• FL-Sen: It's official: Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, who filed paperwork last week, formally joined the GOP Senate field yesterday, making his announcement on right-wing radio host Mark Levin's show. Despite his establishment pedigree, Hasner has endeared himself to movement conservatives, hitting almost all of the right notes in what I call "Tribal Clef" - like so, but when you sing just the right tune to please the teabaggers. He was for Marco Rubio before it was cool, likes to hate on Muslims, and tried to push a state constitutional amendment that would let Florida "opt out" of card check should the Employee Free Choice Act ever pass. One odd thing, though, is his support for electric cars, something that Rush Limbaugh likes to mock as some liberal attempt at social engineering.
• MA-Sen: Activist Bob Massie has hired one-time Howard Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi. Trippi was once a netroots icon but really fell out of favor after he went to run the Senate campaign of zillionaire asshole Jeff Greene in Florida last year.
• ME-Sen: One possible Dem name we hadn't yet heard of as a possible challenger to Sen. Olympia Snow is state Sen. Phil Bartlett. Bartlett is just 32 years old, but will already be term-limited next year. (Maine seems to have a lot of very young legislators!) In the classic formulation, he says he's "not ruling out" a race.
• MO-Sen, MO-02: It's Apes-A-Poppin in the Missouri Senate race - and beyond. As Rep. Todd Akin inches closer to a senatorial run, teabagger favorite Ed Martin says he's thinking about running for Akin's potentially vacant seat, rather than competing against him in the Senate primary. Martin came close to beating Rep. Russ Carnahan in MO-03 last year, but that district is all but certain to get caved into Akin's present 2nd CD. Martin is a resident of St. Louis, though, so I'm not sure if he'd wind up in the new 2nd district (not that it necessarily matters).
Martin's newfound open-mindedness seems to come in response to a move by former state GOP chair Ann Wagner to create an exploratory committee for a possible run in whatever winds up being the successor to Akin's seat - again, assuming Akin runs for Senate, which Wagner thinks is "likely."
• NE-Sen: Ben Nelson told a Rotary Club gathering that he hasn't yet decided whether he'll run again in 2012. Also, help me out here, because I'm not understanding this: Is Nelson also saying in this article that he voted for healthcare reform because if he hadn't, a public option would have passed? I'm not getting this one at all.
• NM-Sen: Dem Hector Balderas, another candidate who telegraphed his intentions last week, also made his entry into his state's Senate primary official yesterday. He employed some good framing in his intro video:
Accountability and fiscal responsibility are not Republican words. And I'm tired of hearing them used as excuses to shortchange our children and break promises to our seniors.
As Sean Sullivan notes, he does take an indirect jab at Rep. Martin Heinrich, saying he doesn't have "the most connections in Washington" and that he "won't be the candidate of the lobbyists or the insiders." The contours of this race seem superficially akin to those in Connecticut, where a more powerful congressman is facing off against a (former) statewide elected official, but I'm hoping everyone keeps their noses clean here.
• NV-Sen: Silver State Dems are trying to do everything they can, it seems, to pressure Gov. Brian Sandoval into not appointing Rep. Dean Heller to John Ensign's soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat. I'm doubtful any of this will work (why should Sandoval care?), but if you're curious to see what Democrats are up to, click the link.
• IN-Gov: We're getting close to landing a pretty strong gubernatorial candidate in the Hoosier State. Former Dem state House Speaker John Gregg (whom we've mentioned in the past) says that he'll soon form an exploratory committee and that his "mind is made up." He's been pressing the flesh at Jefferson-Jackson dinners across the state lately, trying to re-build his name rec after a decade out of office. Still, with Mike Pence looking awfully lazy, I'm feeling perhaps a touch optimistic about this race.
• AR-04: The NRCC is airing a radio ad (I assume for peanuts) against Dem Rep. Mike Ross, attacking him for voting against all five budget proposals which came up for a vote in the House on April 15th. The main Republican Medicare-killing plan sponsored by Paul Ryan, the even crazier Republican Study Committee plan sponsored by Scott Garrett (which Dems almost tricked the GOP into passing), the Progressive Caucus plan sponsored by Raul Grijalva, the Congressional Black Caucus plan sponsored by Emanuel Cleaver, and I guess what you'd call the mainstream Democratic plan sponsored by Chris Van Hollen, which hasn't gotten a lot of attention.
So amusingly, the NRCC is trying to ding Ross for not voting for everything from Scott Garrett's vision for dystopia to a plan they'd readily denounce as neo-Stalinist. Ross should easily be able to turn this around and cast himself as an ardent defender of Medicare. (I'm sure I don't need to give him any pointers about wanking on the Grijalva or Cleaver plans.) They're also doing robocalls in another dozen or so seats held by other Dems who also voted against all five plans. Maybe this line of attack will work, but there are really very few districts left where it can.
• IN-08: Former six-term state Rep. Dave Crooks, who left office in 2008, says he's "pretty close to pulling the trigger" on a run against freshman Rep. Larry Bucshon. The 8th CD looks like it'll get made a touch more Democratic, something that Crooks acknowledges has figured in his plans. What's more, Bucshon so far has proven to be no great shakes - he had the poorest fundraising quarter of any congressman in Indiana. (Shades of John Hostettler, the last Republican to hold this seat before Bucshon?) I also like the fact that Crooks is already coming out hard against the Ryan plan.
In any event, Crooks says he's likely to make a formal announcement in the next 30 days, which would be a very good get for Team Blue. Warrick County Democratic Party Terry White is already in the race (which we noted previously), and former state Rep. Trent Van Haaften (who ran last year) is also still weighing a run.
• MN-08: Democrats have finally landed a challenger to the really meager Rep. Chip Cravaack: Daniel Fanning, the deputy state director for Sen. Al Franken and an Iraq war vet. I suspect that this will not be the last word on the Dem primary field, though. UPDATE: Seems I read the article a little too hastily. Fanning is just saying he's likely to run. He hasn't officially declared.
• NV-02: Speaking of Dean Heller (see NV-Sen bullet above), Sharron Angle is supposedly threatening to do exactly what I predicted she would, which is run an independent campaign in the free-for-all special election to replace Heller if she isn't tapped by the Republican Party. However, this "news" comes from the Las Vegas Review-Journal "newspaper" (as Jon Ralston would put it), and they admit it's nothing more than a rumor, calling it "the word circulating Monday."
Here's something that's not mere rumor: Dem Assemblywoman Debbie Smith says she won't run in any special in NV-02. We do still have other options here, though, like Treasurer Kate Marshall.
