| • AZ-Sen: Sources are telling Roll Call that Rep. Trent Franks is planning to run for Sen. John Kyl's open seat. I personally think Franks will get in - Jeff Flake definitely will not have this race to himself.
• HI-Sen: Former part-term Rep. Charles Djou (I'd say we hardly knew ye, but I think we got to know him pretty well) says he's considering a senate bid, but it sounds like he wants to wait and see what his fellow Republican (and next-door neighbor) Linda Lingle does first.
• MO-Sen: Remember when Claire McCaskill said she'd co-sponsor Bob Corker's CAP Act - the bill designed to take an axe to, among other things, Social Security? Now she's telling her constituents in a letter that she'll "vote against" any cuts to SS. So either she's backtracking on her idiotic support of Corker's bill, or she somehow thinks this pledge doesn't conflict with that piece of legislation. In other words, she's come to her senses - or she's talking out of both sides of her mouth. We'll see.
• NV-Sen: The committee investigating John Ensign's affair-and-hush-money scandal just interviewed Sen. Tom Coburn, which Politico claims is a sign that the inquiry is "intensifying," but who knows - the whole thing could be winding down, especially since the Justice Department pathetically dropped their entire case against Ensign. I'd be surprised if any serious punishment is meted out here.
• AZ-07: Some Dude Gabriela Saucedo Mercer announced a challenge to Rep. Raul Grijalva (D). Saucedo Mercer volunteered for fellow Republican Ruth McClung last time, who herself said after the election that she will "probably" run again.
• CA-36: This can't be the sort of news Republicans were hoping for: Redondo Beach Mayor Mike Gin said he's joining the field of candidates hoping to succeed the now-departed Jane Harman. Why is this a problem? Because Gin is now the second non-Some Dude Republican running - Redondo's elected city attorney, Mike Webb, is already in the race. If the GOP ever had any, any chance whatsoever of sneaking out a win here, it could only have happened with a single candidate to unite behind. Now, it seems impossible for one of their own to make it into a runoff, unless the Democratic field gets absurdly fractured.
• MD-02: Huh. So it looks like fifth-term Dem Rep. Charles Albert Ruppersberger III - you know him as "Dutch" - already has a non-Some Dude opponent. Republican state Delegate Patrick McDonough (who is also a talk radio host) represents a reliably red district and has already managed to score Christine O'Donnell to headline a fundraiser for him. This district went 60% for Obama and 54% for Kerry, and I can't imagine the Dem-held legislature would risk making this seat any redder if Ruppersberger looked genuinely threatened, so McDonough will have a hell of a challenge.
• MI-12: Rep. Sandy Levin became the latest veteran Michigan Dem (along with Johns Dingell & Conyers, and Dale Kildee) to confirm that he'll seek another term.
• NY-26: Erie County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz has told Democratic leaders to drop his name from consideration as a possible candidate for the upcoming special election. Is it just me, or is it a little worrisome that we still seem to be so far away from choosing a nominee? Just another reason why we should have primaries for special elections in New York.
The legislature did just pass one small bit of elections reform: Once Gov. Cuomo signs the bill, special elections will now be held 70 to 80 days after their announcement by the governor (as opposed to 30 to 40 right now), to give county boards more time to handle military and overseas ballots. This was done to bring NY into better compliance with federal law, but still note that there is no specific timeframe in which a governor must actually call for a special - this law only applies to the time period after one has been called.
• OH-01: Cincinnati NAACP President Christopher Smitherman tells Dave Catanese that he thinks Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory is "floating the idea of a run" against Rep. Steve Chabot. Mallory is black, and Smitherman notes, of course, that President Obama will be at the top of the ticket. The current OH-01 is 29% black, as strong black turnout was responsible for Steve Chabot losing in 2008.
• IN-SoS: Republican Secretary of State Charlie White was just indicted on seven felony counts, "including voter fraud, perjury and theft." White is accused of intentionally voting in a precinct he didn't live in. Funny how after all their bogus charges of "voter fraud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111," the one guy who actually gets hauled up on charges is nothing less than the guy responsible for ensuring the integrity of elections - and a Republican, to boot.
• Idaho: Due to a court challenge, which found Idaho's system of open primaries unconstitutional under the First Amendment, Idaho looks like it will be moving toward closed primaries - or at least, a setup where you have to register with the Republican Party in order to vote in GOP primaries.
• MS Redistricting: So it looks like Mississippi may be the first state in the nation to adopt any sort of actual redistricting map - not a surprise, seeing as the state holds legislative elections later this year. The state House will vote on its own map as early as this Friday. (Click here for the map, and click here for the demographic breakdowns.) Believe it or not, the state House is actually still run by the Democrats, and predictably, Republicans don't like their plan, calling it an incumbent protection plan for Dems. Still, it will likely pass - Dems insist all lawmakers have had a chance to give their input, and the GOP, which controls the state Senate, will need Democratic cooperation in the lower body to get their corresponding map approved.
• PA St. Sen.: Craziness - local Republicans are reportedly preparing for a special election in the 40th district to replace the seemingly-doomed state Sen. Jane Orie... whose corruption case just ended in a mistrial today. But it's not the kind of bad trial thingy a defendant typically roots for (i.e., a hung jury). Rather, the judge dismissed the jury because documents entered into evidence by the defense contained forged signatures. Said the judge to Orie's attorney: "Ray Charles could see that those signatures were doctored." So it seems like Orie may live to fry another day.