• ME-Sen: It's stuff like this which have me convinced that Olympia Snowe is definitely not out of the woods. Her fellow Maine senator, Susan Collins, said she won't support Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare-killing budget plan, which seems to put the screws to Snowe. It's a pretty classic problem: If she sides with Ryan, she damages her standing with normal people, and if she sides with Collins, she'll enrage the teabaggers. It may not matter in the end, but it doesn't help - and with Collins speaking out, that makes it a lot harder for Snowe to simply avoid the question.
• NV-Sen: Gov. Brian Sandoval says he'll tap a replacement for John Ensign by the time Ensign resigns in early May, though apparently some Republicans would prefer he name someone other than Dean Heller. That would let the GOP avoid a potential gong-show in NV-02, but Jon Ralston says that a Heller appointment is already a "done deal."
• OH-Sen: It sounds like Ken Blackwell wants to decide whether he'll seek the GOP nomination some time in May, after his new book comes out.
• TX-Sen: Robert Paul, son of Ron and brother of Rand (son of Byford, brother of Al!), says he won't run for Senate this cycle, but says he could possibly run for office at some point in the future.
• IN-Gov: Rep. Mike Pence, whom everyone seems convinced will run for governor, raised a pretty meh $283K in Q1. And yes, he can transfer that money over for a gubernatorial race, so it's not unimportant. I can't really imagine Pence declining this chance to seek the statehouse - he won't have an open-seat opportunity again for quite some time. However, he is in the top rung of GOP leadership in Congress, so maybe he's just feeling ambivalent.UPDATE: Can't believe I forgot this, but staypositive reminds me that Pence is no longer a member of the GOP leadership... which makes his sucky fundraising stand out all the more.
• LA-Gov: Uh, well, this certainly takes the cake for first quarter fundraising. Wealthy businessman John Georges wrote his campaign committee a ten million dollar check (in the form of a loan), to be used for an unspecified statewide office. I'm filing this under "LA-Gov" because he ran as an indie for that job in 2007. No word yet if he'll run again, or if he'll do so as a Dem, but if he does, at least his cash would give Bobby Jindal a little heartburn.
• NH-Gov: Dem state Rep. Jim Splaine, writing over at Blue Hampshire, takes a broad look at the playing field for next year's gubernatorial race. He wants Gov. John Lynch to run again, but if he doesn't, Splaine offers a ton of other possibilities. One name that stands out is former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, who ran for NH-Sen in 2008 before stepping aside for Jeanne Shaheen. Marchand's been talked about as a possible challenger to 1st CD Rep. Frank Guinta, but he's talked with Splaine about his ambitions, and it sounds like he's more interesting in a gubernatorial bid.
Also, if you want to keep your finger on the progressive pulse in the Granite State, BH has started running straw polls for next year's key races. Marchand wasn't included in their gov test, but Mark Connolly (whom we mentioned here the other day) led the way with 31% of the vote.
• AZ-08, AZ-Sen: The Arizona Republic has a lengthy profile on Gabrielle Giffords and her recovery and rehabilitation, which is worth reading in full. Also, her husband, astronaut Mark Kelley, said that Giffords has been cleared to attend the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour this Friday. Kelly will command this mission, Endeavour's last.
• NY-13: According to the New York Observer, a new potential Dem name to take on Rep. Mike Grimm has emerged: Robert Diamond, a Navy veteran and investment banker. Diamond has roots on Staten Island, but Brooklyn-based blogger Colin Campbell dug up a donation to the DNC which shows that Diamond lived on the Upper East Side as recently as last year. Not sure how great a fit that is culturally... but in any case, Diamond didn't return a call to the Observer seeking comment, so who knows how real this is.
• NY-22: Our thoughts go out to upstate Rep. Maurice Hinchey, who was just diagnosed with colon cancer. Fortunately, his doctors say that his cancer is curable and they expect a full recovery. Hinchey is 72.
• NY-26: Dem Kathy Hochul was just endorsed by EMILY's List. The special election is just a month away, May 24th.
• OR-01: State Rep. Brad Witt has been upgraded from "rumor level" to "considering level." Blue Oregon mentioned the other day that he was a possible contender to challenge Rep. David Wu in the Dem primary; now, according to Jeff Mapes in the Oregonian, some of his advisors are saying he's definitely interested. He'd be the second Democrat (well, other than Wu himself) to get into the race - Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian is already running, setting up a battle of the Brads. There are also still several other people in the more nebulous stages of candidacy, so I hope that we don't (as some have suggested in comments) wind up with David Wu turning into the Dem version of Dan Burton and winning the primary with a bare plurality.
• KY-St. House: It's not the biggest news in the world, but it's unusual enough to merit a quick note: Kentucky state Rep. Wade Hurt is switching parties... from Republican to Democrat. Hurt won office last year under unusual circumstances when his Democratic opponent was declared ineligible to run because he filed improper paperwork. (Believe it or not, Dem Jeffrey Donohue needed all of two signatures on his nominating petition, but managed to screw up one of them.) Dems were not permitted to replace Donohue, so Hurt won the ancestrally Democratic 37th district by default. Hurt claimed he wasn't switching out of self-preservation and says he received no inducements, but the district is 62 D, 29 R by registration, and even in Dixiecrat territory, that still means something. (UPDATE: Johnny L-T reminds me that the district is in Louisville, so not really Dixiecrat territory - which makes these registration numbers all the more dangerous for a Republican.)
• WI Recall, WI-Gov: I'm usually not a big fan of polls from colleges with short track records, but YMMV with this St. Norbert poll testing recall numbers. They find Scott Walker at 48% "keep" and 47% "remove." They also tested state Senate Republicans and Democrats, with Wisconsinites saying "keep" for the GOP by a 53-35 margin and "keep" for the Dems, 57-33. Mind you, this was a statewide poll, and it also had a super-long field date, April 5 through April 18.
• House Majority PAC: Greg Giroux breaks down the independent expenditure reports from the House Majority PAC's Medicare-related attack on ten House Republicans. Turns out that unlike the DCCC's "tuppence a bag" efforts, it's a legit buy, ringing up at $116K. Click the link for the full breakdowns.
• Americans United: Speaking of which, the progressive group Americans United for Change is targeting four GOPers over the Ryan vote: Ryan himself, as well as Sean Duffy and Chip Cravaack (both also on the HMP's list - see item just above), and, most interestingly, Steve King. TPM calls the buy "significant," but also notes that it's for five figures... so we could be taking anywhere from $10K to $99K here. Americans United is also doing robocalls in a bunch of districts.
• Colorado: It sounds like attempts to go back to the drawing board and produce a compromise map in Colorado have failed (why am I not surprised?). Democrats say they'll introduce a new map of their own next week, but I can't possibly imagine it will be appealing to Republicans (and vice-versa for anything the GOP might do). Unless the GOP decides it's more scared of what a court might draw, then we'll stay locked in a stalemate. And I say the GOP because they're the ones who have the most to lose - Colorado is already pretty close to a Republican gerrymander by accident (the last map was court-drawn, too), which you can see because the new GOP proposals seek to change it only minimally. (Ironically, Republicans originally hated the map, and tried to pull off a mid-decade re-redistricting that got tossed by the courts.) In any event, the writeup at the link is quite detailed and worth a read if you're interested in drilling down on this one some more.
• Missouri: Things have really fallen apart in Missouri, with the state House Speaker openly lambasting his counterparts in the Senate for a lack of "leadership." The Senate adjourned on Friday without reaching any kind of agreement with the House, which means lawmakers have all but missed a deadline which would allow them to send a map to Gov. Jay Nixon before the end of the legislative session. Now, even if they do finish a map soon, if Nixon vetoes, any chance at an over-ride won't take place until the fall.
• Mississippi: Oral arguments were heard in the lawsuit over Mississippi's redistricting impasse, with Dem AG Jim Hood making the interesting argument that elections should be held this fall using maps that passed by each body of the state lege but weren't voted on by the other (nor, of course, signed into law). Hood also argued against the judges drawing their own maps, and against the idea of holding elections this fall under the old lines and new ones next year with new maps (as happened in 1991/92). Republicans, predictably, took the opposite view.
• Timelines: Ballotpedia has a good list of timetables for each state to start and complete its redistricting process (though many are pretty flexible and some states have no specific deadlines).
