• FL-Sen: Do you remember Craig Miller? I barely do. He's the wealthy former steakhouse exec who was the Republican Plan C in the FL-24 primary last year... and in an amusing bit of synchronicity, came in third, behind now-Rep. Sandy Adams and the batshit nuts Karen Diebel. Hoping to fail upward, Miller is now looking at the Senate race and plans to decide "within the next few weeks." I have no idea what he thinks he niche might be, and it's not clear to me that he has the money to overwhelm the field.
• IN-Sen, IN-Gov: Former Rep. Tim Roemer says he's stepping down as ambassador to India. Could this presage a return to Hoosier politics? I'm skeptical, as Dems already have legit candidates lining up for both marquee statewide races. (And for what it's worth, an unnamed source told The Hill last month that Roemer wasn't likely to run for Senate.)
• MA-Sen: This is just weird. Despite repeatedly saying he isn't interested in running for Senate, Deval Patrick somehow keeps finding himself talking about the subject. This time, he said that he had talked with the President about other jobs, but wouldn't say whether Obama had asked him to run against Scott Brown. Patrick again said he doesn't want to run, and added: "I would say no to the president of the United States."
• ND-Sen: When the Club for Growth takes aim at an otherwise top-tier Republican candidate, you know you have premium-grade cat fud ready to be served. Le Club's target now is freshman Rep. Rick Berg, who went from a seemingly distant possibility to not-running-but-virtual-frontrunner status almost instantly a week ago. They're accusing Berg of being insufficiently pro-dystopia, i.e., not supporting enough cuts to federal government spending. I really hope they can find a dog... er... cat for this fight.
• NV-Sen: Sometimes PPP deliberately polls for the lulz, and sometimes, the lulz find them. In this case, it's the latter: Tom Jensen's band of merry robodialers found Dean Heller beating Sharron Angle in a hypothetical GOP primary by a score of... LOL... 84-8. ("El Exigente, what more could you want?" "Their names.") Meanwhile, on the Dem side, where there does appear to be an actual primary, Rep. Shelley Berkeley leads wealthy attorney Byron Georgiou by a 65-8 margin. Good times.
• PA-Sen: Apparently, there's two things Quinnipiac won't do: a) release sample compositions and b) test incumbents against hypothetical opponents whose names don't start with "Generic." Anyhow, Sen. Bob Casey has inched up to a 46-34 lead against "the Republican candidate." He was 45-35 two months ago.
• UT-Sen: Speaking of the Club for Growth, they just put out their 2010 scorecard, and Orrin Hatch's numbers really demonstrate the Club's power. Despite a lifetime score of 74% (30th among Senators in office last year), Hatch managed to rack up a 97% rating last year, tying him with several other Republicans for third place. What a difference a sword of Damocles makes.
• VA-Sen: Hmm. Ultra-wingnut Del. Bob Marshall's 2008 campaign manager just got hired by George Allen... and the dude didn't even tell his old boss first. Marshall's been looking at a possible Senate run, and I think he's the best hope (albeit not a great hope) we have of knocking off Allen in the GOP primary, but it's not clear what impact this will have on his plans. One positive tea-leaf: In response to the news, Marshall said, "You can tell who the candidates are not by where the consultants go, but where the volunteers go."
• PA-Gov: Uhh... did Gov. Tom Corbett just say that state universities sitting atop the Marcellus Shale should plug their budget gap by allowing exploitation of the natural gas reserves beneath them? Why yes he did. If you aren't familiar with the deeply fraught issue of hydraulic fracturing (also known as "hydrofracking" or just "fracking"), this NYT piece is a good place to start. Fracking is a devastatingly poisonous method of extracting gas, and Pennsylvania is at the epicenter of the fracking debate. Indeed, the EPA is investigating a fracking spill that took place there just last week. UPDATE: Hah, sheez. Corbett literally lifted this idea from an episode of Saved by the Bell! NOT kidding! Click the link!
• WV-Gov: Former Republican SoS Betty Ireland is finally out with her first TV ad, which I think has a weird soundtrack, odd staccato pacing, and (at least in the version her campaign posted to YouTube) crappy audio quality. I think she could definitely lose.
• AZ-06: Yesterday we noted that state House Speaker Kirk Adams was resigning his post. Later that day, he formally announced he was, as expected, running in the GOP primary in the open 6th CD. Retiring Sen. Jon Kyl immediately endorsed Adams, while Rep. Trent Franks endorsed Matt Salmon, who is also running for this post
• NV-02: Roll Call's Kyle Trygstad does a nice job digging up some facts about a 1954 special election to replace Nevada Sen. Pat McCarran, who passed away in September of that year. (If you've ever flown to Vegas, that's the guy the airport is named after.) There was some legal wrangling as to whether a special election was actually required, but once the state Supreme Court ruled yes, the parties selected their nominees by committee, not primary. That could possibly serve as precedent as SoS Ross Miller decides whether state law requires that parties choose their candidates, but Nevada's current statutes were revised only a decade ago, so the McCarran case may not be applicable.
• NY-23: A few weeks ago, the NRCC mocked a batch of miniscule radio ad buys by the DCCC and said: "At what point does a campaign committee blush when launching a 'paid advertising campaign?'" Apparently, that point must lie somewhere below $4,550, which is the amount the NRCC is spending on a tiny TV buy in Rep. Bill Owens' district. (It's some lame Pelosi-related attack.)
I'd also like to give some props to Steve Peoples of Roll Call for basically ignoring the contents of the ad and focusing on exactly what the NRCC is trying to accomplish here. I don't know if he wrote the headline, but it can't be what Republicans were hoping for: "NRCC Takes Turn With Small Ad Buy Targeting Earned Media." And in referring a radio ad against Rep. Mike Ross that we noted the other day, Peoples used the kind of language you might find on SSP, saying that the NRCC "convinced a local paper to write a story about the radio buy but refused at the time to disclose the size of the investment." (It turned out to be $2,550.) If you're going to write up a story like this, this is how it should be written.
• IN-SoS: The GOP-held state legislature has backed off a bit on attempting to rewrite the law in order to get around the Charlie White mess. (If this is the first you're hearing of the whole saga, I would suggest checking out our IN-SoS tag.) The proposed new law would give the governor the power to appoint replacement officers only on a prospective basis, so it won't affect the White situation. However, the legislation will still prevent the GOP from losing their major-party status (which was keyed to the SoS race) if the worst happens.
• NJ-St. Sen.: The legal wrangling over Democrat Carl Lewis's ballot eligibility has heated up quickly. Lewis has filed suits in both state and federal court, and a federal court judge has already ordered LG/SoS/Chris Christie goon Kim Guadagno to explain her decision booting Lewis from the ballot earlier this week. Lewis is still busy campaigning, and if he's ultimately declared eligible, I think all this rigmarole might wind up helping him, given that it's free media.
