• HI-Sen: Both Rep. Mazie Hirono and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa have confirmed to Roll Call that they are looking at the Dem primary to replace retiring Sen. Dan Akaka, and Hanabusa says she's meeting with the DSCC, presumably soon. She also says that the DS "has made it known it wants to speak with anyone interested in running, but it is not actively recruiting any one candidate" (Roll Call's phrasing).
• IN-Sen: So GOPer Richard Mourdock raised $157K, not much better than the $125K or so he predicted (in an obvious attempt to ensure he "exceeded analysts' estimates," as they might say after a Wall Street earnings call). But I flag this item because Roll Call says Mourdock plans to "raise money from a national donor base starting next year." Does this mean he's going the Sharron Angle/Michele Bachmann/Allen West BMW Direct-type direct mail scammery? (See related bullets below.) If so, then perhaps Dick Lugar is in better shape than he might have hoped.
• MO-Sen: This is news to me: Sophomore GOP Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer is apparently thinking about a Senate bid, and has reportedly even met with the NRSC about his intentions. Dave Catanese says that "uncertainty about redistricting" is spurring Luetkemeyer to consider other options, but I'm not sure I buy that, seeing as the new maps being considered by the Republican-held legislature offer him a very comfy seat. The real puzzler is why he's doing this when six-term Rep. Todd Akin seems to be gearing up for a Senate run, since there's almost no way the two would want to fight it out in a primary. Maybe Lute thinks he can be Plan B if Akin demurs.
Another reason cited by Catanese (which applies equally well to both congressmen) is ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman's crappy fundraising. She pulled in just $186K in Q1, which would be unimpressive for a supposedly serious candidate in almost any state. If Akin gets in, I think there's a non-zero chance that she'd drop out.
• MT-Sen: Nice: Sen. Jon Tester (D) raised $1.2 million in Q1 and has $1.5m on hand. His Republican opponent, Rep. Denny Rehberg, raised less than half that, $580K, but has $932K in the bank.
• NE-Sen: Sen. Ben Nelson raised $1 million in Q1 and has $2.3 mil on hand. His chief Republican rival, AG Jon Bruning, raised $1.5 million and has $1.2 in the bank, but Nelson pointed out that $600K was transferred from Bruning's 2008 Senate account (when he briefly sought to primary Chuck Hagel; after Hagel announced his retirement, Bruning was squeezed out by former Gov. Mike Johanns).
• OH-Sen: Former state Sen. Kevin Coughlin, whom we'd mentioned previously as a possible candidate, has filed paperwork for an exploratory committee, joining Treasurer Josh Mandel in this in-limbo category in the GOP primary.
• TN-Sen: I feel like there's an alternate universe not too dissimilar from our own where a Republican dude named Bob Corker is also freshman in the U.S. Senate, and he's also up for re-election, except Corker Prime is actually vulnerable. Here on Earth, though, it really seems like Corker is well out of reach for us. He raised an impressive $1.9 million in Q1 and has over $4 million in the bank - and there are no Democratic candidates on the horizon.
• MO-Gov: Gov. Jay Nixon lapped his likely Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, on the fundraising circuit, pulling in over twice as much money over the last six months, $1.7 million to $770K. Nixon also has a big cash-on-hand edge, $2.1 mil to $900K.
But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show? Well, pretty terrible, actually - Kinder's had just an awful few weeks in the press. After the St. Louis Post-Dispatch revealed his penchant for spending taxpayer money to stay in luxury hotels to attend baseball games and society balls, Kinder promised to reimburse the state $35K... but two weeks later, he still hasn't. That nimbus definitely isn't moving anywhere just yet, and it's his own damn fault. Let's hope he runs the rest of his campaign the same way.
• NC-Gov: This just doesn't seem good. Gov. Bev Perdue, whose public image has already suffered enough damage, was out-of-state Saturday afternoon when a series of deadly tornadoes touched down in North Carolina. She was attending a horse race in Kentucky and didn't make a public appearance back home until 11pm that night. I'm not going to predict what this will mean for Perdue, but it can't be helpful.
• WV-Gov: SoS Natalie Tennant's first ad is a hokey spot set on a farm, in which she decries politicians wasting money... and a cow can be heard to moo. (Or a bull. I don't know. It has horns. But small ones. So maybe still a cow? Do bulls moo? I'm from the city - sue me.) Tennant is generally seen as the candidate with the greatest appeal to liberals (yes, there are some in West Virginia), so she's clearly trying to play against type here.
• AZ-08: Rep. Gabby Giffords raised $358K in Q1 and has $556K in the bank.
• CA-19: Freshman GOP Rep. Jeff Denham (I admit it - I had already forgotten who he was and had to Google him) is already making a name for himself. That name is "idiot." He staged a mega-lavish DC fundraiser in January when he was sworn in which featured singer Leann Rimes and spent an amazing $212,250 on the event. Total raised? $212,900 - which means he netted exactly $650. That's quite the feat. It's even more amazing when you consider it was all supposed to benefit a joint fundraising committee for 11 GOP frosh. To rub it in, Michael Doyle of the Modesto Bee archly observes: "If the $650 netted from outside contributors were to be divvied up evenly, each of the 11 GOP lawmakers would receive $59."
• CA-36: Janice Hahn outraised Debra Bowen in Q1, $273K to $195K, and has about double the cash-on-hand, $171K to $93K. Surprisingly, Marcy Winograd managed to raise $50K. (And if you care, Republican Craig Hughey lent his campaign $250K.)
Bowen also put out an internal from the Feldman Group. In a test of apparently all the candidates who have filed, she and Hahn tie for 20, with Republican Mike Gin the next-closest at 8 and Winograd at 6. The memo also says that in a two-way runoff, Bowen leads 40-36 with 16% undecided. The poll also claims that Hahn's unfavorability rating is "double that of Bowen," but a self-respecting pollster really shouldn't include such tripe, because the refusal to release actual numbers means we're talking about something like a 12-to-6 comparison (i.e., meaningless). As mi hermano G.O.B. Bluth would say, "COME ON!"
• FL-08: Hah! Does Daniel Webster want to lose? The GOP freshman raised just $30K in Q1, but the really funny part is that the guy he defeated, Alan Grayson, raised more! Grayson took in $38K, apparently from small donors who hope he'll make a comeback bid.
• FL-22: Allen West raised a seemingly-impressive $434K in Q1, but as you know, he's a major practitioner of the churn-and-burn style of shady direct-mail fundraising, and it really shows in his burn rate. He spent an amazing $266K last quarter, which both as a raw total and a percentage rate is exceedingly high... but see the MN-06 and NV-02 items below.
• IA-04: Interesting, though not surprising: Politico says that DCCC chair Steve Israel warned Christie Vilsack off of challenging Dave Loebsack in the new 2nd CD, assuring her that the D-Trip would back the incumbent. He also apparently promised to support her if she took on Rep. Steve King (as she supposedly might do), though who knows what kind of $ that might translate into.
• IL-03: Insurance exec John Atkinson, who is apparently challenging Rep. Dan Lipinski in the Democratic primary, raised $535K in Q1, including $312K from his own pockets. Lipinski raised just $138K but has $637K on hand.
• MN-08: Freshman GOPer Chip Cravaack raised just $121K in Q1 - so why are we having such a hard time finding a Dem willing to take this guy on?
• MN-06: Michele Bachmann raised a MIND-OBLITERATING $1.7 million in the first quarter... and yes, I'm being sarcastic, because she also managed to spent $756K. Of course, netting a million bucks ain't bad (and she has $2.8 mil on hand), and if she truly pulls the trigger on a presidential run, I'll bet the spigots will open even wider. But that's still quite the burn rate.
