• FL-Sen: Do you remember Craig Miller? I barely do. He's the wealthy former steakhouse exec who was the Republican Plan C in the FL-24 primary last year... and in an amusing bit of synchronicity, came in third, behind now-Rep. Sandy Adams and the batshit nuts Karen Diebel. Hoping to fail upward, Miller is now looking at the Senate race and plans to decide "within the next few weeks." I have no idea what he thinks he niche might be, and it's not clear to me that he has the money to overwhelm the field.
• IN-Sen, IN-Gov: Former Rep. Tim Roemer says he's stepping down as ambassador to India. Could this presage a return to Hoosier politics? I'm skeptical, as Dems already have legit candidates lining up for both marquee statewide races. (And for what it's worth, an unnamed source told The Hill last month that Roemer wasn't likely to run for Senate.)
• MA-Sen: This is just weird. Despite repeatedly saying he isn't interested in running for Senate, Deval Patrick somehow keeps finding himself talking about the subject. This time, he said that he had talked with the President about other jobs, but wouldn't say whether Obama had asked him to run against Scott Brown. Patrick again said he doesn't want to run, and added: "I would say no to the president of the United States."
• ND-Sen: When the Club for Growth takes aim at an otherwise top-tier Republican candidate, you know you have premium-grade cat fud ready to be served. Le Club's target now is freshman Rep. Rick Berg, who went from a seemingly distant possibility to not-running-but-virtual-frontrunner status almost instantly a week ago. They're accusing Berg of being insufficiently pro-dystopia, i.e., not supporting enough cuts to federal government spending. I really hope they can find a dog... er... cat for this fight.
• NV-Sen: Sometimes PPP deliberately polls for the lulz, and sometimes, the lulz find them. In this case, it's the latter: Tom Jensen's band of merry robodialers found Dean Heller beating Sharron Angle in a hypothetical GOP primary by a score of... LOL... 84-8. ("El Exigente, what more could you want?" "Their names.") Meanwhile, on the Dem side, where there does appear to be an actual primary, Rep. Shelley Berkeley leads wealthy attorney Byron Georgiou by a 65-8 margin. Good times.
• PA-Sen: Apparently, there's two things Quinnipiac won't do: a) release sample compositions and b) test incumbents against hypothetical opponents whose names don't start with "Generic." Anyhow, Sen. Bob Casey has inched up to a 46-34 lead against "the Republican candidate." He was 45-35 two months ago.
• UT-Sen: Speaking of the Club for Growth, they just put out their 2010 scorecard, and Orrin Hatch's numbers really demonstrate the Club's power. Despite a lifetime score of 74% (30th among Senators in office last year), Hatch managed to rack up a 97% rating last year, tying him with several other Republicans for third place. What a difference a sword of Damocles makes.
• VA-Sen: Hmm. Ultra-wingnut Del. Bob Marshall's 2008 campaign manager just got hired by George Allen... and the dude didn't even tell his old boss first. Marshall's been looking at a possible Senate run, and I think he's the best hope (albeit not a great hope) we have of knocking off Allen in the GOP primary, but it's not clear what impact this will have on his plans. One positive tea-leaf: In response to the news, Marshall said, "You can tell who the candidates are not by where the consultants go, but where the volunteers go."
• PA-Gov: Uhh... did Gov. Tom Corbett just say that state universities sitting atop the Marcellus Shale should plug their budget gap by allowing exploitation of the natural gas reserves beneath them? Why yes he did. If you aren't familiar with the deeply fraught issue of hydraulic fracturing (also known as "hydrofracking" or just "fracking"), this NYT piece is a good place to start. Fracking is a devastatingly poisonous method of extracting gas, and Pennsylvania is at the epicenter of the fracking debate. Indeed, the EPA is investigating a fracking spill that took place there just last week. UPDATE: Hah, sheez. Corbett literally lifted this idea from an episode of Saved by the Bell! NOT kidding! Click the link!
• WV-Gov: Former Republican SoS Betty Ireland is finally out with her first TV ad, which I think has a weird soundtrack, odd staccato pacing, and (at least in the version her campaign posted to YouTube) crappy audio quality. I think she could definitely lose.
• AZ-06: Yesterday we noted that state House Speaker Kirk Adams was resigning his post. Later that day, he formally announced he was, as expected, running in the GOP primary in the open 6th CD. Retiring Sen. Jon Kyl immediately endorsed Adams, while Rep. Trent Franks endorsed Matt Salmon, who is also running for this post
• NV-02: Roll Call's Kyle Trygstad does a nice job digging up some facts about a 1954 special election to replace Nevada Sen. Pat McCarran, who passed away in September of that year. (If you've ever flown to Vegas, that's the guy the airport is named after.) There was some legal wrangling as to whether a special election was actually required, but once the state Supreme Court ruled yes, the parties selected their nominees by committee, not primary. That could possibly serve as precedent as SoS Ross Miller decides whether state law requires that parties choose their candidates, but Nevada's current statutes were revised only a decade ago, so the McCarran case may not be applicable.
• NY-23: A few weeks ago, the NRCC mocked a batch of miniscule radio ad buys by the DCCC and said: "At what point does a campaign committee blush when launching a 'paid advertising campaign?'" Apparently, that point must lie somewhere below $4,550, which is the amount the NRCC is spending on a tiny TV buy in Rep. Bill Owens' district. (It's some lame Pelosi-related attack.)
I'd also like to give some props to Steve Peoples of Roll Call for basically ignoring the contents of the ad and focusing on exactly what the NRCC is trying to accomplish here. I don't know if he wrote the headline, but it can't be what Republicans were hoping for: "NRCC Takes Turn With Small Ad Buy Targeting Earned Media." And in referring a radio ad against Rep. Mike Ross that we noted the other day, Peoples used the kind of language you might find on SSP, saying that the NRCC "convinced a local paper to write a story about the radio buy but refused at the time to disclose the size of the investment." (It turned out to be $2,550.) If you're going to write up a story like this, this is how it should be written.
• IN-SoS: The GOP-held state legislature has backed off a bit on attempting to rewrite the law in order to get around the Charlie White mess. (If this is the first you're hearing of the whole saga, I would suggest checking out our IN-SoS tag.) The proposed new law would give the governor the power to appoint replacement officers only on a prospective basis, so it won't affect the White situation. However, the legislation will still prevent the GOP from losing their major-party status (which was keyed to the SoS race) if the worst happens.
