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The midterms: Buzzards circling Paterson

FLORIDA: Per Taegan Goddard, a Florida Sun Sentinel editorial board writer reports: "Two highly placed and independent sources, speaking strictly on background, tell me that Gov. Charlie Crist is preparing to leave the Republican Party and run as an independent in the race for the U.S. Senate."   

ILLINOIS: Bloomberg News: "Fridays are getting tense in the Chicago campaign office of Alexi Giannoulias, the Democrat seeking the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama. That's the day regulators announce which troubled banks they'll close. Broadway Bank in Chicago, owned by Giannoulias's family, must attract at least $75 million in capital by late April to meet terms of a consent order with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. prompted by losses on commercial real-estate loans. Even if successful, the family could lose control before November's election, dealing a blow to Democrats and an Obama friend."

A poll conducted by Research 2000 for the liberal Web site Daily Kos, released yesterday, showed Giannoulias leading Mark Kirk (R), 43%-36%.

KENTUCKY: Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson has another ad out, this one criticizing his primary rival Rand Paul's opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

NEVADA: KTVN Reno reports that Republican Senate candidate Sue Lowden's company Archon Corporation fired a quarter of its employees, while Lowden gave her husband a $200,000 bonus.   

NEW YORK: Per the New York Times, "Gov. David A. Paterson's administration on Thursday faced new revelations about its intervention in a domestic violence episode involving a chief aide, and growing dismay among fellow Democrats about the governor's political future. The governor's top criminal justice adviser, Denise E. O'Donnell, resigned, saying it was 'unacceptable' that Mr. Paterson and the State Police had made contact with a woman who was seeking an order of protection against the aide, and that she could not 'in good conscience' remain in the administration."

More: "As calls grew for the governor to end his candidacy, Mr. Paterson said he would consult with party leaders over the next few days and reflect on his future."

The New York Daily News' editorial board calls for Paterson to go. "His reaffirmation of plans to run for election, while signaling that, maybe, he would change his mind, was the act of a man who has developed only a passing acquaintance with reality," the paper writes. "Well before this bizarre escapade, the voters had measured Paterson as unsuited to the Executive Mansion. Now, it will be a wonder if they don't storm the place."

PENNSYLVANIA: Sen. Arlen Specter is accusing his primary challenger Joe Sestak of "mistreating his staff with miserly salaries," Politico reports. Some of Sestak's congressional aides and campaign staffers make less than the minimum wage.