Blue for Rahm Emanuel (who won 2,087 precincts), red for Gery Chico (410), orange for Miguel del Valle (47). Oh, and green for Carol Moseley Braun, but you can't tell with her, since she won exactly one precinct. There were also 11 ties. (The dashed line toward the top represents Rahm's old congressional district, IL-05, now held by Dem Mike Quigley.)
Chicago looks sort of like a drunken man's Florida, no?
9:28pm: With the races for tonight settled, SSP will be calling it a night. Expect plenty of analysis in the coming days...
9:08pm: With thanks to Johnny Longtorso for the link, Dems hold Missouri SD-09, a KC-based seat. With seemingly all precincts reporting, Sly James also pulls into first for Mayor, with incumbent Mark Funkhouser falling into 3rd.
8:58pm: Here's a shocker, and perhaps a sign of racial progress in an extremely segregated city: Rahm did better in wards represented by Black aldermen (59% to Chico's 11%) than in those by White aldermen (55% to Chico's 32%). CMB did better in the former - 20% - than the latter - 2%. Rahm also got 40% in wards represented by Hispanic aldermen, to Chico's 32% and Del Valle's 26%.
8:54pm: Backtracking on HD-99 in Connecticut. NBC is reporting that the Dem has held the East Haven-based seat.
8:44pm: Chicago wasn't the only Midwestern city to have an election. While some of you might be surprised that the Midwest has two cities, in Kansas City, incumbent Mark Funkhouser is barely in second at 22.5%, with challengers Mike Burke and Sly James in first at 27.5% and 22.1%, respectively. Funkhouser is an indie; Burke and James Democrats.
8:39pm: Looks like CT is over. Says the Courant:
In nine special elections Tuesday night, Republicans picked up a net gain of two seats - one in the House and one in the state Senate.
Both sides were happy as Republicans said they had made inroads on traditionally Democratic territory, and Democrats said they had largely held back a Republican onslaught that was part of a national trend that started last year.
8:37pm: Ghosts of the machine? Gery Chico's best ward tonight: 60% in the 14th, run by powerful ward boss - and prominent Chico supporter (and wife of IL Supreme Court justice Anna) - Ed Burke.
8:31pm: Dems also hold SD-6 in New Berlin, CT.
8:23pm: The Hartford Courant is reporting that Dems have lost another seat, HD-99, in "traditionally Republican-leaning Madison."
8:11pm: Some down in the weeds City Council stuff: Sandi Jackson at 52% in the 7th; incumbent Sharon Denise Dixon has a plurality in the 24th with 19% (yes, 19%. Fortunately, we have runoffs for this reason). West Ridge stalwart (and Council Wars veteran...and IMO noted ass) Bernie Stone at 38% with Ward Dem Committeeman (and wife of State Sen Ira) Debra Silverstein at 33%.
8:04pm: The Courant is also reporting that Dems hold the West Hartford-based HD-20.
7:58pm: We'll diversify into some non-Chicago news here - in Connecticut, with its slew of special elections for 9 Dem-held seats; Dems have lost the 13th SD. However, CT-02 loser Janet Peckinpaugh (R) loses again, as Dems hold the 36th HD.
7:53pm: Mayor Emanuel! Rahm's dominance today is stunning - 57% on the South Side; 59% on the West Side, and 70% in his former North Side stomping grounds. Chico did well on the Southwest Side, 50% to Rahm's 36%. Rahm just shy of 50% on the Northwest side, 49.1%.
7:47pm: We're calling this one for Rahm. He's over the 50% in 35 of 50 wards, including 75% in the Loop-based 42nd, Lincoln Park-based 43rd, and Lakeview-based 44th.
7:42pm: We're now at 75% of the vote reporting, and Rahm's at 54.44%. He's still got some North Side strongholds to report, which is behind the curve at 72% in.
7:40pm: Alternatively, going by "side" of city, 66% of the Southwest Side is in, 60% of the Northwest Side; 55% of the West Side; 52% of the South Side, and 51% of the North Side. The Northwest side, which has some heavily Hispanic pockets will be a mixed blessing for Emanuel, who did represent part of the area in Congress. The North Side should turn out heavily for Rahm.
7:31pm: These votes are pretty evenly distributed. Using the ever-so-rough approximation of aggregating by the race of the incumbent alderman, 59% of precincts in wards represented by white alderman are reporting; 53% of precincts represented by Black and Hispanic aldermen each.
7:28pm: And with 56% reporting, Rahm's up to 53.9%, Chico at 25.8%. Del Valle and CMB still in 3rd and 4th.
7:26pm: With 17% reporting, Rahm's at 51.4% with Chico at 29.8. Del Valle's in 3rd, and Carol "You were strung out on crack" Moseley Braun is in 4th. It will be interesting to see where these votes are coming from.
7:04pm: No results just yet, but there are quite a few downballot races for City Council, where many incumbent aldermen are not seeking re-election. Of particular interest to SSPers might be the 7th ward, where incumbent Ald. Sandi Jackson (wife of IL-02 Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.) is seeking re-election.
Let's get this party started...polls close at 7pm Central Time. As my form of rebellion against the tyranny of the East Coast powers that me, all posts tonight will be stamped with Central time!
• AZ-Sen: A GOP polling firm, Summit Consulting, is out with a poll that gives Maricopa Co. Sheriff Joe Arpaio the lead in the nascent Republican field to replace the retiring Jon Kyl. Arpaio is at 21, with Rep. Jeff Flake and ex-Rep J.D. Hayworth both at 17, ex-Rep. John Shadegg at 12, and Rep. Ben Quayle at 6. An Arpaio-free version found Flake at 22, Hayworth at 20, and Shadegg (who has made clear that he's not running) at 17. Although this poll wasn't announced as being on anyone's behalf, there's an important caveat: Summit is raising money for Arpaio's re-election campaign as Sheriff. This seems a consistent pattern for Arpaio over the years: float his name for higher office, rake in contributions, apply those toward his next Sheriff campaign, rinse and repeat. Meanwhile, although previous reports had had him unlikely to run for Senate, Rep. Trent Franks from current AZ-02 is now on the record as "exploring that option."
