| • CA-Sen: Wow, it actually looks like conservadem blogger Mickey Kaus is forging ahead with his planned challenge to Barbara Boxer; he submitted papers to run in the Democratic primary. It sounds like he's approaching the race with rather limited expectations, though; in an interview with the New York Times, Kaus said that, in comparison to Al Franken: "I do not expect to win, and that is the difference between Franken and me. This is an issue-raising candidacy."
• LA-Sen: The Charlie Melancon camp is offering up another Anzalone-Liszt internal, this one taken in mid-February, to show that things aren't quite as bad off as Rasmussen would have you believe. Melancon's poll shows David Vitter leading him, 48-38.
• NV-Sen: Ex-Assemblywoman Sharron Angle is on the air with a 60-second radio spot, her first of the campaign. It's really more of an ad for the teabaggers than for herself, though, as it focuses on critiquing the TARP program and promoting the Tea Party rally planned for Harry Reid's tiny town of Searchlight.
• NY-Sen-B: There's been a remarkable churn-and-burn of celebrities showing up, saying they're interested in challenging Kirsten Gillibrand, and then backing away after doing the math. This time, it was former state banking official and Michael Bloomberg girlfriend Diana Taylor. Politico is also abuzz about George Pataki's dodging of questions of running for Senate when at a Rick Lazio rally, since of course his basic polite desire not to step on Lazio's message means that Pataki is secretly planning to run for Senate.
• OH-Sen: This guy looks like he's destined to end up with about one or two percent of the vote, but in what could be a super-close race between Lee Fisher and Rob Portman (if recent polling is any indication), that fraction could make all the difference. Surgeon Michael Pryce announced his independent candidacy for the Senate at a Tea Party gathering last week. (Of course, there's still the little matter of his gathering those signatures.)
• PA-Sen: Arlen Specter pulled in another union endorsement over the weekend, and it's one with a lot of boots on the ground: the state chapter of the SEIU, with nearly 100,000 members.
• MN-Gov: Howard Dean is weighing in with a pay-back endorsement in another Democratic gubernatorial primary. This time, it's in Minnesota, and he's backing Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak. Rybak was chair for Dean's 2004 primary campaign in Minnesota.
• OR-Gov: This isn't the kind of news that helps your gubernatorial campaign gain traction. Bill Sizemore, at one point one of the most dominant forces in Oregon's GOP (and still persisting in running for Governor in spite of the odds), is facing three counts of tax evasion. He finally relented and accepted the help of a public defender despite previous plans to go it alone. He hasn't been getting any private donations for his legal defense fund and is working as a landscaper to make ends meet, so he qualifies.
• SC-Gov: Rep. Gresham Barrett's having a hard time washing the stench of Washington off his hands while running for the GOP gubernatorial nod in South Carolina. Under attack over his inside-the-Beltway vote in favor of TARP from inside-the-Beltway group Americans for Job Security, Barrett has decided to use his inside-the-Beltway federal campaign funds to run ads in South Carolina to defend himself, which is permissible because he's defending his voting record rather than touting his gubernatorial campaign.
• UT-02: Despite the entry several months ago of former state Rep. and state party co-chair Morgan Philpot, the GOP is looking for a better option to go against Rep. Jim Matheson. GOP recruiters have been trying to get four-term state Rep. Greg Hughes to get in the race, who apparently offers more gravitas than the young Philpot.
• WA-03: Retiring Rep. Brian Baird took a while to settle on an endorsement for a replacement, but he's going with ex-state Rep. and TVW founder Denny Heck. The Dem establishment (starting with Gov. Chris Gregoire) seems to be coalescing behind Heck, who faces off against liberal state Sen. Craig Pridemore in the primary.
• New York: New York's Working Families Party is laying it all on the line: the party's central committee voted to prohibit the endorsement of any member of Congress who votes against the pending healthcare bill. The WFP's line provided the margin of victory for both Scott Murphy and Bill Owens in their special elections last year. It also (sigh) provided Eric Massa's margin in 2008. (D)
• Demographics: An interesting University of Southern California study points to an trend that got underway in the 1990s that's really started to show up lately in Census estimates: that immigrants to the U.S. are increasingly skipping the traditional ports of entry (New York, Los Angeles) and instead heading directly for the nation's midsize metropolitan areas. The numbers of recent immigrants had the steepest gain, percentage-wise, in places like Nashville, El Paso, Bakersfield, and Stockton.