AZ-Sen: As Dems cast about for a candidate in this newly open race, the last guy who ran for this seat is saying he won't seek it a second time. Former state party chair (and rich guy) Jim Pederson is doing the upstanding thing by flatly declaring he's out: "I don't want to play a cat-and-mouse game with this U.S. Senate race." In an age where would-be candidates drag out the "exploratory" phase with leaks of rumors of hints of tea leafs for months, Pederson's stance is refreshing, even if it does mean a potentially strong contender won't run. (Of lesser note, Rep. Raul Grijalva also says he's not interested.)
Meanwhile, the Club for Growth says it's already raised $100K for the only dude in the race so far, Rep. Jeff Flake, who just announced a few days ago.
CT-Sen: In a move that will surely disappoint Beltway hacks endlessly thirsting to write more stories about Camelot, Ted Kennedy, Jr. says he won't seek Joe Lieberman's open senate seat. He did note that he might consider politics in the future (he's 50).
FL-Sen: Not really a surprise, but Rep. Connie Mack (R) is amping up his fundraising, hiring a veteran NRSC fundraiser who has also worked for Bill McCollum and Mel Martinez, Anne Ekern. Mack is also having a "major" event this Friday, which will supposedly feature "cigars." I assume it will also feature top hats and lighting said stogies with $50 bills.
MA-Sen: By now you've probably caught wind of the Daily Kos effort to draft Elizabeth Warren, the interim director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Note also that David Kravitz of Blue Mass Group, the top progressive blog in the Bay State, recently said he also supports a Warren run.
VA-Sen: It seems that everyone is trying hard to get DNC chair Tim Kaine to run for the senate seat being vacated by Jim Webb, including Barack Obama himself, who apparently talked on the phone with Kaine yesterday. (But don't these guys talk regularly, anyhow?) Webb also said he wants Kaine to replace him. Meanwhile, ex-Rep. Tom Perriello told the Washington Post he'd consider getting in, but only if Kaine - whom Perriello said he wants to see run - doesn't make the race.
LA-Gov: Opulence - I has it. So says Bobby Jindal, who is sitting on a $9.2 million stack of doubloons, after hauling in $3.4 million in 2010. Seeing this, Dem state Sen. President Joel Chaisson is too smart to kiss the mini-giraffe. Though he pulled in a decent-ish $180K and checked the "statewide" box on his campaign finance disclosures, Chaisson says he's just hedging his bets in case Jindal decides to run for president instead.
OH-Gov: The douche is strong in this one: John Kasich was easily one of the schmuckiest candidates of the 2010 cycle, and one of the most obnoxious Republicans alive - which is saying a hell of a lot. Of course, he hasn't changed one bit since his inauguration. Just check out this video of him calling a police officer who had the temerity to ticket him "an idiot" three times in sixty seconds. Listen in particular to his tone of voice at 1:07. What an asshole.
AZ-06: Here's another Republican name in the mix to succeed the running-for-senate Jeff Flake: First-term Mesa Mayor Scott Smith.
CA-36: The endorsements just keep rolling in for Janice Hahn, who has now secured the backing of local Dem Reps. Karen Bass, Lucille Roybal-Allard, and Xavier Becerra, the last of whom is a big cheese in House leadership. So far I haven't seen word of any big names coming out for Debra Bowen (but correct me if I'm wrong). Relatedly, for a good look at which sides the various power players might line up on, check out this piece by LA Weekly's Gene Maddaus.
By the way, Jane Harman has now said she'll delay her resignation until Feb. 28th at the request of Gov. Jerry Brown. That gives Brown a better chance to consolidate the CA-36 race with a budget-related special election that's likely to be held in June - but even that date is still up in the air. In any event, if round one goes forward in June, then round two (if needed) would take place in August.
MI-05: The exact words of 81-year-old Rep. Dale Kildee (D), when asked if he's quitting: "They'll have to carry me out of here." Despite having just $12K in the bank, the veteran lawmaker says he's definitely going for another term, and that you can ignore his warchest: "I usually don't start raising money until March, so that doesn't mean anything."
NY-26: Erie County Republican Chair Nick Langworthy says that he and his fellow party leaders for the seven counties which comprise the 26th CD are interviewing candidates this weekend to fill ex-Rep. Chris Lee's seat. Since this is the fourth special election in New York in less than two years, you probably recall that nominees are selected by local party chairs, rather than in a primary. Anyhow, the GOP shortlist:
Amherst Town Supervisor Barry Weinstein; Jack Davis, a Democrat turned Republican who unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Tom Reynolds for the same seat; Chris Jacobs, member of the Buffalo school board; the front-runner, Assemblywoman Jane Corwin; Dan Humiston, a businessman and owner of Tanning Bed; and Erie County lawmaker Ed Rath.
You better believe emphasis added! Oh please oh please pick Jack Davis! Anyhow, on the Dem side, it definitely looks like one speculative candidate is out: departing White House deputy press sec'y Bill Burton is starting a consulting firm, according to Politico, which you'd think would rule out a run.
