• AZ-Sen: Not that I ever thought this would happen, but Sarah Palin says she won't run for Senate in Arizona.
• MA-Sen: Dave Catanese flags a column by former Deval Patrick chief of staff Doug Rubin, who says exactly what I've been saying for weeks:
Memo to Democratic Party officials in D.C.: Put up or shut up. …
The speculation from D.C. hurts the existing field, which is already filled with strong, talented candidates. It keeps donors who are loyal to the party on the sidelines, and forces some very important grass-roots organizers to hold off from making a commitment to a candidate. It also creates media stories about the supposed weakness of the field, which is a disservice to those candidates who have chosen to run. …
If Democratic Party officials in D.C. have a preferred candidate, let us know who it is and get him or her up here to start doing the hard work it will take to win.
Talk right now is not only cheap, it’s hurting our chances of winning this Senate seat in 2012. Democratic Party leaders in D.C. need to go all in, or get out of the way.
• WI-Sen, WI-Gov: At this weekend's annual state Democratic convention in Milwaukee, attendees participated in straw polls to express their preferences about the party's Senate and gubernatorial nominees. Russ Feingold won both polls, garnering 271 votes for the nod in this cycle's open-seat Senate race (to 187 for Rep. Tammy Baldwin), while scoring 254 votes (vs. 99 for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett) for a hypothetical gubernatorial nomination.
• CA-36: Democrat Janice Hahn is out with her first ad of the runoff, attacking Republican Craig Huey for being anti-choice and supporting the Ryan plan, including an extended comparison to Sarah Palin. No word on the size of the buy, though the Hahn campaign swears it's "competitive." You can watch the ad at the link.
• GA-05: Days after Fulton County Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson resigned from the bench, he announced he would challenge veteran congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis in the Democratic primary. Johnson, like Lewis, is black (the 5th is plurality African-American), so this race may hinge more on age and tenure. Lewis is 71 and has served since 1987; going by his bio, Johnson appears to be in his early 40s.
• IL-03: Though Democrat John Atkinson hasn't made up his mind about where he'll run, he talks about campaigning in Rep. Dan Lipinski's 3rd district in a recent Facebook post, even though Atkinson's house was drawn into the new 11th (where Dem ex-Rep. Bill Foster has already announced). (Hat-tip: ndrwmls10)
• IL-17: That was fast! State Sen. Dave Koehler announced he'd seek the Democratic nomination in the re-drawn 17th, just a day after saying he was still thinking about it. Koehler may well face some competition in the primary, given the appealing partisan nature of the new district lines — it went 60-38 for Obama.
• NH-02: Good news: Comcast refused to pull an ad by the PCCC and DFA that hammers GOP Rep. Charlie Bass for his support of the Ryan plan (mentioned here). No word yet on whether local station WMUR will continue to air the ad, but I actually think this is a bigger deal than Greg Sargent (at the link) is making it out to be. It's often pretty easy to get TV stations to stop airing third-party ads — unlike ads from campaigns, they aren't obligated to air them, so it's easier to nuke them and eliminate any worry about a defamation suit. In any event, I think this sets a good precedent because Dems will surely want to keep hitting this theme.
Meanwhile, the two liberal groups also released polling showing Bass with a crummy 29% approval rating, and with voters opposing Medicare cuts and approving of raising taxes on the wealthy by big margins. No word on any possible head-to-heads versus Annie Kuster, though.
• PA-AG: Former prosecutor Dan McCaffery (who ran for Philly DA in 2009) is entering the race for state AG. He joins ex-Rep. Patrick Murphy and former Lackawanna County prosecutor Kathleen Kane in the Democratic primary. McCaffery may be something of a Philadelphia machine candidate: he said he has the "support" of Rep. Bob Brady, and I'm told he also backed by the IBEW. In addition, his brother is a Supreme Court justice.
• WI Recall: The Wisconsin GOP's ham-fisted attempts to ratfuck the Democratic recall primaries are starting to look worse and worse, as letters explicitly pushing the strategy were just made public. Virtually identical letters were sent by Republican chairmen on behalf of Randy Hopper and Luther Olsen, promoting the "protest" candidacies of two nobodies who've given small donations to various GOPers over the years. Hopper denied any involvement, but the guy who wrote the Hopper letter fingered the Republican Party of Wisconsin as coordinating the effort.
Speaking of the RPW, its chief defended the scheme, though as the Journal-Sentinel points out, they squealed in protest when Democrats tried something similar in a state Assembly race last year. I've also been a bit mystified as to the merits of this strategy to begin with (even if it could be pulled off gracefully), but the RPW claims they support dragging things out in order to give their senators more time to respond to Democratic challenges. Does that really add up? Also, I don't think it's wise to call the recalls "outrageous" when you're trying to do the same thing to the other side.
• Governors: Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel compiled an interesting chart of partisan approval ratings for all of the governors in states where PPP has polled this year (that's 28 in total). Gilbert looked at each governor's approvals among Dems and Republicans and sorted them by how far apart they are. The widest gap was none other than Wisconsin's own Scott Walker, who scores 87% among the GOP but just 9% among Democrats. The next-widest spread belonged to MN Gov. Mark Dayton, whose numbers of course were flipped, giving him a 74% "partisan approval gap." At the other end of the list were two more Democrats: WV Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and MO Gov. Jay Nixon, neither of whom I'm surprised to see there.
• Minnesota: Predicting what courts will do with redistricting is always a very difficult game, but MN Progressive Project's TonyAngelo does a careful job examining the last time a map was drawn from the bench — which conveniently happened back in 2001. His conclusion is that judges are likely to create a plan very similar to the current one, relying on the principles which guided them a decade ago, and he also tries his hand at drawing some possible Twin Cities districts.
• Oregon: Both Democrats and Republicans say they are close to an agreement on a redistricting plan for the state's legislative districts, but it sounds like they are much further apart on the congressional map and may not reach a deal at all. However, the legislative session doesn't end until June 30, so there's still a bunch of time for a deal to be worked out. (You may recall that while Democrats control the governor's mansion and the state Senate, the House is split exactly down the middle at 30-30, giving the GOP a seat at the negotiating table.)
• Virginia: Legislators will convene for a one-day special session on Thursday to start negotiations on congressional redistricting, but it's little more than a formality that will spur the creation of a conference committee. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the real work won't happen until July.
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