Discuss as:

Off to the races: How big is Markey's lead?

AP: “A national group of prominent GOP donors that supports gay marriage is pouring new money into lobbying efforts to get Republican lawmakers to vote to make it legal. American Unity PAC was formed last year to lend financial support to Republicans who bucked the party's longstanding opposition to gay marriage. Its founders are launching a new lobbying organization, American Unity Fund, and already have spent more than $250,000 in Minnesota, where the Legislature could vote on the issue as early as next week. The group has spent $500,000 on lobbying since last month, including efforts in Rhode Island, Delaware, Indiana, West Virginia and Utah.”

Billionaire Paul Singer is behind the group.

Maggie Haberman looks at whether Kirsten Gillibrand could run for president.

But Hillary could clear the field: For example, “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) ‘has quietly told associates that he is resigned to the fact that he can't run for president in 2016 if Hillary Rodham Clinton enters the race, as is widely expected,’ the New York Post reports,” Political Wire writes.

GEORGIA: “Former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, endorsed Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., in what is shaping up to be Republicans’ widest and most unpredictable Senate primary,” Roll Call writes.

MASSACHUSETTS: Roll Call on Tuesday’s special election:” It’s difficult to discern how much Lynch has cut into Markey’s earlier lead because public polling has been all over the map. Markey led by around 30 points in two separate polls in the early months, while other surveys had him up by around 10 points. This week, the Lynch campaign leaked an internal poll that showed him within 6 points of Markey. It’s rarely a good sign when a candidate boasts a poll that shows him behind, but the Lynch campaign hoped to show that the margin would continue to close.”

But the only thing that could prevent a Markey win – he hasn’t run a competitive race in a long time: “Markey, the dean of the state delegation and one of the most senior members of the entire House, hasn’t run a competitive campaign in more than 30 years. He won a 12-candidate primary with just 22 percent of the vote and since then has been held below 70 percent just twice.”

“Lynch forecast 23 percent turnout and, for himself, a five-point victory. Both predictions exceed those held privately by both Lynch supporters and by Democrats unaffiliated with either campaign,” the Boston Globe writes. “Lynch said his campaign had detected unexpectedly strong support in the state’s mid-size cities, like New Bedford, Fall River, Everett, and Lawrence. His primary rival, US Representative Edward J. Markey, declined to give a projection for either the number of voters who will participate or the race’s outcome.”

Meanwhile, GOP favorite Gabriel Gomez is raising money with the help of a group using sharp anti-Obama rhetoric. “Gomez, a former Navy SEAL, was a spokesman for the conservative group during the 2012 presidential election, when it accused Obama of exploiting the killing of Osama bin Laden and endangering troops for political purpose,” the Boston Globe writes. “But the group’s fiercely anti-Obama rhetoric stands in sharp contrast to the letter Gomez sent to Governor Deval Patrick in January, asking the Democratic governor to appoint him interim senator.”

Ex-U.S. Attorney and GOP candidate Michael Sullivan is calling on the Boston bombing suspect to have his citizenship revoked.

PENNSYLVANIA: Gov. Tom Corbett (R) is in trouble in next year’s election, according to a Quinnipiac poll. He loses to three potential Democratic candidates for governor – Joe Sestak 48%-34%, Rep. Allyson Schwartz 47%-34%, and state Treasurer Rob McCord 44%-35%. Corbett gets just a 38% approval.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Mark Sanford’s political fate is on the line May 7 in a special election for SC-1. He still could win, and it’s because of sentiments like this one found in a letter to the editor in The State newspaper today: “Former Gov. Mark Sanford sitting with his son to watch a ballgame doesn’t look to me like a mortal sin. Obviously, his son wanted his dad to be with him and enjoy the game. Where was the wife? Had she deserted the son?”

The State: “Sanford is still the favorite, according to many of the state’s politicos, despite a Democratic poll that indicates Colbert Busch leads and a recent allegation by Sanford’s ex-wife that he violated their divorce settlement by trespassing at her home. But, they add, Colbert Busch has a growing list of advantages. State and national Democrats and their affiliated groups are pouring money into TV ads and mailers to build her up and tear Sanford down. She has a famous comedian brother, Stephen Colbert, fundraising by her side. And the former governor’s troubled personal life could mean some Republicans stay home on Election Day. But Colbert Busch most likes to talk about her tough, no-nonsense businesswoman reputation, much as Sanford relishes his reputation as a fiscal hawk.”

“Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch raised more than twice the amount that Republican Mark Sanford did in the most recent reporting period — possibly a sign that allegations by Sanford’s ex-wife damaged his fundraising prowess,” The State writes. Sanford still has more cash on hand heading into the final days of the race, though. … The numbers from the most recent campaign filings show Colbert Busch is getting strong support from national Democratic political action committees and groups. About $96,000 of the more than $874,000 she raised this period came from political action committees. Those include donations from unions, such as the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association and the United Transportation Union. Midwest Values PAC, a progressive group started by Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, a former writer and performer for “Saturday Night Live,” also donated to her campaign.”

With a week to go, Sanford has $284,000 cash on hand compared to Colbert Busch’s $254,000.

The Charleston Post and Courier: “As the theme from ‘Shaft’ plays in the background, an announcer warns that ‘they’ have been passing laws requiring photo ID to vote, reducing early voting days and ‘even trying to overturn the Voting Rights Act.’”

Beth Reinhard looks at the importance of the black vote for Colbert Busch. The district is about 22% black. While running radio ads accusing Republicans of trying to suppress the vote, she has also been critical of Obama, trying to appeal to whites in the district: “Not only does President Obama’s plan fail to put our finances back in order, it would cut benefits for our seniors, which is wrong,” she said.

“But the campaign’s radio ad linking Sanford to allegations of voter suppression makes her intentions clear. With Isaac Hayes’ soundtrack from the 1971 movie about a black private detective as backdrop, the ad assails a new South Carolina law that requires voters to show photo identification. A federal court blocked the law from going into effect until after the 2012 election. ‘Somebody doesn’t want African Americans to vote, and it doesn’t take Shaft to figure out who,’ a narrator says in the radio spot. ‘Tuesday May 7th is your chance to show them they can’t get away with it.’ The spot doesn’t mention that the ID law was signed after Sanford left office by Gov. Nikki Haley.”