• NJ-St. Sen.: The legal wrangling over Democrat Carl Lewis's ballot eligibility has heated up quickly. Lewis has filed suits in both state and federal court, and a federal court judge has already ordered LG/SoS/Chris Christie goon Kim Guadagno to explain her decision booting Lewis from the ballot earlier this week. Lewis is still busy campaigning, and if he's ultimately declared eligible, I think all this rigmarole might wind up helping him, given that it's free media.
• Colorado: I'm guessing that Republicans are wishing state Sen. Greg Brophy hadn't cracked out of turn and admitted that proposed GOP maps had been deliberately "skewed to the right." That certainly won't help them when the entire matter winds up in court, which Republican state Rep. Don Coram acknowledged was inevitable anyway. In a bit worthy of Stephen Colbert, Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post writes: "Brophy said Republicans got nervous when they heard Democrats were pushing so-called competitive seats, which he said favor Democrats...." Ah, indeed, the facts do have a well-known liberal bias.
Connecticut: According to the Greenwich Time, Dem state House Speaker Christopher Donovan has his eye on Rep. Chris Murphy's open 5th CD, and would very much like to have the blue stronghold of Bridgeport drawn into it. That would remove it from Rep. Jim Himes's district, but if you look at a map, it's rather hard to envision this happening without doing a lot of reshuffling. Of course, anything is possible, but given how minor CT's population deviations are, a serious reconfiguration of the map would seem to be uncalled for.
• Indiana: The Hoosier State is poised to become the fourth to finalize a redistricting map. The Republican-held state legislature has given its approval to a new plan, which now goes to GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels for his signature.
• Massachusetts: A seemingly clever bit of politics by Scott Brown, but there's a "but." Brown sent a letter to the state legislature's redistricting committee, advocating for a majority-minority congressional seat to be drawn in the Suffolk County region, and also to press for more maj-min districts in the state lege. Who knows whether the idiots in the legislature will listen to him, but Brown of course is simultaneously pushing for new district lines which will ultimately favor Republicans (by packing minorities) and, more importantly, he gets to look like he's protecting minority interests, all at no cost to himself.
Here's the "but": Brown doesn't seem to know what he's talking about. Rep. Mike Capuano, who would be most affected by Brown's proposal, fired back, saying his 8th CD already is majority-minority. It's about 54.5% "white" according to the Census, but that includes Hispanics who also identify as white, so the non-Hispanic white %age is almost certainly below 50%. (Some 19% of 8th CD residents identify as Hispanic, of any race.) Oops.
• Nevada: I'm not going to get into this one in too much detail (my brain can only hold so much redistricting-related information), but Nevada Republicans are now bitterly split over new maps that GOPers in the state Senate drew for the state Assembly. Why didn't the Assembly draw its own maps? They did, but the morons who drew them were advised not to release them because lawyers thought they didn't comply with the VRA. Meanwhile, Dems in both chambers worked together to release a joint set of plans. However, they still haven't released their congressional map. Anyhow, you can find more details under the "Related Documents" sections at both links.
• Oklahoma: Unsurprisingly, the map that the state House unanimously approved appears ready to sail through the state Senate, too. Shira Toeplitz suggested in her writeup (which is a few days old) that the new plan could be signed into law this week, but it hasn't actually been voted on by the full Senate as of this writing.
• Texas: The cat fud is ready to fly in Texas redistricting, where ruthless Republican leaders are prepared to run roughshod over their own incumbents in the aims of preserving and maximizing their advantage to the greatest extent possible. In other words, they're staying true to the spirit of Tom DeLay. In the abstract sense, it's a ruthlessness I admire, and I wish Dems would adopt it. In any case, I wouldn't be surprised if the final maps pass in spite of a lot of GOP defections - though maybe a few horse heads in a few beds will solve that problem.
• Virginia: I'm glad to see that Republicans in the state Senate are as happy to act like sheep as Democrats in the state House. The Democrats' new map passed yesterday by a 32-5 margin. Reading the linked article really makes me feel like this whole thing has been a grand kabuki, with Gov. Bob McDonnell playing everyone - even members of his own party - like puppets. McDonnell simply had to show he could extract a price from Democrats, and so he has. However, I note that the congressional map is now completely untethered from the legislative maps. If Democrats agree to an 8-3 map now, well, fuck them. Once McDonnell signs the lege plans into law, there's no going back, and there's no reason at all not to force the courts to draw a federal map.
• FL-Sen: George LeMieux is unsurprisingly trying to distance himself from the label "Charlie Crist Republican," but all I can say is... good luck with that. The Miami Herald has a lengthy look at just how close the two men were, and while Crist himself won't say a word against LeMieux, other former staffers are more than happy to detail just how tight their working relationship was.
• MA-Sen: Hey, Richie Neal: Shut the fuck up. Seriously. What is it with Democratic congressmen from Massachusetts who love to crack out of turn? First Barney Frank, and now this crap. And yeah, you'll have to click the link if you want to know what I'm worked up about.
• TX-Sen: Over at Burnt Orange Report, Karl-Thomas Musselman, a long-time friend of SSP, has a good piece about Democrats' flawed strategies in Texas statewide races over the last decade, and how Team Blue should approach things differently going forward.
• IA-Gov: In a way, this might be the roughest "do-over" poll of all. Former Dem Gov. Chet Culver lost by double digits last fall, the worst performance of any incumbent governor, yet even he now beats Terry Branstad 48-46 in a hypothetical PPP rematch.
• PA-Gov: GOP Gov. Tom Corbett's disapproval rating has soared in the past couple of months. He was at 39-11 in February, and is now at 39-37, according to Quinnipiac. I guess this means not a single new person in the state of PA grew to approve of Corbett in two months!
• AZ-06, AZ-Sen: It's getting hard to keep track of what Republican Russell Pearce's plans are. The author of Arizona's notorious immigration law supposedly was out of the running for the open Senate seat, was heavily talked up for the open 6th CD, then was talked down for it, and is now saying he's leaving both doors open. He says he wants to stay on through the end of the 2012 legislative session, though, and Arizona has a resign-to-run law, so who knows.