• NY-26: The first candidate-on-candidate Medicare attack ad belongs to Kathy Hochul, who nails Republican Jane Corwin for her support of the Ryan budget plan. The Fix says the buy is for 1,000 points, which is substantial. If I were Hochul, I'd hit this theme and little else for the next four weeks.
• OR-01: Whoa. After a couple months of nothing doing, it looks like the Democratic jalopy is about to start getting very full. Former state Sen. Ryan Deckert is now the third Dem to get in or near the race to unseat Rep. David Wu, and current state Sen. Suzanne Bonamici is the fourth, with both saying they are "considering" a run. Guys, you realize what happens when everyone piles into this rustbucket, right? Former Jeff Merkley state director Jon Isaacs says he thinks Wu can probably score from 35-45% of the vote, which means that unseating him will be very hard with more than one opponent. I'm inclined to agree.
• TX-14: LOL, I guess we have to put Ron Paul on the 2012 House Open Seat Watch now.
• NJ-St. Sen.: Even though an administrative judge already said he could run, Republican Secretary of State Kim Guadagno ruled that Carl Lewis is ineligible to appear on the ballot this November as a Democrat. It just so happens that Guadagno is also the Lt. Gov., which means, of course, she's under Chris Christie's considerable thumb. Why does this matter? Because Lewis had the temerity to insult the thin-skinned Don Christeone when he decided to run for office while also pursuing a plan to develop a state youth athletic program under the governor's auspices. That plan now sleeps with the fishes, and Guadagno's latest move amounts to delivering the dead carp wrapped in newspaper. Fortunately, Lewis says he'll appeal.
• WI Recall: Good news for Dem state Sens. Lena Taylor and Fred Risser: The deadline for the GOP to submit recall petitions for them came and went with nary a whisper. Meanwhile, Democrats plan to file signatures against a sixth (and probably final) Republican, Rob Cowles, this week.
• Colorado: Any attempts at bipartisan compromise have totally fallen apart at this point, with the GOP saying they'll produce a new plan of their own in response to the Democrats' announcement they they'll introduce a new map. With the legislature split, I have to believe this will head to court, unless the Dems can present something that the GOP fears less than the prospect of a judge-drawn map.
• Missouri: Republicans are still scrambling to try to create a new map that both the House and Senate can agree on in time to put it on Gov. Jay Nixon's desk and be able to schedule a veto over-ride before the current legislative session ends on May 13. The problem is that today is really the last day they can squeeze this in. Nixon has 15 days to review any bill he gets). It would take quite a breakthrough for this to happen, and lawmakers are apparently worried that if they have to wait until September to try an over-ride, Nixon will have the chance to sway wobbly legislators to his side. The GOP's redistricting chair says: "If you're term-limited out and looking for a job, the governor can dangle something in front of you." Dangle away, Jay!
• Virginia: Oh god. This is just not a headline I wanted to see: "Senate opens bipartisan negotiations on redistricting." Dems claim they "won't negotiate away our majority," but what does that mean? The Democratic majority in the state Senate is already cut pretty close to the bone, so I don't see how they have much room to give. At least if they go with a court-drawn map instead, they get a) a better map in the House even if they risk a worse map in the Senate and b) a shot at a second set of elections in 2012 with Obama at the top of the ticket - and fighting hard for VA, you can be sure. But if they play nice with Gov. Bob McDonnell, they could wind up with something resembling a dummymander. I'm pretty worried.
• MO-Sen: Well, it looks like Claire McCaskill has been trying to make me look like an idiot. After this site's repeated smack-downs of the "airplane" story as Politico-fueled b.s., it turns out that there is quite a bit more to it: McCaskill now says she owes $287,000 in unpaid property taxes on the plane. That's quite a bit. Of course, she says she's paying them, and she's also having her husband sell the plane - and she further notes that this problem only came to light because she reviewed the plane's records herself. But how do you forget to pay over a quarter mil in taxes? Man.
In other MO-Sen news, former state GOP chair Ann Wagner was in DC last week meeting with the NRSC about her bid. She still claims her first preference is to run for Senate, but based on the quotes in Roll Call's piece, it's sounding more and more like Rep. Todd Akin (R) will get in and she'll run for his seat. Of course, who knows what MO-02 will look like in a few months....
• PA-Sen: The National Journal's Alex Roarty says that Ed Stack, longtime CEO of Dick's Sporting Goods and Pittsburgh native, is thinking about seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Bob Casey. Stack is, of course, very rich.
• ND-Gov: Horse's mouth: Ex-Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D) is leaving the door just slightly ajar to a gubernatorial run, saying "I am not excluding anything nor am I focusing on politics right now." But he repeatedly told the Fargo-Moorhead Forum that he was concentrating on his new legal/lobbying job at Alston & Bird in DC.
• WV-Gov: SoS Natalie Tennant released a poll from GQR showing acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin leading the Dem primary field with 31, but with herself just behind at 27. Treasurer John Perdue is at 14, while state House Speaker Rick Thompson and state Sen. Jeff Kessler take 5 apiece.
• CA-36: Debra Bowen got her first endorsement from a member of Congress: Rep. Judy Chu, who filled Hilda Solis's 32nd CD seat when the latter became Secretary of Labor. Several other local officials have also endorsed. Also of note: The Courage Campaign is holding a candidate forum on Thursday, and if you click the link, you can submit a question.
• IA-03: Longtime SSPer (and blogger in her own right) desmoinesdem points out that Nancy Pelosi is coming to Iowa to do some fundraisers with Rep. Leonard Boswell, including one at the home of 2010 Dem Senate nominee Roxanne Conlin. Is this a suggestion to Christie Vilsack that perhaps she ought not run?
• KS-04: One political scientist is calling him "the congressman from Koch" - and you'll probably want to as well. Mike Pompeo, a loathsome man hated by many fellow Republicans, took in $80K in donations from Koch employees, was supported by the Koch front group Americans for Prosperity, and, for good measure, hired a Koch Industries attorney as his chief of staff. (Or more like, David and Charles installed a fixer to make sure their new paisan did as he was told.) Pompeo's been delivering: He's promoting legislation to defund a new consumer complaints database, and an EPA catalog of greenhouse-gas polluters. Personally, I think this dickbag could be very vulnerable to a GOP primary.
• NY-26: Crazy Jack Davis and David Bellavia both filed signatures to appear on the ballot as independents - but of course, now the fun can truly begin. If you weren't already aware, New York has just about the most draconian requirements for petitions in the land - they can be invalidated for as little as using the wrong color ink. I'd be pretty surprised if the GOP didn't try to nuke both of these guys from orbit, though Davis might be invulnerable, since he said he submitted over 12,000 petitions. Bellavia's camp would only say that they submitted "more" than the required 3,500. Unless he has at least double that number, once Christian Szell starts asking "Is it safe?", it's a good bet that Bellavia won't survive scrutiny.