• HI-Sen: Both Rep. Mazie Hirono and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa have confirmed to Roll Call that they are looking at the Dem primary to replace retiring Sen. Dan Akaka, and Hanabusa says she's meeting with the DSCC, presumably soon. She also says that the DS "has made it known it wants to speak with anyone interested in running, but it is not actively recruiting any one candidate" (Roll Call's phrasing).
• IN-Sen: So GOPer Richard Mourdock raised $157K, not much better than the $125K or so he predicted (in an obvious attempt to ensure he "exceeded analysts' estimates," as they might say after a Wall Street earnings call). But I flag this item because Roll Call says Mourdock plans to "raise money from a national donor base starting next year." Does this mean he's going the Sharron Angle/Michele Bachmann/Allen West BMW Direct-type direct mail scammery? (See related bullets below.) If so, then perhaps Dick Lugar is in better shape than he might have hoped.
• MO-Sen: This is news to me: Sophomore GOP Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer is apparently thinking about a Senate bid, and has reportedly even met with the NRSC about his intentions. Dave Catanese says that "uncertainty about redistricting" is spurring Luetkemeyer to consider other options, but I'm not sure I buy that, seeing as the new maps being considered by the Republican-held legislature offer him a very comfy seat. The real puzzler is why he's doing this when six-term Rep. Todd Akin seems to be gearing up for a Senate run, since there's almost no way the two would want to fight it out in a primary. Maybe Lute thinks he can be Plan B if Akin demurs.
Another reason cited by Catanese (which applies equally well to both congressmen) is ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman's crappy fundraising. She pulled in just $186K in Q1, which would be unimpressive for a supposedly serious candidate in almost any state. If Akin gets in, I think there's a non-zero chance that she'd drop out.
• MT-Sen: Nice: Sen. Jon Tester (D) raised $1.2 million in Q1 and has $1.5m on hand. His Republican opponent, Rep. Denny Rehberg, raised less than half that, $580K, but has $932K in the bank.
• NE-Sen: Sen. Ben Nelson raised $1 million in Q1 and has $2.3 mil on hand. His chief Republican rival, AG Jon Bruning, raised $1.5 million and has $1.2 in the bank, but Nelson pointed out that $600K was transferred from Bruning's 2008 Senate account (when he briefly sought to primary Chuck Hagel; after Hagel announced his retirement, Bruning was squeezed out by former Gov. Mike Johanns).
• OH-Sen: Former state Sen. Kevin Coughlin, whom we'd mentioned previously as a possible candidate, has filed paperwork for an exploratory committee, joining Treasurer Josh Mandel in this in-limbo category in the GOP primary.
• TN-Sen: I feel like there's an alternate universe not too dissimilar from our own where a Republican dude named Bob Corker is also freshman in the U.S. Senate, and he's also up for re-election, except Corker Prime is actually vulnerable. Here on Earth, though, it really seems like Corker is well out of reach for us. He raised an impressive $1.9 million in Q1 and has over $4 million in the bank - and there are no Democratic candidates on the horizon.
• MO-Gov: Gov. Jay Nixon lapped his likely Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, on the fundraising circuit, pulling in over twice as much money over the last six months, $1.7 million to $770K. Nixon also has a big cash-on-hand edge, $2.1 mil to $900K.
But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show? Well, pretty terrible, actually - Kinder's had just an awful few weeks in the press. After the St. Louis Post-Dispatch revealed his penchant for spending taxpayer money to stay in luxury hotels to attend baseball games and society balls, Kinder promised to reimburse the state $35K... but two weeks later, he still hasn't. That nimbus definitely isn't moving anywhere just yet, and it's his own damn fault. Let's hope he runs the rest of his campaign the same way.
• NC-Gov: This just doesn't seem good. Gov. Bev Perdue, whose public image has already suffered enough damage, was out-of-state Saturday afternoon when a series of deadly tornadoes touched down in North Carolina. She was attending a horse race in Kentucky and didn't make a public appearance back home until 11pm that night. I'm not going to predict what this will mean for Perdue, but it can't be helpful.
• WV-Gov: SoS Natalie Tennant's first ad is a hokey spot set on a farm, in which she decries politicians wasting money... and a cow can be heard to moo. (Or a bull. I don't know. It has horns. But small ones. So maybe still a cow? Do bulls moo? I'm from the city - sue me.) Tennant is generally seen as the candidate with the greatest appeal to liberals (yes, there are some in West Virginia), so she's clearly trying to play against type here.
• AZ-08: Rep. Gabby Giffords raised $358K in Q1 and has $556K in the bank.
• CA-19: Freshman GOP Rep. Jeff Denham (I admit it - I had already forgotten who he was and had to Google him) is already making a name for himself. That name is "idiot." He staged a mega-lavish DC fundraiser in January when he was sworn in which featured singer Leann Rimes and spent an amazing $212,250 on the event. Total raised? $212,900 - which means he netted exactly $650. That's quite the feat. It's even more amazing when you consider it was all supposed to benefit a joint fundraising committee for 11 GOP frosh. To rub it in, Michael Doyle of the Modesto Bee archly observes: "If the $650 netted from outside contributors were to be divvied up evenly, each of the 11 GOP lawmakers would receive $59."
• CA-36: Janice Hahn outraised Debra Bowen in Q1, $273K to $195K, and has about double the cash-on-hand, $171K to $93K. Surprisingly, Marcy Winograd managed to raise $50K. (And if you care, Republican Craig Hughey lent his campaign $250K.)
Bowen also put out an internal from the Feldman Group. In a test of apparently all the candidates who have filed, she and Hahn tie for 20, with Republican Mike Gin the next-closest at 8 and Winograd at 6. The memo also says that in a two-way runoff, Bowen leads 40-36 with 16% undecided. The poll also claims that Hahn's unfavorability rating is "double that of Bowen," but a self-respecting pollster really shouldn't include such tripe, because the refusal to release actual numbers means we're talking about something like a 12-to-6 comparison (i.e., meaningless). As mi hermano G.O.B. Bluth would say, "COME ON!"
• FL-08: Hah! Does Daniel Webster want to lose? The GOP freshman raised just $30K in Q1, but the really funny part is that the guy he defeated, Alan Grayson, raised more! Grayson took in $38K, apparently from small donors who hope he'll make a comeback bid.
• FL-22: Allen West raised a seemingly-impressive $434K in Q1, but as you know, he's a major practitioner of the churn-and-burn style of shady direct-mail fundraising, and it really shows in his burn rate. He spent an amazing $266K last quarter, which both as a raw total and a percentage rate is exceedingly high... but see the MN-06 and NV-02 items below.
• IA-04: Interesting, though not surprising: Politico says that DCCC chair Steve Israel warned Christie Vilsack off of challenging Dave Loebsack in the new 2nd CD, assuring her that the D-Trip would back the incumbent. He also apparently promised to support her if she took on Rep. Steve King (as she supposedly might do), though who knows what kind of $ that might translate into.
• IL-03: Insurance exec John Atkinson, who is apparently challenging Rep. Dan Lipinski in the Democratic primary, raised $535K in Q1, including $312K from his own pockets. Lipinski raised just $138K but has $637K on hand.
• MN-08: Freshman GOPer Chip Cravaack raised just $121K in Q1 - so why are we having such a hard time finding a Dem willing to take this guy on?
• MN-06: Michele Bachmann raised a MIND-OBLITERATING $1.7 million in the first quarter... and yes, I'm being sarcastic, because she also managed to spent $756K. Of course, netting a million bucks ain't bad (and she has $2.8 mil on hand), and if she truly pulls the trigger on a presidential run, I'll bet the spigots will open even wider. But that's still quite the burn rate.
• NV-02: Sharron Angle makes Allen West look as parsimonious as Scrooge by comparison. Everyone's favorite nutter (okay, it's a multi-way tie, but you know you love her) raised an amaaaaaaaaazing $700K in Q1, but spent an actually amazing $550K, mostly to BaseConnect, the scam artists formerly known as BMW Direct. She has only $176K in the bank.
• NY-26: Republican Jane Corwin is not fucking around: She raised just $102K in Q1, but gave her own campaign a whopping million dollars. Yow. Meanwhile, Crazy Jack Davis has raised zilch, but has loaned himself $1.5 mil and already spent $1.4 mil.
• Denver Mayor: SSP commenter Kretzy has a really good run-down on the May 3rd Denver mayor's race, necessitated by John Hickenlooper's ascension to the governor's mansion. I won't try to summarize it - you should just click through. Timely, too, because SUSA has a poll out on the race, showing James Mejia and Chris Romer tied at 22, with Michael Hancock next at 18. Again, read Kretzy's summary if you want to know more about these people.