• NV-02: Sharron Angle makes Allen West look as parsimonious as Scrooge by comparison. Everyone's favorite nutter (okay, it's a multi-way tie, but you know you love her) raised an amaaaaaaaaazing $700K in Q1, but spent an actually amazing $550K, mostly to BaseConnect, the scam artists formerly known as BMW Direct. She has only $176K in the bank.
• NY-26: Republican Jane Corwin is not fucking around: She raised just $102K in Q1, but gave her own campaign a whopping million dollars. Yow. Meanwhile, Crazy Jack Davis has raised zilch, but has loaned himself $1.5 mil and already spent $1.4 mil.
• Denver Mayor: SSP commenter Kretzy has a really good run-down on the May 3rd Denver mayor's race, necessitated by John Hickenlooper's ascension to the governor's mansion. I won't try to summarize it - you should just click through. Timely, too, because SUSA has a poll out on the race, showing James Mejia and Chris Romer tied at 22, with Michael Hancock next at 18. Again, read Kretzy's summary if you want to know more about these people.
• Wisconsin Recall: Signatures were filed yesterday to force a recall election for a third Republican state senator, Luther Olsen, and Dems expect to file petitions for Sheila Harsdorf today. (Number of Dem state sens who've had petitions filed against them so far: 0.) Also, the state's Government Accountability Board says it will try to consolidate the recalls into as few elections as possible.
• DSCC: In an item about Herb Kohl raising $0 last quarter (he can cut himself a fat check any time he pleases, so this isn't meaningful), Dave Catanese says that DSCC chair Patty Murray said "she was confident all of the remaining incumbents were running for reelection." Kohl is the most obvious candidate for retirement, and of course Murray could be wrong, but maybe this is it.
• Fundraising: The NYT has a list of fundraising by freshman Republicans, and also notes that IN-08 Rep. Larry Bucshon took in just $45K. Not really wise for a guy whose district is likely to be made at least a bit more competitive. The Fix also has a fundraising roundup.
• LCV: The League of Conservation Voters is launching a $250K radio ad campaign targeted at four members of the House who voted in favor of a bill that would bar the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The ads are hitting two Republicans running for Senate, Denny Rehberg and Dean Heller, as well as Energy Cmte Chair Fred Upton (R) and Jason Altmire (D). Here's a sample ad (targeted at Heller), which I actually find kinda weird and confusing.
• Passings: Former Rep. Harold Volkmer, who represented mostly rural northeastern Missouri's 9th CD for ten terms, passed away at the age of 80.
• Colorado: Now this at least is a fight that makes sense: Republicans control the Colorado House, while Dems control the Senate - and tempers have already exploded with the release of proposed redistricting plans from both sides. (See yesterday's digest for the maps.) Speaker of the House Frank McNulty flipped out, accusing Democrats of drawing districts that would benefit two legislators in particular: Senate President Brandon Shaffer and Sen. Morgan Carroll.
However, Carroll said she has no plans to run for Congress, while the Dem point-man on redistricting, Sen. Rollie Heath, pointed out that the new 4th CD (which McNulty thinks Shaffer wants to run in) has a 10 percent GOP registration edge... in other words, not the kind of seat you'd drawn for yourself if you were an ambitious Democrat. So either McNulty is just a garden-variety moran, or he's just trying to cast fact-free aspersions against the other side. We've seen a lot of this kind of crap from Colorado Republicans already, so door number two is a definite possibility (but of course, it's not mutually exclusive of door number 1).
• Missouri: Trying to unlock a stalemate that seems remarkably picayune to outsiders such as myself, Republican power brokers in Missouri met yesterday to talk things over. Among the participants were most of the Republicans in the state's congressional delegation, the heads of the state House and Senate, and the chair of the MO GOP. No sort of deal has been announced as yet.
• Virginia: Hah - so much for lawmakers racing back to work to deal with Gov. Bob McDonnell's veto of their redistricting plans. Legislators had planned to be off this week, so rank-and-file members declined leadership's entreaties to show up.
• CT-Sen: Connecticut's open seat Senate race was always destined to be a high-dollar affair, and the money chase is well underway. Former SoS Susie Bysiewicz released a first quarter total of a respectable $500K, but Rep. Chris Murphy, her main rival in the Dem primary, just more than doubled up on that, with $1.1 million raised over the course of his first 10 weeks. (Of course, they've both picked their low hanging fruit on their first trip to the orchard, so the challenge will be to keep up that rate.)
• FL-Sen: PPP, who put out general election numbers on the Senate race last week, have the GOP primary numbers... and they find GOP voters saying "Uh, who?" (Y'know, like that guy who used to be the Senator... who somehow is known by only 26% of the sample?) Unfortunately, Connie Mack IV dropped out while the poll was in the field, so, better-known than the other options (perhaps courtesy of his dad, the former Sen. Connie Mack III, who the state's older and more confused voters might think is back) he leads the way at 28, with the actual candidates, ex-Sen. George LeMieux and state Sen. majority leader Mike Haridopolos at 14 and 13, respectively. Additional likely candidate Adam Hasner is back at 5. Don't look for any help on choosing from Marco Rubio: he's just announced that he won't endorse in the primary.
• HI-Sen: There still seem to be fans out there for losing '06 IL-06 candidate and Obama admin member Tammy Duckworth, eager to get her into elected office somewhere someday, and the place du jour seems to be Hawaii, where a Draft Duckworth page has popped up for the open Senate seat.
• MA-Sen: Salem mayor Kim Driscoll has been the occasional subject of Senate speculation for the Dem primary, along with the mayor of pretty much every other mid-sized city in the state. Nevertheless, she pulled her name out of contention yesterday (all part of the Democratic master plan of not having a candidate to deceptively lull the GOP into complacency, I'm sure). Meanwhile, Republican incumbent Scott Brown (last seen praising the Paul Ryan Abolition of Medicare Plan, rolled out his first quarter fundraising numbers: he raised $1.7 million in Q1, leaving him with $8.1 million cash on hand. That's, of course, huge, but the silver lining on that is that it doesn't leave him on track to hit his previously-announced super-gigantic $25 mil fundraising goal for the cycle.
• FL-Gov: With various newly-elected Republican governors in polling freefall, Rick Scott (who can't even get along with his GOP legislature, let alone his constituents) really seems to be leading the way down. Quinnipiac finds his approvals deep in the hole, currently 35/48, down from 35/22 in February (meaning he picked up no new fans in that period, but managed to piss off an additional quarter of the state). Voters says by a 53-37 margin that his budget proposals are unfair to people like them. Voters are also opposed to the legislature's proposal to stop collecting union dues from state workers' paychecks.
• MO-Gov: After spending Monday dragging out his fight with those who buy ink by the barrel (aka the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who broke the story on his fancy-pants hotel habit), Missouri Lt. Gov. and Republican gubernatorial candidate Peter Kinder seemed to dial things down a notch yesterday: he says he'll 'voluntarily' reimburse the state $30K for those expenditures, and while not exactly apologizing, says he seeks "to move this nimbus off the horizon." Um, whatever that means.
• AZ-06: After getting mentioned a lot when Jeff Flake announced his Senate run, opening up the Mesa-based 6th, state Senate president Russell Pearce is now sounding unlikely to run according to insiders. (Blowback over his links to the Fiesta Bowl controversy may be the last straw, though, rather than his status as xenophobia's poster child.) A couple other GOP names have risen to the forefront: state House speaker Kirk Adams, who's considering, and former state Sen. majority leader Chuck Gray, who is already in.
• CA-36: One more big union endorsement for Janice Hahn in the primary fight against Debra Bowen to succeed Jane Harman: this one comes from the SEIU.
