The Washington Post on President Obama's effectiveness as a campaign booster in midterm races nationwide: "In the anti-establishment climate, some Democrats are saying that it's smart for Obama to keep his distance from candidates in difficult races, allowing them to run against Washington and avoid the downward pull of his approval ratings. Others say he should heed the lessons of last year's Democratic losses and begin campaigning early enough to make a difference with the Democratic base." Already, however, 'there is a clear no-fly zone' for some candidates, like Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln.
ARIZONA: J.D. Hayworth will report raising $1 million in the first quarter. John McCain raised more than double that.
ILLINOIS: The Alton Telegraph writes that Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk is stepping back further from his pledge to repeal the health care reform law: "'We lost, and we don't have the votes,' Kirk said Thursday in Springfield. 'And so now my job is to tell the American people exactly what is (in) this bill in terms of new taxes and cuts to seniors who depend on Medicare. And then to go forward, hopefully as your senator, and have some of these taxes not in place, have some of these cuts not in place,'" the newspaper quotes him as saying.
KENTUCKY: At candidates' forum featuring the five Democratic Senate hopefuls, including frontrunners Dan Mongiardo and Jack Conway." The most contentious issue was health care, which Conway and Mongiardo have argued about since the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Senate version of a health care overhaul nearly two weeks ago," the Louisville Courier-Journal wrote. "Leading up to the vote, both candidates had been less than supportive of the measure, with Mongiardo arguing Congress should start over and Conway saying he wouldn't support it unless specific changes were made to the legislation."
MASSACHUSETTS: "Governor Deval Patrick's decision to take on the health insurance industry over rate increases promises to become a major issue in this year's gubernatorial race, with Patrick trying to address criticism that the state has not slowed health costs and his rivals saying the governor's approach is off-target and politically motivated," The Boston Globe writes. "In rejecting a host of proposed rate increases by insurers, Patrick yesterday made an aggressive attempt to define the state's role in health care as a jobs issue, insisting that limiting insurers' ability to raise premiums is key to persuading small-business owners to hire workers again."
NEW YORK: "Weeks of Republican Party pressure have failed to convince Rick Lazio to switch from being a candidate for governor to being a candidate for the US Senate," the New York Post reports, and a Lazio spokesman said, "Under no circumstances will Rick Lazio be a candidate for Senate this year."
PENNSYLVANIA: "Democratic nominee Mark Critz went on the air Thursday with his first television advertisement in the special election to fill the seat formerly held by his boss, the late Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.)," Roll Call writes. His ad focuses on uniting the country and cites Murtha telling him, "It's about the work."