• AZ-Sen: Could we actually see a retirement from the GOP's #2, Jon Kyl? Seems hard to believe, but there seems to be increasing chatter about it, at least to the extent that it's now a "real possibility." Local sources refer to his fundraising as being in a "holding pattern." Kyl promises a February deadline for deciding whether or not to run again.
• FL-Sen: He doesn't have the name rec of ex-Sen. George LeMieux or Rep. Connie Mack IV, but don't discount former state House majority leader Adam Hasner as a potential force in the GOP Senate primary. While he's little-known, insiders point to him having the best-built network for fundraising and activist mobilization among the GOPers. (Also worth noting: his wife just finished running Meg Whitman's campaign. Although I don't know if, at this point, that's a plus or a minus.)
• IN-Sen: Seemingly having learned from the 2010 Republican Senate primary, where two candidates split the hard-right vote and let warmed-over establishmentarian Dan Coats stroll to the nomination, Indiana tea partiers seem to be trying to coordinate their efforts better this time in order to beat Richard Lugar. 180 leaders met to summon three potential candidates (the already-oft-mentioned state Sen. Mike Delph and state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, but also 2010 IN-02 loser Jackie Walorski) to appear before them so they can unify behind one of them. (The article's worth reading too for some provocative pushback from Lugar's camp, including some thoughtful mention from them of the Latino vote, a growing demographic even in Indiana.) Meanwhile, faced with redistricting-related uncertainty in his House district, Rep. Joe Donnelly is continuing to "look at his political options" regarding a statewide run (where, theoretically, a Senate run could be more appealing, if odds are starting to look like the Gov. opponent will be Mike Pence and the Sen. opponent will be a little-known teabagger).
• MA-Sen: Cat fud doesn't get any better than this: the National Republican Trust PAC, which spent $95K on IEs to get Scott Brown elected in 2010, is now vowing to defeat Brown in the next Republican primary in order to "protect its brand." The last straw for them? START, of all things. While I can't see such a primary likely to succeed (especially since these guys seem like kind of small-ball players... I mean, $95K?), the prospect of angry right-wingers staying home in November makes the general election that much more interesting. Meanwhile, Rep. Michael Capuano, who lost the special election Dem primary, still sounds like the Dem likeliest to make the race, although he's now saying he won't have a formal decision until summer. Another potential candidate, Rep. Stephen Lynch, is out with some comments that somehow don't seem likely to endear him any more to the party's base, saying that liberal activists should steer clear of primary challenges in 2012 (Lynch, of course, was recipient of one of those challenges). He stopped short of saying that they should steer clear of primary challenges to him in the Senate race, though, so that doesn't give much insight into his 2012 plans.
• MI-Sen: With Peter Hoekstra having made some vague noises about being interested in the Senate race last week, now it's Terry Lynn Land's turn. The former Republican SoS says she's "considering it," but interestingly, plans to meet with Hoekstra next week before making a decision.
• TX-Sen: This isn't much of a surprise, but west Texas's three interchangeable Republican House members (Mike Conaway, Randy Neugebauer, and Mac Thornberry) announced en masse that they weren't interested in running for the Senate seat. Makes sense... why give up the safest job in the nation (GOP House backbencher in a district that's R+25 or more) for the chance to get flattened in a primary by David Dewhurst and/or a teabagger to be named later?
• VT-Sen: Republican State Auditor Tom Salmon seems to have an amazing new quantitative scheme for gauging his interest in running for Senate: currently he says he's "65 percent in," and that "when I hit 75 percent it will commence exploratory." He also lets Politico know (I'm not making this up) that he "needs to be an authentic self-utilizing power along the lines of excellence." I guess he switched from being a Democrat to a Republican last year because he felt more welcome in the GOP, given their long-standing tolerance of Sarah Palin's gift for word salad.
• WI-Sen: This seems like a pretty good indicator that long-time Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl, who prefers to write his own checks rather than work the fundraising circuit, is planning another run in 2012 rather than retirement. He just loaned $1 million into his campaign account in the fourth quarter of 2011.