• CT-05: The open seat vacated by Chris Murphy is likely to draw a crowd, and here's a new Republican contender in this swingy, suburban district: Farmington town council chair and former FBI agent Mike Clark. Clark has a notable profile for helping to take down a fellow Republican while at the FBI: corrupt ex-Gov. John Rowland. He'll face Justin Bernier in the GOP primary, who lost the primary in 2010.
• FL-20: In case Debbie Wasserman Schultz's work load couldn't get any heavier, she just got a new heap of responsibility dumped in her lap: she'll become the new head of the DNC, to replace newly-minted Senate candidate Tim Kaine. She'll, of course, keep her day job as Representative.
• MN-08: The Dem-leaning 8th is as good a place as any to pick up a seat in 2012, but there's the wee problem of trying to find somebody to run there. The latest Dem possibility that drew everyone's interest, Yvonne Prettner Solon, the former Duluth-area state Sen. and newly-elected Lt. Governor, won't run here either.
• NH-St. House: I realize that with 400 members you're going to have a lot of bad apples, but still we're up to 3 GOP frosh having resigned already from the New Hampshire state House. Hot on the heels of a 91-year-old member resigning after advocating (literally) sending 'defectives' to Siberia to starve, Gary Wheaton just resigned for driving with a suspended license after a previous DUI (and then publicly suspected the arresting officer for targeting him because of his vote against collective bargaining). And somewhat less dramatically, Robert Huxley eventually got around to resigning after not getting around to showing up for any votes so far in the session.
• EMILY's List: EMILY's List is out with its first five fundraising targets for the 2012 cycle. Some of them are to be expected, with high-profile GOP freshmen and already-announced female opponents: Allen West (who may face West Palm Beach mayor Lois Frankel in FL-22), Paul Gosar (who faces a rematch with ex-Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in AZ-01), and Charlie Bass (rematched with Ann McLane Kuster in NH-02). They also targeted Joe Heck in NV-03 and Chip Cravaack in MN-08, who don't have opponents yet but conceivably could match up with Dina Titus and Tarryl Clark, respectively.
• WATN?: Thirtysomething Carte Goodwin seemed to make a good impression during his half-a-year as a fill-in in the Senate (in between Robert Byrd and Joe Manchin), moving him to prime position on the Dems' West Virginia bench, but he says he's not running for anything else anytime soon. Or more accurately, he says the only the only thing he's running for "is the county line." (Uh, with the revenuers in pursuit?)
• HI-Sen: Ex-Rep. Ed Case said he expects to decide by "mid-April" whether he'll seek Hawaii's open Senate seat. Case also says that the Merriman River Group took a poll for him and claims he kicked ass in both the primary and general-but he's only released a couple of selected toplines (click the link if you want them). PPP will have an HI-Sen general election poll out on behalf of Daily Kos/SEIU in the next couple of days.
• ME-Sen: Democrat Hannah Pingree, former Speaker of the state House and daughter of 1st CD Rep. Chellie Pingree, left the state legislature earlier this year. Only 34, she's lately been managing the family's inn & restaurant and serving on a local school board, so she seems like a good potential candidate to run for office once again-perhaps even to challenge Sen. Olympia Snowe. But Pingree just gave birth to her first child a week ago, which probably makes her less likely to get back into the game this year.
• MI-Sen: A GOP operative passes along word to Dave Catanese that Pete Hoekstra is turning down the chance to appear at some Lincoln Day dinners-which this source thinks is a sign that Hoekstra isn't planning to run for Senate. Hoekstra's would-be pollster (the same guy who was basically spinning lies about PPP last week) vociferously disputes this interpretation. We'll see, but I personally think Hoekstra is going to tell us he plans to spend more time building turtle fences with his family.
• MT-Sen: Activist Melinda Gopher says she is contemplating a primary challenge to Dem Sen. Jon Tester. She explains her reasoning here. She received 21% of the vote and finished third in the Dem primary for MT-AL last year. I could not find any FEC reports for her.
• ND-Sen, ND-AL: Another good catch by Greg Giroux: ex-Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D) just closed his federal campaign account. While it's not dispositive, of course, this probably means he's not interested in seeking his old seat, or the retiring Kent Conrad's spot in the Senate. Note that Pomeroy didn't completely slam the door on a gubernatorial run, but I'm guessing that's not terribly likely, either.
• NM-Sen: New Mexico's Republican Lt. Gov., John Sanchez, sounded very much like a candidate on a recent trip to DC. He spent some time slagging ex-Rep. Heather Wilson (the only declared candidate so far) in an interview with The Hill, criticizing her moderate credentials, but also being careful to try to put a little daylight between himself and the teabaggers. Sanchez indicated he'd decide "in the spring," and perhaps hinted he'd announce on or around April 15th... because it's totally not teabaggish to make a fetish out of Tax Day. He also says he'll be back in Washington next week to meet with the NRSC (this trip was occasioned by a gathering of the all-important National Lieutenant Governors Association).
• FL-22: Ex-Rep. Ron Klein (D) definitively slammed the door on a rematch this cycle, saying he's "looking forward to the private sector" (he's taking a job with the law firm of Holland & Knight). But he did hold out the possibility he might return to office some day (he's only 53). The same article also mentions a new possible Democratic candidate (despite the entrance of West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel in recent days): state Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, who says he's keeping his options open. (Abruzzo, hardly alone among Democrats, backed Charlie Crist over Kendrick Meek in last year's Senate race.)
In other news, a firm called Viewpoint Florida released a very questionable poll pitting Rep. Allen West against Frankel. Really, the only reason you'd put out a survey of a district which is guaranteed to get reshaped is because you're hoping to set a narrative among people who don't know better (like, say, the tradmed... this piece doesn't even mention the word "redistricting"). In addition, the poll is way too Republican, and also purports to be of "likely" voters, about one billion years before election day.
• MI-09 (?): The question mark is there because who knows what districts are going to look like, or where state Rep. Marty Knollenberg-who says he's considering a run for Congress-will wind up when all is said and done. That name ought to sound familiar: Marty's dad is, of course, George McFly ex-Rep. Joe Knollenberg, who lost to current 9th CD Rep. (and potential redistricting victim) Gary Peters in 2008. Of note, Marty sits on a redistricting committee in the state lege, so maybe a House race is his... density.
• NY-25: This is the kind of news I like to hear! Dan Maffei, who lost a heart-breaker last year, sent an email to supporters saying that he is "strongly considering running again" for his old seat. Maffei was always a great vote and a strong progressive voice, despite his decision to take a job after the election with the annoying "moderate" group Third Way. (I don't begrudge the guy needing to eat, though, and the market was pretty saturated with one-term Democratic ex-Congressmen in need of a job.) We don't know how this district will wind up, of course, but I'd be surprised if there were nowhere for Maffei to run.
• NY-26: Teabagger David Bellavia looks pretty doomed-despite having enough signatures (in theory), he failed to file a key piece of paperwork with the Board of Elections, which will probably terminate his candidacy. It's all the more poignant because, according to this article, the other campaigns said they would not challenge his signatures-and seeing as he submitted just 100 more than the 3,500 target, it's a good bet he was in the danger zone. (Is it really true that Republican Jane Corwin said this, though?)
Speaking of Corwin, she's got a third ad out, once again returning to small business themes (as she did in her first spot), rather than the negative attacks in her second ad.
• PA-17: Tim Holden could be in that rare bucket of Democrats who might not actually benefit from their seats being made bluer in redistricting. The conservative Holden could have Lackawanna County added to his district, according to a possible GOP plan, which might open him up to a primary challenge from the left. It would also move a couple of ambitious pols from the county into his district, including Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien (who attempted to primary ex-Rep. Paul Kanjorski last year) and Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty. PoliticsPA also says that Holden's 2010 primary challenger, activist Sheila Dow-Ford, is "rumored" to be considering another run. (Dow-Ford lost 65-35 in a race fueled in large part by Holden's vote against healthcare reform.)
