| • CT-Sen: Linda McMahon is in Washington DC this week to meet with Republican bigwigs about her bid for the Senate in Connecticut, meeting with Mitch McConnell, Jon Kyl, Orrin Hatch, and the knuckle-draggers at FreedomWorks. McMahon's visit is accompanied, however, by stories in The Hill and Politico that focus on professional wrestling's dangerous conditions, and lack of health insurance or union representation -- and are replete with quotes from former wrestlers decrying McMahon and her company.
• KS-Sen: The previous few rounds of polling for Rep. Todd Tiahrt in the Kansas GOP Senate primary haven't looked so hot, but the newest offering from SurveyUSA finds him back in the thick of things. Rep. Jerry Moran now leads Tiahrt 37-34, compared with a 43-27 gap in early October. Crosstabs suggest Tiahrt has pulled back into a tie in Kansas's northeast (the Kansas City suburbs) -- with Moran dominating the rural west and Tiahrt dominating the Wichita area, the KC suburbs are the decisive region.
• OR-Gov: State Republican leaders are still casting their nets about, despite former NBA player Chris Dudley bringing a lot of money to the table. With some troubled that Dudley "has not delivered any ideas at all" (and with their best-known candidate, Bill Sizemore, having gotten arraigned for tax evasion yesterday) many have now set their sights on state House minority leader Bruce Hanna, a conservative from the state's rural southwest; Hanna says he's "listening with interest" to their entreaties.
In the you-can't-make-this-stuff-up department, Jerry Wilson, founder of exercise machine maker Soloflex, was originally going to run for Governor under the banner of Oregon's Naderite Progressive Party, but somewhere along the way decided it would be better to run for one of the major party noms so he'd have a better chance, and inexplicably decided to run for a Republican. Wilson just found out that he missed the deadline by several months to change his party registration to be able to do so (he's a Democrat), so now he's decided to run as a Democrat. (The pro-marijuana Wilson might want to, y'know, lay off it a little while he's trying to put together a political campaign.) Also on the Dem side, the state's AFL-CIO announced that it won't be endorsing in the race until at least March, which has to be seen as a victory of sorts for ex-SoS Bill Bradbury in that they don't view ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber as having the nomination locked down and are waiting to see how things shake out.
• TX-Gov: With heavyweight Houston mayor Bill White having settled into the Democratic field in the Governor's race, the remaining candidates are assessing their options. Kinky Friedman was expected to drop out today, but announced that he'll take at least a few more days to meet with supporters, and with White and Farouk Shami, before pulling the plug. (Shami was a big donor to Friedman last time.) The independently wealthy Shami sounds like he's staying in, although he's now suffering the usual fate of celebrity business candidates: the revelation of his paltry voting record (including no vote in the 2008 general, and no votes in any Democratic primary elections, with at least one in a Republican primary instead). And on the GOP side, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, faced with the realization that the Senate election may not be happening any time soon, just filed for re-election to another term as LG.
• FL-02: That was fast. (And not very good message discipline, either.) After confirming yesterday that he was considering a move over to Florida's statewide CFO race, Democratic state Sen. Al Lawson backtracked today and said he's sticking with his longshot primary challenge to Rep. Allen Boyd instead.
• ID-01: An intramural fight is breaking out among Idaho Republican legislators, as state Rep. Raul Labrador seeks the Republican nomination to take on Rep. Walt Minnick next year. State Sen. Mike Jorgenson is demanding Labrador drop out, attacking him for his work as a -- gasp -- immigration lawyer; the two have previously clashed over immigration policy in the legislature, including Jorgenson's proposal to bar illegal immigrants from receiving state benefits. There's no clue given where Labrador's opponent, Vaughn Ward, stands on immigration issues, but it's interesting to see the same cheap-labor/close-the-borders fissures opening up here that erupted in, say, the UT-03 primary last year.
• IL-14: One more dropout in the GOP field in the 14th, as young Mark Vargas, a former Defense Dept. employee in Iraq, got out of the race. Unlike other recent dropout Bill Purcell, though, Vargas endorsed Ethan Hastert on his way out the door. Jeff Danklefsen is the only minor player left on the playing field between Hastert and state Sen. Randy Hultgren.
• NJ-03: The 5'9" John Adler is certainly vulnerable to wedgies and wet willies from the 6'7" Jon Runyan, but now he's vulnerable to the dreaded Rear Admiral as well. Maurice "Mo" Hill, a Toms River Township Councilor, dentist, and retired Navy rear admiral, says he'll likely run in the GOP primary against Runyan, despite local party leaders' hopes to avoid a contested primary like the one that sank their hopes last year. Hill says he'll move forward if he gets the backing of his local Ocean County party, regardless of how the other counties' organizations go.
• PA-06: Chester County Recorder of Deeds Ryan Costello bailed out on his run in the GOP field in the 6th, finding all the oxygen in the race gobbled up by self-funding moderate Steven Welch and well-known conservative state Rep. Curt Schroder. Schroder, meanwhile, nailed down the endorsements of two more Republican legislators in the area: Berks County state Sen. Mike Folmer and newly-elected state Montgomery County Sen. Bob Mensch.
• SC-01: Another Republican is getting into the primary against vulnerable Rep. Henry Brown in the Charleston-area 1st (joining "Tumpy" Campbell): attorney, Navy vet, and former Mt. Pleasant city councilor Mark Fava. Could this have the effect of splitting the anti-Brown vote, though? On the Dem side, restauranteur Robert "Bob" Dobbs was joined several weeks ago by commercial pilot and Air Force vet Robert Burton.
• TN-08: State Sen. Roy Herron isn't getting a completely free shot in his primary to replace retiring Rep. John Tanner in rural western Tennessee: he'll face off against 34-year-old Luther Mercer II, an educator and son of a Madison County Commissioner. Meanwhile, eager to generate more Tanners, the GOP has unveiled its target list of aging House Democrats in red districts to push to retire (mostly just via press release attacks for now -- perhaps there will also be a sustained attempt to blanket their offices with brochures for oceanfront Florida condominiums as well). Recall, though, that Tanner said the prospect of a good fight was the one thing that was potentially keeping him from retiring, suggesting this has the potential to backfire in some cases.
• Mayors: Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu had said this summer that he wouldn't seek to become the next mayor of New Orleans. When most other big-names like city council president Arnie Fielkow and state Rep. Karen Carter Peterson subsequently declined, Landrieu apparently sensed a mayoralty for the taking. Now he's apparently changed his mind, and says he'll launch a mayoral campaign next week. (Landrieu narrowly lost the mayor's race to Ray Nagin in 2006.)
• WATN?: 80-year-old former New York state Sen. majority leader Joe Bruno, who turned Albany into his personal fiefdom for decades, just got convicted of two felony corruption charges. And former Rep. Chip Pickering, one of the C Street House residents who bailed from a promising career after an embarrassing affair, is staying classy. He was last seen getting into a physical altercation at his young son's soccer game -- with an opposing team's soccer coach already wearing a neck brace.