• IN-Sen: Richard Lugar and local leaders in the tea party movement had a sitdown at an Indianapolis hotel last month. I'm not sure if it was actually intended by Lugar to try to deter a GOP primary challenge, but it seemed to have none of the desired effect if so; the net result seemed to have been cordial but with a sense of "game on," with the main question left being who the challenger will be.
• WI-Sen: With this his first day out of the Senate, Russ Feingold will be, instead of heading for the K Street gravy train, taking a position at Marquette University's law school. When asked about his 2012 plans in the event of a Herb Kohl retirement, Feingold simply said that he hopes Kohl runs again and would support him if so.
• IN-Gov: Democrat Jonathan Weinzapfel looks poised to become the first entrant in the Indiana gubernatorial race. He's announced that he won't seek another term as mayor of Evansville (which would require running for re-election this year), and says that he'll take a "good, hard look at" the governor's race and make a decision sooner rather than later." Meanwhile, after the Beltway collectively decided yesterday that Mike Pence was going to run for Gov. on the GOP side, there's yet more conflicting evidence today, as seen in his plans to appear with other GOP presidential hopefuls at a conference in Georgia, just across the border from pivotal South Carolina.
• MA-Gov: Deval Patrick is vowing today that he'll serve out his full second term (something that a Massachusetts governor hasn't done in decades, not since Mike Dukakis), but won't seek a third term in 2014. That would seem to (at least for now) put the kibosh on any speculation that he might look to challenge Scott Brown in 2012.
• MN-06: The news that produced spit-takes all across America this morning: Michele Bachmann is floating her name for president in 2012. Obviously a failed vanity presidential bid is no deterrent to a return engagement in the House if you hit the ejector seat early enough (just ask still-Rep. Ron Paul), but this bit of laughable presidential weirdness could have some major downballot implications if it truly leads to an open seat (especially if Tarryl Clark is indeed looking to run again).
• WI-07: It looks like we might already have a serious contender in the on-deck circle in the 7th, which at D+3 is one of the bluest districts that the GOP picked up thanks to David Obey's retirement. Former state Sen. Kevin Shibilski was one of the short-list of candidates to run in Obey's stead (state Sen. Julie Lassa eventually became the consensus pick), and is now saying he's seriously interested in a 2012 run. Shibilski owns two resorts and apparently has serious self-funding capacity. Shibilski still sounds a little wary, though, preferring to wait and see whether new Rep. Sean Duffy stays a boilerplate Republican or turns into the sort of moderate who's been able, in the past, to hold down a rural Wisconsin seat (a la Steve Gunderson, or Mel Laird, if you want to go way back to Obey's predecessor). (H/t alphaaqua.)
• IA-St. Sen.: The year's barely started and the Dems have already lost their first special election! I don't think anybody had particularly high hopes for last night's fight, though: it was a GOP-leaning seat in Iowa's rural southwestern corner, held to replace Kim Reynolds, who just became Iowa's Lt. Governor. Montgomery County auditor Joni Ernst held the seat for the GOP, beating Dem nominee Ruth Smith, with 67% of the vote. The Dems still control the state Senate 26-23, with one more formerly-GOP-held special election pending.
• NV-St. Sen.: This is big news by Nevada standards: state Sen. Bill Raggio, the state GOP senate leader for decades but deposed recently from his perch in a tea party-ish palace coup (in the wake of his endorsement of Harry Reid), has announced that he's resigning later this month rather than completing his term. This may have Sharron Angle's antennae twitching, as you might remember she tried and failed to primary out Raggio in his Reno-area seat in 2008, and she might be interested in trying that again, adding the state Sen. to the list of her myriad other possibilities like another NV-Sen run or an NV-02 run if Dean Heller vacates (although it's worth noting this won't lead to a fast special election, as Nevada, like several other western states, fills legislative vacancies temporarily via appointment).
• NY-St. Sen.: This seems like strange posturing that will probably vaporize once the Democrats are back in the majority in the state Senate, but four of New York's Senate Democrats just broke off from the Dem caucus and formed their own little club, the Independent Democrat Caucus (meaning the breakdown is either 32-30 or 32-26-4, depending on how you want to view it). Interestingly, it's not the usual most-uncooperative Dems (Ruben Diaz, anyone?), but a clutch of reform-minded Dems (led by the barely-re-elected David Valesky, and also including the newly-elected David Carlucci) who apparently didn't want to get boxed into voting for John Sampson as Dem leader.
• PA-St. Sen.: The special election to replace long-time Democratic state Sen. Michael O'Pake in the light-blue SD-11 has been set for March 15. As I've mentioned before, this could turn into an interesting bellwether on where Pennsylvania's southeastern suburbs are headed.
• Votes: Today's attention-getting vote was the number of defections against Nancy Pelosi in the Speaker vote: 19 Democrats voted for someone else (or present). Heath Shuler led the way with 11, while other votes included Steny Hoyer, John Lewis, and even neighbors Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa voting for each other.
• Redistricting: Two news stories concern the independent commissions that will be in charge of redistricting in two states gaining seats, Arizona and Washington. In Arizona, they're already litigating the issue of who even gets on the commission in the first place; new state Sen. president and all-around jackass Russell Pearce is suing on the basis that three of the people nominated to serve are technically ineligible. (Interestingly, two of the three are Republicans, although maybe the problem is they weren't hardliners enough for Pearce's tastes.) Meanwhile, in Washington, Skeletor has re-emerged from a decade of suspended animation: evil genius and ex-Sen. Slade Gorton will be one of the two designated Republicans on the commission. Luckily, the lead Dem going up against Gorton will be Tim Ceis, the former Seattle deputy mayor who's well-known for his own elbow-throwing abilities.
Finally, the Fix has its latest installment in its state-by-state redistricting look, and I agree with both their conclusions about Ohio: that, mostly because of geography, Betty Sutton is the likeliest Dem to get squeezed rather than Dennis Kucinich (since she faces pressure from other Dems from the north, west, and east), and that, because of depopulation in the state's Appalachian southeast and the fact that they're both obscure freshmen, Bob Gibbs and Bill Johnson are the GOPers likeliest to get pitted against each other for the state's other lost seat.
