• IN-Sen: Chris "Count" Chocola, head of the Club for Growth and himself a Hoosier, says his organization may step in to help oust apostate Sen. Dick Lugar. The CFG has already talked to Treasurer Richard Mourdock, and if they get involved, they could make up for his lackluster fundraising so far.
• MA-Sen: Remember when ThinkProgress busted Scott Brown for sucking up to David Koch for donations while he was publicly saying he wasn't even thinking about 2012? His pitch worked, I guess: Koch Industries coughed up a $2,500 donation to Brown's campaign last quarter.
In other MA-Sen news, why does Barney Frank keep doing this? On Monday, he repeated his remarks that he thinks Newton Mayor Setti Warren shouldn't run for Senate, this time to local blog Newton TAB. I honestly think this is a bit embarrassing for Frank, and makes him look like a jackass. It's an admission that his private suggestions to Warren haven't been well-received, and that he's had to take to the press to accomplish what he apparently doesn't have the power to do on his own. It's ugly, and what's more, I don't even see the percentage in it. Why does Frank care so much whether Warren runs? Really, just enough.
• MN-Sen: Former state Sen. and unsuccessful 2010 SoS candidate Dan Severson says he might seek the Republican nod to challenge Amy Klobuchar, who so far has drawn no opponents. Severson says he'll decide by May. Also, attorney Chris Barden, another unsuccessful statewide candidate last year (he ran for AG), says he may attempt a Senate race, too.
• MO-Sen: It's getting' mighty crowded in here... well, maybe. Wealthy businessman John Brunner (who can at least partially self-fund) says he might join the GOP field to take on Sen. Claire McCaskill. Reps. Todd Akin and Blaine Leutekemeyer are also still weighing bids, while former Treasurer Sarah Steelman and teabagger fave Ed Martin are already in the race.
• TX-Sen: This is just weird. Ashwin Madia (who you may remember as the Dem candidate in MN-03 back in 2008) is also chair of the progressive veterans group VoteVets. His organization put out a statement the other day in which he said it was "encouraging" to see Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez considering the Texas Senate race as a Dem. It's strange, as Adam Serwer points out, because Sanchez had a very suspect record on torture during his tenure as US commander in Iraq, while VoteVets has been very critical of torture. Another spokesman for the group hurried to say that VoteVets was not issuing a formal statement of endorsement, just an attaboy for a fellow servicemember.
• VA-Sen: Teabagger Jamie Radtke raised just $55K in Q1 and has only $47K on hand. I'm betting that if George Allen does wind up dealing with a serious speed bump on his way to the GOP nomination, it's going to take the form of Del. Bob Marshall, not Radtke. Still a big if.
• VT-Sen, VT-AL: Sen. Bernie Sanders raised $770K in Q1 (not bad for the 49th-largest state in the nation) and has over a million in the bank. The Burlington Free Press pegs an uptick in donations to Sanders after his now-famous eight-hour speech on the Senate floor in which he blasted tax cuts for the wealthy. Meanwhile, Rep. Peter Welch now has a million on hand.
• NJ-Gov, NJ-Sen: Chris Christie's starting to smell like a plate of scungilli left out in the sun after a July picnic. His job approval has dropped to 47-46, according to Quinnipiac, from 52-40 just a couple of months ago. Sen. Bob Menendez isn't doing so hot either, 42-40, but those sorts of numbers are nothing new for him (and are actually better than what he was getting last year). In news of more immediate importance, Dems improved to 47-39 on the generic legislative ballot, up from 43-41. (Thanks to andgarden for spotting that question, tucked away at the very end of the poll.) Also fun: Q asked respondents for an unprompted, open-ended one-word description of Christie. The number one response, by far? "Bully," with 140 mentions.
• AL-05: This is just odd. Freshman Republican Mo Brooks cancelled a town hall and replaced it with one-on-one meetings with constituents-by appointment only. What makes this extra-weird is that these meetings are scheduled to take place across the state line in... Tennessee. Reminds me of this infamous incident from the classic MS-01 special back in 2008.
• IA-04: Some great number-crunching from G-squared: The new 4th CD went for Terry Branstad 59-37 in 2010, 50-48 for GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle in 2006, and 49-48 for Tom Vilsack in 2002. I'll go one further and tell you that Vilsack lost the new 4th in 1998, 47-52. Greg also says that Rep. Steve King currently represents 47% of new CD.
• IL-03: Politico has a profile of John Atkinson, the Democratic businessman who may challenge Rep. Dan Lipinski from the left. Atkinson, who has already raised a boatload, hasn't formally declared yet (and may be waiting on redistricting), but a main theme for him is Lipinski's vote against healthcare reform.
• NY-13: Ex-Rep. Mike McMahon, recently speaking to the Bay Ridge Democratic Club, definitely sounds like he's leaning toward a comeback. The linked piece from the Brooklyn Eagle contains McMahon's ruminations on why he lost last year, but I'm not sure I understand what he thinks the reasons are. On the one hand, he says "[t]here was a drop-off in progressive voters." On the other hand, he cited a memo from Third Way (ugh, but what do you expect) which polled Obama "switchers" and "dropouts." The memo claims that "[s]witchers were eager to vote in this election, whereas droppers didn't come out for a multitude of reasons, none of them being they were upset with Democrats."
What this misses out on, of course, is that Democratic organizations who were pissed with McMahon's vote against healthcare reform were less inclined to bust their asses for him and drag apathetic voters to the polls on his behalf-something members and officials of the Bay Ridge club made plain to him. (The article says some attendees used "harsher language," so since this is Brooklyn we're talking about, enjoy a moment or two imagining what this sounded like.) I'm not sure what McMahon thinks the solution is for next year, if he runs again, but it doesn't sound like he's ready to take back his anti-HCR vote. I think he'd be wise to do so.
• RI-01: Former Republican state Rep. John Loughlin, who lost by six points to now-Rep. David Cicilline last year, says he's considering a rematch, but first he's serving another tour of duty in Iraq. I wonder if Cicilline's self-inflicted wounds regarding the financial woes of Providence (the city of which he used to be mayor) will make him vulnerable-if not next year (which of course is a presidential year), then at some point in the near future... or in a primary.
• WI Recall: Republicans say they will file recall petitions against three Democrats today: Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin, and Robert Wirch. Meanwhile, Greg Sargent says that Dems will file petitions against a fifth Republican, Alberta Darling, also today.
