That's the difficulty of a campaign. I mean, it's easy to just say, "Seal the border and enforce the law." What does that really mean? What does that entail? And when you're able to explain it, then they're alright. And I think for those who don't agree with my position-think that it ought to be something different-at least I think they give me a little credit for sticking with my position because I've always believed this is what we need and I continue to believe regardless of the political environment.
In the past I have supported a broad approach to immigration reform - increased border security coupled with a temporary worker program. I no longer do. I've been down that road, and it is a dead end. The political realities in Washington are such that a comprehensive solution is not possible, or even desirable, given the current leadership.
In other AZ news, the subscription-only Arizona Guardian says that ex-Rep. Matt Salmon may endorse Rep. Trent Franks, rather than his old buddy Flake (who succeeded him in Congress when he unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2002), something they characterize as a "snub" on their home page. Franks of course hasn't announced a run yet, but Dave Catanese claims he'll do so this Saturday. Just hope whoever told Dave this is more truthful than the dipshit who dissembled about Connie Mack last week. (And I still maintain that Dave had every right-if not an obligation-to burn that source.)
• FL-Sen: Adam Hasner has to be feeling pretty good about himself these days. Rep. Connie Mack inartfully bowed out of the race, and Mike Haridopolos has already scored a few own-goals. So the former state House Majority Leader took to his Facebook to declare that "this election still needs a proven limited government leader, who is solid across the board on the conservative principles." Why golly, that sounds just like Hasner, doesn't it?
• IN-Sen, IN-02: Rep. Joe Donnelly sure sounds like he's interested in running for Senate. He told Robert Annis, a reporter for the Indianapolis Star, that he thinks his "experience is best served in the Senate." Annis also characterized Donnelly as "leaning toward" a run. A different reporter at the same event characterized him as "leaning strongly toward" a Senate bid if the GOP makes his current district redder.
• MI-Sen: PPP has the remainders from their Michigan poll last week, a kitchen sink GOP primary:
Pete Hoekstra is the clear first choice of Republicans in the state for who they'd like as their nominee to take on Debbie Stabenow next year. 38% say he'd be their pick compared to 18% for Terri Lynn Land. No one else cracks double digits, with Saul Anuzis at 5%, Justin Amash, Randy Hekman, and Tim Walberg at 4%, Chad Dewey at 3%, and Tim Leuliette with the big egg at 0%.
Speaking of The Hook, he said he'll decide whether to challenge Stabenow in two weeks. In an amusing side note, Hoekstra admitted he got all butthurt when MI GOP chair Bobby Schostak said in a recent interview that he expects a candidate to emerge who is " head and shoulders" above the current crop of potentials-a group which obviously includes Hoekstra. Of course, Schostak also said of this mystery candidates: "I don't know who it is. They haven't met with me yet, if they're out there." We don't know who they are either!
• NV-Sen: Rep. Dean Heller, presumably trying to scare off would-be primary opponents, raised a pretty massive $125K in a single event in Vegas on Monday night.
• OH-Sen, OH-12: This is... getting strange. Top-tier Ohio Republicans have all pretty much taken a pass on challenging Sherrod Brown, or at least seem to be leaning against a run. But one guy all of a sudden put his name into the hopper: Rep. Pat Tiberi, who sits in the very swingish 12th CD. Tiberi's spokesman made sure to remind Dave Catanese that he's on Ways & Means, though, so that's a pretty tasty perch to give up. Catanese also notes that state Sen. Kevin Coughlin is preparing a run.
• RI-Sen: I guess rich guy Barry Hinckley is running against Sheldon Whitehouse? The founder of a software company called Bullhorn ("the global leader in On Demand, integrated front office software for the staffing and recruiting industry"), Hinckley is apparently trying to burnish his Republican credentials by holding some fundraisers at California yacht clubs. (Not joking about that.)
• LA-Gov: 2010 Lt. Gov. nominee Caroline Fayard is starting to sound very much like a gubernatorial candidate... that is, if you can hear her over her foot-stuffed-in-mouth. She didn't do much to help her cause by declaring at a recent even that she "hates Republicans" because they are "cruel" and "eat their young." (Uh, I talk a lot of shit about the GOP, but what does "eat their young" even mean?) Fayard later tried to wiggle her way out of this by claiming "I'm against the president, but I don't need to see his birth certificate." So she's managed to kill her crossover vote and her support among African Americans in one fell swoop. Well, uh, she sure is getting some free media out of this. (Hat tip: Daily Kingfish)
• CT-05: I guess I thought that former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D) had already announced she was running for Chris Murphy's seat, but apparently she's only just formed an exploratory committee.
• MN-06: It's not particularly meaningful, since the funds can be transferred to another federal account, but Michele Bachmann did just file to run for re-election yesterday.
• NY-25, VA-02: Dan Maffei apparently says he'll decide on a rematch "in the next two months," while Glenn Nye (I'd forgotten he was still considering) will wait until "sometime in the summer." (That's how The Hill phrased it in both cases.)
• RI-01: With the city of Providence's finances imploding, freshman Rep. David Cicilline is taking a beating over his stewardship of the city he used to be mayor of. Among other things, a new Brown University poll finds him with a statewide approval rating of just 17-49. Could Cicilline be vulnerable in the general election? I doubt it, but he could underperform annoyingly and require help that could best be expended elsewhere, like a Paul Kanjorski. I think he might be more at risk in a primary.
• Wisconsin Recall: In just the last two months, the Wisconsin Democratic Party reports raising $1.4 million-or, a quarter million more than it did in all of 2010. In other news, a coordinator of the petition drive against Randy Hopper seems to have gone off-message with his intimation that volunteers would have "closer to 30,000 than 15,000" signatures by Tuesday (a month before the deadline). 15,269 sigs are needed for the recall to happen, but a spokesperson for the Democratic Party told the Journal Sentinel that these figures (such as they are) "are not accurate" and wouldn't say more. Quite understandably, t's pretty much been the policy of the party not to talk about where things stand.
• Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: JoAnne Kloppenburg is out with TV and radio ads that tout her independence.
• WATN?: Artur Davis, douchebag from beyond the grave. This is actually the same link as the NY-25/VA-02 item above; Davis did an event with Maffei and Nye at which he said that President Obama would bear the brunt of the blame for any government shutdown. Davis's claim: "I think that voters always focus on the executive as the responsible officer." That's why Bill Clinton lost so badly in 1996, right?
In other WATN? news, I'm guessing that ex-Rep. Bart Gordon (D) is probably ruling out a run for the seat he voluntarily gave up last year (TN-06), or a Senate bid - he just took a job at the law firm of K&L Gates. (The "Gates" is Bill Gates, Sr., the Microsoft founder's dad, who is now retired.)
• Indiana: Have an idea for an Indiana state Senate map? Sen. Tim Lane (D) wants to hear from you! (Seriously!) Contact information is at the link.
• Louisiana: Even though he had said he'd stay out of it, Gov. Bobby Jindal's been weighing in on the redistricting process-and Dems, as you might guess, aren't happy about it. Click through the article to learn more about the exact nature of the dispute. Ultimately, though, it sounds as though Jindal will get his way, which more or less preserves the status quo.
• Funnymanders: What happens when a very careful redistricting job blows up in your face because the state Senate Majority Leader's son being groomed for the new seat tells the media he can't even remember being arrested for getting into a dispute over chicken fingers at Applebee's? Well, I'm calling that a funnymander. Nathan Gonzales has the details on that story, and a few other anecdotes as well, about redistricting gone awry.
• Dark Money: On the darker side of redistricting is all the unregulated cash flooding into various coffers, which Politico takes a look at. A big reason is an FEC decision last year which allowed members of Congress to raise unlimited soft money for redistricting groups, and both Dems and Republicans are, of course, going at it full bore.
• HI-Sen: Ex-Rep. Ed Case said he expects to decide by "mid-April" whether he'll seek Hawaii's open Senate seat. Case also says that the Merriman River Group took a poll for him and claims he kicked ass in both the primary and general-but he's only released a couple of selected toplines (click the link if you want them). PPP will have an HI-Sen general election poll out on behalf of Daily Kos/SEIU in the next couple of days.
• ME-Sen: Democrat Hannah Pingree, former Speaker of the state House and daughter of 1st CD Rep. Chellie Pingree, left the state legislature earlier this year. Only 34, she's lately been managing the family's inn & restaurant and serving on a local school board, so she seems like a good potential candidate to run for office once again-perhaps even to challenge Sen. Olympia Snowe. But Pingree just gave birth to her first child a week ago, which probably makes her less likely to get back into the game this year.
• MI-Sen: A GOP operative passes along word to Dave Catanese that Pete Hoekstra is turning down the chance to appear at some Lincoln Day dinners-which this source thinks is a sign that Hoekstra isn't planning to run for Senate. Hoekstra's would-be pollster (the same guy who was basically spinning lies about PPP last week) vociferously disputes this interpretation. We'll see, but I personally think Hoekstra is going to tell us he plans to spend more time building turtle fences with his family.
• MT-Sen: Activist Melinda Gopher says she is contemplating a primary challenge to Dem Sen. Jon Tester. She explains her reasoning here. She received 21% of the vote and finished third in the Dem primary for MT-AL last year. I could not find any FEC reports for her.
• ND-Sen, ND-AL: Another good catch by Greg Giroux: ex-Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D) just closed his federal campaign account. While it's not dispositive, of course, this probably means he's not interested in seeking his old seat, or the retiring Kent Conrad's spot in the Senate. Note that Pomeroy didn't completely slam the door on a gubernatorial run, but I'm guessing that's not terribly likely, either.
• NM-Sen: New Mexico's Republican Lt. Gov., John Sanchez, sounded very much like a candidate on a recent trip to DC. He spent some time slagging ex-Rep. Heather Wilson (the only declared candidate so far) in an interview with The Hill, criticizing her moderate credentials, but also being careful to try to put a little daylight between himself and the teabaggers. Sanchez indicated he'd decide "in the spring," and perhaps hinted he'd announce on or around April 15th... because it's totally not teabaggish to make a fetish out of Tax Day. He also says he'll be back in Washington next week to meet with the NRSC (this trip was occasioned by a gathering of the all-important National Lieutenant Governors Association).
• FL-22: Ex-Rep. Ron Klein (D) definitively slammed the door on a rematch this cycle, saying he's "looking forward to the private sector" (he's taking a job with the law firm of Holland & Knight). But he did hold out the possibility he might return to office some day (he's only 53). The same article also mentions a new possible Democratic candidate (despite the entrance of West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel in recent days): state Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, who says he's keeping his options open. (Abruzzo, hardly alone among Democrats, backed Charlie Crist over Kendrick Meek in last year's Senate race.)
In other news, a firm called Viewpoint Florida released a very questionable poll pitting Rep. Allen West against Frankel. Really, the only reason you'd put out a survey of a district which is guaranteed to get reshaped is because you're hoping to set a narrative among people who don't know better (like, say, the tradmed... this piece doesn't even mention the word "redistricting"). In addition, the poll is way too Republican, and also purports to be of "likely" voters, about one billion years before election day.
• MI-09 (?): The question mark is there because who knows what districts are going to look like, or where state Rep. Marty Knollenberg-who says he's considering a run for Congress-will wind up when all is said and done. That name ought to sound familiar: Marty's dad is, of course, George McFly ex-Rep. Joe Knollenberg, who lost to current 9th CD Rep. (and potential redistricting victim) Gary Peters in 2008. Of note, Marty sits on a redistricting committee in the state lege, so maybe a House race is his... density.