Research 2000 for Daily Kos (5/17-19, likely voters, no trendlines):
Artur Davis (D): 41
Ron Sparks (D): 33
Bradley Byrne (R): 29
Roy Moore (R): 23
Tim James (R): 17
Robert Bentley (R): 9
Bill Johnson (R): 3
In my role as Daily Kos contributing editor, I asked Markos to poll this race because of a string of stories (as well as rumors of polls) claiming that Rep. Artur Davis was suffering in his primary against Ag. Comm'r Ron Sparks due to his vote against healthcare reform. Of course, since this is our first poll here, it's hard to tell if there's any truth to this narrative without trendlines. On the one hand, perhaps not - Davis does, after all, have an eight-point lead. On the other hand, that doesn't seem so imposing, given that Davis has outspent Sparks by a large margin. In any event, the numbers are not too far off from a recent Davis internal, which had him up 46-33. Sparks hasn't released any of his own polls.
As for the GOP race, crazy Ten Commandments judge Roy Moore could make this interesting. If no candidate gets 50% on June 1st, there will be a run-off on July 13th. As you'll see below, Dems perform best against Moore, who is currently vying for the top spot with ex-state Sen. Bradley Byrne. Tim James, son of former governor Fob and notorious for his recent "This is Alabama - we speak English" is also in contention. The internal polling has been all over the map here, with James claiming the lead in one of his own surveys.
Artur Davis (D): 31
Bradley Byrne (R): 48
Artur Davis (D): 38
Roy Moore (R): 43
Artur Davis (D): 37
Tim James (R): 45
Ron Sparks (D): 40
Roy Moore (R): 41
Ron Sparks (D): 38
Tim James (R): 44
The numbers look pretty bad for Dems - but it's Alabama in a very difficult year, so you can't say any of this is unexpected. I do think there is something disturbing about these results, though. Sparks and Davis have almost identical statewide favorables - 42-38 and 44-40 respectively. Why, then, does Davis perform consistently worse across the board against all Republicans? Though Davis is African American, he and Sparks do equally well among blacks in head-to-heads with Republicans. But Sparks does consistently better among whites. In any event, Dems should still be rooting for a Roy Moore primary win.
R2K also looked at the sleepy Senate race:
William Barnes (D): 39
Simone De Moore(D): 11
William Barnes (D): 33
Richard Shelby (R-inc): 57
Simone De Moore(D): 27
Richard Shelby (R-inc): 62
Since we were already in the field, we were curious to know if Sen. Richard Shelby's teabagging opponent was getting any traction. Answer: no. In fact, Shelby's the only candidate among these four to have even filed an FEC report - and the 76-year-old Shelby has an amazing $17 million on hand.
• AK-Sen: Moose man endorses Some Dude. That's SSP shorthand for: Todd Palin just endorsed Joe Miller, the right-wing lawyer who's taking on Lisa Murkowski in the Republican Senate primary. Recall that Mr. Palin has had some fairly fringey politics in the past (as with his membership in the Alaskan Independence Party), so I wonder if this was done with his wife's approval (or, given her busy schedule these days, whether he was even able to block out some time with her to get her say-so). Given her rumored brief interest in taking on Murkowski in the primary herself (back when she was still Governor rather than itinerant book-selling motivational-speaking grifter), and her long-standing beef with all things Murkowksi, I'd suppose yes.
• CA-Sen: Carly Fiorina, trying to make up last-minute ground in the GOP primary against Tom Campbell, has thrown $1.1 million of her own money into her campaign. On top of previous loans to her campaign, that brings her total self-contributions to $3.6 million. Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner were both heard scoffing loudly.
• CT-Sen: Chalk this one up to bad, bad timing. Linda McMahon just sent out a mailer proposing to "put Connecticut back to work" by "increasing offshore drilling and production" (um, in Long Island Sound?). The mailer features a large, lovely picture of a (non-burning) offshore oil rig.
• NH-Sen: Has Kelly Ayotte just given up on any pretense of trying to look moderate? She's appearing at a Susan B. Anthony List (the anti-abortion group) fundraiser today, headlined by Sarah Palin, along with a supporting cast like Rep. Steve King. I know that she still needs to survive her GOP primary, but her main opposition these days is looking like moderate Bill Binnie, not right-wing Ovide Lamontagne.
• NV-Sen: Steve Kornacki looks at the Nevada Senate race and the "what if" scenario if Sharron Angle somehow wins the primary. History indicates that Harry Reid can't pin too many hopes on winning just because the GOP puts forth its most extreme candidate... maybe the biggest case in point, the Carter camp's hopes that wacko Ronald Reagan would make it out of the GOP primary in 1980.
• NY-Sen: Wow, there's actually going to be a GOP primary for the right to get mulched by Chuck Schumer! Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, who's only been on the job half a year, is already looking to move up. He'll still have to get past political consultant Jay Townsend in the primary.
• UT-Sen: She stopped short of a formal endorsement, but fringey activist Cherilyn Eagar, who finished fourth at the GOP convention, said that Tim Bridgewater would be "an excellent senator" and complimented him on a "clean, honest race." Eagar is back to her day job fighting the menace posed by gnomes.
• AL-Gov: I'm losing track of all the weird outside groups popping up to play dirty pool in the Alabama governor's race. Today's entrant is the mysterious New Sons of Liberty, whose main agenda seems to be Barack Obama's birth certificate. They've reserved $1.1 million in TV airtime, although it's unclear what they'll be advertising about or on behalf of whom. The leader of a group, Basics Project, affiliated with the New Sons is mystified at where they would have gotten that kind of money, so it seems like they're being used as a conduit for... well, somebody.
There's also a new poll out of the Republican primary, by Republican pollster Baselice (on behalf of local PR firm Public Strategy Associates... there's no word on whether any of the candidates are their client). They find Bradley Byrne barely leading Tim James 24-23. Roy Moore, who many thought would be the man to beat, is lagging at 18, with Robert Bentley at 12 and Bill Johnson at 2. The juicier numbers might be down in the AG race, where GOP incumbent Troy King is in all kinds of trouble. He's losing 50-25 to challenger Luther Strange. There are three Dems in the AG field, most prominently James Anderson, ready to try to exploit the cat-fud fight.
• AR-Gov: One thing we didn't mention in our writeup of Research 2000's AR-Sen poll from yesterday is that they were the first pollster to throw the Arkansas Governor's race into the mix. Incumbent Dem Mike Beebe routinely sports some of the highest favorables of any politician (64/24 here), and he seems immune from Arkansas' reddish trend and the nation's overall anti-incumbent fervor. He leads Republican former state Sen. Jim Keet, 62-19.
• CT-Gov: Former Stamford mayor Dan Malloy picked up another potentially useful endorsement today as we make our way toward Connecticut's endorsing conventions. He got the nod from Rep. John Larson, the #4 man on the House totem pole. UPDATE: On the GOP side, ex-Rep. Chris Shays has an endorsement of his own: Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele.