• OR-01: Kari Chisholm of Blue Oregon has an excellent roundup of recent OR-01 stories, so I'm going to recommend you click through for his summaries and links. Two items of note: Republican state Sen. Bruce Starr says he won't challenge Rep. David Wu, and Wu is apparently starting to actively fundraise again, with an event this week in Portland. I've gotta ask: Who the heck would want to show up to such a thing?
• AZ-St. Sen.: A recall effort is underway against notorious Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce, the architect of Arizona's infamous anti-immigrant legislation known as SB1070. The leader of the best-organized group claims they have thousands of signatures and are meeting their goals, but they aren't releasing any actual numbers.
• NYC-Mayor: Another Republican campaign, another fortune embezzled. Mike Bloomberg hired John Haggerty to forklift over a million bucks to the state's Independence Party, but instead, Haggerty laundered most of the cash through a consulting firm he owned and spent $750K on a home in Queens. Now a judge says that the evidence of Haggerty's guilt is "overwhelming." Can't say I feel too bad for Bloombo! (Other recent similar incidents involved Rep. Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey and ex-Rep. Chris Shays of Connecticut.)
• California: California Republicans are doing their best to ruin whatever advantages the state's new top-two primary system might give them - on purpose. While the top-two might free more moderate GOPers from the ultra-conservative stranglehold on primaries, the activist base wants none of that. Starting in 2014, the party will conduct "pre-primaries" by mail and award their formal endorsement to whoever wins those beauty contests. These people will get assistance from the state party and will also be listed as the "official" GOP candidate for that race. David Atkins thinks, though, that this is a feature, not a bug: The CA Republican Party needs just 1/3 of the members of one of the chamber of the state legislature to maintain California's absolutely dysfunctional system of state governance, and this helps ensure that they elect uncompromising crazies to the few seats they do win - which is all they require.
• California: Good news: The Republican firm that was a finalist to serve as the redistricting commission's mapping consultant was unanimously rejected in favor of an Oakland company called Q2 Data and Research. And while Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, which was selected as the panel's law firm, does have some well-connected Republican partners in their DC office (like Ted Olson and Miguel Estrada), it's big enough that you'll probably find the entire gamut from good to evil working under their umbrella (so let's hope we get "good").
• Louisiana: This Times-Picayune piece details the backroom wrangling going on over Louisiana's congressional map, which painfully has to shrink from seven to six seats. Scroll down to that grey call-out box on the left for links to actual maps. I believe we linked the Gallot maps before, but the Kostelka and Jackson maps should be new. (You'll find them at the end of some very long PDFs.) I note that of these plans seem to keep one Dem district by marrying New Orleans with Baton Rouge.
• New Jersey: NJ legislators are being weirdly good about not sharing their proposed state maps with the public, but folks who have seen them are chatting up reporters. One such person, Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray, thinks that the GOP is running afoul of the edicts set by commission boss Alan Rosenthal, and could get in trouble for their attempts to over-reach.
Sarah Steelman (R): 31
Todd Akin (R): 24
Ed Martin (R): 9
Ann Wagner (R): 2
Sarah Steelman (R): 37
Ed Martin (R): 18
Ann Wagner (R): 11
I don't have much to say here except that the primary vote share (either with or without Akin) almost perfectly correlates with how well known these candidates are - as in, a correlation of 1. Put another way, if you add each person's "don't know" share on the favorable/unfavorable question to their vote share on the horserace question, you get just about the same number for all candidates. This says to me that Ed Martin has a lot of work to do to get his name out there, and that Todd Akin (who has only just now ramped up to "considering" status) should not be scared off by Sarah Steelman's early lead.
And just for fun:
Mike Huckabee (R): 29
Newt Gingrich (R): 19
Sarah Palin (R): 14
Mitt Romney (R): 13
Ron Paul (R): 7
Mitch Daniels (R): 4
Tim Pawlenty (R): 3
Haley Barbour (R): 2
Less noteworthy than the difference between McCaskill's single point lead against Akin and her nine point advantage against Wagner is that McCaskill's support shows no variation from 45-46% across the four match ups. The Republicans get varying levels of support pretty much directly in line with their name recognition: 44% know Akin, 44% know Steelman, 34% know Martin, and only 26% know Wagner. The GOP field is largely anonymous at this point.
McCaskill's leads, even as small as they are, shouldn't be particularly reassuring for her. There are at least twice as many undecided Republicans as Democrats in each match up, suggesting that once the GOP candidates become better known they will probably catch up to her pretty quickly.
One thing to note, though, is that the gathering field for the GOP represents something of a B-team, especially with Akin unlikely to get in. And while the group as a whole, as Tom notes, is mostly unknown, they all have negative favorables among those who do know them, except for Steelman, who doesn't fare much better with a flat even 22-22. I think a Steelman-Martin primary could be extremely toxic, and something McCaskill has to be rooting for.
If there's a silver lining here, it's that PPP has a 38D, 37R, 25I sample. That's a lot less Dem than the 40D-34R that the 2008 exit polls had it as, but a little better than the than the 39R-37D 2006 exit polls.
• AZ-Sen: Maybe, just maybe, this will be the last time we'll hear ridiculous speculation about, Joe Arpaio, the thug sheriff of Maricopa County, running for higher office. The 78-year-old Arpaio said he won't seek Arizona's open senate seat, following his announcement a few weeks ago that he won't seek re-election as sheriff, either. I'm wondering if the two developments are not unrelated - Arpaio can silence the senate gossip because he no longer needs to use it to raise money for his next local race. Anyhow, I'll be glad to be done with this guy.UPDATE: My mistake. I misread a line in the link and thought Arpaio was finally retiring, too - but only Kyl is, unfortunately. Still, Arpaio did say that he will not seek Kyl's seat.
In other AZ news, what if you threw a teabagger convention and the Republican senate candidate didn't come? Jeff Flake was a no-show at the Tea Party Patriots' confab in Phoenix this past weekend, and the 'baggers seem happy he stayed away. Unlike, say, Maine's Olympia Snowe, Flake doesn't appear to be interested in making nice with the nutters. I'm convinced that a more suitable (to the movement conservatives) candidate will emerge.
• FL-Sen, FL-13: Not quite sure what to make of this - John Boehner was just down in Sarasota, FL, headlining a high-dollar fundraiser for a guy who hardly needs the money, super-rich car dealer Vern Buchanan. Is this Boehner trying to convince Buchanan to seek re-election to the House and avoid a throw-down with fellow Rep. Connie Mack? Or just the Speaker earning chits while playing a few rounds of golf during a Congressional recess?