• WI Sup. Ct.: Yesterday, JoAnne Kloppenburg asked for a recount, which will come at state expense since the final margin of 7,316 votes was less than 0.5%. I'm pretty surprised at the decision, since overturning that kind of result seems almost inconceivable.
• Alaska (PDF): Dave Dittman, a pollster and former aide to the late Sen. Ted Stevens, tested Alaskans' feelings about local pols last month. Sen. Mark Begich, up for re-election in 2014, has a 57-33 job approval rating, while Sen. Lisa Murkowski is at 71-27 and Rep. Don Young is at 63-32. Joe Miller, who says he might run against Young next year or against Begich next cycle, has a hilariously awful favorability rating of 18-73. (FWIW, Sarah Palin is at 36-61.) Note that the poll had oddly long field dates: March 3 through March 17.
• Demographics: Aaron Blake has another good piece looking at the changing demographics of majority-black districts.
• House Majority PAC: The new Dem "super PAC" is out with its first-ever media buy (which they claim is "substantial"-you better be telling the truth), hitting ten GOP freshmen who voted for Paul Ryan's budget plan with radio ad. You can listen to a sample spot against Sean Duffy here. Click the first link for the other nine names.
• DCCC: Speaking of ad buys, props to Dave Catanese for busting what turned out to be a comically bullshit media "blitz" by the DCCC. I groused about this one yesterday, complaining that the size of the buy was sure to be "quite small," but I had no idea that it would be this comically small: The total purchase was just $6,000 across twenty-five districts, with just $40 (yes, $40!) spent against Larry Buchson in IN-08. Of course, it was the NRCC which provided this info to Catanese, which I'm not sure is such a smart move, since they play this stupid game, too. But my bigger concern is whether local reporters who wrote about these ads will be insulted by the joke dollar values and ignore the D-Trip in the future. I sure as hell would.
• Colorado: After instantly descending into a whole bunch of acrimony (mostly, it seemed to me, from the GOP side) after the first batch of maps were produced, both parties agreed to go back to the drawing board and start with a clean slate. Republicans sound a lot more excited about the prospect than Dems, but we'll see if this actually produces any kind of agreement... or if a stalemate eventually leads to court-drawn maps.
• Pennsylvania: No surprise here: The Republican majority on the PA Supreme Court picked a Republican superior court judge to serve as a tiebreaker on the panel which will re-draw Pennsylvania's state legislative maps. This is a direct consequence of a shameful loss of an open Dem-held seat on the court in 2009.
• Texas: A new plan for the Texas state House passed a House committee yesterday. The map increases the number of Latino districts from 28 to 30, but Democrats seem convinced that there are serious VRA issues with it.
• HI-Sen: Very slow fundraising quarters from Reps. Mazie Hirono and Colleen Hanabusa, despite Dan Akaka's retirement announcement on March 2. Hirono raised around $100K and has $291K on hand, while Hanabusa took in a mere $33K and has only $72K in the bank.
More interestingly, despite Ed Case's attempts at rapprochement, Sen. Dan Inouye still has hard feelings about Case's primary challenge to Akaka in 2006 - and he didn't hesitate to say so in a recent interview. He all but said that Case lied to his face when he asked him lo those many years ago if he'd run against Akaka, and then added a few remarks that made it sounds like Case had definitely not succeeded in making amends. So unless Inouye is playing some weirdly deep game here, then it looks like my fears that he'd subtly back Case seem unfounded. Good.
• KY-Sen: I don't know if I care about this, or whether it even matters, but glibertarian maniac Rand Paul filed for re-election yesterday. I guess this means he thinks the United States won't collapse into anarchy by 2016, but he's probably still hoarding kruggerands (and toilet paper) just to be on the safe side.
• MN-Sen: It's sort of easy to forget that Amy Klobuchar is up for re-election this cycle. Dedicated and hard-working, she doesn't showboat and is a consummate team player. The fact that she crushed in her debut campaign with 58% of the vote and no Republican opponents loom even in the distant horizon definitely have the effect of putting this race on the mental back burner. But true to form, she's taking her campaign very seriously, raising $1 million in Q1 and holding on to $2.5 mil in the bank.
• NJ-Sen: Is Republican biotech millionaire John Crowley thinking about a Senate bid - again? Roll Call notes that Crowley is stepping down as CEO of his pharma company, which could be a sign he's interested in taking on Sen. Bob Menendez. But for some reason, the article fails to point out that Crowley was heavily recruited to run against Sen. Frank Lautenberg in 2008, and backed out at the last moment - twice. He was also talked about for a gubernatorial run in 2009 (which he obviously didn't pull the trigger on). So we'll see if he has the fire in the belly to actually do something this time.
• TX-Sen: Did you know that there's already a declared Democrat in the race? I didn't, but Some Dude Sean Hubbard is apparently running.
• WA-Sen: Sen. Maria Cantwell raised $1.2 million in Q1 and has about the same amount in the bank.
• KY-Gov: Gov. Steve Beshear raised an impressive $1.3 million in the first three months of the year and has $3.3 million on hand.
• WV-Gov: Treasurer John Perdue is up what I think is the first negative ad of the Dem primary. He principally after Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for taking money from utility companies who have charged jacked-up prices, accusing him (and also Natalie Tennant and Rick Thompson) of being "in the pocket" of the big energy firms. Using smokestacks as negative imagery in a state like West Virginia is certainly an unusual choice, given how many people there rely on "smokestack industries" for their livelihoods. But I guess whoever wins this multi-way primary is expecting to do so with only a relatively small plurality.
• AZ-06: We previously mentioned that Republican ex-Rep. Matt Salmon was thinking about a bid to reclaim his old House seat, with Jeff Flake running for Senate, and now he's made it official. Salmon, a member of the GOP's class of '94, honored a term-limit pledge and declined to run for re-election in 2000. However, he did run and lose against Janet Napolitano in the governor's race in 2002.
• FL-14: This seems unexpected: Chauncey Goss, son of former Congressman and CIA Director Porter Goss, says he's thinking about challenging Rep. Connie Mack in the Republican primary. Goss acknowledges that such a fight would be an "uphill battle," but also suggests that he could wind up running in an open seat. It sounds like he thinks that a new seat could be drawn by splitting Lee County (currently the bulk of the 14th CD), but I still wonder if Mack might wind up retiring. (By the way, the current 14th was in fact the elder Goss's seat before he was tapped to run the CIA in 2004.)