• Colorado: I'm guessing that Republicans are wishing state Sen. Greg Brophy hadn't cracked out of turn and admitted that proposed GOP maps had been deliberately "skewed to the right." That certainly won't help them when the entire matter winds up in court, which Republican state Rep. Don Coram acknowledged was inevitable anyway. In a bit worthy of Stephen Colbert, Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post writes: "Brophy said Republicans got nervous when they heard Democrats were pushing so-called competitive seats, which he said favor Democrats...." Ah, indeed, the facts do have a well-known liberal bias.
Connecticut: According to the Greenwich Time, Dem state House Speaker Christopher Donovan has his eye on Rep. Chris Murphy's open 5th CD, and would very much like to have the blue stronghold of Bridgeport drawn into it. That would remove it from Rep. Jim Himes's district, but if you look at a map, it's rather hard to envision this happening without doing a lot of reshuffling. Of course, anything is possible, but given how minor CT's population deviations are, a serious reconfiguration of the map would seem to be uncalled for.
• Indiana: The Hoosier State is poised to become the fourth to finalize a redistricting map. The Republican-held state legislature has given its approval to a new plan, which now goes to GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels for his signature.
• Massachusetts: A seemingly clever bit of politics by Scott Brown, but there's a "but." Brown sent a letter to the state legislature's redistricting committee, advocating for a majority-minority congressional seat to be drawn in the Suffolk County region, and also to press for more maj-min districts in the state lege. Who knows whether the idiots in the legislature will listen to him, but Brown of course is simultaneously pushing for new district lines which will ultimately favor Republicans (by packing minorities) and, more importantly, he gets to look like he's protecting minority interests, all at no cost to himself.
Here's the "but": Brown doesn't seem to know what he's talking about. Rep. Mike Capuano, who would be most affected by Brown's proposal, fired back, saying his 8th CD already is majority-minority. It's about 54.5% "white" according to the Census, but that includes Hispanics who also identify as white, so the non-Hispanic white %age is almost certainly below 50%. (Some 19% of 8th CD residents identify as Hispanic, of any race.) Oops.
• Nevada: I'm not going to get into this one in too much detail (my brain can only hold so much redistricting-related information), but Nevada Republicans are now bitterly split over new maps that GOPers in the state Senate drew for the state Assembly. Why didn't the Assembly draw its own maps? They did, but the morons who drew them were advised not to release them because lawyers thought they didn't comply with the VRA. Meanwhile, Dems in both chambers worked together to release a joint set of plans. However, they still haven't released their congressional map. Anyhow, you can find more details under the "Related Documents" sections at both links.
• Oklahoma: Unsurprisingly, the map that the state House unanimously approved appears ready to sail through the state Senate, too. Shira Toeplitz suggested in her writeup (which is a few days old) that the new plan could be signed into law this week, but it hasn't actually been voted on by the full Senate as of this writing.
• Texas: The cat fud is ready to fly in Texas redistricting, where ruthless Republican leaders are prepared to run roughshod over their own incumbents in the aims of preserving and maximizing their advantage to the greatest extent possible. In other words, they're staying true to the spirit of Tom DeLay. In the abstract sense, it's a ruthlessness I admire, and I wish Dems would adopt it. In any case, I wouldn't be surprised if the final maps pass in spite of a lot of GOP defections - though maybe a few horse heads in a few beds will solve that problem.
• Virginia: I'm glad to see that Republicans in the state Senate are as happy to act like sheep as Democrats in the state House. The Democrats' new map passed yesterday by a 32-5 margin. Reading the linked article really makes me feel like this whole thing has been a grand kabuki, with Gov. Bob McDonnell playing everyone - even members of his own party - like puppets. McDonnell simply had to show he could extract a price from Democrats, and so he has. However, I note that the congressional map is now completely untethered from the legislative maps. If Democrats agree to an 8-3 map now, well, fuck them. Once McDonnell signs the lege plans into law, there's no going back, and there's no reason at all not to force the courts to draw a federal map.
• FL-Sen: It's official: Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, who filed paperwork last week, formally joined the GOP Senate field yesterday, making his announcement on right-wing radio host Mark Levin's show. Despite his establishment pedigree, Hasner has endeared himself to movement conservatives, hitting almost all of the right notes in what I call "Tribal Clef" - like so, but when you sing just the right tune to please the teabaggers. He was for Marco Rubio before it was cool, likes to hate on Muslims, and tried to push a state constitutional amendment that would let Florida "opt out" of card check should the Employee Free Choice Act ever pass. One odd thing, though, is his support for electric cars, something that Rush Limbaugh likes to mock as some liberal attempt at social engineering.
• MA-Sen: Activist Bob Massie has hired one-time Howard Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi. Trippi was once a netroots icon but really fell out of favor after he went to run the Senate campaign of zillionaire asshole Jeff Greene in Florida last year.
• ME-Sen: One possible Dem name we hadn't yet heard of as a possible challenger to Sen. Olympia Snow is state Sen. Phil Bartlett. Bartlett is just 32 years old, but will already be term-limited next year. (Maine seems to have a lot of very young legislators!) In the classic formulation, he says he's "not ruling out" a race.
• MO-Sen, MO-02: It's Apes-A-Poppin in the Missouri Senate race - and beyond. As Rep. Todd Akin inches closer to a senatorial run, teabagger favorite Ed Martin says he's thinking about running for Akin's potentially vacant seat, rather than competing against him in the Senate primary. Martin came close to beating Rep. Russ Carnahan in MO-03 last year, but that district is all but certain to get caved into Akin's present 2nd CD. Martin is a resident of St. Louis, though, so I'm not sure if he'd wind up in the new 2nd district (not that it necessarily matters).
Martin's newfound open-mindedness seems to come in response to a move by former state GOP chair Ann Wagner to create an exploratory committee for a possible run in whatever winds up being the successor to Akin's seat - again, assuming Akin runs for Senate, which Wagner thinks is "likely."
• NE-Sen: Ben Nelson told a Rotary Club gathering that he hasn't yet decided whether he'll run again in 2012. Also, help me out here, because I'm not understanding this: Is Nelson also saying in this article that he voted for healthcare reform because if he hadn't, a public option would have passed? I'm not getting this one at all.
• NM-Sen: Dem Hector Balderas, another candidate who telegraphed his intentions last week, also made his entry into his state's Senate primary official yesterday. He employed some good framing in his intro video:
Accountability and fiscal responsibility are not Republican words. And I'm tired of hearing them used as excuses to shortchange our children and break promises to our seniors.
