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MA-Sen: This is priceless:

"The leaders will bring forward (Ryan's) budget, and I will vote for it, and it will fail," [Sen. Scott] Brown told local business leaders gathered at Black Swan Country Club in Georgetown for the chamber's annual meeting. "Then, the president will bring forward his budget, and it will fail. It will be great fodder for the commercials."

But Brown staffers, wary of political fallout from his comments, were quick to follow up on his remarks, clarifying that the senator has yet to decide how he will vote on the matter. They said Brown meant to say he would vote "on" the bill, but not necessarily "for" it. (Emphasis added)

I guess it depends on what your definition of "on" is!

NE-Sen: State Sen. Deb Fischer sounds like she's very close to entering the GOP primary for the right to take on Sen. Ben Nelson. I'm not sure what Fischer's niche is, but even this limited formula seems awfully liberal for someone hoping to win a Republican Senate nomination: "The priorities of limited government, Fischer said, are public infrastructure, public education, public safety and 'taking care of those who truly can't take care of themselves.'"

UT-Sen: Ex-Rep. and anti-immigration zealot Tom Tancredo is soliciting donations for Rep. Jason Chaffetz, aimed at supporting a possible Chaffetz challenge to "pro-Amnesty RINO" Orrin Hatch. If Chaffetz is going to make this his signature issue, I wonder if he might not also be considering a run against fellow Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, who has raised teabagger ire over his support for a guest-worker program.

WI-Sen: A short roundup of Wisconsin Senate news: ex-Rep. Steve Kagen (D) says he is giving the race "serious consideration" but doesn't have a timetable for making a decision… ex-Rep. Mark Neumann (R) bought some "neumannforsenate" domain names… ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson lost a straw poll at the state's annual GOP convention to state Sen. Ted Kanavas (click the link for full results)… meanwhile, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, of all people, put out a statement trying to tout Thompson's conservative credentials. I don't think it's going to work.


KY-Gov: Dem Gov. Steve Beshear rolled out a list of endorsements from 70 Republicans, the most prominent of whom is probably ex-Lt. Gov. Steve Pence — though Pence has been supporting Beshear for a while (and even co-hosted a fundraiser for him last year). Meanwhile, various local teabagger groups are fuming about David Williams' victory in the GOP primary, and are threatening to endorse third party candidates, stay home, or even support Beshear! (They're also pissed at Rand Paul for not doing anything to help Phil Moffett.)

NC-Gov: PPP's latest poll seems to be the first bit of good news for Gov. Bev Perdue in a while. She's trailing Republican Pat McCrory 46-39 — but that's an improvement from last month's 11-point gap, and the first time since January she's been this close. Tom's writeup is worth reading, since he paints a more complex picture than the usual "Perdue is doomed" narrative.

ND-Gov: Former state Sen. (now radio host) Joel Heitkamp says his sister Heidi, herself a former state AG, is running for governor, but it's important to read the full quote: "She hasn't announced it yet, she hasn't told me it yet. I don't know that she's decided yet. But I know her well enough to know she's running for governor." Heitkamp ran for governor once before, losing to now-Sen. John Hoeven in 2000 by a 55-45 margin.


CO-03, CO-04: In an interview with the Denver Post, Steny Hoyer indicated that two Colorado legislators — state Senate President Brandon Shaffer and Rep. Sal Pace — are likely to take on Republican freshmen Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton respectively. Hoyer also mentioned the name of Perry Haney, a wealthy doctor who could also run against Tipton.

ND-AL: The Club for Growth is going to have to find someone else to stop Rick Berg: Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk, who initially insisted he'd persist with his Senate campaign, instead decided to drop down to seek Berg's House seat instead. That leaves Berg all alone on the path to the GOP nomination to fill Kent Conrad's seat (for now).

NY-03: Oh noes! Loudmouth GOP Rep. Pete King says the "odd are very much against" him making a presidential run. Too bad! But King adds, "if something's out there, I won't stand in the way." So gracious!

OR-01: An internal poll for Brad Avakian from the Benenson Strategy Group shows David Wu's re-elects at a surprisingly good 36-42. Avakian's pollster, Pete Brodnitz, is quite candid in acknowledging that "if additional candidates enter the race it will likely benefit Wu by dividing the voters opposed to his reelection." Of course, Brodnitz is saying this to discourage others from joining the field — but frankly he's right. Wu can definitely win with around 40% of the vote, and in fact he leads 45-24 in an initial ballot test against Avakian. (As you'd expect, Avakian comes out ahead after profiles are read.) The memo seems most directly aimed at state Sen. Suzanne Bonamici, who is the only other potential candidate named, but several other Democrats have openly talked about getting in.

OR-05: Ordinarily, news of a politician's divorce wouldn't make it into the Daily Digest, but this one stands out on account of some unusual political trivia. Sophomore Rep. Kurt Schrader and his wife Martha Schrader (who has also held political office, including her husband's old state Senate seat) are going their separate ways — which makes Kurt the fifth straight congressmember to divorce while holding Oregon's 5th CD. This must be a cursed seat, because that's every single person who has occupied this seat since it was created thirty years ago. (Credit to Nathan Gonzales for the great catch.)