• ME-Sen: Here's an amusing tidbit about Andrew Ian Dodge, now running a tea party challenge of sorts to Olympia Snowe: he's the subject of some suspicion in certain right-wing circles on account of his British background (which may explain why he cheekily showed up with his birth certificate at his campaign launch). Prime evidence for this strange line of attack is a comment he posted to a blog several years ago where he copped to being a Lord of the Manor in Gorleston, Suffolk. (Politico's Dave Catanese titled his article on this "Snowe challenger is a British Lord..." which isn't quite right. "Lord of the Manor" isn't part of the peerage system (which just plain old "Lord" would be), but just a weird holdover from the feudal system of property rights, an indicator that someone in his family owned property there long ago). (One other thing I noted, though, thanks to the magic of Wikipedia: Gorleston is actually in Norfolk, not Suffolk. WHAT ELSE IS ANDREW IAN DODGE LYING ABOUT!!!!11!!!?!)
• NE-Sen: We've mentioned state Sen. Deb Fischer before as a potential dark-horse candidate on the Republican side in Nebraska, and now she seems to be stepping things up, at least to the extent of contacting Roll Call and letting them know that she's interested. She represents the empty north-central part of the state, and could stand out as an interesting third-wheel in a Jon Bruning/Don Stenberg rumble by being the only rural and female candidate.
• NM-Sen: PPP finally released the GOP primary portion of last week's New Mexico Senate poll, and... common theme in a lot of their polls... find the most electable candidate for the general losing the GOP primary because of various apostasies. Libertarian-flavored ex-Gov. Gary Johnson trails ex-Rep. Heather Wilson in a hypothetical 3-way, 35-27, with Rep. Steve Pearce at 17, Matt Chandler and Dianna Duran both at 6, and John Sanchez at 4. (Not that it matters, since Johnson has confirmed he's sticking with his long-shot presidential bid. In fact, unless Jeff Bingaman unexpectedly retires, I'd be surprised if any of these GOPers bothers to get in.)
• NV-Sen: Rep. Dean Heller is out with an internal poll that has him way ahead of John Ensign in the GOP primary, and, accordingly, he seems to be accelerating his plans to run. The poll gives Heller a 53-38 lead in a head-to-head, and also sees him winning a 5-car pileup: it's Heller 39, Ensign 23, Danny Tarkanian 17, Sharron Angle 14, and John Chachas 3. Faced with the possibility of a much harder race against Heller than Ensign, possible Dem candidate Rep. Shelley Berkley is saying that it wouldn't dissuade her if Heller were the nominee, but she's continuing to "seriously look at" the race but is also in "no rush" to decide. You know who is in a rush, though? The DSCC. Jon Ralston says they're already talking to Democratic SoS Ross Miller too, in case they need a Plan B.
• TX-Sen: Hmm, here's an interesting place for a Senate scoop to come from: the student newspaper at Claremont McKenna College in California. CMC alum Rep. David Dreier is the linchpin in this game of telephone: he told them that a fellow alum is indeed running for the Senate, and by process of elimination, that would point to former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert, considered a likely candidate on the GOP side. Leppert, however, wouldn't confirm to the student paper that he was running.
• UT-Sen: Another Dan Jones poll in Utah takes a look at the Senate race, and this one isn't as weird as the last one (which included Jon Huntsman, who seems, to my eyes, to be running for Vice-President instead): it's a straightforward poll of Orrin Hatch vs. Jason Chaffetz (although it's still a poll of all Utah residents). At any rate, Hatch leads Chaffetz 44-34; among self-identified Republicans, Hatch actually does better, 51-35 (although trailing among "very conservative" voters). Of course, there are various ways this primary might still not happen; Chaffetz could break 60% at the state GOP convention, or Hatch could (a la Bob Bennett) finish third at the convention behind Chaffetz and a teabagger to be named later. Asked for comment, Chaffetz only said he's a "definite maybe" about the race, and may choose to stay in the House.
• VA-Sen: We might have an answer pretty soon on whether Tim Kaine plans to run for the Senate, now that Jim Webb is out. He reportedly will consult with Barack Obama on the matter in the next couple days (gee, I wonder what Obama will suggest?), and Kaine also has announced plans to speak at the state's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner this weekend, which seems like a place to make a 'yes' announcement (as it would be kind of a buzzkill to go there and tell everyone 'no'). There are also rumors... poorly sourced ones at that, so don't get your hopes too high... out there of a GOP-sponsored poll showing not just Kaine but also Tom Perriello leading George Allen, so keep your ears to the ground for more on that.
• MT-Gov: Add one more state Senator to the mix in the Montana gubernatorial race, this time on the Dem side. Larry Jent says he'd like to run statewide, and it'll probably be for governor. (He'd join other current or former state Sens. Dave Wanzenried on the Dem side, and Corey Stapleton and Ken Miller for the GOP.)
• LA-03, LA-07: Two Louisiana papers have had articles in the last few days on Louisiana redistricting and its likeliest casualty, new Rep. Jeff Landry, who was elected with tea party rather than establishment backing and, accordingly, doesn't have much of a leg to stand on when the establishment draws the maps in the coming months. It's looking likelier that a map more favorable to the more senior (and tighter with leadership) Rep. Charles Boustany will be the result. The state's redistricting special session of the legislature will be held Mar. 20.
• NY-15: While there's still plenty of time left for him to reverse course and announce his retirement (hint, hint), Charles Rangel yesterday announced that he's filing for re-election in 2012 to a 22nd term.
• NY-26: While they've been downplaying their chances for success in the R+6 26th, local Dems are hard at work looking for a candidate. It's hard to tell who's on the short list right now, though: one list featured Erie Co. Comptroller Mark Poloncarz, Erie Co. Clerk Kathy Hochul, and Amherst town board member Mark Manna (the only one who actually lives in the district), but doesn't seem to feature oft-mentioned Kathy Konst. Another insider mentions two possible Dems Republican candidates from the private sector: Dan Humiston and Chris Jacobs. There's one familiar face you can scratch off the Dem list, though: 2008 candidate Jon Powers says he's not looking to be considered.