As Sean Sullivan notes, he does take an indirect jab at Rep. Martin Heinrich, saying he doesn't have "the most connections in Washington" and that he "won't be the candidate of the lobbyists or the insiders." The contours of this race seem superficially akin to those in Connecticut, where a more powerful congressman is facing off against a (former) statewide elected official, but I'm hoping everyone keeps their noses clean here.
• NV-Sen: Silver State Dems are trying to do everything they can, it seems, to pressure Gov. Brian Sandoval into not appointing Rep. Dean Heller to John Ensign's soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat. I'm doubtful any of this will work (why should Sandoval care?), but if you're curious to see what Democrats are up to, click the link.
• IN-Gov: We're getting close to landing a pretty strong gubernatorial candidate in the Hoosier State. Former Dem state House Speaker John Gregg (whom we've mentioned in the past) says that he'll soon form an exploratory committee and that his "mind is made up." He's been pressing the flesh at Jefferson-Jackson dinners across the state lately, trying to re-build his name rec after a decade out of office. Still, with Mike Pence looking awfully lazy, I'm feeling perhaps a touch optimistic about this race.
• AR-04: The NRCC is airing a radio ad (I assume for peanuts) against Dem Rep. Mike Ross, attacking him for voting against all five budget proposals which came up for a vote in the House on April 15th. The main Republican Medicare-killing plan sponsored by Paul Ryan, the even crazier Republican Study Committee plan sponsored by Scott Garrett (which Dems almost tricked the GOP into passing), the Progressive Caucus plan sponsored by Raul Grijalva, the Congressional Black Caucus plan sponsored by Emanuel Cleaver, and I guess what you'd call the mainstream Democratic plan sponsored by Chris Van Hollen, which hasn't gotten a lot of attention.
So amusingly, the NRCC is trying to ding Ross for not voting for everything from Scott Garrett's vision for dystopia to a plan they'd readily denounce as neo-Stalinist. Ross should easily be able to turn this around and cast himself as an ardent defender of Medicare. (I'm sure I don't need to give him any pointers about wanking on the Grijalva or Cleaver plans.) They're also doing robocalls in another dozen or so seats held by other Dems who also voted against all five plans. Maybe this line of attack will work, but there are really very few districts left where it can.
• IN-08: Former six-term state Rep. Dave Crooks, who left office in 2008, says he's "pretty close to pulling the trigger" on a run against freshman Rep. Larry Bucshon. The 8th CD looks like it'll get made a touch more Democratic, something that Crooks acknowledges has figured in his plans. What's more, Bucshon so far has proven to be no great shakes - he had the poorest fundraising quarter of any congressman in Indiana. (Shades of John Hostettler, the last Republican to hold this seat before Bucshon?) I also like the fact that Crooks is already coming out hard against the Ryan plan.
In any event, Crooks says he's likely to make a formal announcement in the next 30 days, which would be a very good get for Team Blue. Warrick County Democratic Party Terry White is already in the race (which we noted previously), and former state Rep. Trent Van Haaften (who ran last year) is also still weighing a run.
• MN-08: Democrats have finally landed a challenger to the really meager Rep. Chip Cravaack: Daniel Fanning, the deputy state director for Sen. Al Franken and an Iraq war vet. I suspect that this will not be the last word on the Dem primary field, though. UPDATE: Seems I read the article a little too hastily. Fanning is just saying he's likely to run. He hasn't officially declared.
• NV-02: Speaking of Dean Heller (see NV-Sen bullet above), Sharron Angle is supposedly threatening to do exactly what I predicted she would, which is run an independent campaign in the free-for-all special election to replace Heller if she isn't tapped by the Republican Party. However, this "news" comes from the Las Vegas Review-Journal "newspaper" (as Jon Ralston would put it), and they admit it's nothing more than a rumor, calling it "the word circulating Monday."
Here's something that's not mere rumor: Dem Assemblywoman Debbie Smith says she won't run in any special in NV-02. We do still have other options here, though, like Treasurer Kate Marshall.
• NY-26: The first candidate-on-candidate Medicare attack ad belongs to Kathy Hochul, who nails Republican Jane Corwin for her support of the Ryan budget plan. The Fix says the buy is for 1,000 points, which is substantial. If I were Hochul, I'd hit this theme and little else for the next four weeks.
• OR-01: Whoa. After a couple months of nothing doing, it looks like the Democratic jalopy is about to start getting very full. Former state Sen. Ryan Deckert is now the third Dem to get in or near the race to unseat Rep. David Wu, and current state Sen. Suzanne Bonamici is the fourth, with both saying they are "considering" a run. Guys, you realize what happens when everyone piles into this rustbucket, right? Former Jeff Merkley state director Jon Isaacs says he thinks Wu can probably score from 35-45% of the vote, which means that unseating him will be very hard with more than one opponent. I'm inclined to agree.
• TX-14: LOL, I guess we have to put Ron Paul on the 2012 House Open Seat Watch now.
• NJ-St. Sen.: Even though an administrative judge already said he could run, Republican Secretary of State Kim Guadagno ruled that Carl Lewis is ineligible to appear on the ballot this November as a Democrat. It just so happens that Guadagno is also the Lt. Gov., which means, of course, she's under Chris Christie's considerable thumb. Why does this matter? Because Lewis had the temerity to insult the thin-skinned Don Christeone when he decided to run for office while also pursuing a plan to develop a state youth athletic program under the governor's auspices. That plan now sleeps with the fishes, and Guadagno's latest move amounts to delivering the dead carp wrapped in newspaper. Fortunately, Lewis says he'll appeal.
• WI Recall: Good news for Dem state Sens. Lena Taylor and Fred Risser: The deadline for the GOP to submit recall petitions for them came and went with nary a whisper. Meanwhile, Democrats plan to file signatures against a sixth (and probably final) Republican, Rob Cowles, this week.
• Colorado: Any attempts at bipartisan compromise have totally fallen apart at this point, with the GOP saying they'll produce a new plan of their own in response to the Democrats' announcement they they'll introduce a new map. With the legislature split, I have to believe this will head to court, unless the Dems can present something that the GOP fears less than the prospect of a judge-drawn map.
• Missouri: Republicans are still scrambling to try to create a new map that both the House and Senate can agree on in time to put it on Gov. Jay Nixon's desk and be able to schedule a veto over-ride before the current legislative session ends on May 13. The problem is that today is really the last day they can squeeze this in. Nixon has 15 days to review any bill he gets). It would take quite a breakthrough for this to happen, and lawmakers are apparently worried that if they have to wait until September to try an over-ride, Nixon will have the chance to sway wobbly legislators to his side. The GOP's redistricting chair says: "If you're term-limited out and looking for a job, the governor can dangle something in front of you." Dangle away, Jay!
