens of honest services." (KNTV-TV)
- New York Assemblyman William Scarborough (D) "said FBI agents questioned him Wednesday about this travel expenses and removed boxes of records from his office. Scarborough said agents questioned him for an hour ... about dates he collected travel expenses and per diem payments for work in Albany when he may have also been in his Queens district. ... Scarborough said he did nothing wrong and believes agents misunderstand Albany's complex travel voucher system." (Newsday)
- "In Mississippi, It's G.O.P. vs. Tea Party" (New York Times)
- The NRCC "raised $15.1 million for its annual March dinner, the biggest haul since the party began hosting the event. ... It's a particularly important moment for" Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) -- "the dinner's chairman -- as he becomes a more and more prominent figure in the Republican Party." (Politico)
- Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) "said the nearly 300 same-sex marriages performed on Saturday are legal but won't be recognized by the state because of a stay put on a judicial decision that Michigan's ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional." (Detroit Free Press)
- Connecticut's "minimum wage will increase to $10.10 per hour by 2017 under a controversial bill approved Wednesday by both the state Senate" and House "on largely party line votes." Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) "intends to sign the bill Thursday. ... With the vote, Connecticut becomes the first state to legislatively approve a $10.10 hourly minimum wage, the goal set by" President Obama "for the federal minimum wage. ... Obama released a statement soon after the vote in Hartford that called upon Congress to do the same." (Hartford Courant)
- During Tuesday night's MA GOV debate, Treasurer Steve Grossman (D) "was in the throes of passing a kidney stone, something often compared to the pain of childbirth." (Boston Globe)
- "George H. W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush have endorsed Sally Atwater, the widow of legendary Republican operative Lee Atwater, in the race for" South Carolina "Superintendent of Education." (Columbia State)
- Bush and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) are expected to attend former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel's NFL pro-day workout on Thursday. (NFL.com)
- "Hours after learning that Pope Francis would not be receiving them in private audience," Corbett and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (D) "greeted the pontiff individually Wednesday morning at his public audience in St. Peter's Square." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- AL-06 candidate Will Brooke (R) "uses a .40 Glock pistol, a .270 Cooper rifle and an AR-15 to destroy a copy of the Obamacare bill in a new video released by his campaign." (Daily Caller)
- "Astronomers have discovered a probable dwarf planet that orbits the Sun far beyond Pluto, in the most distant trajectory known. .. The newfound object's official name is 2012 VP113, but the discovery team calls it VP for short, or just 'Biden.'" (Nature)
PLAY OF THE DAY!
- The House returns at 9:00 a.m., while the Senate is back at 9:30 a.m.
- Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry meet Pope Francis at the Vatican. (10:30 a.m.)
- Vice President Biden delivers remarks during a Hispanic Business Luncheon, at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's annual Legislative Summit. (Capital Hilton, 1:30 p.m.)
- March Madness is back: The Sweet 16 tips off at 7:15 p.m.
- Have an event for us to highlight? Email us!
- Martha Washington declared on her husband's death bed that she "should soon follow him."
- The winner is Derek Douglas, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "Since the tradition first started in 1910, who is the only president not to have opened a baseball season by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch during his administration?" The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- Foreign Policy Reemerging With a Vengeance in 2016
- Republican FEC Commissioners Go Public With Complaints About Mystery Redaction
- Gun Victories Encourage Conservatives to Fight for Knife Rights
- The Mixed Bag of GOP Control
- Democrats Are Ready to Take the Minimum-Wage Fight on the Road
Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) "hopes to turn the state's ethics panel into a truth squad that checks the veracity of claims made by politicians." (AP)
"The only thing that I've heard is if you take a plastic bottle and put it in the microwave and you heat it up, it gives off a chemical similar to estrogen. So the worst case is some women may have little beards." -- LePage (Bangor Daily News, Feb. 22, 2011)
Adam Wollner, Editor