• Chicago Mayor: Our long Windy City polling drought is really over! On behalf of the Chicago Tribune, APC Research surveys the Feb. 24 non-partisan primary and finds incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel ahead, but a bit far from the majority he needs to avert an April runoff. Rahm leads Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia 42-18; Alderman Bob Fioretti takes 10, with businessman Willie Wilson at 7. Two recent polls (one of them an internal for a group hostile to the mayor) also showed Rahm far ahead but not close to 50 percent.
Rahm has been bombarding the airwaves with positive ads, and it seems to have helped him restore his popularity. APC gives him a 43-35 approval rating, a huge turnaround from the 29-46 score they gave him in August. Garcia and Fioretti are not nearly as well known, sporting 34-6 and 25-8 favorable ratings respectively. The problem for Rahm’s opponents is that they don’t have anywhere near the type of money the mayor has, and no deep-pocketed groups have gotten involved. If Rahm keeps monopolizing the airwaves, the once-unpopular incumbent can very well walk away with victory next month.
• FL-Sen, 18: Whether Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy runs for the U.S. Senate next year or for re-election, there’s no question that he’ll have money to burn. The congressman just announced that he hauled in $533,000 in the fourth quarter of 2014, a mind-blowing sum for what’s usually a dry fundraising quarter. If Murphy tries to move to the upper chamber, he can transfer this money from his House account.
• IN-Sen: The National Journal has a great article about how Republican senators are hoping to defer would-be primary challengers. It notes that while people like Missouri’s Roy Blunt, Arkansas’ John Boozman, and Kansas’ Jerry Moran haven’t drawn any real intra-party or Democratic opponents, none of them are taking any chances. No one wants to turn into former Indiana Sen. Richard Luger, who lost touch with the base and wasn’t at all prepared when Richard Mourdock challenged him. As a result, most Republican senators are raising money and staying in contact with the party-rank-and-file…..