• HI-Sen: Both Rep. Mazie Hirono and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa have confirmed to Roll Call that they are looking at the Dem primary to replace retiring Sen. Dan Akaka, and Hanabusa says she's meeting with the DSCC, presumably soon. She also says that the DS "has made it known it wants to speak with anyone interested in running, but it is not actively recruiting any one candidate" (Roll Call's phrasing).
• IN-Sen: So GOPer Richard Mourdock raised $157K, not much better than the $125K or so he predicted (in an obvious attempt to ensure he "exceeded analysts' estimates," as they might say after a Wall Street earnings call). But I flag this item because Roll Call says Mourdock plans to "raise money from a national donor base starting next year." Does this mean he's going the Sharron Angle/Michele Bachmann/Allen West BMW Direct-type direct mail scammery? (See related bullets below.) If so, then perhaps Dick Lugar is in better shape than he might have hoped.
• MO-Sen: This is news to me: Sophomore GOP Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer is apparently thinking about a Senate bid, and has reportedly even met with the NRSC about his intentions. Dave Catanese says that "uncertainty about redistricting" is spurring Luetkemeyer to consider other options, but I'm not sure I buy that, seeing as the new maps being considered by the Republican-held legislature offer him a very comfy seat. The real puzzler is why he's doing this when six-term Rep. Todd Akin seems to be gearing up for a Senate run, since there's almost no way the two would want to fight it out in a primary. Maybe Lute thinks he can be Plan B if Akin demurs.
Another reason cited by Catanese (which applies equally well to both congressmen) is ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman's crappy fundraising. She pulled in just $186K in Q1, which would be unimpressive for a supposedly serious candidate in almost any state. If Akin gets in, I think there's a non-zero chance that she'd drop out.
• MT-Sen: Nice: Sen. Jon Tester (D) raised $1.2 million in Q1 and has $1.5m on hand. His Republican opponent, Rep. Denny Rehberg, raised less than half that, $580K, but has $932K in the bank.
• NE-Sen: Sen. Ben Nelson raised $1 million in Q1 and has $2.3 mil on hand. His chief Republican rival, AG Jon Bruning, raised $1.5 million and has $1.2 in the bank, but Nelson pointed out that $600K was transferred from Bruning's 2008 Senate account (when he briefly sought to primary Chuck Hagel; after Hagel announced his retirement, Bruning was squeezed out by former Gov. Mike Johanns).
• OH-Sen: Former state Sen. Kevin Coughlin, whom we'd mentioned previously as a possible candidate, has filed paperwork for an exploratory committee, joining Treasurer Josh Mandel in this in-limbo category in the GOP primary.
• TN-Sen: I feel like there's an alternate universe not too dissimilar from our own where a Republican dude named Bob Corker is also freshman in the U.S. Senate, and he's also up for re-election, except Corker Prime is actually vulnerable. Here on Earth, though, it really seems like Corker is well out of reach for us. He raised an impressive $1.9 million in Q1 and has over $4 million in the bank - and there are no Democratic candidates on the horizon.
• MO-Gov: Gov. Jay Nixon lapped his likely Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, on the fundraising circuit, pulling in over twice as much money over the last six months, $1.7 million to $770K. Nixon also has a big cash-on-hand edge, $2.1 mil to $900K.
But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show? Well, pretty terrible, actually - Kinder's had just an awful few weeks in the press. After the St. Louis Post-Dispatch revealed his penchant for spending taxpayer money to stay in luxury hotels to attend baseball games and society balls, Kinder promised to reimburse the state $35K... but two weeks later, he still hasn't. That nimbus definitely isn't moving anywhere just yet, and it's his own damn fault. Let's hope he runs the rest of his campaign the same way.
• NC-Gov: This just doesn't seem good. Gov. Bev Perdue, whose public image has already suffered enough damage, was out-of-state Saturday afternoon when a series of deadly tornadoes touched down in North Carolina. She was attending a horse race in Kentucky and didn't make a public appearance back home until 11pm that night. I'm not going to predict what this will mean for Perdue, but it can't be helpful.
• WV-Gov: SoS Natalie Tennant's first ad is a hokey spot set on a farm, in which she decries politicians wasting money... and a cow can be heard to moo. (Or a bull. I don't know. It has horns. But small ones. So maybe still a cow? Do bulls moo? I'm from the city - sue me.) Tennant is generally seen as the candidate with the greatest appeal to liberals (yes, there are some in West Virginia), so she's clearly trying to play against type here.
• AZ-08: Rep. Gabby Giffords raised $358K in Q1 and has $556K in the bank.
• CA-19: Freshman GOP Rep. Jeff Denham (I admit it - I had already forgotten who he was and had to Google him) is already making a name for himself. That name is "idiot." He staged a mega-lavish DC fundraiser in January when he was sworn in which featured singer Leann Rimes and spent an amazing $212,250 on the event. Total raised? $212,900 - which means he netted exactly $650. That's quite the feat. It's even more amazing when you consider it was all supposed to benefit a joint fundraising committee for 11 GOP frosh. To rub it in, Michael Doyle of the Modesto Bee archly observes: "If the $650 netted from outside contributors were to be divvied up evenly, each of the 11 GOP lawmakers would receive $59."
• CA-36: Janice Hahn outraised Debra Bowen in Q1, $273K to $195K, and has about double the cash-on-hand, $171K to $93K. Surprisingly, Marcy Winograd managed to raise $50K. (And if you care, Republican Craig Hughey lent his campaign $250K.)
Bowen also put out an internal from the Feldman Group. In a test of apparently all the candidates who have filed, she and Hahn tie for 20, with Republican Mike Gin the next-closest at 8 and Winograd at 6. The memo also says that in a two-way runoff, Bowen leads 40-36 with 16% undecided. The poll also claims that Hahn's unfavorability rating is "double that of Bowen," but a self-respecting pollster really shouldn't include such tripe, because the refusal to release actual numbers means we're talking about something like a 12-to-6 comparison (i.e., meaningless). As mi hermano G.O.B. Bluth would say, "COME ON!"
• FL-08: Hah! Does Daniel Webster want to lose? The GOP freshman raised just $30K in Q1, but the really funny part is that the guy he defeated, Alan Grayson, raised more! Grayson took in $38K, apparently from small donors who hope he'll make a comeback bid.
• FL-22: Allen West raised a seemingly-impressive $434K in Q1, but as you know, he's a major practitioner of the churn-and-burn style of shady direct-mail fundraising, and it really shows in his burn rate. He spent an amazing $266K last quarter, which both as a raw total and a percentage rate is exceedingly high... but see the MN-06 and NV-02 items below.
• IA-04: Interesting, though not surprising: Politico says that DCCC chair Steve Israel warned Christie Vilsack off of challenging Dave Loebsack in the new 2nd CD, assuring her that the D-Trip would back the incumbent. He also apparently promised to support her if she took on Rep. Steve King (as she supposedly might do), though who knows what kind of $ that might translate into.
• IL-03: Insurance exec John Atkinson, who is apparently challenging Rep. Dan Lipinski in the Democratic primary, raised $535K in Q1, including $312K from his own pockets. Lipinski raised just $138K but has $637K on hand.
• MN-08: Freshman GOPer Chip Cravaack raised just $121K in Q1 - so why are we having such a hard time finding a Dem willing to take this guy on?
• MN-06: Michele Bachmann raised a MIND-OBLITERATING $1.7 million in the first quarter... and yes, I'm being sarcastic, because she also managed to spent $756K. Of course, netting a million bucks ain't bad (and she has $2.8 mil on hand), and if she truly pulls the trigger on a presidential run, I'll bet the spigots will open even wider. But that's still quite the burn rate.