On the other hand, House Speaker Kirk Adams just announced that he will resign from the legislature, which can only mean he's gearing up for a run in the 6th. (We've mentioned his name a couple of times before as a possibility.) It's going to be a crowded GOP primary, as the field already includes ex-Rep. Matt Salmon (who used to hold this seat, more or less) and former state Senate majority leader Chuck Gray.
• IA-04: These are statewide numbers, but still interesting: Steve King is the least-popular member of Iowa's congressional delegation, with 27-34 favorables. Christie Vilsack, meanwhile, is at 38-23. Certainly these scores within the new fourth district would look different, but unless there is some wild base of support for King in northwest Iowa, I can't see how you wouldn't prefer to have Vilsack's numbers.
• NC-11: Asheville City Councilman Cecil Bothwell says he'll challenge Rep. Health Shuler in the Democratic primary next year. Shuler, thanks to his vote against healthcare reform, took just 61% in a primary last year against Aixa Wilson, who did not even file any FEC reports.
• ND-AL: With a Rick Berg run for Senate looking likely, people are starting to look at filling his at-large House seat. On the Republican side, state House Majority Leader Al Carlson said he's considering a race. Other possible names, according to the linked piece, are state Sen. Tony Grindberg and Tax Commissioner Cory Fong. I wonder if PSC Commish Brian Kalk might slide down from the Senate race, too.
• NV-02: Oh well, I can't always be right! Sharron Angle shot down an unsourced rumor in the LVRJ that she'd run as an independent in the special election to replace Dean Heller if she isn't chosen as the GOP nominee. (She won't be.)
• NY-13: Now it's Mike Grimm's turn to tell his side of the story about his instantly notorious nightclub incident from 1999. Meanwhile, NYC Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio is calling on the NYPD and DoJ to release their records from their investigations of the matter. Not really sure why DeBlas, of all people, is inserting himself into this one, except perhaps to try to take a GOP scalp as he eyes the 2013 mayoral race.
• OR-01: Here's another interesting bit of sub-text to the whole David Wu saga: Nike. The sneaker company has apparently never forgiven Wu for his vote against a bill that would have expanded trade with China back in 2000, and Nike's chairman endorsed Republican Rob Cornilles last year. (The company also donated to him via their PAC.) It'll probably be easier to get rid of Wu in the Democratic primary, though, so Nike may decide to get involved yet again.
• 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.
• CT-Sen: Connecticut's open seat Senate race was always destined to be a high-dollar affair, and the money chase is well underway. Former SoS Susie Bysiewicz released a first quarter total of a respectable $500K, but Rep. Chris Murphy, her main rival in the Dem primary, just more than doubled up on that, with $1.1 million raised over the course of his first 10 weeks. (Of course, they've both picked their low hanging fruit on their first trip to the orchard, so the challenge will be to keep up that rate.)
• FL-Sen: PPP, who put out general election numbers on the Senate race last week, have the GOP primary numbers... and they find GOP voters saying "Uh, who?" (Y'know, like that guy who used to be the Senator... who somehow is known by only 26% of the sample?) Unfortunately, Connie Mack IV dropped out while the poll was in the field, so, better-known than the other options (perhaps courtesy of his dad, the former Sen. Connie Mack III, who the state's older and more confused voters might think is back) he leads the way at 28, with the actual candidates, ex-Sen. George LeMieux and state Sen. majority leader Mike Haridopolos at 14 and 13, respectively. Additional likely candidate Adam Hasner is back at 5. Don't look for any help on choosing from Marco Rubio: he's just announced that he won't endorse in the primary.
• HI-Sen: There still seem to be fans out there for losing '06 IL-06 candidate and Obama admin member Tammy Duckworth, eager to get her into elected office somewhere someday, and the place du jour seems to be Hawaii, where a Draft Duckworth page has popped up for the open Senate seat.
• MA-Sen: Salem mayor Kim Driscoll has been the occasional subject of Senate speculation for the Dem primary, along with the mayor of pretty much every other mid-sized city in the state. Nevertheless, she pulled her name out of contention yesterday (all part of the Democratic master plan of not having a candidate to deceptively lull the GOP into complacency, I'm sure). Meanwhile, Republican incumbent Scott Brown (last seen praising the Paul Ryan Abolition of Medicare Plan, rolled out his first quarter fundraising numbers: he raised $1.7 million in Q1, leaving him with $8.1 million cash on hand. That's, of course, huge, but the silver lining on that is that it doesn't leave him on track to hit his previously-announced super-gigantic $25 mil fundraising goal for the cycle.
• FL-Gov: With various newly-elected Republican governors in polling freefall, Rick Scott (who can't even get along with his GOP legislature, let alone his constituents) really seems to be leading the way down. Quinnipiac finds his approvals deep in the hole, currently 35/48, down from 35/22 in February (meaning he picked up no new fans in that period, but managed to piss off an additional quarter of the state). Voters says by a 53-37 margin that his budget proposals are unfair to people like them. Voters are also opposed to the legislature's proposal to stop collecting union dues from state workers' paychecks.
• MO-Gov: After spending Monday dragging out his fight with those who buy ink by the barrel (aka the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who broke the story on his fancy-pants hotel habit), Missouri Lt. Gov. and Republican gubernatorial candidate Peter Kinder seemed to dial things down a notch yesterday: he says he'll 'voluntarily' reimburse the state $30K for those expenditures, and while not exactly apologizing, says he seeks "to move this nimbus off the horizon." Um, whatever that means.
• AZ-06: After getting mentioned a lot when Jeff Flake announced his Senate run, opening up the Mesa-based 6th, state Senate president Russell Pearce is now sounding unlikely to run according to insiders. (Blowback over his links to the Fiesta Bowl controversy may be the last straw, though, rather than his status as xenophobia's poster child.) A couple other GOP names have risen to the forefront: state House speaker Kirk Adams, who's considering, and former state Sen. majority leader Chuck Gray, who is already in.
• CA-36: One more big union endorsement for Janice Hahn in the primary fight against Debra Bowen to succeed Jane Harman: this one comes from the SEIU.
• CT-05: The open seat vacated by Chris Murphy is likely to draw a crowd, and here's a new Republican contender in this swingy, suburban district: Farmington town council chair and former FBI agent Mike Clark. Clark has a notable profile for helping to take down a fellow Republican while at the FBI: corrupt ex-Gov. John Rowland. He'll face Justin Bernier in the GOP primary, who lost the primary in 2010.