• WA-02: Snohomish Co. Councilor and narrow 2010 loser John Koster is "weighing" another run against Rick Larsen, although he's waiting to see what the 2nd looks like after redistricting. The 2nd (currently D+3) needs to lose population, but it could become swingier if the losses come around Everett, or become bluer if the losses come in eastern Snohomish County.
• Chicago mayor: One more new poll to report in Chicago, another one from We Ask America (on behalf of the Chicago Retail Merchants Association). It has the highest Rahm Emanuel number yet, at 58. Gery Chico is 2nd at 24, Miguel del Valle at 10, and Carol Moseley Braun at 6. The poll was in the field on Sunday, the same day that Moseley Braun, apparently by way of referring to The Producers, compared Emanuel to Hitler, so the impact of her latest gaffe may not even have impacted on this sample. (Given the current trajectory of her poll numbers, she may actually receive a negative number of votes at the actual election on Feb. 22.)
• Special elections: There are not one but two special elections for vacant state Senate seats in California tonight, although neither one should offer much drama thanks to their strong partisan leans. The one you're probably already aware of is SD-28 in the LA's South Bay suburbs (overlapping much of CA-36), where Democratic ex-Assemblyman Ted Lieu is likely to fill the seat left by the death of Jenny Oropeza. He faces seven other candidates, so he might not break 50%, requiring a runoff then. The other race is in SD-17, centered on Lancaster in the high desert north of LA, where Republican Sharon Runner is expected to beat the only other candidate, Democrat Darren Parker. (Runner is trying to take over the seat from her husband George Runner, who vacated to join the state Board of Equalization.)
• Nebraska: Believe it or not, there are multiple interesting things afoot in Nebraska. Most significantly, the proposal to switch Nebraska to a winner-take-all allocation of electoral votes (instead of allotting some by CD, which allowed Barack Obama to sneak away with 1 Omaha-area EV) is entering committee; it's expected to be easily approved by the ostensibly nonpartisan but Republican-controlled unicameral legislature. There are also competing bills in the legislature on changing the size of said legislature, one to reduce it from 49 to 45, the other to expand it to 50 (neither one is expected to go anywhere, though). Also, Nebraska just picked its nine members for its redistricting commission; there will be five Republicans and four Dems on the (again, ostensibly nonpartisan) body.
• WATN?: Ex-Rep. Mike Arcuri, who lost in NY-24 in November, is now working in the private sector at a major law firm in Syracuse. It may be a tea leaf that he might be interested in another run that he's staying in the area instead of heading for the more lucrative world of K St., or it might be nothing. At any rate, he's doing better for himself than Republican 2006 CA-47 loser Tan Nguyen, who just got sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison for obstruction of justice related to charges of voter fraud, for sending out flyers intended to suppress the district's Latino vote.
• Polltopia: If you think that polling was way screwier than usual over the 2010 cycle, or that it was better than ever, you're both wrong. It was pretty much the same as always, according to Mark Blumenthal. According to a study by National Council on Public Polls, the average candidate error in 2010 was 2.1%, very comparable to other midterm elections. (The accuracy seems to improve in presidential years, perhaps thanks to more frequent polling.) Interestingly, though, even though the error rate didn't change much, there were many more polls (25% this cycle, compared with 11% in 2006) conducted in the last week before the election with results that fell outside the margin of error (cough Rasmussen cough). They found that live interview polls (2.4%) did slightly better than autodialed polls (2.6%), but, surprisingly, polls conducted over the internet (mostly just YouGov) did the best with a 1.7% error rate.
• AZ-Sen: As the dust settles from Jon Kyl's retirement, the biggest name on the Dem side may also be the biggest question mark: Rep. Gabby Giffords, who it turns out had been telling her staff that she'd planned to run for Senate in 2012 if an open seat arose, but whose recovery timetable is entirely unclear at this point. Local Dems are saying she has "the right of first refusal," but it may be a while till we get a decision out of her, so the Dem field is very much up in the air. One other major Dem is publicly expressing his interest, though: Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon, who's termed-out of his job this year. (The same article also finds former Arizona Diamondbacks star Luis Gonzalez declining a run; not sure why he was being asked in the first place.) On the GOP side, Gov. Jan Brewer acted quickly to quash any speculation that she might run. However, J.D. Hayworth, last seen getting creamed by John McCain in the 2010 primary, says he's interested in another run, while another unappetizing leftover, ex-Gov. Fife Symington, says he won't rule it out (as well as floating the name of former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner). If you want to see all the many potential names in one place, here's The Hill's mega-rundown.
• FL-Sen: Scratch one more of the state's myriad GOP House members from the list of possible Senate candidates. FL-16's sophomore Rep. Tom Rooney says the Senate may be an eventual goal someday, but he'd rather focus on building up his credentials in the House first.
• ME-Sen: It seems like his extended period of talking to himself is over, as local tea party leader Andrew Ian Dodge announced (at CPAC, instead of in Maine) that he will in fact challenge Olympia Snowe in the GOP primary. I'm not sure if Snowe is really shaking in her boots, though, if this is the best that the teabaggers can find: Dodge, though able to self-fund, is a bit of an iconoclast (and one might charitably describe his appearance as "scruffy"), and doesn't really seem to fit in with any of the various subconstituencies within the tea party umbrella. He's uninterested in social issues (he's pro-gay and indifferent to abortion) and more of a fiscal hawk, but doesn't have much common cause with the Paulists either, breaking with them on foreign policy. If he loses social con votes to the other teabagger in the race, little-known Scott D'Amboise, that split basically ensures Snowe another nomination. Further complicating matters, Dodge is allied with Tea Party Patriots, archenemy to the DC-based astroturf-flavored Tea Party Express. For what it's worth, TPX officially declared that Snowe is one of their top targets for 2012 (um, was there any doubt about that before yesterday?), but there's no word on who they plan to back in the race, and I can't imagine it being Doge.