• NV-02: Sharron Angle makes Allen West look as parsimonious as Scrooge by comparison. Everyone's favorite nutter (okay, it's a multi-way tie, but you know you love her) raised an amaaaaaaaaazing $700K in Q1, but spent an actually amazing $550K, mostly to BaseConnect, the scam artists formerly known as BMW Direct. She has only $176K in the bank.
• NY-26: Republican Jane Corwin is not fucking around: She raised just $102K in Q1, but gave her own campaign a whopping million dollars. Yow. Meanwhile, Crazy Jack Davis has raised zilch, but has loaned himself $1.5 mil and already spent $1.4 mil.
• Denver Mayor: SSP commenter Kretzy has a really good run-down on the May 3rd Denver mayor's race, necessitated by John Hickenlooper's ascension to the governor's mansion. I won't try to summarize it - you should just click through. Timely, too, because SUSA has a poll out on the race, showing James Mejia and Chris Romer tied at 22, with Michael Hancock next at 18. Again, read Kretzy's summary if you want to know more about these people.
• Wisconsin Recall: Signatures were filed yesterday to force a recall election for a third Republican state senator, Luther Olsen, and Dems expect to file petitions for Sheila Harsdorf today. (Number of Dem state sens who've had petitions filed against them so far: 0.) Also, the state's Government Accountability Board says it will try to consolidate the recalls into as few elections as possible.
• DSCC: In an item about Herb Kohl raising $0 last quarter (he can cut himself a fat check any time he pleases, so this isn't meaningful), Dave Catanese says that DSCC chair Patty Murray said "she was confident all of the remaining incumbents were running for reelection." Kohl is the most obvious candidate for retirement, and of course Murray could be wrong, but maybe this is it.
• Fundraising: The NYT has a list of fundraising by freshman Republicans, and also notes that IN-08 Rep. Larry Bucshon took in just $45K. Not really wise for a guy whose district is likely to be made at least a bit more competitive. The Fix also has a fundraising roundup.
• LCV: The League of Conservation Voters is launching a $250K radio ad campaign targeted at four members of the House who voted in favor of a bill that would bar the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The ads are hitting two Republicans running for Senate, Denny Rehberg and Dean Heller, as well as Energy Cmte Chair Fred Upton (R) and Jason Altmire (D). Here's a sample ad (targeted at Heller), which I actually find kinda weird and confusing.
• Passings: Former Rep. Harold Volkmer, who represented mostly rural northeastern Missouri's 9th CD for ten terms, passed away at the age of 80.
• Colorado: Now this at least is a fight that makes sense: Republicans control the Colorado House, while Dems control the Senate - and tempers have already exploded with the release of proposed redistricting plans from both sides. (See yesterday's digest for the maps.) Speaker of the House Frank McNulty flipped out, accusing Democrats of drawing districts that would benefit two legislators in particular: Senate President Brandon Shaffer and Sen. Morgan Carroll.
However, Carroll said she has no plans to run for Congress, while the Dem point-man on redistricting, Sen. Rollie Heath, pointed out that the new 4th CD (which McNulty thinks Shaffer wants to run in) has a 10 percent GOP registration edge... in other words, not the kind of seat you'd drawn for yourself if you were an ambitious Democrat. So either McNulty is just a garden-variety moran, or he's just trying to cast fact-free aspersions against the other side. We've seen a lot of this kind of crap from Colorado Republicans already, so door number two is a definite possibility (but of course, it's not mutually exclusive of door number 1).
• Missouri: Trying to unlock a stalemate that seems remarkably picayune to outsiders such as myself, Republican power brokers in Missouri met yesterday to talk things over. Among the participants were most of the Republicans in the state's congressional delegation, the heads of the state House and Senate, and the chair of the MO GOP. No sort of deal has been announced as yet.
• Virginia: Hah - so much for lawmakers racing back to work to deal with Gov. Bob McDonnell's veto of their redistricting plans. Legislators had planned to be off this week, so rank-and-file members declined leadership's entreaties to show up.
• CT-Sen: William Tong, a state rep we mentioned once before, is supposedly gearing up to enter the Democratic primary. He was recently in DC "making the rounds," and is reportedly trying to hire staff. I don't really see how he has a chance, given that two big names are already in the race, but maybe he's hoping for a good enough showing to improve his name rec with the political classes for a future run. (Tong's only in his late 30s.)
• NE-Sen: State Sen. Deb Fischer, a sorta dark-horse candidate given that two statewide officials are already running in the GOP primary, is getting encouragement from a one-time statewide office-holder: former Gov. Kay Orr, the first Republican woman to be elected governor in the United States. Interestingly, the man who stopped Orr in her bid for re-election in 1990 is the guy Fischer would take on: Ben Nelson.
• OH-Sen: As promised early last week, Josh Mandel filed paperwork with the FEC to form a Senate campaign committee, but his mouthpiece insists that it's not a formal statement of candidacy, just "a step."
• WI-Sen: GOP ex-Rep. Mark Neumann, on a two-race losing streak, is hoping that the third time's the charm. After offering some recent hints, Neumann's now explicitly saying he's considering a run against Herb Kohl. He hasn't offered any kind of timetable, except to suggest he's kinda-sorta waiting on Rep. Paul Ryan, the guy who inherited his seat in the House. (I seriously doubt Ryan will run, given his prominence in the House GOP leadership.) Neumann was last seen losing the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary to none other than Scott Walker. Before that, he'd been out of politics for a long time, narrowly losing the 1998 Senate race to Russ Feingold. Neumann has some personal wealth he could throw into the race, though of course Kohl has a ton of money (and a history of self-funding).
• NY-26: The cries of "splitters!" from the Judean People's Front/People's Front of Judea battle raging in upstate New York have just grown louder. The leaders of one teabagger group, TEA New York, issued an endorsement to Republican Jane Corwin, furious as they are over Crazy Jack Davis appropriating their good name and branding his ballot line the "Tea Party." Meanwhile, another teabagger org, the Tea Party Coalition, gave their seal of approval to Davis, who denounced TEA NY as a tool of the GOP. Oh, it also helps that the leaders of the TPC are on the Davis payroll. But for the full flavor, I strongly encourage you to read Alan Bedenko's hilarious summation of all this mishugas.
• TX-26: Dianne Costa, a former GOP mayor of Highland Village (pop. 17K) has filed paperwork to run in the 26th CD, currently held by backbencher Michael Burgess. Odds are this is a Schrödinger's Seat situation. (H/t FEC Kenobi)
• Las Vegas Mayor: I'm borderline uncomfortable reporting polls from Strategic National, because their chief, John Yob, established himself as an untrustworthy partisan hack almost right out the gate. But in any event, Jon Ralston obtained a copy (warning: Word file) of a poll they just took in this race, showing Carolyn Goodman ahead of Chris Giunchigliani by a 48-34 spread. It's not clear who if anyone the poll was taken for, but oddly enough, it tests some negative messages against both candidates - not something you usually see in a poll that gets released into the wild. It also features percentages that go into the thousandths, which means you know it's extra-accurate.
• Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: It's sort of redundant to begin a bullet linking to 538 by saying "Nate Silver crunches the numbers," because of course that's what he's just done. Anyhow, click the link for his look at whether the Wackiness in Waukesha points to incompetence or fraud (conclusion: "[I]f you want to allege that there's a conspiracy afoot, the statistical evidence tends to work against you.) Craig Gilbert of the Journal Sentinel also thinks the new numbers are plausible. And for a more amusing tidbit that definitely tilts in favor of Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus being a boob, check out this entertaining story from Michigan Liberal.
Meanwhile, despite now facing very challenging odds (or perhaps because of it), JoAnne Kloppenburg has hired Marc Elias, the attorney who led Al Franken's legal efforts in his recount battle. David Prosser is tapping Ben Ginsburg, who, in addition to representing Norm Coleman, played a big role in the Bush Florida recount team.