• HI-Sen: This piece on the Hawaii senate race is worth reading in full. The nominal hook here is Sen. Dan Inouye's comments that, as Chair of the Appropriations Cmte. (and President Pro Tem of the senate), he won't have as much time to raise money for his old buddy Dan Akaka, who is facing re-election next year. But there are a whole host of other questions implicated here: Is this just Inouye trying to kick Akaka's ass into gear? (Akaka only has $66K on hand and faced a serious primary challenge from Rep. Ed Case in 2006.) Will Akaka (88 yo in 2012) actually even run again? Is former Gov. Linda Lingle going to run? If Akaka steps aside, who might take his place on the Dem side? Again, click the link to see the state of play.
• ME-Sen, ME-Gov: Eliot Cutler, the independent candidate for governor last year who came in just a couple of points behind the winner (Republican Paul LePage), says he is "unlikely" to challenge Sen. Olympia Snowe, proclaiming he has "no desire to live in Washington." He also says he isn't ruling out another gubernatorial bid in 2014. Also, one possible Dem candidate, former AG Janet Mills, just joined a law firm, suggesting she probably isn't interested in a senate race. (Mills became the first woman AG of Maine in 2009, but because the position is selected by the legislature, she was replaced by a Republican after the GOP swept into power last fall. NB: This is how you avoid Kelly Ayottes.)
• MI-Sen, MI-15: Rob Steele, last seen losing to Rep. John Dingell by 17 points in 2010, says he's considering a challenge to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (who lacks any real high-profile opposition at the moment). Steele also says he doesn't think he'll run again Dingell again, whose district might get re-drawn to still include heavily blue Ann Arbor.
• MO-Sen, MO-02: I thought Rep. Todd Akin had definitively said "no" to a senate bid, but in response to some renewed chatter about a possible run, he would only say: "Some people want to draft me for Senate but you know engineers. It's just one thing at a time." You know engineers! Anyhow, if there's a chance Akin might get in, this could help explain former state GOP chair Ann Wagner's recent remarks that she might run for MO-02. (Wagner, of course, is also in the mix for the senate race.)
• RI-Sen: State GOP chair Gio Cicione says he won't take on Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, citing (like Cranston Mayor Matt Fung before him) the high cost of a race. These guys think a Rhode Island senate race would be expensive? They ought to check things out a state or two to the west. Anyhow, Dave Catanese caught up with former Providence mayor (and well-known felon) Buddy Cianci, whose name surfaced in PPP's most recent poll of the race. Cianci hasn't completely ruled out a run, but says it's not "realistic." Also of note, PPP has a report card out on Rhode Island politicians' job approval ratings.
• TX-Sen: Former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert, who resigned just a few days ago, made it official: He's running for senate.
• VA-Sen: The already-painful Tim Kaine watch - is it a pimple or a boil? - will soon be over: the DNC chair promises he'll make a decision in a week, according to the AP's Charles Babbington. (I predict "gummy bear.") On the other side of the equation, ultra-far-right insano-Republican, state Delegate Bob Marshall, says he's considering another run. Marshall almost stole the GOP nomination for VA-Sen in 2008 from the super-sad Jim Gilmore, but that near-upset took place at a Republican convention - this time, the party's nominee will be selected in a primary.
• MO-Gov: Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder says he'll make an announcement "this spring," and if it's anything other than, "I'm running for governor," I think people will be shocked. Anyhow, mark your calendars - this means Kinder might open his trap again any time between March 20th and June 21st!
• NC-Gov: Since North Carolina is their home state, it looks like PPP will be testing NC-Gov just about every month. Incumbent Dem Bev Perdue trails almost-certain opponent Pat McCrory 49-37. (Last month it was 47-40.)
• CA-36: 2010 and 2006 primary candidate Marcy Winograd announced she's entering the special election for departing Rep. Jane Harman's seat. The CW says Winograd is likeliest to hurt SoS Debra Bowen, but I'm not really sure she's capable of making any material difference in this race.
• CT-05: Former one-term state House Rep. Elizabeth Esty announced she's running for Chris Murphy's now-open house seat. Esty (not to be confused with the DIY craft-selling website) narrowly lost a rematch in 2010 after narrowly winning a traditionally Republican district in 2008.
• NJ-06: Teabagger Anna Little, who won an upset primary victory in 2008 but lost to Rep. Frank Pallone by 11 points in the general election, says she's back for a rematch. The woman Little beat for the GOP nomination last year, richie rich Diane Gooch, is also weighing another bid.
• NM-01: Dem state Sen. Eric Griego says he'd "seriously consider" running for Rep. Martin Heinrich's seat if Heinrich makes the jump to the open-seat senate race.
• NY-26: Well, that explains that. In other news, Conservative Party chair Mike Long seems to be tipping his hand that his party will in fact support GOP nominee Jane Corwin.
• MO-SoS: MO SoS Robin Carnahan says she's running for re-election to her current post. Republican state Sen. Bill Stouffer, who lost a primary last year to Vicki Hartzler (who went on to beat Ike Skelton in the general), also says he'll run for the post.
• Census: Our friends across the pond in England and Wales will take their census this year. What makes this interesting is that for the first time, Britons will be able to submit their census forms online.
Special Elections: Johnny Longtorso has the goods on tomorrow night's special elections:
After the excitement of last week, this week is a bit of a letdown. There are three seats up: Florida's SD-33, formerly held by Frederica Wilson, is merely a formality, with the Democrat likely going to win 80-20 or so. There's also a formerly Dem-held Senate seat in Mississippi, SD-12; despite no party ID being on the ballot, I'm pretty confident in guessing all three candidates running are Dems (it's along the Mississippi River, so in heavily-Democratic territory). And in Maine, HD-11, an extremely Republican seat, is up. It would be helpful if Dems picked this one up, as the Republicans only have a slim majority in the House, but this was a seat that went 3-1 for the incumbent in 2010. There was apparently a split among Republicans, so there's a Republican running a write-in campaign, but it would still be one hell of a long shot.
• CT-Sen: Murphmentum! Rep. Chris Murphy, in the race to replace Joe Lieberman, seems to have a sizable early edge in both the primary and general elections, at least according to his internal poll from the Gotham Research Group (with a Jan. 3-5 sample period, so pre-Murphy's campaign launch and pre-Lieberman's retirement). In the primary, he leads a two-way race against Susan Bysiewicz, 40-31. In the general, he leads Linda McMahon 54-35 and leads Rob Simmons 46-34 (which is quite the testament to McMahon's toxicity). The spread on the primary numbers is close to the 47-35 mystery poll that was widely mentioned on Murphy's announcement day, although the Murphy campaign reiterates that that poll wasn't theirs.