• WV-Gov: PPP is out with the primary election portions of its gubernatorial poll from last week. On the Dem side, there are two clear favorites but they're neck and neck: acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (at 25) and SoS Natalie Tennant (at 24). Further behind are state Treasurer John Perdue at 16, state Sen. Jeff Kessler at 7, state House speaker Rick Thompson at 6, and state Sen. Brooks McCabe at 4. On the GOP side, if Shelley Moore Capito does show up (which she says she won't), she's a shoo-in, at 72, with ex-SoS Betty Ireland at 10, state Sen. Clark Barnes at 5, Putnam Co. Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia at 1, and state GOP chair Mike Stuart at 1. They also try a Capito-free version, in which Ireland becomes the heavy fave at 46, with Barnes at 11, Sorsaia at 9, and Stuart at 4. There's also word of one more GOPer who isn't interesting: former astronaut and 1996 gubernatorial candidate (who lost the '96 primary to Cecil Underwood) Jon McBride says he won't run this time.
• IN-01, MI-14: Two Democratic old-timers who may be faced with less favorable districts after redistricting (or at least dark-blue districts that contain a lot of new territory) and have some ethical problems hanging overhead both announced that they're running for re-election. Peter Visclosky and John Conyers both are looking to get an early start on their races.
• WA-08: Here's a new House filing from a fairly prominent local Democrat to go against perennial target Dave Reichert: state Rep. Roger Goodman has set up a committee to run in the 8th. This requires some reading between the lines, though, because a Goodman/Reichert matchup is highly unlikely in the end; Goodman just needs a federal committee set up for, well, somewhere. Goodman lives in Kirkland, which is about a mile to the north of the 8th's boundaries; he actually lives in WA-01, where he probably doesn't want to look like he's mounting a primary challenge to Jay Inslee, although it's widely-assumed that Inslee will be vacating the 1st to run for Governor in 2012. That doesn't mean that Goodman running in the 1st is a done deal, either; under the likeliest redistricting scenario, Kirkland is likely to be part of a new Dem-friendly district that's based on the true Eastside (whether it's the 8th or 10th remains to be seen), with Reichert, who's based down in Auburn, getting his own friendlier district based in SE King County and eastern Pierce County. So, I'd say, it's likelier than not that we'll see both Reichert and Goodman in the House in 2013; the main question is the district numbers.
• DCCC: Here's something we like to see; not only is the DCCC is getting an early start on offense this year, seeding the ground to try to get some early momentum going against the most vulnerable House GOPers, but they're explicitly doing some progressive framing here, highlighting the links between infrastructure spending and job growth. They're running radio ads in 19 districts, most of which aren't a surprise by virtue of their swinginess: targets include Lou Barletta, Charlie Bass, Ann Marie Buerkle, Steve Chabot, Chip Cravaack, Bob Dold!, Sean Duffy, Blake Farenthold, Mike Fitzpatrick, Nan Hayworth, Joe Heck, Robert Hurt, Patrick Meehan, Dave Reichert, David Rivera, Jon Runyan, Joe Walsh, and Allen West. The wild card? Thad McCotter, whose continued presence in the House seems to have more to do with his ability to not draw tough opponents than it does with a connection to his district.
• Redistricting: The Fix has an interesting look at Virginia redistricting, where the Dem control of the state Senate probably means an 8-3 compromise map protecting current incumbents. There's one wrinkle, though: congressional redistricting could be pushed back until after the 2011 legislative election in the hopes that the GOP takes back over the state Senate, which would give them the trifecta. (Obviously, they couldn't delay legislative redistricting, though, meaning the GOP won't have the leverage over the map that would shape the results of the 2011 legislative election.) Although it's hard to see what they could do to VA-11 that wouldn't cut into VA-10, the GOP could conceivably push for a 9-2 map if they got that advantage. (The Rose Report is out with a much more in-depth series on Virginia redistricting this month that's worth a look.) Meanwhile, in New Jersey (another early state where the work is done by bipartisan commission), there's already some disagreement within the commission over whether or not they need to have an 11th, tie-breaking member appointed so they can move forward. (H/t to Taniel for noticing the delightful headline: "N.J. redistricting commission argues over whether it is at an impasse.")