SD-AL: South Dakota's single at-large CD is one seat where we definitely won't have to worry about redistricting, so it makes sense that Steve Israel's reached out ex-Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin about a potential rematch against GOPer Kristi Noem. Herseth Sandlin says they've "traded some emails" and that she's considering the idea - but obviously she hasn't taken the plunge yet, since that would probably have been front-page news here.
At the same press briefing, Israel also made a good point: Dems are holding off on announcing House recruits not just because they don't necessarily know where the lines will be drawn, but because they don't want to give Republicans a chance to redistrict strong candidates into oblivion. RCP does report, though, that "Democratic congressmen on the recruitment team have visited 15 states on recruitment trips and made recruitment calls to candidates in another 15 states."
State Leges: We had a few special elections the other night. In the Los Angeles area, GOPer Sharron Runner took over her husband's seat in SD-17 in a landslide. In SD-28, Dem Ted Lieu avoided a runoff as well. Both were holds. Over in Minnesota's Iron Range, 25-year-old Carly Melin also held a seat for Team Blue. But in a special election primary in South Carolina's HD-64, Alvin Greene (yes, that Alvin Greene) pull just 37 votes out of 3,960 cast. Wonder if he remembered to vote for himself.
And finally, talk about overtime: The last uncalled race of 2010 was decided in court yesterday, with an appeals panel declaring Republican Thomas Kirwan the victor in New York's 100th Assembly District. Interestingly, Kirwan is framing this as a boon to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, pointing out that Republicans now have enough votes to prevent Speaker Shelly Silver from over-riding any Cuomo vetoes.
WATN?: Ah, Tom Emmer, man of principle. Two years ago, the former GOP gubernatorial candidate was vigorously fighting Minnesota's ban on expensive satellite radiation clinics, demanding that "market forces" be allowed to work. Now he's a registered lobbyist with only one client... and that client has instructed him to advocated in favor of extending the very same ban. Market forces at work, indeed.
In better news, it's always nice to see one of our guys land on her feet. Dem ex-Rep. Betsy Markey (CO-04) has landed a job with the Dept. of Homeland Security. She'll be the "assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs."
• AK-Sen: To quote Troy McClure, "here's an appealing fellow... in fact, they're a-peeling him off the sidewalk." Yes, Joe Miller didn't even wait until today to make his decision about whether or not to appeal to Alaska's Supreme Court; he already pulled the trigger on his appeal (despite the fact that everyone but him knows that he's, at this point, roadkill). Arguments are set for Friday, so (since he can't introduce new evidence, which the trial judge found sorely lacking, at the appellate level) this should get resolved pretty quickly.
• CT-Sen: Linda McMahon is sounding very much like she's ready to run again in 2012 against Joe Lieberman and a Dem to be named (maybe she found another $40 million under the couch cushions). She has a meeting planned with the NRSC's John Cornyn, presumably to discuss her next move. Meanwhile, Joe Lieberman (who lost control of his own vanity party, the CfL) is seeming likelier to run again, thanks to encouragement from both sides of the aisle, and he may even have a useful vehicle to do it with: the new "No Labels" party-type thing courtesy of Michael Bloomberg. Meanwhile, there's more follow-up from yesterday that, yes, Rep. Joe Courtney is considering a run for the Dem nomination (which could set up a primary against fellow Rep. Chris Murphy); he says he's "looking at it" and, if he runs, will announce soon. That pretty much leaves Rosa DeLauro as the lone Dem House member in the state who hasn't said yes or no, and today, as you'd expect, she said a loud "no."
• ME-Sen: Roll Call seems to have read the same article as everybody else yesterday that had that baffling interview with Andrew Ian Dodge -- the tea party impresario who claims to be in contact with a killer-app candidate who will unite the teabaggers and defeat Olympia Snowe -- and just flat-out concluded that Dodge is the mystery candidate himself (meaning that he's spent the last few months talking to himself?). As added evidence, Dodge doesn't dispute a local blog's reports that he plans to run.
• MI-Sen: Despite his strong name-rec-fueled showing in a PPP poll last week of the GOP Senate primary (or perhaps because of it), ex-Gov. John Engler is now saying that he has no plans to run for Senate, and will be staying in his role as head of the National Manufacturers Association. Strangely, the biggest-name candidate beyond Engler associated with the race, soon-to-be-ex-Rep. and gubernatorial primary loser Peter Hoekstra, sounded pretty indifferent about it when asked by a reporter yesterday, saying "We'll see. I'm not sitting around yearning to get back into office."
• MN-Sen: PPP is out with GOP Senate primary numbers, and it's a familiar story: the GOP base is irretrievably enamored with a female politician who's poison in the general election. Rep. Michele Bachmann (who loses the general 56-39 to Klobuchar) leads the field at 36, far ahead of more establishment figures like outgoing Gov. Tim Pawlenty (20) and ex-Sen. Norm Coleman (14). They're followed by new Rep. Chip Cravaack at 7, Tom Emmer at 6, John Kline at 5, Laura Brod at 4, and Erik Paulsen at 2. There's not much indication that Bachmann is interested in a Senate run -- in fact, she's currently sending out fundraising appeals based on the threat of a rematch with Tarryl Clark -- but there's also word that Amy Klobuchar's camp is most worried about facing Bachmann of any of the possible opponents, probably because of her national fundraising capacity (although it may also be a bit of public don't-throw-me-in-that-briar-patch posturing).