• NY-Gov: It's kind of more meta than we'd like, to report on an announcement about an announcement (about an announcement), but it sounds like we're getting closer to pinning down a date from Andrew Cuomo. It's being reported that he'll announce his gubernatorial candidacy on or around May 25, the start of the state Democratic convention.
• AL-05: Rep. Parker Griffith is already up with a negative ad hitting one of his Republican primary opponents, Madison Co. Commissioner Mo Brooks, calling him a "career politician" and "big spender." Brooks observed, perhaps correctly (although the Alabama primary is fast approaching), that an incumbent attacking a challenger is a big-time sign of weakness.
• GA-09: Former state Rep. Tom Graves, in the runoff for the special election in this seat against fellow Republican Lee Hawkins, got the endorsement from nearby Rep. Lynn "Uppity" Westmoreland. In a district this red, that may actually be a plus.
• MN-06: An unaffiliated independent, Troy Freihammer, may appear on the ballot, in addition to Independence Party nominee Bob Anderson. He needs 1,000 signatures by month's end, though, so he may not make that hurdle. Getting him on might be a net plus for the Dems, as his website makes pretty clear he's a Tenther and he's only likely to take votes away from Michele Bachmann.
• OR-01: SurveyUSA is way down in the weeds here (although that's because the poll where they get paid to do so, in this case by local TV affiliate KATU), with a look at the primaries in the 1st. In a four-way field on the GOP side, the NRCC's preferred candidate, sports-industry consultant Rob Cornilles, leads at 31, beating mortgage broker John Kuzmanich at 19. The other guy whose name you hear in connection with this race, Stephan Brodhead (mostly because he somehow summoned up $298K CoH) is polling at all of 3, probably because his main campaign activity seems to be trolling the online comment sections of local newspapers and people have ascertained thusly that he's a wackjob. Rep. David Wu is at 75% against token opposition on the Dem side.
• PA-04: What was supposed to be a victory lap for former US Attorney and loyal Bushie Mary Beth Buchanan has turned into a real dogfight with attorney Keith Rothfus, seemingly helped along by her apparent ineptitude at electoral politics. She's currently drawing fire for a "deceitful" mailer which uses the National Rifle Association logo without its permission. Things have actually been going badly enough on the message-control front that improbable rumors have her dropping out of the race (with days to go), although her camp is saying her "major political announcement" is just a press conference to go on the offensive against Rothfus.
• Census: An interesting article from Stateline looks at what various states are doing to amp up Census participation. The real interest, here, is a neat map they've put together rating the states not on their overall participation percentages, but on the overall shifts in participation percentage from 2000 to 2010. Intriguingly, the biggest improvements in participation were clustered in the Deep South (especially North and South Carolina, both of which are on the cusp of adding another seat), while the Mountain West states suffered the most. California also seemed to fall off a bit, as budget limitations kept them from doing much outreach this time around, which could conceivably hurt their hopes of staying at 53 seats.
FL-Sen: Insider Advantage, polling on behalf of the Florida Times Union, confirms what PPP sees in the GOP primary. They have Marco Rubio eviscerating Charlie Crist, 60-26. Charlie Crist better figure out his exit strategy in a hurry, or else he'll have a lot more time to spend on back waxes come September.
KY-Sen: Some Dude Bill Johnson said he's bailing on the GOP primary to succeed Jim Bunning, saying his internal polling looked cruddy. He'd spent a few hundred grand of his own money, but yeah, I never heard of him either. He does have a perfect Some Dude name - according to the SSP tags, there's another Bill Johnson running in Ohio this cycle, and still another running in Alabama!
NV-Sen: How is this man still in office? The New York Times reports:"Previously undisclosed e-mail messages turned over to the F.B.I. and Senate ethics investigators provide new evidence about Senator John Ensign's efforts to steer lobbying work to the embittered husband of his former mistress...."
CO-Gov: In an apparent bid to out-nut his party-mate Jane Norton when it comes to outlandishly conservative proposals on the "restructuring" of basic governance, Scott McInnis was caught on tape at a recent Tea Party candidate forum suggesting that the state Department of Education be looked at as a possible target for elimination. (JL)
GA-Gov: Georgia Dems are pressing the House Ethics Committee to wrap up its investigation of Rep. Nathan Deal, who is slated to resign from the House at the end of the month. If they don't finish by then, there's a good chance they'll just drop the investigation - something, in fact, they just did with regard to Eric Massa.
HI-Gov: This is interesting. We noted the International Longshore and Warehouse Union's endorsement of Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hanneman in the Dem primary yesterday, but we didn't look at their rationale. One of their reasons ought to appeal to progressives: Hanneman, like the ILWU and Sens. Dan Akaka and Dan Inouye, has backed Colleen Hanabusa over Ed Case for the HI-01 May special election. Rival Neil Abercrombie has stayed neutral, which looks like a big mistake, given how powerful the ILWU is in Hawaii.
NY-Gov: Trying to forestall attempts to find a better candidate (or shove him from the race), Rick Lazio rolled out a bunch of endorsements from a bunch of Republicans who are all retired these days: former Gov. George Pataki and former Reps. Amo Houghton, Sherwood Boehlert, and George Wortley. I had to look up Wortley - he hasn't served since 1989.
MI-07: Look out, John Kasich! Tim Walberg says "I was Tea Party before there was a Tea party." He also says he lost in 2008 "because McCain was not a true conservative and people were tired of moderates."
NY-14: With Democratic majorities at risk and progressive power in Congress at a troubling ebb, too many powerful New Yorkers seem only too happy to back an unabashed pro-bankster neophyte challenging a liberal female incumbent. I'm talking about Reshma Saujani, who's running on a platform of kissing Wall Street's ass ("If you go to Texas, you'll never hear a Congressional member speak poorly of the oil industry") against Rep. Carolyn Maloney. Oh, but don't worry - Saujani's got all the important things covered. At a recent women's fundraiser, one of her supporters assured the crowd, "But it gets better, look how fashionable she is. She'll definitely be the best dressed person in Congress."
NY-29: Former Rep. Randy Kuhl has decided he won't try to win his old seat back. Instead, he's endorsing ex-Corning Mayor Tom Reed. Incidentally, Kuhl must have had the worst oppo team ever when he was actually running for office, no?
SC-02: Ugh - Dem Rob Miller, who raked in a couple mil he never otherwise would have seen after Rep. Joe Wilson's "You lie!" outburst, is making some unforced errors. He kicked a TV reporter and camera crew out of a speech to a local Democratic club, and then tried to later claim he had done no such thing. Unfortunately, contemporaneous emails contradicted Miller's claims. I really hope that Miller's elevation to Red to Blue status means he's going to get some professional campaign assistance, and that he's not just being fleeced for his Brewster's millions.