• Voter Suppression: Huh - why is Jon Husted, Ohio's Republican Secretary of State, trying to sound reasonable on the issue of voter ID? In the fact of pending legislation which would require voters to bring a government-issued photo ID with them to the polls, Husted instead is in favor of allowing people to use other forms of identification, like a utility bill or government-issued check. Given how deep VOTER FRAUD!!!!!!!1111 runs in the teabagger bloodstream, this is one issue (like immigration) on which any sensible Republican with higher ambitions would be wise to avoid, yet here Husted is sticking his neck out on it. What gives?
• Colorado: Colorado's new congressional map is now not expected until April 21st, instead of April 14th, as originally planned. Republicans are whining about the delay, which is partly due to the fact that 2010 precinct-level data is still being churned out by the Secretary of State's office. (The SoS claims they usually don't get it out until June 30th... why should it take eight months to do this?) Anyhow, I don't really understand why Republicans would be better off if Dems don't use the 2010 data, unless they think Democrats are dumb enough to redistrict solely based on 2008 numbers. (They aren't.) It doesn't matter, though, since the GOP isn't going to get their way here.
• Connecticut: The redistricting process is (slowly) starting here in CT.
• Florida: This is fiendish: Republicans in the legislature are pushing a constitutional amendment which would split Florida's seven-judge Supreme Court into separate five-member civil and criminal divisions, and which would also shunt the three most senior members into the criminal section. That would give Rick Scott three new appointments, and whaddya know! the four most junior justices are all Charlie Crist appointees, while the longest-serving three were all elevated by Dem Gov. Lawton Chiles. This is appearing in the redistricting roundup because Dems are (rightly) accusing the GOP of trying to pack the court in advance of the inevitable legal battles over redistricting. In order for this measure to appear on the ballot before Nov. 2012, though, it'll require the support of some Dems in the House. Let's hope they aren't stupid enough to fall for this.
Anyhow, the legislature is starting work on redistricting, but it sounds like they are in no hurry to get the job done (the above story might be part of the reason): House Speaker Dean Cannon told members who want to be on the redistricting committee to expect to work hard into next year. Of course, we do things quite a bit fast around here, so if you want to play around with the latest redistricting toy, check out this new online tool for remapping Florida.
• Iowa: Today is the deadline for members of Iowa's advisory commission to issue its recommendations on the state's new set of maps, after which the lege has to give them an up-or-down vote. All signs point to passage, which would make Iowa the first state in the nation to complete its redistricting process.
• Louisiana: Well, after a quick start with a flurry of plans getting subject to scrutiny, things have definitely gone off the rails in Louisiana. Five of the state's six Republican congressmen sent a letter to Gov. Bobby Jindal asking the legislature to delay federal redistricting until next year - and Jindal apparently agrees with the idea. Daily Kingfish describes this as a big setback for Jindal, given that his party controls the entire lege. It is a little surprising to me that one man, Rep. Charles Boustany, apparently has the power (and the allies in the state Senate) to mess with Jindal like this, but perhaps the governor simply thinks he can steamroll Boustany after the November elections, assuming Republicans gain more seats.
• New Jersey: The fallout continues: Three NJ legislators have announced they will move into new districts so that they can run again this fall, and apparently all of them are being welcomed to do so by their own parties. Of course, it's still early, and some people will definitely get squeezed out by the end.
• Ohio: This is actually the same link at the voter suppression story above, but it contains a throw-away line at the end in which SoS Jon Husted says congressional districts need to be re-drawn by Sept. 1st in order for Ohio to hold its primary by March 2012. (Otherwise it would have to get moved - to May, according to the article, but if the process really drags on, who knows how late things could get shifted.)
• Sacramento: You can redistrict the city of Sacramento, California in this online game.
• Virginia: Played for fools - that's what Virginia House Democrats are. GOP Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling is praising the Republican gerrymander of the state House, which passed with near-total Dem support in that body, despite representing a deliberate plan to fuck over Democrats, as having "strong bipartisan support." At the same time, he's slamming the Dem state Senate map, which GOPers had the good sense to vote against en masse, as some kind of unholy gerrymander. Duh! Bolling is trying to goad the lege into adopting maps produced by Gov. Bob McDonnell's commission (not gonna happen), but he's also suggesting that McDonnell could "substitute" the commission's maps for whatever the legislature passes. I admit I'm not entirely clear on how that would work - a particularly egregious use of the line item veto, or something along those lines? Seems risky.
Of course, all of this is predicated on bipartisan incumbent-protection agreement which includes the federal map as well. But is this deal unraveling? Dem state Sen. Janet Howell, who created the senate map, says she "doubts" her body's congressional map will match the House's, which was released just last week (the Janis plan). I'm surprised to hear this, because I thought a clear understanding had been worked out between the two houses, but I suppose there is still some negotiation left to be done over the federal map.
You might be sitting there thinking "Hey, didn't I see these numbers before?" and, if so, you're right... PPP polled Wisconsin's 2012 Senate race in December when the specter of a Herb Kohl retirement seemed to be looming larger than now, and their new round of polling (obviously more focused on the standoff over collective bargaining rights and the prospect of recalling Scott Walker) finds very little has changed in that race amidst the rest of the state's upheaval.
The most notable changes are that they've swapped in ex-Rep. (and 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary loser) Mark Neumann in place of Tommy Thompson, only to find he does no better than the other options... and they note a big drop in Paul Ryan's favorables, in the period since his SOTU response (the place where Republican rising stars go to die), down to 36/35 from a previous 38/30. Herb Kohl's approval is 50/30, while newbie Ron Johnson's approval (32/28) is worse than the favorables of the guy he just beat, Russ Feingold (51/39). What a difference a little presidential-year-electorate makes!
• CT-Sen: In almost a parody of Republican fat-cattery, not-very-likely GOP senate challenger Scott Frantz loves to race his million-dollar antique yacht down to Bermuda, while at the same time extolling the virtues of companies that patriotically avoid American taxes by moving their operations offshore to the very same island.
• IN-Sen: Treasurer Richard Mourdock is officially kicking off his primary challenge to apostate Sen. Dick Lugar today, and he's announcing that a majority of local Republican party leaders in the state are backing him. The thing is, while Lugar may well get teabagged, Mourdock really isn't a teabagger. The establishment might be trying to get out in front of Lugar's political demise by rallying around the most acceptable alternative, but while Mourdock's no Charlie Crist, even conservative guys like him don't often assuage the true movementarians. We'll see.
• MA-Sen/Gov: Fresh off his victory last fall, Deval Patrick is opening a federal PAC that, the Boston Globe says, "will pay for his expenses as he travels the country as a prominent spokesman for President Obama's reelection campaign." But Patrick insists that he'll finish his second term, and then "return to the privates sector." That was actually the Globe's typo... man, I hope it was a typo. Meanwhile, Scott Brown insists he's running for re-election, not president.
• NV-Sen: Guy Cecil, the executive director of the DSCC, is heading to Nevada this week, reports Politico's Molly Ball, to meet with three potential challengers to Sen. John Ensign: Secretary of State Ross Miller, Treasurer Kate Marshall, and Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto. (The DS has already met with Rep. Shelley Berkley.)
• RI-Sen: Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian says he'll probably decide by June whether to seek the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. Warwick is considered a "moderate" (whatever that means), and could face an impossible primary against a more conservative candidate. Recall that now-Gov. Lincoln Chafee came very close to losing a primary in 2006 against Steve Laffey while he was a sitting senator.
• VA-Sen: Former Dem LG (and current ambassador to Switzerland - and Liechtenstein!) Don Beyer says he's enjoying life abroad too much to contemplate returning home for a senate run. And hell yes he gave a shout out to Liechtenstein!