• NV-Sen: Need some evidence that Rep. Shelly Berkley is planning a Senate run? National Journal looks at her repositioning, as one of the key members of the party's liberal wing in the House to break away and support the tax compromise, suggesting that she's trying to tack toward the center to play better in the 2nd and 3rd districts. (Of course, it's worth noting that she wasn't that liberal to begin with, as a member of the New Dems, not the Progressives, and with a National Journal score usually putting her around the 60th percentile in the House.)
• IN-Gov: Evansville mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel isn't in a hurry to declare whether or not he's going to run for Governor, although with Evan Bayh's recent demurral, the iron would be hot. The key indicator, though, will be whether Weinzapfel runs for another term as mayor; the election is in 2011, and it's assumed that if he does run for re-election a gubernatorial run is unlikely. He'll need to make a mayoral decision by Feb. 18.
• MT-Gov: The Dems have lined up a real candidate for the governor's race, maybe the best they can do if AG Steve Bullock doesn't make the race. Dave Wanzenreid, if nothing else, has a long resume: currently a state Senator, he served previously as a state Rep., as both minority and majority leader in that body. He was also chief of staff to ex-Gov. Ted Schwinden and then state labor commissioner in the 80s.
• Crossroads: American Crossroads, after its avalanche of late-cycle ads a few months ago, is already getting back in the TV game. The Karl Rove-linked dark money vehicle is spending $400K on radio advertising in the districts of 12 Dems who won by narrow margins, urging them to vote in favor of the tax compromise package. Tim Bishop, Jim Costa, Gabrielle Giffords, Gerry Connolly, Ben Chandler, Jason Altmire, Bill Owens, Maurice Hinchey, Heath Shuler, Gary Peters, Joe Donnelly, and Sanford Bishop are all on the target list.
• Votes: There's a strange array of "no" votes on the tax compromise that passed the Senate 83-15. The Dems have a few votes from the left (Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown, Pat Leahy, Russ Feingold (although it's gotten kind of hard to tell if he's doing anything from the left or not anymore)), but also some votes from some pretty avowed centrists (Jeff Bingaman, Kay Hagan, Mark Udall) too, of which Bingaman is the only one up in 2012. John Ensign was one of the few GOP "no" votes, although you've gotta wonder whether it's because he's trying to save himself in a primary by appealing to the far-right or if he's just given up and voting his conscience.
• Census: While you wait for the main course on Dec. 21 (the day for reapportionment hard numbers), the Census Bureau is out with a gigantic appetizer. They're rolling out their first-ever 5-year estimates from the American Community Survey (their one-year samples aren't that reliable, but over five, they are). The ACS covers a lot of the deeper demographic information that used to covered by the Census "long form," covering stuff like poverty, housing values, commute times, and education. Information is available all the way down to the block level, but here's an array of county-level maps to start with.
• CT-Sen: Following his loss in the CT-Gov primary after leading the polls almost all the way, I hadn't heard much discussion about Ned Lamont making a repeat run against Joe Lieberman for the 2012 Senate race. Lamont confirms that, saying he's "strongly disinclined" to try again.
• FL-Sen: Here's a dilemma for temp Sen. George LeMieux, as he gave his farewell speech from the Senate floor. Acknowledge the man without whom he'd be utterly unknown and thus not in a position to run again for Senate in 2012... or invoke said man, whose name is utterly mud in Florida GOP circles, thus reminding everyone of those connections that can only hurt in a 2012 primary? In the end, basic human decency prevailed, and LeMieux thanked Charlie Crist for appointing him.
• ME-Sen: This is pretty big news, as everyone has been treating newly-elected Gov. Paul LePage's imprimatur as a make or break for Olympia Snowe's hopes in a GOP primary in 2012. LePage, of course, was the tea party choice in the primary, and his say-so would go a long way toward either encouraging or discouraging a teabagger challenge to Snowe. LePage just came out with a statement of support for Snowe in the primary, saying he'd back her in the face of a possible primary challenge.
• MO-Sen: Sarah Steelman continues to rack up support from the GOP's far-right, as she girds for a possible GOP primary showdown against ex-Sen. Jim Talent. Steelman met with Jim DeMint, the Senate's de facto kingmaker of the tea party set, and those involved expect DeMint's Senate Conservative Fund to back Steelman shortly (which would be his first endorsement of the 2012 cycle).
• PA-Sen: Moran gets brain? Perhaps sensing the steep uphill climb of a challenge against the Casey name brand in Pennsylvania in a presidential year, random rich guy John Moran has done an about-face on a threatened possible Senate run that first emerged last week. Another central Pennsylvanian, though, state Sen. Jake Corman, seems to be interested in taking on Bob Casey Jr.
• UT-Sen: In case there was any doubt about Orrin Hatch running again -- in his 70s and facing a likely difficult primary/convention -- well, he is. He released a statement this morning saying "I intend to run, and I intend to win." That comes in the face of the formation of a new leadership PAC by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, which would likely point to stepped-up fundraising efforts in the face of a intra-party challenge. (Hatch is sitting on $2.32 million CoH, while Chaffetz has $179K. If the targeted audience isn't all Utahns but a few thousand nuts at the state convention, though, money is less of an issue.)