• FL-20: In case Debbie Wasserman Schultz's work load couldn't get any heavier, she just got a new heap of responsibility dumped in her lap: she'll become the new head of the DNC, to replace newly-minted Senate candidate Tim Kaine. She'll, of course, keep her day job as Representative.
• MN-08: The Dem-leaning 8th is as good a place as any to pick up a seat in 2012, but there's the wee problem of trying to find somebody to run there. The latest Dem possibility that drew everyone's interest, Yvonne Prettner Solon, the former Duluth-area state Sen. and newly-elected Lt. Governor, won't run here either.
• NH-St. House: I realize that with 400 members you're going to have a lot of bad apples, but still we're up to 3 GOP frosh having resigned already from the New Hampshire state House. Hot on the heels of a 91-year-old member resigning after advocating (literally) sending 'defectives' to Siberia to starve, Gary Wheaton just resigned for driving with a suspended license after a previous DUI (and then publicly suspected the arresting officer for targeting him because of his vote against collective bargaining). And somewhat less dramatically, Robert Huxley eventually got around to resigning after not getting around to showing up for any votes so far in the session.
• EMILY's List: EMILY's List is out with its first five fundraising targets for the 2012 cycle. Some of them are to be expected, with high-profile GOP freshmen and already-announced female opponents: Allen West (who may face West Palm Beach mayor Lois Frankel in FL-22), Paul Gosar (who faces a rematch with ex-Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in AZ-01), and Charlie Bass (rematched with Ann McLane Kuster in NH-02). They also targeted Joe Heck in NV-03 and Chip Cravaack in MN-08, who don't have opponents yet but conceivably could match up with Dina Titus and Tarryl Clark, respectively.
• WATN?: Thirtysomething Carte Goodwin seemed to make a good impression during his half-a-year as a fill-in in the Senate (in between Robert Byrd and Joe Manchin), moving him to prime position on the Dems' West Virginia bench, but he says he's not running for anything else anytime soon. Or more accurately, he says the only the only thing he's running for "is the county line." (Uh, with the revenuers in pursuit?)
• AZ-Sen: Rep. Jeff Flake, long known for his non-insane stance on immigration, has bluntly announced that he's flip-flopping. Just like John McCain before him, Flake says he no longer supports comprehensive immigration reform and now just wants to discuss border security. Clearly, Flake is terrified of getting teabagged in the senatorial primary, even though he doesn't have any actual opponents yet. I suspect that Rep. Trent Franks (or someone else with strong movement conservative bona fides) will get into the race, though, and I doubt that Flake's last-minute conversion will incline the teabaggers to forgive him.
And I also wonder if it might not tick off his patrons at the Club for Growth, who just proudly announced that they've raised $350K for him. The CfG is backed by people and organizations who are what you'd call "cheap labor conservatives." That is, they prefer to see a steady flow of illegal immigrants because they represent a ready pool of workers they can cheaply exploit. The kind of immigration reform that Flake once favored also pleased his corporate masters, because it would have created a temporary worker program-almost as good, but blessed by the law! I doubt that the CfG, which pushed Flake hard to get into the race (and immediately endorsed him once he did) will abandon ship over this offense, but maybe they'll start focusing their energies on more reliable stooges.
• FL-Sen: I'm really glad that Mike Haridopolos is the only announced Republican candidate of any note because he's such a walking train-wreck (if you can visualize such a thing)-almost every new story about him is yet another disaster. His eye for optics is particularly atrocious: In his role as President of the state Senate, he just removed a piece of ethics legislation from the body's agenda-despite having co-sponsored the very same bill last year. Even better, you may recall that Haridopolos was just admonished by the Senate for failing to properly disclose his finances on required forms. I love this guy!
• MI-Sen: A Republican firm who seems to be affiliated with ex-Rep. (and potential candidate) Pete Hoekstra, Strategic National, released bits and pieces of a survey to Dave Catanese. They claim that Dem Sen. Debbie Stabenow's approval rating is just 30-38, in contrast with PPP's poll from yesterday which had her at 46-39. The only head-to-head they released showed Hoekstra trailing just 41-38 (PPP has him back 50-38). To Strategic National's credit (by the way, we'd never heard of this firm until this year), they released their sample makeup. To their discredit, the sample was 46 R, 44 D & 10 I. In other words, from Mars.
• NM-Sen: Could Greg Sowards be the next Christine O'Donnell or Joe Miller? I'd be shocked if you've ever heard of this teabagger, but he did spent $300K of his own money to get pasted in the NM-02 primary in 2008. (He also has a fucking funny URL-just Google his name.) With "moderate" Heather Wilson the only big-time candidate in the race so far, a surprising number of winger outfits are giving Sowards a look: He's in DC visiting with Jim DeMint's people and the Tea Party Express, among others. Sowards also appeared to get under Rep. Steve Pearce's skin by saying he didn't think Pearce would run for the Senate again. Click the link for Pearce's prickly response.
• NV-Sen: Rep. Shelley Berkley (D) will be keynoting the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in rural Churchill County this Friday, which either means she's spreading out her feelers for a statewide run, just doing someone a favor, enjoys spending time way up in the northern part of the state, or absolutely nothing.
• OH-Gov: On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese, I saw John Kasich, and his poll numbers sucked. Quinnipiac sez he's at 30-46 approvals, while GOP-affiliated pollster We Ask America says he's at an astoundingly bad 35-58. Q also asked about SB5 (the anti-union bill) with a couple of different wordings; either way, voters are opposed.
• WV-Gov: State House Speaker Rick Thompson's been cleaning up with the union endorsements (teachers, AFL-CIO), and now he's racked up a huge one: the United Mine Workers of America.
• AK-AL: This story is so disturbing, I won't even attempt to summarize:
A Republican congressman from Alaska, who also is on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association, now is attempting to distance himself from a Fairbanks militia leader accused in a high-profile firearms, murder and kidnapping plot.
