Despite all of the presidential focus, a few races have to come first.
Despite all of the presidential focus, a few races have to come first. New news is starting to come out of Virginia and New Jersey. Preparing for both heated races, both parties' governors associations had big fundraising hauls in the year's first six months, with Republicans taking a slight edge. To the south, Republican Bob McDonnell is back on top of Democrat Creigh Deeds in the Virginia gubernatorial race, a reverse of post-primary polling that had Deeds in the lead. The Republican candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general lead, as well. Jon Corzine is still making Democrats sweat a bit in New Jersey as well, as he's still behind in polls. The president will come to town in a week to fire up the base, and Corzine has released a negative ad attacking his opponent, U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, for giving no-bid contracts to friends and associates. Then there's that other governor. The polling on Palin in starting to pour in, and most people's opinions seem unchanged and most expect her to maintain a political future—though the governor herself said that "If I die, I die" on Good Morning America. Note that her PAC has been using the attention to build up her email list, however. A couple notes on the marquee Senate primaries: It sounds like the AFL-CIO will play a big role in Pennsylvania, and Specter could help himself out immensely by voting for EFCA; in Florida, despite the attention the media has been paying to Marco Rubio, his fundraising numbers don't look great. Odds & Ends:The Hill lists some "dark horse" races that could end up being competitive. Are Obama's low approval numbers in Ohio a sign of things to come? The Young Republican president race is marred by racial insensitivity. Who was the last governor to quit mid-term to run for president? Finally, I want to bid all of my faithful readers a fond farewell. Come tomorrow I will be in rural Mississippi, looking for a house to move into, and next week I will begin a new life helping to improve educational outcomes for students by joining the staff of Teach For America. It's been great fun keeping you updated on all of the campaign news every day.