• NY-25: This is the kind of news I like to hear! Dan Maffei, who lost a heart-breaker last year, sent an email to supporters saying that he is "strongly considering running again" for his old seat. Maffei was always a great vote and a strong progressive voice, despite his decision to take a job after the election with the annoying "moderate" group Third Way. (I don't begrudge the guy needing to eat, though, and the market was pretty saturated with one-term Democratic ex-Congressmen in need of a job.) We don't know how this district will wind up, of course, but I'd be surprised if there were nowhere for Maffei to run.
• NY-26: Teabagger David Bellavia looks pretty doomed-despite having enough signatures (in theory), he failed to file a key piece of paperwork with the Board of Elections, which will probably terminate his candidacy. It's all the more poignant because, according to this article, the other campaigns said they would not challenge his signatures-and seeing as he submitted just 100 more than the 3,500 target, it's a good bet he was in the danger zone. (Is it really true that Republican Jane Corwin said this, though?)
Speaking of Corwin, she's got a third ad out, once again returning to small business themes (as she did in her first spot), rather than the negative attacks in her second ad.
• PA-17: Tim Holden could be in that rare bucket of Democrats who might not actually benefit from their seats being made bluer in redistricting. The conservative Holden could have Lackawanna County added to his district, according to a possible GOP plan, which might open him up to a primary challenge from the left. It would also move a couple of ambitious pols from the county into his district, including Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien (who attempted to primary ex-Rep. Paul Kanjorski last year) and Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty. PoliticsPA also says that Holden's 2010 primary challenger, activist Sheila Dow-Ford, is "rumored" to be considering another run. (Dow-Ford lost 65-35 in a race fueled in large part by Holden's vote against healthcare reform.)
• VA-05: Last cycle, few establishment figures were as absolutely hated by the teabaggers as now-Rep. Robert Hurt. He won his primary with just 48%, against a typically fractured People's Front of Judea/Judean People's Front field. (We really need an acronym for that. PFJJPF, anyone?) The teabaggers have now taken to protesting Hurt's votes in favor of continuing budget resolutions outside of his district office, but given their feeble efforts to unite around a standard-bearer last time, I'm skeptical that they have the organizational power to threaten Hurt next year.
• Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: The Greater Wisconsin Committee is running a very negative new ad against Republican Justice David Prosser, accusing him of refusing to prosecute a child-molesting priest back when he was a D.A.-and explaining that the same priest went on to molest other kids after a parish transfer.
• Census: New York City pols, led by His Bloomberginess, got wiggy almost immediately after seeing the Census Bureau's largely stagnant new population figures for the city. Pretty much everyone is convinced that NYC grew by more than 2.1%, because, they say, the bureau undercounted immigrants. And here's a pretty good supporting piece of data: The city added 170,000 new homes over the last decade, so how could it grow by only 166,000 people? (There are no huge swaths of abandoned properties in New York, though the Census does claim vacancies increased.) As a result, city officials are planning to challenge the figures (which they think should be about a quarter million higher). But it's worth noting that a similar challenge 20 years ago wound up failing.
• Votes: The New York Times is getting into the party unity score game, finding that (according to their methodology) 14 Dems have voted with Team Blue less than 70% of the time this Congress. It's pretty much just a list of the remaining white conservative Blue Dogs who sit in red districts, though three names from bluer districts stand out: Dennis Cardoza (CA-18); Jim Costa (CA-20); and Gary Peters (MI-09).
• Louisiana: A state Senate committee passed a plan for redistricting its own lines last Thursday; a vote by the full body could come this week. Notably, the new map increases the number of majority-minority districts from 10 to 11. Things are delayed on the House side, though.
• Virginia: A teachable moment in Virginia: Democrats in the state Senate adopted a rule that would limit the population variance in any new maps to no more than ±2%, while Republicans in the state House are using a ±1% standard. This issue often comes up in comments, but it's simple: For state legislatures, courts have said that a 10% total deviation is an acceptable rule of thumb-that is, if the difference in population between the largest district and the smallest district is no more than ±5% of the size of an ideal district, then you're okay. However, at least one map which tried to egregiously take advantage of this guideline (total deviation of 9.98%) was nonetheless invalidated, so while the "ten percent rule" is still probably a reasonable safe harbor, it may not be a sure thing. For congressional maps, it's even simpler: Districts have to be perfectly equipopulous unless the state can justify the difference as necessary to achieve legitimate state policy. (For instance, Iowa state law forbids splitting counties to draw a federal map; this is considered an acceptable goal by the courts, so Iowa's districts have slight variances.)
• 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, CT-Gov: OK, we can probably scratch Republican ex-Ambassador and rich guy Tom Foley from the list of likely Republican candidates for Joe Lieberman's Senate seat, if only by virtue of the fact that he's rhetorically moving himself up to the front of the line for the 2014 gubernatorial race (which would be a rematch against Dan Malloy). He says he'll keep intact his political operation from last time, where he lost narrowly. Meanwhile, I can't see this ever becoming reality, but a little wish-listing can't hurt: Connecticut liberals are already starting a draft movement to get the newly-available Keith Olbermann to think about running for the Senate seat.
• MI-Sen: The idea of Saul Anuzis (the state's former GOP party chair, and recent RNC election loser) stepping out from behind the curtain and running for Senate still seems a little odd, but it sounds like he's moving that way, dropping more public statements of interest and apparently polling the field now too. Meanwhile, this isn't really Senate related unless Debbie Stabenow mysteriously decided to retire and a Dem replacement was needed (and even then it probably isn't a good idea, considering how unpopular she became), but ex-Gov. Jennifer Granholm says she's permanently done with politics and moving on to academia with a new position at UC-Berkeley's school of public policy.
• MO-Sen: Ed Martin (whose main claim to fame is that he lost in MO-03 last year) has been doing everything he can to stay in the public eye, and it seems there's a method to his madness: he seems to be moving more decisively toward a Senate run. That seems a likely route toward getting flattened by someone known statewide like Jim Talent or Sarah Steelman, but he probably figures he has a couple advantages: one, if Talent doesn't run, Martin would be the only GOP primary candidate from the state's largest media market (St. Louis), and two, Martin is tight with the state's tea party grassroots, and while the Beltway astroturf types like the Club for Growth are big on Steelman, the actual teabagger boots on the ground have a lot of antipathy toward Steelman and are looking elsewhere.