• Virginia: Oh god. This is just not a headline I wanted to see: "Senate opens bipartisan negotiations on redistricting." Dems claim they "won't negotiate away our majority," but what does that mean? The Democratic majority in the state Senate is already cut pretty close to the bone, so I don't see how they have much room to give. At least if they go with a court-drawn map instead, they get a) a better map in the House even if they risk a worse map in the Senate and b) a shot at a second set of elections in 2012 with Obama at the top of the ticket - and fighting hard for VA, you can be sure. But if they play nice with Gov. Bob McDonnell, they could wind up with something resembling a dummymander. I'm pretty worried.
• 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).
• FL-Sen: Mike Haridopolos is starting to look like one of those guys who just seems to track muck wherever he goes - or has been. How do you like this for both ridiculous and corrupt? He received an astounding (a) $152K (b) in taxpayer money to (c) write a book that (d) no one would ever read - and that (e) never got published because (f) the manuscript was too shitty to print. Getting that much (a) to do (c) is remarkable in any environment, but particularly when (a) is in the form of (b), and (d) ensures that the whole venture will be a major money-loser. (E) and (f) are really just the punch line - which makes Haridopolos the joke (and Florida taxpayers the serious losers here).
• MA-Sen: I get the sense that Deval Patrick's decision to blab to the National Journal about the candidates he's talked to who might run for senate must either have been deliberately planned or really unappreciated. Patrick said that 2010 special election candidate Alan Khazei and Newton Mayor Setti Warren told him they are "in, for sure" - leading Warren to tell Wicked Local Newton that he's merely considering the race and has no timetable for an announcement. Was Patrick fluffing Warren in a helpful way, or was he just cracking out of turn?
• MT-Sen, MT-Gov: Was this even a thing? Dave Catanese asked Gov. Brian Schweitzer if he and Sen. Jon Tester might trade places - the term-limited Schweitzer running for senate and the flat-topped Tester running for governor. Schweitzer said nuh-uh.
• TN-Sen: I won't call it a "must-read," but a strong "should-read" piece in the Tennesean gives some good background on Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, who may be one of the strongest (only?) Dem options to take on Sen. Bob Corker in 2012. Dean has a Phil Bredesen-like "moderate" background, has been largely successful as mayor, and also has a very wealthy wife. But the article notes that Dean first has to win re-election as mayor this August (though he's the favorite) - and more importantly, he hasn't express any particular interest in running for senate. Maybe a run against freshman Gov. Bill Haslam in 2014 might be a better choice.
• VT-Sen: Republican state Auditor Tom Salmon says he'll decide on whether to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders this week. He has a conference planned for noon Thursday.
• IN-Gov: Mike Pence, a very likely gubernatorial candidate, offered quite a bit less than a full-throttled defense of Gov. Scott Walker's attempts at union busting, perhaps in an effort to avoid a rift with the man he's hoping to replace, Gov. Mitch Daniels. But given that Daniels' decision not to follow Walker's lead engendered a ton of teabagger vitriol, I'm wondering if Pence's move to go soft here might cause him trouble in a potential GOP primary.
• ME-Gov: Speaking of Scott Walker, Gov. Paul LePage, elected with 38% of the vote, says that he, too, will pursue his lifelong dream of destroying collective bargaining rights. LePage may run into static from the GOP legislature, though, before he has the chance to fully transform himself into Kochbot 2.0.
• MS-Gov: It's always a little tricky when someone is referred to as a businessman of some sort, but I'm going to guess that newly-announced Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron Williams, "owner of Pascagoula-based Hazmat Services Inc.," is a lot closer to the Some Dude end of the spectrum than the zillionaire kapitalist side.
• WI-Gov: Speaking of Scott Walker yet again, the RGA has a new ad coming out in support of said governor, but of course, NWOTSOTB. Meanwhile, a fellow who says he did "micro-targeting" for Obama in 2008, Ken Strasma of Strategic Telemetry, has a poll out which he says supports the idea that Walker could be vulnerable to a recall. And through the use of un-revealed "micro-targeting models," Strasma also thinks that there would be more than enough people willing to sign a petition in each of the eight Republican state senate districts where senators are currently exposed to the legal possibility of a recall.
• WA-Gov: Show of hands - does anyone here think Gov. Christine Gregoire will actually seek a third term? Hey, maybe we're all wrong, but the very fact that she's even been entertaining the idea has already been a big enough surprise. Anyhow, Gregoire says she'll decide by "early summer."
Meanwhile, Democratic King County Executive Dow Constantine, whose name proverbially "came up" last December (see SSP Amazing Daily Digest, Issue #44) as Rep. Jay Inslee was seen to be holding his fire, sounds largely like a "no." Constantine said he might "at some point be interested in an opportunity," but "I have on my plate a few matters in King County government and I'm going to remain focused on that this year." Of course, with Gregoire now fogging in the control tower, everyone else is probably going to be put in a holding pattern.
• CA-36: This may not be a huge surprise, but Janice Hahn said that now ex-Rep. Jane Harman was querying her about her future political plans when she was a guest of Harman's at the State of the Union address in January (going so far as to ask Hahn whether she'd be interested in running for CA-36), then tipped Hahn about her resignation announcement hours before she made it. This helps explain Hahn's particularly energetic burst out of the gates, but it doesn't explain - or excuse - Debra Bowen's anemic start. Two weeks after announcing, Bowen's website is still nothing more than a splash page with a big "Contribute" button, and I haven't seen a single announcement of any high-profile endorsements. Does a sitting Secretary of State really have that few friends in high places?
• FL-25: When you've lost Eric Cantor... the no. 2 Republican in the House was in Miami for a fundraiser, but already-doomed Rep. David Rivera was pointedly asked to stay away. Worse, Cantor said he has "concerns" about Rivera, and worse still, he was seen meeting with former state Rep. Renier Diaz de la Portilla, a possible replacement for Rivera. (Diaz de la Portilla, who served just one term in the state House a decade ago, is the brother of former state Sen. Alex, who was touted as a possible FL-25 candidate last cycle, and current state Sen. Miguel.)
• NY-13: Rep. Mike Grimm is obviously doing the sensible thing here, working with Democrats (and somewhat less-insane-than-usual Republicans) to secure funding for government programs that actually matter to New Yorkers. Money for cops = popular! Of course, "the sensible thing" has pissed off local teabaggers, which could prove a problem for Grimm as he seeks re-election.