Redistricting: I love this diary - possumtracker takes us on a magical mystery tour of some of the most extreme possible majority-minority districts, in places you probably never thought such districts could exist. Let's hope actual map-drawers (or the DoJ) don't take too many cues, though, since these kinds of districts would likely kill many neighboring Democratic seats.
Robocalls: The Republican Attorney General of Indiana, Greg Zoeller, chastised the NRCC yesterday for its use of robocalls introduced by a live operator. Zoeller says that, while legal, the NRCC's tactics violate the spirit of a tri-partisan treaty signed between the state's Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties banning the use of robocalls in the state. Zoeller asked the NRCC to suspend its use of robocalling in the state. Typical for the NRCC, they told Zoeller to go twist. (JL)
• AZ-Sen: The establishment is moving in to shore up John McCain's re-election bid, as the rest of Arizona's GOP congressional delegation endorsed yesterday (over their former colleague J.D. Hayworth): Jon Kyl, plus Reps. Trent Franks, John Shadegg, and Jeff Flake. Yesterday McCain also got a perhaps more surprising endorsement yesterday, from Grover Norquist, who's been supportive of a lot of insurgent bids this year... but Norquist is more interested in purely economic issues and may not have much common cause with the more resentment-based social conservative politics of Hayworth.
• CO-Sen: Here's a sign of life for the strangely low-profile Andrew Romanoff primary campaign: he just got the endorsements of two of the state's major unions, the Teamsters and the UFCW. Michael Bennet did just vote to confirm Craig Becker to the NLRB, but the unions take issue with his lack of support for the card-check provision of EFCA. Meanwhile, Tom Wiens is offering one of the strangest excuses I've ever heard for his failure to get much traction in the GOP primary: there are a whole lot of Nortons in Colorado, and people reflexively will vote for any of them.
• IN-Sen: Another day, another damning revelation about Dan Coats' lobbying past. Today, it turns out that his lobbying firm, King & Spalding, was lobbying on behalf of Bank of America at a time it was seeking patent approval for a formula that would help companies evaluate whether and how to outsource their operations to lower-overhead countries.
• NC-Sen: Richard Burr has drawn a primary challenger as he seeks his first re-election the Senate. Asheboro city councilor Eddie Burks, however, doesn't have the kind of high-profile position that's likely to make much of an impact. But even weirder is the nature of the challenge. You'd think he might get some traction if he reached out to the teabaggers and accused Burr of being insufficiently bloodthirsty, but instead it's a surprisingly level-headed critique of Burr's inaccessibility and general anonymity.
• NY-Sen: Speaking of random primary challenges, now Chuck Schumer is facing one too, from Phil Krone, an Illinois and/or Florida political consultant who was just involved in Dan Hynes' unsuccessful campaign. Krone says he'll dive in only if he can raise $10K in contributions before April 1; given the strangeness of his bid, even that seems kind of a high bar to reach.
• NY-Sen-B: Finally, there's one other carpetbagging primary challenge that's only slightly less random: that of Harold Ford Jr. against Kirsten Gillibrand. This latest discovery isn't likely to help Ford's case much: Ford claims that paying New York taxes has helped make him a New Yorker... except he hasn't paid any New York income taxes. Ford has continued to maintain Tennessee residency, which is convenient, seeing as how Tennessee doesn't have an income tax on wages. I guess what he meant is that he pays sales tax on all his New York pedicures.
• WI-Sen: Ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson sure likes keeping his name in the news. Despite his recently signing on to work for a hedge fund on agribusiness matters (and his various other private sector projects, including being a partner at DC biglaw firm Akin Gump, he's still refusing to rule out a Senate bid. "I'm going through a process," he says cryptically.
• NY-Gov: Looks like we will have David Paterson to kick around for at least a few months more. Despite the mounting tsunami of crap threatening to engulf him, and facing very likely annihilation by Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary, Paterson has been e-mailing supporters to tell them that on Feb. 20 or 21 he'll officially launch his bid to stay Governor. He is adopting the "outsider" mantle for his run, since, of course, nothing says "outsider" more than being the sitting Governor of New York.
• MI-03: CQ compiles a list of a truckload of different Republicans who might seek the seat opened up this week by retiring Rep. Vern Ehlers in the Grand Rapids-based 3rd. Prime contenders include state Sens. Bill Hardiman and Mark Jansen, former state Rep. Jerry Kooiman, and former state Sen. Majority leader Ken Sikkema, all of whom say they'll decide soon. Former Lt. Gov., and gubernatorial candidate, Dick Posthumus, has ruled out a bid, and it seems unlikely that SoS Terri Lynn Land (who'd been associated with the seat when Ehlers retirement rumors popped up early last year) will run, as she might have her sights on the LG slot. While the GOP has the stronger bench here, Dems who might run include former state Reps. Michael Sak and Steve Pestka, and state Rep. Robert Dean.
• NY-20: One seat that should be attractive to Republicans, given the narrowness of Rep. Scott Murphy's special election victory, is the 20th, but it's proven be one of their biggest recruiting headaches. Assemblyman Marc Molinaro is the latest GOPer to decline. Jim Tedisco, who lost to Murphy in the special, shut down his account from that election but hasn't fully ruled out another run. Murphy is already sitting on $1.4 million, which certainly acts as a deterrent.
• OH-06: The rural, Appalachian-flavored 6th (at R+2, and a negative trend from Kerry to Obama) is another district that should be a Republican target, but where Rep. Charlie Wilson hasn't drawn a serious opponent yet. Some Dude, however, has stepped up, in the form of businessman Bill Johnson. Johnson had been considering a run next door in the 17th (where he lives) against Rep. Tim Ryan, but recently seemed to realize the 6th would be easier sledding.
• CA-LG: The confirmation of Abel Maldonado as California's new Lt. Governor has become a bizarre clusterf@ck. First off, there's the question of why legislative Democrats would want to keep Maldonado in his Dem-leaning, pick-up-able Senate seat instead of promoting him to the entirely harmless LG slot. Clearly the Senate Dems like the idea of getting to the magic 2/3s mark, as Maldonado's appointment cleared the Senate easily, but then enough Dems in the Assembly voted against it that his appointment failed, with 37 voting yes and 35 voting no. Confused? Well, some would say that he needed 41 votes (a majority of the 80-seat chamber) in order to be confirmed. Arnold Schwarzenegger is claiming victory, though, and planning to swear in Maldonado anyway, claiming that there would need to be 41 votes against Maldonado for the confirmation to fail. Several election law experts say Ahnold has a good point with that, although there's guidance from a 1988 state treasurer appointment that says otherwise. Looks like this is headed to the courts.