• IA-04: Ex-Gov. Tom Vilsack told a gathering of state Senate Dems that they should "stay tuned" regarding his wife's political ambitions. That sounds to me like Christie Vilsack is very much leaning toward a run against Republican nutter Steve King. Tom also promised the race would be a "holy war," a phrase which I sure as hell hope he a) doesn't repeat for public consumption and b) means that Christie plans on seriously taking King the woodshed.
• MI-11, MI-Sen (?): The AP canvassed all 15 House incumbents in Michigan, and all but one confirmed they were seeking re-election. The holdout? 11th CD Republican Thad McCotter, who is in his fifth term. I've hesitantly flagged this item as MI-Sen as well, since it's possible that McCotter is hedging because he's thinking about challenging Sen. Debbie Stabenow, though he hasn't really been talked about much.
• NM-01: Dem state Sen. Tim Keller, only 33 years old, says he won't seek Rep. Martin Heinrich's open House seat but will instead seek re-election next year.
• NY-10: Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who hasn't ruled out a primary challenge to Rep. Ed Towns, says in a new interview that he wants the chance to serve alongside Barack Obama. So that means he's either a) gotta run next year b) run in 2014 or c) get the Constitution amended.
• IN-SoS: It looks like Republicans have found a pretty simple way out of the Charlie White mess: change the law. If White, the Republican Secretary of State who is currently under indictment, gets removed from office, the next-highest vote-getter in the last election, Democrat Vop Osili, would take his place. But a bill moving through the state lege would give the governor the power to appoint a replacement instead. (It also would let the GOP avoid any related fallout from having recorded zero valid votes in the SoS contest, a race to which many other electoral perks are tied.) Sucky for Dems, but whatcha gonna do.
• NJ-St. Sen.: Republicans are challenging Olympian Carl Lewis's residency status, trying to get him thrown off the ballot. Lewis says he's owned homes in New Jersey since 2005, but has voted and paid taxes in California until last year. The Secretary of State will rule by Thursday, but that decision can be appealed.
• Philly Mayor: This is definitely unusual. Former Mayor John Street just changed his party registration from "Democrat" to "independent," which could allow him to challenge Mayor Michael Nutter for his old job, something Street refused to rule out. Also unexpectedly, Street's wacky ex-con brother Milton, who is in fact running against Nutter in the Dem primary, got three big union endorsements last week. Seems impossible to imagine him winning next month, though, no?
• WI Recall: As expected, petitions were filed against Sheila Harsdorf yesterday, making her the fourth Republican state Senator to achieve this dubious status. And in more good news, state Rep. Fred Clark is planning an announcement for Thursday, very likely to declare a run against Luther Olsen, against whom petitions were filed on Monday. On the flipside, Republicans say they will file signatures in three Dem-held districts this week, but time is running out for them: Their deadlines are mostly April 25 & 26 (ours aren't due until May 2).
• DCCC: I'm getting kind of tired of these "DCCC launches campaign against 25 Republicans" (and the mirror images from the NRCC), mostly because I think the amounts being spent are quite small, but anyway, here's another one, this time about Medicare.
• Passings: William Donald Schaefer, the iconic four-term Democratic mayor of Baltimore and two-term governor of Maryland, died on Monday at the age of 89. The Baltimore Sun has wall-to-wall coverage of Schaefer's passing, whose legendary career is hard to summarize, but you can start with the obituary at the first link.
• California: Newspaper editorial pages are usually filled with some of the worst goo-goo anti-gerrymandering handwringing, so I found this op-ed by George Skelton in the LA Times to be particularly delightful. Skelton wryly observes that California Dems can't get a tax deal done with Republicans because a key tool in their arsenal - offering to draw recalcitrant legislators good districts, and threatening them with bad ones - has been taken out of their hands. In other words, like a lot of California's supposedly well-meaning ballot initiatives, the independent redistricting commission is also having some unintended consequences. In the end, Skelton seems to come down on the side of the commission anyway, but I think he's right: When you limit legislators' ability to legislate, you limit their ability to do good things as well as bad.
• Iowa: We're done: Iowa is now the third state to complete a new congressional map, with Gov. Terry Brandstad signing off on the plans yesterday. At the bottom of the linked article, you'll also find a list of all state House and Senate incumbents who have been thrown together in the same district.
• Missouri: Some interesting backstory on the Dem side of redistricting in Missouri. Apparently, things got nasty between Russ Carnahan and Lacy Clay just a couple of weeks ago: Carnahan asked Clay (and Emmanuel Cleaver, MO's other Dem member of the House) to help him ask Gov. Jay Nixon to veto the state legislature's new maps which throw Clay and Carnahan into one district together. (The seat would be heavily black, which would favor Clay.) Clay refused, leading to a heated moment on the House floor, but now apparently Carnahan has agreed not to run against him in a primary. Instead, Carnahan is supposedly being pushed toward a run in what would become the new 3rd CD, which at present is largely Todd Akin's district. That seat could open up if Akin runs for Senate, which I'd currently say is more likely than not.
Republicans, however, have not made any peace agreements and in fact appear to be in meltdown mode. Yesterday we mentioned that Republican leaders and congressmembers were gathering to discuss the impasse between competing maps, a meeting which reportedly became "acrimonious." I'll let Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum of the St. Louis Beacon summarize the key points of contention:
The Republican members of Congress generally want the Senate to drop consideration of its map and take up the map already passed by the Missouri House. But Senate leaders dislike some of the House's proposed boundaries. They also say they don't have the votes for a veto-proof majority of the House map.
I strongly suggest reading the entire Beacon article if you're interested in this topic - it's definitely one of the sharper tradmed pieces I've seen on redistricting in general this year. In any event, Republicans want a shot at over-riding a possible Nixon veto before the current legislative session ends on May 13, so time is running short here.
• New Jersey: With the Garden State losing a seat this decade, Aaron Blake runs through five different scenarios involving various incumbent-vs-incumbent matchups.
