• CT-Sen, CT-04: Chris Shays — I swear I thought we were done with that guy. In fact, after he lost to Jim Himes in 2008, he left Connecticut entirely for the Maryland enclave of St. Michaels (perhaps to be closer to Dick Cheney?). Shays did briefly flirt with the idea of running for governor last year but ultimately thought better of it. So it's weird to see him coyly suggesting he might attempt to win his old seat back — or try his hand at a Senate bid. I don't think either move is a high-percentage play for him, not with Obama on the ballot.
• MS-Gov: Businessman Dave Dennis, challenging Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant in the GOP primary, has a new ad out where he climbs up a kinda rickety-looking ladder. I suppose he could have used a staircase or an escalator, but I guess this makes him look more DIY. (Or as Mitch Hedberg would say: Mississippi temporarily stairs. Sorry for the convenience.) The primary is August 2.
• OR-Gov: A new poll from Riley Research gives Gov. John Kitzhaber decent job approval marks so far in his first time, at 40-27. The proportion of undecideds seems unusually high, though.
• UT-Gov: We've previously mentioned that tebaggish types have been hungering for a challenge to GOP Gov. Gary Herbert — largely on account of his immigration apostasy — but no candidates have emerged. A few new names are thinking about it, though. One is former state Rep. Gary Frank, who had to give up his seat in the legislature this year when it turned out he didn't live in the district. D'oh! (No word yet on what a Frank-Herbert challenge would mean for the spice trade on Arrakis, though.) Oil company CEO William Skokos also says he's considering the race, as is Morgan Philpot, who almost unseated Rep. Jim Matheson in 2010. State legislators John Valentine and Stephen Sandstrom (whose names have come up before) say they are still interested, with Valentine also saying he could run for Congress.
• CT-05: State House Speaker Chris Donovan all but launched a campaign for the Democratic nod to replace Rep. Chris Murphy, handing out stickers at a Jefferson-Jackson dinner touting his candidacy. He says he'll wait to formally announce until the end of the state legislative session (a practice that most legislators, from Alabama to Zimbabwe, seem to prefer). The field is already quite crowded, but Donovan's pedigree gives him some built-in advantages.
• MN-06: I guess someone out there does love us: An unnamed "senior adviser" to Michele Bachmann says that the Queen Teabagger is "very likely" to run for president, with Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee out of the way.
• WA-01: State Rep. Marko Liias says he's putting together an exploratory committee but will only run if fellow Dem Jay Inslee (a likely gubernatorial candidate) does not seek re-election. DKE editor (and Washington resident) David Jarman tells me he likes Liias for the job.
• Springfield, PA: This is awesome! Commenter drobertson points out that DKE community member Cole Stevens (who formerly went by "warning_crazy" at SSP) won the Democratic primary for Springfield, PA Ward Commissioner from the 1st Ward last night. Though the race was uncontested, I think drobertson is right and that this makes Cole the first SSP/DKE alum to score a major-party nomination for elected office. Congrats, Cole!
• Dark Money: Republican attorney James Bopp is creating a new Super PAC called, simply, "the Republican Super PAC." The idea is simple, and looks like it pretty much blow an orka-sized hole through much of this country's remaining campaign finance regulations. Bopp says he'll encourage entities who want to donate to candidate X but find themselves limited by law to give whatever extra money they want to his new PAC. (An example would be a corporation, which can't give directly to candidates, but can give unlimited sums to a Super PAC.) Bopp then promises that he'll spend the cash on the races it's earmarked for. The one remaining problem here is that even Super PACs can only engage in independent expenditures. If, as Politico says, Bopp plans to "coordinate with elected officials to raise cash," it's going to be hard to claim with a straight face that spending decisions are being made independently.
• NRCC: Now it's the NRCC's turn to do another round of robocalls, also on Medicare. Will the Karl Rove tactic of attacking your opponent where you yourself are weakest actually work? I'm not sure. Dems were first out the gate with hard-hitting, unrelenting attacks regarding Medicare and the Ryan budget, which I think makes a big difference.
• Illinois: A few murky details have emerged about the one of our best hopes, the
Prairie Chicago state! The Dems, as expected, seem to be going after North Shore Rep. Bob Dold! and certifiable nutter Joe Walsh in Chicagoland, rogue pizzeria owner Bobby Schilling in the 17th, and possible some contraction of the 11th back to being mostly Chicagoland. Details differ on how exactly this will be accomplished, but Greg Hinz's write-up doesn't seem to make a lot of sense: sinking Hinsdale into Quigley's North Side Chicago district would require a second wrap-around of the West Side (and Danny Davis' IL-07), already on top of the earmuffs of IL-04.
What's more, a 9D-8R-1 "swing" map (if Hinz is to be believed) would be certifiable political malpractice — notice how the divide here at DKE is between 13-5 and 14-4! With Speaker Mike Madigan at the helm (and a newly sworn-in Mayor Emanuel likely involved in the process), it's doubtful that Dan Lipinski will be threatened much, and with the June 30th deadline looming in the distance, it's even more doubtful that Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton, or Rahmbo will let the courts judge this one. I mean, hey, isn't this the reason we all voted for Pat-freakin-Quinn, anyway? (Jeffmd)
• Mississippi: The three-judge panel hearing the MS state lege redistricting case has issued a ruling, offering lawmakers two choices: run this fall under the existing district lines, or call a special session and implement new maps. The latter seems impossible, so it looks like we'll see the former. That has to be considered a good outcome for the GOP, since they stand a pretty decent chance of winning the state House in November in the absence of a Democratic gerrymander. Plaintiffs could still appeal the case directly to the SCOTUS (which would be obligated to rule on it), but I can't imagine getting a friendly hearing before the Roberts court. One additional detail is that if elections do take place this year with the old maps, the three-judge panel said they'd entertain requests for special elections again next year if new maps are drawn then (as they seemingly must be).
• Nevada: This strikes me as unexpected. Just days after Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoed maps passed by the Dem-controlled state legislature, Democrats put out a new set of maps, which you can see at the link. It's not really clear what they're hoping to do here, though. Based on a series of tweets from Jon Ralston (1, 2, 3, 4), it looks like the new congressional map is more of a 2-1-1 rather than a 3-1. However, it appears to seriously screw 1st CD GOP Rep. Joe Heck, so I can't imagine Gov. Brian Sandoval signing this. Could it be some sort of positioning maneuver for an expected courtroom battle? Perhaps. Gonna have to wait and see here, though.
This diary is brought to you by Daily Kos Elections, an official Daily Kos sub-site. Please read our Mission Statement. Our focus is on electoral politics rather than policy. Welcome aboard!