• Teabaggers: Ed Kilgore picks apart the recent CBS poll regarding the tea party movement, and comes to the same conclusions that I've been teasing out... that there's really nothing new in the movement, and that it's just the most conservative elements of the Republican coalition in just a particularly revved-up, radicalized mood, and with a handy new name to distinguish themselves. This is particularly seen that 62% of them have a favorable view of the Republican party, despite their vague claims to be a movement separate from the parties.
• AZ-Sen: As the Arizona GOP Senate primary heats up, ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth has pulled in a prominent backer, one of the state's unfortunately most popular politicians: Maricopa Co. Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio - a hero of the anti-immigrant set who'd been the subject of calls to get into the gubernatorial race this year - wrote a fundraising letter for Hayworth that's being sent around nationally.
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio got two more endorsements today from the GOP's right flank: from Indiana's Rep. Mike Pence, #3 in the House GOP and a favorite of the social values set, and on the economic-conservative side of the party, bathtub-drowning fan Grover Norquist.
• NH-Sen (pdf): A couple different polls are out today in the New Hampshire Senate race, although both from pollsters in the "take with salt" category. UNH looks at the general election, finding a lead for Kelly Ayotte over Paul Hodes that's about in line with most other pollsters: 41-33. Hodes leads the lesser GOPers in the race, though; he beats Jim Bender 36-27, William Binnie 34-30, and Ovide Lamontagne 38-29. What about that thorny GOP primary, though? Republican internal pollster Magellan has some answers, although it's not clear if this poll was on the behalf of any particular candidate. They see Ayotte at 37%, but contrary to that recent R2K poll, they have Binnie in second place at 23% and Lamontagne back at 12. (Binnie seems to be the most moderate in the field, and gained a lot of attention, at least in the Boston media market parts of the state, for running ads on behalf of Scott Brown in Massachusetts.) In case anyone was wondering about the GOP gubernatorial primary, that's in there too, although nobody has any idea who these candidates are: Jack Kimball beats Karen Testerman 18-5.
• AL-Gov: There's one other interesting poll from a Republican pollster of a Republican primary (this time in Alabama); it's from Baselice, and they're explicit about not working on behalf of any of these candidates. Former higher ed system chancellor Bradley Byrne has a narrow lead, and he has a lot of company. Byrne is at 20, followed closely by wingnut judge Roy Moore at 17. Real estate developer (and gubernatorial spawn) Tim James is at 8, state Rep. Robert Bentley is at 4, state treasurer Kay Ivey is at 3, and former Economic Development Dir. Bill Johnson is at 2.
• AL-05: Democrats now have two candidates lined up to go against Parker Griffith (or whatever other GOPer teabags him out of a job): the new one is attorney (and former Air Force JAG) Mitchell Howie. Howie is young and doesn't have electoral experience, but is the grandson of a well-loved local physician. Prominent attorney Taze Shepard made his candidacy official today as well (via press release).
• AL-07: EMILY's List weighed in with an endorsement in the Democratic primary in the 7th. Interestingly, they showed their hand even though there are two women well-positioned in the field - and they went with attorney Terri Sewell, who's something of the moneyed-interests candidate in the race with ties to outgoing Rep. Artur Davis, rather than the more progressive option of Jefferson Co. Commissioner Shelia Smoot.
• AR-02: Add one more Dem to the field in the 2nd, to replace retiring Rep. Vic Snyder. Assistant Attorney General John Adams launched a bid today, although it's unclear whether he'll pose much of an obstacle to state House speaker Robbie Wills.
• AZ-03: One of the widely-expected candidates to run in the open seat vacated by Rep. John Shadegg has decided not to get involved, after all. Shadegg's former chief of staff Sean Noble said he won't run. The field is already top-heavy with Republicans, including former state Sens. Pamela Gorman and Jim Waring (both of whom resigned to run, per state law), former state Rep. Sam Crump, Paradise Valley mayor Vernon Parker, and former Paradise Valley mayor Ed Winkler.
• CO-03: Hat-tip to Daily Kos's Steve Singiser, who, while rummaging through the used-polls bin, found a stale Republican internal poll of the race in the 3rd that hadn't caught anyone's notice before. It points to a close race in the Republican-leaning, mostly-rural district; Democratic Rep. Pete Salazar leads GOP state Rep. Scott Tipton (who lost the 2006 race to Salazar) 46-44.
• NH-01, 02 (pdf): Both of the New Hampshire House races are looking like tossups, according to the same UNH poll mentioned above. In the 1st, they find Rep. Carol Shea-Porter in bad shape against any of her GOP challengers; she loses 43-33 to Frank Guinta, 36-33 to Bob Bestani, 36-33 to Rich Ashooh, and 39-32 to Sean Mahoney. (Of course, UNH repeatedly showed her in a tight spot in 2008 until the closing weeks of the campaign - although without Obama coattails this year, she may not get that late boost.) And in the 2nd, Dems only win one potential matchup: Katrina Swett beats Jennifer Horn 30-26. Swett loses to Charlie Bass 37-30, while Ann McLane Kuster loses to both Bass (39-28) and Horn (28-25). (One other caveat: these are small samples, with 6.2% MoEs.)
• NJ-02: Add Rep. Frank LoBiondo to the long list of establishment Republicans getting a good teabagging this year. Schoolteacher and tea partier Michael Conte will challenge LoBiondo in the GOP primary. Conte seems most put out about LoBiondo's cap-and-trade vote, and supports opening up the Jersey Shore to offshore oil drilling. (Somehow, I can't see that part being popular.)
• TX-14: The epidemic of own-eating on the teabagging right has reached French Revolution proportions, to the extent that now Ron Paul, pretty much the spiritual forefather of the movement, is facing not one but three teabagging primary challengers. Weirdly, one of their knocks against Paul is that he's "too extreme," and also that he's against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan... all pretty suggestive that there's nothing "new" about the Tea Party movement, just that it's a catchall for conservative Republicans who are feeling extra-agitated about things.
• TX-32: The DCCC has been stepping up its attacks on Rep. Pete Sessions, maybe in part to keep the NRCC head pinned down a bit, but also because they may sense this is one of the few places where they have a legitimate shot at playing offense. Between the district's rapidly changing demographics, Sessions' ties to Ponzi schemer "Sir" Alan Stanford, a serious primary challenge from a teabagger, and good fundraising from Dem challenger Grier Raggio, there may be some substance to that.