• WI-Sen: Your state becomes ground zero for the future of organized labor in America, drawing attention from around the country and around the world, and the stakes are huge. What do you do if you are Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl? You basically disappear and issue the most anodyne statement possible, saying that you "hope these matters can be settled in a respectful and balanced way." Eh, maybe we're better off like this - it's not like Kohl would be a big asset in this fight anyway.
• IN-Gov: Mark Bennett of the Terre Haute Tribune Star has an interview with former House Speaker John Gregg, who reiterates he is giving the governor's race "real serious consideration" (as we mentioned yesterday) but hasn't offered any timetable about a decision. The piece is mostly interesting as a backgrounder on Gregg, who has been out of politics for almost a decade.
Meanwhile, Brad Ellsworth says he won't be running for anything at all in 2012 (so that would include IN-Sen as well), but veteran state Sen. Vi Simpson says she is "thinking about" entering the race.
• NY-10: City Hall News has a good, in-depth look at the situation in the 10th CD, where we noted recently that Rep. Ed Towns' son Darryl, thought by some to be interested in his father's seat, is instead taking a job in the Cuomo administration. This could be a resume-burnishing delaying tactic, but with the elder Towns teetering, several big names who aren't heading off to Albany could make the race, including Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and NYC Council Members Charles Barron and Tish James. Jeffries is publicly saying he won't make a decision until Towns does, while the more pugnacious Barron is convinced Jeffries won't primary the incumbent - and says he's "cut from the same cloth" as old Ed. If you're a fan of juicy ethnic, racial, religious, machine, big-city politics, set against the backdrop of redistricting and the VRA, this race is one to watch.
• PA-St. Sen.: How common is this? In the potentially bellwether-ish special election to replace deceased Dem state Sen. Michael O'Pake, Democrat Judy Schwank is going on the air with television ads. Her Republican opponent is reportedly set to follow. NWOTSOTB, but do state legislators commonly advertise on TV in your area?
• WATN?: So Arlen Specter's hung out a shingle. Unlike a lot of dudes in his position who become rainmakers in big DC lobbying firms, the almost quaint name of Specter's new law firm is "Arlen Specter, Attorney-at-Law," and he's practicing in Philly. Meanwhile, Specter's primary conqueror, Joe Sestak, sure is busy - he's been going on a 67-county (that's all of `em) "thank you" tour in the wake of his narrow defeat last year. While the pace is probably less punishing than on the campaign trail, this kind of perambulation is usually the sort of thing most politicians are relieved to give up after they lose - so obviously people are speculating that Sestak wants to get back in some day. Sestak himself says he wants "to stay in public service of some sort," and won't deny rumors that he's interested in a 2014 gubernatorial run., but I just can't see Sestak as gov material.
• Polltopia: You know how in a WWF tag-team match, there are those moments when one dude taps out and his partner comes in, but for a few seconds, they're both kinda in the ring at once, wailing on their hapless opponent at the same time? Just watch here as Stone Cold Mark Blumenthal puts Scott Rasmussen in a headlock and Nate "Superfly" Silva busts out the folding chair. When the bell sounds, we know pretty much what we did before: you can trust the outcomes of a Rasmussen poll and a pro-wrestling match just about equally.
• Redistricting: NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo has releases his "Redistricting Reform Act of 2011," which would create a non-partisan commission that would draw both state lege and congressional district lines. The members of the commission would still be political appointees, though, with the governor apparently holding the final card. Cuomo has threatened to veto any old-style gerrymanders, but it's not clear to me that this bill has much of a chance, particularly since other reports say Cuomo is willing to trade this for a much bigger priority, like property tax reform.
Meanwhile, Politico has the unsurprising news that many members of Congress have recently started making generous donations to their home-state legislatures, in order to win a little love during the redistricting battles ahead. I do wish they would just post the full chart of their analysis, rather than pick out tidbits. We'd never do that to you!
• Census: Bunch more states a'comin' this week: Alabama, Colorado, Hawaii, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington will all see redistricting data by Feb. 25th.
• Dave's App: Version 2.1 has been released, with all sorts of new features. Dave is also adding new 2010 census data as he is able.
• Special Elections: SSP's own Johnny Longtorso, keeper of the special election flame, files this report:
We've got a whopping nine state legislative races in Connecticut on Tuesday. Eight of the nine are Democrats who resigned to join the Malloy administration, while the ninth (also a Dem) resigned due to a misdemeanor conviction. One race of note is HD-36, where CT-02 loser Janet Peckinpaugh is the Republican nominee. A couple of these races were close in 2010 (HD-99 and 101), so we may see some flips on Tuesday.
Also, in Missouri, there's an open State Senate seat in Kansas City, which should be an easy Dem hold.
And last Saturday, Republican state Rep. Jonathan Perry defeated Democratic businessman Nathan Granger in a special election that decided control of the Louisiana state senate. The chamber had been split 19-19, but now the GOP has the edge. Of course, it would only have been a matter of time before the next Dem party-switcher changed the equation, but this was actually a close, hard-fought race.
• CT-Sen: This is starting to sound like a broken record, but Rep. Joe Courtney is in the news again for saying that he's still vaguely interested in getting into the Dem Senate primary. At least he has a somewhat more definite timetable, saying he'll decide "by the end of this month."
• FL-Sen: Quinnipiac is out with its first Florida poll of the 2012 cycle, and it's remarkably similar to the other polling they've been doing so far this cycle (like OH and PA): they find a surprisingly high number of people with no opinion about the incumbent Democrat, and find him polling in the mid-40s on a generic ballot question, but still winning by an OK margin. Bill Nelson's specific numbers vs. Generic R are 41-36; his approvals are pretty good at 45/21 and his re-elect is 43/33. On a related note, Nelson has the most cash of any Dem heading into 2012, in what, if only by virtue of the state's population, may be 2012's most expensive Senate race; he has more than $3 million CoH.
• MA-Sen, MA-04: I was a little surprised to see Barney Frank's name even on the long list of potential candidates for the Massachusetts Senate race - he's 70 years old and, if for some reason there's a Democratic wave election in 2012 he could get his gavel back - so it's not unusual to see his announcement today that he's running for another term in the House in 2012.
• MN-Sen: Courtesy of Minnesota Public Radio, here's a long list of additional Republicans who aren't running for Senate in Minnesota. (The list of ones who are running would be more interesting but is much shorter, since it has zero names on it, with the possible exception of Harold Shudlick, who lost the 2006 Senate nomination with a proto-teabag candidacy.) Most notably it includes former state Rep. Laura Brod (who's apparently on the short list to become a Univ. of Minnesota Regent instead), but also state Sen. Julie Rosen, state Sen. David Hann, Hennepin Co. Sheriff Rich Stanek, attorney Ron Schutz, and Bill Guidera, who is the state party's finance chair but is employed as "lobbyist for News Corp." A Roll Call article from several weeks ago buried a few other "no thanks" too: businesswoman Susan Marvin, former T-Paw CoS Charlie Weaver, and former state Rep. Paul Kohls. (H/t Brian Valco.)
• MT-Sen, MT-AL: After a lot of rumors last week, it's official as of today: Republican Senate candidate Steve Daines is dropping down to the open seat House race, where he probably becomes something of a frontrunner (rather than a speed bump for Denny Rehberg). He can transfer over the $200K he raised for his Senate race. The Fix has some additional names who might consider the House race (in addition to Democratic state Rep. Franke Wilmer, who started floating her name several days ago): businessman Neil Livingstone and state Sen. Roy Brown for the GOP, and state Sen. minority whip Kim Gillan, state Sen. Larry Jent, up-and-coming state Sen. Kendall Van Dyk (netroots candidate, anybody?), or attorney Tyler Gernant.
