| • PA-Sen: Gov. Ed Rendell confirmed in his usual inimitable style that he's backing new-found Dem Arlen Specter in 2010. He did go out of his way to praise Rep. Joe Sestak but to encourage him to remain in the House, warning Sestak that he would "get killed" (metaphorically, I'd assume) and that "we will lose a terrific Congressman and when he loses to Arlen, he fades into political obscurity." Sestak did pick up his first big-name endorsement, though: MontCo Commissioner and former Rep. Joe Hoeffel, who lost to Specter in the 2004 general election.
• CT-Sen: Here's an inauspicious start to Merrick Alpert's primary challenge to Chris Dodd: the Democratic party committee in his home town, Groton, voted a resolution of support for Dodd. It also issued a pretty transparent slap at Alpert, deploring any hypothetical primary challenger's use of "echoing right wing talking points or by utilizing the conservative media echo chamber to slander Dodd." (Alpert's already done that.)
• FL-Sen: State Sen. Dan Gelber made it official (via Facebook) that he's dropping out of the Senate race, giving Rep. Kendrick Meek a clearer path. He's now considering the AG race against a crowded field including fellow state Sen. Dave Aronberg, or, more interestingly, joining the ticket as Alex Sink's Lt. Gov. candidate.
• MN-Sen: It was Minnesota Supreme Court hearing day in The Senate Race That Won't Die. Five of the court's justices heard an hour of oral arguments. Rick Hasen's interpretation of how the individual justices responded to the lawyers' arguments suggests a quick and possibly unanimous decision in favor of Franken.
• NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo did it again -- he publicly denied that he'll be running for Governor and maintained that he "plans" to run again for AG. (He did concede that primaries can be productive for the party.) While the idea of Cuomo giving up an almost-free shot at the governor's mansion seems ludicrous, maybe there's a kernel of truth to Kirsten Gillibrand's cryptic comments from last week that there would be no primary; at some point, if Cuomo says it enough times, we have to start taking him seriously.
• AL-Gov: Hangin' judge Roy Moore made it official this morning; he's running for Alabama governor. He joins four others in the hunt for the GOP nod.
• TN-Gov: Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey officially launched his gubernatorial campaign at midnight this morning (to kick off the third quarter of fundraising). He seems a bit overshadowed by Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam, Rep. Zach Wamp, and Shelby Co. DA Bill Gibbons, but has a solid base of support of northeast Tennessee.
• LA-03: Republicans seem to be making a full-court press on newly R+12 LA-03, even though Rep. Charlie Melancon (who didn't even have an opponent in 2008) seems likelier to remain in the seat than run for Senate. The NRCC has been courting state Rep. Nickie Monica, who has obliged by offering some public criticisms of Melancon. Ascension Parish sheriff Jeff Wiley was also on the wish list, but has taken himself out of contention.
• PA-11: Nobody's taking the heat off Rep. Paul Kanjorski in the 12th. First came news that Lackawanna Co. Commissioner Corey O'Brien and Scranton mayor Chris Doherty were interested in primary challenges; now it sounds like Hazleton mayor Lou Barletta, who came within 3% of Kanjorski in 2008, may be back for a third try. Barletta was seemingly considering the Lt. Gov. slot in 2010, but assuming AG Tom Corbett wins the gubernatorial nomination that job may go to someone from the Philly suburbs for purposes of ticket-balancing.
• DCCC: The DCCC launched an ad blitz against six vulnerable House Republicans today, hitting them with radio ads and robocalls for voting against the stimulus package by focusing on specific shovel-ready projects in each district. Targets are Don Young (AK-AL), Brian Bilbray (CA-50), Tom Rooney (FL-16), Thad McCotter (MI-11), Peter King (NY-03), and Charlie Dent (PA-15).
• Demographics: A new Gallup poll finds that only 11% of Republicans are Hispanics, African-Americans, or other non-whites. Considering that we're a few decades away from a country where whites no longer hold the majority, The Math seems to indicate a Republican Party that doesn't dramatically change its message is on the brink of permanent irrelevance.