• IN-Gov: Soon-to-be-ex-Sen. Evan Bayh is issuing something of a timeline regarding whether or not he runs for his old job as Governor again in 2012. Bayh says he'll make a decision by the end of the year, and is saying it's a "possibility but [not] a probability." (Rep. Baron Hill and Evansville mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel are other fallback options.)There's no timeline, though, from Rep. Mike Pence, who probably would be the strongest candidate the GOP could put forth, but seems more interested in going straight for the Presidency. One GOPer who isn't waiting for Pence's decision is Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, who has moved forward on fundraising although she hasn't officially declared anything. Soon-to-be-Rep. Todd Rokita warns not to underestimate Skillman.
• MN-Gov: This is kind of a moot point in view of his concession this morning, but in case you're wondering what suddenly motivated Tom Emmer to drop his challenge to Mark Dayton and move on, this was probably the last straw: yesterday the Minnesota Supreme Court denied his petition asking for all counties to perform a reconciliation of number of voters with number of ballots cast. With the recount already done, the reconciliation would have been the only practical way of even stringing this thing out for a while longer, let alone finding an extra 9,000 votes.
• MO-Gov: In marked contrast to the recent PPP poll giving Jay Nixon a clear edge, Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (now looking more like a candidate than ever) is pointing to an internal poll by American Viewpoint taken way back in late September that gives him a 47-38 lead over Nixon. The poll finds Nixon still popular, though, with 51% approval.
• ND-Gov: Today was the first day on the job for North Dakota's new Governor, ex-Lt. Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who took over as John Hoeven resigned in order to join the Senate soon. Hoeven is the first-ever North Dakota Governor to resign voluntarily. Taking over as Lt. Gov. is ex-US Attorney Drew Wrigley. Dalrymple will be watched carefully as to what happens in 2012: he could either run for election to a full term, or move over to a Senate run against Kent Conrad.
• MN-08: Newly-elected Rep. Chip Cravaack will have one of the tougher re-elects of any of the new House Republicans (he's in a D+3 district that includes the Dem stronghold of Duluth), but one of the bigger-name Dems in the district is saying he won't be the challenger. State Sen. Tom Bakk (one of the 5,589,358,587,568,120 people who ran for the DFL gubernatorial nomination this year) is staying where he is, especially since he's about to become minority leader.
• GA-St. House: One more D-to-R party switcher to report, and it's a fairly big name within the confines of the Georgia legislature: Doug McKillip, who was previously #2 among Democrats. Interestingly, he's not from a dark-red rural district but represents the college town of Athens, and he says he'll be better able to agitate for the University's needs from within the majority... although, that, of course, would depend on getting re-elected again from that (presumably blue) district.
Republican Tom Emmer will concede the 2010 Minnesota governor's race this morning to Democrat Mark Dayton, a Republican source with direct knowledge confirmed to the Pioneer Press.
Emmer's 10:30 a.m. concession means he will not contest the election in court - thus averting a scenario that could have kept Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty in office past the scheduled Jan. 3 swearing-in of the next governor, the source said.
Amy Klobuchar (DFL-inc): 56
Tom Emmer (R): 38
Amy Klobuchar (DFL-inc): 53
Tim Pawlenty (R): 43
Amy Klobuchar (DFL-inc):: 52
Erik Paulsen (R): 34
PPP's latest has DFL incumbent Amy Klobuchar doing extraordinarily well a little less than two years out, besting all five GOP challengers by spreads of 10 to 18 points.
Klobuchar remains extremely popular, with approval ratings in almost unseen territory of +30, at 59/29! Her Class II counterpart, Al Franken, is barely above water at 45/42.
Also of note, Tom Emmer's gubernatorial campaign (and potential post-election monkey business) have not reflected on him well, he records favorables at 37/49...almost as bad as tea party queen Bachmann's 37/51.
• DE-Sen: Here's an amusing look back at the Delaware race, where it turns out that Christine O'Donnell raised $7.3 million over the course of the campaign (a somewhat large improvement on her $63K from her previous Senate bid) and then proceeded to lose by 16 points. O'Donnell apparently had the same problem that I suspected that Sharron Angle did (though we don't have any confirmation on Angle yet)... there weren't any media outlets with available slots to pour all that late-breaking money into.
• MO-Sen: Jim Talent has offered his timeline on publicly deciding whether or not to run for Senate (which has seemed to get less likely over the last few days, if you believe the scuttlebutt). He won't decide until the New Year, and possibly won't announce anything until the state GOP's Lincoln Day festivities in mid-February.
• MT-Sen: PPP offered some GOP Senate primary numbers, although I'm not sure how useful they are given that Marc Racicot, the former Governor and RNC chair, eats up a lion's share despite not having really ever been associated with the race. (Although, who knows... maybe this will suddenly prompt him to get interested.) At any rate, the two guys with name rec, Racicot and Rep. Denny Rehberg, are at 40 and 37, respectively. The two little-known guys who are actually the ones running (so far), Steve Daines and Neil Livingstone, are at 5 and 4.
