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Off to the races: Markey leads in another poll

MICHIGAN: Rep. Mike Rogers (R) will announce his Senate plans Friday, National Journal’s Tim Alberta reports. Rogers is thought to be unlikely to run.

MASSACHUSETTS: A WBUR/MassInc poll has Ed Markey (D) up over Gabriel Gomez (R) 46%-39%.  

Joe Biden praised Markey at a fundraiser Tuesday, but delivered this warning: “There’s a big difference in this race. Barack Obama’s not at the head of the ticket. And that means those legions of African Americans and Latinos are not automatically going to come out. No one has energized them like Barack Obama. But he’s not on the ticket. So don’t take this one for granted.”

Obama heads to Boston today for Markey. And who’ll be joining Obama? Party-switcher Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who recently became a Democrat. Previously, he had been an independent and before that, a Republican.

The Boston Globe’s lead takeaway from the Markey-Gomez debate Tuesday night was that Markey would oppose elimination of the home-mortgage interest deduction in deficit talks, and Gomez was non-committal.

Gomez released an ad Wednesday morning. Script: “Gabriel Gomez is a VERY BAD man. He kills old people. He hates women. He even leaves the toilet seat UP. This is ridiculous. Congressman Markey must think we’re stupid. Markey is everything that's wrong with Congress, 37 years of pay raises, bounced checks, taking millions from people he regulates. It’s about trust. If you like Congress, Ed Markey is your guy. But if you want an independent thinker try Navy Seal Gabriel Gomez.” 

The Boston Globe: Gomez’s ad “attempts to respond to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s ad, which accuses him of supporting tax breaks for the rich and the elimination of insurance coverage of mammograms and cancer screenings.

Those charges are based on Gomez’s opposition to broad-based tax increases and his opposition to President Obama’s health care law, which guarantees insurance coverage for mammograms and other preventive services. Gomez says he believes health care laws should be left to the states.” 

PENNSYLVANIA: MSNBC’s Michael LaRosa reports: “Pennsylvania State Treasurer Rob McCord took his first public step in signaling that he intends to run for governor. According to a state authorization form obtained by Hardball, McCord on Tuesday filed paperwork to create the ‘McCord for Governor’ political action committee, one of the clearest signs yet that the state treasurer has his eyes on challenging incumbent Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. Establishing the committee allows him to accept campaign contributions for next year’s race.” More: “McCord would face a crowded Democratic primary, which includes prolific fundraiser Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, who’s vying to be the state’s first female Governor. “

SOUTH DAKOTA: The Hill: “Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) will not run for Senate in South Dakota, a decision that will begin to assuage Republican fears that a nasty primary could hurt their chances at a likely pickup.” 

VIRGINIA: Virginia Democrats held their primary elections Tuesday (Republicans nominated their candidates via state party convention). State Sens. Ralph Northam and Mark Herring won their respective races for lieutenant governor and attorney general. Northam defeated Aneesh Chopra, the former White House chief technology officer, 54%-46%. Herring won in a closer race over Justin Fairfax, a former U.S. attorney b y a closer 52%-48% margin.

Meet the nominees… Northam has been a state senator for the past five years and ran on trying to return Virginia to the vision and governance styles of Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. He’s a doctor, retired major in the Army, and Virginia Military Institute graduate.

Attorney General nominee Mark Herring, another state senator, ran as something of the opposite of Ken Cuccinelli on a left-leaning platform. He touts health care. He specifically made an issue of women’s health care, including birth control. The Loudon County Democrat has a degree in economics (he also served on the Loudon County chamber of commerce), a master’s in foreign affairs, and a law degree. 

The Cuccinelli (R) campaign took aim at the nominees, looping them in with gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe and saying they put “anti-job, pro-tax policies first. It also hits McAuliffe by asking the candidates a list of questions, including, “What does it say about Terry McAuliffe’s campaign slogan of ‘putting jobs first’ that he has nothing to back up his claim of creating 100,000 jobs?” 

But Cuccinelli is dealing with another controversy, including this from the Virginian-Pilot editorial page: “Cuccinelli wants the public to believe his office intervened in a lawsuit on behalf of powerful interests solely to uphold a state law pertaining to oil and gas drilling. And, he said, he rejects ‘in the strongest possible terms’ suggestions that his office's involvement resulted in any way from Big Energy's big donations to his gubernatorial campaign. But email exchanges involving a senior assistant attorney general, included in the public case file and posted online attricities.com, indicate Cuccinelli's office played a role far greater than the attorney general is willing admit.”

The Cuccinelli campaign went off the air Sunday, a media tracking source confirms. Cuccinelli’s team notes that it’s the last week of school and summer vacations are beginning. The McAuliffe camp notes it is still on the air and had a cash-on-hand advantage of $5.4 million to $2.3 million, as of May 29. Both campaigns had been spending upwards of $400,000 a week on statewide advertising. 

E.W. Jackson’s book cover misspells Ten Commandments. (It only has one “m.”)