In April 2009, with a video camera rolling, Rep. Don Young signed a "Letter of Declaration" being circulated by the Second Amendment Task Force/Alaska Peacemakers Militia, led by Francis Schaeffer Cox. The "declaration" called on "sovereign Americans" to "alter or abolish" any government that tries to "further tax, restrict or register firearms" or prevents individuals from exercising their "God-given right to self-defense [that] precedes all human legislation."
• CA-36: Democracy for America, the activist organization that emerged from the Howard Dean campaign, is endorsing SoS Debra Bowen, though it's not clear what kind of support they plan on providing. DFA previously endorsed Bowen when she sought re-election to her current job last year.
• IL-10: Activist Ilya Sheyman posts a diary to Daily Kos, saying that he's "considering running" against Republican Bob Dold! in Illinois' 10th CD.
• OR-01: Blue Oregon scored quite the coup: I believe they are the first local print media outfit to get an interview with Rep. David Wu. They say they talked to him for an hour, and promise that they asked tough questions. The contents of the interview will appear in a multi-part series over the next day (just as soon as they finish transcribing). You can read part one and part two now.
• SC-05: I don't think anyone was expecting that ex-Rep. John Spratt, at age 68 and with 14 terms under his belt, would seek a rematch, and indeed he's not. At an emotional event to honor Spratt's many years of service, he said that he might teach, or join a DC think tank, but that whatever he does, "it'll be part-time." Godspeed.
• Campaign Committees: So it looks like the DCCC and NRCC are engaged in a minor skirmish, but with Rahm Emanuel gone, it seems like the Chicago Way means, you come at me with a butter knife, I come at you with a spork. Anyhow, the D-Trip announced it was targeting robocalls and a bit of other media at ten Republicans (click link for districts) regarding Social Security and Medicare, so the NRCC did the exact same thing, except about gas prices. The NRCC also released what it claims is are television ads (but what our friend Nathan Gonzales would call a "video press releases") against Heath Shuler and Nick Rahall. I'll bet the amount spent on these buys isn't enough to buy John Shimkus a meatball sub.
• California: The new chair of the CA GOP spazzed about the selection of Q2 Data and Research as the redistricting commission's map-drawing technical consultant, hollering that the firm has ties "to the Democrat Party." Zing! Only problem is that the commission (which of course includes Republicans) voted 13-0 to pick Q2.
• Maryland: Last year, Maryland passed new legislation requiring that, for the purposes of redistricting, the state count prisoners as residents where they last lived, rather than where they are serving their sentences. State agencies just certified a count of 22,000 prisoners, and while some Baltimore-area legislative districts gained a bit as a result, the overall effects were slight. (Side note: The US government refused to share "last known address" data concerning the 1,500 inmates incarcerated in Maryland's lone federal prison.) The only other states with similar legislation are Delaware and New York; while this information affects local as well as state redistricting efforts, congressional redistricting is based on US Census data, and I'm pretty sure these laws don't cover that.
• Virginia: Winners were announced in the college competition to redistrict the state of Virginia. You can find the maps at the link. I don't think they got any babka, though.
• AZ-Sen: After some rumors yesterday that she wasn't getting much traction with her phoning around, DHS Sec./ex-Gov. Janet Napolitano confirmed today that she wasn't going to run for the open Senate seat in Arizona, preferring to remain in the Obama administration. (Roll Call has a list of some of the weedier Dem possibilities, beyond the top tier of Rep. Gabby Giffords and Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon: Rep. Ed Pastor, Board of Regents vice chair Fred DuVal, former state party chair Don Bivens, 2010 AG candidate Felicia Rotellini, and current state party chair/2010 Treasurer candidate Andrei Cherny.) On the GOP side, Rep. Jeff Flake seems already positioning himself for the general while opening himself up for a challenge from the nutty right, telling the birthers to "accept reality." Flake also just picked up an endorsement from a similar budget-focused, social-issues-downplaying prominent House member, Paul Ryan.
• IN-Sen: State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who plans to soon announce his GOP primary challenge to Richard Lugar (with next Tuesday the more-or-less official launch date), leaked a few poll numbers from an internal. He says that "just over half" of GOP primary voters are inclined to re-elect Lugar, while Lugar pulls in only 27% support among self-described tea-partiers. The poll didn't "include" a head-to-head between Mourdock and Lugar, which I'll assume means they aren't reporting results that were pretty heavily in Lugar's favor, rather than that they just accidentally forgot to poll that particular question. Here's new one piece of ammo that tea partiers can use against Lugar to make their point that he's gone Washington, though: a revelation that Lugar stays in a hotel when he visits Indiana (Lugar owns a farm in-state, but conditions there are "rustic").
• PA-Sen: Quinnipiac is out with another Pennsylvania poll, one that finds Bob Casey Jr. in better shape than their previous poll, where he was in decent shape too. He beats a Generic R 45-35 (up from 43-35 in December), and his approvals are up to 44/24 (from 39/29). Voters approve of Barack Obama (51/44) and Pat Toomey (41/21) as well, in another indication of ebbing anger.
• VA-Sen: Tell the ground crew to break out the tarps, because we've got a Kaine delay. Ex-Gov. Tim Kaine, at the top of the Dem establishment's wish list for the open Senate seat, is announcing that he won't have anything to announce when he addresses tomorrow's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. He still sounds genuinely conflicted; expect an announcement "later in the month or early next month."
• VT-Sen: He stopped well short of actually announcing anything, but Dem-turned-Republican state Auditor Tom Salmon seems to be moving apace toward an uphill challenge against Bernie Sanders, saying he'll announce his decision on March 4 or 5. He's looking more committed in that he's leaving his day job: he also just announced he won't run for another term as Auditor.
• WV-Gov: The overcrowded (and likely low-turnout) Democratic primary in West Virginia may be decided by a few thousand votes, so any possible advantage counts here. And here's one for SoS Natalie Tenannt, the only Dem woman running: she just got the endorsement of EMILY's List.
• CA-36: The Republicans have managed to scrape up at least one credible candidate for the special election in the dark-blue 36th, where the main battle in the top 2 primary will be fought between Democrats Janice Hahn and Debra Bowen but conceivably he could sneak into the final round if he consolidates all the district's GOP votes. Mike Webb is City Attorney for Redondo Beach (popu. 63K).
