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The midterms: The shakedown

"House Republicans, seeing scores of seats within their grasp, are turning up the fundraising heat on corporations and trade associations, groups they hope will push their party over the finish line on Election Day," Roll Call reports. "National Republican Congressional Committee Deputy Chairman Greg Walden (Ore.) last week called out more than 100 downtown political action committee representatives at the Capitol Hill Club for giving too much campaign cash to Democrats this cycle, according to multiple sources. While Walden stopped short of threatening the PAC executives with political retribution, a source in attendance observed that his point was clear: 'Republican leadership is watching.'"

FLORIDA: "Gov. Charlie Crist said Monday he may quit his GOP primary race and run for the Senate as an independent, his once-promising career threatened by fast-rising conservative opposition. After weeks of insisting he would stay in the Aug. 24 primary, Crist told The Associated Press in a phone interview he intends to be 'very, very thoughtful and deliberate' as he makes up his mind. The governor trails conservative rival Marco Rubio by double-digit margins in public polls after holding a huge lead at the outset." 

"With Gov. Charlie Crist facing a brutal Republican U.S. Senate primary or a full-blown party mutiny if he runs as an independent, prominent supporters are urging him to consider a third option: quitting altogether," the St. Pete Times reports. "The toughest assessment came from the arm of the national Republican Party that had clamored to endorse Crist and shove aside rival Republican Marco Rubio nearly one year ago, when their positions in the polls were reversed."

"'We believe there is zero chance Gov. Crist continues running in the Republican primary,' said Rob Jesmer, executive director of the National Republican Senate Committee, in a memo. 'It is our view that if Gov. Crist believes he cannot win a primary then the proper course of action is he drop out of the race and wait for another day.'"

IOWA: Another one bites the dust in Gov. Chet Culver's (D) re-election campaign as chief of staff John Frew became the latest in "a series of top aides" to announce his resignation.   
KANSAS: "Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) announced Monday that he has the backing of Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), the third-ranking Republican in the House, in his primary bid for Senate against Rep. Jerry Moran," CQ reports.

"More than most open-seat candidates, Democrat Stephene Moore's bid in Kansas' 3rd district will be heavily influenced by the man she is trying to replace," Roll Call writes. "Moore's husband, retiring Rep. Dennis Moore (D), has a history of winning tough races in the competitive east Kansas district, and it's clear she will get a boost from his name identification. But from a strategic perspective, is it smart for Stephene Moore to align herself with her husband's legacy, given the anti-Washington, D.C., sentiment circulating through the 2010 midterm elections? Does she even have a choice, given their shared last name?"  
KENTUCKY: Rudy Giuliani endorsed Trey Grayson in the Kentucky GOP primary. "Trey Grayson is the candidate in this race who will make the right decisions necessary to keep America safe and prevent more attacks on our homeland," Giuliani said. But the Rand Paul campaign dismissed the endorsement. "Another pro-abortion, liberal, northeastern Republican endorsing Trey Grayson is just more bad news for him," campaign manager David Adams said. 

NEW YORK: "Attorney General Andrew Cuomo maintains a nearly 40-point lead over former Republican Representative Rick Lazio and an even larger lead over Democrat-turned-Republican Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy," a Siena Research Institute poll finds.  
UTAH: The support of the state's "most revered politician," Mitt Romney, might be the only way Sen. Bob Bennett survives the May 8th Republican convention, the Salt Lake Tribune quoted the state's attorney general, who supports Bennett challenger Mike Lee.