• VA-05: Last cycle, few establishment figures were as absolutely hated by the teabaggers as now-Rep. Robert Hurt. He won his primary with just 48%, against a typically fractured People's Front of Judea/Judean People's Front field. (We really need an acronym for that. PFJJPF, anyone?) The teabaggers have now taken to protesting Hurt's votes in favor of continuing budget resolutions outside of his district office, but given their feeble efforts to unite around a standard-bearer last time, I'm skeptical that they have the organizational power to threaten Hurt next year.
• Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: The Greater Wisconsin Committee is running a very negative new ad against Republican Justice David Prosser, accusing him of refusing to prosecute a child-molesting priest back when he was a D.A.-and explaining that the same priest went on to molest other kids after a parish transfer.
• Census: New York City pols, led by His Bloomberginess, got wiggy almost immediately after seeing the Census Bureau's largely stagnant new population figures for the city. Pretty much everyone is convinced that NYC grew by more than 2.1%, because, they say, the bureau undercounted immigrants. And here's a pretty good supporting piece of data: The city added 170,000 new homes over the last decade, so how could it grow by only 166,000 people? (There are no huge swaths of abandoned properties in New York, though the Census does claim vacancies increased.) As a result, city officials are planning to challenge the figures (which they think should be about a quarter million higher). But it's worth noting that a similar challenge 20 years ago wound up failing.
• Votes: The New York Times is getting into the party unity score game, finding that (according to their methodology) 14 Dems have voted with Team Blue less than 70% of the time this Congress. It's pretty much just a list of the remaining white conservative Blue Dogs who sit in red districts, though three names from bluer districts stand out: Dennis Cardoza (CA-18); Jim Costa (CA-20); and Gary Peters (MI-09).
• Louisiana: A state Senate committee passed a plan for redistricting its own lines last Thursday; a vote by the full body could come this week. Notably, the new map increases the number of majority-minority districts from 10 to 11. Things are delayed on the House side, though.
• Virginia: A teachable moment in Virginia: Democrats in the state Senate adopted a rule that would limit the population variance in any new maps to no more than ±2%, while Republicans in the state House are using a ±1% standard. This issue often comes up in comments, but it's simple: For state legislatures, courts have said that a 10% total deviation is an acceptable rule of thumb-that is, if the difference in population between the largest district and the smallest district is no more than ±5% of the size of an ideal district, then you're okay. However, at least one map which tried to egregiously take advantage of this guideline (total deviation of 9.98%) was nonetheless invalidated, so while the "ten percent rule" is still probably a reasonable safe harbor, it may not be a sure thing. For congressional maps, it's even simpler: Districts have to be perfectly equipopulous unless the state can justify the difference as necessary to achieve legitimate state policy. (For instance, Iowa state law forbids splitting counties to draw a federal map; this is considered an acceptable goal by the courts, so Iowa's districts have slight variances.)
Rather unexpectedly, here's a big name set to enter the race against what has to be one of the 2010 cycle's top GOP targets in the House: Allen West.
Term-limited West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel is expected to announce this afternoon that she's running for the congressional seat of freshman U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation.
Frankel, who'll preside over her last city commission meeting today and whose last day as mayor is March 31, wouldn't reveal her plans in a brief conversation this morning. But well-placed Democrats say they expect her to formally enter the District 22 race.
The DCCC has to regard this as a big score, as she's one of the most prominent political figures on the Gold Coast. (Of course, that has some potential downside, compared with a fresh face; she's been around long enough to have pissed a lot of people off over the years, after two terms as WPB mayor, a long stint in the state House, and even losing a particularly racially-charged primary against Alcee Hastings back in 1992 when FL-23 was created.)
Some Dude Patrick Murphy is already in the race for the Dems; while ex-Rep. Ron Klein hasn't ruled out a rematch, his employment plans seem to indicate he's moved on. An announcement this early is a surprise considering that this district will probably see massive reconfiguration in the redistricting process (especially if the Fair Districts initiative winds up staying in effect), but she's probably confident she could win even in the currently D+1 configuration.
• FL-Sen: Here's one way the rich & powerful are different from you and me: You can, if you're GOP state Sen. Mike Haridopolos, manage to leave clients worth $100,000 of income and a house valued at $400,000 off of your financial disclosure forms and have it be judged "inadvertent." Here's another way: you get to have the people doing the judging be your friends. Indeed, the chair of the committee responsible for punishing Haridopolos, former FL GOP chair & state Sen. John Thrasher, had endorsed his senate bid just last month. When asked if he should have recused himself, Thrasher said, "Hell, no. I think that's a total political bunch of crap from the Democratic Party of Florida. They're used to losing, obviously." And what's half a million bucks between friends?
• MT-Sen, MT-Gov, MT-AL: A firm called NSON Opinion Strategy took a poll of all three Montana races for the a conservative radio host, Aaron Flint of the Northern News Network, and a conservative consulting firm, 47 North Communications. Note that despite our very early point in the cycle, they tested likely voters. Anyhow, they found Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) narrowly leading Sen. Jon Tester, 47-44, in the senate race. In the open house race, they have Republican Steve Daines on top of Dem Frankie Wilmer, 31-22 (and obviously a ton of undecideds). Incidentally, Rehberg just endorsed Daines, the only announced Republican candidate so far.
NSON also checked on the gubernatorial primaries for both parties, but there's no suggestion of an oversample, and I'm not in the habit of reporting polls where the n is in the vicinity of 200, so you'll have to click through if you want the numbers.
• NV-Sen: I, like you, had been wondering why in the hell Harry Reid would randomly start talking about outlawing prostitution in Nevada. But when I saw that John Ensign felt compelled to weigh in in response - he's fer it! - I wondered if Reid might be playing a very clever deep game. Goading Ensign into running his mouth off about whoring is a pretty good trick, if you ask me.
• WA-Gov: This seems like a pretty unlikely move, what with AG Rob McKenna ready to pounce (and even Rep. Dave Reichert supposedly weighing a run), but another Republican might get into the mix. Businessman and Seattle Port Commission President Bill Bryant won't even go so far as to say he's "considering" the race; rather, he's "listening" to people who have "urged" him to look at the race.
• CA-23: A great catch by Aaron Blake: Republican former LG Abel Maldonado filed paperwork with the FEC to run in Dem Rep. Lois Capps' district. While it would be a hell of a feat for a Republican to win here - Obama won 65% of the vote here - the proverbial "source close to" Maldonado says the candidate is "pretty confident that redistricting will change that district enough" to make it competitive. We'll see.
• CA-26: It looks like we're finally getting the upgrade we need to successfully challenge Rep. David Dreier, and we have term limits to thank. Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, who is termed out in 2012, will kick off his campaign next week. As per the above, it's pretty ballsy to start running when you can't even know where you'll be running, but unlike Maldonado, Portantino is getting off to a real start, complete with fundraiser.
• CA-36: Has anyone of any stature endorsed Debra Bowen yet? I have no idea, because her website is still just a freakin' splash page. And I ask because two more members of Congress just endorsed Janice Hahn: Loretta Sanchez and Laura Richardson. Endorsements don't typically mean a lot, but in this case, Hahn has really piled together an impressive roster in a very short time, which indicates her level of influence is quite strong. Meanwhile, I'm not even sure what Bowen is up to - search for her name on Google News (be sure to sort by date) and you won't find much about her, but you'll see plenty of stories about Hahn.
• FL-22: Hmm. So much for keeping his recruiting plans on the DL. Steve Israel's in South Florida this week, talking with potential candidates about taking on Lunatic-in-Chief Allen West next year. It sounds like Israel's met with ex-Rep. Ron Klein, whom West beat in November, as well as Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon, and a guy named Patrick Murphy (no, not that Patrick Murphy), a construction executive. Israel also said he wants to talk to West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel, who is term-limited.
