• AK-Sen: Joe Miller made a drive toward the hoop with his attempt to get an injunction to force the state to stop counting write-in ballots that weren't spelled precisely "Lisa Murkowski," but a federal judge stuffed that back in his face late yesterday, denying the immediate injunction and saying there's no risk of irreparable harm; the question, of course, will continue in the courts, just at a more leisurely pace while the count goes on. As for the actual counting (which began yesterday, and went through about 20% of the total), things have seemed to continue on pace for Murkowski to hold on. 89% of the write-ins were unchallenged for Murkowski. 8.5% of the ballots were challenged by Miller observers, but only 1.4% of ballots were successfully challenged. Only 164 of the 19,203 ballots analyzed had write-ins other than Murkowski (including, amusingly, two people who wrote in Joe Miller). Roll Call points out that Murkowski would be on track to win even if Miller's injunction succeeds, considering what a small percentage of ballots are being challenged in the first place, which makes it look like Murkowski's remarkably painstaking campaign of instructing people how to spell her name paid off.
• IN-Sen: If there's a Republican who's guilty of the crimes of attempting to legislate and not punching Dems in the groin at every opportunity, it's Richard Lugar. Between that and his age, he's at great risk of a teabagging in 2012 (assuming he doesn't retire), and there's already a line forming of potential primary rivals expressing interest, including state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, state Sen. Mike Delph, and 2010 primary loser Don Bates.
• MA-Sen: Here's another piece handicapping potential challengers to Scott Brown; while most of the names are familiar (Mike Capuano, plus assorted other Kennedys and Reps.), it adds one more to the mix that I haven't heard but certainly seems plausible: Gov. Deval Patrick, whose stock has risen lately with a surprisingly comfortable re-election.
• VA-Sen: Beltway Kremlinologists are analyzing Jim Webb's pronouncements, notably ambivalent about another Senate run, and announcing that he's sounding even iffier now. While George Allen seems to have the inside track on the GOP nomination, filling a hole left by Webb would be a big question mark for the Dems. Ex-Gov and DNC chair Tim Kaine seems like the likeliest bet, although Tom Perriello also gets a mention.
• FL-22: Somehow I suspect someone from GOP leadership paid a visit to Allen West and gave him a refresher course in political discipline, as he abruptly reversed course and decided that his bomb-throwing best friend from the right-wing radio world, Joyce Kaufman, won't be his chief of staff. As we talked about yesterday, the main problem might not be her long track record of outrageous statements but the Ethics and FCC problems that might result if she kept her day job too.
• NY-29: While everyone knows that Joe Manchin, Chris Coons, and Mark Kirk are gaining early entry to the Senate for the lame duck session (because of the special election status of their elections), there's also one new House member also getting that privilege. Recall that David Paterson bumped the special election to replace Eric Massa all the way back to November to coincide with the general election, so Tom Reed is set to be sworn in next week too (gaining the seniority edge over his myriad fellow GOP freshmen). (UDPATE: Several folks have pointed out that Marlin Stutzman, just elected to IN-03 in a dual special/general in the wake of Mark Souder's resignation, also gets the same treatment next week.)
• DSCC: The quest for a DSCC leader just goes on, as no one wants to be left holding that flaming bag of dog doo. Al Franken took himself officially out of the running. Even Chuck Schumer, who everyone regards as the fallback position if no one else steps up, is still adamant that he isn't going to take it either.
• Money: I don't think the Dems could have salvaged the House even if it hadn't been for the huge last-minute outlays of advertising cash from American Crossroads and assorted other 527s, but it certainly helped the GOP run up the score in the close, late-breaking races. At any rate, it's good to see that at least someone on Team Blue is recognizing that we're behind the 8-ball on the dark money front, and at least for the short term it's a can't-beat-'em-join-'em scenario. David Brock from Media Matters is on the case, trying to pull such a mega-527 together to start corralling high-dollar Dem donors.
• CO-St. House: This is a pleasant surprise: the Dems may yet be able to hold onto the state House in Colorado (which would let them keep the trifecta, if that happened). The GOP is claiming a 33-32 majority right now, but the race in HD-29, where incumbent Debbie Benefield apparently lost to Robert Ramirez by 208 votes, is at least back on the table with 687 more votes discovered that need to be counted. (Of course, it's worth being skeptical about her taking nearly 2/3s of those outstanding votes.)
• NY-St. Sen.: Here's the situation with the Senate in New York, where it may be weeks before we know who's in charge. The GOP has paper-thin leads in two Dem-held seats: Mark Grisanti leads Antoine Thompson in a Buffalo-area seat, while Jack Martins leads Craig Johnson in northern Nassau County. (There's also one other race not yet called, where incumbent Dem Suzi Oppenheimer still leads.) Dems have asked for recounts in both the races where they're trailing, so this is apt to drag on. If the leads hold, the GOP will retake control the Senate 32-30 (assuming Grisanti cooperates with them, which sounds like it may not be a done deal). If Dems turn one around, the clusterfudge gets even nuttier, as it'll be a 31-31 tie, which should let Dem Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy be the tiebreaker but promises endless litigation over just what sort of powers the still ill-defined LG position even has.
• WATN?: Three different names from Florida are considering their options today. One is Jim Davis, not the creator of Garfield but rather the five-term ex-Rep. who left the House in 2006 to run for Governor (and lost to Charlie Crist), who's now looking for a political third act as Tampa mayor. The election to replace termed-out Pam Iorio will be held in March. Another name is Rod Smith, a former state Sen. whom you might remember losing the 2006 Dem gube primary to Davis, and losing in 2010 as Alex Sink's running mate; he's set to take over as Dem state party chair, as Karen Thurman looks like she's finally getting put out to pasture after another terrible cycle. Finally, there's Alan Grayson, who's going to need a new job in a few months; he says he's likely to run for something again someday, not wanting to waste the large supporter base online that he built over the last few years.
• Polltopia: Scot Reader has a very interesting look at the success rates for internal polls this cycle (of which there were an unprecedented number released). He finds that GOP internal pollsters performed better than Dem internal pollsters this cycle, to the extent that firms like POS were pretty close to the mark. (Although it's worth noting that, while public polling of Senate and Gov races was close to the mark -- with the exception of Nevada, where the internal polling was much closer -- it also tended to underestimate Republican support in the House, in the end.) If his name sounds familiar, he's the guy behind the Polltrack twitter feed (now renamed Pollmaven), which we strongly urge you to follow.