• NJ-Sen: There are lots of politicians who are able to get away with having one penis reference in their names, but it seems like too much to overcome for someone with two penis references in his name. At any rate, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson is considering the race, although insiders concede he isn't likely to go for it. Johnson has been a major Republican donor for years, and, as of yesterday, has some more time on his hands to consider the race.
• NV-Sen: More signs that John Ensign is moving full speed ahead on running for re-election: he's convened a meeting of his re-election steering committee for Feb. 1. The invitation for the meeting (to be held at the NRSC) comes from his main fundraisers (indicating that, yes, he still has fundraisers working for him).
• VA-Sen: I suppose George Allen making it official that he's running for Senate is big news, but we've known this for a week; it's gotten so meta that there have been leaks about upcoming leaks about his candidacy. At any rate, he actually sent out his official e-mail announcement to supporters today and unveiled a new fully operational website for his Senate campaign. Jim Webb's folks simply say that Webb's decision about whether or not to run for another term will happen sometime "this quarter."
• KY-Gov: When Jefferson Co. Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw started making noises about running for the GOP nomination in Kentucky, I assumed she was trying to leverage her way into getting the field cleared for her for a lower statewide office, but it looks like she's actually following through on her long shot gubernatorial bid, which pits her in the primary against establishment fave David Williams and tea party-backed businessman Phil Moffett. Filing deadlines in Kentucky are tomorrow, so the field looks pretty set. (Dem incumbent Steve Beshear has only some token opposition in the Dem primary, and I'm not making this up: scrap metal dealer Otis Hensley.)
• MS-Gov: Even if SoS Delbert Hosemann doesn't follow through on rumored plans to run for Governor, we'll still have at least one candidate with a name that seems to have emerged straight from a Faulkner novel: Pearl River County Supervisor Hudson Holliday. He officially joined the field in the GOP primary, where he seems like he'll be the third wheel against Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant and businessman Dave Dennis.
• NH-Gov: We already have a poll out of the Republican primary field in the 2012 gubernatorial race, from a never-heard-of-'em-before firm called Strategic National. It looks like Ovide Lamontagne, if he's interested, may get a second whack at the governorship (remember he was the 1996 candidate, before falling off the map for a long time before re-emerging to almost win the 2010 GOP Senate primary); he leads the field at 37, with losing '10 candidate John Stephen at 14, state Sen. and ex-Rep. Jeb Bradley at 13, and Manchester mayor Ted Gatsas at 4.
• CT-05: Here are a few more Republican names that have bubbled up, that might get into the field in the now-open seat in the 5th, beyond the obvious re-run from state Sen. Jim Sam Caligiuri. Both the losers in the 2010 primary are also likely to run again, ex-Rob Simmons aide Justin Bernier and rich guy Mark Greenberg. State Sen. Andrew Roraback is also saying he's interested, while another state Sen., Rob Kane, is sounding pretty lukewarm about it.
• MI-09: Ex-state Rep. Rocky Raczkowski says he's planning on a rematch against Rep. Gary Peters, after losing narrowly in 2010. However, Raczkowski openly realizes he has some potential problems there (that go beyond his own weaknesses as a candidate): Peters may not have a district left to run in, either. With Michigan losing a seat, Republicans controlling the process, the bulk of the state's depopulation happening in the Detroit area, and the probable need to keep having two Detroit-area VRA seats, Peters is the likeliest target. (On the other hand, Peters could find himself drawn into a seat stretching across Detroit's northern suburbs with Sandy Levin, which might prompt the elderly Levin to retire, and that seat probably would be much more Dem-friendly than Peters' old seat.)
• NY-25: This strikes us as a disappointing move, given that he defended his progressive voting record pretty strongly during his campaign (although, unfortunately, most strongly in his concession statement): ex-Rep. Dan Maffei has taken a position with post-partisan centrist group Third Way. (Although, if nothing else, it points to the paucity of truly left-leaning think tanks and non-profits where Dems can park themselves and stay engaged within the Beltway for several years; there's no shortage of Heritages and Catos on the right, but this may have been the best option Maffei could find.) No indication on whether Maffei intends to make a 2012 rematch (although he'll probably want to wait to see whether the 25th winds up being the upstate district that gets chopped).
• UT-02: This may give a clue to the GOP's plans for redistricting (where their choices are to create four GOP seats in what may risk being a dummymander, or to decide to tolerate Jim Matheson's continued existence and create a Dem vote sink for him to strengthen their other districts). Incoming state GOP chair Thomas Wright has two goals for the cycle: raise $1 million, and beat "that rascal Jim Matheson." (At least he didn't call him a scalawag or a mugwump. Them's fightin' words.)
• CT-St. Leg.: There's a total of nine special elections pending in the upcoming months in both houses of Connecticut's legislature, all of which are seats that were previously held by Democrats (with eight of them heading off to join the Malloy administration and one of them heading to jail). To my eye (looking at the very helpful map provided by the Hartford Courant), these all look like they're in Dem-friendly areas (with the possible exceptions of HD-36 and HD-101?), but Republicans are hopeful they can make some gains somewhere.
• PA-St. Sen.: The fields have been picked (by the party committees in Berks County) for the upcoming special election to replace Michael O'Pake in the light-blue SD-11. Dems, as expected, picked former Berks County Commissioner Judy Schwank, while the GOP picked Berks County Register of Wills Larry Medaglia. (Interestingly, PA-06 loser Manan Trivedi was one of the other names considered for the Dems.) The Mar. 25 election theoretically will be a big test of whether the state GOP has any more continued momentum in SE Pennsylvania suburbs after their gains in November, although there are rumors of polling showing the locally-well-known Schwank leading in the 20-point realm against all potential opponents.