• NY-26: You can try to dump your gnarly tins of leftover Scozzafava-brand cat fud into a landfill, but the stench will forever linger on. The Albany Project has this awesome catch: Republican nominee Jane Corwin made the terrible, terrible error of donating $1,000 to Dede Scozzafava during her most ill-fated of congressional runs. Oh, the agony!
• OR-01: Two newspapers have already called for Rep. David Wu's resignation: The Daily Astorian and the Eugene Register Guard, which is actually the second-largest paper in the state. Can the Oregonian be far behind? So far, though, while the chair of the Oregon GOP seems to be calling for Wu to step down, fellow Dem politicians have been very circumspect, and Wu himself said he has no interest in leaving.
• TX-15: This might help explain why Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D) has missed so many votes (40% so far): Earlier this month, he declared bankruptcy, on account of loan guarantees he made to his family's meat company. The company itself declared bankruptcy in 2008, and though he was paid as a consultant from 2002 to 2007, Hinojosa has said he does not have managerial control over the firm.
• UT-02: Jim Matheson is on a bit of a sticky wicket. If the GOP cracks Democratic Salt Lake City when they draw their new maps, he could potentially survive - after all, he's represented a brutal district for a decade now. But he could be given a super-red district which also includes a lot of new territory, setting him back to square one-and-a-half. Alternately, the Republicans could pack Dem voters into a single district that would actually be fairly blue - in which case the conservative Matheson might find himself vulnerable to a more liberal challenger, particularly thanks to Utah's convention nomination process. (Recall that Matheson only pulled 55% at last year's convention against Some Dude Claudia Wright.) One such challenger might be former SLC Mayor Rocky Anderson, who told Aaron Blake he wouldn't rule out such a run, if the district were suitable.
• National Journal: It looks like the NJ's senate ratings are out (though I'm not sure the complete list is publicly available yet). And guess who is tied for most conservative senator? The circle is now complete. When John McCain left us, he was but the maverick. Now he is the hackster.
• Tea Party Express: Open Secrets has an interesting analysis in which they show that no fewer than twenty different federal PACs sprang into being last cycle, but that fully 96% of all money raised was hauled in by just a single entity, the Tea Party Express. But even more fascinating to me are TPX's final numbers. They donated $37K directly to candidates and spent $2.7 million on independent expenditures, but raised an amazing $7.6. That means that almost five million dollars went... where exactly?
• WI St. Assembly: Mark your calendars: Widely-beloved Gov. Scott Walker has set May 3rd as the date for special elections for three now-vacant Republican-held Assembly seats. (All three dudes just took jobs in the Walker administration.) The open seats are the 60th, 83rd and 94th. That last one could be interesting. Obama won only 38% & 35% of the vote in the first two districts respectively, but he took 55% in the 94th. The GOP has a 57-38 edge in the Assembly, though, so we have a long way to claw back.
• AZ-Sen: Could we actually see a retirement from the GOP's #2, Jon Kyl? Seems hard to believe, but there seems to be increasing chatter about it, at least to the extent that it's now a "real possibility." Local sources refer to his fundraising as being in a "holding pattern." Kyl promises a February deadline for deciding whether or not to run again.
• FL-Sen: He doesn't have the name rec of ex-Sen. George LeMieux or Rep. Connie Mack IV, but don't discount former state House majority leader Adam Hasner as a potential force in the GOP Senate primary. While he's little-known, insiders point to him having the best-built network for fundraising and activist mobilization among the GOPers. (Also worth noting: his wife just finished running Meg Whitman's campaign. Although I don't know if, at this point, that's a plus or a minus.)
• IN-Sen: Seemingly having learned from the 2010 Republican Senate primary, where two candidates split the hard-right vote and let warmed-over establishmentarian Dan Coats stroll to the nomination, Indiana tea partiers seem to be trying to coordinate their efforts better this time in order to beat Richard Lugar. 180 leaders met to summon three potential candidates (the already-oft-mentioned state Sen. Mike Delph and state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, but also 2010 IN-02 loser Jackie Walorski) to appear before them so they can unify behind one of them. (The article's worth reading too for some provocative pushback from Lugar's camp, including some thoughtful mention from them of the Latino vote, a growing demographic even in Indiana.) Meanwhile, faced with redistricting-related uncertainty in his House district, Rep. Joe Donnelly is continuing to "look at his political options" regarding a statewide run (where, theoretically, a Senate run could be more appealing, if odds are starting to look like the Gov. opponent will be Mike Pence and the Sen. opponent will be a little-known teabagger).
• MA-Sen: Cat fud doesn't get any better than this: the National Republican Trust PAC, which spent $95K on IEs to get Scott Brown elected in 2010, is now vowing to defeat Brown in the next Republican primary in order to "protect its brand." The last straw for them? START, of all things. While I can't see such a primary likely to succeed (especially since these guys seem like kind of small-ball players... I mean, $95K?), the prospect of angry right-wingers staying home in November makes the general election that much more interesting. Meanwhile, Rep. Michael Capuano, who lost the special election Dem primary, still sounds like the Dem likeliest to make the race, although he's now saying he won't have a formal decision until summer. Another potential candidate, Rep. Stephen Lynch, is out with some comments that somehow don't seem likely to endear him any more to the party's base, saying that liberal activists should steer clear of primary challenges in 2012 (Lynch, of course, was recipient of one of those challenges). He stopped short of saying that they should steer clear of primary challenges to him in the Senate race, though, so that doesn't give much insight into his 2012 plans.
• MI-Sen: With Peter Hoekstra having made some vague noises about being interested in the Senate race last week, now it's Terry Lynn Land's turn. The former Republican SoS says she's "considering it," but interestingly, plans to meet with Hoekstra next week before making a decision.
• TX-Sen: This isn't much of a surprise, but west Texas's three interchangeable Republican House members (Mike Conaway, Randy Neugebauer, and Mac Thornberry) announced en masse that they weren't interested in running for the Senate seat. Makes sense... why give up the safest job in the nation (GOP House backbencher in a district that's R+25 or more) for the chance to get flattened in a primary by David Dewhurst and/or a teabagger to be named later?
• VT-Sen: Republican State Auditor Tom Salmon seems to have an amazing new quantitative scheme for gauging his interest in running for Senate: currently he says he's "65 percent in," and that "when I hit 75 percent it will commence exploratory." He also lets Politico know (I'm not making this up) that he "needs to be an authentic self-utilizing power along the lines of excellence." I guess he switched from being a Democrat to a Republican last year because he felt more welcome in the GOP, given their long-standing tolerance of Sarah Palin's gift for word salad.
• WI-Sen: This seems like a pretty good indicator that long-time Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl, who prefers to write his own checks rather than work the fundraising circuit, is planning another run in 2012 rather than retirement. He just loaned $1 million into his campaign account in the fourth quarter of 2011.
• WV-Gov: PPP is out with the primary election portions of its gubernatorial poll from last week. On the Dem side, there are two clear favorites but they're neck and neck: acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (at 25) and SoS Natalie Tennant (at 24). Further behind are state Treasurer John Perdue at 16, state Sen. Jeff Kessler at 7, state House speaker Rick Thompson at 6, and state Sen. Brooks McCabe at 4. On the GOP side, if Shelley Moore Capito does show up (which she says she won't), she's a shoo-in, at 72, with ex-SoS Betty Ireland at 10, state Sen. Clark Barnes at 5, Putnam Co. Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia at 1, and state GOP chair Mike Stuart at 1. They also try a Capito-free version, in which Ireland becomes the heavy fave at 46, with Barnes at 11, Sorsaia at 9, and Stuart at 4. There's also word of one more GOPer who isn't interesting: former astronaut and 1996 gubernatorial candidate (who lost the '96 primary to Cecil Underwood) Jon McBride says he won't run this time.