• MN-Sen: Norm Coleman (currently heading American Action Network, who were big players on the dark money front in 2010) is saying that he's not ruling out another run for office, although couching that by saying he's enjoying being out of the news on a regular basis. No indication what he wants to run for, though.
• MO-Sen: Here's one more name to add to the list for Missouri... or to add back to the list, after briefly being off the list while the pursued the chairmanship of the RNC. Ann Wagner, a former ambassador to Luxembourg, former RNC vice-chair, and former campaign manager to Roy Blunt (can't get much more GOP establishment than that resume), is publicly weighing the race again. (She says she'd defer to Jim Talent, though, but that's looking less likely.) And here's an early endorsement for Ed Martin, the former MO-03 candidate who's emerging as something of the tea party favorite in the field, if he decides to run; he got the endorsement of Phyllis Schlafly, Missouri-based 80s right-wing icon who still has a lot of pull in social conservative circles.
• OH-Sen: Rep. Jim Jordan is back in the news for saying that he's "leaning against" a run against Sherrod Brown. If I recall correctly, he's been "leaning against" the race for months, so things don't seem to have changed much here.
• LA-Gov: Louisiana Democrats seem to be turning their attention toward something that's previously eluded them: a potentially willing candidate to go up against Bobby Jindal. Former SoS Al Ater, well-regarded for getting the state electoral system back in gear after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, still sounds pretty noncommittal, perhaps most about the idea of spending his own money on the race (self-financing seems to be the Dems' main criteria for the race, and while Ater has money, he doesn't sound happy about spending much of it).
• IA-03: Christie Vilsack is seemingly moving toward a run for the House in 2012, meeting with donors and labor leaders to lay some groundwork. This seems strange, though, because all three of the state's House Dems say they're running for re-election, including 77-year-old Leonard Boswell. (Vilsack would be likeliest to run in the 3rd, or whatever the Des Moines-area district will be called once redistricting happens.) She won't make a formal decision until April, when the new four-district redistricting maps will be unveiled, but for now it looks like, unless she's going to run against Steve King, there's a collision course with an existing Dem.
• Chicago mayor: Fresh off a surprising setback in the Illinois Appellate Court, which reversed lower court rulings that he was a Chicago resident and eligible to become mayor, Rahm Emanuel has appealed to the state Supreme Court; they've announced they'll hear the case on an expedited basis, with no oral arguments, so we should be out of limbo pretty soon. There was a brief period where it looked like the city was going to go ahead and start printing ballots without Emanuel's name (which would basically be the kiss of death), but also today, a stay was ordered that pushes back the ballot printing until the case is fully decided. Also, in case you though this was all just about a legitimate case of differences in statutory interpretation, with grownups disagreeing about what an inadequately-specific law means, guess again. (Forget it, Jake. It's Chicago.) It turns out that two of the three Appellate Court judges on the case were slated by the 14th district Alderman Edward Burke, a local powerbroker who's a staunch Emanuel rival and a key Gery Chico backer. This leads to the question of whether supreme court justice Anne Burke, who may have a certain loyalty to Edward seeing as how she's married to him, will recuse herself from the Emanuel case.
• Omaha mayor: There's one special election on tap today: a recall election in Omaha, against mayor Jim Suttle. There's no scandal or malfeasance alleged, just anger about over usual teabagger grievances like "excessive taxes, broken promises, and union deals," as well as the unspoken obvious: while it's an ostensibly nonpartisan job, Suttle's a Democrat. (Omaha seems particularly trigger-happy about recalls; Mike Boyle was successfully recalled in 1987.)
• Senate: Somehow it doesn't seem unusual, but what George Allen is attempting (and what Jim Talent could attempt, too) is, in fact, highly unusual. Only five Senators have lost re-election and then come back to the Senate... but most of them (Slade Gorton most recently) were elected to their state's other Senate seat. What Allen is doing is even more unusual: defeating the guy who beat you six years ago in order to reclaim your seat seems to have happened all of once in history. Thanks to UMN's Smart Politics, it looks like the one time was in 1934, when Rhode Island Democrat Peter Gerry (the great-grandson of Elbridge Gerry, in case you're wondering) beat one-term Republican Felix Hebert, who had knocked him out in the GOP tsunami of 1928.
• DGA: The Democratic Governor's Association announced its new hires for the cycle, including the Patriot Majority's Dan Sena as its political director. We're especially happy to see their new hire for communication director: friend-to-the-site Lis Smith, last seen on Ted Strickland's campaign.
• Redistricting: There's some redistricting-related drama looming in New York, where the Senate Republicans are backing away from promises of a non-partisan redistricting map. Andrew Cuomo has signaled that he'd veto any map that wasn't non-partisan, but is now suggesting he can negotiate on that, in exchange for other priorities. There was also a smaller battle in Georgia, won by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (who, in his role as Senate president, got to reassert his authority over the process), where the stakes are lower since the GOP controls the trifecta. The battle was against Senate president pro tem Tommie Williams... Williams is from the south (unlike Nathan Deal, Cagle, and the House speaker, all from the north) and has a stake in keeping the underpopulated southern part of the state's interests represented at the table.
One of the big question marks for redistricting is Florida, where the initiative that passed, limiting gerrymandering, still has to run the gauntlet in the courts; the GOP in the state House are joining the suit against the initiative that was filed jointly by Mario Diaz-Balart and Corrine Brown (not surprising that they'd support it, since the GOP controls the trifecta and the legislature would get to resume gerrymandering if it's struck down). Finally, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette takes a look at Pennsylvania redistricting prospects, concluding (rightly, in my estimation) that the axe is likely to fall in the southwest corner of the state because of its stagnant population, and suggesting that the likeliest removal from the House will be the loser of a Jason Altmire/Mark Critz mashup.
• FL-Sen: State sen. President Mike Haridopolos already has a key endorser in his column for the likely-to-be-hotly-contested GOP Senate primary: former state party chair John Thrasher. Of course, Thrasher (the former state Sen. president, and who also just got appointed Rules Comm. chair by Haridopolos) and Haridopolos are tight from the state Senate, so it may not be a big surprise. Meanwhile, it seems like the Republican field may have its own Jeff Greene-type candidate, i.e. some guy with a lot of money and a senatorial itch to scratch but no credible reason to run for office: Nicholas Loeb. Loeb, who's 35, is the great-grandson of one of the original Lehman Brothers and the son of a Ronald Reagan's ambassador to Denmark, once ran briefly for a Florida state Senate seat but dropped out amidst a divorce from his wife. Loeb may currently be best-known as boyfriend to TV star Sofia Vergara.