• Census: Speaking of Virginia and New Jersey, and their early redistricting efforts, the Census Bureau will be rolling out the first big batch of complete, detailed data from 2010 for the first four states that need it early (for 2011 legislative election purposes)... Louisiana and Mississippi as well. They don't have a specific date set, but keep watching this link because they'll be available at some point this week.
Joe Manchin (D-inc): 50
Shelley Moore Capito (R): 41
Joe Manchin (D-inc): 57
David McKinley (R): 28
Joe Manchin (D-inc): 60
John Raese (R): 31
I think, if you were to try and set up West Virginians' feelings about their politicians as a mathematical equation, it would look something like this: Joe Manchin > Shelley Moore Capito > (very large gap) > various other Dems > various other Republicans. This can be seen in PPP's sample this week, which starts with their look at the 2012 Senate race, with Manchin beating all Republican opponents and having made the jump to federal office with sky-high approvals down somewhat but mostly intact, at 52/32 (with much of the drop in approvals coming from liberals, believe it or not). Capito is in similar very-positive terrain at 54/30, but nevertheless loses to Manchin, probably because of the disparity in Dem vs. GOP registrations in West Virginia and that there's little Dem defection from Manchin.
Natalie Tennant (D): 48
Mike Stuart (R): 22
Rick Thompson (D): 29
Shelley Moore Capito (R): 54
Rick Thompson (D): 34
Clark Barnes (R): 24
Rick Thompson (D): 31
Betty Ireland (R): 37
Rick Thompson (D): 33
Mike Stuart (R): 22
If you have the stamina to wade through all 16 of these gubernatorial permutations, you can see a definite pattern: Dems win big, unless the GOP gets Shelley Moore Capito into the race, in which case she's favored (or unless Rick Thompson wins the nomination, as he manages to lose to Betty Ireland). The question PPP asks specifically says "If the candidates for governor this year were..." so, however, keep in mind that Capito has basically declined to run in the special election. Nevertheless, she hasn't ruled out a run in 2012, so assuming these numbers stay valid for another year, there's a distinct possibility that whichever Dem wins the special election in 2011 could have a very short tenure if Capito does decide to run in 2012. In fact, if Earl Ray Tomblin doesn't win the Dem primary, we could have two one-year gubernatorial terms in a row. Tomblin starts in a good place, though, with 42/20 approvals; Betty Ireland seems to fare the best of the "other" GOPers, with 33/19 faves.
If you're wondering, here's who all these various people are:
Earl Ray Tomblin: Democratic state Senate president and acting Governor until the October 2011 special election
John Perdue: Democratic state Treasurer
Natalie Tennant: Democratic Secretary of State
Rick Thompson: Democratic state House speaker
Shelley Moore Capito: Republican Rep. from WV-02
Clark Barnes: Republican state Senator
Betty Ireland: Republican ex-SoS
Mike Stuart: Republican state party chair
• FL-Sen: With everyone fixated on the three retirements in the Senate in the last week (although the Fix makes the good point this morning that by this point in the 2010 cycle, there had already been four retirements), Bill Nelson seems compelled to point out that he won't be one of them. In front of as many reporters as possible (at an AP gathering), he confirmed today that he's running again.
• MO-Sen, MO-06: Wow, this is out of nowhere (although I'm not sure whether this is going to have any legs beyond today), but potentially very interesting: Republican Rep. Sam Graves is suddenly expressing some interest in the Senate race, calling it a "great opportunity." He's been in the House since 2000 and is chair of the Small Business Committee, so giving that up would be a big move. He may be seeing the diminished likelihood of a Jim Talent run and sensing there's room for another establishmentarian-type candidate to go against the more tea-flavored Sarah Steelman. (This would open up MO-06 in the state's rural northwest, which was Dem-held before Graves but has shifted to the right, currently R+7; Dems tried to make it competitive in 2008 and didn't get any traction.)