• WI-Sen: Is this the opening salvo of the 2012 Senate race? It comes from a familiar face (one who lost the 1998 Senate general election and 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary), ex-Rep. and real estate development magnate Mark Neumann. He engaged in the traditional pre-announcement tactic of penning an op-ed attacking the incumbent, in this case Herb Kohl and his vote against HCR repeal. If so, it would set up the battle of the self-funders.
• WV-Sen: The NRSC is out with its first ad of the cycle, and they're getting right to work going after Joe Manchin, after he surprised at least some people by keeping ranks with the Dems and voting against HCR repeal. No trucker hats or plaid here... instead, they seem to be taking that "San Francisco values" (read: gay gay gay!) tack pioneered by Sam Graves in a notorious MO-06 ad in 2008, by comparing joined-at-the-hip pals Barack Obama and Joe Manchin to other legendary campy duos, like Sonny and Cher, and Siegfried and Roy.
• IN-Gov: Somebody's not waiting for Mike Pence to make his move on the Indiana governor's race! I say "somebody" because I really have no idea who this guy is, although he's one step up from Some Dude by virtue of having been a Hamilton County Commissioner. Jim Wallace is the first to actually say he'll seek the Republican nomination; he's touting his business background (as a consultant to health insurance companies).
• WV-Gov: I'm not sure I've ever seen such a chaotically-planned election before, but now the state House and Senate in West Virginia can't agree on what date they're going to set for the special election to replace Joe Manchin. The House moved it up to Sep. 13, but then the Senate's bill kept it at Oct. 4, which was the date proposed by Earl Ray Tomblin. At least they're in agreement on the primary date, June 20. (There's also a rundown on filings so far: the three Dems to file are the one's you'd expect (Tomblin, Natalie Tennant, and Rick Thompson), while in addition to two expected GOPers (Betty Ireland, Mark Sorsaia), there's also one whose name I hadn't heard before, state Del. Patrick Lane.
• FL-25: You know you're in for a short stay in the House when the Beltway media is already compiling lists of likely successors during your first month on the job. The Fix's list of possible Republicans who might pick up after David Rivera in the event of a resignation/expulsion includes state Sen. Anitere Flores, former state Sen. Alex Villalobos, state Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, Miami-Dade school board member Carlos Curbelo, and former state Rep. J.C. Planas.
• MS-LG: With Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant the likeliest person to become Mississippi Governor in 2011, the jockeying to become Lt. Gov in 2011 (and thus probably become Governor in 2019) is underway. Republican state Treasurer Tate Reeves is the first to announce his bid.
• DCCC/Crossroads: The announcement that they were targeting 19 vulnerable Republicans this early in the cycle was a good move for the DCCC, but a lot of the wind subsequently went out of their sails when it was revealed (courtesy of Nathan Gonzales) that the effort was really more of a press release backed up by tiny radio ad buys, with a total of about $10,000 spent, working out to about $500 per member (and as low as $114 in VA-05, which is a cheap market, but still...). That was met by a retaliatory buy from the Karl Rove-linked GOP dark money outfit American Crossroads, where the clearly telegraphed subtext was "You're broke; we have money." They spent $90,000 to air radio ads in those same markets, which at less than $5,000 per member is still chicken feed but, in terms of The Math, noticeably larger. Of course, that $114 is a pretty good return on investment, if it got Robert Hurt publicly backpedaling on just how much he wants to cut infrastructure spending.
• Mayors: The Las Vegas mayoral race just took an interesting turn yesterday, when former school board president (and more notably, wife of outgoing mayor-for-life Oscar Goodman) Carol Goodman reversed course and said that she would, in fact, run for mayor. By virtue of name rec, that may catapult her to the front of the line.
• Redistricting: This may be our first-ever episode of Swingnuts in the News, but Josh Goodman (now writing for Stateline) has an interview with Dave Bradlee (of Dave's Redistricting App fame) in his new article on the rise of DIY redistricting in general. (He also briefly cites abgin's now-legendary map of New York state.) He also points out that at least two states, Idaho and Florida, will make similar applications available online for tinkerers, as well as the Public Mapping Project's efforts to create a more comprehensive public service.
• Census: The 2010 data for Louisiana, Missisippi, New Jersey, and Virginia is out... at least in cumbersome FTP form. American FactFinder won't have the data until later today or tomorrow. (Looks like Dave Wasserman's already cracked open the data and has tweeted one interesting tidbit: New Orleans' population came in 29.1% lower than 2000, and even 3.1% below the 2009 ACS estimate.
• 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.
• NE-Sen: After a few months in exploratory committee purgatory (and after screwing up many of the documents associated with said committee), Republican AG Jon Bruning has made it official. He's now upgraded to Candidate, against Ben Nelson in the 2012 Senate race.
• TX-Sen: Local insiders seem to think that Kay Bailey Hutchison is increasingly moving toward another run for Senate in 2012 (after having postponed her resignation a number of times amidst the gubernatorial race, and then having dropped the subject altogether). That speculation seems based mostly on her sheer silence on the issue, though.
• IA-Gov: On his way out the door, outgoing Gov. Chet Culver talked up state Sen. majority leader Mike Gronstal as a possible 2014 gubernatorial candidate for the Dems. Culver said Gronstal won't suffer for his reluctance to put gay marriage up for a statewide vote, which seems to be one of the state's big flashpoints right now.
• WA-Gov, WA-08: This is very unexpected, considering that GOP AG Rob McKenna has had the 2012 gubernatorial nomination staked out for about six years now, but Rep. Dave Reichert is publicly expressing some (or at least not ruling out) interest in a gubernatorial run (a race he'd been encouraged to run in 2004 back when he was King Co. Sheriff, although he ran for House instead). I'm sure local GOPers would prefer he run for Senate, where no viable GOP nominee seems to be on the horizon, rather than creating a fractious gubernatorial primary that might hobble their best shot in decades at winning the governorship. Actually, I'm sure they'd prefer he continue to hold down WA-08 rather than open up the 8th while embarking on a fool's errand against Maria Cantwell, and with redistricting likely to give him a safer district in Seattle's southeastern exurbs while opening up a solid-blue WA-10 on the true Eastside, that's probably what he'll keep on doing.
• CO-03: New Gov. John Hickenlooper just appointed recently-defeated Rep. John Salazar as the state's agriculture commissioner. Salazar has already said he was open to a rematch with Scott Tipton; the question is whether this makes a rematch less likely or if it's designed to keep him in the public spotlight. (Speaking of Hickenlooper, if you haven't read the NYT Magazine section's long profile of him, it's worth a read.)
• FL-25: Add one more mysterious bit of financial information to the mounting pile of sleaze that's engulfing David Rivera in his first week on the job: he sold a condominium to his mother's marketing company (the same company that's under criminal investigation for its relationship to the Flagler Dog Track) in November, shortly before he paid off $137K in undisclosed loans... also to that same marketing company.
• IA-03: Buried in an article on the Iowa redistricting conundrum, which will see the state compacted to four House districts, is an important piece of unexpected news: septuagenarian Democratic Rep. Leonard Boswell, who's been a prime candidate for retirement for a number of cycles now, tells Roll Call that he will be running again in 2012, regardless of what district he gets stuck into. Tom Latham, Bruce Braley, and Dave Loebsack all plan to "plow ahead" as well; only Steve King didn't comment, although his district, by virtue of geography (having the state's western half pretty much to itself) seems least likely to get messed with. A collision between Des Moines-based Boswell and Ames-based GOPer Latham seems likeliest to me, but with a commission making the decisions, almost any configuration seems possible.