• NY-25: The namejacking anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List is running an ad thanking Ann Marie Buerkle for her vote to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood. Kudos to Dave Catanese, who says the size of the buy (which includes online ads) is $75,000, and that the ad itself is expected to run 182 times. It sounds like SBA is also planning to spend another $125K running radio ads in a number of other GOP-held districts: IL-08, IL-14, NH-01, PA-07, and PA-08.
• OR-01: Another GOP name has surfaced as a possible challenger to David Wu: State Sen. Bruce Starr says he's considering a run. I think it would be more interesting to get a sense of which Dems are likely to succeed Wu, though, since odds seem slim that a Republican will hold this seat. But of course, most Democrats aren't saying much, and that includes DCCC chair Steve Israel. When your own party's re-election chief says "no comment" about your future, you're long past the point where you should be stepping aside.
• Census: The good folks at the Census Bureau will have redistricting data this week for DE, KS, NE, NC, and WY. In other census news, be very glad that Robert Groves is the director of the bureau and the guy he replaced is long-gone. Steve Murdock told the Houston Chronicle that "it's basically over for Anglos" in Texas and that it's a "terrible situation." Wow.
• Crossroads GPS: Karl Rove's dark money front organization says it's already spent a million bucks on House race ads this year, which the DCCC "has been unable to come close to matching," according to The Hill. The article makes reference to the David Brock-Kathleen Kennedy Towsend (oy) group that's supposed to be the Dem answer to Crossroads, but has anyone heard a peep from "American Bridge" yet?
• Las Vegas Mayor: Diarist atdleft has a good roundup of ads currently in rotation in the Las Vegas mayoral race. If you haven't been following this one, current mayor Oscar Goodman is term-limited out, and a field including two Dems (Larry Brown and Chris Giunchigliani), one Republican (Victor Chaltiel), and one independent (Goodman's wife Carol) is vying to replace him. There's a top-two primary on April 5th and a run-off (if no one gets 50%) on June 7th.
• Teabaggers: Even though 84 Republican freshman joined the House this January, just 11 have joined Michele Bachmann's Tea Party Caucus - and the caucus is now actually smaller than it was when it first started. Anyhow, at least a few of these (click the link for the article) are probably sitting in blue enough territory that this decision will cause heartburn for them on the campaign trail. (But see the classic rock-and-hard-place conundrum faced by Mike Grimm in the NY-13 bullet above.)
• Twitter: The Fix compiled a list of their favorite Twitterers in all fifty states. I haven't checked it out yet, though, so I don't even have an opinion. But enjoy!
• CT-Sen: In almost a parody of Republican fat-cattery, not-very-likely GOP senate challenger Scott Frantz loves to race his million-dollar antique yacht down to Bermuda, while at the same time extolling the virtues of companies that patriotically avoid American taxes by moving their operations offshore to the very same island.
• IN-Sen: Treasurer Richard Mourdock is officially kicking off his primary challenge to apostate Sen. Dick Lugar today, and he's announcing that a majority of local Republican party leaders in the state are backing him. The thing is, while Lugar may well get teabagged, Mourdock really isn't a teabagger. The establishment might be trying to get out in front of Lugar's political demise by rallying around the most acceptable alternative, but while Mourdock's no Charlie Crist, even conservative guys like him don't often assuage the true movementarians. We'll see.
• MA-Sen/Gov: Fresh off his victory last fall, Deval Patrick is opening a federal PAC that, the Boston Globe says, "will pay for his expenses as he travels the country as a prominent spokesman for President Obama's reelection campaign." But Patrick insists that he'll finish his second term, and then "return to the privates sector." That was actually the Globe's typo... man, I hope it was a typo. Meanwhile, Scott Brown insists he's running for re-election, not president.
• NV-Sen: Guy Cecil, the executive director of the DSCC, is heading to Nevada this week, reports Politico's Molly Ball, to meet with three potential challengers to Sen. John Ensign: Secretary of State Ross Miller, Treasurer Kate Marshall, and Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto. (The DS has already met with Rep. Shelley Berkley.)
• RI-Sen: Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian says he'll probably decide by June whether to seek the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. Warwick is considered a "moderate" (whatever that means), and could face an impossible primary against a more conservative candidate. Recall that now-Gov. Lincoln Chafee came very close to losing a primary in 2006 against Steve Laffey while he was a sitting senator.
• VA-Sen: Former Dem LG (and current ambassador to Switzerland - and Liechtenstein!) Don Beyer says he's enjoying life abroad too much to contemplate returning home for a senate run. And hell yes he gave a shout out to Liechtenstein!
• WI-Sen: Your state becomes ground zero for the future of organized labor in America, drawing attention from around the country and around the world, and the stakes are huge. What do you do if you are Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl? You basically disappear and issue the most anodyne statement possible, saying that you "hope these matters can be settled in a respectful and balanced way." Eh, maybe we're better off like this - it's not like Kohl would be a big asset in this fight anyway.
• IN-Gov: Mark Bennett of the Terre Haute Tribune Star has an interview with former House Speaker John Gregg, who reiterates he is giving the governor's race "real serious consideration" (as we mentioned yesterday) but hasn't offered any timetable about a decision. The piece is mostly interesting as a backgrounder on Gregg, who has been out of politics for almost a decade.
Meanwhile, Brad Ellsworth says he won't be running for anything at all in 2012 (so that would include IN-Sen as well), but veteran state Sen. Vi Simpson says she is "thinking about" entering the race.
• NY-10: City Hall News has a good, in-depth look at the situation in the 10th CD, where we noted recently that Rep. Ed Towns' son Darryl, thought by some to be interested in his father's seat, is instead taking a job in the Cuomo administration. This could be a resume-burnishing delaying tactic, but with the elder Towns teetering, several big names who aren't heading off to Albany could make the race, including Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and NYC Council Members Charles Barron and Tish James. Jeffries is publicly saying he won't make a decision until Towns does, while the more pugnacious Barron is convinced Jeffries won't primary the incumbent - and says he's "cut from the same cloth" as old Ed. If you're a fan of juicy ethnic, racial, religious, machine, big-city politics, set against the backdrop of redistricting and the VRA, this race is one to watch.
• PA-St. Sen.: How common is this? In the potentially bellwether-ish special election to replace deceased Dem state Sen. Michael O'Pake, Democrat Judy Schwank is going on the air with television ads. Her Republican opponent is reportedly set to follow. NWOTSOTB, but do state legislators commonly advertise on TV in your area?