• IL-LG: With Dan Hynes having taken his name out of consideration for the now-vacant LG slot for the Dems in Illinois, Lynn Sweet runs down the top contenders. First on the docket is state Rep. Art Turner, who finished second to Scott Lee Cohen in the primary and now has state House speaker Michael Madigan's stamp of approval. Other possibilities include state Sen. Rickey Hendon, state Sen. Terry Link, or state Rep. Mike Boland (all of whom fared worse in the primary), or if they want to go with a woman, either state Rep. Julie Hamos (who narrowly lost the IL-10 primary, and is now campaigning for the LG slot) or VA Deputy Sec. Tammy Duckworth.
• CfG: A couple more endorsements, as the Club for Growth picked the zaniest of the bunch in a few competitive primaries in dark-red seats that are open. They endorsed former state GOP chair Robin Smith in TN-03, and businessman Mike Pompeo in KS-04.
• NRCC: Here's a good catch from the Boston Phoenix: the NRCC is really putting the "guns" in "Young Guns," as a whopping total of 4 of the 64 members of its offense program are women - with only one, Martha Roby (in AL-02) looking like she's in position to possibly make it through both the primary and general.
• NY-St. Ass.: There are not one, but four, special elections for open seats in New York's Assembly tonight, all resulting from legislators getting elected to something better-paying in November. The Democrats are defending seats in Queens (although there the Republican lineholder is a lifelong Democrat), Suffolk County, and Westchester County, while the Republicans are defending a Nassau County seat.
• Polltopia: More back-and-forth in the discussion over the polls that SurveyUSA performed for Firedoglake, that we may have accidentally triggered (pointing out the dramatically low young-voter composition of the polls). SurveyUSA's Jay Leve responded "vehemently" (Mark Blumenthal's words) to last week's critique from poli sci professor Alan Abramowitz, while Blumenthal offers some interesting graphs showing the disparity between the SurveyUSA numbers and actual Catalist records. PPP's Tom Jensen offered some qualified support for SurveyUSA, though, by pointing out that even if you "weighted up" the youth numbers to the levels seen in Catalist (the Dems' voter database), it wouldn't tend to impact the topline numbers by a significant amount.
• KY-Sen: I've never heard of Bill Johnson before, but bringing six figures to the table is bound to gain some attention. The western Kentucky businessman, who's running in the Republican Senate primary, said he's loaning himself $250,000 to try and garner some notice in the big-$ primary between Trey Grayson and Rand Paul.
• LA-Sen: I never thought I'd see the day when urea formaldehyde would become a campaign issue, but Democrats are hoping to use it against David Vitter in the Bayou State. Vitter (who has the backs of Louisiana's large chemical industry) has been placing a hold on a new EPA administrator's nomination, partly over concerns that the EPA will more heavily regulate formaldehyde. Unfortunately for Vitter, more than 34,000 Louisiana residents have first-hand experience with urea formaldehyde, outgassing from the paneling of their FEMA-provided post-Katrina trailers.
• MA-Sen: Republican State Sen. Scott Brown has an uphill fight in this month's special election to overcome the state's Dem lean and perhaps sentimental desires to keep Ted Kennedy's seat in Democratic hands. Still, he got an endorsement from the state's most popular conservative: Red Sox great Curt Schilling.
• NH-Sen: Salt shaker at the ready? ARG has a new poll out of general election matchups in the New Hampshire Senate race, showing a single-digit edge for Republican AG Kelly Ayotte over Democratic Rep. Paul Hodes, 43-36 (their last poll, from September, also gave Ayotte a 7-pt edge). They also poll Hodes against conservative upstart Ovide Lamontagne for the first time, and, in a bit of a head-scratcher, find a similar margin for the less-known and, one would think, less electable Lamontagne, who leads Hodes 37-31.
• MI-Gov: Here's a Rasmussen poll that slipped our notice over the holidays; as one might expect, Santa Rasmussen had a big lump of coal for John Cherry's stocking. All three Republicans lead the Democratic Lt. Governor, as other pollsters generally find, but Rasmussen still manages to depart from the other pollsters' findings: AG Mike Cox, who has generally polled the best against Cherry, here has the smallest edge over him (only 39-34), while loudmouthed right-wing Rep. Pete Hoekstra has the biggest edge (46-32). (This poll was taken before Hoekstra's grandstanding over the attempted plane bombing, which would serve to raise his name rec outside his western Michigan home turf.) Oakland Co. Sheriff Mike Bouchard leads Cherry 42-32. One hope for Cherry, though, is that, in terms of favorables, he still has higher unknowns than any of the Republicans, giving him room to grow.
• RI-Gov: Jan. 4 has been penciled in as the official launch date for Lincoln Chafee's independent campaign for Rhode Island for a while now. With it comes news that (against a backdrop of mediocre fundraising so far) he'll be dipping into the family fortune to propel his race; he just lent his campaign another $200K after starting it off with a previous $110K. Compared with Dem state Treasurer Frank Caprio's $1.5 million, Chafee has a lot of ground to make up. Meanwhile, Republicans would still like a candidate... any candidate.
• AL-05: Looks like recent turncoat Parker Griffith is having a busy day today, answering his own phones and making his own coffee. Almost his entire staff resigned en masse today, unwilling to join him on his foray into the Republican fold.
• CA-19: Another sort-of-well-known Republican is scoping out the new open seat in the 19th: former SoS, former Assembly minority leader, and 2004 Senatorial loser Bill Jones is considering the race. Fresno city councilor Larry Westerlund is also looking at the race, which already has state Sen. Jeff Denham and former Fresno mayor Jim Patterson in the GOP field... and, as of this afternoon, former CA-11 Rep. Dick Pombo. (I wonder if Tom McClintock is interested in running here? He's gotta be feeling restless again, having represented CA-04 for a full year now.)
• MN-01, MN-02, MN-03: We might actually wind up with a Democratic former elected official running in John Kline's 2nd but not in the theoretically more-vulnerable 3rd next door. Former state Rep. Shelly Madore of Apple Valley (who was defeated by a Republican in 2008) has decided to get into the race in Minneapolis's southern suburbs. (H/t Andrew.) Speaking of the 3rd, Democratic challenger Maureen Hackett is the first to hit the airwaves with a new radio spot; she faces a primary fight with state PTA president Jim Meffert, and the winner takes on freshman Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen. Finally, as expected, it only took Republican ex-state Rep. Allen Quist a few weeks to start bringing the crazy over in the 1st, as seen in recent comments that beating "radical" Democrats in Washington is a bigger battle than beating terrorism.