• Oklahoma: Yesterday, the state House unanimously passed a new congressional map (which makes very minimal changes to the existing district lines). Given that all five members of Congress have signed off on the plan, I'd be surprised if it doesn't breeze through the Senate as well - but we've already had more than our share of redistricting surprises this cycle, so I've stopped calling my bookie.
• Virginia: A committee in the Republican-held House made some minor tweaks to their map, which Gov. Bob McDonnell had previously vetoed. I'm sure this is just cosmetic b.s., because McDonnell really only cares about the Dem map that the Senate produced. In McDonnell's world, the first is a work of unparalleled bipartisanshippy beauty, while the second is a hideous Demmycrat gerrymander FROM HELL. That's fookin' politics for ya.
• AZ-Sen: One more fundraising number to report from Q4: Republican #2 and potential retiree Jon Kyl raised $106K, leaving him with $682K CoH. That's a difficult number to assess as a tea leaf: it's too much for him to look like he's clearly about to hang it up, but also not enough to make it look like he's actively engaging his race yet.
• CT-Sen: Rep. Chris Murphy looks like he can count on a lot of hometown backing in his bid for the Senate (where the real challenge may be getting out of the Dem primary). He just rolled out the endorsement of 60 Democratic leaders from around CT-05, including three state Reps.
• IN-Sen: State treasurer Richard Mourdock confirmed over the weekend at the Tippecanoe County Republican Women's Club that he'll be challenging long-time incumbent Richard Lugar in the GOP Senate primary in 2012, although he didn't serve up much tea-spiked red meat in doing so, instead ladling on the praise of Lugar but touting the need for competition of ideas. He specified Feb. 22 as the official date of his campaign launch, though.
• MI-Sen: Saul Anuzis (who I've just noticed is one typo away from being the Egyptian jackal god... maybe getting tough on grave robbers will be at the top of his agenda) is now the subject of a draft website, encouraging him to get into the Michigan Senate race.
• MN-Sen: Buried deep in this article about Amy Klobuchar is some pretty clear indication that Rep. Michele Bachmann isn't going to run for Senate in 2012; the GOP state party chair says that Bachmann was "very emphatic" to him that she wasn't going to run. (Does she have any mode other than "very emphatic?")
• MT-Sen: In case you were hoping that all those leaks and rumors last week about Denny Rehberg announcing for the Senate were some sort of gigantic miscommunication, sorry, no such luck. The Republican Rep. officially announced his bid against Jon Tester on Saturday.
• NJ-Sen: That Woody Johnson-for-Senate rumor a few weeks ago is continuing to get some continued oxygen, with revelations that the New York Jets owner dined at Drumthwacket (sorry, I just like saying "Drumthwacket") with both Chris Christie and Mitt Romney several weeks ago. To me, this seems more like Johnson, a big Republican donor (although a John McCain backer in 2008) being there on Romney's behalf than a Senate tea leaf. (Just found out he's actually "Robert Wood Johnson IV," as in the do-gooding Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and big pharma company Johnson & Johnson.)
• SC-Sen: Lindsey Graham -- not up until 2014, so this is mostly academic at this point -- is sporting some rather Olympia Snowe-ish approval numbers in the way they break down. He's at 40/37 overall in PPP's South Carolina sample, but at 31/38 among Democrats and only 43/36 within his own party. He's looking better positioned to win the general in '14 than to win his own primary.
• UT-Sen: Orrin Hatch is grinning and bearing it: eager to avoid the fate of fellow Senator Bob Bennett, who ignored the tea partiers at his own peril, Hatch will participate in an online town hall sponsored by Tea Party Express (whose Sal Russo offered Hatch some rhetorical cover last week). He'll be the establishment odd-man-out, sharing face time with Rand Paul, Michele Bachmann, and Steve King.
• KY-Gov: Republican state Senate president David Williams, the establishment canddiate in the Kentucky gubernatorial GOP primary, looks to be pretty safe from a teabagging, if his own internal poll is any indication. A poll from Got Focus shows him at 47, with Bobbie Holsclaw at 10 and tea-flavored businessman Phil Moffett at 9.
• PA-Gov: Here's an intriguing rumor, although one that doesn't have much to it beyond eavesdropped rumblings at the state Democratic committee meeting: ex-Rep. Joe Sestak for governor in 2014. Can he be the one who stops the state's clockwork alternation between the parties for 8-year gubernatorial terms?
• WV-Gov: You can count Republican zillionaire John Raese, who lost the 2010 Senate race by an unexpectedly wide margin, out from this year's gubernatorial special election; he said "no thanks" (after already having declined a 2012 senatorial rematch against Joe Manchin). And the election dates are finally official, with acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signing off on the compromise legislation that set the primary on May 14 and general on Oct. 4.
• FL-25: The hits just keep coming for freshman Rep. David Rivera. On top of the $500K in mysterious dog track money and the $60K in mystery expenditures while a state legislator, now the AP is reporting on an entirely separate $150K paid from the Miami-Dade Republican Party to a key ally of Rivera (to consultant Esther Nuhfer for "media" expenses) without any of the usual paper trail. $35K was used to purchase radio ads, but the whereabouts of the remainder is anybody's guess.
• LA-03, LA-07: While we reported on Friday that Jeff Landry was considering a state AG run as a way out of his likely redistricting-related demise, it looks like he's still fighting to keep a viable House district for himself too. He and LA-07's Charles Boustany are publicly at odds over the state's new redistricting map. Landry wants a district that spans the whole coastline of the state (which would put him on a collision course with the Lafayette-based Boustany), while Boustany says there needs to be one district for the New Orleans suburbs (which would probably wind up pitting Landry against Steve Scalise in current LA-01 instead).
• MI-09: It sounds like Democratic Rep. Gary Peters may also have a Plan B in the event of the elimination of his district via redistricting. Based on the war of words emerging between Peters and Republican Oakland Co. Executive L. Brooks Patterson, it's possible that Peters is eyeing a 2012 run to become head of the state's second largest county. Oakland Co. is one of those prototypical mostly-affluent inner-ring suburban counties that has moved pretty solidly into the Dem column at the presidential level but still has a lot of Republican strength further down the ballot; MI-09 currently occupies most of the county.
