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Off to the races: Sanford wins GOP run-off

“If Hillary Clinton thought she could quietly ease back onto the public stage last night with a safe speech to an adoring crowd, her fans had another idea. Outside Washington’s Kennedy Center, 200 gathered to give her a not-so-subtle nudge toward 2016, waving placards shouting ‘Ready for Hillary!’” Lois Romano writes. “Inside, she may have shared the spotlight with Vice President Joseph Biden, but it was her show. Person after person at the Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards — an organization she founded — touted her contributions to empowering women globally.”

More: “On Friday, she gives the keynote address at the star-studded Women in The World Summit, hosted by Newsweek/The Daily Beast. In three weeks, she will give her first paid speech at the National Multi Housing Council in Dallas; and in the June, the Economic Club of Grand Rapids will honor her.”

Both Joe Biden and Ted Cruz will be in Columbia, SC, May 3 delivering speeches helping to raise money for the local parties.

Bobby Jindal’s approval rating is tanking in Louisiana. He stands at 38% approval, down from 51% in October, according to a poll conducted by Southern Media & Opinion Research. Barack Obama’s approval his higher – at 43%, but that’s largely divided along racial lines. “Almost three fourths of white respondents rated the president’s job performance as negative, while 90 percent of black respondents approved,” the pollsters write.

LOUISIANA: “Congressman Bill Cassidy is officially running for US Senate in 2014,” local affiliate WAFB reports. “Cassidy made the announcement Wednesday morning on WAFB. He is challenging US Sen. Mary Landrieu, who will be seeking a fourth term.”

MASSACHUSETTS: “The Massachusetts Republican party has filed an ethics complaint against US Representative Edward Markey, the leader in the race for the Democratic nomination in the US Senate special election, alleging he improperly used video recorded at a House committee hearing and in a government building, in two campaign ads,” the Boston Globe writes. “Markey campaign officials, however, insist that neither of the ads improperly uses video footage and say that the complaint amounts to a political stunt.”

SOUTH CAROLINA: Mark Sanford won the Republican primary run off in the special election in SC-1, 57%-43%. Just 46,071 people turned out to vote.

The State: “Republican voters in the First Congressional District appear to believe in second chances after handing Mark Sanford – whose political career seemed over following an extramarital affair – a resounding victory in Tuesday’s GOP runoff.”

The Charleston Post and Courier: “The political race many had anticipated would unfold in the 1st Congressional District — the national comedian’s sister versus the once-disgraced governor angling for a comeback — is finally here.”

And get this: “After Sanford thanked supporters, family and his fiancee, Maria Belen Chapur, who made a surprise appearance Tuesday night, he began sounding out themes that separate him from Colbert Busch.”

Politico: “Mark Sanford won over primary voters Tuesday night, but national Republicans aren’t celebrating: Many privately concede the former governor could hand a safe Republican seat to Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch.”

The Rothenberg Report’s Jessica Taylor looks ahead to the Sanford-Colbert Busch general election on May 7. “While the general election contest contest has all the hallmarks of an upset in the making, Sanford still retains a slight advantage -- for now -- to hold the state’s 1st District seat. To be sure, this seat is a lot more in play than it should be in a district that gave GOP nominee Mitt Romney over 58 percent just last November."

National Journal: “The fact that there are two nationally recognizable candidates is no reason to think this off-year campaign will carry with it important political lessons. Those eager to see how voters react to the latest House GOP budget or Democratic-backed gun-control measures will have to wait until at least the next special election to gain any insight.”