• RI-Sen: Although John Robitaille seems to be getting all the attention in terms of the GOP's pick to challenge Sheldon Whitehouse, Warwick mayor Scott Avedisian is still stoking the fires of vague interest. Avedisian is a moderate and an ally of newly-elected Gov. Lincoln Chafee.
• WA-Sen: The race against Maria Cantwell seems to already be a casualty write-off for the GOP, seeing as how the state's entire viable GOP bench (aka Rob McKenna) will most likely be running for Governor. The state GOP's usual M.O. in such situations is to turn to some random rich guy as a place-holder (see Mike McGavick, Cantwell's 2006 opponent, or oft-threatened but never-happened candidate John Stanton), but it may turn out that Clint Didier, the tea partier whose GOP primary bid against Dino Rossi didn't go anywhere and who's now interested in trying again, gets left holding the bag this time. Didier, who refused to endorse Rossi and castigated him at every turn, isn't likely to be able to count on much NRSC or even state GOP goodwill this time, though.
• MN-Gov: Nothing like a little post-electoral cat fud, even if it means exiling pretty much your entire pantheon of elder statesmen. The state GOP just excommunicated more than a dozen key moderate Republicans who had jumped ship to support Independence Party candidate Tom Horner in view of Tom Emmer's extremism. These aren't just run-of-the-mill PCO-types, either: the list includes an ex-Senator (David Durenberger) and two ex-Govs (Arne Carlson and Al Quie). And if you're wondering how Emmer is faring in the court of public opinion amidst the recount non-drama, PPP's out with a snap poll: by a 68-22 margin, voters think it's time for Emmer to give up (which matches the 68-21 margin of people who think that Mark Dayton was the election's rightful winner).
• OH-17: Wondering who the third-party candidate who fared the best was, in this year's House races? It was none other than ex-con ex-Rep. Jim Traficant, who picked up 16.1% of the vote against Tim Ryan, the best showing of any indie with both Dem and GOP opponents (and he did it without spending a penny). He fared better than Randy Wilkinson in FL-12, who ran a more credible campaign and was widely viewed as a potential spoiler. In fact, Wilkinson finished 3rd at 10.7%; some random conservative, Dan Hill, got 12% in NE-03 by running to Adrian Smith's right, although that was a race that Dems barely contested. What about MI-01's Glenn Wilson, who made waves for approximately one day with his pledge to spend $2 million of his own money (although it's dubious if he spent more than a fraction of that)? He barely registered, at 7%.
• WV-01: Here's an unexpected comeback, and probably one that's not a good idea. Alan Mollohan, who couldn't survive a Dem primary and most likely wouldn't have won the general even if he'd gotten over the first hurdle, is publicly expressing his interest in running in 2012 for his old seat. He's opened an FEC account for '12 and has been reaching out behind the scenes.
• NY-St. Sen.: This is basically a Hail Mary at this point, but when it's the chance to tie the state Senate, it's a chance you take. Craig Johnson officially filed an appeal yesterday of the judge's ruling certifying Jack Martins as winner in SD-7 (giving the GOP a 32-30 edge there). He's asking for a hand count, to see if any votes were missed in the state's switch this year to electronic voting machines. Given the recent abject fail in finding all the votes cast in Queens, it's not out of the realm of possibility.
• Redistricting: The Fix has another installment in its ongoing redistricting previews, this time focusing on Georgia. The GOP-controlled state legislature should have little trouble adding a GOP-friendly 14th seat in Atlanta's northern tier of exurbs, where most of the state's growth has occurred. The real question will be whether they can do anything to turf out either of the two remaining Dems in slightly lean-Dem districts in south Georgia, Sanford Bishop or John Barrow? Although neither of their seats are truly minority-majority, the VRA might be implicated if their seats get messed with too much. Bishop's GA-02 is likely to be shored up in order to make freshman Austin Scott safer in the 8th. Barrow seems like an easier target, but to do so would not only risk VRA litigation but also make Jack Kingston's 1st less safe, meaning incumbent protection might be the result.
• Demographics: There was a massive dump of U.S. Census data yesterday, although none of it is the actual hard count from 2010 (which is due by the end of the month, including state populations for reapportionment purposes). Instead, this is the Demographic Analysis (used to estimate undercounts in the actual count, although there won't be any adjustments made to the counts for redistricting purposes in this cycle). The big number was the total population estimate, ranging from 306 million to 313 million, with a midrange estimate of 308.5 million (which would put the average House district, for redistricting, at 709K). Also worth noting: Hispanics accounted for essentially the nation's growth in youth population in the last decade, and Hispanics have grown from 17% of the nation's under-20 population in 2000 to 22% now; without Hispanics, the number of young people would have actually gone down since 2000.