• WATN?: So Arlen Specter's hung out a shingle. Unlike a lot of dudes in his position who become rainmakers in big DC lobbying firms, the almost quaint name of Specter's new law firm is "Arlen Specter, Attorney-at-Law," and he's practicing in Philly. Meanwhile, Specter's primary conqueror, Joe Sestak, sure is busy - he's been going on a 67-county (that's all of `em) "thank you" tour in the wake of his narrow defeat last year. While the pace is probably less punishing than on the campaign trail, this kind of perambulation is usually the sort of thing most politicians are relieved to give up after they lose - so obviously people are speculating that Sestak wants to get back in some day. Sestak himself says he wants "to stay in public service of some sort," and won't deny rumors that he's interested in a 2014 gubernatorial run., but I just can't see Sestak as gov material.
• Polltopia: You know how in a WWF tag-team match, there are those moments when one dude taps out and his partner comes in, but for a few seconds, they're both kinda in the ring at once, wailing on their hapless opponent at the same time? Just watch here as Stone Cold Mark Blumenthal puts Scott Rasmussen in a headlock and Nate "Superfly" Silva busts out the folding chair. When the bell sounds, we know pretty much what we did before: you can trust the outcomes of a Rasmussen poll and a pro-wrestling match just about equally.
• Redistricting: NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo has releases his "Redistricting Reform Act of 2011," which would create a non-partisan commission that would draw both state lege and congressional district lines. The members of the commission would still be political appointees, though, with the governor apparently holding the final card. Cuomo has threatened to veto any old-style gerrymanders, but it's not clear to me that this bill has much of a chance, particularly since other reports say Cuomo is willing to trade this for a much bigger priority, like property tax reform.
Meanwhile, Politico has the unsurprising news that many members of Congress have recently started making generous donations to their home-state legislatures, in order to win a little love during the redistricting battles ahead. I do wish they would just post the full chart of their analysis, rather than pick out tidbits. We'd never do that to you!
• Census: Bunch more states a'comin' this week: Alabama, Colorado, Hawaii, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington will all see redistricting data by Feb. 25th.
• Dave's App: Version 2.1 has been released, with all sorts of new features. Dave is also adding new 2010 census data as he is able.
• Special Elections: SSP's own Johnny Longtorso, keeper of the special election flame, files this report:
We've got a whopping nine state legislative races in Connecticut on Tuesday. Eight of the nine are Democrats who resigned to join the Malloy administration, while the ninth (also a Dem) resigned due to a misdemeanor conviction. One race of note is HD-36, where CT-02 loser Janet Peckinpaugh is the Republican nominee. A couple of these races were close in 2010 (HD-99 and 101), so we may see some flips on Tuesday.
Also, in Missouri, there's an open State Senate seat in Kansas City, which should be an easy Dem hold.
And last Saturday, Republican state Rep. Jonathan Perry defeated Democratic businessman Nathan Granger in a special election that decided control of the Louisiana state senate. The chamber had been split 19-19, but now the GOP has the edge. Of course, it would only have been a matter of time before the next Dem party-switcher changed the equation, but this was actually a close, hard-fought race.
Jonathan Weinzapfel has opted not to seek the Democratic nomination for Indiana governor in 2012 because, he said, the rigors of a statewide campaign are too much right now while his children are young.
The two-term Evansville mayor told the Courier & Press this morning that he wants to remain active in Democratic politics and might eventually run for office again. For now, though, he said, he wants to remain close to his wife and three children.
This comes as a surprise given that last month, Weinzapfel said he wouldn't seek another term as Evansville mayor, which led us (among others) to think he'd probably make the governor's race instead. But Weinzapfel didn't just face the likelihood of a contest against the formidable Mike Pence; he also would have been dogged by what opponents have branded a "secret tax hike" - a "2008 meeting in which Weinzapfel and other local leaders agreed to let a local property tax credit lapse - without telling anyone at the time," according to the Evansville Courier & Press. Indeed, Weinzapfel had already drawn a primary challenger last year (Vanderburgh County Treasurer Rick Davis) on account of this.
After Weinzapfel's announcement, former Democratic state House Speaker John Gregg (who served from `98-`02) said he is "taking a very serious look at the race." Weinzapfel praised Gregg in his own "exit interview" with the C&P, saying "I would be as supportive as I could" of a Gregg candidacy. Weinzapfel has a big warchest left over ($750K), and at just 45, he very likely has a future in Indiana politics.
• CT-Sen: This is starting to sound like a broken record, but Rep. Joe Courtney is in the news again for saying that he's still vaguely interested in getting into the Dem Senate primary. At least he has a somewhat more definite timetable, saying he'll decide "by the end of this month."
• FL-Sen: Quinnipiac is out with its first Florida poll of the 2012 cycle, and it's remarkably similar to the other polling they've been doing so far this cycle (like OH and PA): they find a surprisingly high number of people with no opinion about the incumbent Democrat, and find him polling in the mid-40s on a generic ballot question, but still winning by an OK margin. Bill Nelson's specific numbers vs. Generic R are 41-36; his approvals are pretty good at 45/21 and his re-elect is 43/33. On a related note, Nelson has the most cash of any Dem heading into 2012, in what, if only by virtue of the state's population, may be 2012's most expensive Senate race; he has more than $3 million CoH.
• MA-Sen, MA-04: I was a little surprised to see Barney Frank's name even on the long list of potential candidates for the Massachusetts Senate race - he's 70 years old and, if for some reason there's a Democratic wave election in 2012 he could get his gavel back - so it's not unusual to see his announcement today that he's running for another term in the House in 2012.
• MN-Sen: Courtesy of Minnesota Public Radio, here's a long list of additional Republicans who aren't running for Senate in Minnesota. (The list of ones who are running would be more interesting but is much shorter, since it has zero names on it, with the possible exception of Harold Shudlick, who lost the 2006 Senate nomination with a proto-teabag candidacy.) Most notably it includes former state Rep. Laura Brod (who's apparently on the short list to become a Univ. of Minnesota Regent instead), but also state Sen. Julie Rosen, state Sen. David Hann, Hennepin Co. Sheriff Rich Stanek, attorney Ron Schutz, and Bill Guidera, who is the state party's finance chair but is employed as "lobbyist for News Corp." A Roll Call article from several weeks ago buried a few other "no thanks" too: businesswoman Susan Marvin, former T-Paw CoS Charlie Weaver, and former state Rep. Paul Kohls. (H/t Brian Valco.)
• MT-Sen, MT-AL: After a lot of rumors last week, it's official as of today: Republican Senate candidate Steve Daines is dropping down to the open seat House race, where he probably becomes something of a frontrunner (rather than a speed bump for Denny Rehberg). He can transfer over the $200K he raised for his Senate race. The Fix has some additional names who might consider the House race (in addition to Democratic state Rep. Franke Wilmer, who started floating her name several days ago): businessman Neil Livingstone and state Sen. Roy Brown for the GOP, and state Sen. minority whip Kim Gillan, state Sen. Larry Jent, up-and-coming state Sen. Kendall Van Dyk (netroots candidate, anybody?), or attorney Tyler Gernant.
