| • AR-Sen: Here's a tea leaf that state Sen. Gilbert Baker may be interested after all in getting into the Senate race: he issued a press release today going after Democratic health care reform and Blanche Lincoln in particular. He'd probably be the favorite to win the GOP nomination if he got in, if only by virtue of the rest of the field being gaffe-prone wackos.
• CT-Sen: Best wishes to Chris Dodd, who has been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer and will undergo surgery over the August recess. He said he'll be back at work after several weeks of recuperation at home, and that he still plans to run for re-election in 2010.
• IL-Sen: Add one more GOP Twitter fail to the increasingly long-list. Rep. Mark Kirk, who is also a Naval Reservist, tweeted his location (the National Military Command Center) while on duty. The DoD is now investigating, as it's a problem on two fronts: one, the prohibition against using the media to give away your position, and two, the prohibition against, while on military service, updating a website established prior to the beginning of service. Complicating the legal question even further: it may have been a staffer tweeting on Kirk's behalf. Because, y'know, it's so hard to think up 140 characters of content on your own.
• NY-Sen-B: The confusion over the Carolyn Maloney campaign has reached epic proportions. Yesterday, CQ reported that Maloney had no fixed timeline for officially getting into the Senate primary, but that early August seemed likely. But today, Politico's Glenn Thrush is reporting that Maloney is "leaning heavily against" making the race at all, according to several prominent Dems.
• ND-Sen: The NRSC is flogging a new internal poll which claims Gov. John Hoeven has a 53-36 lead over Sen. Byron Dorgan. Both men are very popular, with Hoeven with an 86% approval and Dorgan with a 69% approval. A public poll from R2K in February found the numbers almost exactly reversed, with Dorgan beating Hoeven 57-35... but Hoeven hasn't taken any public steps to get into the race, so we may never find out who's right.
• AK-Gov: Local pollster Hays Research looked at in-state approvals for Alaska's incoming and outgoing governors, and found Sarah Palin leaving in net negative territory: 47/48. Sean Parnell looks bulletproof for the moment, at 67/8, but, having been in office for less than a week, hasn't had the chance to screw anything up yet.
• TX-Gov: A bit more egg on the Kay Bailey Hutchison campaign's face today, as the Austin American-Statesman found that her website had over 2,200 hidden phrases on it designed to steer traffic, including "rick perry gay." (This wasn't mere meta-tagging, but blind keywords invisibly put into the site's code, something of a search engine-optimization no-no.) A spokesperson said they'd remove "rick perry gay," although it sounds like the other 2,199 phrases stay.
• KS-04: Businessman Jim Anderson got into the overflowing GOP field in KS-04 to replace retiring Rep. Todd Tiahrt. He seems like he might get a little lost in the shuffle, in a field that already includes local GOP heavyweights RNC committeman Mike Pompeo and state Sen. Dick Kelsey, along with state Sen. Jean Schodorf, who recently began exploring the race.
• MO-04: Ike Skelton, who's held down the fort for Dems in dark-red central Missouri since time immemorial, has drawn a more serious opponent than usual (not hard, since his usual opponents are nobodies or no one at all). Vicky Hartzler is a former state Rep. who has also written a book called "Running God's Way," apparently a how-to guide to campaigning for Christian right candidates. CQ also mentions several other still-in-office legislators who could also take on the 77-year-old Skelton (especially if he hears the siren song of retirement): state Rep. Tom Self and state Sen. Bill Stouffer.
• DCCC: The DCCC has responded with its own ad offensive on the health care front, a day after the RNC targeted 60 districts. The DCCC's radio buy and robo-call package is a bit more targeted, focusing on 8 GOPers (not coincidentally, maybe their 8 most vulnerable incumbents running in 2010): Michele Bachmann, Joseph Cao, Charlie Dent, Dan Lungren, Thad McCotter, Erik Paulsen, Dave Reichert, and Pat Tiberi.
• Where Are They Now?: Former GOP Rep. Anne Northup found her way into the Obama administration, as a commissioner on the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This initially seems very odd -- she already lost KY-03, so there's no sense in appointing her to facilitate a Dem pickup -- but it's because the Senate GOP leader has a say in picking a Republican for one of the five commissioners, and Mitch McConnell opted to give the job to his long-time protege, who, having lost three races in a row, is probably finished with electoral politics.