• Wisconsin Recall: Signatures were filed yesterday to force a recall election for a third Republican state senator, Luther Olsen, and Dems expect to file petitions for Sheila Harsdorf today. (Number of Dem state sens who've had petitions filed against them so far: 0.) Also, the state's Government Accountability Board says it will try to consolidate the recalls into as few elections as possible.
• DSCC: In an item about Herb Kohl raising $0 last quarter (he can cut himself a fat check any time he pleases, so this isn't meaningful), Dave Catanese says that DSCC chair Patty Murray said "she was confident all of the remaining incumbents were running for reelection." Kohl is the most obvious candidate for retirement, and of course Murray could be wrong, but maybe this is it.
• Fundraising: The NYT has a list of fundraising by freshman Republicans, and also notes that IN-08 Rep. Larry Bucshon took in just $45K. Not really wise for a guy whose district is likely to be made at least a bit more competitive. The Fix also has a fundraising roundup.
• LCV: The League of Conservation Voters is launching a $250K radio ad campaign targeted at four members of the House who voted in favor of a bill that would bar the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The ads are hitting two Republicans running for Senate, Denny Rehberg and Dean Heller, as well as Energy Cmte Chair Fred Upton (R) and Jason Altmire (D). Here's a sample ad (targeted at Heller), which I actually find kinda weird and confusing.
• Passings: Former Rep. Harold Volkmer, who represented mostly rural northeastern Missouri's 9th CD for ten terms, passed away at the age of 80.
• Colorado: Now this at least is a fight that makes sense: Republicans control the Colorado House, while Dems control the Senate - and tempers have already exploded with the release of proposed redistricting plans from both sides. (See yesterday's digest for the maps.) Speaker of the House Frank McNulty flipped out, accusing Democrats of drawing districts that would benefit two legislators in particular: Senate President Brandon Shaffer and Sen. Morgan Carroll.
However, Carroll said she has no plans to run for Congress, while the Dem point-man on redistricting, Sen. Rollie Heath, pointed out that the new 4th CD (which McNulty thinks Shaffer wants to run in) has a 10 percent GOP registration edge... in other words, not the kind of seat you'd drawn for yourself if you were an ambitious Democrat. So either McNulty is just a garden-variety moran, or he's just trying to cast fact-free aspersions against the other side. We've seen a lot of this kind of crap from Colorado Republicans already, so door number two is a definite possibility (but of course, it's not mutually exclusive of door number 1).
• Missouri: Trying to unlock a stalemate that seems remarkably picayune to outsiders such as myself, Republican power brokers in Missouri met yesterday to talk things over. Among the participants were most of the Republicans in the state's congressional delegation, the heads of the state House and Senate, and the chair of the MO GOP. No sort of deal has been announced as yet.
• Virginia: Hah - so much for lawmakers racing back to work to deal with Gov. Bob McDonnell's veto of their redistricting plans. Legislators had planned to be off this week, so rank-and-file members declined leadership's entreaties to show up.
• CT-Sen: Connecticut's open seat Senate race was always destined to be a high-dollar affair, and the money chase is well underway. Former SoS Susie Bysiewicz released a first quarter total of a respectable $500K, but Rep. Chris Murphy, her main rival in the Dem primary, just more than doubled up on that, with $1.1 million raised over the course of his first 10 weeks. (Of course, they've both picked their low hanging fruit on their first trip to the orchard, so the challenge will be to keep up that rate.)
• FL-Sen: PPP, who put out general election numbers on the Senate race last week, have the GOP primary numbers... and they find GOP voters saying "Uh, who?" (Y'know, like that guy who used to be the Senator... who somehow is known by only 26% of the sample?) Unfortunately, Connie Mack IV dropped out while the poll was in the field, so, better-known than the other options (perhaps courtesy of his dad, the former Sen. Connie Mack III, who the state's older and more confused voters might think is back) he leads the way at 28, with the actual candidates, ex-Sen. George LeMieux and state Sen. majority leader Mike Haridopolos at 14 and 13, respectively. Additional likely candidate Adam Hasner is back at 5. Don't look for any help on choosing from Marco Rubio: he's just announced that he won't endorse in the primary.
• HI-Sen: There still seem to be fans out there for losing '06 IL-06 candidate and Obama admin member Tammy Duckworth, eager to get her into elected office somewhere someday, and the place du jour seems to be Hawaii, where a Draft Duckworth page has popped up for the open Senate seat.
• MA-Sen: Salem mayor Kim Driscoll has been the occasional subject of Senate speculation for the Dem primary, along with the mayor of pretty much every other mid-sized city in the state. Nevertheless, she pulled her name out of contention yesterday (all part of the Democratic master plan of not having a candidate to deceptively lull the GOP into complacency, I'm sure). Meanwhile, Republican incumbent Scott Brown (last seen praising the Paul Ryan Abolition of Medicare Plan, rolled out his first quarter fundraising numbers: he raised $1.7 million in Q1, leaving him with $8.1 million cash on hand. That's, of course, huge, but the silver lining on that is that it doesn't leave him on track to hit his previously-announced super-gigantic $25 mil fundraising goal for the cycle.
• FL-Gov: With various newly-elected Republican governors in polling freefall, Rick Scott (who can't even get along with his GOP legislature, let alone his constituents) really seems to be leading the way down. Quinnipiac finds his approvals deep in the hole, currently 35/48, down from 35/22 in February (meaning he picked up no new fans in that period, but managed to piss off an additional quarter of the state). Voters says by a 53-37 margin that his budget proposals are unfair to people like them. Voters are also opposed to the legislature's proposal to stop collecting union dues from state workers' paychecks.
• MO-Gov: After spending Monday dragging out his fight with those who buy ink by the barrel (aka the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who broke the story on his fancy-pants hotel habit), Missouri Lt. Gov. and Republican gubernatorial candidate Peter Kinder seemed to dial things down a notch yesterday: he says he'll 'voluntarily' reimburse the state $30K for those expenditures, and while not exactly apologizing, says he seeks "to move this nimbus off the horizon." Um, whatever that means.
• AZ-06: After getting mentioned a lot when Jeff Flake announced his Senate run, opening up the Mesa-based 6th, state Senate president Russell Pearce is now sounding unlikely to run according to insiders. (Blowback over his links to the Fiesta Bowl controversy may be the last straw, though, rather than his status as xenophobia's poster child.) A couple other GOP names have risen to the forefront: state House speaker Kirk Adams, who's considering, and former state Sen. majority leader Chuck Gray, who is already in.
• CA-36: One more big union endorsement for Janice Hahn in the primary fight against Debra Bowen to succeed Jane Harman: this one comes from the SEIU.
• CT-05: The open seat vacated by Chris Murphy is likely to draw a crowd, and here's a new Republican contender in this swingy, suburban district: Farmington town council chair and former FBI agent Mike Clark. Clark has a notable profile for helping to take down a fellow Republican while at the FBI: corrupt ex-Gov. John Rowland. He'll face Justin Bernier in the GOP primary, who lost the primary in 2010.
• FL-20: In case Debbie Wasserman Schultz's work load couldn't get any heavier, she just got a new heap of responsibility dumped in her lap: she'll become the new head of the DNC, to replace newly-minted Senate candidate Tim Kaine. She'll, of course, keep her day job as Representative.
• MN-08: The Dem-leaning 8th is as good a place as any to pick up a seat in 2012, but there's the wee problem of trying to find somebody to run there. The latest Dem possibility that drew everyone's interest, Yvonne Prettner Solon, the former Duluth-area state Sen. and newly-elected Lt. Governor, won't run here either.
• NH-St. House: I realize that with 400 members you're going to have a lot of bad apples, but still we're up to 3 GOP frosh having resigned already from the New Hampshire state House. Hot on the heels of a 91-year-old member resigning after advocating (literally) sending 'defectives' to Siberia to starve, Gary Wheaton just resigned for driving with a suspended license after a previous DUI (and then publicly suspected the arresting officer for targeting him because of his vote against collective bargaining). And somewhat less dramatically, Robert Huxley eventually got around to resigning after not getting around to showing up for any votes so far in the session.