• NY-20, NY-Comptroller: Republican John Faso (the former Assembly minority leader and 2006 gubernatorial loser) was getting touted for a number of different races: for a run for Comptroller, against Rep. Scott Murphy in the 20th, or maybe even for NY-Sen-B if no other Kirsten Gillibrand challenger stepped up. It looks like he won't be doing any of those things, saying it's "doubtful" he'll run for anything this year. State party chair Ed Cox is pushing Emil Henry Jr. for the GOP's Comptroller slot now (Henry, a former Lehman Bros. exec, had earlier been trying to generate some interest for a gubernatorial run, apparently to little avail).
• PA-04: Insiders are leaking that former W.D. Pa. US Attorney (and loyal Bushie) Mary Beth Buchanan is increasingly likely to run against Rep. Jason Altmire this year, although the word is she'll make her decision "soon." On the flipside, this may mean the likelihood of state House minority whip Mike Turzai running for the GOP is going down.
• TN-08: Jackson-area physician Ron Kirkland will be joining the GOP field, now that this seat is a more tempting target with the retirement of long-time Democratic Rep. John Tanner. Kirkland joins "farmer" (or agribusiness kingpin, if you prefer)/gospel singer Stephen Fincher, who's already off to a big fundraising start.
• TX-10: With a nasty hole in the lineup looming with the departure of promising candidate Jack McDonald, here's a big-time save by veteran Ted Ankrum, who'll file to take McDonald's place in the 10th. Ankrum, you might recall, was our 2006 nominee in the 10th, and his strong performance with almost no funding is what drew a lot of Dem attention to the potential winnability of this rapidly-bluening seat. (Speaking of filing, the filing deadline in Texas is today. Primaries are soon, too - March 2nd, with potential run-offs on April 13th. Check out SSP's full sortable primary calendar, if you haven't before.)
• GA-SoS: With current Secretary of State Karen Handel resigning midterm in order to pursue her gubernatorial bid, Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue got the chance to hand-pick a successor. 38-year-old state Rep. Jim Cole, a member of the House's leadership, will serve out the remaining year of her term and then run for a full term in 2010. (UPDATE: Or not. Cole has already turned down Perdue's offer; former state Sen. Brian Kemp now sounds likely to be offered the job. H/t RuralDem.)
• Mayors: Lt. Gov Mitch Landrieu's path to be the next mayor of New Orleans looks even easier now. His main opposition, state Sen. Ed Murray, opted to drop out, acknowledging that he didn't want to suffer through an expensive and racially-divisive (Murray is African-American) campaign.
• NRCC: Looks like we're not the only ones taking notice of the NRCC's cash-on-hand problems, as the legacy media start to take notice: Politico observes that right now the NRCC has enough money to fund about one big-name House race, not the dozens they're trying to put into play with various recruiting successes.
• RNC: Reid Wilson has an interesting catch: the RNC is sending money ($20K) to the local party in the Northern Mariana Islands (popu. 86,000), which, of course, don't have a voting member of the House or any electoral votes. It looks like it may be a little payback from Michael Steele, who owes his chairmanship to votes from the NMI and other insular territories.
• Polltopia: Politico also belatedly picks up on another favorite theme in the liberal blogosphere: what the hell is up with Rasmussen's numbers? Nate Silver judiciously examined the issue too, over the weekend, pointing out that Rasmussen's well-documented "house effects" aren't necessarily indicative of bias per se. Rasmussen's defenders, of course, will point to Nate's ratings of Rasmussen's accuracy, which are high; fitting, as their numbers do tend to converge with reality in a race's final weeks (as we saw last November in NJ and VA). Still, one question wasn't raised in either of these pieces over the weekend: how to hold Rasmussen to account for showing out-of-whack numbers long before the election, before they start to fall in line with everyone else (and when they, by virtue of Rasmussen's frequent polling, can play a large role in shaping the conventional wisdom about who's up and who's down)?
• Maps: A denizen of the forums at Dave Leip's site has put together an even better set of maps of presidential election results by county, dating back to 1840. (H/t metstotop333.)(D)
• Redistricting: A reminder - if you post an entry in the redistricting contest, please e-mail your .DRF.XML file to jeffmd [at] swingstateproject [dot] com. (Instructions for finding your file are here.) This will make it a lot easier for Jeff to judge entries. And the deadline to submit your entry is fast approaching - Sunday, January 10th at midnight Eastern time. (D)
Also, on the redistricting front, Politics Magazine has a lengthy piece on Democrats' efforts to avoid getting out-hustled by the GOP in both congressional and state-level redistricting. Hint to Bill Burke's Foundation for the Future and Brian Smoot's Democratic Redistricting Trust: Reach out to the redistricting geeks here at the Swing State Project. We're a great untapped resource. One interesting note: This is the first time since the passage of the Voting Rights Act that the White House (and thus the Department of Justice) will be in Democratic hands during the start-to-finish redistricting process. (D)
• Census: The Census Bureau is rolling out a $340 million ad blitz over the next few months to make sure that everyone knows about the Census and that they need to participate. The rollout includes two ads (directed by Christopher Guest and starring Ed Begley Jr., which ought to get the right-wingers a-foamin' at the mouth) during the Super Bowl, but also $80 million in ad outreach to non-English-speaking populations. Talking Points Memo also has a neat observation about Rep. Michele Bachmann, once the Census's greatest foe but who's been surprisingly quiet in her criticisms of it lately: she may need to rely on huge Census turnout by Minnesotans to keep Minnesota at 8 seats, and thus, keep her own seat (the likeliest target for elimination if the state needs to drop to 7 and Dems exclusively control the process).
• CO-Sen: Here's an amateur-level mistake from the Bennet campaign: electioneering in the Denver public schools (where Michael Bennet used to be Supernintendo before being appointed Senator). The campaign sent mailings to a school asking for the principal's support and fliers were given to principals at a district workshop.
• FL-Sen: The Kendrick Meek campaign is touting its own fishy poll that says that Meek leads Charlie Crist... among voters who know both of them. The lead is 45-43 for Meek among those 25% of the sample who know who the heck Meek is. In the larger sample, Crist is up 47-31.
• KS-Sen: Kansas Senate news three digests in a row? I'm as surprised as you are. Anyway, retired advertising executive and journalist Charles Schollenberger confirmed that he will run for the Senate. With seemingly no Dems higher up the totem pole interested in the race, Schollenberger may wind up carrying the flag.