• State parties: One of the big stories over the weekend was that assorted tea partiers won three of the four state GOP chair races that were being contested. Maybe the most attention-getting one, because of '12 presidential implications, was the victory of Jack Kimball (who lost the '10 gubernatorial primary to John Stephen) over the Sununu dynasty's handpicked choice, Juliana Bergeron, in New Hampshire. However, the win of talk radio host Kirby Wilbur over incumbent Luke Esser in Washington also has substantial implications, inasmuch as former state Sen. Esser was a key ally of Rob McKenna (they both hail from suburban Bellevue and are among the last remnants of the state's moderate establishment tradition), and this may presage increased willpower on the right to mount a strong primary challenge to McKenna in the '12 gubernatorial race, despite the near-certainty that McKenna is the only Republican capable of winning the general election. Arizona also elected Tom Morrissey (against the wishes of both John McCain and Jon Kyl!). Oregon was the only state to buck the trend, electing Allen Alley (a moderate who lost the '10 gubernatorial primary, although he actually got most of the tea party support in that primary against the also-moderate-but-vapid Chris Dudley, geriatric John Lim, and laughable Bill Sizemore, and still seemed to have some goodwill reserves among that set).
• Voter suppression: With Wisconsin and Minnesota's Republican-held legislatures moving to maintain their power (by making it more difficult for Democrats to vote for Democrats, by imposing strict voter ID laws), the floodgates seem to be opening, indicating that the GOP's main priority isn't jobs but fighting the nonexistent rising tide of alleged voter fraud. Similar legislation is now emerging in legislatures in Texas, Kansas, and Iowa. It's also becoming clearer that a voter ID law is just one step in the process in Wisconsin where the ultimate goal is elimination of Wisconsin's fairly unique (and Dem-friendly) quirk of allowing same-day registration.
The AP has called the race in California's 20th district for Democratic incumbent Jim Costa.
SACRAMENTO (AP): Democratic Rep. Jim Costa has narrowly won enough votes to retain his Central Valley seat.
That's not a surprise, as everyone had been treating this one as a victory for almost a week, ever since a huge ballot dump from Fresno Co. pushed Costa into a late lead over GOP challenger Andy Vidak.
In New York's 25th District, however, it's over, and GOP challenger Ann Marie Buerkle has won. Dan Maffei just conceded the race, trailing by 567 votes. He'd been planning a court date concerning the recount today, but instead decided to pull the plug. Here's the best part of his statement:
The electorate may have changed tremendously from 2008 to 2010 in terms of who turned out to vote, but I kept my pledges to the people who elected me and I will forever be proud of that. Not only do I not apologize for my positions on the stimulus, the health care bill, financial reform, and the credit card bill, but my only regret is that there were not more opportunities to make healthcare more affordable to people and businesses and get more resources to the region for needed public projects - particularly transportation and public schools.
That brings the total GOP gain in the House to 63 seats, with only two seats left to be called and/or conceded (CA-11, looking like a definite Dem hold, and NY-01, a nailbiter but with some Dem momentum).
Republican Ann Marie Buerkle holds a 567-vote lead over U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei in the 25th Congressional District race after Wayne County election officials released their unofficial tally of absentee votes today.
Buerkle added 269 votes to her lead after getting 790 votes to Maffei's 521 in the absentee vote tally in Wayne County. Elections officials in Wayne County completed the tally today and posted the results on their Web site [PDF].
With those votes in, the total unofficial vote count for the entire district stands at 104,374 for Buerkle and 103,807 for Maffei, who is seeking his second term in Congress.
Maffei can still ask for a hand recount of all ballots, and there are some other challenged ballots whose status has not been resolved yet. But unless something truly miraculous happens, this one is all but over. Truly a terrible loss, and one that few saw coming, but we can hope that Maffei stages a comeback some time soon.
• AK-Sen: In the words of Bart Simpson, "he's like some kind of non-giving-up guy!" Joe Miller just keeps contesting the Alaska Senate race despite rigor mortis having started to set in. Today he added another legal action to the already-long (and expensive) tally, asking a federal judge for an injunction stopping state officials from certifying the election. Miller's latest gripe is that the state started the count a week earlier than scheduled, forcing him to pull together a volunteer ballot-challenging team on short notice, meaning that "an indeterminate number" of misspelled ballots got through. (That number would have to be several thousand for this challenge to have any hope of succeeding.) This, of course, has to work in parallel to a separate suit, still in process, where he's trying to force the state from counting any misspelled ballots.
• CT-Sen: Since she apparently has absolutely nothing better to do with her piles of money, Linda McMahon is actually running a post-election "thank you" ad. Speculation is rising that she's trying to stay top-of-mind for 2012, where there's the possibility of running against Joe Lieberman (an option she said she wasn't taking off the table). The article also cites increased buzz about Ted Kennedy Jr. running for the Dems. Rep. Chris Murphy is known to be interested too, and soon-to-be-ex-SoS Susan Bysiewicz, despite a year of nonstop bungling, is also in the mix.
• VA-Sen: Here are a couple more Republican names who are checking out the Senate race in Virginia. One is an establishment figure, Prince William Co. Chairman Corey Stewart, but the other is Bert Mizusawa, a retired Army Reserve brigadier general whom you might remember as the more-conservative opposition from the VA-02 GOP primary this year, who lost to Rep.-elect Scott Rigell. Also, the Tom Perriello buzz (in the event of Jim Webb not running again) seems to have gotten loud enough that the Washington Post has taken notice.
• NY-01, NY-25: The race in the 1st is down into the double digits, as Tim Bishop made up more ground yesterday as absentee ballots counted in his home turf of Southampton started reporting. Randy Altschuler's lead is 81 votes, representing a gain of more than 200 for Bishop (although Altschuler's camp says they did "better than expected" in Dem areas that reported, and that the more GOP-friendly Brookhaven has yet to report). In the 25th, Dan Maffei upped his percentage of the absentee votes coming in from the first half of votes from Onondaga County, enough to gain 521 votes, now trailing Ann Marie Buerkle by 303. He'll still need to maintain that pace to win, though, as more GOP-friendly Wayne County has yet to report.