• IN-Sen: Richard Lugar is saying he's preparing (in the form of ramped-up fundraising operations) for what, at this point, is the inevitable: a challenge from the right. Nevertheless, despite his imminent teabagging, he's doubling-down on his reasonableness, this time with statements in favor of restoring the ban on assault weapons. And here's an ironic blast from the past that really puts the increase in partisanship by Senate Republicans over the years into perspective: in 1977, as a freshman, Richard Lugar was deemed by CQ as having the highest party unity score of any Republican. At this point, only five GOPers are less loyal.
• MA-Sen: Democrats seem to have their first "real" candidate announcing his presence in the Senate race, although I haven't heard his name before and have to wonder whether he'll turn into a credible presence here. Bob Massie was the 1994 candidate for Lt. Governor, but he's better known for his entrepreneurial work, which includes investing in a fair amount of socially conscious stuff. He also has quite the interesting resume: Episcopal priest with a Harvard Business Ph.D who also happens to be one of the longest-surviving HIV patients ever.
• MO-Sen: There's one potentially interesting story for the Missouri Senate race that comes out of Friday's RNC chair election (won by Wisconsin's Reince Priebus): one of the losers was Ann Wagner, who had initially expressed some interest in running for Senate but then threw her hat in the RNC ring. Her loss frees her up to think about the Senate again, although there's no comment from her camp on that beyond "Stay tuned."
• ND-Sen: PSC Commissioner Brian Kalk's early start on seeking the GOP nomination in North Dakota seems to have just had the effect of painting a big target on his back. State House majority leader Al Carlson (whom I haven't seen mentioned as a candidate before, and may be kneecapping Kalk on someone else's behalf) says Kalk's attempts to scare everybody else off won't work. Gary Emineth, the former state GOP chair, also seems unimpressed, even floating his own name for the race.
• PA-Sen: On Friday we mentioned that Mark Schweiker's decision to become a lobbyist betrayed a pretty clear intent not to run for Senate, and over the weekend Schweiker confirmed that he's not looking at the race. The Republican ex-Gov says the race "was never in the cards."
• TX-Sen: Two more heavyweights definitely seem moving toward the GOP gubernatorial battle. Dallas mayor Tom Leppert confirmed what everyone has expected for the last week: that he won't run for a second term (while he didn't specifically say he'd run for Sen., this certainly points that way). Leppert, who seems to occupy the most moderate position in the field, would have a good shot at following the Rick Snyder/Bill Haslam path against a field chock full o' nuts if there weren't the little matter of Texas having runoffs, which would force him into a one-on-one with a fire-breather. Speaking of which, Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams has now confirmed that he'll run, and he's resigning from his state post in order to campaign full-time for Senate. The other, less tea-flavored Williams -- Roger Williams, the former SoS who's also a big-name car dealer and the self-proclaimed big business candidate in the race -- has already nailed down a name-brand endorser (although not one likely to help him much with today's flavor of conservatives, especially given how useful his endorsement of Kay Bailey Hutchison was in the 2010 gubernatorial primary): George H.W. Bush.
Meanwhile, here's a strange possibility: septuagenarian goldbug Ron Paul may actually be interested in making the race (and thus joining his son in the Senate). At least he's polling visitors to RonPaul.com on whether he should run. (Um, maybe someone should familiarize him with the concept of self-selection bias?) And finally, here's a list of the recently-declared no-thankses: state Senator Florence Shapiro on the GOP side, and state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte and Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia on the Dem side.
• WY-Sen: Back when we did our Teabagger Cattle Call last month, we easily stipulated that John Barrasso, one of the most conservative members of the Senate, was the least likely incumbent up in 2012 to get teabagged. Nevertheless, buried in this article on Sal Russo's plans for the Tea Party Express, is an astonishing line that, if true, is indicative of just how mindless the orgy of uncritical own-eating has become on the GOP's far-right:
Democrats still control the Senate and White House, he noted in an interview from Wyoming, where he was visiting potential Senate candidates for 2012.
(H/t to Brian Valco for the catch.)
• ME-Gov: Paul LePage seems to fancy himself a Chris Christie-type in the making, figuring he might survive his blue-leaning state by endearing himself to independents through a lot of everyman-style blustering and sacred cow-punching. He seems to have gotten off to a complete fail of a start, though, with Friday's comments telling the NAACP to "kiss my ass" in response to questions about why he wasn't attending any Martin Luther King Day celebrations. Rather than trying to own that, though, LePage seems to have already backed down, slinking unannounced into Waterville's MLK Day breakfast after all.
• MS-Gov: If you've ever wanted to see teabagging in its purest, most undistilled form, look no further than the just-announced candidacy of state revenue department "employee" James Broadwater for the GOP gubernatorial primary. His two main action items: eliminating all taxes other than sales tax, and using the state National Guard to enforce immigration laws.
• NY-Gov: Siena has a new poll of New York state out that shows the state's famously cantankerous residents' views about nearly everything improving, whether it be the President, the legislature, or race relations. The most eye-popping numbers are those of new Gov. Andrew Cuomo, still in the honeymoon period but for now with a deity-like 70/17 approval.
• MO-05: With the likelihood that the 5th will have to take on more Republican voters in the face of Missouri losing one of its nine House seats (since Kansas City is surrounded by red exurbs and rural counties in each direction, there's really no other way to play it), it's sounding like Emanuel Cleaver might face a stronger challenge than he's used to in 2012. Republican former state Sen. Bill Kenney is scoping out the race, assuming that the currently D+10 district will become somewhat less solidly-Dem than before. (Recall that Cleaver's 2010 victory, against little-known Jacob Turk, was a pretty unconvincing 53-42, although that was against a backdrop of statewide destruction for the Dems.)
• NC-08: Here's a pretty clear sign that Robin Hayes (the Republican holder of this seat until 2008, and a rumored rematch in the early part of the 2010 cycle) won't be running in a potentially-friendlier (thanks to GOP-controlled redistricting) 8th in 2012. He's taking over as head of the North Carolina state GOP organization.
• KY-AG: In his bid for re-election, Democratic AG Jack Conway seems to have dodged his most compelling remaining Republican opponent. Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph Lambert decided not to run against Conway after not being able to secure a leave of absence from the state's senior judge program (which lets him sit in as a temp judge when needed). With Trey Grayson already backing up his moving van to leave the state, that leaves Hopkins County state attorney Todd P'Pool as the only logical GOP candidate left.
• TX-LG: With David Dewhurst about to move on from his long stint as the state's #2, a couple other statewide Republicans are already jostling for that position: Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Comptroller Susan Combs. (Note that the LG election is in 2014, though, so if Dewhurst wins the 2012 Senate race there will be an appointee already filling that slot who'd have an incumbency advantage... and if Dewhurst loses, he may decide to keep on being LG on to infinity.)