• MO-05, MO-06: In that one or two weeks where it looked like Rep. Sam Graves was going to run for Senate (thus opening up the 6th), that prompted Republican state Rep. Jerry Nolte to officially throw his hat into the ring for the presumably open seat. Now that he knows Graves is sticking around, though, Nolte apparently isn't going to let his newly-opened federal account go to waste. He says he might run against Emanuel Cleaver in MO-05 instead. (Nolte lives in Gladstone in the KC suburbs, currently in the 6th but a possible inclusion in the 5th after redistricting, as the 5th will need to gain a lot of population.)
• Redistricting: The Fix's ongoing series of profiles on state redistricting turns to Pennsylvania this week, the state whose 2002 map became almost synonymous with one of our favorite words here: "dummymander" (i.e. a map that looks like a coup at first but is so flimsy that it blows up in your face the minute the political winds turn against you). The state GOP, in charge of the process again in 2012, seem to have learned from their mistakes and don't plan to get so "greedy" this time. As we've mentioned here, the likeliest approach to lose the one seat will be to draw western PA Reps. Jason Altmire and Mark Critz into one district. The alternative would be to try to take out the seemingly-indestructible Tim Holden in PA-17, although reddening his already GOP-leaning district would probably make things even worse for Lou Barletta, whose PA-11 is currently D+4.
• 2012 Prez: Jake McIntyre's presidential cattle calls have been a rich tradition over at Daily Kos for years now, and this one is no exception. (It's so good we're actually breaking the first rule of Swing State Project: no talking about presidential 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.
• MI-Sen: This looks like a tea leaf that Peter Hoekstra isn't a likely Senate candidate for 2012: he's joining big DC law/lobby firm Dickstein Shapiro, a popular destination for outgoing Congresspeople and certainly not the usual route for someone who wants to keep in touch with the little people back home. (Current "senior advisors" there include Dennis Hastert, Tim Hutchinson, and Albert Wynn.)
• MN-Sen: Norm Coleman comes right out and says it explicitly: he's not going to run against Amy Klobuchar in 2012 (although he didn't rule out eventual other runs). Not that anyone rational was expecting it, but now we can check that box.
• NV-Sen: Cue up some doomy soundtrack music for John Ensign: despite his having dodged the DOJ, the Senate Ethics Committee has decided to plow ahead on its inquiry of him, just in time for the cycle where he's up for re-election. Today a special counsel in l'affaire Ensign was announced.
• NY-Sen: Going up against Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012 (in the wake of her cresting 60% in the down year of 2010) seems like an unenviable task for any Republican, and the duties might fall to former Lt. Gov. turned health insurance industry astroturfer Betsy McCaughey. Speaking before a confab for New York's Conservative Party, when asked about the race, she said she's "considering it."
• WA-Gov: We can't officially shut the door on a highly-unusual run for a third term by Chris Gregoire until she actually says "no" herself, but state Dem party chair Dwight Pelz is publicly saying that he's looking ahead to electing a new governor in 2012. Don't expect Gregoire to say anything until the end of the legislative session, though.
• WV-Gov: Get out your calendars and your red pen, because it looks like things are getting switched around yet again in West Virginia. The state House passed a bill authorizing the upcoming elections (including a primary, which wasn't considered a done deal because of the cost involved), but they've moved the dates around again. Now the primary date is May 14 (instead of June 20), and the general special election date is Sept. 13 (instead of Oct. 4). Of course, that's only the House version, so the state Senate could monkey around with it even more. Meanwhile, one Republican candidate is already exiting the field: state party chair Mike Stuart, who probably saw the writing on the wall given his 1% showing in PPP's sample of the primary. A few more GOPers that we haven't mentioned before are thinking about getting in to replace him, though: state House minority leader Tim Armstead, and state Del. Mitch Carmichael.
• CT-05: This is a bit of a surprise, and ought to create a wide-open Republican field in the open seat race created by Chris Murphy's quest for a Senate seat. State Sen. Sam Caligiuri, who made a competitive race of it in 2010, says he won't run again in 2012.
• MT-AL: As Denny Rehberg-related rumors got ramped up over the last few days, there's been a corresponding rise in rumors that Steve Daines (the Republican businessman who lost the 2008 Lt. Gov. race and announced a Senate bid in November) might bail out of the Senate race and drop down to the now-open House race instead. That would be a bit of a turnaround for Daines, who had already consolidated some backing from right-wing orgs for a possible tea-flavored primary rumble, but the House is a path of much less resistance for him. No confirmation from Daines today, but as of yesterday he sounded open to the idea.
• State legislatures: This article about how state legislature constituencies are getting too populous for legislators to maintain effective old-school communications with their voters is most noteworthy for its neat interactive graphic. You can compare the legislator-to-constituent ratio for each state (unsurprisingly, California and Texas are the worst, while North Dakota and New Hampshire are the best).
• Fundraising: We have fundraising numbers from 2010 Q4 for five different Senate Dems up in 2012, and we'll start with the weakest link: Dan Akaka, who has $66K CoH. (Not that that should presage retirement or even encourage Linda Lingle, as he doesn't really fundraise outside the cycles where he's up for re-election; he had $83K at this point six years ago.) Next up: Jim Webb, who has $444K CoH but raised only $12K last quarter, a number that by itself screams retirement... but as we know, Webb marches to his own drummer and could turn that around quickly. Ben Nelson is also in camped out in the land of the mediocre (and of the potential retirees), raising only $81K, though he has a more robust $1.4 million CoH.
Jeff Bingaman, on the other hand, seems to be heading for another term, albeit in slightly lukewarm fashion, raising $216K last quarter; he has $511K CoH. Debbie Stabenow is looking pretty aggressive, by contrast: she raised $537K and has more than $2 million CoH. One Republican to report on, as well: Orrin Hatch, likely to face a serious primary, raised $400K and is sitting on $2.5 million CoH (compared with Jason Chaffetz's $140K CoH).
• Redistricting: Here's more on the growing worries from plugged-in Republicans that they don't have the money in place to effectively fight the legal battles associated with redistricting. The sense is that they're victims of their own success: they spent so much money on winning state legislatures last year that they didn't leave any leftovers budgeted for the aftermath.