• EMILY's List: EMILY's List is out with its first five fundraising targets for the 2012 cycle. Some of them are to be expected, with high-profile GOP freshmen and already-announced female opponents: Allen West (who may face West Palm Beach mayor Lois Frankel in FL-22), Paul Gosar (who faces a rematch with ex-Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in AZ-01), and Charlie Bass (rematched with Ann McLane Kuster in NH-02). They also targeted Joe Heck in NV-03 and Chip Cravaack in MN-08, who don't have opponents yet but conceivably could match up with Dina Titus and Tarryl Clark, respectively.
• WATN?: Thirtysomething Carte Goodwin seemed to make a good impression during his half-a-year as a fill-in in the Senate (in between Robert Byrd and Joe Manchin), moving him to prime position on the Dems' West Virginia bench, but he says he's not running for anything else anytime soon. Or more accurately, he says the only the only thing he's running for "is the county line." (Uh, with the revenuers in pursuit?)
• AZ-Sen: After some rumors yesterday that she wasn't getting much traction with her phoning around, DHS Sec./ex-Gov. Janet Napolitano confirmed today that she wasn't going to run for the open Senate seat in Arizona, preferring to remain in the Obama administration. (Roll Call has a list of some of the weedier Dem possibilities, beyond the top tier of Rep. Gabby Giffords and Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon: Rep. Ed Pastor, Board of Regents vice chair Fred DuVal, former state party chair Don Bivens, 2010 AG candidate Felicia Rotellini, and current state party chair/2010 Treasurer candidate Andrei Cherny.) On the GOP side, Rep. Jeff Flake seems already positioning himself for the general while opening himself up for a challenge from the nutty right, telling the birthers to "accept reality." Flake also just picked up an endorsement from a similar budget-focused, social-issues-downplaying prominent House member, Paul Ryan.
• IN-Sen: State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who plans to soon announce his GOP primary challenge to Richard Lugar (with next Tuesday the more-or-less official launch date), leaked a few poll numbers from an internal. He says that "just over half" of GOP primary voters are inclined to re-elect Lugar, while Lugar pulls in only 27% support among self-described tea-partiers. The poll didn't "include" a head-to-head between Mourdock and Lugar, which I'll assume means they aren't reporting results that were pretty heavily in Lugar's favor, rather than that they just accidentally forgot to poll that particular question. Here's new one piece of ammo that tea partiers can use against Lugar to make their point that he's gone Washington, though: a revelation that Lugar stays in a hotel when he visits Indiana (Lugar owns a farm in-state, but conditions there are "rustic").
• PA-Sen: Quinnipiac is out with another Pennsylvania poll, one that finds Bob Casey Jr. in better shape than their previous poll, where he was in decent shape too. He beats a Generic R 45-35 (up from 43-35 in December), and his approvals are up to 44/24 (from 39/29). Voters approve of Barack Obama (51/44) and Pat Toomey (41/21) as well, in another indication of ebbing anger.
• VA-Sen: Tell the ground crew to break out the tarps, because we've got a Kaine delay. Ex-Gov. Tim Kaine, at the top of the Dem establishment's wish list for the open Senate seat, is announcing that he won't have anything to announce when he addresses tomorrow's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. He still sounds genuinely conflicted; expect an announcement "later in the month or early next month."
• VT-Sen: He stopped well short of actually announcing anything, but Dem-turned-Republican state Auditor Tom Salmon seems to be moving apace toward an uphill challenge against Bernie Sanders, saying he'll announce his decision on March 4 or 5. He's looking more committed in that he's leaving his day job: he also just announced he won't run for another term as Auditor.
• WV-Gov: The overcrowded (and likely low-turnout) Democratic primary in West Virginia may be decided by a few thousand votes, so any possible advantage counts here. And here's one for SoS Natalie Tenannt, the only Dem woman running: she just got the endorsement of EMILY's List.
• CA-36: The Republicans have managed to scrape up at least one credible candidate for the special election in the dark-blue 36th, where the main battle in the top 2 primary will be fought between Democrats Janice Hahn and Debra Bowen but conceivably he could sneak into the final round if he consolidates all the district's GOP votes. Mike Webb is City Attorney for Redondo Beach (popu. 63K).
• MN-06, MN-08: This is an interesting possibility for ex-state Sen. Tarryl Clark, who lost last year to Michele Bachmann in the GOP-leaning 6th... although it's entirely dependent on the redistricting pen. There's the possibility that her town of St. Cloud (to the west of the Twin Cities) may get appended to the 8th, which starts in the metro area's northern exurbs and heads up to Duluth. A run against vulnerable GOP frosh Chip Cravaack in a Dem-leaning district in a presidential year would be a much better bet for her. The question would be, though, whether Clark would have much luck in the DFL primary if she has to run against someone from the Iron Range, which tends to be insular-minded and would still be the bulk of the district's population.
• SD-AL, FL-02: I don't know how many of you were pining for a 2012 rematch from Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (about which there were some rumors this week), and I really can't imagine that any of you were hoping for a return engagement from ur-Blue Dog Allen Boyd, but it's looking like neither one is on track to happen. Both are rumored to be about to take on K Street lobbying jobs instead, which is, of course, not the usual comeback path.
• MI-Sen: Peter Hoekstra, having just started as a "senior adviser" at Dickstein Shapiro, let Politico know that, despite all appearances associated with his new job, he hasn't ruled out a 2012 Senate bid, saying he's keeping his options open. (I know that on my first day on the job, I like to loudly tell everybody that I may not be working there much longer. Really helps you get off on the right foot with your boss.)
• MT-Sen: Jon Tester wasted no time in going after newly-announced Denny Rehberg, drawing connections between Rehberg and Michele Bachmann (and her proposed $4.5 billion in VA cuts). Bachmann will be a featured speaker at the event on Saturday where Rehberg formally announces. Tester raised $128K in Q4 with $562K, a decent amount for the small state of Montana but not much different from Rehberg's $553K war chest.
• TX-Sen: You might remember talk from a couple years ago where ESPN analyst Craig James was interested in running for what was then expected to be a Senate special election to replace a resigning Kay Bailey Hutchison. That faded into the mists of time, but here's the first statement of interest I've seen from him since the race re-opened up thanks to her retirement. It comes up in the context of him saying that, yes, he believes people in Lubbock would still vote for him despite his role in getting Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach fired.
• UT-Sen: An interesting piece about Orrin Hatch focuses mostly on how he's trying to avoid the fate of Bob Bennett by reaching out and engaging the local tea party crowd as much as possible; a local 'bagger comments that Hatch shouldn't expect their endorsement but his efforts will really limit the outrage that seemed to overwhelm Bennett. (Hatch also has an interesting selling point to offer them: if he's defeated but the GOP takes the Senate, that puts Olympia Snowe in charge of Finance.) Buried in the story is a provocative comment from Bennett's vanquisher, Mike Lee, who only says that he'll "fully support" the GOP nominee without saying anything about backing Hatch.
• AK-AL, NY-13: Here are two House races where the potential challenger has the financial advantage, according to new Q4 numbers. One is the possible GOP primary for Alaska's at-large seat, where Joe Miller has $825K left in the bank, thanks to money he didn't get a chance to spend on his legal defense, whereas Don Young has $170K CoH. (Miller, of course, hasn't said anything specific about a race against Young in 2012, but he and Young have publicly traded some barbs.) The other is NY-13, where surprise Republican victor Michael Grimm actually finds himself in debt, with a net minus-$36K while Democratic ex-Rep. Mike McMahon, who seems to be laying groundwork for a rematch, has $17K CoH leftover.
• IN-05, IN-06: Roll Call looks at the slowly-developing race to replace Mike Pence in the 6th. Most (if not all) the action is on the GOP side so far, with former Wayne Co. Sheriff Matt Strittmatter the only one with a campaign account open so far (which contains $39K). Other GOPers include 1990s-era ex. Rep. David McIntosh, Henry County Council president Nate LaMar, '10 Senate primary loser Don Bates, and '10 IN-05 primary loser Luke Messer... but it sounds like Messer, who almost beat the unloved Dan Burton, may be running in the 5th again, seeing as how Roll Call got Burton's office to confirm that Burton (frequent subject of retirement speculation) plans to run for re-election. One other wrinkle: Republican redistricting efforts to redden Joe Donnelly's IN-02 may wind up making IN-06 less Republican, so that might encourage Dems to at least consider playing in the 6th.