• Mayors: Columbus mayor Michael Coleman, up for re-election in November, already knows who his Republican opponent will be (as apparently the nominee gets picked by the county's central committee, rather than by primary). He'll face Earl Smith, a familiar face to voters from his former job as the police department's spokesman.
• AK-Sen: When Norm Coleman... the man who has pretty much set all current standards for pointlessly dragging out an election for partisan purposes... is telling you to pack it in, believe me, it's time to pack it in. The ex-Sen. from Minnesota is the latest GOPer to tell Joe Miller to stop the madness. (What's his angle? He may have designs on behind-the-scenes Beltway leadership, possibly RNC chair, and with that in mind would probably like to discourage nonsensical R-on-R courtroom violence.)
• IL-Sen: The 59-41 Dem edge in the Senate drops to 58-42 for the rest of the lame duck session today, as Rep. Mark Kirk gets sworn in as the newest member. (Illinois, of course, was the only of the special election seats that flipped to the GOP.)
• IN-Sen: This NYT story doesn't really have any new specifics about Richard Lugar's upcoming teabagging that you don't already know, but it has a spectacular quote from former Missouri Sen. John Danforth, another Republican who occupied the same pretty-conservative-but-not-a-jerk-about-it space as Lugar:
If Dick Lugar... having served five terms in the U.S. Senate and being the most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy, is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.
• MA-Sen: The Boston Globe takes a look back at Deval Patrick's reelection town-by-town, and also wonders what it may mean for Scott Brown's first re-election battle in 2012. Patrick, for instance, won back many of the larger blue-collar (and usually Democratic) communities like Lowell and Quincy that Brown won. The question for 2012, though, is: how much of Brown's initial success was unique to Brown (more charismatic than your garden-variety blue-blood Republican like Charlie Baker), and, by contrast, how much of that was unique to the turnout model produced by the special election?
• MD-Sen: Republicans may already be settling on a favorite for the Maryland Senate race in 2012, and they're considering the same strategy as 2006, running an African-American against Ben Cardin. (In '06, recall, Michael Steele, well, still lost badly, but made the race more competitive than Maryland is used to.) There's a lot of buzz surrounding Charles Lollar, who just ran against Steny Hoyer in MD-05 and apparently wowed a lot of people on the stump. Of course, he also lost 64-35, but, well, you've gotta start somewhere. (Eric Wargotz, who just lost to Barb Mikulski, is also reportedly interested in trying again.)
• MO-Sen: The Beltway seems abuzz about a potential Claire McCaskill/Jim Talent rematch (thanks to McCaskill tweeting about her random airport meet-up with Talent, no doubt), but the missing part of the story seems to be that Talent, if he runs, could be walking right into a juicy establishment/tea party battle. Ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who lost a feisty gubernatorial primary in 2008 and threatened a 2010 primary run against Roy Blunt, has been turning up the volume on a potential run too. Ed Martin, last seen losing narrowly in MO-03, has also become the subject of some speculation. One unlikely run at this point, though, is former Ambassador to Luxembourg (which is code for "very wealthy donor") Ann Wagner, who has been linked to the Senate race but just announced a bid for RNC chair instead this morning.
• NJ-Sen: When did Bob Menendez's numbers start to look like Richard Burr's? A poll from Fairleigh Dickinson (favorables only, no head-to-heads) finds vast indifference about the Garden State's junior Senator. At least he's above water, with 31/25 faves, but 29% are unsure and 15% have never heard of him.
• NM-Sen: Jeff Bingaman, assuming he runs again, is already facing his first GOP opponent, although one from the Some Dude end of the spectrum. William English ran (apparently in the GOP primary) for the open NM-02 seat in 2002, although he seems best known for saying controversial things in his local newspaper, perhaps most notably that Barack Obama "literally amounts to an African dictator."
• TX-Sen: Yet more names are surfacing on the GOP side for possible primary challenges to Kay Bailey Hutchison: today, it's Houston-area state Sen. Dan Patrick.
• VA-Sen: Corey Stewart is the Prince William County Supervisor and a likely candidate in the GOP Senate primary, if his latest pronouncements are any indication. He's started firing shots across the bow of presumptive favorite George Allen's comeback, saying he had a "mediocre" Senate record and that his base has moved on.
• MN-Gov: The recount of the 2.1 million ballots in the Minnesota gubernatorial race officially kicks off today. You probably already know the candidates, but the Star-Tribune today profiles the really key players at this juncture: the lawyers. One of them, interestingly, is Eric Magnuson, who you may remember from the 2008-09 recount as state supreme court chief justice and head of the canvassing board; having left the court, now he's on Tom Emmer's team.
• WV-Gov: It's still not clear when the election will even occur (to set a permanent replacement for Joe Manchin), but acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin isn't going to get a free pass in the Dem primary, facing likely opposition from two of the people most actively involved in establishing when that election will happen. Both SoS Natalie Tennant and state House speaker Rick Thompson are eyeing the race, with Thompson "planning" to run and Tennant "seriously considering."
• CA-20: Look for a likely rematch in the 20th, which turned into one of the nation's closest races this year. Andy Vidak "promises" he'll try again vs. Jim Costa in 2012, although if he couldn't make it this year, the odds of him getting over the hump in a presidential year model seem even slimmer. (Unless, of course, the boundaries of the 20th get changed by the citizens' commission, but the VRA is likely to keep compelling a Hispanic-majority Fresno-to-Bakersfield district.)
• CA-45: Further south, Palm Springs mayor Steve Pougnet is another potential rematch. The Democrat already filed for a 2012 campaign, although he says he hasn't ruled another race in or out and is establishing the committee to settle up some unpaid bills from his 2010 race.
• CT-05: And here's one more: Justin Bernier, who was initially the GOP's preferred candidate in the primary in the 5th but got shoved over after Sam Caligiuri dropped down from the Senate race, is saying he's considering another run in 2012 (motivated in part by the likelihood of an open seat with Chris Murphy's likely Senate run).
• PA-11: Don't assume that Corey O'Brien is going to be the Dem nominee in the effort to take back the 11th in 2012, as there's a long list of possible contenders on the bench in this bluish seat. At the top is Scranton mayor (and, briefly, gubernatorial candidate) Chris Doherty, but other names you might see are Wilkes-Barre mayor Tom Leighton, former Pittston mayor (and Paul Kanjorski crony) Michael Lombardo, state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, Wilkes-Barre solicitor William Vinsko, and new state Sen. John Yudichak.