• CT-Sen: Murphmentum! Rep. Chris Murphy, in the race to replace Joe Lieberman, seems to have a sizable early edge in both the primary and general elections, at least according to his internal poll from the Gotham Research Group (with a Jan. 3-5 sample period, so pre-Murphy's campaign launch and pre-Lieberman's retirement). In the primary, he leads a two-way race against Susan Bysiewicz, 40-31. In the general, he leads Linda McMahon 54-35 and leads Rob Simmons 46-34 (which is quite the testament to McMahon's toxicity). The spread on the primary numbers is close to the 47-35 mystery poll that was widely mentioned on Murphy's announcement day, although the Murphy campaign reiterates that that poll wasn't theirs.
• MN-Sen: Norm Coleman (currently heading American Action Network, who were big players on the dark money front in 2010) is saying that he's not ruling out another run for office, although couching that by saying he's enjoying being out of the news on a regular basis. No indication what he wants to run for, though.
• MO-Sen: Here's one more name to add to the list for Missouri... or to add back to the list, after briefly being off the list while the pursued the chairmanship of the RNC. Ann Wagner, a former ambassador to Luxembourg, former RNC vice-chair, and former campaign manager to Roy Blunt (can't get much more GOP establishment than that resume), is publicly weighing the race again. (She says she'd defer to Jim Talent, though, but that's looking less likely.) And here's an early endorsement for Ed Martin, the former MO-03 candidate who's emerging as something of the tea party favorite in the field, if he decides to run; he got the endorsement of Phyllis Schlafly, Missouri-based 80s right-wing icon who still has a lot of pull in social conservative circles.
• OH-Sen: Rep. Jim Jordan is back in the news for saying that he's "leaning against" a run against Sherrod Brown. If I recall correctly, he's been "leaning against" the race for months, so things don't seem to have changed much here.
• LA-Gov: Louisiana Democrats seem to be turning their attention toward something that's previously eluded them: a potentially willing candidate to go up against Bobby Jindal. Former SoS Al Ater, well-regarded for getting the state electoral system back in gear after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, still sounds pretty noncommittal, perhaps most about the idea of spending his own money on the race (self-financing seems to be the Dems' main criteria for the race, and while Ater has money, he doesn't sound happy about spending much of it).
• IA-03: Christie Vilsack is seemingly moving toward a run for the House in 2012, meeting with donors and labor leaders to lay some groundwork. This seems strange, though, because all three of the state's House Dems say they're running for re-election, including 77-year-old Leonard Boswell. (Vilsack would be likeliest to run in the 3rd, or whatever the Des Moines-area district will be called once redistricting happens.) She won't make a formal decision until April, when the new four-district redistricting maps will be unveiled, but for now it looks like, unless she's going to run against Steve King, there's a collision course with an existing Dem.
• Chicago mayor: Fresh off a surprising setback in the Illinois Appellate Court, which reversed lower court rulings that he was a Chicago resident and eligible to become mayor, Rahm Emanuel has appealed to the state Supreme Court; they've announced they'll hear the case on an expedited basis, with no oral arguments, so we should be out of limbo pretty soon. There was a brief period where it looked like the city was going to go ahead and start printing ballots without Emanuel's name (which would basically be the kiss of death), but also today, a stay was ordered that pushes back the ballot printing until the case is fully decided. Also, in case you though this was all just about a legitimate case of differences in statutory interpretation, with grownups disagreeing about what an inadequately-specific law means, guess again. (Forget it, Jake. It's Chicago.) It turns out that two of the three Appellate Court judges on the case were slated by the 14th district Alderman Edward Burke, a local powerbroker who's a staunch Emanuel rival and a key Gery Chico backer. This leads to the question of whether supreme court justice Anne Burke, who may have a certain loyalty to Edward seeing as how she's married to him, will recuse herself from the Emanuel case.
• Omaha mayor: There's one special election on tap today: a recall election in Omaha, against mayor Jim Suttle. There's no scandal or malfeasance alleged, just anger about over usual teabagger grievances like "excessive taxes, broken promises, and union deals," as well as the unspoken obvious: while it's an ostensibly nonpartisan job, Suttle's a Democrat. (Omaha seems particularly trigger-happy about recalls; Mike Boyle was successfully recalled in 1987.)
• Senate: Somehow it doesn't seem unusual, but what George Allen is attempting (and what Jim Talent could attempt, too) is, in fact, highly unusual. Only five Senators have lost re-election and then come back to the Senate... but most of them (Slade Gorton most recently) were elected to their state's other Senate seat. What Allen is doing is even more unusual: defeating the guy who beat you six years ago in order to reclaim your seat seems to have happened all of once in history. Thanks to UMN's Smart Politics, it looks like the one time was in 1934, when Rhode Island Democrat Peter Gerry (the great-grandson of Elbridge Gerry, in case you're wondering) beat one-term Republican Felix Hebert, who had knocked him out in the GOP tsunami of 1928.
• DGA: The Democratic Governor's Association announced its new hires for the cycle, including the Patriot Majority's Dan Sena as its political director. We're especially happy to see their new hire for communication director: friend-to-the-site Lis Smith, last seen on Ted Strickland's campaign.
• Redistricting: There's some redistricting-related drama looming in New York, where the Senate Republicans are backing away from promises of a non-partisan redistricting map. Andrew Cuomo has signaled that he'd veto any map that wasn't non-partisan, but is now suggesting he can negotiate on that, in exchange for other priorities. There was also a smaller battle in Georgia, won by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (who, in his role as Senate president, got to reassert his authority over the process), where the stakes are lower since the GOP controls the trifecta. The battle was against Senate president pro tem Tommie Williams... Williams is from the south (unlike Nathan Deal, Cagle, and the House speaker, all from the north) and has a stake in keeping the underpopulated southern part of the state's interests represented at the table.
One of the big question marks for redistricting is Florida, where the initiative that passed, limiting gerrymandering, still has to run the gauntlet in the courts; the GOP in the state House are joining the suit against the initiative that was filed jointly by Mario Diaz-Balart and Corrine Brown (not surprising that they'd support it, since the GOP controls the trifecta and the legislature would get to resume gerrymandering if it's struck down). Finally, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette takes a look at Pennsylvania redistricting prospects, concluding (rightly, in my estimation) that the axe is likely to fall in the southwest corner of the state because of its stagnant population, and suggesting that the likeliest removal from the House will be the loser of a Jason Altmire/Mark Critz mashup.
