OK

AZ-Sen: After some rumors yesterday that she wasn’t getting much traction with her phoning around, DHS Sec./ex-Gov. Janet Napolitano confirmed today that she wasn’t going to run for the open Senate seat in Arizona, preferring to remain in the Obama administration. (Roll Call has a list of some of the weedier Dem possibilities, beyond the top tier of Rep. Gabby Giffords and Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon: Rep. Ed Pastor, Board of Regents vice chair Fred DuVal, former state party chair Don Bivens, 2010 AG candidate Felicia Rotellini, and current state party chair/2010 Treasurer candidate Andrei Cherny.) On the GOP side, Rep. Jeff Flake seems already positioning himself for the general while opening himself up for a challenge from the nutty right, telling the birthers to “accept reality.” Flake also just picked up an endorsement from a similar budget-focused, social-issues-downplaying prominent House member, Paul Ryan.

IN-Sen: State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who plans to soon announce his GOP primary challenge to Richard Lugar (with next Tuesday the more-or-less official launch date), leaked a few poll numbers from an internal. He says that “just over half” of GOP primary voters are inclined to re-elect Lugar, while Lugar pulls in only 27% support among self-described tea-partiers. The poll didn’t “include” a head-to-head between Mourdock and Lugar, which I’ll assume means they aren’t reporting results that were pretty heavily in Lugar’s favor, rather than that they just accidentally forgot to poll that particular question. Here’s new one piece of ammo that tea partiers can use against Lugar to make their point that he’s gone Washington, though: a revelation that Lugar stays in a hotel when he visits Indiana (Lugar owns a farm in-state, but conditions there are “rustic”).

PA-Sen: Quinnipiac is out with another Pennsylvania poll, one that finds Bob Casey Jr. in better shape than their previous poll, where he was in decent shape too. He beats a Generic R 45-35 (up from 43-35 in December), and his approvals are up to 44/24 (from 39/29). Voters approve of Barack Obama (51/44) and Pat Toomey (41/21) as well, in another indication of ebbing anger.

VA-Sen: Tell the ground crew to break out the tarps, because we’ve got a Kaine delay. Ex-Gov. Tim Kaine, at the top of the Dem establishment’s wish list for the open Senate seat, is announcing that he won’t have anything to announce when he addresses tomorrow’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. He still sounds genuinely conflicted; expect an announcement “later in the month or early next month.”

VT-Sen: He stopped well short of actually announcing anything, but Dem-turned-Republican state Auditor Tom Salmon seems to be moving apace toward an uphill challenge against Bernie Sanders, saying he’ll announce his decision on March 4 or 5. He’s looking more committed in that he’s leaving his day job: he also just announced he won’t run for another term as Auditor.

WV-Gov: The overcrowded (and likely low-turnout) Democratic primary in West Virginia may be decided by a few thousand votes, so any possible advantage counts here. And here’s one for SoS Natalie Tenannt, the only Dem woman running: she just got the endorsement of EMILY’s List.

CA-36: The Republicans have managed to scrape up at least one credible candidate for the special election in the dark-blue 36th, where the main battle in the top 2 primary will be fought between Democrats Janice Hahn and Debra Bowen but conceivably he could sneak into the final round if he consolidates all the district's GOP votes. Mike Webb is City Attorney for Redondo Beach (popu. 63K).

MN-06, MN-08: This is an interesting possibility for ex-state Sen. Tarryl Clark, who lost last year to Michele Bachmann in the GOP-leaning 6th… although it’s entirely dependent on the redistricting pen. There’s the possibility that her town of St. Cloud (to the west of the Twin Cities) may get appended to the 8th, which starts in the metro area’s northern exurbs and heads up to Duluth. A run against vulnerable GOP frosh Chip Cravaack in a Dem-leaning district in a presidential year would be a much better bet for her. The question would be, though, whether Clark would have much luck in the DFL primary if she has to run against someone from the Iron Range, which tends to be insular-minded and would still be the bulk of the district’s population.

SD-AL, FL-02: I don’t know how many of you were pining for a 2012 rematch from Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (about which there were some rumors this week), and I really can’t imagine that any of you were hoping for a return engagement from ur-Blue Dog Allen Boyd, but it’s looking like neither one is on track to happen. Both are rumored to be about to take on K Street lobbying jobs instead, which is, of course, not the usual comeback path.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.