• MI-Sen: Former state party chair Saul Anuzis may be getting cold feet about a Senate run all of a sudden, if his new comments are any indication: he said he'd rather see someone else run. One name he dropped as a preferred alternative to himself is (no surprise) ex-Rep. Peter Hoekstra, but another is perhaps the one potential candidate with even less name rec than Anuzis (and also the likeliest person to run, it seems): wealthy businessman Tim Leuliette.
• NM-Sen: In case Jeff Bingaman does (contrary to current expectations) resign, don't look for a Bill Richardson run to succeed him. The ex-Gov. leaves office under a cloud according to PPP, with a 34/55 approval, and 50% saying they'd never vote for him for anything again. Everyone else in New Mexico is pretty popular; Tom Udall is at 56/31 and new Gov. Susana Martinez is at 53/29.
• UT-Sen: Looks like Orrin Hatch, who's in full cozy-up-to-the-tea-party mode this week, can't count on any help from his new colleague Mike Lee; Lee just confirmed that he'll remain neutral in any primary that Hatch might face. Hatch, for his part, at CPAC today, just said that he's sorry for his bailout vote, but that the bailout helped prevent a depression. So... he's sorry about having helped prevent a depression?!? Let me sit and ponder that one for a bit.
• VA-Sen: Here's some good news: ex-Rep. Glenn Nye says he has "absolutely no interest" and has made "zero calls" about the Senate race on the Dem side. (That contradicts yesterday's reports that he was calling around; the "absolutely no interest" part may be true though, inasmuch as that's what he got on the other end of the line.) However, Rep. Gerry Connolly isn't doing anything to downplay his name; he isn't ruling it in or out, but is pitching himself as "viable." (Woooooo! Viable!!! The audacity of viability! We have nothing to fear but inviability itself! Mr. Gorbachev, this wall is not viable!) Connolly blanches at the pricetag though, saying this will likely be a $25 million race.
• MT-Gov, MT-Sen: Well, this pretty much makes it clear that Denny Rehberg will have a stroll to the Senate nomination. Military/security-complex businessman Neil Livingstone was one of the two initial non-Rehberg names associated with the GOP side of the Senate race; with Steve Daines now in the House race, Livingstone now has decided to announce for the gubernatorial race instead. He doesn't face anyone of Rehberg size there, although ex-Rep. Rick Hill is still a pretty imposing obstacle.
• WV-Gov: With tomorrow's filing deadline for the gubernatorial special election fast approaching, it's worth noting how few people (of the many, many possibles) have actually signed up. All we have so far are Natalie Tennant, Earl Ray Tomblin, Rick Thompson, and a Some Dude candidate (Arne Moltis) on the Dem side, and Clark Barnes on the GOP side. Betty Ireland was planning to file today, though, and there will probably be a rush tomorrow.
• NY-26: Kathy Konst isn't the only Dem who seems to be moving forward with seeking the nomination in the upcoming special election; Erie Co. Clerk Kathleen Hochul is interested, too. (She lives slightly outside the district's boundaries in Hamburg.) Meanwhile, lots of GOPers took their names out of contention: ex-Rep. Tom Reynolds, Assemblyman Jim Hayes, state Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, and state Sen. Joe Robach. (With George Maziarz also apparently a no, that's pretty much all the GOP state Senators who'd been floated, lessening the likelihood of more 31-31 fun.)
• Mayors: There are mayoral polls in both Chicago and Philadelphia, neither one offering a surprise. In the Windy City, Rahm Emanuel finds himself just shy of clearing the runoff hurdle in a poll from Chicago Tribune/WGN; he's at 49, with 19 for Gery Chico, 10 for Carol Mosely Braun, and 8 for Miguel del Valle. (Last month's Tribune poll had Emanuel at 44 and CMB at 21.) In the Hey, Up Yours City, incumbent Michael Nutter wins easily despite some ambivalent approvals, according to Franklin & Marshall. His approval is 50/32 (60/24 among whites but only 42/41 among African-Americans, who, despite the fact that he's African-American himself, tend to be his weakest constituency); despite that, 53% say he doesn't deserve to be re-elected. Nutter beats Tom Knox 46-28 in a general election matchup (which is odd because Knox isn't a Republican, although I guess he could become one to avoid another primary loss to Nutter, which is what happened in 2007). Nutter's only announced opponent so far is former state legislator Milton Street, the brother of ex-mayor John Street; Street has a bit of a liability, though, in that he's currently on supervised release after spending 20 months in federal prison for tax evasion.
• Dark money: The billionaire Koch brothers have, over the last year, suddenly gone from anonymous rich guys who like to fund right-wing think tanks to, with their efforts to move more into funding activism and advertising, public enemies #1 on the dark money front. They've set a new target for the 2012 cycle that shows just what we're up against money-wise: they plan to contribute and raise $88 million for funding micro-targeting efforts as well as ads. It's not clear whether that would all happen under the aegis of their Americans for Prosperity, or if that money would get spread around the dark money universe, but Politico's article makes it sound that the secretive Kochs aren't closely allied with, if not directly in competition with, other groups like American Crossroads.
• 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.
• HI-Sen: I don't know whether this means that Linda Lingle isn't interested in a Senate bid and attention is turning elsewhere, or if the now-unemployed ex-Rep. Charles Djou is just looking to parlay his accidental half-a-year in the House into something else to do. At any rate, Djou is getting back in the public eye with a new anti-Dem op-ed, and his name is correspondingly getting floated as a possible opponent to Dan Akaka. (Recall that Djou swore off electoral politics a few months ago though, in what seemed like pretty conclusive fashion at the time.)