• AK-Sen: This shouldn't come as a surprise and I highly doubt that Joe Miller would listen to anything Mark Begich would say even if it weren't a surprise, but Begich is now encouraging Miller to drop his pointless challenge to Lisa Murkowski so Murkowski can get sworn in on schedule and the pork can continue to flow to the Last Frontier. Meanwhile, Miller is now actually saying that he would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for those meddling Inuits. In a Washington Times column, Miller blames the Native Alaskan corporations for backing Murkowski (via the Alaskans Standing Together PAC), and even (gasp! call the Fox voter fraud hotline!) putting boots on the ground to teach people how to spell "Murkowski" and bus people to the polls!!1!
• FL-Sen: If you were wondering if there was still a flicker of possibility that Jeb Bush was going to run against Bill Nelson, that's pretty much extinguished: Bush himself acknowledged that over the weekend, admitting there's a major problem given his support for immigration reform (and opposition to Arizona's new law) that puts him at odds with the ascendant teabaggery. Mike Haridopolos is also letting everyone know that he wouldn't be running if Bush were going to run, but that he's gotten Bush's green light. (The latter article also includes a few additional GOP names that we haven't seen yet in connection with this race, like sophomore Rep. Tom Rooney and Adam Hasner, the former state House majority leader.)
• IN-Sen: State Sen. Mike Delph is waving his arms around madly trying to get the tea partiers' attention for a possible primary against GOP apostate Richard Lugar, with a widely-circulated post to his own blog saying that he's "increasingly concerned" with Lugar's actions, especially support for the DREAM Act. The real question is whether state Treasurer Richard Mourdock gets in; Lugar's best shot at getting through, like Dan Coats in the 2010 Senate primary, is to have the multiple teabaggers cannibalizing each others' votes.
• NV-Sen: Democratic Rep. Shelly Berkley is mentioning some sort of timeline for deciding on whether to run for the Senate against John Ensign (or whoever decapitates him in the GOP primary): she's saying early 2011, probably before mid-February. Worth noting: she's sitting on $1.1 million CoH, more than your average Rep. and a good head start for a Senate bid.
• WV-Sen: John Raese, who has run and lost four times statewide, is pretty much ruling out another run for office, aware that it's probably not a good investment of his family fortune. Also, he says he's "worn out" (and probably wants to spend more time with his new glass conservatory). As for who will actually run, Shelly Moore Capito is naturally at the top of the GOP's wish list, but it sounds like she's more interested in running for Governor in 2012, making a run from some other self-funding B-lister against Manchin seem likely.
• MN-Gov: Tom Emmer's legal team, over the weekend, pulled a large number of frivolous challenges: 2,600 of them, all from Hennepin County (Minneapolis). Between this token act of perceptions-management, and signals from Emmer attorney (and ex-state supreme court chief justice) Eric Magnuson that Emmer isn't likely to prevail, it looks like we may actually get some resolution on this sooner rather than later.
• CA-11: I'm not sure if anyone was still wondering if David Harmer had conceded this race, as Jerry McNerney declared victory nearly a month ago and the AP also called it a few weeks ago, but he finally pulled the plug over the weekend. Harmer says he has no plans to run again.
• VA-09: Um, oooops. Here's one veteran Dem who seems to have gotten caught with his pants down, when a late move in the polls in what had previously seemed an OK race (recall the spike in the last SurveyUSA poll of this race) seemed to come too late for him to do a last-minute ad blitz. Rick Boucher had by far the most money left over of any House Dem who lost: $699K. (Chris Carney came in second with $262K.)
• DCCC: Another changing of the guard at the DCCC: Robby Mook is taking over as executive director, from Jon Vogel. He's following the same path as Vogel, having led the DCCC's independent expenditure arm during the 2010 cycle.
• NY-St. Sen.: The last two races in the New York state Senate are more or less resolved. Suzi Oppenheimer, as expected, has been declared the victor, and GOP opponent Bob Cohen has conceded. Craig Johnson, on the other hand, has lost, or at least was on the wrong end of the recount, although he plans to appeal. Assuming nothing changes in SD-7, the GOP will control the Senate 32-30 for this session.
• Redistricting: In Massachusetts, Democratic Secretary of State Bill Galvin is floating the idea of switching to an independent redistricting commission (albeit one that would apparently be non-binding). That's odd, since if there's one state where the Dems have firm control of the trifecta, it's the Bay State. As you might expect, Dem legislative leaders are expressing little interest in the idea. They're moving full speed ahead on the 2012 process, with state Senate president pro tem Stan Rosenberg in charge just as he was in 2002. As far as tea leaves for who might get protected in the elimination of that tenth House seat: I'm not sure if Rosenberg would be considered a John Olver ally, but it's worth noting that Rosenberg is, like Olver, from Amherst, and succeeded Olver in the state Senate, taking over Olver's old seat in 1991 upon Olver's special election to the House.
Democrat Mark Dayton has won his bid to become Minnesota's next governor, defeating Republican state legislator Tom Emmer after a recount, according to updated vote results released Friday by the Minnesota Secretary of State.
Dayton, a former U.S. Senator, lead Emmer by more than 8,715 votes with 99.99 percent of all ballots recounted.
An additional 765 ballots remain challenged by the Emmer campaign, too few to affect the final outcome.
But from what I understand, Emmer has vowed to take this one all the way to the World Court in the Hague, so it might be a few decades or so before we can put this one to bed.