• NC-07: Rep. Mike McIntyre -- already in the news today as one of only two Dems who voted against HCR to also say that he'd go ahead and support Republican repeal efforts -- is now about to draw a Democratic primary challenger from the left, although one who seems kind of on the Some Dude end of the spectrum. Business counselor Del Pietro says he'll take on McIntyre.
• California: This piece is mostly about House redistricting in the Golden State, but has some thoughts about potential retirements too, given the possibility that redistricting via commission may result in less incumbent protection and various House members getting stuck together (and also given the advanced age of many of California's long-timers). Jerry Lewis and Pete Stark are listed as most noteworthy possibilities, along with Elton Gallegly (who's waffled about retirement before), Lois Capps, Gary Miller, and Howard Berman... and Bob Filner is mentioned as a possible San Diego mayor candidate in 2012.
• House: This Roll Call piece is mostly a grab-bag of vague quotes and speculation (of course, what article in the Beltway press isn't), but it does do some useful handicapping on which sought-after House members are likely or unlikely to make the jump to running for Senate in 2012. New York's Peter King says "I really don't expect it," Pennsylvania's Charlie Dent says he hasn't "been actively pursuing it," and Ohio's Jim Jordan is "leaning against it." Wisconsin's Paul Ryan didn't comment, but has repeatedly said he isn't looking for higher office anytime soon (and here's some further confirmation on that from today), while Florida's Connie Mack IV seems to be moving definitely moving in a Senate direction and Montana's Denny Rehberg remains studiously vague.
• DCCC: DCCC head Steve Israel announced his team of lieutenants for the 2012 cycle, which includes the two other likeliest chairs who got passed over, Joseph Crowley (in charge of fundraising) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (incumbent retention and redistricting). Also on board are Allyson Schwartz (recruitment), Keith Ellison (community partnerships), and Puerto Rico's Pedro Pierluisi (constituency mobilization).
• Mayors: State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams (last seen barely hitting the double-digits in the Democratic gubernatorial primary) has a new gig in mind: he's publicly expressing his interest in running for Philadelphia mayor, one of the many mayoral races up in November. The only other person to have actively looked into challenging fairly-popular incumbent Michael Nutter is wealthy businessman Tom Knox, who also made a brief appearance in last year's governor's race Dem primary.
• Twitter: We made it over the 4,000 mark on Twitter; thanks to all our new followers. We're still taking new applications, though, so we encourage any other fans of microscopic bits of political wisdom to sign on, too.
• IN-Sen: Richard Lugar and local leaders in the tea party movement had a sitdown at an Indianapolis hotel last month. I'm not sure if it was actually intended by Lugar to try to deter a GOP primary challenge, but it seemed to have none of the desired effect if so; the net result seemed to have been cordial but with a sense of "game on," with the main question left being who the challenger will be.
• WI-Sen: With this his first day out of the Senate, Russ Feingold will be, instead of heading for the K Street gravy train, taking a position at Marquette University's law school. When asked about his 2012 plans in the event of a Herb Kohl retirement, Feingold simply said that he hopes Kohl runs again and would support him if so.
• IN-Gov: Democrat Jonathan Weinzapfel looks poised to become the first entrant in the Indiana gubernatorial race. He's announced that he won't seek another term as mayor of Evansville (which would require running for re-election this year), and says that he'll take a "good, hard look at" the governor's race and make a decision sooner rather than later." Meanwhile, after the Beltway collectively decided yesterday that Mike Pence was going to run for Gov. on the GOP side, there's yet more conflicting evidence today, as seen in his plans to appear with other GOP presidential hopefuls at a conference in Georgia, just across the border from pivotal South Carolina.
• MA-Gov: Deval Patrick is vowing today that he'll serve out his full second term (something that a Massachusetts governor hasn't done in decades, not since Mike Dukakis), but won't seek a third term in 2014. That would seem to (at least for now) put the kibosh on any speculation that he might look to challenge Scott Brown in 2012.
• MN-06: The news that produced spit-takes all across America this morning: Michele Bachmann is floating her name for president in 2012. Obviously a failed vanity presidential bid is no deterrent to a return engagement in the House if you hit the ejector seat early enough (just ask still-Rep. Ron Paul), but this bit of laughable presidential weirdness could have some major downballot implications if it truly leads to an open seat (especially if Tarryl Clark is indeed looking to run again).
• WI-07: It looks like we might already have a serious contender in the on-deck circle in the 7th, which at D+3 is one of the bluest districts that the GOP picked up thanks to David Obey's retirement. Former state Sen. Kevin Shibilski was one of the short-list of candidates to run in Obey's stead (state Sen. Julie Lassa eventually became the consensus pick), and is now saying he's seriously interested in a 2012 run. Shibilski owns two resorts and apparently has serious self-funding capacity. Shibilski still sounds a little wary, though, preferring to wait and see whether new Rep. Sean Duffy stays a boilerplate Republican or turns into the sort of moderate who's been able, in the past, to hold down a rural Wisconsin seat (a la Steve Gunderson, or Mel Laird, if you want to go way back to Obey's predecessor). (H/t alphaaqua.)
• IA-St. Sen.: The year's barely started and the Dems have already lost their first special election! I don't think anybody had particularly high hopes for last night's fight, though: it was a GOP-leaning seat in Iowa's rural southwestern corner, held to replace Kim Reynolds, who just became Iowa's Lt. Governor. Montgomery County auditor Joni Ernst held the seat for the GOP, beating Dem nominee Ruth Smith, with 67% of the vote. The Dems still control the state Senate 26-23, with one more formerly-GOP-held special election pending.
• NV-St. Sen.: This is big news by Nevada standards: state Sen. Bill Raggio, the state GOP senate leader for decades but deposed recently from his perch in a tea party-ish palace coup (in the wake of his endorsement of Harry Reid), has announced that he's resigning later this month rather than completing his term. This may have Sharron Angle's antennae twitching, as you might remember she tried and failed to primary out Raggio in his Reno-area seat in 2008, and she might be interested in trying that again, adding the state Sen. to the list of her myriad other possibilities like another NV-Sen run or an NV-02 run if Dean Heller vacates (although it's worth noting this won't lead to a fast special election, as Nevada, like several other western states, fills legislative vacancies temporarily via appointment).
• NY-St. Sen.: This seems like strange posturing that will probably vaporize once the Democrats are back in the majority in the state Senate, but four of New York's Senate Democrats just broke off from the Dem caucus and formed their own little club, the Independent Democrat Caucus (meaning the breakdown is either 32-30 or 32-26-4, depending on how you want to view it). Interestingly, it's not the usual most-uncooperative Dems (Ruben Diaz, anyone?), but a clutch of reform-minded Dems (led by the barely-re-elected David Valesky, and also including the newly-elected David Carlucci) who apparently didn't want to get boxed into voting for John Sampson as Dem leader.
• PA-St. Sen.: The special election to replace long-time Democratic state Sen. Michael O'Pake in the light-blue SD-11 has been set for March 15. As I've mentioned before, this could turn into an interesting bellwether on where Pennsylvania's southeastern suburbs are headed.
• Votes: Today's attention-getting vote was the number of defections against Nancy Pelosi in the Speaker vote: 19 Democrats voted for someone else (or present). Heath Shuler led the way with 11, while other votes included Steny Hoyer, John Lewis, and even neighbors Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa voting for each other.
• Redistricting: Two news stories concern the independent commissions that will be in charge of redistricting in two states gaining seats, Arizona and Washington. In Arizona, they're already litigating the issue of who even gets on the commission in the first place; new state Sen. president and all-around jackass Russell Pearce is suing on the basis that three of the people nominated to serve are technically ineligible. (Interestingly, two of the three are Republicans, although maybe the problem is they weren't hardliners enough for Pearce's tastes.) Meanwhile, in Washington, Skeletor has re-emerged from a decade of suspended animation: evil genius and ex-Sen. Slade Gorton will be one of the two designated Republicans on the commission. Luckily, the lead Dem going up against Gorton will be Tim Ceis, the former Seattle deputy mayor who's well-known for his own elbow-throwing abilities.