• MN-06, MN-08: This is an interesting possibility for ex-state Sen. Tarryl Clark, who lost last year to Michele Bachmann in the GOP-leaning 6th... although it's entirely dependent on the redistricting pen. There's the possibility that her town of St. Cloud (to the west of the Twin Cities) may get appended to the 8th, which starts in the metro area's northern exurbs and heads up to Duluth. A run against vulnerable GOP frosh Chip Cravaack in a Dem-leaning district in a presidential year would be a much better bet for her. The question would be, though, whether Clark would have much luck in the DFL primary if she has to run against someone from the Iron Range, which tends to be insular-minded and would still be the bulk of the district's population.
• SD-AL, FL-02: I don't know how many of you were pining for a 2012 rematch from Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (about which there were some rumors this week), and I really can't imagine that any of you were hoping for a return engagement from ur-Blue Dog Allen Boyd, but it's looking like neither one is on track to happen. Both are rumored to be about to take on K Street lobbying jobs instead, which is, of course, not the usual comeback path.
• FL-Sen: Meg Whitman seems like a strange place to start talking about the Florida Senate race, but hear me out. She's in the news today for the outrageously large sums of money she paid to her top campaign staff (although, to be fair, in her particular frame of reference, I'm sure those seemed like outrageously small sums of money), including $948K paid to her campaign manager, Jill Hasner. If that name sounds vaguely familiar, she's the wife of former Florida state House majority leader Adam Hasner, currently making trips to DC to lay groundwork for a run in the GOP primary. If that $948K gets plowed straight into Hasner's bid, that's a pretty significant nut to start out with. Money is also the reason you keep hearing Rep. Vern Buchanan's name associated with this race, even if he hasn't said anything publicly indicating his interest for 2012; he has $956K in his House account, second most of all the Florida House delegation, which would give him a head start if he transferred that over to a Senate bid.
• MA-Sen: Not content to rest on his already-tops-in-the-2012-class $7 million cash stash, Scott Brown has set a fundraising target of $25 million for his Senate race. Whether he actually can hit that is an open question, but the fact that he can even credibly lay down a marker like this is a reminder that this race is no gimmee for the Dems. Also, here's a neat story that's more about the meta of reporting on campaigns in their formative stages, and how, in the absence of useful information, we're all pretty much just talking in circles about rumors that quickly become unclear where they started. It's a piece from a central Massachusetts blog that investigates where the heck the idea of Fitchburg mayor Lisa Wong running for Senate came from and how that bubbled up to the national level, despite her having done nothing to indicate any interest in the race... and today, closing the circle of meta, Politico, the main purveyor of such campaign-rumor grist, reported on the story. I don't know whether to be ashamed or pleased that Swing State Project is cited as one of the key players in this particular game of telephone; either way, clearly we've hit the big time.
• MI-Sen: Buried in a Roll Call article that does a lot of pointless Debbie Stabenow/Russ Feingold comparing are two names from potential GOP candidates I'd never heard of, although, without knowing more about their self-financing abilities, they seem to be at the Some Dude end of the spectrum. They cite businessman Al Pease, and former juvenile court judge Randy Hekman (who seems to be working a social con angle).
• NE-Sen: Ben Nelson's most recent statement on the Senate race was only that he was "leaning toward" another run, which isn't very confidence-inspiring considering that he'd previously said that he was running. But here's a more clear tell that he is running; he just re-hired his 2006 CM, Paul Johnson, as campaign manager.
• NJ-Sen, NJ-Gov: Quinnipiac is out with some New Jersey numbers, although it's approvals only... and, in what seems like an unusual departure from tradition, they actually find New Jerseyites, dare I say, liking their politicians?!? Is the giant nationwide wave of bile actually starting to ebb as the economy improves? At any rate, Bob Menendez (44/36), Frank Lautenberg (45/40), and Chris Christie (52/40) all sport positive approvals.
• SC-Sen: PPP fleshes out the 2014 Lindsey Graham situation with some more detailed numbers among Republicans, which they already hinted at with how his approvals broke down in their general electorate sample. His approvals among that group are 42/40, but he also has re-elects of only 37/52. He beats ex-Gov. Mark Sanford easily in a hypothetical primary (52-34), but against a non-Appalachian-Trail-hiking opponent, Rep. Joe Wilson, he trails 43-41.
• NC-Gov: It hadn't occurred to me that Republican former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory might not seek a rematch against Bev Perdue in next year's gubernatorial race; when asked about whether he'd run at an appearance Friday, his answer was just "I hope to."
• CA-36: Los Angeles city councilor Janice Hahn rolled out more endorsements today, most notably former NBA player Magic Johnson, whom I understand may have some goodwill of some sort in the LA area. She also boasts the endorsement of Assemblyman Warren Furutani (a rumored candidate for a day or two) and ex-Asm. George Nakano, as well as a slew of other city councilors in LA and its southern suburbs. The big question is whether Hahn will get the endorsement of Jane Harman herself; recall that Hahn was Harman's guest at the State of the Union last month, for what that's worth. There's also one other GOPer to add to the list: Redondo Beach city attorney Mike Webb.
• IN-06: With Mike Pence likely to run for Governor and leaving behind an open red district, look for this crowd to grow. Republican Henry County Councilor Nate LaMar is now actively telling local party chairs that he intends to run.
• NY-26: I'd file this more under general "schadenfreude" than a definite Congressional career-killer, but this little indiscretion can't make things any better for sophomore GOP Rep. (and possible redistricting truncation victim) Chris Lee.
• Chicago mayor: The big story here may not be that Rahm Emanuel keeps gaining in the polls -- he's at 54% in the new poll from Richard Day Research, taken for ABC-7, which is enough to avoid a runoff -- but that Carol Mosely Braun is in complete free-fall. In the wake of calling a minor opponent in the race a crackhead and various other lesser gaffes, she's down to 6%! While there aren't trendlines from this pollster, based on where other polls have been, Emanuel seems to be the main beneficiary of this flight, as Gery Chico and Miguel del Valle are still hanging far back, at 14 and 8 respectively.