• California: Finally, those of you not living on the West Coast may be unaware that there are parts of the country where the Republicans are the ones in "what did we do wrong?" soul-searching mode. The WaPo looks at the epicenter of that, in California (where they didn't pick up any House seats, lost all the statewide races, and even lost ground in the state legislature), where local GOPers are flummoxed by the state's changing demographics.
(General h/t to Brian Valco, bearer of many of today's links.)
• AK-Sen: All signs are pointing to Lisa Murkowski winning this race, and joining Strom Thurmond in the won-a-Senate-write-in-race club. At the end of yesterday's counting, which took us up to nearly half of all the write-in votes analyzed, the state Division of Elections is reporting that nearly 98% of all write-ins are being successfully counted for Murkowski. Even the rate of challenges, even if they were all successful (and few of them are), is inadequate for Joe Miller to make up all the needed ground (he'd need to shave off 12%, and isn't even challenging at quite that rate). 45,132 write-ins have been analyzed so far, and only 1.52% have been successfully challenged by the Miller camp. Seemingly realizing the gap can't be made up, the Miller camp, while still harping on the spelling issue and keeping that line of argument alive, is now turning to nebulous claims of voter fraud as their next line of attack, threatening a second potential lawsuit. His team is setting up a voter fraud hotline for people to report fraud, voter intimidation, and voter bullying. (Kind of a strange angle to explore, when you're the campaign that has its own paramilitary goon force.)
• HI-Sen: The Republican bench in Hawaii basically begins and ends with outgoing Gov. Linda Lingle. As far as her running against octogenarian Dan Akaka in 2012, she says she's going to take six months off from thinking about politics, and then give the race some "serious consideration" at that point.
• IN-Sen: Baron Hill is also looking for work in a few months, and he's one of the biggest names on the Dems' bench in Indiana. However, even with his potential choice of running for the Senate, for Governor, or his old seat in 2012, it sounds like he doesn't plan on any of those.
• MO-Sen: Could we see a 2006 rematch in the 2012 Senate election in Missouri? Ex-Sen. Jim Talent seems to be prepping toward that, with GOP operatives saying he's "furthest along" of all potential challengers to Claire McCaskill, who beat him in 2006. Other potential GOP names include ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (who's probably likelier to run for Governor in 2012), and Ann Wagner, wealthy person (former RNC vice-chair and Ambassador to Luxembourg, the kind of goodies doled out to itinerant rich donors) and former campaign manager to Roy Blunt.
• ND-Sen: Jeremy Jacobs lists a few possible challengers for Kent Conrad, who looks vulnerable after Republicans ran up the score in North Dakota this year. Mentioned are Jack Dalrymple (the Lt. Governor, who's about to become Governor once John Hoeven resigns, although he may be likelier to run for a full term as Gov. in 2012), AG Wayne Stenehjem, and Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk.
• Chicago mayor: And here I thought I was done with having to laboriously type out "Alexi Giannoulias" every day, like I have for the last few years. The recently vanquished Senate candidate is now at least considering the idea of pivoting over to the Chicago mayoral race, presumably under the principle of striking while the iron is hot in terms of his name recognition and donor base. He's getting urging from several anti-Rahm Emanuel aldermen. (UPDATE: OK, scratch that. A Giannoulias spokesperson now says no, he's not running for mayor.)
• DSCC: I think we've gotten closer to getting someone willing to hold the burning bag of dog doo than we have so far: Harry Reid personally asked Michael Bennet to lead the DSCC next cycle, and Bennet "didn't say yes and he didn't say no."
• DCCC: Dan Boren is moving the anti-Nancy Pelosi push to a new front: demanding that the position of DCCC chair be up for a true vote by the whole caucus, not a de facto appointment by leadership. He's being seconded in the effort by Larry Kissell, of all people (the same guy who got $1.7 million in DCCC aid this cycle after stinking it up on the fundraising front, and may be worried that another Pelosi ally might cut bait with him next time and make him catch his own fish). It's not clear who they'd rather see than likely chair Steve Israel, especially since they both had praise for departing chair Chris Van Hollen.
• Redistricting: Guess who's leading the push for Utah to switch to a independent redistricting commission, instead of it being done by the heavily Republican legislator? Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson, who may figure he'll be given an even worse version of UT-02 in 2012 than he currently has. (Interestingly, there's the possibility that a commission might give him a worse district, though; it's also possible that a GOP gerrymander might decide to concede a swing seat to him (probably the best Matheson could hope for) and go for three safe GOP seats, instead of risking a push for a 4-0 map.) Also on the redistricting front, here's a good overview from Real Clear Politics' Sean Trende, who goes state-by-state with possible outcomes.
• WATN?: Ashwin Madia (whom you probably remember for losing the MN-03 race in 2008) is taking over the helm for VoteVets for the time being while its current head, Jon Soltz, is deployed to Iraq. Also in the news is Andy Dillon, who lost the 2010 Dem gubernatorial primary after being termed-out as state House speaker. Turns out the centrist Dillon is crossing the aisle one last time: he just signed on as state Treasurer at Rick Snyder's request (it's an appointed position in Michigan).
• Money: When they write the tale of the 2010 election, the role of the Chamber of Commerce (and other third-party GOP backers, but especially the Chamber) will probably loom a lot larger in retrospect than it does right now. The Chamber spent $32 million, almost entirely on GOP candidates. The Fix also takes a look at self-funders, and calculates how much they spent per vote. The biggest fail was probably Linda McMahon, spending $97 per vote in a losing effort, outpacing Meg Whitman who spent only $57 per vote to lose by a similar margin (albeit for a much bigger price tag overall). Rick Scott spent "only" $29 per vote to win; the biggest bargain may have been Ron Johnson, who won spending only $7 per vote (although he did a lot of conventional fundraising too). In House races, Tom Ganley spent $29 per vote to lose ignominiously; the biggest spender was the victorious Scott Rigell in VA-02, at $30 per vote.
• Post-mortem: If you're still feeling down about last week's losses in the House and need some rationalization about it, here are a couple pieces that don't really try to put a happy face on the results but still show how very predictable the whole thing was. Alan Abramowitz, certainly no mindless cheerleader for the Dems, points out some of the ways in which it was something of a mile-wide, inch-deep victory for the GOP. And while the teeth-gnashing that accompanies the graph is worth a read too, here's a piece built around an amazing scatterplot from John Sides that shows how Democratic House candidate performances tracked presidential preferences district by district.
• Maps: If you're tired of looking at glitzy, state-of-the-art political maps, here's an amusing look back at the New York Times' earliest attempts at mapping the nation's political geography, going back as far as 1896. (As you might expect, their graphics capacity has evolved considerably.)