• DSCC: Harry Reid is now saying he's "in no hurry" to fill the still-empty DSCC slot, but Beltway CW seems to find the fickle finger pointing more clearly in Patty Murray's direction. With Michael Bennet having pretty thoroughly declined, Reid and the White House are now making a "full court press" on Murray (who also helmed the DSCC's 2002 cycle).
• CO-St. House: 197 votes is all that kept Dems from controlling the trifecta in Colorado for 2012. The last outstanding race in the state House was concluded, with Republican Robert Ramirez beating Dem incumbent Debbie Benefield by 197, flipping the state House to the GOP by a 33-32 margin. (Dems control the state Senate and the governor's chair.)
• IA-St. Sen.: It's been two and a half weeks since an election, and you're already hungry for another one? Well, we've already got one on tap coming up very soon: the legislative special election to fill Lt. Gov.-elect Kim Reynolds' seat in SD-48, scheduled for Jan. 4. It's light-red turf in Iowa's rural southwestern corner, though, so likely GOP nominee Joni Ernst (the Montgomery Co. Auditor) is probably the favorite. The local parties will select their nominees next week; despite losing the state House, Dems still control the state Senate.
• Redistricting: Eight members of the new California citizens' redistricting commission have been named (one of whom is a former US Census director). If you make unsupported assumptions based on their professions, it looks like we may have done well with the "unaffiliated" picks. Six more will be added before work begins.
• AK-Sen: Is there anyone other than Joe Miller left who wants Joe Miller to keep contesting the Senate race? The state GOP organization is now saying it "stands ready to embrace Lisa Murkowski" as the winner of the race, despite her not having won its primary. I'm sure they were secretly ready all along to do so... recall that the person issuing the statement, state party chair Randy Ruedrich, was the guy that Joe Miller was trying to orchestrate a palace coup against, which got him fired from his Fairbanks borough job. I can't imagine much love lost between Ruedrich and Miller.
• IN-Sen: Richard Lugar, who just announced that he's running for re-election, is laying down a pretty big marker (and one that probably helped convince him to run again). He's out with an internal poll from American Viewpoint that, while it doesn't specifically poll the 2012 GOP Senate primary, shows him with huge approvals, though apparently among all voters and not just registered Republicans. He's at 66% favorable. Two of his potential GOP opponents, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock and state Sen. Mike Delph, have faves of 14% and 7% each.
• ND-Sen, NM-Sen: This Politico article doesn't actually contain any hard facts that are newsworthy, but it does contain one alarming sentence, that both Kent Conrad and Jeff Bingaman are "weighing retirement" (without anything beyond that). Conrad and Bingaman, though both long-timers, are still in their early 60s. Buried deep in the article is also a throwaway line that Jon Kyl is also the subject of retirement "speculation."
• NJ-Sen: That tea party push to have a recall election for Bob Menendez (despite, of course, the universally accepted legal principle that you can't recall federal officials) seems to have finally died, courtesy of the New Jersey Supreme Court. I'm just surprised the case rose that far through the courts before, y'know, someone thought to crack open their 1L Con Law textbook, but the bright side is that every dollar right-wingers spend on pointless appellate legal fees is a dollar not spent on actually electing somebody. Menendez is up for a regularly scheduled election in 2012, anyway.
• NV-Sen: Everyone seems in a fit of instant nostalgia for Sharron Angle today, with the revelation that in the course of the campaign she said "Sometimes dictators have good ideas" (in reference to Augusto Pinochet and privatized pension systems), and the leaked release of the ad that she cut that never got released, probably because it takes a minute to make a point that should take five seconds and because the 70s-disaster-flick-style overacting overshadows any possible message. (You can click here to see the ad, bearing in mind that it opens in Windows Media Player.) The real news that got leaked today that might impact the 2012 race, though, is that none other than John Ensign helped Sharron Angle prep for her debate by playing the part of Harry Reid. I wonder if that'll be the last nail in the coffin for the reputed Reid/Ensign non-aggression pact?
• RI-Sen: Add one more potential name to the roster for a Republican challenger to Sheldon Whitehouse: the state's GOP chair, Giovanni Cicione (who has been encouraging outgoing Gov. Don Carcieri to run, as well as floating his own name as a last resort), is touting John Robitaille as a possible candidate. Robitaille (Carcieri's former communications director) performed above expectations in the gubernatorial race in which he was supposed to be a sacrificial lamb, finishing second (though helped along by Frank Caprio's last-minute implosion).
• VA-Sen (pdf): PPP's Virginia Senate poll had a GOP primary portion that just got released separately; right now, George Allen is the consensus pick, although that may have more to do with the ex-Gov. and ex-Sen.'s broad name rec compared with the rest of the field. Allen is at 46, with the very-unlikely-to-run Eric Cantor at 18, right-wing AG Ken Cuccinelli at 16, Lt. Gov. Bill Boling and ex-Rep. Tom Davis both at 4, and state Del. Bob Marshall (who almost sneaked into the 2008 Senate nomination) at 2.
• NY-01, NY-25: Good news in the 1st, bad news in the 25th. Tim Bishop has made up some ground, as of the second day of absentee counting. Bishop picked up 108 votes on Randy Altschuler, cutting Altschuler's lead down to 275, and that's with Smithtown, Altschuler's strongest area, having almost entirely reported. Bishop's strongest turf is East Hampton, which will begin counting tomorrow. Ann Marie Buerkle, however, gained a small amount of ground in the 25th, contrary to expectations. Her lead is up to 824 votes, after a batch of small batch (230) of challenged ballots from Monroe County got opened and counted. The county to watch, though, will be Onondaga County, which is Dan Maffei's base and where 7,000 absentees are yet to be counted.