• MT-AL: With Montana's at-large House seat suddenly looking like it's on track to be an open seat, we may actually get some decent Democratic candidates in the race. It's occasionally been a competitive seat, currently at R+7, though not really hotly contested since the last time it was open, in 2000. Democratic State Rep. Franke Wilmer of Bozeman is already floating her name for the race. (If she won, she'd be the first woman in the seat since the legendary Jeannette Rankin.)
• SD-AL: Now this is interesting: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (haven't heard anything about a rematch, but this might perk up her ears) is actually leading a hypothetical rematch by one point (46-45) against new Republican Rep. Kristi Noem, according to PPP. PPP points out that she lost by three in 2010, so that small shift is consistent with the small nationwide bump upwards for the Dems over the last month or two. Herseth Sandlin's favorables are 55/36, compared with Noem's 38/35 approvals. Over on the Senate side, Tim Johnson (who isn't up until 2014) is at 47/41 approval.
• LA-AG: We've seen a couple dozen legislative party-switchers from the Democrats to the Republicans in southern states in the last few months, in the wake of several states' chambers finally completing their realignment all the way down to the state level, but nobody at a statewide level doing so... until now. Louisiana AG Buddy Caldwell, facing a potentially tough general election, plans to switch to Republican status. (I'd invoke the cautionary specter of Parker Griffith, but Louisiana uses a jungle primary so switching to a potentially tough primary instead may not be the kiss of death.) Since Caldwell was already the only Democratic AG who had joined the multi-state lawsuit against healthcare reform, his "Democrat" status was pretty negligible at this point.
• MA-St. House: This may be one of the largest constituencies where I've seen a race end in a tie (although I'm sure someone in the comments can come up with a historic example of an even bigger race that tied). The November election in Massachusetts's 6th Worcester district in the state House was just declared a tie by a superior court judge, and (rather than flipping a coin, drawing lots, or sending them to Thunderdome) a do-over special election was ordered. Democratic incumbent Geraldo Alicea and GOPer Peter Durant both got 6,587 votes. No date has been set yet, but we'll all be on pins and needles that night, seeing as how Dems control that chamber by only a 128-31 margin.
• CA-Referenda: A statewide special election is planned for some point in June, as Jerry Brown seeks a public mandate for extending increases in three different taxes (and he seems to think he has a better shot getting this through a public vote than the legislature). This is likely to be an entirely vote-by-mail affair, presaging a potential California shift in the direction of its west coast brethren. Somewhat counterintuitively (since vote-by-mail is usually considered to boost Dems), though, observers think this might skew the election toward older, whiter voters, as mail delivery is "unreliable in spots" (?!?) in heavily-minority Los Angeles County and voters there still tend to rely heavily on polling places. On the plus side, though, a recent PPIC poll found more support for extending the taxes among the 55+ set (56 yes/38 no) than among the entire population (where there was 50 yes/48 no support). Have the most seriously tax-hating seniors all fled to Arizona?
• Fundraising: The Fix has a bunch more Senate fundraising numbers to report, building on the numbers we gave you yesterday. For the Dems, Bob Casey Jr. seems to be fully engaged with his race, pulling in $621K in Q4 for $1.3 million CoH, while the publicity surrounding FiliBernie seems to have been a big cash cow for Bernie Sanders, who raised $485K for $536K CoH. Bob Menendez raised $237K for $2.4 million CoH, while freshly-elected Joe Manchin seemed to take a breather from fundraising, raising only $18K for $377K. Among not just vulnerable Republicans but basically everybody else in the Senate, Scott Brown is still the unstoppable money machine, in terms of both cash raised and CoH: $734K raised for $7.2 million CoH. Richard Lugar raised $173K for $2.35 million CoH, while Olympia Snowe raised $79K for $1.2 million CoH.
• Census: We're still waiting for this week's released of detailed 2010 data for Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia, but the Census Bureau is letting us know that next week they'll be out with four more: Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, and Maryland.
• WATN?: Rod Grams somehow managed to be one of the least memorable Senators of my lifetime who managed to serve a full term (surprisingly swept in in Minnesota in 1994, easily turned out in 2000), and now he's working a job that seems befitting his anonymity. He's working as a Hill staffer, and not even on the Senate side: he's the new chief of staff to new MN-08 Rep. Chip Cravaack. (Recall that Cravaack did what Grams couldn't do in 2006: knock off Jim Oberstar, in what was a strange comeback attempt by Grams.)
• AZ-Sen: Could we actually see a retirement from the GOP's #2, Jon Kyl? Seems hard to believe, but there seems to be increasing chatter about it, at least to the extent that it's now a "real possibility." Local sources refer to his fundraising as being in a "holding pattern." Kyl promises a February deadline for deciding whether or not to run again.
• FL-Sen: He doesn't have the name rec of ex-Sen. George LeMieux or Rep. Connie Mack IV, but don't discount former state House majority leader Adam Hasner as a potential force in the GOP Senate primary. While he's little-known, insiders point to him having the best-built network for fundraising and activist mobilization among the GOPers. (Also worth noting: his wife just finished running Meg Whitman's campaign. Although I don't know if, at this point, that's a plus or a minus.)
• IN-Sen: Seemingly having learned from the 2010 Republican Senate primary, where two candidates split the hard-right vote and let warmed-over establishmentarian Dan Coats stroll to the nomination, Indiana tea partiers seem to be trying to coordinate their efforts better this time in order to beat Richard Lugar. 180 leaders met to summon three potential candidates (the already-oft-mentioned state Sen. Mike Delph and state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, but also 2010 IN-02 loser Jackie Walorski) to appear before them so they can unify behind one of them. (The article's worth reading too for some provocative pushback from Lugar's camp, including some thoughtful mention from them of the Latino vote, a growing demographic even in Indiana.) Meanwhile, faced with redistricting-related uncertainty in his House district, Rep. Joe Donnelly is continuing to "look at his political options" regarding a statewide run (where, theoretically, a Senate run could be more appealing, if odds are starting to look like the Gov. opponent will be Mike Pence and the Sen. opponent will be a little-known teabagger).
• MA-Sen: Cat fud doesn't get any better than this: the National Republican Trust PAC, which spent $95K on IEs to get Scott Brown elected in 2010, is now vowing to defeat Brown in the next Republican primary in order to "protect its brand." The last straw for them? START, of all things. While I can't see such a primary likely to succeed (especially since these guys seem like kind of small-ball players... I mean, $95K?), the prospect of angry right-wingers staying home in November makes the general election that much more interesting. Meanwhile, Rep. Michael Capuano, who lost the special election Dem primary, still sounds like the Dem likeliest to make the race, although he's now saying he won't have a formal decision until summer. Another potential candidate, Rep. Stephen Lynch, is out with some comments that somehow don't seem likely to endear him any more to the party's base, saying that liberal activists should steer clear of primary challenges in 2012 (Lynch, of course, was recipient of one of those challenges). He stopped short of saying that they should steer clear of primary challenges to him in the Senate race, though, so that doesn't give much insight into his 2012 plans.
• MI-Sen: With Peter Hoekstra having made some vague noises about being interested in the Senate race last week, now it's Terry Lynn Land's turn. The former Republican SoS says she's "considering it," but interestingly, plans to meet with Hoekstra next week before making a decision.
• TX-Sen: This isn't much of a surprise, but west Texas's three interchangeable Republican House members (Mike Conaway, Randy Neugebauer, and Mac Thornberry) announced en masse that they weren't interested in running for the Senate seat. Makes sense... why give up the safest job in the nation (GOP House backbencher in a district that's R+25 or more) for the chance to get flattened in a primary by David Dewhurst and/or a teabagger to be named later?
• VT-Sen: Republican State Auditor Tom Salmon seems to have an amazing new quantitative scheme for gauging his interest in running for Senate: currently he says he's "65 percent in," and that "when I hit 75 percent it will commence exploratory." He also lets Politico know (I'm not making this up) that he "needs to be an authentic self-utilizing power along the lines of excellence." I guess he switched from being a Democrat to a Republican last year because he felt more welcome in the GOP, given their long-standing tolerance of Sarah Palin's gift for word salad.
• WI-Sen: This seems like a pretty good indicator that long-time Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl, who prefers to write his own checks rather than work the fundraising circuit, is planning another run in 2012 rather than retirement. He just loaned $1 million into his campaign account in the fourth quarter of 2011.