• IN-Sen: Richard Lugar just keeps sticking it to the tea partiers, telling them one more time to "Get real" (this time in connection with their opposition to START... because nothing says "fiscal discipline" like buying a lot of nuclear missiles). Roll Call's Tricia Miller also takes a look today at the increased efforts by the tea partiers to not split their votes against Lugar in the primary, which may actually lead to an informal statewide caucus in September to pick their prize pig. The latter article also mentions Rep. Joe Donnelly and ex-Rep. Brad Ellsworth (who officially says he "wouldn't rule it out") as potential challengers, suggesting that Dems are sensing this might turn into a winnable race if the primary teabagging is successful.
• MO-Sen: Ed Martin, who originally reported that he outraised both Claire McCaskill and fellow GOP primary candidate Sarah Steelman in December (with $229K raised and $176K CoH), has had to issue a little amended FEC report, seeing as how that number was... how do you say... completely wrong. He instead said he has $25K CoH, and blamed it on a "computer problem." (A "computer problem" that gets it off by a factor of seven? What is he using, a Commodore 64?)
• MT-Sen: Hmmm, a little too soon after the murder of a federal judge to be making that kind of remark? Rep. Denny Rehberg (who seems to be running a full-throated teabagger campaign despite not having any primary opposition anymore), while appearing before the state legislature yesterday, remarked that he'd like to "put some of these judicial activists on the Endangered Species List." That comes only a few days after his joint appearance with Michele Bachmann where he said "President Bachmann... that sounds pretty good" (although an adviser later appeared with mop and bucket to say that shouldn't be construed as an actual endorsement).
• NE-Sen: You may have already seen this yesterday, but the bombshell revelation is that AG Jon Bruning, the apparent frontrunner for the GOP nomination to face Ben Nelson (and, let's face it, frontrunner in the general too) was a librul!!1!! back when he was in college and law school. Some of his writings from that era surfaced, no doubt to the delight of potential primary opponents like Don Stenberg.
• VT-Sen: Fresh off his financial success in the wake of the publicity over Filibernie, Bernie Sanders actually seems to have taken to this whole fundraising thing with gusto. (It probably also helps that in 2012 he may face a challenger who's credible, at least on paper, in the form of state Auditor Tom Salmon.) He's holding a fundraiser in Boston this weekend.
• CA-36: Los Angeles city councilor Janice Hahn wasted no time in lining up some big name support for her House bid, from mayor (and the man who defeated her brother) Antonio Villaraigosa. (She also rolled out Joe Trippi as her media consultant.) We also have some additional names that we didn't get yesterday: James Lau, former director of the California League of Conservation Voters Education Fund and narrow loser of an Assembly race last year, is interested. However, former Assemblyman Ted Lieu (currently running for a vacant state Senate seat in a special election to be held later this month) and Assemblyman Warren Furutani have ruled it out. On the GOP side, '10's sacrificial lamb, Mattie Fein, says she may run again; higher up the food chain, former NFL player Damon Dunn is mentioned as a possibility (which could set up a strange rematch of last year's SoS election). Speaking of which, Debra Bowen seems to be in the race, at least privately; she's reportedly the only candidate who has told the state Dem party that she is running, and she has an ActBlue page already set up.
The Fix also has a few other possible names: on the Dem side, state Controller John Chiang, and on the GOP side, county commissioner Don Knabe, or Nathan Mintz, a tea party fave who lost an Assembly race last year. The Sacramento Bee also mentions Craig Huey as a possible GOP candidate; he runs JudgeVoterGuide.org to help evangelical conservatives pick judicial candidates.
• NC-07: Republican Ilario Pantano, who came fairly close to beating Rep. Mike McIntyre last year despite some, um, glaring problems on his resume (y'know, like that murder charge and that working for Goldman Sachs), confirms he's back for another try. The real question here is what happens to the district in the redistricting process? I'm wondering if he could wind up running in NC-08 if the GOP legislature decides to target Larry Kissell instead of McIntyre (it'd be very hard to do both while trying to protect Renee Ellmers in NC-02).
• NH-02, WI-01: Want to see your netroots dollars at work? Americans United for Change and Daily Kos are running 60-second radio spots targeting Charlie Bass in NH-02 and Paul Ryan in WI-01, in their first foray into issue advertising hitting them on their support for HCR repeal. (I'm especially pleased to see R+2 WI-01 treated as a target.) Blue America PAC is also running similar ads in FL-24 and NJ-07.
• Mayors: As if he needed any more momentum behind his candidacy, Rahm Emanuel got the endorsement of the one figure in Chicago politics who actually seems mostly beloved instead of just feared: SoS Jesse White. Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, incumbent mayor Michael Nutter is looking like he may have a similarly easy race this year. Perhaps his biggest-possible-name opponent, state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, has decided not to run; Nutter also picked up the endorsement of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia (I'm not sure whether the Williams dropout or the Clergy endorsement came first, but I'd bet they're related.)
• Colorado GOP: Wow, you know the Republican Party has gone off a cliff when Dick Wadhams (Karl Rove protégé and svengali to George Allen) is suddenly the voice of reason in the room. Faced with a tea party challenge to his leadership, the Colorado state party chair just reversed course and said he won't seek another term leading the state GOP. On his way out, he leveled some blasts at the very rank-and-filers that he helped whip up into a frenzy and lost control of:
"...frankly, I just got tired of the people who see a conspiracy behind everything we do, people who don't have any clue what the role of the state party really is."
• We Love the 90s: If you're feeling the ground shaking, it's because there's a whole lot of dancing throughout the liberal blogosphere on the grave of the Democratic Leadership Council, which is shutting down. While I will gladly join in the Nelson Muntz-style ha-haing and agree that the primary factor in their demise was the fundamental crappiness of their product, it's worth noting that their sudden rise in irrelevance seemed to go hand in hand with the sudden lack of celebrity power behind them, with the seeming end of the Clinton dynasty (and the failure of Harold Ford Jr. to pick up that flag for the next generation), and also just with the rise in polarization over the last few years, meaning less audience for their little portion of the political spectrum. I'd also point out that they provided a launching pad for some guys who are doing really good work these days, like Simon Rosenberg and Ed Kilgore.