• IN-01, MI-14: Two Democratic old-timers who may be faced with less favorable districts after redistricting (or at least dark-blue districts that contain a lot of new territory) and have some ethical problems hanging overhead both announced that they're running for re-election. Peter Visclosky and John Conyers both are looking to get an early start on their races.
• WA-08: Here's a new House filing from a fairly prominent local Democrat to go against perennial target Dave Reichert: state Rep. Roger Goodman has set up a committee to run in the 8th. This requires some reading between the lines, though, because a Goodman/Reichert matchup is highly unlikely in the end; Goodman just needs a federal committee set up for, well, somewhere. Goodman lives in Kirkland, which is about a mile to the north of the 8th's boundaries; he actually lives in WA-01, where he probably doesn't want to look like he's mounting a primary challenge to Jay Inslee, although it's widely-assumed that Inslee will be vacating the 1st to run for Governor in 2012. That doesn't mean that Goodman running in the 1st is a done deal, either; under the likeliest redistricting scenario, Kirkland is likely to be part of a new Dem-friendly district that's based on the true Eastside (whether it's the 8th or 10th remains to be seen), with Reichert, who's based down in Auburn, getting his own friendlier district based in SE King County and eastern Pierce County. So, I'd say, it's likelier than not that we'll see both Reichert and Goodman in the House in 2013; the main question is the district numbers.
• DCCC: Here's something we like to see; not only is the DCCC is getting an early start on offense this year, seeding the ground to try to get some early momentum going against the most vulnerable House GOPers, but they're explicitly doing some progressive framing here, highlighting the links between infrastructure spending and job growth. They're running radio ads in 19 districts, most of which aren't a surprise by virtue of their swinginess: targets include Lou Barletta, Charlie Bass, Ann Marie Buerkle, Steve Chabot, Chip Cravaack, Bob Dold!, Sean Duffy, Blake Farenthold, Mike Fitzpatrick, Nan Hayworth, Joe Heck, Robert Hurt, Patrick Meehan, Dave Reichert, David Rivera, Jon Runyan, Joe Walsh, and Allen West. The wild card? Thad McCotter, whose continued presence in the House seems to have more to do with his ability to not draw tough opponents than it does with a connection to his district.
• Redistricting: The Fix has an interesting look at Virginia redistricting, where the Dem control of the state Senate probably means an 8-3 compromise map protecting current incumbents. There's one wrinkle, though: congressional redistricting could be pushed back until after the 2011 legislative election in the hopes that the GOP takes back over the state Senate, which would give them the trifecta. (Obviously, they couldn't delay legislative redistricting, though, meaning the GOP won't have the leverage over the map that would shape the results of the 2011 legislative election.) Although it's hard to see what they could do to VA-11 that wouldn't cut into VA-10, the GOP could conceivably push for a 9-2 map if they got that advantage. (The Rose Report is out with a much more in-depth series on Virginia redistricting this month that's worth a look.) Meanwhile, in New Jersey (another early state where the work is done by bipartisan commission), there's already some disagreement within the commission over whether or not they need to have an 11th, tie-breaking member appointed so they can move forward. (H/t to Taniel for noticing the delightful headline: "N.J. redistricting commission argues over whether it is at an impasse.")
• Census: Speaking of Virginia and New Jersey, and their early redistricting efforts, the Census Bureau will be rolling out the first big batch of complete, detailed data from 2010 for the first four states that need it early (for 2011 legislative election purposes)... Louisiana and Mississippi as well. They don't have a specific date set, but keep watching this link because they'll be available at some point this week.
• CA-Sen: Despite getting only a small vote share in the GOP Senate primary this year (as conservatives decided to go with the slightly-more-electable Carly Fiorina), Chuck DeVore is talking Senate again, for 2012, when Dianne Feinstein will presumably run for re-election. Or is he? All he's saying is that he's likely to run in 2012, but hasn't decided what office. Senate is the only thing that's available, though, which makes his statement seem kind of strange (unless he's talking about trying to rejoin the state Assembly). If Barbara Boxer could still win by 10 points in a terrible year, the more-popular Feinstein in a presidential year is an even more daunting target, meaning that DeVore may be the only prominent GOPer crazy enough to take on the task.
• MA-Sen: Nobody really has any idea whether or not Vicki Kennedy plans to run for Senate -- she'd probably have a massive field-clearing effect in the Dem primary if she did -- but Joan Vennochi is seeing some signs of the groundwork for a run, looking at Kennedy's stepped-up routine of public appearances around the state.
• OH-Sen: Rep. Jim Jordan had probably been the GOPer most associated with a potential run against Sherrod Brown this cycle, but now he's publicly saying that he's "leaning heavily against" the run. He has a plum job coming up as head of the right-wing caucus (the Republican Study Committee), which is often a leadership springboard, and given his ultra-safe district, that may be a more appealing track than rolling the dice on a Senate run. Auditor and soon-to-be Lt. Governor Mary Taylor (who you may recall got a few weeks of Senate speculation in 2009 when conservatives were casting about for someone more charismatic and less wonky than Rob Portman) may be next in line.
PPP is out with its primary numbers for the GOP side, too, and they find that Jordan was actually in first place among those few people who actually know him. It's one of those everybody-but-the-kitchen-sink fields where the guy with the name rec winds up winning out: Incoming AG and ex-Sen. Mike DeWine (who's quite unlikely to run, given his new job) leads at 27, with ex-SoS Ken Blackwell at 17, new SoS Jon Husted at 11, Jordan at 10, Taylor at 7, Rep. Steve LaTourette at 6, new Treasurer Josh Mandel at 5, and state Sen. Kevin Coughlin at 2.
• PA-Sen: Quinnipiac's new poll of the Pennsylvania Senate turned out to not be that revealing, seeing as how they only testing Bob Casey Jr. against Generic R. (Although they can be forgiven, given the paucity of GOP candidates willing to reveal themselves yet.) At any rate, Casey is in good shape, although the percentage of people with no opinion seems strangely high, maybe reflective of his low-key nature. He beats Generic R 43-35, and has an approval of 39/29 (55/16 among Dems, 28/42 among GOPers, and 36/30 among indies).
• House: Politico has another list of possible rematches among the ranks of defeated Dems. Some of these you're probably already familiar with (Frank Kratovil, Glenn Nye, Phil Hare, and Alan Mollohan(?!?)), but other names now weighing another bid include Dina Titus, Steve Driehaus, Carol Shea-Porter, and Bobby Bright. Mark Schauer says he's waiting to see what the GOP-held Michigan legislature does to his district, and Ron Klein is waiting to see how his district responds to Allen West.
• NY-St. Sen.: Craig Johnson lost his case concerning the result in SD-7 (in which the balance of the state Senate hangs) at the Appellate Division level, who found there wasn't a basis for a full hand recount. Johnson is still planning to appeal to the Court of Appeals. (In New York, for some screwed-up reason, the Supreme Court is the court of general jurisdiction and the Court of Appeals is the highest appellate court. Also, hamburgers eat people.)
• Switchers: Courtesy of the Fix's Aaron Blake, here's a list from GOPAC of all the state legislators who've switched parties in the last month, if you're having trouble keeping track. There's a list of 20, although almost all come from three states (Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana). Also an interesting note: we've actually found someone who just switched from the GOP to the Democrats, although you have to go even further into the weeds: Luzerne County (in Pennsylvania) Commissioner Steve Urban. Before you get too excited, though, the move seems to be mostly driven out of personal pique stemming from Urban's recent loss in a state Senate race.
