• AZ-Sen, AZ-08: Kyle Trygstad of Roll Call canvasses politicos on both sides of the aisle in Arizona and DC and comes away with the distinct impression that Rep. Gabby Giffords will not be running for Senate. However, it looks like only one person went on the record, Dem consultant Mario Diaz, who says that his "understanding is that she’s going to run for re-election." The piece also mentions that several more colleagues have held recent fundraisers for Giffords, including Sen. Tom Udall and Reps. Adam Smith and Rosa DeLauro
• FL-Sen: Bill Nelson has big leads against all Republicans, and Obama's job approvals soar in Quinnipiac's newest poll. (Full post at Daily Kos Elections.)
• OH-Sen: Ken Blackwell gets a little firmer on his timetable, saying he'll decide next month whether he'll seek the GOP nod to take on Sen. Sherrod Brown, after his newest book comes out. (That's pretty much what he said back in April.) He also said he "unflinchingly" supports the Ryan Medicare plan. State Sen. Kevin Coughlin does as well, but Treasurer Josh Mandel, another likely candidate, hasn't said one way or the other yet.
• MA-Sen: Not quite sure what, if anything, to make of this, but Scott Brown's visited the city of Newton three times since its mayor, Setti Warren, announced a challenge to him two weeks ago.
• KY-Gov: Activist lawyer and perennial candidate Gatewood Galbraith is making a play for the teabagger vote, with Phil Moffett now out of the race and various tea party groups deeply unhappy with Republican nominee David Williams. Galbraith seems like an odd fit, though, since his eclectic mix of positions (heavy on the civil liberties and pot legalization) is definitely lefty, and he's run as a Democrat in the past. Still, some teabaggers say they're interested.
• OH-Gov: GOP Gov. John Kasich's new poll numbers are eye-poppingly atrocious in PPP's latest survey. (Full post at Daily Kos Elections.)
• CO-03, CO-04: State Rep. Sal Pace "has confirmed he'll likely challenge" freshman GOP Rep. Scott Tipton in the 3rd CD (in the phrasing of John Fryar of the Longmont Times-Call). Meanwhile, State Senate President Brandon Shaffer says he won't decide on a run against Rep. Cory Gardner, another first-year Republican, until some time after his family returns from a vacation in mid-June. Shaffer, who is term-limited, had previously considered going for this seat in 2007 but declined. (BTW, don't confuse "our Shaffer" with two other former Colorado congressmen who are both Republicans: (1) semi-moderate Rep. Dan Schaefer who represented what was CO-06 in the 1990s; and (2) nowhere-near-moderate d-bag Bob Schaffer from present-day CO-04, who later ran for Senate twice, losing both times, in the primary in 2004 and in the general in 2008.)
• HI-02: The first of many, no doubt: 30-year-old Honolulu City Councilwoman and Iraq vet Tulsi Gabbard became the first entrant into the Democratic primary to succeed Rep. Mazie Hirono, who is running for Senate. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser lists several more possible names on the Dem side: Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, former state Senate Majority Leader Gary Hooser, and state Sens. Josh Green and Clayton Hee. Former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona also says he's considering a run on the Republican side, probably the only guy who could make this race at all interesting in the general.
• IA-01, IA-02: Roll Call says that 2010 challenger Ben Lange, who lost to Dem Rep. Bruce Braley by two points, is supposedly looking at a rematch in the new 1st CD. The same piece also reports that John Deere exec John Archer is considering a bid against Dem Rep. Dave Loebsack in the 2nd.
• IL-10: It's good news… for Bob Dold!! (I had to end that sentence with two exclamation marks, of course.) Business consultant Brad Schneider says he's entering the race against the freshman Republican, the second Democrat to do so after community organizer Ilya Sheyman. Schneider is from Deerfield, Sheyman is from Waukegan, Dold is from Kenilworth, and only Our Lord and Savior Mike Madigan knows where this district will wind up in the end. But soon, my friends, soon (see redistricting bullet below).
• NY-01: Republican Randy Altschuler, who survived an exceptionally bitter primary only to lose super-narrowly to Rep. Tim Bishop last year, says he's going to try for a rematch. Bishop's campaign was sharp (everyone else take notice), instantly asking whether Altschuler supported the Ryan budget plan. Altschuler's spokesman refused to answer, which a) won't be a tenable position for long and b) surely invites another primary battle from someone unafraid to embrace Ryan's Curse.