Finally, the Fix has its latest installment in its state-by-state redistricting look, and I agree with both their conclusions about Ohio: that, mostly because of geography, Betty Sutton is the likeliest Dem to get squeezed rather than Dennis Kucinich (since she faces pressure from other Dems from the north, west, and east), and that, because of depopulation in the state's Appalachian southeast and the fact that they're both obscure freshmen, Bob Gibbs and Bill Johnson are the GOPers likeliest to get pitted against each other for the state's other lost seat.
• AK-Sen: Last Friday, Joe Miller finally pulled the plug on continued legal challenges to Lisa Murkowski's win in the 2010 election, despite earlier comments that standing down was not an option. (Apparently it actually was an option if no one could be found willing to foot the legal bill for a trip to the 9th Circuit.) So now the 2010 election really, truly is over. And in case Miller was going to get any bright ideas about what do to in 2012, Rep. Don Young (no stranger to primary challenges from the right, having barely survived a CfG-led purge in the 2008 primary) is already firing some shots over Miller's bow with his rusty old harpoon gun.
• FL-Sen: Depending on who you listen to, George LeMiuex either is or isn't about to launch a Senate bid. Roll Call's Steve Peoples says no, pointing to not only LeMieux's weak poll numbers and ambivalent-sounding statements but also his new cushy job as chair of the board of directors of one of the state's largest law firms (a decidedly different role from being there just as a part-time rainmaker/show pony). Other observers have noticed he's been sounding out potential consultants for a run, though, including GOP ad impresario Fred Davis, fresh off such smashing successes as Christine O'Donnell's "I am not a witch" ad and the anti-Patty Murray tennis shoe ad. Meanwhile, Rep. Cornelius McGillicuddy IV (or Connie Mack, as he'd prefer you call him) is gearing up for a run, if a recent fundraising letter citing a run against Bill Nelson sent around by Mack (and Jeb Bush) ally Jorge Arrizurieta is any indication.
• ME-Sen: Affordable-housing developer Rosa Scarcelli got some good buzz during her run in the Democratic gubernatorial primary last year, and now she's talking a bit about a Democratic run for the Senate in 2012. However, she seems to be reserving judgment, waiting to see whether the promised teabagging against Olympia Snowe ever happens, saying any decision would depend greatly on that.
• OH-Sen: In what's certainly not a surprise, Mike DeWine (perhaps compelled to say something after faring pretty well in one of PPP's recent let's-test-everyone Senate polls) says he won't consider running for his old Senate seat in 2012, having just successfully hit the 'reset' button his career with an election to the state AG slot. Newly-elected Lt. Governor Mary Taylor seems to be the top GOP option here, but for now she's simply saying it's too early, but isn't ruling out the possibility (and also saying that no one from the national party has contacted her about it, which stretches the boundaries of credulity).
• PA-Sen: Remember back in the spring of 2010, when the DC press corps, for a couple slow news days there, actually willingly ran with the idea that the allegation that a political job offer was sorta-kinda relayed from the Obama administration to Joe Sestak was the Watergate-esque moment that was going to bring the entire Obama edifice down? Um, yeah... now that it's not an electoral talking point and now that Darrell Issa's is actually in charge of Oversight, he's admitting that that isn't a line of inquiry that he's going to pursue, seeing as how, in his own words, Republicans "did the same thing." (Sighing loudly and walking away shaking head.)
• RI-Sen: Keep an eye on outgoing Gov. Don Carcieri, who while not saying anything tangible about a Senate run, said a number of candidate-ish things in a recent interview, including "I'm not going away" and "I have views, national as well, so I intend to be visible."
• UT-Sen: Here's an interesting take on the redistricting issues surrounding Utah's new fourth House seat: one possible outcome would be the Republicans packing all the state's Dems into one seat in order to avoid weakening any of the other three. And while superficially that might seem to benefit Rep. Jim Matheson, that could actually hurt him by making the district too liberal for Matheson (one of the remaining high-profile Blue Dogs) to win a primary (the article cites former SLC mayor Rocky Anderson as a potential rival). The article also suggests that could instead push Matheson into a Senate run, especially if it's against the more polarizing Jason Chaffetz instead of Orrin Hatch (although I'd think a gubernatorial run might be likelier, seeing as how that's up in 2012 again and Utah is one of those red states that's more forgiving of Dems at the state level than for federal office).
• IN-Gov: Rumors are bubbling up that Democratic Evansville mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel is making moves to be the first to declare his candidacy for the 2012 gubernatorial race, mindful of the advantages that accrue to early declarers.
• MS-Gov: Today Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant is finally making official his candidacy for the 2011 Mississippi gubernatorial election, an open seat as his boss hogg Haley Barbour is termed-out. While Bryant's stiffest competition will probably occur in the GOP primary (where possible opponents include the delightfully-named SoS, Delbert Hosemann), businessman and Democratic candidate Bill Luckett also appears to be making it official today.
• WV-Gov: I'm wondering if maybe Shelly Moore Capito has let people know that she's not running for Governor? It seems like the floodgates have suddenly opened for lesser GOPers to declare their interest in the race, starting with ex-SoS Betty Ireland last week, but now the state's GOP party chair, Mike Stuart, is also publicly talking himself up for the role. Of course, no one has any idea yet whether that special election will happen in 2011 or 2012.
• AZ-08: Jesse Kelly, who narrowly lost to Gabrielle Giffords in November, is rumored to be moving toward a rematch. His odds would seem to be slimmer in a rematch, as Latinos and youth voters are likelier to show up in a presidential year, but he may figure he has an ace in the hole, in the form of the likely presence of a Kelly ally, Christopher Gleason, on Arizona's ostensibly independent redistricting commission, who might be able to tinker with the boundaries in a more GOP-friendly direction.
• NV-04: Cue the hordes of screaming fans, weeping with joy and fainting from sheer ecstasy: Rory Reid, fresh off his domination in the Nevada gubernatorial race, is the subject of speculation that he might be bringing his own special brand of dynamism and excitement to the open House seat that will be created in the Las Vegas suburbs. (For his part, Reid won't confirm or deny it yet.)
• Chicago mayor: It looks like the African-American community may actually be coalescing around a single non-Rahm candidate in the mayoral race, with the dropout of Rep. Danny Davis from the race. He (along with state Sen. James Meeks, who also dropped out several weeks ago) lent his support to ex-Sen. Carol Mosely Braun, the last one standing. (Note that this is the second time Davis has tried to run for municipal office and then done a U-turn back to his House seat in the last year.) Don't start writing the saga of an Emanuel/Braun runoff just yet, though, as ex-schools chief Gerry Chico is a major wild card here, and now it looks like he has the money to back that up: he reports he raised $2.5 million for the race last quarter, a number that would be boffo even in many Senate races.
• History: The Univ. of Minnesota's Smart Politics blog occasionally comes up with real historical gems like this one, using the possibility of a Russ Feingold run for Herb Kohl's seat as a springboard for looking at Senators throughout history who've leapt from one state's seat to the other. Only two current Senators (Kent Conrad and Frank Lautenberg) meet that criteria, although some other famous names have done so (including Hubert Humphrey and Barry Goldwater). However, neither Conrad nor Lautenberg did so because of a loss (the most recent example of that would be Washington's Slade Gorton, though UMN finds nine other historical examples).
• Photos: This is one of those precious photos that's worth a thousand words, one that Eric Cantor probably already wishes he'd re-thought. (H/t to Brian Valco for this and several other of today's links.)