• FL-Sen: This probably isn't the way that GOP state Senate President Mike Haridopolos, acting very candidate-ish this week, wanted to kick off a Senate bid. He just had to settle with the state's Commission on Ethics, admitting to a litany of campaign finance violations for failing to properly fill out financial disclosure statements. As far as a penalty goes, though, expect a slap on the wrist; the state Senate's Rules Committee, rather than the Commission, actually assigns the penalty, and Rules is now led by Haridopolos's GOP Senate President predecessor, John Thrasher.
• PA-Sen: There's word of a rather Ron Johnson-style random rich guy interested in taking on Bob Casey Jr. in 2012: John Moran, who owns a logistics and warehousing company in central Pennsylvania and is willing to spend some of his own money to get elected. In other words, another federal-government-hater whose riches are largely dependent on an infrastructure put in place by the federal government (in this case, ex-Rep. Bud Shuster, who's pretty single-handedly responsible for the creation of central Pennsylvania's luxurious web of highways and the rise of trucking as the backbone of that area's economy). Also, if you want to look back at a comparison of the 2010 Senate race vs. the 2006 Senate race (where Casey was elected), Greg Giroux has a very interesting spreadsheet showing which counties had the biggest drops in vote percentages and raw vote numbers.
• RI-Sen: We mentioned a few weeks ago that John Robitaille, last seen coming close in the gubernatorial contest won by indie Lincoln Chafee, was on the wish list for a GOP Senate bid against Sheldon Whitehouse, and now he's saying out loud that he's "seriously considering" it. (Of course, Robitaille's closeness mostly had to do with a split in the left-of-center vote between Chafee and Dem candidate Frank Caprio, but let's just let the NRSC think they can win this one in hopes they spend some money here.)
• UT-Sen: It looks like Orrin Hatch is not only running for re-election in 2012 (where retirement had been considered a possibility for the septuagenarian, no doubt facing a serious teabagging this cycle), but ramping up for a fierce fight at the state nominating convention (which is where Bob Bennett lost, not even making it to the primary). One of his key allies, state GOP party chair Dave Hansen, is reportedly about to resign from that position and start working directly for Hatch's campaign.
• MN-Gov: Tom Emmer held a press conference today in the face of a winding-down recount where the numbers didn't budge, and instead of throwing in the towel, he said he's going to fight on to the end, and threatened to keep on fighting even after the end, alluding to the possibility of legal action over the ballot reconciliation issue (saying the recount was merely "a step in the process"). Meanwhile, seeking to be the ones wearing the white hats here, Mark Dayton's team said they'll withdraw all their remaining frivolous challenges. That's a total of only 42 challenges, though, as more than 98% of the frivolous challenges came from Emmer's team.
• NY-01: After another day of looking at challenged ballots, Tim Bishop continued to add to his lead. He netted another 12 votes, bringing his overall lead to 271 over Randy Altschuler. Challenges to a total of 174 ballots were dropped by both campaigns, leaving about 1,500.
• NY-15: Usually there isn't much speculation that a Governor is about to run for a U.S. House seat, unless it's an at-large state or the Governor has fallen way down the food chain. If you're talking about David Paterson, he may have fallen even further down the food chain than that, though (into dogcatcher realm). At any rate, Paterson quashed any speculation that he would run for Charles Rangel's seat (despite his dynastic links to the seat, as his dad, Basil Paterson, is a key ally to Rangel as two of the so-called "Gang of Four"). It's not entirely clear that Rangel won't still be running in 2012, considering how he seems to utterly lack the 'shame' gene, although Paterson suggested state Assemblyman Keith Wright and city councilor Inez Dickens as possible replacments.
• Committees: Both the NRSC and DSCC are starting the 2012 cycle from a place of parity: deep, deep in debt. The DSCC has $713K on hand and $6.7 million in debt, while the NRSC has $519K on hand and $6 million in debt. Even worse numbers are in the House: the DCCC has $19.4 million in debt and the NRCC has $12 million in debt.
• AK-Sen: You might recall that yesterday the state of Alaska asked to intervene in Joe Miller's state-court case disputing the Senatorial election, demanding an expedited result. Now the judge is allowing Lisa Murkowski herself to intervene in the case as well; she says the state wouldn't adequately represent her interests, and she's still trying to get an additional 2,000 ballots out there (that weren't counted for her) counted for her as icing on the cake.
• FL-Sen: He isn't even in the House yet, but there's growing buzz for Daniel Webster for the 2012 Senate race, as a possible opponent to Bill Nelson. Of course, as far as I can tell from today's article, that buzz seems to be coming from Webster's own coterie, but it's not the first time I've heard his name associated with the race. (Reading between the lines, it looks like Rep. Vern Buchanan -- whose myriad lawsuits regarding campaign finance chicanery and his car dealership seem to have faded into the background -- is another name to keep an eye on here.)
• MO-Sen: Sarah Steelman already has one key backer, in the event the quest for the GOP nomination in Missouri turns into a heated primary. The Club for Growth is already lining up behind Steelman, not formally endorsing but sending around a press release touting her and also taking some swipes at Jim Talent for his earmark-lovin' ways.