• Redistricting: There are three different redistricting articles out today that are worth a read. One is about Texas, where it seems like the GOP is extended about as far as it can go (thanks to victories in TX-23 and likely TX-27); compounding the problem there is something that I've been pointing out for years, which is that at least two, possibly three, of its expected four new seats are going to have to be VRA seats, seeing as how the vast majority of Texas's growth in the past decade has been among Hispanics. Trying to limit the creation of new Hispanic-majority seats will only make it harder to protect Quico Canseco and Blake Farenthold.
There's also a piece looking at Nevada, more specifically the fight within the Dem-controlled legislature about for whom to tailor NV-04 (which will probably be a Dem-leaning suburban district, conceding a GOP-leaning NV-03 to Joe Heck). Both state Senate majority leader Steven Horsford and new state Assembly speaker John Oceguera have their eyes on the new seat. Finally, there are questions in Florida about just who's behind the lawsuit, fronted by a bipartisan coalition of Mario Diaz-Balart and Corrine Brown, to stop implementation of Amendment 6, the one bright spot from Florida on Election Day (a new initiative that makes gerrymandering more difficult). The Orlando Sentinel traces the money trail back to a number of state legislators' groups, including one led by GOP state Sen. Don Gaetz, the guy who... big surprise... is tasked with leading redistricting for the state Senate.
• AK-Sen: Nothing has really changed with the overall trajectory of the Alaska Senate race, but this is the first day that Lisa Murkowski has been able to claim a "lead" over Joe Miller (even though her victory has become increasingly clear each day). At the end of yesterday's counting, she had 92,164 votes to Miller's 90,448. 7,601 were subject to challenge but counted for her anyway (and, if Miller's lawsuit succeeds, could get reversed), but based on Murkowski's success at avoiding write-in challenges, is on track to win with or without those challenged ballots.
• FL-Sen: George LeMieux, whose year-and-a-half in the Senate is about to expire, is leaving with more of a whimper than a bang, if PPP is to be believed: his approvals are 11/28 (with 61% with no opinion), including 14/24 among Republicans. He's not looking like he'd have much impact in a challenge to Bill Nelson in 2012, which he's threatened (which isn't to say that Nelson is out of the woods, as a stronger Republican will no doubt come along). Among all the appointed Senators, he's still faring better than Roland Burris (18/57) but worse than Carte Goodwin (17/22) and Ted Kaufman (38/33). (Oh, and if you're still feeling like we lost out by not having Charlie Crist win the Senate race, guess again: Bob Dole! is reporting that Crist promised him he'd caucus with the GOP if he won the 3-way race. This comes after leaks in the waning days of the race that he'd caucus with the Democrats. Somehow, I expect any day now that Ralph Nader will reveal that Crist promised him that he'd caucus with the Green Party if he won the race.)
• IN-Sen: Richard Lugar made it official; he's running for re-election one more time. Lugar, who'll be 80 in 2012, probably has more to worry about in the Republican primary than he does in the general election, where aspiring Democrats would probably be more interested in the open gubernatorial seat.
• OH-Sen: Sherrod Brown will probably have a tougher re-election than his initial election, but it's unclear which Republican he'll face. The two who've gotten the most press are Mary Taylor, the current Auditor and newly-elected Lt. Governor, or Rep. Jim Jordan (a religious right fave from the state's rural west), but another possibility that the article broaches is long-time Rep. Steve LaTourette, one of the House's more moderate GOPers left. Either way, if Jordan or LaTourette were to try for the promotion, that would help the state GOP decide which of their seats to vaporize in the redistricting process (although LaTourette's, in the northeast corner and surrounded by Dem seats, would be much harder to work with). Ohio's losing two seats, though, and one more Dem seat is on the chopping block, especially since the biggest population losses have come in the northeast -- the likeliest outcome seems to be consolidation of districts that sets up either a Dennis Kucinich/Marcia Fudge or Dennis Kucinich/Betty Sutton mash-up.
• PA-Sen: The GOP feels like they have a shot against Bob Casey (who won by a near-overwhelming margin in 2006), given the state's turn toward the red this year. The big question, though, is who? If Tom Ridge didn't do it this year when it would have been a gimmee, he certainly isn't any likelier to do it in 2012. Hotline mentions a couple current suburban Reps., Jim Gerlach and Charlie Dent, both of whom have tenaciously held down Dem-leaning districts that would be prime open seat battles if they left. Failing that, the bench looks pretty empty; they cite state Sen. Jake Corman as interested, as well as talk radio host and behind-the-scenes player Glen Meakem, who cited interest in running for 2010 but decided against it.
• MN-Gov: Minnesota's SoS (a Dem, Mark Ritchie) has laid out the timeline for the recount process. The race will be canvassed starting Nov. 23, and presuming a recount is necessary (which it will be unless something weird happens with the canvass, as Dem Mark Dayton leads Tom Emmer by less than one-half of a percent, triggering the automatic recount provision), the recounting will begin on Nov. 29.
• MD-01: Nothing like teabagger hypocrisy at work: freshly elected with a mandate to destroy the federal government, Andy Harris's first act in Washington was to demand all the free goodies from the federal government that he's entitled to, so long as other people are paying for them. At freshman orientation, Harris was observed expressing dismay that his gold-plated health care plan takes a month to kick in.
• NY-01, NY-25: Here are a couple more updates from overtime. In the 1st, Randy Altschuler's lead over Tim Bishop is currently 383, but there are more than 11,000 absentees to be counted starting today, and since they're all from one county (Suffolk), your guess is as good as mine how they break. In NY-25, Ann Marie Buerkle gained a tiny bit of ground as two GOP-leaning counties reported their absentees; she's now up 729. Dan Maffei's base, Dem-leaning Onondaga County, is about to start counting its 6,000 absentees. He should make up some ground, but he'll need to average 56% among the remaining absentee ballots, while he's only got 54% in Onondaga so far, though.