• WI-Sen: Is this the opening salvo of the 2012 Senate race? It comes from a familiar face (one who lost the 1998 Senate general election and 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary), ex-Rep. and real estate development magnate Mark Neumann. He engaged in the traditional pre-announcement tactic of penning an op-ed attacking the incumbent, in this case Herb Kohl and his vote against HCR repeal. If so, it would set up the battle of the self-funders.
• WV-Sen: The NRSC is out with its first ad of the cycle, and they're getting right to work going after Joe Manchin, after he surprised at least some people by keeping ranks with the Dems and voting against HCR repeal. No trucker hats or plaid here... instead, they seem to be taking that "San Francisco values" (read: gay gay gay!) tack pioneered by Sam Graves in a notorious MO-06 ad in 2008, by comparing joined-at-the-hip pals Barack Obama and Joe Manchin to other legendary campy duos, like Sonny and Cher, and Siegfried and Roy.
• IN-Gov: Somebody's not waiting for Mike Pence to make his move on the Indiana governor's race! I say "somebody" because I really have no idea who this guy is, although he's one step up from Some Dude by virtue of having been a Hamilton County Commissioner. Jim Wallace is the first to actually say he'll seek the Republican nomination; he's touting his business background (as a consultant to health insurance companies).
• WV-Gov: I'm not sure I've ever seen such a chaotically-planned election before, but now the state House and Senate in West Virginia can't agree on what date they're going to set for the special election to replace Joe Manchin. The House moved it up to Sep. 13, but then the Senate's bill kept it at Oct. 4, which was the date proposed by Earl Ray Tomblin. At least they're in agreement on the primary date, June 20. (There's also a rundown on filings so far: the three Dems to file are the one's you'd expect (Tomblin, Natalie Tennant, and Rick Thompson), while in addition to two expected GOPers (Betty Ireland, Mark Sorsaia), there's also one whose name I hadn't heard before, state Del. Patrick Lane.
• FL-25: You know you're in for a short stay in the House when the Beltway media is already compiling lists of likely successors during your first month on the job. The Fix's list of possible Republicans who might pick up after David Rivera in the event of a resignation/expulsion includes state Sen. Anitere Flores, former state Sen. Alex Villalobos, state Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, Miami-Dade school board member Carlos Curbelo, and former state Rep. J.C. Planas.
• MS-LG: With Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant the likeliest person to become Mississippi Governor in 2011, the jockeying to become Lt. Gov in 2011 (and thus probably become Governor in 2019) is underway. Republican state Treasurer Tate Reeves is the first to announce his bid.
• DCCC/Crossroads: The announcement that they were targeting 19 vulnerable Republicans this early in the cycle was a good move for the DCCC, but a lot of the wind subsequently went out of their sails when it was revealed (courtesy of Nathan Gonzales) that the effort was really more of a press release backed up by tiny radio ad buys, with a total of about $10,000 spent, working out to about $500 per member (and as low as $114 in VA-05, which is a cheap market, but still...). That was met by a retaliatory buy from the Karl Rove-linked GOP dark money outfit American Crossroads, where the clearly telegraphed subtext was "You're broke; we have money." They spent $90,000 to air radio ads in those same markets, which at less than $5,000 per member is still chicken feed but, in terms of The Math, noticeably larger. Of course, that $114 is a pretty good return on investment, if it got Robert Hurt publicly backpedaling on just how much he wants to cut infrastructure spending.
• Mayors: The Las Vegas mayoral race just took an interesting turn yesterday, when former school board president (and more notably, wife of outgoing mayor-for-life Oscar Goodman) Carol Goodman reversed course and said that she would, in fact, run for mayor. By virtue of name rec, that may catapult her to the front of the line.
• Redistricting: This may be our first-ever episode of Swingnuts in the News, but Josh Goodman (now writing for Stateline) has an interview with Dave Bradlee (of Dave's Redistricting App fame) in his new article on the rise of DIY redistricting in general. (He also briefly cites abgin's now-legendary map of New York state.) He also points out that at least two states, Idaho and Florida, will make similar applications available online for tinkerers, as well as the Public Mapping Project's efforts to create a more comprehensive public service.
• Census: The 2010 data for Louisiana, Missisippi, New Jersey, and Virginia is out... at least in cumbersome FTP form. American FactFinder won't have the data until later today or tomorrow. (Looks like Dave Wasserman's already cracked open the data and has tweeted one interesting tidbit: New Orleans' population came in 29.1% lower than 2000, and even 3.1% below the 2009 ACS estimate.
• IN-Sen: Wow, for a late-70-something, Dick Lugar's got a major pair of huevos. He keeps on giving the tea partiers the middle finger despite the great likelihood of a primary challenge, and maybe took that up a notch yesterday, calling the movement out for offering only "cliché" and not being able to "articulate the specifics."
• MI-Sen: You'd expect a poll from Republican pollster Wilson Research to offer worse news for Debbie Stabenow than PPP would, but that's not the case, as they find wider margins against Peter Hoekstra and Terry Lynn Land. Not that Stabenow should be popping the champagne corks yet, as she's still in the proverbial danger zone; she beats Hoekstra 47-41 (whom she led by only 1, in PPP's December poll) and beats Land 46-41. She also sports a definite re-elect of 33%, compared with a "consider someone else" of 36% and 23% definitely "vote against."
• NV-Sen: Well, this is a vague tea leaf that Sharron Angle might be too busy to run for Senate in 2012 as some have speculated; instead, she might be too busy running for President, if her strange visit to Iowa is any indication.
• UT-Sen: This is a striking piece of news, considering that the Tea Party Express attacked pretty much every Republican to the left of Jim DeMint in 2010 and seemed to be gearing up for another round in 2012 (with rumors that he was looking into a primary challenge to John Barrasso!). But today TPX's head, Sal Russo, said that Orrin Hatch, one of the big three teabagger targets among GOP incumbents up in 2012, won't be a TPX target. He even went so far as to call Hatch "an original tea partier." Gotta wonder what Russo's angle is here. This comes only shortly after John Cornyn basically said that Hatch was on his own in the primary, that the NRSC wouldn't be getting involved on his behalf.
• AL-Gov: "Sir" Charles Barkley has been threatening to run for Alabama Governor for seemingly ages, but it seems like the dream has finally died. He says he's no longer considering it, saying politics is "a bad business right now." Also, speaking of Alabama, it looks like 2010 gubernatorial loser Ron Sparks has quickly landed on his feet, picking up a job in the administration of the man who defeated him, new Gov. Robert Bentley. Sparks will be the first head of the newly-created Alabama Rural Development Office.