• CT-Sen: If you think the Chris Murphy/Susan Bysiewicz primary is an open-and-shut case, guess again: Ted Kennedy Jr.'s name seems to be getting a lot of mention now too. If the 49-year-old lawyer does get elected, if would bring the Kennedy-free interregnum in Congress to a close after only two years. Meanwhile, I don't think anybody was expecting him to give up his leadership slot for a run, but Rep. John Larson has confirmed he's not running for Senate, and isn't endorsing... yet. Rep. Chris Murphy seems to know that this race, with its expensive media markets, is going to cost a lot of money; he's putting a $10 million figure out there, although that of course could go even higher if he finds himself in a general election against Linda McMahon. Luckily for Murphy, MoveOn seems to be backing him up; while they didn't explicitly endorse, they e-mailed their donor base on his behalf today. If he can corner the "netroots candidate" niche in the primary, obviously that'll help him go a long way toward that money goal.
• MI-Sen: Could Saul Anuzis, who just lost his RNC chair bid, wind up being the Michigan Senate nominee for the GOP in 2012? Apparently that's an option on the table for him, although he tells Dave Catanese he hasn't "ruled it out or in." Anuzis is a primarily behind-the-scenes player, though, who's never won an election before. At least that gives him that much in common with Tim Leuliette, the only other person to have expressed much interest so far. Also, this isn't exactly Senate related, but here's another Greg Giroux special: a database showing the Michigan governor's race breakdown by current congressional district.
• MN-Sen: Marty Seifert, the state Rep. who lost the 2010 Republican nomination to the further-right Tom Emmer, has declined to run for either the 2012 or 2014 Senate races, leaving the state GOP still casting about for anyone to go up against Amy Klobuchar. They're still laying the groundwork for a hard run, though, already launching a new website trying to tar the often-moderate Klobuchar with the dreaded "liberal."
• NV-Sen: John Ensign confirms yet again that he's running for re-election (at least for now), though he says he expects a primary challenge and will have difficulty regaining the voters' trust. The main thing, though, he'll have difficulty is regaining money... he raised only $19K last quarter for his campaign account. (His legal fees are another story: he raised $550K for his legal defense fund last quarter, and spending $97K of that on lawyers. Likely rival Dean Heller, for his part, said at a press conference that he's keeping an eye on the race, but without a specific timetable for an announcement.
• RI-Sen: One well-known name (at least locally) who does seem interested in the Senate race (which so far hasn't drawn any takers) is Alan Hassenfeld, the former CEO of locally-based toymaker Hasbro. (Does that make him the real-life inspiration for Mr. Weed on the Family Guy?) At any rate, Hassenfeld is registered independent and contributed to and voted for the Moderate Party's gubernatorial candidate last year, so he seems like he might be running on their line, not for the GOP.
• VA-Sen: The rest of the Democratic A-list in Virginia seems to be shying away from the Senate race, meaning either Jim Webb is pretty certain to run again or else we're in a world of hurt. Terry McAuliffe, who in the end acquitted himself well in the '09 gubernatorial race, says he won't run if Webb doesn't (joining Tim Kaine in the "no thanks" pile). That's not a surprise, in that McAuliffe's interest in another whack at the gubernatorial race in 2013 is well-known.
• LA-Gov: We've been seeing a lot of polls with strange configurations lately, and this one from Market Research Insight (not a pollster we seem to have any track record from) may take the cake. As one might expect, they find Bobby Jindal looking pretty safe for re-election, but they test him against both Mary Mitch Landrieu (as a D) and John Kennedy (as an R) in what, I assume, is supposed to be a jungle primary format (despite no indications from either Landrieu or Kennedy that they're interested). At any rate, it's Jindal 51, Landrieu 25, Kennedy 10. More generically, they find Jindal with a 49/40 re-elect number.
• WV-Gov: Now this is highly unusual. Faced with a court mandate to hold a special election this year, acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (the main person wanting to kick the election back to 2012), has declared that the special election won't be in November as one might expect, but rather on Oct. 4! The primaries will be held on June 20.
• KY-AG: After some last minute rumors this week that he wasn't going to run again, Jack Conway announced today that he's filing for re-election as Attorney General and putting together a new campaign team. Needless to say, that's a relief for those of us who want to keep building a bench in and contesting Kentucky.
• Chicago mayor: There's a new Chicago Tribune/WGN poll out of the mayoral race, and like other recent polls, it shows Rahm Emanuel with a big lead and continuing to climb, but still short of the 50% mark at which he could avoid a runoff. The poll finds him at 44, with Carol Mosely Braun (last seen sniping at Bill Clinton, telling him he's "turning his back" on minorities) at 21, Gery Chico at 16, and Miguel del Valle at 7. Emanuel is also announcing his financial haul, which, as you might guess, is huge (Senate-sized, really): $10.6 million raised through mid-January. With that in mind, he's sparing no expense when it comes to advertising, rolling out a $150K ad buy during the Bears/Packers game this weekend.
• CT-Sen: Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy is sounding very likely to challenge Joe Lieberman in 2012, at least if this WSJ piece primarily on Lieberman's re-election chances is any indication. It quotes Murphy as "definitely considering" the race and says his decision may be only weeks away, given the nature of permanent campaigning these days. Meanwhile, Paulist economist Peter Schiff (whose rather quixotic bid wound up with him deep in third place in the GOP primary in 2010) is saying he'd like to run for office again, but 2012 won't be the year, citing the likelihood of a Linda McMahon run and his inability to compete against her money. Finally, Lieberman himself has his mind on his money and his money on his mind, too... he's hungry enough for money that he's reaching out to his new friends from the No Labels movement and asking them to consider donating to politicians they don't necessarily agree with. Interesting argument (especially considering that the No Labels people are probably the likeliest people out there to agree with Lieberman).
• MA-Sen: Long-time Boston mayor Tom Menino has occasionally gotten some coverage as a possible opponent to Scott Brown in the 2012 Senate race, but he's taking his name out of consideration, saying he'll never run for anything but even more terms as mayor. Menino also offered some warnings to potential Dem candidates about the race, saying "There's nobody that can beat him." (Recall that Menino caught some flak for not really deploying the Boston Dem machine full-force on Martha Coakley's behalf during the special election, so it's unclear whether he's truly fearful of Brown or just engaging in a little concern trolling on Brown's behalf.)