RI-01: A Fleming & Associates poll for WPRI shows freshman Rep. David Cicilline (D) losing by a 46-33 margin against former State Police chief Brendan Doherty, who formally announced a challenge last week. Cicilline also loses to 2010 GOP challenger John Loughlin by 47-35 in a hypothetical rematch. (Note the small sample size, though.) Cicilline's favorable rating is an awful 33-57, thanks to months of headlines (like this one) about his mismanagement of Providence's finances when he was mayor. If I were an ambitious Democrat in the Ocean State, I'd be thinking about a primary challenge.

WA-10, WA-??: Greg Giroux (aka FEC Kenobi) spots a couple of interesting filings from former state Rep. Denny Heck, who lost a tough race to GOPer Jaime Herrera Beutler in WA-03 last year. Widely expected to run again this cycle, Heck indeed just filed a candidacy statement with the FEC for the state's new 10th CD. But later the same day, he file amended paperwork which contained the plainest appreciation of the Schrödinger's Seat problem I've yet seen:

The committee has filed an amended Statement of Organization and the candidate has filed an amended Statement of Candidacy, both indicating no congressional district. These filings will be amended at a later date to indicate a congressional district.
Other Races:

AZ-St. Sen.: The recall of state Sen. Russell Pearce (author of Arizona's notorious immigration law known as SB1070) may get delayed until 2012 because the state's elections director gave incorrect information to the recall's organizer about when petitions had to be filed.

KY-AG: In a move that can only be described as highly logical, Vulcan ambassador Republican AG nominee Todd P'Pool says he has no plans to co-ordinate his campaign with the rest of the GOP statewide slate, now that the primary has settled things. Like I say, it makes sense: the gubernatorial nominee (David Williams) is much-hated, and the putative Secretary of State nominee (a more-or-less Some Dude with the perfect Some Dude name of Bill Johnson) is an unknown teabagger.

Speaking of Johnson, his primary opponent Hilda Legg says she'll ask for a recanvass, which will take place on Thursday. But with Legg trailing by over 1,000 votes, I don't see how the outcome will change, making her request most illogical.

MN Ballot: The Republican-held state legislature approved a constitutional amendment that will go before voters in November 2012 to outlaw same-sex marriage. A recent poll showed Minnesotans opposing the amendment by a 55-39 margin.

Ohio SB5: The organizers behind the drive to place Ohio's anti-union SB5 bill on the ballot this November say they've collected some 214,000 signatures so far. They have until June 30 to gather 231K and say that so far about 60% are valid (which strikes me as a pretty good rate). If current rates hold, then the drive is ahead of pace.

Grab Bag:

Dark Money: Democrats are asking the FEC for an advisory opinion on a questionable new Republican Super PAC (called, confusingly, "the Republican Super PAC") that GOP money guy James Bopp is trying to create. You can read about the PAC itself here.

Redistricting Roundup:

Alabama: Just a day after passing one congressional map, the state legislature's special redistricting committee quickly moved on to a new plan, with a few differences. You can see what the new map looks like here (PDF).

Illinois: We all enjoy the theater, but here's some cartography that's not quite kabuki: Illinois Dems have released their state House of Representatives map, to divide the state into 118 HDs. Given the Senate map released last week and that HDs are "nested" two per SD, we've already gotten some idea of how aggressive the map is. In particular, the Dems are connecting Springfield and Decatur in a downstate district, which has some Republicans protesting. Also noteworthy is the reduction in majority-African-American districts and corresponding increase in Hispanic-majority districts, given the demographic trends in the state. Best of all? House GOP leader Tom Cross' take that the maps seem "very punitive to the Republicans." (jeffmd)

Mississippi: Gov. Haley Barbour says he won't call a special session of the legislature to hammer out the unfinished business of state-level redistricting. That means elections will go forward this November under the old lines, with a possible repeat set of elections next year under new maps, per a court's ruling (which may be appealed).

Nebraska: The Republican redistricting plan to make the 2nd CD redder passed the full legislature on partisan lines, though from what I understand it must be voted on three times before going to the governor. I have to imagine that Gov. Dave Heineman, also a Republican, will sign whatever the legislature sends him.

Texas: The state House and Senate each approved the other body's new maps on Saturday, but check out this awesome "TURN YOUR KEY, SIR" paranoia:

The House and Senate had planned simultaneous passage of their respective redistricting bills Saturday morning with the doors of both chambers open so the two presiding officers could see each other gavel their approval of the bills.

Neither chamber wanted to be first to approve the other's redistricting plan, because a redistricting bill could be held hostage to negotiations on other legislation.

Even more interesting is the increasing possibility that the legislature may not finish congressional redistricting by the time the session ends on May 30. Texas only has one legislative session every two years (in odd-numbered years only), lasting a maximum of 140 days. The governor can call special sessions, but for whatever reason (one observer thinks it's a lack of interest) Rick Perry isn't expected to do so, at least for redistricting alone. However, Perry might call a special session to deal with other issues, like the budget, and then tack on remapping to such a session. Alternately, the lege might finish the job very hastily (as we saw in Missouri) to get this one off their plates. Still, it's a far cry from the massive sturm und drang the last time Texas went through this process. I'm sure, after all, you remember a little guy named Tom DeLay....

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Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Mon May 23, 2011 at 05:00 AM PDT.

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