• NC-Sen: It's not quite confirmed, but the rumor mill is churning up stories that youthful former state Senator and Iraq vet Cal Cunningham is moving to formally jump into the North Carolina Senate race. SoS Elaine Marshall is already in the Democratic primary field.
• PA-Sen: There's an unexpected fourth Democratic participant in the Senate primary all of a sudden: Doris Smith-Ribner, a recently retired Commonwealth Court (which apparently is one of two intermediate appellate courts in Pennsylvania; don't ask me why there are two) judge for two decades. Her presence could prove nettlesome to Rep. Joe Sestak, by eating a bit into his share of liberal anti-Arlen Specter votes in what's likely to be a close primary. ("Fourth," you say? State Rep. Bill Kortz is running too, and has been for many months.)
• AZ-Gov: He was probably seeing the same terrible polls that everyone else was, and ex-Governor Fife Symington decided to put the kibbosh on a gubernatorial comeback. Instead, Symington endorsed not the current Governor, Jan Brewer, but one of her minor opponents, former state GOP chair John Munger.
• CA-Gov: Meg Whitman scored a victory of sorts with the publication of a story titled "Meg Whitman's voting record not as bad as originally portrayed." It turns out she was registered at several points in California in the 1980s and 1990s, but there's still no indication that she actually voted during this period.
Meanwhile, Whitman's primary rival ex-Rep. Tom Campbell may get a big leg up: rumors persist that he may get picked as California's new Lt. Governor (once John Garamendi gets elected to CA-10). I'd initially thought that was a way of scraping him out of the gubernatorial primary and giving him a door prize, but it could give him a higher profile and bully pulpit to compensate for his vast financial disadvantage as he stays in the race. Campbell was Arnold Schwarzenegger's Finance Director for a while, and they operate in the same centrist space, so maybe Ahnold would do him the favor? (Of course, he'd still have to survive confirmation by the Dem-controlled legislature, who might be reluctant to promote Campbell, who they rightly see as the most dangerous general election opponent.)
• FL-Gov: It had seemed like state Sen. Paula Dockery, who threatened repeatedly during the spring to run in the GOP gubernatorial primary, had faded back into the woodwork. However, she's front and center again today, saying that she's "leaning toward" running and giving herself a three-week timeline (she put off the decision because of her husband's surgery this summer). Another minor embarrassment for her primary opponent, AG Bill McCollum: the co-chair of his campaign, former state GOP chair Alex Cardenas, had to explain that, no, he didn't actually host a fundraiser for Democratic rival Alex Sink. (It was hosted by Democratic partners in Cardenas's lobbying firm.)
• NJ-Gov: Jon Corzine and Chris Christie have sufficiently reduced each other's statures that the state's largest newspaper, the Newark Star-Ledger, took what may be an unprecedented step, and endorsed the independent candidate in the race: Chris Daggett. I still can't see this giving Daggett the momentum to break 20%, but more Daggett votes are good, as they seem to come mostly out of the Christie column. Meanwhile, Chris Christie got an endorsement he may not especially want in the blue state of New Jersey -- from the Family Research Council (who also just endorsed Conservative Doug Hoffman over Republican Dede Scozzafava in the NY-23 special election). Also, Christie is living large after getting an endorsement that may carry more weight, from the New Jersey Restaurant Association.
• VA-Gov (pdf): There's one new poll of VA-Gov to report today: Mason-Dixon, and they come in with a 48-40 edge for Bob McDonnell over Creigh Deeds, closely tracking today's Pollster.com average of 51-43. The poll finds Deeds getting only 81% of the African-American vote (with 9% to McD), far too little, especially in combination with what PPP's Tom Jensen is seeing, as he teases that he's projecting abysmal black turnout of 12% in the coming election. At any rate, Deeds is now touting his underdog status in fundraising e-mails, and is alluding to more possible visits from Barack Obama in the stretch run.
• FL-20: Here's an understatement: Republican candidate Robert Lowry, hoping to defeat Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in this D+13 district, conceded it was a "mistake" to shoot at a target labeled "DWS" while at a Southeast Republican Club gathering at a gun range.
• MN-06: As state Sen. Tarryl Clark seems to be building a fundraising and labor endorsement edge, her primary opponent for the Democratic nomination, Maureen Reed, says she won't follow traditional decorum and abide by the DFL endorsement. Reed (a former member of the Independence Party) says she'll keep open the option of taking the fight all the way to the primary, a reversal of her position from months earlier (although from before Clark got into the race and Elwyn Tinklenberg left). (UPDATE: The Reed campaign writes in to say that the Minnesota Public Radio story that underpins this story is incorrect and that Reed never stated whether or not she would abide by the DFL endorsement.)
• NC-11: One reddish southern district where the Republicans are still at square one on recruitment is the 11th. Businessman Jeff Miller said that he won't challenge sophomore Dem Heath Shuler.
• NY-15: As ethics allegations take a toll against long-time Rep. Charlie Rangel, he's getting a primary challenge... from his former campaign director. Vince Morgan, now a banker, says "it's time for a change."
• OH-17: Republicans may have found someone to run in the 17th against Rep. Tim Ryan: businessman and Air Force vet Bill Johnson, who's now exploring the race and will decide in December. Ryan probably isn't too worried, as he's won most of his races with over 75%, in this D+12 district.
• PA-04: Pennsylvania Western District US Attorney Mary Buchanan is reportedly considering running as a Republican against Dem sophomore Jason Altmire. (Hopefully she isn't violating the Hatch Act too much while she considers it.) Buchanan was one of the USAs who weren't fired in the Bush-era purge (in fact, she allegedly helped consult on the list of those who were fired). State House minority whip Mike Turzai has been reputed to be the GOP's desired recruit here, but Buchanan's flack says that Turzai is focused on winning back GOP control of the state House in 2010 instead.
• PA-11: Attorney and hedge fund manager Chris Paige is the first Republican to take on Paul Kanjorski (or Corey O'Brien, if Kanjorski goes down in the Dem primary). Still no word on whether Hazleton mayor Lou Barletta is interested in yet another whack at the race.
• Supreme Courts (pdf): News from two different state supreme court races? Sure, why not. In Pennyslvania, there's another Dane & Associates poll out, of a hotly contested 2010 race for a state supreme court seat; Democrat Jack Panella leads Republican Joan Orie Melvin 38-35. Also, in Texas, Democrat Bill Moody, who came close to winning a seat in 2006 (better than any other Dem statewide candidate that year), will try again in 2010, and he has an interesting new campaign gimmick: he's going to tour the state in a big orange blimp.