• IN-Gov: Today was supposed to be the big decision day for Mike Pence, but we really wound up only getting half a decision (although the other half looks pretty clear, by implication). He said that he won't be running for President, and that his "heart is in Indiana." That seems a pretty clear suggestion that he'll be running for Governor instead, but he stopped well short of actually saying that today, simply saying he'll decide "later this year" what to do next.
• CT-05: Here's some more movement in the GOP field in what's the earliest-developing open seat race of 2012. Justin Bernier, who narrowly lost the three-way primary in 2010 (and who'd started in pole position until Sam Caligiuri dropped down from the Senate race), makes it official, saying he's going to run again. Also, state Sen. Andrew Roraback is talking himself up for the race; he's loudly touting his moderate credentials, even citing Mike Castle as a legislative role model.
• PA-St. House: It looks like the Pennsylvania state House didn't quite get the memo on civility that was passed around a few weeks ago. Video of the House floor meltdown is available at the link, although as far as legislative riots go, they still have a long way to go before they can rival the Taiwanese.
• 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.
• CT-Sen: Joe Lieberman, in a recent interview, gave some more insight into how he might approach the various ways in which he might lose in 2012. He says he's "leaning toward" running again, and it will likely be as an independent (although he'd need to create yet another ballot line for himself, having lost control of CfL), although he says some Senate colleagues have encouraged him to run as a Democrat.
• NE-Sen, NE-02: One of the items on the agenda for the legislative session this year in Nebraska (in its ostensibly-nonpartisan but practically-GOP-held unicameral body) is fixing a small hole that could theoretically wind up costing the GOP the presidency in a close election. Nebraska is one of only two states that allocates some electoral votes by congressional district, and Barack Obama took advantage of that to win 1 EV in Nebraska by narrowly winning NE-02. It's worth noting that if this option is taken off the table before 2012, it makes it much less likely that the Obama campaign will put any money or manpower into the Omaha market, making Ben Nelson's re-election hopes slimmer and also making it harder to take out Rep. Lee Terry, who was vulnerable in 2008. (That same link also mentions one potential other GOP Senate candidate, despite there already being a long list of possible challengers to Nelson: Mike Simmonds, whose main claim to fame seems to be owning 73 Burger King franchises.) Speaking of Nelson, he does have one new talking point that won't help him much in the blogosphere but may help him get a little mileage in his red state confines: CQ's new unity scores for last year are out, and Nelson was the least likely Senator to vote with his party, doing so only 46% of the time.
• NM-Sen: This seems a little unexpected: GOP ex-Rep. Heather Wilson, after taking the 2010 cycle off (when she, in retrospect, could have pretty easily gotten elected governor), may be interested in getting back into the political game in 2012, which would have to involve a seriously-uphill race against long-time Dem incumbent Jeff Bingaman for Senate. Of course, that presumes Bingaman runs again. His fundraising schedule suggests that he will run again, but maybe Wilson's engaging in some early saber-rattling in the hopes of scaring the 68-year-old Bingaman into retirement, which would make her task easier.
• IN-Gov: Mike Pence seems to be making the sensible choice given the options of a longer-than-long-shot presidential bid and (with Becky Skillman out of the primary and Evan Bayh out of the general) what's looking like a lightly-contested lay-up in the Indiana gubernatorial race. Insiders are looking at his newly planned schedule of events, with Lincoln Day Dinners scheduled all over Indiana, as an indication that he's moving pretty firmly toward the gubernatorial race.
• FL-25: Usually Representatives wait until at least after they've gotten sworn in before getting involved in criminal investigations, but David Rivera is a real go-getter. In the wake of inquiries into Rivera's support for a push to bring slot machines to Miami-Dade County, Rivera is now having to disclose $137K in never-before-mentioned loans from his mother's marketing company (the same company under investigation for receiving payments from the Flagler Dog Track).
• IN-02: Jackie Walorski may be back in 2012 for another run against Rep. Joe Donnelly, saying another run is "possible." Her main calculation seems to be what happens to the 2nd, which could be mutated into a much more Republican-friendly district if the state's GOP legislature wanted to experiment with strange shapes.
• Mayors: Rahm Emanuel got one more seal of approval for his Chicago mayoral candidacy today: a state circuit court judge just ruled today that Emanuel meets residency requirements and his name can remain on the Feb. 22 ballot, upholding the decision by the city's Board of Election Commissioners. It's not a done deal though as an appeal to the Illinois Appellate Court is imminent. Also, Salt Lake City is another one of the many cities holding mayoral elections this November; one-term incumbent Ralph Becker has announced he's running for re-election, and, with a whopping 84% approval rating, it's sounding like he won't face more than a token challenge. The GOP may not even wind up running someone against him (Becker's a Democrat, although it's officially a nonpartisan post), and while there have been rumblings of a challenge to him from the left (with former SLC mayor Rocky Anderson a possibility), there doesn't seem to be enough dissatisfaction with him to make that viable either.
• 2010 Leftovers: Two of the leaders of the Dems' efforts in 2010 are in the news today, including outgoing DGA executive director Nathan Daschle, who let loose a curious tweet stating that "The purity test on display at yesterday's RNC chair debate is one more reason why we need something other than 2 parties." Now, given his previous aptitude at messing with Republicans' heads via concern trolling, I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he's subtly encouraging some sort of full-on split between the sane Republican party and the crazy wing while the Dems remain intact, rather than him going all No Labels on us. Meanwhile, Jon Vogel, the former exec director of the DCCC, is moving to the private sector, launching a political media firm with fellow consultant Steve Murphy. (This seems like a good time to queue up the best line from Ghostbusters: "You don't know what it's like out there! I've worked in the private sector! They expect results!")
• Redistricting: Here's an interesting interview with Democratic redistricting guru Matt Angle, who was Martin Frost's right-hand man during the post-2000 round. Angle's particular area of expertise is Texas, and he has some thoughts about what we can expect there. While he seems confident that at least two of the four new districts will be Hispanic-majority, he sounds a warning about last-remaining-Anglo Dem Lloyd Doggett, who may find himself drawn into either a Republican or VRA district (although it's worth noting that already happened to Doggett once, as he briefly had a Hispanic-majority seat in the immediate pre-litigation aftermath of the DeLayMander).
• Twitter: We're up to 3,981 followers on Twitter, but that's not a nice, round number with a lot of zeroes in it that we can arbitrarily feel good about. Please help us reach 4,000!