• WV-Gov: PPP is out with the primary election portions of its gubernatorial poll from last week. On the Dem side, there are two clear favorites but they're neck and neck: acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (at 25) and SoS Natalie Tennant (at 24). Further behind are state Treasurer John Perdue at 16, state Sen. Jeff Kessler at 7, state House speaker Rick Thompson at 6, and state Sen. Brooks McCabe at 4. On the GOP side, if Shelley Moore Capito does show up (which she says she won't), she's a shoo-in, at 72, with ex-SoS Betty Ireland at 10, state Sen. Clark Barnes at 5, Putnam Co. Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia at 1, and state GOP chair Mike Stuart at 1. They also try a Capito-free version, in which Ireland becomes the heavy fave at 46, with Barnes at 11, Sorsaia at 9, and Stuart at 4. There's also word of one more GOPer who isn't interesting: former astronaut and 1996 gubernatorial candidate (who lost the '96 primary to Cecil Underwood) Jon McBride says he won't run this time.
• IN-01, MI-14: Two Democratic old-timers who may be faced with less favorable districts after redistricting (or at least dark-blue districts that contain a lot of new territory) and have some ethical problems hanging overhead both announced that they're running for re-election. Peter Visclosky and John Conyers both are looking to get an early start on their races.
• WA-08: Here's a new House filing from a fairly prominent local Democrat to go against perennial target Dave Reichert: state Rep. Roger Goodman has set up a committee to run in the 8th. This requires some reading between the lines, though, because a Goodman/Reichert matchup is highly unlikely in the end; Goodman just needs a federal committee set up for, well, somewhere. Goodman lives in Kirkland, which is about a mile to the north of the 8th's boundaries; he actually lives in WA-01, where he probably doesn't want to look like he's mounting a primary challenge to Jay Inslee, although it's widely-assumed that Inslee will be vacating the 1st to run for Governor in 2012. That doesn't mean that Goodman running in the 1st is a done deal, either; under the likeliest redistricting scenario, Kirkland is likely to be part of a new Dem-friendly district that's based on the true Eastside (whether it's the 8th or 10th remains to be seen), with Reichert, who's based down in Auburn, getting his own friendlier district based in SE King County and eastern Pierce County. So, I'd say, it's likelier than not that we'll see both Reichert and Goodman in the House in 2013; the main question is the district numbers.
• DCCC: Here's something we like to see; not only is the DCCC is getting an early start on offense this year, seeding the ground to try to get some early momentum going against the most vulnerable House GOPers, but they're explicitly doing some progressive framing here, highlighting the links between infrastructure spending and job growth. They're running radio ads in 19 districts, most of which aren't a surprise by virtue of their swinginess: targets include Lou Barletta, Charlie Bass, Ann Marie Buerkle, Steve Chabot, Chip Cravaack, Bob Dold!, Sean Duffy, Blake Farenthold, Mike Fitzpatrick, Nan Hayworth, Joe Heck, Robert Hurt, Patrick Meehan, Dave Reichert, David Rivera, Jon Runyan, Joe Walsh, and Allen West. The wild card? Thad McCotter, whose continued presence in the House seems to have more to do with his ability to not draw tough opponents than it does with a connection to his district.
• Redistricting: The Fix has an interesting look at Virginia redistricting, where the Dem control of the state Senate probably means an 8-3 compromise map protecting current incumbents. There's one wrinkle, though: congressional redistricting could be pushed back until after the 2011 legislative election in the hopes that the GOP takes back over the state Senate, which would give them the trifecta. (Obviously, they couldn't delay legislative redistricting, though, meaning the GOP won't have the leverage over the map that would shape the results of the 2011 legislative election.) Although it's hard to see what they could do to VA-11 that wouldn't cut into VA-10, the GOP could conceivably push for a 9-2 map if they got that advantage. (The Rose Report is out with a much more in-depth series on Virginia redistricting this month that's worth a look.) Meanwhile, in New Jersey (another early state where the work is done by bipartisan commission), there's already some disagreement within the commission over whether or not they need to have an 11th, tie-breaking member appointed so they can move forward. (H/t to Taniel for noticing the delightful headline: "N.J. redistricting commission argues over whether it is at an impasse.")
• Census: Speaking of Virginia and New Jersey, and their early redistricting efforts, the Census Bureau will be rolling out the first big batch of complete, detailed data from 2010 for the first four states that need it early (for 2011 legislative election purposes)... Louisiana and Mississippi as well. They don't have a specific date set, but keep watching this link because they'll be available at some point this week.
• MO-Sen: Most likely you already saw this story yesterday, but the big story in the Missouri Senate race is that Politico's Dave Catanese seems to be the recipient of various leaks that ex-Sen. Jim Talent will announce soon that he isn't going to run for Senate. We won't start jumping up and down and honking our clown horn until we actually hear it from Talent, but this isn't a surprise, based on previous rumors out of the Show Me State and Talent's seeming decision to focus on hitching his wagon to Mitt Romney's star instead. Without a dominant establishment candidate in the field, it looks like even more GOPers are starting to sniff out the race: MO-08 Rep. Jo Ann Emerson is now on the record as at least "considering" a run. Emerson, who's had some mavericky moments in the House, would easily be the most moderate GOPer in the field if she ran (and may see a path there, with multiple tea partiers seeming poised to cannibalize each others' votes). Emerson's potential departure would create an open seat in the currently R+15 8th, an area that actually went for Bill Clinton but has fallen off the cliff for Dems in recent years, most recently with the fizzle of the touted Tommy Sowers campaign last year.
• NJ-Sen: PPP, while "cleaning out their fridge" as they said, found some week-old GOP Senate primary numbers from their New Jersey sample. They find state Sen. and 2006 candidate Tom Kean Jr. in good shape, with support from both moderates (which is probably what he would qualify as) and conservatives; he leads Lou Dobbs 42-30 with Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno at 7, "someone else" at 6, and 15 undecided.
• KY-Gov: Filing day came and went without any last-minute shenanigans in Kentucky. Steve Beshear will get a totally free ride in the Democratic primary (looks like that primary from the scrap metal dealer didn't materialize), and will face one of three GOP opponents: state Senate president David Williams, teabagging businessman Phil Moffett, or Jefferson Co. Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw. The general election field in the AG race is already set; Jack Conway and Todd P'Pool didn't draw any primary challengers. The most activity seems to be in the Ag Commissioner race (vacated by Richie Farmer, who's running for Lt. Gov.), with 5 Dems and 2 GOPers running.
• MN-08: This probably isn't a surprise, but after his upset loss last year, 76-year-old Jim Oberstar has decided to opt for retirement rather than a rerun against new Rep. Chip Cravaack. Two other high-profile Dems, Duluth mayor Don Ness and state Sen. Tony Lourey have also recently said no. Two DFLers who are considering the race, though, are Duluth-based state Sen. Roger Reinert and Daniel Fanning, Al Franken's deputy state director.
• Omaha mayor: Omaha mayor Jim Suttle narrowly survived a recall attempt in last night's special election. He won 51-49. Suttle vows to do a better job of communicating with voters in the election's wake, although it remains an open question whether he runs again in 2013.
• Redistricting: Here's a new wrinkle in the fight over the Fair Districts initiatives in Florida: Rick Scott seems to be stalling implementation of the new standards (which would limit the state legislature's ability to gerrymander districts). The state "quietly withdrew" its request that the federal DOJ approve implementation of the initiatives, which jeopardizes whether they'll be in place in time for the actual business of redistricting. Florida, as a one-time part of the Deep South, is one of those states that requires DOJ preclearance for changes to its electoral regime under the Voting Rights Act.
Politico also has an interesting article today about the Congressional Black Caucus and redistricting, which will reshape many of their districts, seeing as how some of their members' districts have had the biggest population losses of any districts in the nation (OH-11, MI-13, MI-14, and MO-01 in particular). These districts seem like they can absorb some suburban votes without losing their lopsided Dem advantages, but they're probably more worried about members getting pitted against each other (as might happen with the two Detroit districts) or against another Dem (possible for Marcia Fudge and Lacy Clay). Other lingering questions are whether Sanford Bishop's GA-02 (the only CBC-held district that's legitimately swingy) gets shored up or made worse, and whether South Carolina can be compelled to eke out a second VRA seat.
