| • AK-Sen: Last Friday, Joe Miller finally pulled the plug on continued legal challenges to Lisa Murkowski's win in the 2010 election, despite earlier comments that standing down was not an option. (Apparently it actually was an option if no one could be found willing to foot the legal bill for a trip to the 9th Circuit.) So now the 2010 election really, truly is over. And in case Miller was going to get any bright ideas about what do to in 2012, Rep. Don Young (no stranger to primary challenges from the right, having barely survived a CfG-led purge in the 2008 primary) is already firing some shots over Miller's bow with his rusty old harpoon gun.
• FL-Sen: Depending on who you listen to, George LeMiuex either is or isn't about to launch a Senate bid. Roll Call's Steve Peoples says no, pointing to not only LeMieux's weak poll numbers and ambivalent-sounding statements but also his new cushy job as chair of the board of directors of one of the state's largest law firms (a decidedly different role from being there just as a part-time rainmaker/show pony). Other observers have noticed he's been sounding out potential consultants for a run, though, including GOP ad impresario Fred Davis, fresh off such smashing successes as Christine O'Donnell's "I am not a witch" ad and the anti-Patty Murray tennis shoe ad. Meanwhile, Rep. Cornelius McGillicuddy IV (or Connie Mack, as he'd prefer you call him) is gearing up for a run, if a recent fundraising letter citing a run against Bill Nelson sent around by Mack (and Jeb Bush) ally Jorge Arrizurieta is any indication.
• ME-Sen: Affordable-housing developer Rosa Scarcelli got some good buzz during her run in the Democratic gubernatorial primary last year, and now she's talking a bit about a Democratic run for the Senate in 2012. However, she seems to be reserving judgment, waiting to see whether the promised teabagging against Olympia Snowe ever happens, saying any decision would depend greatly on that.
• OH-Sen: In what's certainly not a surprise, Mike DeWine (perhaps compelled to say something after faring pretty well in one of PPP's recent let's-test-everyone Senate polls) says he won't consider running for his old Senate seat in 2012, having just successfully hit the 'reset' button his career with an election to the state AG slot. Newly-elected Lt. Governor Mary Taylor seems to be the top GOP option here, but for now she's simply saying it's too early, but isn't ruling out the possibility (and also saying that no one from the national party has contacted her about it, which stretches the boundaries of credulity).
• PA-Sen: Remember back in the spring of 2010, when the DC press corps, for a couple slow news days there, actually willingly ran with the idea that the allegation that a political job offer was sorta-kinda relayed from the Obama administration to Joe Sestak was the Watergate-esque moment that was going to bring the entire Obama edifice down? Um, yeah... now that it's not an electoral talking point and now that Darrell Issa's is actually in charge of Oversight, he's admitting that that isn't a line of inquiry that he's going to pursue, seeing as how, in his own words, Republicans "did the same thing." (Sighing loudly and walking away shaking head.)
• RI-Sen: Keep an eye on outgoing Gov. Don Carcieri, who while not saying anything tangible about a Senate run, said a number of candidate-ish things in a recent interview, including "I'm not going away" and "I have views, national as well, so I intend to be visible."
• UT-Sen: Here's an interesting take on the redistricting issues surrounding Utah's new fourth House seat: one possible outcome would be the Republicans packing all the state's Dems into one seat in order to avoid weakening any of the other three. And while superficially that might seem to benefit Rep. Jim Matheson, that could actually hurt him by making the district too liberal for Matheson (one of the remaining high-profile Blue Dogs) to win a primary (the article cites former SLC mayor Rocky Anderson as a potential rival). The article also suggests that could instead push Matheson into a Senate run, especially if it's against the more polarizing Jason Chaffetz instead of Orrin Hatch (although I'd think a gubernatorial run might be likelier, seeing as how that's up in 2012 again and Utah is one of those red states that's more forgiving of Dems at the state level than for federal office).
• IN-Gov: Rumors are bubbling up that Democratic Evansville mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel is making moves to be the first to declare his candidacy for the 2012 gubernatorial race, mindful of the advantages that accrue to early declarers.
• MS-Gov: Today Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant is finally making official his candidacy for the 2011 Mississippi gubernatorial election, an open seat as his boss
hogg Haley Barbour is termed-out. While Bryant's stiffest competition will probably occur in the GOP primary (where possible opponents include the delightfully-named SoS, Delbert Hosemann), businessman and Democratic candidate Bill Luckett also appears to be making it official today.
• WV-Gov: I'm wondering if maybe Shelly Moore Capito has let people know that she's not running for Governor? It seems like the floodgates have suddenly opened for lesser GOPers to declare their interest in the race, starting with ex-SoS Betty Ireland last week, but now the state's GOP party chair, Mike Stuart, is also publicly talking himself up for the role. Of course, no one has any idea yet whether that special election will happen in 2011 or 2012.
• AZ-08: Jesse Kelly, who narrowly lost to Gabrielle Giffords in November, is rumored to be moving toward a rematch. His odds would seem to be slimmer in a rematch, as Latinos and youth voters are likelier to show up in a presidential year, but he may figure he has an ace in the hole, in the form of the likely presence of a Kelly ally, Christopher Gleason, on Arizona's ostensibly independent redistricting commission, who might be able to tinker with the boundaries in a more GOP-friendly direction.
• NV-04: Cue the hordes of screaming fans, weeping with joy and fainting from sheer ecstasy: Rory Reid, fresh off his domination in the Nevada gubernatorial race, is the subject of speculation that he might be bringing his own special brand of dynamism and excitement to the open House seat that will be created in the Las Vegas suburbs. (For his part, Reid won't confirm or deny it yet.)
• Chicago mayor: It looks like the African-American community may actually be coalescing around a single non-Rahm candidate in the mayoral race, with the dropout of Rep. Danny Davis from the race. He (along with state Sen. James Meeks, who also dropped out several weeks ago) lent his support to ex-Sen. Carol Mosely Braun, the last one standing. (Note that this is the second time Davis has tried to run for municipal office and then done a U-turn back to his House seat in the last year.) Don't start writing the saga of an Emanuel/Braun runoff just yet, though, as ex-schools chief Gerry Chico is a major wild card here, and now it looks like he has the money to back that up: he reports he raised $2.5 million for the race last quarter, a number that would be boffo even in many Senate races.
• History: The Univ. of Minnesota's Smart Politics blog occasionally comes up with real historical gems like this one, using the possibility of a Russ Feingold run for Herb Kohl's seat as a springboard for looking at Senators throughout history who've leapt from one state's seat to the other. Only two current Senators (Kent Conrad and Frank Lautenberg) meet that criteria, although some other famous names have done so (including Hubert Humphrey and Barry Goldwater). However, neither Conrad nor Lautenberg did so because of a loss (the most recent example of that would be Washington's Slade Gorton, though UMN finds nine other historical examples).
• Photos: This is one of those precious photos that's worth a thousand words, one that Eric Cantor probably already wishes he'd re-thought. (H/t to Brian Valco for this and several other of today's links.)