• CT-Sen: The Chris Murphy/Susan Bysiewicz primary still could turn into a chaotic battle royale, based on this week's indications. Rep. Joe Courtney is "leaning toward" the run (although that's not Courtney's own words, just another insider's interpretation), and says he'll have a decision soon. Ted Kennedy Jr. also doesn't have anything official to say, but he does seem to be stepping up his appearances around the state, including one in Bridgeport next week. One Dem we can probably rule out, though, is former state Treasurer and former Hartford deputy mayor Frank Borges, who disputed reports that he was looking into the race. Here's also one other Republican who might make the race who seems to have access to big fundraising pools, although it seems like he'd be starting in a big name rec hole against, say, Linda McMahon: state Sen. L. Scott Frantz, who represents wealthy Greenwich in the state's southwestern tip.
• MI-Sen: After sounding pretty thoroughly disinterested in his few public comments about the possibility of a Michigan Senate race, ex-Rep. and 2010 gubernatorial primary loser Peter Hoekstra is now publicly expressing some interest. He says that he's "considering it" and will make a decision in a few months. There's also a poll out of the GOP primary from GOP pollster Strategic National (no word on whose behalf the poll was taken) showing Hoekstra well in the lead, which may be prompting him to get more interested: he's at 33, with Terry Lynn Land at 15 and Saul Anuzis at all of 1, with 50% still undecided.
• ND-Sen: Rep. Rick Berg has been mentioned often as a potential GOP candidate for the open seat being vacated by Kent Conrad, and chatter seems to indicate the local party seems to have him at the top of the list in terms of someone to unite behind to avoid a divisive primary. Moving from the House to the Senate after only one term is still a pretty unusual move (although it may be less momentous in an at-large state). (In fact, here's a trivia question for you all, for which I don't know the answer: who was the last person to successfully jump to the Senate after only one term in the House? I can't even think of a one-termer getting his party's nomination since 1994, when Dem Sam Coppersmith ran and lost an open seat race in Arizona to Jon Kyl.) There's one other name bubbling up to add to the list of the ten-or-more Republicans already listed as possible candidates: Fargo-area state Sen. Tony Grindberg.
• NE-Sen: You might remember that the mysterious GOP dark money group American Future Fund ran some radio ads in North Dakota last month and Kent Conrad was announcing his retirement within a few weeks after that? Not that there's likely a causal relationship there, but maybe they're feeling like lightning might strike twice, and now they're running a similar ad against Ben Nelson in Nebraska.
• TX-Sen: San Antonio mayor Julian Castro had already given some vague statements of not intending to run for the Democratic nomination for the open Senate seat, but put a finer point on that today by announcing that he's kicking off his campaign for a second term as mayor. One Republican who has expressed some interest in the race but doesn't seem likely to run is Rep. Mike McCaul from TX-10; the likelier scenario, at least according to one expert, is that McCaul plans to run for state Attorney General in 2014, which will probably be vacated by current occupant Greg Abbott moving up to the Lt. Governor slot, presuming that David Dewhurst either becomes Senator or doesn't run again in '14.
• UT-Sen: You thought that Hasselbeck vs. Cromartie Twitter fight was exciting? That's got nothing on a good social media smackdown between rival right-wing astroturfers Club for Growth and Tea Party Express. In the wake of TPX head Sal Russo's comments yesterday praising Orrin Hatch, CfG just dissed TPX, saying they seem "to like Hatch's record in support of TARP, earmarks..." Roll Call has more on the Club's plans to go aggressively after Hatch. Russo also seems like he's getting undercut by his fellow TPX leader, Amy Kremer, who says that Hatch isn't off the hook yet and will be under their microscope for the cycle.
• VA-Sen: Jamie Radtke, the only person in the race so far offering a challenge from the right to presumed GOP frontrunner George Allen, let everyone know yesterday where she'd stand, putting in an appearance at the initial unveiling of the Senate Tea Party caucus (and its four members... or five if you count Pat Toomey, who was willing to speak to them but not join). Other interesting reading regarding Virginia is this profile of Jim Webb which doesn't offer many surprises but is a good overview of his ambivalence about the Senate race is pretty much in keeping with everything else about him. And buried in another boilerplate article is a pretty sharp smack at Allen from a fellow GOPer and the last person to successfully pivot from getting bounced out of the Senate to winning a later race (in 1988), Slade Gorton. Gorton says Allen, to win, will first need to apologize to voters, saying "I don't see anything from him about how he screwed up, even though he did."
• LA-Gov: See you later, Al Ater. After some semi-encouraging statements about a possible candidacy, the Democratic former Secretary of State now says he won't run for Governor this year. That still leaves the Dems without any sort of candidate to go against Bobby Jindal, with the clock definitely starting to tick louder.
• WV-Gov: Don't get too comfortable with the idea of a primary to pick the gubernatorial candidates in West Virginia (tentatively set for June 20); the legislature still has to enact that and there are some grumblings that it might not happen because of the expense involved, which would mean party conventions instead. That could give a boost to one of the less-known Democratic candidates who have stronger relations to organized labor, like House speaker Rick Thompson or treasurer John Perdue. The article also mentions a few other Republicans whose names are emerging in the race, most notably Putnam Co. Prosecutor Mark Sorasia (who'll be participating in an upcoming candidate forum), also mentioning former state Sen. Steve Harrison and state Del. Troy Andes.
• CT-05: The dance cards in the 5th district are definitely filling up. On the Democratic side, Audrey Blondin is saying that she'll run; she's a former Selectwoman from Litchfield, a member of the state party committee, and briefly ran for SoS in 2005. Also considering the Democratic primary is J. Paul Vance, the former leader of the Waterbury board of aldermen and a narrow loser to Michael Jarjura in the 2009 Dem mayoral primary. On the Republican side, Mike Clark is in; he's Farmington town council chair but he's best known for leading the FBI team that took down corrupt Gov. John Rowland, and was on Tom Foley's LG short-list. Several other possible names on the Republican field that are mentioned include state Sen. Kevin Witkos, Torrington mayor Ryan Bingham, and one possible heavyweight in the field (and the guy who actually was Foley's running mate), Danbury mayor Mark Boughton.