• Votes: Here's an interesting bit of left/right convergence against the middle, on one of those rare common-ground issues: the Patriot Act. The House failed to renew the Patriot Act by a 277-147 margin, with 26 GOP nays joining 122 Dems. (For some reason, the leadership was doing this under suspension of rules, which means they needed 2/3rds to pass it. It looks like they'll simply do it again and pass it under normal rules.) Knee-jerk pundits have been presenting this as a triumph of the tea partiers newly elected to Congress, but a more detailed look between the lines finds less than half of the Tea Party Caucus voting against it, and only eight of the GOP freshmen voting against it. Interestingly, two GOP House members more on the establishment end of things who are likely to be running for Senate in 2012, Connie Mack IV and Dean Heller, voted against it, showing the amazing progress in the Patriot Act's transition from legislative slam-dunk ten years ago to a potential electoral liability now.
• VRA: The Dept. of Justice seems to have kicked things into high gear with redistricting and off-year elections approaching. They just granted VRA preclearance to California to proceed with its nonpartisan citizen redistricting panels (not a controversial proposal, certainly, but still requiring preclearance because of four California counties), and to Louisiana to restore its jungle-style primary at the federal level in addition to the state level.
• Voter suppression: Welcome Tennessee to the growing club of states with Republican-controlled legislatures who are getting on the bandwagon of requiring voter IDs. The proposal cleared a state Senate committee yesterday.
• 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.
• CA-Sen: Does Meg Whitman seriously not have anything better to do with her money? Rumors are bubbling up that she's actually considering a return to politics... which, if it's going to be in 2012, would mean a run against Dianne Feinstein (which, of course, would mean a run against the state's most popular politician in a presidential year, instead of an open seat run in a down year for Dems).
• MT-Sen: Republican businessman (and one-time LG candidate) Steve Daines did some serious fundraising in the last few months since announcing his candidacy, hauling in $225K since his announcement, with the majority of that money coming from in-state. The main target he's probably trying to scare with that money isn't Jon Tester (who has about $500K CoH), but Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg, who's usually the GOPer most associated with this race but has sounded noncommittal so far; I'm sure Daines would like to see Rehberg stay out of the Senate primary. Rehberg has $594K. One other Montana Senate item, although it hopefully won't be an issue any time soon: the Montana legislature is considering whether, in the event of a Senate vacancy, to switch over from gubernatorial appointment to a fast special election instead.
• OH-Sen: Quinnipiac has a poll today of the Ohio Senate race, but, like their Pennsylvania poll last month, the lack of an obvious Republican opponent means the matchup is just against Generic R. Sherrod Brown does pretty well against G.R., especially considering that actual named candidates tend not to do as well as generics at least at this stage in the game; Brown leads 45-33, and has an approval of 45/25. This is definitely a race where we shouldn't start celebrating short of the end zone, though, considering that PPP recently found Brown in much more of a pickle, and even Qpac points out he's far from the 50% mark and in "decent but not overwhelming" shape. The Cleveland Plain Dealer's writeup of the poll spends a lot of ink talking up Rep. Steve LaTourette as a possible GOP candidate; while he'd bring some geographic strengths to the race that other GOPers might not, there hasn't been any indication so far that he's interested.
• RI-Sen, RI-Gov: Sheldon Whitehouse looks like he's dodged at least one credible candidate in 2012; John Robitaille, who came close in the 2010 gubernatorial race (although that was only because of the center-left vote split between Lincoln Chafee and Frank Caprio) and has expressed interest in running for something else, now seems focused on a retry in the 2014 gubernatorial race. Partly, he admits, that's because running statewide as a Republican in Rhode Island in a presidential year would be a kamikaze mission.
• WV-Gov: SoS Natalie Tennant has gotten endless mentions as a likely gubernatorial candidate, but with the clock ticking to the now-only-nine-months-away special election, she's made her candidacy official as of yesterday.
• FL-25: OK, here's a trivia question for you all (which I genuinely don't know the answer to)... which House freshman holds the record for the shortest partial term, before having to resign in shame? (I'm wondering if Eric Massa actually holds the record, but I'd bet there's some historical example of someone accomplishing it in less than one year.) The reason I ask is that things seem to be moving into a new phase in the investigation into David Rivera, and whether piles of money paid from a dog track that he helped, to his mother's marketing company, found their way into his pockets. The Miami-Dade County's state's attorney, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, just turned the case over to the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement. Although that sounds ominous, some observers are seeing the move as a downgrade, though, as the FDLE may not devote the same level of resources to it; Rundle has been viewed as a possible Dem challenger in this district, and may be punting the case to avoid it becoming a liability for her later.
• MI-15: Rep. John Dingell (84 years old) says he'll be back for an unprecedented 30th term in the House, running again in 2012. One important detail, though: whatever district he's running in, it won't be the 15th next time, as Michigan is about to lose a seat. Dingell has survived multiple bad redistrictings over the decades, including beating fellow Democratic Rep. Lynn Rivers in a 2002 primary mashup. (Thanks to Greg Giroux, we know now that Dingell will pass Robert Byrd in all-time legislative service in June of 2013.)
• Mayors: Two mayoral races are in the news today, although both aren't up for grabs until 2012. Two-term incumbent Buddy Dyer (who used to be the Democratic leader in the Florida state Senate) says he's going to run for another term as mayor of Orlando. He also mentioned some vague gubernatorial aspirations. Also, Portland, Oregon will elect a new mayor in '12; all the action will be in the Democratic primary, where it's not certain that Sam Adams (damaged by a sex scandal several years ago) will run for a second term. One interesting possibility mentioned: former Senate candidate Steve Novick, who gained a lot of netroots attention during his '08 Dem primary run, is seriously considering a run.
• Votes: As you're probably already aware, the Dems held the defections down to three on yesterday's HCR repeal vote. It was the three likeliest suspects, given the combination of their dark-red districts and previous statements on the matter: OK-02's Dan Boren, NC-07's Mike McIntyre, and AR-04's Mike Ross. UT-02's Jim Matheson has the reddest district of any "no" vote, but he's a member of leadership and may be sanguine about getting a better district out of redistricting next year (or just figuring that the worst is past).
• Redistricting: Arizona legislative Republicans sort of succeeded with their quest to get three members of the state redistricting panel kicked off (on the grounds that they were serving in other political offices); however, it was a partial success because only two of the three challenged members got kicked off by the state supreme court and the one they were really targeting the most didn't get kicked off. Also, if you're in Virginia and you're a college student, the state is having a redistricting contest. No word on whether you absolutely have to be part of a team or can do it individually, but the winners get a cash prize and get to present the design for new congressional and legislative maps to the Governor's entirely-nonbinding advisory panel. (Actually, it looks like it's too late to start a team if your college doesn't already have one, but your college probably already has a team which you might be able to join. See here for the details.)