• ND-Sen: Ready for a whole lot of names of people who might run for Senate? In fact, let me just blockquote the Bismarck Tribune, rather than transcribing it laboriously:
The list of Republicans whose names are being thrown out include Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, Rep. Rick Berg, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Tax Commissioner Cory Fong, Public Service Commissioners [Brian] Kalk and Kevin Cramer, Sen. John Hoeven's state director Shane Goettle, GOP state treasurer Bob Harms, and Great Plains Software developer Doug Burgum.
As for Democrats, names circulating include both [ex-state Sen. and radio host]Joel and [ex-AG] Heidi Heitkamp, former state Sen. Tracy Potter, USDA Rural Development Director Jasper Schneider, state Sen. Mac Schneider, U.S Attorney Tim Purdon, Conrad's state director Scott Stofferahn and former Byron Dorgan staffer Pam Gulleson, former agriculture commissioner Sara Vogel, former state Rep. Chris Griffin, State Sen. Tim Mathern of Fargo, Senate Minority Leader Ryan Taylor and even Earl Pomeroy.
The Bismarck Tribune article also gets a number of these people on record, although their comments are all various degrees of noncommittal. Kent Conrad tipped his hand a bit yesterday, giving nods in the Grand Forks Herald to both Heitkamps, as well as to Schneider. One other Dem who got mentioned a lot yesterday, Roger Johnson (the president of the National Farmers Union) has already said he's not interested. And in what's not a surprise, the Tea Partiers aren't happy with anyone of 'em (although some had some words of praise for Berg), but are still promising to "battle for control."
• VT-Sen: It looks like Republican state Auditor Tom Salmon's Facebook attacks on Bernie Sanders weren't just the work of a bored guy at work but, as many speculated, part of a coordinated plan to move toward a run against Sanders; he's now publicly saying that he he's interested in the race. Color me puzzled: why would Salmon (who was a Democrat until a year and a half ago) go after an entrenched institution like Sanders in 2012 when he could run for Gov. against Peter Shumlin, who's just getting situated and won by only a narrow margin in 2010?
• KY-Gov: This one gets filed straight to the Department of Foregone Conclusions, but it was made official today: Republican state Sen. president David Williams and Ag Comm. Richie Farmer filed their candidacy papers today, to go up against incumbent Dem Steve Beshear in November.
• WV-Gov: We're getting some pushback/clarification from Shelley Moore Capito's team regarding claims from gubernatorial candidate Betty Ireland that she wasn't going to run for Governor; a spokesperson says the only thing that's off the table is a run in the special election for Governor (which we know now will be held this November). She's still open to a bid for either Governor or Senate in 2012. Dave Catanese also wonders whether Capito's timeline is a little longer, i.e. a 2014 run against Jay Rockefeller (or for his open seat, if he retires, seeing as how he'll be 77 then). It's also looking like the candidates for November's special election will be picked by primary rather than by the parties; acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who was the main impediment to a 2011 election until yesterday's supreme court ruling, says he's working with SoS (and likely Dem primary opponent) Natalie Tennant to set special primaries in motion.
• NY-13: Ex-Rep. Mike McMahon seems to be laying groundwork for a rematch against Mike Grimm, who defeated him narrowly in 2010. He reached out to members of the Staten Island Democratic Association at a meeting last night.
• OR-01: Rep. David Wu has always struck people as a little odd (many of you probably remember his Klingons speech), but it seems like something has intensified lately, and it's starting to come out in the open. It's been revealed that in the last few months, he's lost a number of his key staffers amidst complaints about his public behavior, including his chief of staff (who left to join a Rep. with less seniority) and his communications director (who left without having another job lined up, which is even more highly unusual, especially in this economic climate). This chief fundraiser and chief pollster also say they don't plan to work with him any longer. This is a D+8 district with a robust Dem bench, which is good because this may be a difficult story for Wu to shake, especially given general rumblings of discontent with him that have been building over time.