• California: It looks like California's switch to a Washington-style "top two" primary is a done deal. It survived a court challenge, with the state Supreme Court refusing to block a challenge to two of its provisions. (One of the provisions is one way in which it'll differ from Washington: in California, party affiliation can be listed only if one belongs to a party that's officially recognized by the state, while in Washington, you can list yourself as belonging to whatever crazy made-up party you want.)
• CfG: The Club for Growth is issuing one of its litmus test warnings, saying that primaries will result for GOPers who defy its will... and it's over one of the less controversial things on the current docket: the omnibus spending bill (which contains... gasp!... earmarks.)
• Votes: The House, as you're probably well aware, easily passed repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell yesterday (although its Senate future is hazy; ask again later). The 15 Dem "no" votes are mostly Blue Dogs in socially conservative districts (with nine of them not coming back, either via loss or retirement), with one key exception: Artur Davis, still seeming completely intent on maxing out on his frequent douchebag miles before leaving. The 15 GOP "yes" votes are more interesting, a mix of departing moderates (Castle, Djou, Cao, Ehlers), remaining moderates in well-educated (and presumably low homophobia) districts (Biggert, Reichert, Dent, Platts), GOPers with substantially gay constituencies (Bono Mack, Ros-Lehtinen, Diaz-Balart... and we can double-count Cao), die-hard libertarians (Paul, Flake, Campbell), and in his own category, David Dreier.
• WATN?: Dede Scozzafava, perhaps as a reward for, in her own round-about way, giving us the gift of Bill Owens in NY-23, is in talks to get a job in the incoming Cuomo administration. The exact position hasn't been defined, but will be something about "streamlining" government.
• Demographics: Here's an interesting piece in the Democratic Strategist that does some demographic slice-and-dice of the House seats where Dems lost. Some of it isn't a surprise (losses occurred where race and education overlap, as the white working class particularly turned right), but it adds an important variable to the mix that nobody else seems to have noticed: manufacturing. There's a definite correlation between losses and how reliant the district is on a manufacturing economy.
• MO-Sen: Ed Martin, who lost narrowly in MO-03, has kept spamming me (and presumably everybody else who writes about politics) with press releases vaguely hinting at voter fraud. It's seeming like maybe there's something more there to it than just garden-variety sore-loserism; there's growing buzz that he's trying to stay top-of-mind for a possible run for the GOP Senate nomination. Now, you might be saying, that's a whole lot of hubris for a guy who couldn't even win a House seat to go up against Sarah Steelman and possibly Jim Talent, but Martin might be able to grab the tea party mantle considering that the local 'baggers are quite adamant that they aren't as enamored with her as the national-level ones are. Martin is apparently also considering another run for the House; part of his decision will be what happens with redistricting, as MO-03 may be on the chopping block, between St. Louis-area depopulation and Republican legislative control.
• MT-Sen: Trying to decipher Rep. Denny Rehberg's intentions, about a possible run against freshman Dem Jon Tester? David Catanese is actually picking through his Christmas card to read the tea leaves. Rehberg tells his supporters (and extended family members) that he's "not taking anything off the table" in terms of his next step, which is interesting, as it may mean he's thinking about the open seat gubernatorial race too.
• NE-Sen: Now here's a blast from the past: ex-Gov. Kay Orr is so old-school that she was actually defeated for Governor by Ben Nelson, way back in 1990. Despite 20 years out of the political scene, her name is being floated as a possibility for the GOP Senate primary for the right to take on Nelson in 2012. Orr herself says she's undecided, but sounds leaning against it. The Fix also seems to think that state Treasurer (and another long-ago loser to Nelson, although at least this time in a Senate race) Don Stenberg is likely to run, which would force a primary against AG Jon Bruning.
• PA-Sen: There are two different overviews of the Pennsylvania situation today; one is from Alex Roarty at National Journal (and unfortunately is behind a paywall, so I'll give you the gist). The one new name that surfaces in it is GOP Rep. Tim Murphy (from PA-18 in the Pittsburgh-suburbs); while he isn't pushing forward on it, he's shown more behind-the-scenes interest in it than Charlie Dent or Jim Gerlach, both of whom have gotten more touting but seem content with their cushy new committee posts. He also mentions that state Sen. Kim Ward is now leaning against, and confirms that ex-Gov. Mark Schweiker is at the top of the GOP's wish list but probably a pipe dream. A Philadelphia Magazine article tries to handicap the GOP field, with absolutely nobody on the first tier, Gerlach alone on the second tier, and state Sen. Jake Corman (and Ward) comprising the third tier.
• VA-Sen: Newsmax has an interview with new right-wing hero Ken Cuccinelli, who despite his new HCR-related celebrity is taking the opportunity to make clear that he isn't running for Senate in 2012 (which would remove George Allen's main impediment for the GOP nomination). He wouldn't rule out running for Governor in 2013, though. (I wouldn't link to Newsmax if you paid me to, so you'll have to take my word for it.)
• IN-Gov: Rep. Joe Donnelly is another option for Dems for Indiana Governor, although a run by Donnelly would require him giving up his seat. What if the GOP decides to get really aggressive in gerrymandering and build a nightmare seat for him (for instance, creating a dumbbell-shaped district linking Gary and his town of South Bend, forcing him to run against Lake County-based Pete Visclosky or else to move to a mostly rural red district)? South Bend's Dem party chair is now saying that Donnelly would look at a statewide race in the event that the House map is too unfavorable.
• FL-22: I think I'm going to greatly enjoy Allen West's two years in the House, if only because he has the skill of digging his own hole deeper every time he opens his mouth. Fresh off the outrageous suggestion that the government should "censor" mainstream media outlets that publish information obtained via WikiLeaks (and apparently having had someone explain First Amendment jurisprudence carefully to him), now he's claiming that he was misinterpreted, and that he actually said "censure" instead.
• IL-17: Now here's a fool's errand: declaring your intention to run for a district that's about to vaporize. Soon-to-be-ex-Rep. Phil Hare has already expressed his interest in a rematch with Bobby Schilling, but he may have some company. Both former Rock Island mayor Mark Schweibert and state Rep. Mike Boland said they're interested in running in the Dem primary, too. (Hare, former aide to Lane Evans, was picked over Schweibert by local party heads to be the 2006 nominee after Evans dropped out of the race post-primary.) The 17th seems like the likeliest district on the Illinois chopping block, though, seeing as how most of the state's population loss has been Downstate and there's not much point for the Dem-held legislature to preserve a Democratic vote sink if it's not even going to elect a Democrat.
• KS-??: Despite his various Sherman-esque statements when he first announced he wouldn't run for a full term as Governor, outgoing Dem Gov. Mark Parkinson is saying in an exit interview that he won't rule out running for something in the future. (In the meantime, he's heading to DC to rule the nursing home trade association.) It's unclear what he'd run for, though... KS-03 is certainly a possibility, as it's the most Dem-friendly part of the state and Parkinson is an Olathe resident.
• NY-10: This may be taking tea leaf reading a step too far here, but the subtext to Ed Towns' surprising decision not to seek the ranking member position on the Oversight committee (and back Carolyn Maloney for it) may be that he's about to wind down his entirely unremarkable decades-long House tenure. Towns will be 78 in 2012.
• KY-AG: It looks like Jack Conway is getting some GOP opposition after all, although not from as serious a threat as outgoing SoS Trey Grayson. Todd P'Pool, the state attorney for planet Vulcan Hopkins County (population 46K) has announced that he will challenge Conway in a battle to the death for the right to mate with T'Pring the 2011 election. Cue the epic fight music!
• OR-St. Sen.: Who woulda thunk that the Oregon state Senate would be one of the last question marks to get resolved this year? The GOP-funded recount in SD-3, where Dem Alan Bates narrowly won, and the retaliatory Dem-funded recount in the race where Martha Schrader narrowly lost (she had been appointed to fill the seat vacated by her husband, now-Rep. Kurt Schrader), are over, with the numbers barely budging at all. The Dems retain a 16-14 majority.