• Turnout models: I rarely get the chance to say this, but if you look at only one scatterplot today, it should be this one. It's a remarkably-clear slope showing how predictable presidential approval is across demographic groups, and more evidence that the swing in the 2010 election was uniform across groups in response to macro factors (i.e. the stupid economy) rather than a failure of microtargeting. And here are some further thoughts on the matter from Larry Sabato's new book, pointing out the really steep dropoffs in 2010 turnout for the groups I tend to label the "casual voters" (reliably Dem lower-information voters, mostly young and/or people of color, who turn out for presidential races but not the less compelling stuff in between), and how the 2010 model isn't anything like what the 2012 model will resemble.
• MA-Sen: No surprises are revealed in the Boston Globe's post-Vicki-Kennedy-announcement state-of-the-Senate-field story (Mike Capuano, Stephen Lynch, Alan Khazei, and Robert Pozen are the Dems who get the ink). As far as Capuano goes, the story confirms that he's taking a "hard look" at the race and will make a decision by late spring.
• MI-Sen: Here's some actual confirmation of what everyone assumed a few days ago, that ex-AG Mike Cox's joining a Detroit law firm meant he wouldn't be running for Senate in 2012. Cox himself says he's out of contention, and he talked up his former gubernatorial primary rival, ex-Rep. Peter Hoekstra for the job.
• ND-Sen: It's been clear for a while now that Kent Conrad wasn't going to be given a bye in his 2012 race, especially now that the GOP seems to be on an upswing in North Dakota. But now it's looking clearer who the opponent will be: 44-year-old Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk is forming an exploratory committee. (There are three PSC Commissioners, elected statewide to oversee stuff like utilities and grain elevators.)
• NV-Sen: John Ensign seems undaunted by recent polling showing him in deep doo-doo in both the GOP primary and general election for 2012, and says he's pushing ahead on ahead with his re-election plans, although also admitting that it's going to be "very, very difficult." He's putting together a campaign team and "jump starting" his financial operations (which, considering they're actually in pieces all over his garage floor, may require a little more than just jump starting). This was revealed yesterday at a rather awkward conference for human resources execs where both Ensign and Dean Heller were speakers; Heller told reporters afterwards that he "would be lying to you if I said I wasn't thinking about it" and "don't mind giving voters a choice if it winds up being a head-to-head," although he also had no timetable for an announcement.
• WV-Gov: Five different potential candidates appeared at a forum for the West Virginia gubernatorial race. Not all of them have announced, but this makes pretty clear who's seriously in the hunt for this (despite the fact that nobody has any idea yet whether the race will be in Nov. 2011 or 2012). Among the Dems, SoS Natalie Tennant, state Treasurer John Perdue, and state Sen. Brooks McCabe were there; representing the GOP were ex-SoS Betty Ireland and state Sen. Clark Barnes. This still leaves out some of the likeliest other candidates, including Dem state House speaker Rick Thompson and acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
• FL-23: Rep. Alcee Hastings, unbeknownst to many, is getting pretty long in the tooth, at 74. He says he has no intention of slowing down, though (not that he needs to work fast, to hold down his safe blue district); he just announced plans to run not only in 2012 again, but in 2014 as well, so long as he's healthy. The article cites state Sen. Chris Smith as a likely replacement once Hastings does retire. (Which means the House would get two Chris Smiths, to go with its two Mike Rogers.)
• MN-08: Here's a minor bombshell for Minnesota Democrats, where outgoing House majority leader Tony Sertich had been widely expected to take on fluky new Rep. Chip Cravaack in 2012 in this D+3 district. Having just been appointed Iron Range Resources Commissioner, though, he now says that he won't run. The Duluth-area portion of the district has a pretty thorough DFL bench, so they won't lack for a credible challenger, but Sertich had been at the top of almost everyone's list so this scrambles things a bit.
• Redistricting: One thing that the Republicans have always been good at is making sure that stuff that can pay dividends down the line is well-funded, but this seems like an unusual case of ball-dropping: Making America's Promise Secure (or MAPS), a 501(c)(4) oriented toward paying for the legal aspects of the 2012 redistricting battle, never really got off the ground and has almost no money, leaving the state parties to fend for themselves. There are also a number of interesting pieces today on the upcoming battles in individual states, including The Fix's look at the impact of the citizen redistricting panel on California (where the switch away from incumbent protection has a lot of old-timers of both parties shaking in their boots). There's also another look at Massachusetts, and also a nice piece about New Mexico that has lots of detail about previous decades' battles. New Mexico is a state we haven't thought about much in this context because its House boundaries aren't likely to change much, but state legislative seats are likely to shift significantly from the state's stagnant east into Albuquerque's suburbs.
• Voter suppression: Wisconsin's newly-Republican-controlled legislature is already taking some pains to make sure that it stays that way, with one of their first legislative priorities imposing photo ID requirements for all voters at polling places (and to push for a constitutional amendment that would make that law more difficult to repeal later). They'd also like to move on ending Wisconsin's well-known same-day-registration, although that may not be as likely a target seeing as how it's not only popular but would also cost a lot of money (because federal law says that the state would then need to implement a motor-voter registration system instead).
• Congress: This may be the single most useful thing you'll read today: the Hill's guide to pronunciation of all of the names of the Congress members with hard-to-pronounce names. I learned that I've been mentally mispronouncing at least a dozen names; I'm sure everyone will find at least a few surprises.
• Meta: Curious how my own gifts for inspiring oratory would look in "word cloud" form, I ran SSP's front page through Wordle.net, and the net result is, well, not very inspiring... it's about as sober and nuts-and-bolts as it gets. None of our favorite neologisms made it on there (NWOTSOTB? Some Dude? Cat fud?)
• AK-Sen: To quote Troy McClure, "here's an appealing fellow... in fact, they're a-peeling him off the sidewalk." Yes, Joe Miller didn't even wait until today to make his decision about whether or not to appeal to Alaska's Supreme Court; he already pulled the trigger on his appeal (despite the fact that everyone but him knows that he's, at this point, roadkill). Arguments are set for Friday, so (since he can't introduce new evidence, which the trial judge found sorely lacking, at the appellate level) this should get resolved pretty quickly.
• CT-Sen: Linda McMahon is sounding very much like she's ready to run again in 2012 against Joe Lieberman and a Dem to be named (maybe she found another $40 million under the couch cushions). She has a meeting planned with the NRSC's John Cornyn, presumably to discuss her next move. Meanwhile, Joe Lieberman (who lost control of his own vanity party, the CfL) is seeming likelier to run again, thanks to encouragement from both sides of the aisle, and he may even have a useful vehicle to do it with: the new "No Labels" party-type thing courtesy of Michael Bloomberg. Meanwhile, there's more follow-up from yesterday that, yes, Rep. Joe Courtney is considering a run for the Dem nomination (which could set up a primary against fellow Rep. Chris Murphy); he says he's "looking at it" and, if he runs, will announce soon. That pretty much leaves Rosa DeLauro as the lone Dem House member in the state who hasn't said yes or no, and today, as you'd expect, she said a loud "no."
• ME-Sen: Roll Call seems to have read the same article as everybody else yesterday that had that baffling interview with Andrew Ian Dodge -- the tea party impresario who claims to be in contact with a killer-app candidate who will unite the teabaggers and defeat Olympia Snowe -- and just flat-out concluded that Dodge is the mystery candidate himself (meaning that he's spent the last few months talking to himself?). As added evidence, Dodge doesn't dispute a local blog's reports that he plans to run.
• MI-Sen: Despite his strong name-rec-fueled showing in a PPP poll last week of the GOP Senate primary (or perhaps because of it), ex-Gov. John Engler is now saying that he has no plans to run for Senate, and will be staying in his role as head of the National Manufacturers Association. Strangely, the biggest-name candidate beyond Engler associated with the race, soon-to-be-ex-Rep. and gubernatorial primary loser Peter Hoekstra, sounded pretty indifferent about it when asked by a reporter yesterday, saying "We'll see. I'm not sitting around yearning to get back into office."
• MN-Sen: PPP is out with GOP Senate primary numbers, and it's a familiar story: the GOP base is irretrievably enamored with a female politician who's poison in the general election. Rep. Michele Bachmann (who loses the general 56-39 to Klobuchar) leads the field at 36, far ahead of more establishment figures like outgoing Gov. Tim Pawlenty (20) and ex-Sen. Norm Coleman (14). They're followed by new Rep. Chip Cravaack at 7, Tom Emmer at 6, John Kline at 5, Laura Brod at 4, and Erik Paulsen at 2. There's not much indication that Bachmann is interested in a Senate run -- in fact, she's currently sending out fundraising appeals based on the threat of a rematch with Tarryl Clark -- but there's also word that Amy Klobuchar's camp is most worried about facing Bachmann of any of the possible opponents, probably because of her national fundraising capacity (although it may also be a bit of public don't-throw-me-in-that-briar-patch posturing).