• Mayors: Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter looks like he's in good shape for his 2011 re-election, according to a new poll from Municipoll. Nutter's at 47-39 against Generic D primary opponent, wins a three-way primary against Bill Green and Anthony Williams 46-21-18, and wins a three-way against Sam Katz and Williams 44-22-21. Interestingly (though consistent with the original coalition that elected him), Nutter has stronger support among whites (64% favorable) than he does among African-Americans, at 45%. (Nutter is black.) Nutter also just secured the support of the Laborers union. Even further down the weeds in Philly, Republican state Rep. (and, briefly, former speaker) Dennis O'Brien will run for a vacant city council seat in NE Philly. That's good news, because it might free up his state House seat and make any Dem attempt to retake the state House in 2012 easier, seeing as how his seat is one of the most Dem-leaning seats held by a Republican.
• Minnesota: Two stories developing in Minnesota; one, the legal battle over 2012 redistricting has already begun, with Minnesota its first flashpoint. With the GOP controlling the legislature (but not the governorship), Dems have filed a suit seeking an injunction requiring legislators to submit proposed redistricting plans directly to the court (where they'll probably wind up anyway, regardless of how this suit goes). Also, Minnesota GOP legislators are seeking to emulate their next-door neighbors in Wisconsin in making it more difficult to vote, seeking to push a voter ID bill.
• Redistricting: You may remember some Republican laments from a few days ago about the apparent failure of their MAPS program to raise the money needed to coordinate redistricting at a national level; those fears seem to be spreading, including to ex-Rep. Tom Reynolds, who's spearheading the process for the GOP this year. Part of the problem seems to be that they spent so much money winning control of state legislatures in November that nothing was reserved for coordinating the subsequent redistricting. Nathan Gonzales also previews how state legislators from both parties are currently hunkering down in Washington learning (since many weren't in office in 2000) the redistricting process from the ground up; in particular, they're learning the new technologies (like GIS programs like Maptitude), which obviously have come a long way since the last round of redistricting.
• Census: Hats off to the Census Bureau, who, just in time to go with their upcoming onslaught of 2010 data, have launched a new and improved version of American FactFinder (the main research tool on their site), a significant improvement over the rather clumsy and unintuitive existing version. I wouldn't go so far as to call the new version intuitive either, but it makes multi-variable searches and customized maps much easier.
• IN-Sen: The usually low-key Richard Lugar, all of a sudden, seems intent on reminding everyone in the press who'll listen that he isn't dead yet. Lugar says he isn't sure how seriously to take the threat from the tea partiers since there's no declared opponent yet, but he's moving full speed ahead on fundraising, with a Friday event set with a $320K target.
• MA-Sen: I know that our comments section isn't representative of the Democratic primary electorate in Massachusetts, but Bob Massie's unexpected campaign rollout over the weekend, and his uniquely compelling personal story, seemed to get an overwhelmingly positive response here. Here's another, and more in-depth, profile of the first Democrat to get into the race against Scott Brown.
• TX-Sen: San Antonio mayor Julian Castro is the latest Democrat to pass on the Senate contest, in the wake of Kay Bailey Hutchison's retirement announcement. The up-and-comer says he "has no intention" of running in 2012 (which, I suppose, leaves open the possibility that he might find himself unintentionally running?).
• UT-Sen: Here's kind of a strange poll in Utah, seeing as how it's tests of configurations that I can't ever see happening... and, in the case of the 2012 GOP Senate field, it's not even a sample of the people who'll be making the actual decision (given the Utah GOP's heavy reliance on the convention). In fact, the GOP primary question is asked of all Utah voters. At any rate, local pollsters (here on behalf of Utah Policy, rather than usual client the Deseret News) Dan Jones find ex-Gov. and current Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman in the lead in a GOP primary, beating Rep. Jason Chaffetz and incumbent Orrin Hatch 48-23-21. I haven't heard anything about Hunstman running, at least not for Senate, and there's no Chaffetz/Hatch head-to-head polled. They also find that Hatch would win a general election against Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson (in the odd event that, a) Hatch would survive the convention, and b) Matheson would give up his House seat for a suicide run), 48-41.