• NY-26: Great wrapup from Mark Blumenthal (of course) on NY-26, with a particular eye toward the polling data. One thing he points out is that among Democrats, 38% cited Medicare as their #1 issue, while 16% also said healthcare, which adds up to a clear majority. Given the Democratic enthusiasm edge we saw in this race (man does it feel good to type those words!), there's just no question we need to keep pounding, pounding, pounding away at this.
• WV-03: Republican state Del. Rick Snuffer, who fears he might be a legislative redistricting victim, says he's thinking about a challenge to Rep. Nick Rahall. This would actually be a rematch: Rahall destroyed Snuffer 65-35 in 2004.
• MS-St. House: State House Speaker Billy McCoy, after eight years in the top job and 32 in the legislature, won't seek re-election this fall. While McCoy is pushing 70 and also suffered a stroke some years ago, I wonder if this is a signal about how he feels about Democrats' chances this November. McCoy failed to push through a gerrymander during the legislative session earlier this year (and had a bit of a meltdown along the way), which will make it harder for Dems to retain their majority (currently at 69-53). I guess we'll see. Anyhow, Democrats are likely to pick Bobby Moak as McCoy's successor.
• Wisconsin Recall: Brown County vice-chair Mary Scray bowed out of the recall election against Dem state Sen. Dave Hansen, throwing her support to fellow Republican state Rep. John Nygren. However, Nygren still faces a primary from apparent weirdo Dave VanderLeest. Meanwhile, the Smart Media Group reports on Twitter that the media war is joined: state Rep. Jen Shilling made a $10K buy in LaCrosse (putting her up to $17K now), while the Senate Dems threw in another $5K. Shilling is going up against Republican Dan Kapanke.
• DCCC: Heh, this amused me. In commenting on recruitment in the Lone Star State, DCCC Chair Steve Israel said, "We are monitoring Texas very carefully. We're aggressively talking to a variety of candidates. Not Dennis Kucinich — he will not be running in Texas."
• WATN?: Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes (D), who lost a comeback bid last year, was diagnosed with prostate cancer, but doctors say it was discovered early and that he's expected to make a full recovery. Needless to say, we wish him the best.
• Alabama: The GOP's new congressional maps sailed through the appropriate committees in each chamber of the state lege, and then a similar version was passed in the full state Senate. However, the path to final approval is not completely clear, since one Republican state senator is asking the House to amend the plan on what appear to be largely parochial grounds. Democrats are also complaining that the map packs additional black voters into the already-majority-black 7th CD, but I'm not sure there's much they can do about it (outside of the courts, that is).
• Illinois: Merry Redistmas! Illinois Senate President John Cullerton says he'll unveil the new congressional map "soon" (in the AP's words). Of course, Redistmas can never come soon enough, but just remember that it only comes once this decade, boys and girls! Also, in the least consequential news you will read today, Republican legislators released some pretty drawings.
• Nebraska: It's done: Nebraska legislators gave final approval to their redistricting maps, and GOP Gov. Dave Heineman signed them into law. By my count, Nebraska is the seventh state to complete its federal remap. You can keep tabs on where each state is in the process by bookmarking our handy Redistricting Tracker. Anyhow, we'll have the new pres-by-CD numbers just as soon as we're able.
• Nevada: Here we go again: The Dem-dominated state legislature passed a new set of maps… but the entire world seems to expect Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval to veto them yet again, since they haven't changed a great deal since the first time. I'm really not clear on why the Democrats decided to do this (yet another example of the redistricting process proving so baffling), but surely they won't do this a third time, right? The legislative session ends on June 6, but like I said, I'm done making predictions when it comes to redistricting.
• Texas: So Rick Perry says he doesn't think courts should draw the state's new congressional maps, but he's apparently still resistant to calling a special legislative session (at least, one devoted to redistricting). Like I said yesterday, I'm utterly astounded by this, but wondered what I could be missing. I'm not alone, though: longtime Texas blogger Charles Kuffner also said he's blown away, but in a second post, he tries to make sense of the entire situation. I strongly urge you to read that entire link, since Charles gives a great history of the 2003 DeLaymander debacle — important reading for anyone who wasn't following the story back then (and a good refresher for those who were), since it informs what's happening today. (And if you're interested in Texas politics generally, you should bookmark his site, Off the Kuff.)
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