• NV-Sen: Need some evidence that Rep. Shelly Berkley is planning a Senate run? National Journal looks at her repositioning, as one of the key members of the party's liberal wing in the House to break away and support the tax compromise, suggesting that she's trying to tack toward the center to play better in the 2nd and 3rd districts. (Of course, it's worth noting that she wasn't that liberal to begin with, as a member of the New Dems, not the Progressives, and with a National Journal score usually putting her around the 60th percentile in the House.)
• IN-Gov: Evansville mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel isn't in a hurry to declare whether or not he's going to run for Governor, although with Evan Bayh's recent demurral, the iron would be hot. The key indicator, though, will be whether Weinzapfel runs for another term as mayor; the election is in 2011, and it's assumed that if he does run for re-election a gubernatorial run is unlikely. He'll need to make a mayoral decision by Feb. 18.
• MT-Gov: The Dems have lined up a real candidate for the governor's race, maybe the best they can do if AG Steve Bullock doesn't make the race. Dave Wanzenreid, if nothing else, has a long resume: currently a state Senator, he served previously as a state Rep., as both minority and majority leader in that body. He was also chief of staff to ex-Gov. Ted Schwinden and then state labor commissioner in the 80s.
• Crossroads: American Crossroads, after its avalanche of late-cycle ads a few months ago, is already getting back in the TV game. The Karl Rove-linked dark money vehicle is spending $400K on radio advertising in the districts of 12 Dems who won by narrow margins, urging them to vote in favor of the tax compromise package. Tim Bishop, Jim Costa, Gabrielle Giffords, Gerry Connolly, Ben Chandler, Jason Altmire, Bill Owens, Maurice Hinchey, Heath Shuler, Gary Peters, Joe Donnelly, and Sanford Bishop are all on the target list.
• Votes: There's a strange array of "no" votes on the tax compromise that passed the Senate 83-15. The Dems have a few votes from the left (Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown, Pat Leahy, Russ Feingold (although it's gotten kind of hard to tell if he's doing anything from the left or not anymore)), but also some votes from some pretty avowed centrists (Jeff Bingaman, Kay Hagan, Mark Udall) too, of which Bingaman is the only one up in 2012. John Ensign was one of the few GOP "no" votes, although you've gotta wonder whether it's because he's trying to save himself in a primary by appealing to the far-right or if he's just given up and voting his conscience.
• Census: While you wait for the main course on Dec. 21 (the day for reapportionment hard numbers), the Census Bureau is out with a gigantic appetizer. They're rolling out their first-ever 5-year estimates from the American Community Survey (their one-year samples aren't that reliable, but over five, they are). The ACS covers a lot of the deeper demographic information that used to covered by the Census "long form," covering stuff like poverty, housing values, commute times, and education. Information is available all the way down to the block level, but here's an array of county-level maps to start with.
• AK-Sen: Tomorrow is now the expected date for the ruling from a state superior court judge on Joe Miller's suit contesting 8,000 ballots (over spelling) and also alleging various instances of voter fraud. There's an injunction in place that keeps the race from being certified until this case (which started in federal court and got moved) has been decided, although the judge is conceding that whatever he decides, it's likely to get immediately appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court.
News also comes today that Joe Miller wound up finishing the Alaska Senate race with over $900K still in hand, an outrageous sum given how cheap the Alaska media market is. Much of that was intended to go toward post-game legal expenses, and some of that may have been the same problem that plagued other teabagger fundraising dynamos (like Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle), of not being able to find any ad slots to spend the money. Also worth a read: a wrapup over at Daily Kos from the Scott McAdams campaign's media guy, especially his recounting of the adventure he went through to find the Incredible Hulk tie that appeared in McAdams' TV spot. Finally, we'll let Kagro X get the last word in on the state of the Alaska race:
Joe Miller keeps fighting on, like a 90 year old Japanese commando on a forgotten island...
• FL-Sen: The Florida GOP primary is looking like it's going to be a very crowded affair after all: Adam Hasner, the former state House majority leader, has suddenly bubbled up over the last few days as a possible if not likely candidate. If the name sounds familiar, he considered and decided against a run in FL-22 this year; he's one of the few Republicans from the Gold Coast and, in addition to being a key Marco Rubio ally, could tap quickly into Jewish Republican fundraising circles.
• PA-Sen: It's looking more and more like Bob Casey Jr.'s challenger is going to come not from the U.S. House but the ranks of the state Senate; the question, though, is which one? The newest name to surface is Kim Ward, who says she's starting to test the waters. She's from Westmoreland County, maybe the most conservative of the once-blue, now-swingy collar counties around Pittsburgh, giving the GOP hopes they might eat into Casey's strong backing in SW PA.
• RI-Sen: Don't rule out soon-to-be-ex-Gov. Don Carcieri (who'd probably be the only Republican who could make this an interesting race here) from Senate race consideration. The 68-year-old two-termer says he isn't ruling it out, but wants to take some time off before thinking about it.
• VA-Sen: George Allen is definitely acting candidate-ish now; having laid down markers against possible primary challenger Corey Stewart, now he's moving on to direct attacks on Jim Webb (who, of course, may or may not be running for re-election), over voting against the earmark ban and the horrible sin of supporting collective bargaining rights for public safety officers.
• LA-Gov: Still no word on whether a strong Dem will get into the Louisiana governor's race, but The Daily Kingfish takes a very interesting look at the field of possible challengers to Bobby Jindal, whose numbers indicate he's popular but not bulletproof. They handicap the odds on a collection of possible challengers; interestingly, the guy they give the greatest odds to is ex-Dem John Kennedy (who presumably would take on Jindal while still wearing the "R" badge, although I guess anything's possible in Louisiana, where party labels seem to get taken on and off like so much laundry). They also float the possibility of a Mary Landrieu run, in that she may be eager to bail out of Washington before her next re-election in 2014.
• WV-Gov: With a pileup of half a dozen Dems interested in the 2012 (or 2011?) gubernatorial race, who's running for the GOP? The Beltway rumor mill seems, this week, to have Shelly Moore Capito more interested in going for the Gov race than the Senate or staying in the House. While she'd be the undisputed heavyweight, a few other second-tier GOPers are making their interest known (although it's unclear whether they'd bother if Capito got in). Most prominent is ex-SoS Betty Ireland, one of the few GOPers around who's held statewide office, and who had briefly considered running for Senate this year. State Sen. Clark Barnes is the only Republican who has committed to the race so far.
• CO-03, VA-11: Republican Keith Fimian, who came within a thousand votes of Gerry Connolly, is publicly saying he's interested in another run. He wants to wait and see what the district looks like after redistricting before committing one way or the other, though. One other rematch that may or may not be on the table is Dem John Salazar in Colorado's 3rd, who narrowly lost the reddish district to Scott Tipton and "is open" to a rematch.
• House: Politico takes a quick look at the Republicans that Democrats in the House are most likely to target in 2012. I don't think any of the names (mostly surprise victors in Dem-leaning swing districts) will surprise any devoted SSP readers: in order, they discuss Chip Cravaack, Ann Marie Buerkle, the Illinois Five (especially Bobby Schilling), Blake Farenthold, Renee Ellmers, and Allen West.
• Votes: The DREAM Act passed the House today (although it looks like, so many other pieces of legislation, its next stop is a slow Senate death by neglect). It's an interesting vote breakdown, with 38 Dems voting no (mostly Blue Dogs, and mostly ones on their way out the door) and 8 Republicans voting yes (almost all the non-white GOPers, along with the newly-liberated Bob Inglis). Most puzzling "no" vote may be Dan Lipinski, whose safe blue IL-03 is significantly Latino, and getting more so every day.
• Census: This is a strange video to go viral, but I've been seeing lots of links to this new video from the Census Bureau today, a catchy little explanation of what reapportionment is and how it works. Also a helpful Census Bureau release today: a release schedule of all the various parts and pieces that will be necessary for the redistricting process. The big enchilada, of course, is the reapportionment breakdown, which will be released at some point before the end of the year, although they're still not specifying which date. According to today's release, state numbers on race (down to the block level) will be out in February, so I'm sure there'll be flurry of activity with Dave's Redistricting App at that point.