• FL-25: Freshman Rep. David Rivera seems to be in a world of trouble, with an entirely new angle on his corruption arising courtesy of an AP investigation: he paid himself nearly $60K in "unexplained" campaign reimbursements during his eight years in the state legislature. Between that and the already mounting investigation by Florida authorities and the FEC into potential payoffs from a dog track, there's apparently growing discontent with him behind the scenes in Republican leadership, who may be feeling pressure to make an example out of him as part of their "drain the swamp" promises (although Ethics Committee rules prevent them from using that vehicle, since they can't take up matters that are already under criminal investigation). Rumors persist that both parties are already sounding out candidates for a potential special election. He isn't getting much public support from John Boehner, whose only on-the-record comments are that he's taking a wait-and-see attitude on how things unfold.
• WI-01: Is this just a bit of monkeying around with Paul Ryan now that he's temporarily a celebrity, or are Dems seriously thinking about making a target out of him now that he's more notorious? (He's in what's currently an R+2 district, certainly within reach in a Dem-friendly year with a good candidate, and leads veteran House Republicans in terms of ideological out-of-whackness with his district lean... though that may have changed with the newest crop of teabaggers) At any rate, mailers are being sent out to voters in his district, having a bit of sport with his Medicare-voucherization proposals.
• Chicago mayor: We Ask America is out with another poll of the Chicago mayoral race (taken during the brief period when it looked like Rahm Emanuel might have been off the ballot). It looks like, as speculated, the whole debacle may have actually increased sympathy for Emanuel (with 72% of respondents saying his name should stay on the ballot), as this is the first poll to show him over the magic 50% mark that would help him avoid a runoff. He's at 52, with Gerry Chico at 14, Carol Mosely Braun at 11, and Miguel del Valle at 4. It also provides support for the theory that Chico, not Mosely Braun, would have been the chief beneficiary if Emanuel had gotten kicked off, as Chico led a Rahm-free option at 33, with Mosely Braun at 17 and del Valle at 7 (with 38 undecided).
• Nassau Co. Exec: This may pretty much spell doom for any future political efforts by Republican Nassau Co. Exec Ed Mangano, who was elected in a narrow upset over Tom Suozzi in 2009. Mangano has, since then, closely stuck to the teabagger/underpants gnome playbook of governance (step 1: cut taxes; step 2: ???; step 3: profit!), and lo and behold, found his county government insolvent. The state government has been forced to step in and seize control of the finance in the county on Long Island, one of the nation's wealthiest.
• Redistricting: I can't see this going anywhere legislatively even if Dems still held the majority (and I'm not sure it would pass constitutional muster anyway), but Heath Shuler and Jim Cooper are introducing legislation in the House that would switch every state away from partisan redistricting to requiring use of a five-person bipartisan commission. (They're picking up the flag from fellow Blue Dog John Tanner, for whom this was a personal hobby horse for many years until he recently left the House, but they may also have some personal stake in wanting this to succeed, seeing as how they suddenly find themselves in states where the Republicans now control the trifecta.) Also, the public rumblings of worry from prominent Republicans about how the GOP isn't financially or mentally prepared for this round of redistricting (something that seems dramatically out of character for them) seem to keep coming, this time from Ed Gillespie.
• Voting: Montana seems to be taking a cue from its nearby neighbors Oregon and Washington, and moving toward a vote-by-mail system. The measure cleared the House and will soon move to the state Senate. Despite the fact that the GOP controls that chamber and this was a Democratic bill, there was enough Republican support to move it forward. (Studies have shown that vote-by-mail tends to noticeably increase participation by traditionally-Democratic constituencies that ordinarily aren't very likely voters.)
That was a quick about-face, putting a stop to a crazy half-week: the Illinois Supreme Court just reversed the intermediate appellate court decision that had removed Rahm Emanuel from the Chicago mayoral ballot. All seven of the seven justices agreed (including Anne Burke, the wife of Alderman and Rahm archrival Edward Burke, who had refused to recuse herself from the case... although she participated in a separate concurrence).
"This is a situation in which, not only did the candidate testify that his intent was not to abandon his Chicago residence, his acts fully support and confirm that intent."
I won't bore you with further long excerpts from the opinion, but the majority basically smacks the lower court down pretty hard over their contorted reasoning to reach the result they did. With that, we're pretty much back where we were on Monday morning: with Emanuel substantially in the lead in terms of polling and money, with the election just weeks away.
• CT-Sen: Murphmentum! Rep. Chris Murphy, in the race to replace Joe Lieberman, seems to have a sizable early edge in both the primary and general elections, at least according to his internal poll from the Gotham Research Group (with a Jan. 3-5 sample period, so pre-Murphy's campaign launch and pre-Lieberman's retirement). In the primary, he leads a two-way race against Susan Bysiewicz, 40-31. In the general, he leads Linda McMahon 54-35 and leads Rob Simmons 46-34 (which is quite the testament to McMahon's toxicity). The spread on the primary numbers is close to the 47-35 mystery poll that was widely mentioned on Murphy's announcement day, although the Murphy campaign reiterates that that poll wasn't theirs.
• MN-Sen: Norm Coleman (currently heading American Action Network, who were big players on the dark money front in 2010) is saying that he's not ruling out another run for office, although couching that by saying he's enjoying being out of the news on a regular basis. No indication what he wants to run for, though.
• MO-Sen: Here's one more name to add to the list for Missouri... or to add back to the list, after briefly being off the list while the pursued the chairmanship of the RNC. Ann Wagner, a former ambassador to Luxembourg, former RNC vice-chair, and former campaign manager to Roy Blunt (can't get much more GOP establishment than that resume), is publicly weighing the race again. (She says she'd defer to Jim Talent, though, but that's looking less likely.) And here's an early endorsement for Ed Martin, the former MO-03 candidate who's emerging as something of the tea party favorite in the field, if he decides to run; he got the endorsement of Phyllis Schlafly, Missouri-based 80s right-wing icon who still has a lot of pull in social conservative circles.