• MI-Sen: Here's another indicator (after last month's PPP poll that had her mired in the 40s) that Debbie Stabenow could have a tough race in 2012, given the right GOP opponent. A Glengariff Group poll for the Detroit News doesn't include any head-to-heads, but gives her 37/39 approvals, and a 23% definite re-elect (vs. 43% someone new). Of course, the GOP will need to cough up someone more imposing than Tim Leuliette, the only publicly interested candidate so far.
• MN-Sen: I hadn't heard Rep. John Kline (the GOP Rep. in MN-02, who labors in right-wing anonymity thanks to a lot of cover from noisy neighbor Michele Bachmann) get associated with the 2012 Senate race before, and after today, he probably won't again. He told a talk radio interview over the weekend that his "plate was full."
• MT-Sen: There's been an uptick in speculation that Denny Rehberg may not run for Senate after all, given that he just landed a slot as not just one of the Appropriations cardinals (regarded by Beltway insiders as the uppermost tier in the House pantheon) but the subcommittee chair in charge of HHS, letting him carry the banner on any HCR repeal efforts. However, he's still being coy about his 2012 plans (and in fact getting a little meta about the endless Beltway media parsing of political career planning), saying a decision is "down the road... which is similar to around the corner."
• NE-Sen: This has been pretty clearly telegraphed for a while now, but Republican state treasurer Don Stenberg is saying he's "quite likely" to get into the Senate race. That, of course, would set up a high-profile primary with another statewide GOPer already a formal candidate, AG Jon Bruning. Meanwhile, GOP state party chair Mark Fahnelson removed an image from his personal blog of Ben Nelson inside a red bullseye. In good Republican fashion, he reaffirmed that he himself, in fact, was the victim in all this.
• NV-Sen: Hoping for Sue Lowden to be the 2012 Senate nominee for the GOP? Don't count your chickens before they hatch, because she's saying she won't consider running if Dean Heller is going to run (she would do it only if both John Ensign and Heller didn't run). Rather candidly, she admitted that she had no shot of beating Heller in a GOP primary. Meanwhile, Sharron Angle has decided that, having had a shot at the big time, another run for the state Senate would just be chicken feed at this point. She says that she won't seek the seat being vacated by resigning former GOP floor leader Bill Raggio (to whom she lost in a 2008 primary), although without saying anything more about another NV-Sen run or a NV-02 run if Heller runs for Senate.
• TX-Sen: Here's another poll showing a Senator who may have a rough go of it in 2012, although in Kay Bailey Hutchison's case, the real hurdle is likely to be the GOP primary. A Blum & Weprin poll for various Texas newspapers found Hutchison with a 46% approval among all registered voters, and only 56% among Republicans. Hutchison, of course, has not given any indication whether she's running for another term or not.
• LA-Gov: That gubernatorial election is only 10 months away, and Louisiana Democrats still seem to standing around scratching their heads wondering who their nominee will be. With GOP incumbent Bobby "Kenneth the Page" Jindal sitting on a $7.2 million war chest and, while not super-humanly popular anymore, still in positive territory, willing victims do not seem forthcoming. Dems seem most interested in somebody who can self-finance, which would probably be oft-rumored Shaw Group CEO Jim Bernhard, although other more remote possibilities include losing Lt. Gov. candidate Caroline Fayard, PSC Commissioner Foster Campbell (who finished 3rd in the 2007 primary), retired Gen. Russell Honore (who was briefly the subject of speculation for a GOP primary challenge to David Vitter last year), and even a return engagement from ex-Gov. Kathleen Blanco.
• AZ-08: Best wishes to Gabby Giffords for what will no doubt be a long, slow recovery after this weekend's shooting. Physicians say that she is rapidly improving and may be removed from her breathing apparatus in several days if progress continues.
• ND-AL: This has implications for North Dakota's House seat, but also potentially for the Senate seat in 2012, if Kent Conrad (last seen ramping up to start advertising already) does a sudden turnaround and opts for retirement. Ex-Rep. Earl Pomeroy (who's 58) is joining DC law firm Alston & Bird and says "I don't see myself running for office again."
• NM-02: Similarly, Harry Teague has announced that he won't run again for his old seat or anything else, saying he has no plans to seek another office. The 61-year-old (and independently wealthy) Teague plans to return to his family oilfield business.
• Mayors: Another day, another poll showing Rahm Emanuel way in the lead (albeit not out of runoff territory yet). This one's from Anzalone-Liszt on behalf of the Teamsters, and while it shows Carol Mosely Braun gaining ground (thanks to dropouts from Danny Davis and James Meeks), she's still far behind. It's Emanuel 42, Mosely Braun 26, Gerry Chico 10, and Miguel Del Valle 7. (November's Teamster poll was Emanuel 36, Mosely Braun 13, Chico 10.) Meanwhile, Chico can now boast an endorsement from Rep. Luis Gutierrez, which seems like a bit of a thumbed-nose at Emanuel (who used to be Gutierrez's neighbor in the House). And on the other side of the country, San Francisco has a newly-minted interim mayor: city administrator Ed Lee, who will fill in for the next 10 months as Gavin Newsom becomes Lt. Governor. The main thing that clinched it for Lee (who will be the city's first Asian-American mayor) was his promise not to run for the job in the November election. One of Newsom's last acts was to appoint a new DA in San Francisco, too (to replace the state's new AG, Kamala Harris): he promoted police chief George Gascon to that job.
• WATN?: Where are they now? On the prison bus, that's where. At least that's the case with former Republican House majority leader Tom DeLay, just sentenced this morning to three years on conspiracy charges associated with laundering corporate money into campaign donations.
• 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.
Amy Klobuchar (DFL-inc): 56
Tom Emmer (R): 38
Amy Klobuchar (DFL-inc): 53
Tim Pawlenty (R): 43
Amy Klobuchar (DFL-inc):: 52
Erik Paulsen (R): 34
PPP's latest has DFL incumbent Amy Klobuchar doing extraordinarily well a little less than two years out, besting all five GOP challengers by spreads of 10 to 18 points.
Klobuchar remains extremely popular, with approval ratings in almost unseen territory of +30, at 59/29! Her Class II counterpart, Al Franken, is barely above water at 45/42.
Also of note, Tom Emmer's gubernatorial campaign (and potential post-election monkey business) have not reflected on him well, he records favorables at 37/49...almost as bad as tea party queen Bachmann's 37/51.