• AZ-Sen: There have been vague rumblings that maybe Jon Kyl, the GOP's 68-year-old #2 in the Senate, may not be running for another term... but that seems to be coming into sharper relief all of a sudden. Kyl has refused to publicly discuss his plans, the GOP's state chair is saying Kyl is not likely to run again, and people are starting to notice that he's sitting on only $620K CoH and hasn't engaged in any fundraising yet. (Although it's likely, once he decides, that he could quickly do whatever fundraising was needed to win.)
• CT-Sen: Ex-Rep. Rob Simmons sounds torn about another Senate run in 2012, and refuses to rule it out. However, he sounds unenthused, not so much because of his odds in the general as the likelihood of butting heads with the NRSC in the primary, whom he thinks has a fixation on Linda McMahon and her self-funding ability. Meanwhile, Rep. Chris Murphy is busy framing his "no" vote on the tax compromise in populist terms, clearly trying to set up some contrasts with Joe Lieberman.
• NE-Sen: I'd thought AG Jon Bruning was supposed to be some sort of killer-app for the local GOP to go against Ben Nelson, but you wouldn't know it by the way they've kept casting about for more talent. Local insiders are still publicly airing their wish list, adding a couple more prominent names to it: Rep. Jeff Fortenberry and state Auditor Mike Foley. One lower-tier option is also floating her own name: state Sen. Deb Fischer, who represents that big empty north-central part of the state and says she'll decide on a run once the legislative session is over.
• OR-Sen: Best wishes for a quick recovery to Ron Wyden, who will be undergoing surgery on Monday for prostate cancer. While it sounds like he'll be back on his feet soon, he'll be unable to vote for anything next week, which could complicate the final rush to wrap up stuff in the lame duck.
• TN-Sen: Bob Corker occasionally gets mentioned, at least in the rightosphere, as the possible recipient of a tea party primary challenge in 2012. The Hill finds that this may be fizzling on the launching pad, for the very simple reason that no one seems to be stepping forward to consider the race.
• WI-Sen: PPP is out with its poll of the 2012 GOP Senate primary, with another one of those let's-test-everyone-and-their-dog fields, but unlike some of the other states they've looked at in the last few weeks, a U.S. Rep. wins, rather than a statewide figure. Paul Ryan (who probably gets enough Fox News attention to trump the disadvantage of representing only 1/8th of the state) is far in the lead at 52. Ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson (who if he didn't run this year surely isn't going to in 2012) is at 14, ex-Rep. Mark Green is at 9, AG JB Van Hollen and new Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch are at 6, new Rep. Sean Duffy is at 5, and already-forgotten 2010 contender Dave Westlake is at 1.
• IN-Gov, IN-09: Baron Hill says he most likely isn't going to be running for anything in 2012, not Governor, and not his old seat in the 9th, saying he's looking into private sector jobs for now, though also leaving the gubernatorial door "slightly open." Interestingly, he seemed more enthused about a run for Governor in 2016 (which may be a tougher road to hoe, if there's an entrenched GOP incumbent then instead of an open seat like 2012), although he also commented that "I don't know if I'll be alive in 2016."
• MO-Gov: In case there was any doubt, Democratic incumbent Jay Nixon confirmed that he'll run for re-election as Governor in 2012. Nixon also said that he's raised $1 million for that race just since November; he'll need it.
• WV-Gov: For what it's worth, two of the state's largest unions would like to see an expedited special election to replace Joe Manchin. Democratic House Speaker (and likely gubernatorial candidate) Rick Thompson agrees with them, saying there's a constitutional conflict of interest in acting Gov./Senate president Earl Ray Tomblin's dual position. In what may not be a surprise, Tomblin disagrees, saying that the law is clear that the special will be held in 2012.
• CA-06: Rep. Lynn Woolsey is seeming like she may be one of the first retirements of the cycle, if the flurry of activity among lower-level Marin County politicos jockeying for position is any indication. The 73-year-old is publicly weighing retirement, and state Assemblyman Jared Huffman has already formed an exploratory committee to run in her stead. State Sen. Noreen Evans, Sonoma Co. Commissioner Shirlee Zane, and Petaluma mayor Pam Torliatt are also listed as possible replacements.
• FL-25: It certainly didn't take newly-elected Rep. David Rivera to get in legal trouble, and it's something completely new, instead of anything having to do with that whole let's-run-that-truck-off-the-road incident. He's under investigation for an alleged $500,000 in secret payments from a greyhound track that he helped out to a marketing firm that's "run" by his septuagenarian mother.
• ID-01: Don't count on a rematch from Walt Minnick (or a run for higher office in Idaho, either): he says he's done with elective politics. An oft-overlooked fact about Minnick: he's a little older than your average freshman, at 68. He wasn't going to be in the seat for much longer or look to move up anyway.
• NY-14: Remember Reshma Saujani, after losing the Dem primary in the 14th, said "I'm definitely running again" and "There's no way I'm going to be ones of those folks who runs, loses, and you never see them again." Well, fast forward a few months, and now she's definitely not running again, although she may be looking toward a run for something in 2013 at the municipal level.
• DCCC: The DCCC held its first real strategy session of the cycle yesterday, and the list of top-tier targets that emerged is pretty predictable (Dan Lungren, Charlie Bass, Charlie Dent, Bob Dold!) except for one: Leonard Lance, who's proved pretty durable so far. They may be counting on Lance's NJ-07, which occupies roughly the middle of the state, to get tossed into the blender in the redistricting process.
• Votes: Here's the vote tally from yesterday's vote in the House on the tax compromise. It was a very unusual breakdown, with Dems breaking 139 yes/112 no and the GOP breaking 138 yes/36 no, with the "no"s coming generally from each party's hard-liners, in a manner vaguely reminiscent of how the TARP vote broke down. (Also, some defeated or retiring Blue Dogs still voted "no," like Allen Boyd, Gene Taylor, and Earl Pomeroy... while Dennis Kucinich was a "yes.")
• History: Here's an interesting story about the end of a little-known but important era in North Dakota politics: the effective end of the Non-Partisan League, a vaguely-socialist/populist farmers' party that cross-endorsed Democrats for many decades, and had an outsized influence on the state (as seen in their state-owned bank and similar enterprises). With Byron Dorgan retired, most NPL stalwarts dead or aging, and agribusiness having replaced the family farm, it looks like the end of the NPL's line.
• Redistricting: Dave Wasserman is out with a preview of next week's reapportionment, and he's rightly treating it like the NCAA playoffs draw, in that there a bunch of states on the bubble of getting or losing seats. Here's how that plays out:
Georgia, Nevada, and Utah are all but certain to gain an additional seat in the House, while Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are all but certain to lose a seat and Ohio is all but certain to lose two seats.... the ten states in contention for the "last five" seats in the House (in order of likelihood to make the cut) are South Carolina, Florida, Minnesota, Washington, Texas, New York, California, Arizona, North Carolina, and Illinois.
He's also been tinkering around with Dave's Redistricting App, and has some maps that you'll want to check out. Maybe most interestingly, there's a solution to the IL-17 problem that actually makes it more Democratic while letting Aaron Schock and Bobby Schilling get much better acquainted with each other (the Fix also takes a look at Illinois today, coming up with similar ideas). Also worth a look: a good 10-district Washington map that gives Dave Reichert a heaping helping of eastern Washington.
• Site news: Due to holiday travel, other time commitments, and hopefully what will be a very slow news week, the Daily Digest will be on hiatus all next week. Don't worry, though: I'll make sure to be around on the 21st for the Census reapportionment data release (hell, maybe I'll even liveblog the news conference), and if there's any important breaking news, someone will get it up on the front page. In the meantime, happy holidays from the whole SSP team!