• VA-Sen: This statement from ex-Gov./DNC chair Tim Kaine is simultaneously worrisome and reassuring: he says he won't run for Senate, even if Jim Webb retires, problematic since he's the Dems' other top-tier candidate here besides Webb. On the other hand, he says that he has no reason to believe that Webb is planning anything other than re-election (although he doesn't give any specifics on why he thinks that). Meanwhile, Jamie Radtke is already getting out in front of George Allen in the wake of reports that Allen is about to announce his bid. She challenged Allen to a series of debates, and rolled out an endorsement from RedState's Erick Erickson. Allen didn't respond, although he announced his own series of town hall events (presumably solo) through Americans for Prosperity.
• WV-Gov: Former Republican SoS and current gubernatorial candidate Betty Ireland seems to have some insider knowledge that nobody else does: she's saying that she wouldn't be running if Rep. Shelley Moore Capito was, and that she had spoken with Capito to get confirmation on that. There was no comment on that from Capito's camp.
• AZ-08: There was much ado about nothing yesterday with brief blogospheric panic over an obscure Arizona state law that says that an elected official can be removed from office, via a declared vacancy, if she doesn't execute her duties within a 90 day period. Turns out that applies only to state and local officials, and even if it didn't, applying it to a federal official wouldn't likely pass constitutional muster (in the same way that state term limits and recall laws don't apply to House members).
• CA-49: With Rep. Darrell Issa about to take over the reins of the House Oversight committee, this long and remarkably thorough piece from the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza is today's must-read, if you haven't already seen it. It revisits various episodes in his checkered past, but presents an interesting, complicated picture of him.
• KY-AG: Even though he's just dodged bids by his two most potentially serious rivals (SoS Trey Grayson and former state Supreme Ct. chief justice Joseph Lambert), now there are local rumors bubbling up that Democratic incumbent AG (and probably still a rising star) Jack Conway may not seek a second term. State Rep. John Tilley, state Sen. Ray Jones, and former state Dem chair Jennifer Moore have started talking themselves up for the job. While Conway publicly has said he intends to run again, Tilley says Conway has told him he hasn't made a decision yet.
• Chicago mayor: Big Dog alert! Bill Clinton will be appearing in Chicago on behalf of former right-hand man Rahm Emanuel and his bid for Chicago mayor. (Also reportedly appearing: SNL star and Emanuel impersonator Andy Samberg.) Carol Mosely Braun's take? "One outsider coming in to support another outsider."
• Enthuasiam gap: Hooray! We've all been saved! PPP has officially declared that the "enthusiasm gap" is over. OK, I'm being facetious and it's not that simple, but PPP finds that 85% of Democrats and 82% of Republicans are "very excited" or "somewhat excited" about voting in 2012, suggesting that young people and minority voters might actually get off their duffs and vote if there's a president on the ballot. (In fact, the highest report of "very exciteds" is among African-Americans, at 71%.) Democrats were killed in 2010 by a high disparity in "not exciteds," but currently only 16% of Dems and 18% of GOPers are in that condition, suggesting turnout parity.
Netroots Nation: In case you missed it, click the link to watch the video of our panel on the 2010 horserace from last Friday at Netroots Nation. It was a terrific, fast-paced panel and we were asked a broad range of questions on a ton of different races. Fun stuff! Also of interest, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner conducted a straw poll of convention-goers. They included one horserace-ish question, asking participants which race was their top priority this fall. 31% picked NV-Sen, followed by PA-Sen (25%), KY-Sen (21%), MN-06 (15%), and VA-05 (7%).
CA-Sen: The NRSC has reserved $1.75 million in ad time for Carly Fiorina - but remember, just cuz you reserve time doesn't mean you necessarily wind up buying it, so this could just be a feint.
FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek is up with his first ad, attacking zillionaire schmuckface Jeff Greene for his past run for Congress in California - as a Republican - and for the windfall he reaped by betting on a housing market collapse two years ago. Adam Smith of the St. Pete Times says the buy is for $420K, which he thinks is "pretty small" for the pretty big state of Florida.
IL-Sen: Mark Kirk is pulling a Pat Toomey. You'll recall that the ultra-conservative Pennsylvania senate candidate somewhat surprisingly endorsed Sonia Sotomayor's nomination for the Supreme Court. Now it's Kirk's turn to try to burnish his "moderate" credentials, so he's backing Elena Kagan.
Meanwhile, here's some new craziness: A federal district court judge just ordered a special election to fill the remaining months of Roland Burris's term, most likely to coincide with the regular election in November. Both Kirk and Dem Alexi Giannoulias have said they want to run in the special, and they probably won't have to face a primary, since the judge seems inclined to allow nominees to be picked by party committees. Politico points out a potentially huge angle to all of this: the FEC says that since the special would constitute a new election, the candidates would be able to raise fresh money for that race - meaning that Kirk and Giannoulias could hit up maxed-out donors once more.
PA-Sen: But wait! Pat Toomey isn't pulling a Pat Toomey! He's coming out against Elena Kagan.
WV-Sen: When early word came that Rep. Shelley Moore Capito wouldn't run for Robert Byrd's seat, we said that we'd move the race to Likely D. Capito made it official last Wednesday, so consider this move retroactive to that date.
MI-Gov: Bummer: Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has endorsed DLC Dem Andy Dillon, whom Dillon called a "kindred spirit." Given Bing's outsider status and short tenure, I suspect he's not quite a "machine" mayor, though, who can deliver wards on the turn of a heel.
MN-Gov: Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer continues to burnish his moron credentials. The other day, he declared that Minnesota should pass its own GI bill to help veterans. Good idea, right? So good, in fact, that the state actually passed such a law three years ago. Even better: Emmer, a state representative, voted against the bill!
RI-Gov: Linc Chafee won the endorsement of the 10,000-strong Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals, his first big union nod. The Projo says that the teachers had been favored to go to AG Patrick Lynch, but Lynch rather unexpectedly dropped out of the race not long ago, and evidently Dem Treasurer Frank Caprio didn't suit them.
SC-Gov: Nikki Haley, a member of the Strength Through Crippling Austerity wing of the Republican Party, is trying to soften (i.e., flip-flop) some of her less business-friendly stances. The AP explains her shifts on two issues: the infamous anti-tax pledge sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, and the bailout.
IL-17: Can an internal poll sometimes seem just too good? That's how I feel about this survey by Magellan Strategies for GOPer Bobby Schilling, which has him up 45-32 over Dem Rep. Phil Hare. YMMV.
NY-13: John McCain is endorsing former FBI agent Mike Grimm in the GOP primary. Grimm has faced hostility from the Republican establishment here, which has backed Michael Allegretti (whom Maggie Haberman delightfully refers to with the epithet "Bayside fuel heir"). Apparently, McCain (who has a race of his own to worry about) will both fundraise and campaign for Grimm, though no word yet on when. As for why he's getting involved, Haberman says it's because of his relationship with Rudy Giuliani and Guy Molinari, both of whom are supporting Grimm.
NY-15: Charlie Rangel's autobiography is titled "And I Haven't Had a Bad Day Since," referring to his service in the Korean War. Well, it sure seems like he's had more than a few bad days lately, with the latest batch coming in the last week. The House Ethics Committee declared on Thursday that Rangel had indeed committed transgressions and created a new panel to investigate further. In response, Indiana senate candidate Brad Ellsworth announced he would give to charity all the money he's received from Rangel (some $12K). Rep. Betty Sutton (OH-13) went one further, calling on Rangel to resign. For the record, Rangel disagrees with me, saying: "I'm not in a foxhole, I'm not surrounded by a million Chinese communists coming after me. Life is good. I'm 80 years old. I'm on my way to a parade."