• CA-Sen: Despite getting only a small vote share in the GOP Senate primary this year (as conservatives decided to go with the slightly-more-electable Carly Fiorina), Chuck DeVore is talking Senate again, for 2012, when Dianne Feinstein will presumably run for re-election. Or is he? All he's saying is that he's likely to run in 2012, but hasn't decided what office. Senate is the only thing that's available, though, which makes his statement seem kind of strange (unless he's talking about trying to rejoin the state Assembly). If Barbara Boxer could still win by 10 points in a terrible year, the more-popular Feinstein in a presidential year is an even more daunting target, meaning that DeVore may be the only prominent GOPer crazy enough to take on the task.
• MA-Sen: Nobody really has any idea whether or not Vicki Kennedy plans to run for Senate -- she'd probably have a massive field-clearing effect in the Dem primary if she did -- but Joan Vennochi is seeing some signs of the groundwork for a run, looking at Kennedy's stepped-up routine of public appearances around the state.
• OH-Sen: Rep. Jim Jordan had probably been the GOPer most associated with a potential run against Sherrod Brown this cycle, but now he's publicly saying that he's "leaning heavily against" the run. He has a plum job coming up as head of the right-wing caucus (the Republican Study Committee), which is often a leadership springboard, and given his ultra-safe district, that may be a more appealing track than rolling the dice on a Senate run. Auditor and soon-to-be Lt. Governor Mary Taylor (who you may recall got a few weeks of Senate speculation in 2009 when conservatives were casting about for someone more charismatic and less wonky than Rob Portman) may be next in line.
PPP is out with its primary numbers for the GOP side, too, and they find that Jordan was actually in first place among those few people who actually know him. It's one of those everybody-but-the-kitchen-sink fields where the guy with the name rec winds up winning out: Incoming AG and ex-Sen. Mike DeWine (who's quite unlikely to run, given his new job) leads at 27, with ex-SoS Ken Blackwell at 17, new SoS Jon Husted at 11, Jordan at 10, Taylor at 7, Rep. Steve LaTourette at 6, new Treasurer Josh Mandel at 5, and state Sen. Kevin Coughlin at 2.
• PA-Sen: Quinnipiac's new poll of the Pennsylvania Senate turned out to not be that revealing, seeing as how they only testing Bob Casey Jr. against Generic R. (Although they can be forgiven, given the paucity of GOP candidates willing to reveal themselves yet.) At any rate, Casey is in good shape, although the percentage of people with no opinion seems strangely high, maybe reflective of his low-key nature. He beats Generic R 43-35, and has an approval of 39/29 (55/16 among Dems, 28/42 among GOPers, and 36/30 among indies).
• House: Politico has another list of possible rematches among the ranks of defeated Dems. Some of these you're probably already familiar with (Frank Kratovil, Glenn Nye, Phil Hare, and Alan Mollohan(?!?)), but other names now weighing another bid include Dina Titus, Steve Driehaus, Carol Shea-Porter, and Bobby Bright. Mark Schauer says he's waiting to see what the GOP-held Michigan legislature does to his district, and Ron Klein is waiting to see how his district responds to Allen West.
• NY-St. Sen.: Craig Johnson lost his case concerning the result in SD-7 (in which the balance of the state Senate hangs) at the Appellate Division level, who found there wasn't a basis for a full hand recount. Johnson is still planning to appeal to the Court of Appeals. (In New York, for some screwed-up reason, the Supreme Court is the court of general jurisdiction and the Court of Appeals is the highest appellate court. Also, hamburgers eat people.)
• Switchers: Courtesy of the Fix's Aaron Blake, here's a list from GOPAC of all the state legislators who've switched parties in the last month, if you're having trouble keeping track. There's a list of 20, although almost all come from three states (Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana). Also an interesting note: we've actually found someone who just switched from the GOP to the Democrats, although you have to go even further into the weeds: Luzerne County (in Pennsylvania) Commissioner Steve Urban. Before you get too excited, though, the move seems to be mostly driven out of personal pique stemming from Urban's recent loss in a state Senate race.
• California: It looks like California's switch to a Washington-style "top two" primary is a done deal. It survived a court challenge, with the state Supreme Court refusing to block a challenge to two of its provisions. (One of the provisions is one way in which it'll differ from Washington: in California, party affiliation can be listed only if one belongs to a party that's officially recognized by the state, while in Washington, you can list yourself as belonging to whatever crazy made-up party you want.)
• CfG: The Club for Growth is issuing one of its litmus test warnings, saying that primaries will result for GOPers who defy its will... and it's over one of the less controversial things on the current docket: the omnibus spending bill (which contains... gasp!... earmarks.)
• Votes: The House, as you're probably well aware, easily passed repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell yesterday (although its Senate future is hazy; ask again later). The 15 Dem "no" votes are mostly Blue Dogs in socially conservative districts (with nine of them not coming back, either via loss or retirement), with one key exception: Artur Davis, still seeming completely intent on maxing out on his frequent douchebag miles before leaving. The 15 GOP "yes" votes are more interesting, a mix of departing moderates (Castle, Djou, Cao, Ehlers), remaining moderates in well-educated (and presumably low homophobia) districts (Biggert, Reichert, Dent, Platts), GOPers with substantially gay constituencies (Bono Mack, Ros-Lehtinen, Diaz-Balart... and we can double-count Cao), die-hard libertarians (Paul, Flake, Campbell), and in his own category, David Dreier.
• WATN?: Dede Scozzafava, perhaps as a reward for, in her own round-about way, giving us the gift of Bill Owens in NY-23, is in talks to get a job in the incoming Cuomo administration. The exact position hasn't been defined, but will be something about "streamlining" government.
• Demographics: Here's an interesting piece in the Democratic Strategist that does some demographic slice-and-dice of the House seats where Dems lost. Some of it isn't a surprise (losses occurred where race and education overlap, as the white working class particularly turned right), but it adds an important variable to the mix that nobody else seems to have noticed: manufacturing. There's a definite correlation between losses and how reliant the district is on a manufacturing economy.