• OH-Sen: Rep. Jim Jordan is back in the news for saying that he's "leaning against" a run against Sherrod Brown. If I recall correctly, he's been "leaning against" the race for months, so things don't seem to have changed much here.
• LA-Gov: Louisiana Democrats seem to be turning their attention toward something that's previously eluded them: a potentially willing candidate to go up against Bobby Jindal. Former SoS Al Ater, well-regarded for getting the state electoral system back in gear after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, still sounds pretty noncommittal, perhaps most about the idea of spending his own money on the race (self-financing seems to be the Dems' main criteria for the race, and while Ater has money, he doesn't sound happy about spending much of it).
• IA-03: Christie Vilsack is seemingly moving toward a run for the House in 2012, meeting with donors and labor leaders to lay some groundwork. This seems strange, though, because all three of the state's House Dems say they're running for re-election, including 77-year-old Leonard Boswell. (Vilsack would be likeliest to run in the 3rd, or whatever the Des Moines-area district will be called once redistricting happens.) She won't make a formal decision until April, when the new four-district redistricting maps will be unveiled, but for now it looks like, unless she's going to run against Steve King, there's a collision course with an existing Dem.
• Chicago mayor: Fresh off a surprising setback in the Illinois Appellate Court, which reversed lower court rulings that he was a Chicago resident and eligible to become mayor, Rahm Emanuel has appealed to the state Supreme Court; they've announced they'll hear the case on an expedited basis, with no oral arguments, so we should be out of limbo pretty soon. There was a brief period where it looked like the city was going to go ahead and start printing ballots without Emanuel's name (which would basically be the kiss of death), but also today, a stay was ordered that pushes back the ballot printing until the case is fully decided. Also, in case you though this was all just about a legitimate case of differences in statutory interpretation, with grownups disagreeing about what an inadequately-specific law means, guess again. (Forget it, Jake. It's Chicago.) It turns out that two of the three Appellate Court judges on the case were slated by the 14th district Alderman Edward Burke, a local powerbroker who's a staunch Emanuel rival and a key Gery Chico backer. This leads to the question of whether supreme court justice Anne Burke, who may have a certain loyalty to Edward seeing as how she's married to him, will recuse herself from the Emanuel case.
• Omaha mayor: There's one special election on tap today: a recall election in Omaha, against mayor Jim Suttle. There's no scandal or malfeasance alleged, just anger about over usual teabagger grievances like "excessive taxes, broken promises, and union deals," as well as the unspoken obvious: while it's an ostensibly nonpartisan job, Suttle's a Democrat. (Omaha seems particularly trigger-happy about recalls; Mike Boyle was successfully recalled in 1987.)
• Senate: Somehow it doesn't seem unusual, but what George Allen is attempting (and what Jim Talent could attempt, too) is, in fact, highly unusual. Only five Senators have lost re-election and then come back to the Senate... but most of them (Slade Gorton most recently) were elected to their state's other Senate seat. What Allen is doing is even more unusual: defeating the guy who beat you six years ago in order to reclaim your seat seems to have happened all of once in history. Thanks to UMN's Smart Politics, it looks like the one time was in 1934, when Rhode Island Democrat Peter Gerry (the great-grandson of Elbridge Gerry, in case you're wondering) beat one-term Republican Felix Hebert, who had knocked him out in the GOP tsunami of 1928.
• DGA: The Democratic Governor's Association announced its new hires for the cycle, including the Patriot Majority's Dan Sena as its political director. We're especially happy to see their new hire for communication director: friend-to-the-site Lis Smith, last seen on Ted Strickland's campaign.
• Redistricting: There's some redistricting-related drama looming in New York, where the Senate Republicans are backing away from promises of a non-partisan redistricting map. Andrew Cuomo has signaled that he'd veto any map that wasn't non-partisan, but is now suggesting he can negotiate on that, in exchange for other priorities. There was also a smaller battle in Georgia, won by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (who, in his role as Senate president, got to reassert his authority over the process), where the stakes are lower since the GOP controls the trifecta. The battle was against Senate president pro tem Tommie Williams... Williams is from the south (unlike Nathan Deal, Cagle, and the House speaker, all from the north) and has a stake in keeping the underpopulated southern part of the state's interests represented at the table.
One of the big question marks for redistricting is Florida, where the initiative that passed, limiting gerrymandering, still has to run the gauntlet in the courts; the GOP in the state House are joining the suit against the initiative that was filed jointly by Mario Diaz-Balart and Corrine Brown (not surprising that they'd support it, since the GOP controls the trifecta and the legislature would get to resume gerrymandering if it's struck down). Finally, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette takes a look at Pennsylvania redistricting prospects, concluding (rightly, in my estimation) that the axe is likely to fall in the southwest corner of the state because of its stagnant population, and suggesting that the likeliest removal from the House will be the loser of a Jason Altmire/Mark Critz mashup.
We don't usually front-page mayoral race news, but this is going to wind up being the day's biggest story, I'm sure (sorry, George Allen, your hopes of winning the day just got buried). Rahm Emanuel, way in the lead in terms of fundraising and polling, is out of the race, at least at this point:
An appellate panel ruled 2-1 that Emanuel did not meet the residency standard to run for mayor.
Appellate judges Thomas Hoffman and Shelvin Louise Marie Hall ruled against Emanuel. Justice Bertina Lampkin voted in favor of keeping President Obama's former chief of staff on the Feb. 22 ballot.
This decision comes from the Illinois Appellate Court, which is the state's intermediate-level court (and it's a surprise, since Emanuel had no trouble winning his case in front of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners or at the trial level). It will, no doubt, promptly be appealed to the state Supreme Court, where it's entirely possible it may be reversed and everything will be back to normal. So, while things are very scrambled for now (probably leaving Carol Mosely Braun the frontrunner, in a Rahm-free environment), we'll have to wait and see.