OK-05: SoonerPoll.com has a survey out of the 5th CD Republican field, finding former state Rep. Kevin Calvey increasing his lead from 20 to 28 since the last test in March. Some Dude James Lankford is in second with 20, followed by 15 for state Rep. Mike Thompson, 6 for state Rep. Shane Jett, and a bunch of other Some Dudes bringing up the rear.
PA-15: This is what we call a good get: Bill Clinton will be coming to Salisbury Township for a fundraiser for John Callahan on August 10th. As is so often the case with the Big Dog, this is payback for Callahan's support of Hillary Clinton's presidential bid in 2008.
Willie W. Herenton, the former mayor, is accusing Steve Cohen, the white two-term United States representative, of "trying to act black." He tells voters in this majority-black city that they "need to come off that Cohen plantation and get on the Herenton freedom train."
WI-03: State Sen. Dan Kapanke has an internal out from Public Opinion Strategies (memo here) which shows Dem Rep. Ron Kind up just 44-38.
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) has decided she will not run to replace Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), three sources familiar with her plans said Tuesday night.
Capito was the favorite on the GOP side, and state legislators gained a concession in a special-election bill passed Monday that would have allowed her to run for both reelection and in the Senate race at the same time.
But, even with that fallback plan, sources tell The Fix that the she has opted not to run.
Wonder who they'll put up against Joe "The Manchine" Manchin. While I know the GOP's bench in West Virginia is notoriously weak, nonetheless it'll be kind of amazing if they can't make anything out of this opportunity in such a good year for them - especially in a state so implacably hostile to Obama and national Democrats. Anyhow, assuming Capito makes this official, we plan to rate this race as "Likely D."
Gov. Joe Manchin has apparently struck a deal with state legislators that will set a special election for Robert Byrd's Senate seat this fall:
Under the draft agreement lawmakers were shown at about 5 p.m., voters would go to the polls for an Aug. 28 for a primary to choose party nominees and then again Nov. 2 for a general election. Candidates who have already filed for an office would be allowed to run in the special Senate election. The provision would allow someone like Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, the Republican's most prominent candidate, to run for reelection in the House but also take a shot at serving out Robert Byrd's unexpired term, which ends in Jan. 2013. The deal ended an impasse between the House and Senate that began Saturday.
Letting Capito have a free crack at this race is utterly baffling, and I hope it doesn't prove to be a too-cute-by-half move that ultimately backfires. Sure, Joe "The Manchine" Manchin will be formidable in any West Virginia election, but one Martha Coakley wasn't supposed to lose, either...
Anne Barth made her supporters proud at the debate tonight with Bush Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito.
For those of us who've seen Capito in debates before, it was the usual say one thing here, do something else in Washington D.C.
WEPM broadcast the debate and there will probably be a link later.
WEPM has a story up about the debate with a line in need of clarification:
More than 250 people were in attendance when the candidates for West Virginia's Second Congressional District faced off last night at Musselman High School in the final of the WEPM and Journal candidate forums for 2008. Incumbent Congresswoman Shelly Moore Capito (R) and challenger Anne Barth (D) sat down to answer questions from the panel and from the audience. The debate was moderated by Blue Ridge Community and Technical College President Peter Checkovich. Crowds lined the streets with signs supporting their candidates prior to the debate and supporters cheered and yelled during the debate itself, a sign of the excitement that has been created as this heated campaign nears a finish.
Over and over again we've seen a pattern from Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-Big Oil). When Democrats in Congress tried to take steps to do what the American people want and bring the troops home from Iraq, Capito called it "playing politics." But when George W. Bush and his administration plays politics with the lives of troops, we hear only silence from her. So much for her "independence." The only conclusion that can be reached: Capito likes it when Bush plays politics with the lives of soldiers.
Anne Barth had a long-scheduled event at Martinsburg headquarters before she and about 30 volunteers went off to canvass. By sheer coincidence ineffective Bush Republican Shelley Moore Capito held the opening of her campaign headquarters in Martinsburg across the street.