The AP curtain-raises today's contests in Indiana, North Carolina, and Ohio. "In today's three state primary races, where establishment-backed candidates face challenges from those with lesser party support, the outcomes "could provide clues about the volatility of the electorate and whether anger with the country's direction will translate into actual votes," the AP writes. "Also being tested: how much influence the national parties have over their rank-and-file supporters and, in some cases, the strength of the tea party coalition."
The Hill: "It's the first Super Tuesday of the 2010 election cycle, and both parties are waiting to see if the anti-incumbent mood has any effect on their favored candidates. Democrats, who fear losing seats this cycle, want their strongest contenders to move on to November, while Republicans hope to set the stage for a 2010 sweep."
ARIZONA: "Hard-line Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio won't run for governor after all," Politico reports.
FLORIDA: Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) is pressing his opponents in the Florida Senate race to back a moratorium on new oil-and-gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, a gambit that underscores how quickly the worsening Gulf oil spill is becoming a factor in political battles," The Hill writes, adding, "Crist has backed away from his support for new drilling, noting on NBC's 'Meet the Press' Sunday that offshore drilling 'has got to be tabled for sure.' Rubio, appearing on 'Fox News Sunday,' focused his remarks on the need to contain the spill, but avoided comment on whether new drilling should be put on hold."
INDIANA: The Washington Post examines South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint's influence in the GOP Senate primary: "DeMint's 'go it alone' approach to primaries gets its first real test today... Expecting [state Sen. Marlin] Stutzman to win after the DeMint endorsement may be too high a bar… but if he finishes third (behind Coats and former Rep. John Hostettler) it won't be a great moment for the South Carolina Republican."
NORTH CAROLINA: The News & Observer characterizes today's Democratic Senate primary as a "cliffhanger -- a low turnout, a huge bloc of undecided voters and a lack of any marquee candidates add up to an especially volatile election."
OHIO: "Ex-con and ex-Rep. Jim Traficant filed Monday to run for the House as an Independent."
PENNSYLVANIA: A Muhlenberg College tracking poll "gives Sen. Arlen Specter only a narrow lead in his Democratic primary against Rep. Joe Sestak, which is coming up on May 18," Talking Points Memo writes. "The numbers: Specter 48%, Sestak 42%."
In the governor's race, "The two Democrats with the biggest campaign war chests started trading punches today with state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams going up with a television ad critical of Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato," the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.
SOUTH CAROLINA: "Gov. Mark Sanford will not be prosecuted for travel and campaign reimbursements that got him censured by state lawmakers and fined $74,000 for ethics violations. 'Those punishments are sufficient," Attorney General Henry McMaster said yesterday, adding that Sanford's use of pricey airline tickets and state aircraft to fly to personal events and his questionable campaign reimbursements did not rise to the level of criminality. 'The time has come to . . . move on," said McMaster, who reviewed a State Ethics Commission probe.'" McMaster is running for governor.
TEXAS: Houston mayor Bill White, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, released his first general election campaign ad.
UTAH: Fight of his life: "Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah), campaigning for his life as he seeks to sway skeptical Republican delegates in his home state's unusual primary election system, has spent less and less time voting in Washington as Saturday's nominating convention in Salt Lake City draws closer," Roll Call reports.