• NM-Sen: More Some Dude news in New Mexico, where another random guy who lost a NM-02 primary is getting in the GOP Senate field: Greg Sowards (who lost the 2008 primary to succeed Steve Pearce). Further up the food chain, ex-Rep. Heather Wilson seems to be on GOPers' wish list, but she says she isn't focused on that. (I can't see her running unless Jeff Bingaman decides to retire, and since he has fundraisers planned in coming months, he doesn't seem to be acting like a retiree.)
• NV-Sen: The big news yesterday was that John Ensign is no longer considered a target for investigation by the DOJ, in connection to that whole ooops-sorry-I-boned-your-wife-here-have-a-lobbying-job thing. He still faces internal Senate Ethics grilling, which could lead to discipline or even expulsion. How are we supposed to feel about this? A bad day for objective justice, perhaps... but probably a net plus for the Democrats, seeing as how this makes it likelier that Ensign runs again and survives a GOP primary (which a recent PPP poll, before this news, already showed him in position to do so) and enters the general election in weakened form. The local GOP seems to be reading this the same way, still feeling very leery about an Ensign run and very much preferring to see Rep. Dean Heller as their 2012 candidate.
• VA-Sen: With Prince William Supervisor Corey Stewart already firing some potshots across George Allen's bow in advance of 2012's GOP Senate primary, now it seems like Allen's camp is returning fire with some heavier-gauge guns. Stewart has to run for re-election to his current job in 2011, and Allen's camp is supposedly vowing to encourage backers to pour in financial support to Stewart's opposition in that race (whoever that might be), in order to decapitate a Stewart run before it can materialize.
• MN-Gov: This is taking damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't to a new level: Tom Emmer's team's wave of frivolous (and when I say frivolous, I'm not being hyperbolic, as you can see here) ballot challenges in the Minnesota recount has mounted so high that officials have had to add more counting tables... and now Emmer is threatening to sue over the fact that they've added more counting tables, saying that that somehow indicates bias against Emmer. The SoS says that adding more tables can't possibly violate any rules. At any rate, moving on to Day 4 of counting, the official tally now finds that the numbers have still barely budged: Mark Dayton has gained 17 votes since Election Day while Emmer has gained 14, with 84% of the vote recounted, meaning there's really no path to victory here for Emmer.
• VT-Gov: We mentioned yesterday that Peter Shumlin brought his GOP opponent, Brian Dubie, into his inner circle, and now he's doing the Team of Rivals thing with his closest competitor from the Dem primary. Ex-Lt. Gov. Doug Racine, who Shumlin beat by 100-or-so votes, is being brought on board as Shumlin's head of the Agency of Human Services, where his key task will be starting up the state's planned single-payer health care system.
• WV-Gov: Democratic SoS Natalie Tennant is making even more candidate-ish noises, saying she's "strongly considering" a gubernatorial run, especially if it occurs in 2011, which would mean not having to give up her current job. Not only are acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and state House speaker Richard Thompson expected to run for the Dems, but state Sen. Jeff Kessler and state Treasurer John Perdue are also interested.
• MA-01, MA-02: The news from the Bay State is that veteran Democratic Reps. John Olver and Richard Neal are both publicly saying that they're running for re-election. In any other year, that would be purely yawn-inducing, but this year, that's fascinating, as it potentially sets them up on a collision course. My expectation was the Massachusetts redistricting conundrum would probably be solved by a retirement from the 74-year-old Olver, and parceling out pieces of the 1st into Neal's 2nd and Jim McGovern's 3rd. With Olver and Neal both sticking around, the subtraction is likelier come from the Boston area, where it seems likely that at least one Rep. will vacate in order to take on Scott Brown in 2012 (which would make sense since not only is Mike Capuano sounding the likeliest, but his Cambridge-based 8th is the state's most depopulated district)... but if none of them take the plunge, the lost seat may come the state's west. Complicating matters even further is that Pittsfield-based ex-state Sen. Andrea Nuciforo has already announced that he's running in the MA-01 primary in 2012, Olver or not. (Would she he run in a primary against both Amherst-based Olver and Springfield-based Neal if they all get smooshed together?)
• NY-01: As we mentioned yesterday, Tim Bishop's team is urging Randy Altschuler to "give in to the math." Yesterday's gain from the first day of counting challenged ballots was a net gain of 27 more for Bishop.
• Redistricting: Here's one more comprehensive redistricting resource to add to your pile, if you haven't already seen it. The Brennan Center's guide includes a rundown on who controls what and what procedures are used state-to-state.
• New York: This is a staggeringly large number, that somehow seems disproportionate to the rather blasé NYT headline: "New York City Board of Elections Finds 200,000 Votes a Month After Election." It's a mishmash of affidavit, absentee, and military ballots that apparently were just now added to the totals. 80,000 of those ballots were from Queens alone, which is 31% more than that borough reported on Election Day. While there were some close races in Queens, the city says that this wasn't enough to reverse the results in any election (and the one race that could have been worrisome, SD-11, actually saw a gain for Tony Avella, who beat GOP incumbent Frank Padavan, from 53-47 to 54.3-45.7).