• TX-St. House: Two more party switchers to report, this time in the Texas state House, where Dems had actually entertained the notion of flipping the body a while ago and instead are now facing the wrong end of a supermajority. Aaron Pena and Allan Ritter have both announced that they're joining the GOP, despite their blue districts (in fact, Pena's Hidalgo County district went over 70% for Obama), apparently for the same rationale that the Georgia party-switchers are giving: deep in the minority, it's the only way for them to have any effectiveness in the capitol.
• Mayors: There's a new Chicago mayoral poll out, where again the main question seems to be whether Rahm Emanuel can win outright without a runoff. That's not looking likely, given the crowded field, although he still has a substantial lead in the new Tribune/WGN poll, at 32%. Gery Chico and Danny Davis are at 9, James Meeks is at 7, Carol Mosely Braun is at 6, Miguel del Valle is at 3, and Roland Burris is at 2, leaving 30 undecided. Emanuel leads among both blacks (with 19%) and Hispanics (27%).
One other mayoral race (or "situation," really) that's heating up is in San Francisco, where there's a regularly scheduled 2011 election but also a looming vacancy with Gavin Newsom about to become Lt. Governor. The Board of Supervisors will have to choose an interim mayor to serve out those 11 months, and they'll have to choose between one of their own who may be considering a November run, or an elder-statesman placekeeper. However, the Board is split any number of ways, and if there's nobody who gets 6 of its 11 votes, the Board's President, David Chiu, becomes acting mayor. The only person who seems in position to pick up at least six votes would be state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano.
• Census: All manner of data analysis is pouring forth, in the wake of yesterday's massive data dump of the Census Bureau's five-year ACS estimates (which is where you're going to find a lot of the information that used to be on the "long form"). Perhaps most amazingly of all is a new mapping tool from the New York Times, which lets you zoom in or out from the state level to the block level anywhere in the country to look at race and foreign-born status. (Set aside a few hours to explore this one.) Also worth reading are new articles on changes in racial segregation (in major decline in certain metro areas, especially Atlanta and Miami, which can have major VRA implications in terms of it being harder to cobble together districts that have a majority of any particular group) and in rural populations (declining rapidly, as you might imagine).
• AK-Sen: Tomorrow is now the expected date for the ruling from a state superior court judge on Joe Miller's suit contesting 8,000 ballots (over spelling) and also alleging various instances of voter fraud. There's an injunction in place that keeps the race from being certified until this case (which started in federal court and got moved) has been decided, although the judge is conceding that whatever he decides, it's likely to get immediately appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court.
News also comes today that Joe Miller wound up finishing the Alaska Senate race with over $900K still in hand, an outrageous sum given how cheap the Alaska media market is. Much of that was intended to go toward post-game legal expenses, and some of that may have been the same problem that plagued other teabagger fundraising dynamos (like Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle), of not being able to find any ad slots to spend the money. Also worth a read: a wrapup over at Daily Kos from the Scott McAdams campaign's media guy, especially his recounting of the adventure he went through to find the Incredible Hulk tie that appeared in McAdams' TV spot. Finally, we'll let Kagro X get the last word in on the state of the Alaska race:
Joe Miller keeps fighting on, like a 90 year old Japanese commando on a forgotten island...
• FL-Sen: The Florida GOP primary is looking like it's going to be a very crowded affair after all: Adam Hasner, the former state House majority leader, has suddenly bubbled up over the last few days as a possible if not likely candidate. If the name sounds familiar, he considered and decided against a run in FL-22 this year; he's one of the few Republicans from the Gold Coast and, in addition to being a key Marco Rubio ally, could tap quickly into Jewish Republican fundraising circles.
• PA-Sen: It's looking more and more like Bob Casey Jr.'s challenger is going to come not from the U.S. House but the ranks of the state Senate; the question, though, is which one? The newest name to surface is Kim Ward, who says she's starting to test the waters. She's from Westmoreland County, maybe the most conservative of the once-blue, now-swingy collar counties around Pittsburgh, giving the GOP hopes they might eat into Casey's strong backing in SW PA.
• RI-Sen: Don't rule out soon-to-be-ex-Gov. Don Carcieri (who'd probably be the only Republican who could make this an interesting race here) from Senate race consideration. The 68-year-old two-termer says he isn't ruling it out, but wants to take some time off before thinking about it.
• VA-Sen: George Allen is definitely acting candidate-ish now; having laid down markers against possible primary challenger Corey Stewart, now he's moving on to direct attacks on Jim Webb (who, of course, may or may not be running for re-election), over voting against the earmark ban and the horrible sin of supporting collective bargaining rights for public safety officers.
• LA-Gov: Still no word on whether a strong Dem will get into the Louisiana governor's race, but The Daily Kingfish takes a very interesting look at the field of possible challengers to Bobby Jindal, whose numbers indicate he's popular but not bulletproof. They handicap the odds on a collection of possible challengers; interestingly, the guy they give the greatest odds to is ex-Dem John Kennedy (who presumably would take on Jindal while still wearing the "R" badge, although I guess anything's possible in Louisiana, where party labels seem to get taken on and off like so much laundry). They also float the possibility of a Mary Landrieu run, in that she may be eager to bail out of Washington before her next re-election in 2014.
• WV-Gov: With a pileup of half a dozen Dems interested in the 2012 (or 2011?) gubernatorial race, who's running for the GOP? The Beltway rumor mill seems, this week, to have Shelly Moore Capito more interested in going for the Gov race than the Senate or staying in the House. While she'd be the undisputed heavyweight, a few other second-tier GOPers are making their interest known (although it's unclear whether they'd bother if Capito got in). Most prominent is ex-SoS Betty Ireland, one of the few GOPers around who's held statewide office, and who had briefly considered running for Senate this year. State Sen. Clark Barnes is the only Republican who has committed to the race so far.
• CO-03, VA-11: Republican Keith Fimian, who came within a thousand votes of Gerry Connolly, is publicly saying he's interested in another run. He wants to wait and see what the district looks like after redistricting before committing one way or the other, though. One other rematch that may or may not be on the table is Dem John Salazar in Colorado's 3rd, who narrowly lost the reddish district to Scott Tipton and "is open" to a rematch.
• House: Politico takes a quick look at the Republicans that Democrats in the House are most likely to target in 2012. I don't think any of the names (mostly surprise victors in Dem-leaning swing districts) will surprise any devoted SSP readers: in order, they discuss Chip Cravaack, Ann Marie Buerkle, the Illinois Five (especially Bobby Schilling), Blake Farenthold, Renee Ellmers, and Allen West.
• Votes: The DREAM Act passed the House today (although it looks like, so many other pieces of legislation, its next stop is a slow Senate death by neglect). It's an interesting vote breakdown, with 38 Dems voting no (mostly Blue Dogs, and mostly ones on their way out the door) and 8 Republicans voting yes (almost all the non-white GOPers, along with the newly-liberated Bob Inglis). Most puzzling "no" vote may be Dan Lipinski, whose safe blue IL-03 is significantly Latino, and getting more so every day.
• Census: This is a strange video to go viral, but I've been seeing lots of links to this new video from the Census Bureau today, a catchy little explanation of what reapportionment is and how it works. Also a helpful Census Bureau release today: a release schedule of all the various parts and pieces that will be necessary for the redistricting process. The big enchilada, of course, is the reapportionment breakdown, which will be released at some point before the end of the year, although they're still not specifying which date. According to today's release, state numbers on race (down to the block level) will be out in February, so I'm sure there'll be flurry of activity with Dave's Redistricting App at that point.