• DSCC: Dianne Feinstein told the press that Michael Bennet is, despite his previous demurrals, going to be the next DSCC chair. Does Michael Bennet know this? He's still saying no. The rest of the Dem leadership in the Senate (and the GOP, too) was elected without a hitch today, but the DSCC job still stands vacant.
• CA-AG: Things keep looking up for Kamala Harris in California, after a torrent of new votes yesterday from Alameda County (where the Dem stronghold of Oakland is). That batch broke 18,764 for Harris, and only 5,099 for Steve Cooley, which may be a decisive moment in the count.
• Chicago mayor: Rahm Emanuel is certainly looking like the early favorite in the Chicago mayoral race, courtesy of an Anzalone-Liszt poll commissioned by the Teamsters local (who haven't endorsed yet). Emanuel is at 36, with Danny Davis at 14, Carol Mosely Braun at 13, Gery Chico at 10, James Meeks at 7, and Miguel del Valle at 4. Now you may be noticing what I'm noticing, that there's significant splitting of the African-American vote here, and if you added Davis, Braun, and Meeks up into one super-candidate, they'd be in a dead heat with Emanuel. Well, don't forget that this election uses a runoff, so chances are good we'll see a head-to-head between Emanuel and one of the African-American challengers, and the poll finds Emanuel winning both those contests convincingly too: 54-33 versus Davis and 55-32 against Braun.
• FL-Sen: It seems like the "permanent campaign" is pretty much the new normal these days, as everybody's already talking about who's gonna run in 2012. In Florida, the list of potential GOP challengers to Bill Nelson is deep even if Jeb Bush doesn't follow through on an unlikely bid. Appointed (and soon to be ex-)Sen. George LeMieux seems to be ramping up for a bid, although he might suffer for his Charlie Crist ties. Other GOPers mentioned include Rep. Connie Mack IV, state House majority leader Adam Hasner, state Senate president Mike Haridopolos, and newly-elected Rep. Daniel Webster.
• MA-Sen: As for the Dem field in Massachusetts, one prominent potential candidate is staying mum for now. Boston mayor Tom Menino welcomes the attention but is "focused on being mayor."
• MT-Sen: And then there's Montana, where freshman Jon Tester is probably one of the most vulnerable Senate Dems. At-large GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg is usually the first name you hear mentioned in that context, but he seems to be in no hurry to decide. Two other GOPers are making moves, though: businessman and losing 2008 Lt. Gov. nominee Steve Daines, and Neil Livingstone, CEO of a "crisis management firm" and frequent anti-terrorism talking head, are both actively looking at the race.
• WV-Sen, NE-Sen: It looks like Joe Manchin's spokesperson's denial yesterday of any interest in switching parties wasn't vehement enough, because Manchin had to reiterate that, no, he isn't considering it; in addition, Senate GOP spokespersons said those conversations alleged by Fox News apparently never even took place. The same situation applies in Nebraska, where Ben Nelson says that not only is he not interested in switching but that no one has reached out to him to do so. Encouragingly, at least from a rhetorical standpoint, Nelson also says "the party hasn't left me."
• MS-Gov: With two well-liked former Reps. idling around wondering what to do next year (Gene Taylor and Travis Childers), you'd think the Dems might actually be able to field a competitive candidate for Mississippi next year. According to at least one local pundit, a Childers comeback doesn't seem likely (more interested in state party chair), while Taylor seems to have running for something in mind but potentially just his old seat again in '12.
• OH-Gov: Here's a good post-mortem on Ted Strickland from Jonathan Chait, which suggests that Strickland managed to keep things close (despite the rest of the wipeout in Ohio) because a solid campaign that focused on just the right amount of populism. He ran well ahead of national Dems on average among groups like seniors and persons with high school educations.
• FL-22: Is Allen West the Bizarro World version of Alan Grayson? He's an ideological mismatch with his Florida district that leans the wrong way away from his party let alone his own amped-up version of its message, he has no built-in self-censor like most politicians, and he was elected more so by nationwide online supporters than the locals. And now he's hiring from his own echo chamber, turning for his Chief of Staff not a Capitol Hill pro but the conservative talk show host who helped bolster his campaign. Joyce Kaufman is the one who said on her show this summer that "if ballots don't work, bullets will."
• NY-23: Doug Hoffman is truly the gift that keeps on giving. The election's over, and he's still giving. He now says he didn't mean to send out a statement that he put out last week post-election, calling local Republican bosses the real "spoilers in this race." (Hoffman, of course, pulled in 6% of the vote last week, saving Bill Owens yet again.)
• NY-25: Trailing slightly with the absentee-counting process looming, Dan Maffei (like Tim Bishop in NY-01) is requesting a hand count of ballots (the electronic voting machines generate a paper trail). A judge also ruled that both camps may inspect the list of 11,000 absentee ballot requests, a prelim to each camp developing the list of which ballots they want to challenge.
• DCCC: It's sounding more and more like Rep. Steve Israel will be on tap to head the DCCC for the 2012 cycle. He was one of the three key deputies at the DCCC last year (along with Joe Crowley, who seems to be edging away from the job, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who seems interested too but not in as strong a position with the Pelosi-led core of leadership).
• House: Here's an interesting piece of trivia: only eight (8) House Dems did better, percentage-wise in 2010 than they did in 2008. Most are from safe urban districts (most notably Nancy Pelosi herself, despite the seven figures the right-roots raised for her opponent), although Jim Himes and Chellie Pingree were in competitive races and managed to gain ground.
• Polltopia: PPP puts together a helpful table of approval ratings on the various Senators up for re-election in 2012. It corresponds pretty closely with the general conventional wisdom about who's vulnerable: Joe Lieberman is in worst shape at 33/54, followed by Claire McCaskill and Debbie Stabenow (who actually are in slightly worse condition than John Ensign, though his problems go well beyond his approvals). Interestingly, the best-liked Senator statewide (Olympia Snowe at 56/34) may also be one of the most vulnerable, not in a general but to a teabagging in the GOP primary.