• SC-Sen: Sen. Jim DeMint reiterated that he has no plans to seek re-election… in 2016. Believe it or not, that makes him the second Republican to broadcast plans this far out, the other being Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn.
• WI-Sen: Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, who last week said he was "99% sure" he'd run for Senate, is now 100%. He confirmed to the Wausau Daily Herald that he'd join the GOP field. If ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson also gets in, I wonder if Fitzgerald and ex-Rep. Mark Neumann might wind up splitting the movement conservative vote, allowing Thompson to sneak through much like Dan Coats did in Indiana last year… though as commenters point out, can Thompson really hang on until September of 2012? Coats had a much shorter primary season.
In 1996, Neumann said, "If I were elected God for a day, homosexuality wouldn't be permitted." Years later he clarified the remark, explaining he would not want God's job.
Neumann has also suggested he wouldn't hire an openly gay staffer. "If somebody walks in to me and says, 'I'm a gay person, I want a job in your office,' I would say that's inappropriate, and they wouldn't be hired because that would mean they are promoting their agenda," Neumann said in an address to the Christian Coalition. "The gay and lesbian lifestyle (is) unacceptable, lest there be any question about that."
• KY-Gov: PPP is out with a new poll of this fall's state-level races in Kentucky, their first survey since last year. They find Dem Gov. Steve Beshear simply destroying David Williams, and downballot Democrats doing well, too. Click through for all the results at Daily Kos Elections.
• MT-Gov: Looks like Democrats are closing in on one of their best gubernatorial recruitment gets of the cycle: The Billings Gazette reports that AG Steve Bullock is "expected to launch his campaign for governor" with a series of events planned for right after Labor Day.
• WV-Gov: The Fix reports that a DGA-backed 501(c)(4) with the ridiculous name of America Works USA (that's two "Americas" in one name) is running a "six figure" buy attacking Republican Bill Maloney as a "millionaire businessman" who "plays by a different set of rules." You can watch the ad here.
• GA-12: Republican state Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams, newly drawn into the much redder iteration of Dem Rep. John Barrow's district, said he is not considering a run for Congress "at this point in time."
• HI-02, HI-Sen: Things are looking better and better for Rep. Mazie Hirono's chances in the Senate race. Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann has decided to run for Hirono's now-open House seat, rather than Dan Akaka's open Senate seat. With Rep. Colleen Hanabusa opting to seek re-election, that would appear to leave a pretty clear Democratic primary between Hirono and ex-Rep. Ed Case on the Senate side — a matchup which favors the progressive Hirono. The only really big Dem name still waiting out there is Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, and his name isn't even that big. I'd be pretty surprised if he got in at this point. As for the HI-02 open seat, we could really use a strong progressive in that race….
• LA-03: Though Sen. David Vitter swore up and down that his recent town hall appearances with fellow Republican Rep. Jeff Landry did not constitute an endorsement, I am entirely unsurprised to see that Landry is now running radio ads touting his relationship with Vitter. Landry, as you probably know, is on a redistricting-fueled primary collision course with Rep. Charles Boustany and is looking for every edge he can get. Sad, though, isn't it, that David Vitter constitutes anyone's idea of a seal of approval, huh?
• NV-02: The early voting numbers from Washoe County and Carson City, the two largest population centers in the 2nd CD, do not look good for Team Blue:
A total of 51 percent of the Washoe County votes cast Saturday were made by Republicans, compared with the Republican registration in that county of 43 percent. Democrats cast 38 percent of the early votes, compared with their 35 percent of the county's registered voters. Voters with other parties or nonpartisans cast 11 percent of the votes, much less than their 22 percent registration figure.
In Carson City, 56 percent of votes were cast by Republicans, 32 percent by Democrats and 12 percent by others. The GOP voting rate is far greater than the 45 percent Republican registration in Carson City.
Meanwhile, Steny Hoyer is campaigning with Kate Marshall today, but it feels like too little, too late. Marshall has a new ad out, but it just hits the same two things she's hit before: Medicare and tax hikes. It doesn't pack much of an emotional punch, and if these themes haven't made the race closer by now, I'm not sure why they'll work with just two weeks left.
• MI-13: It looks like Dem Rep. John Conyers is ready to switch over to the 13th CD — and state Sen. Bert Johnson plans to follow him. Johnson had previously announced plans to primary Conyers in the 14th CD, but even though it looks like Conyers and fellow Dem Hansen Clarke will swap districts, Johnson is not abandoning his bid.
• MI-14: Meanwhile, in the adjacent 14th CD (where the aforementioned Hansen Clarke said he'll run), Democratic state Rep. Tim Melton has decided against a run. Melton previously said he'd decline to make a bid if Clarke and Conyers pulled off their switcheroo, so this decision is pretty predictable. It also sounds like a plus for progressives, since Melton is actually resigning his post in the legislature to take a job with (gag) Michelle Rhee — and to top it off, he's quitting the state for sunny California, saying "there's no reason to stick around." Sheesh.
• TX-16: The awesomely-named Beto O'Rourke (a businessman and El Paso councilman) just filed papers with the FEC, which makes it look like he's following through on possible plans to challenge Rep. Silvestre Reyes in the Democratic primary. (Hat-tip: Politics1)
• PA-AG: State Sen. John Rafferty became the first Republican to enter the race for Pennsylvania Attorney General — a job Democrats have never won since it first became an elected position in 1980. Other possible GOP candidates include Cumberland County DA Dave Freed and Montgomery County DA Risa Ferman. The Democratic field is already pretty busy, with former Lackawanna County prosecutor Kathleen Kane, former Philly prosecutor Dan McCaffery and former Rep. Patrick Murphy all vying for the nomination.
• CA Redistricting: A couple of Republicans have filed paperwork for a ballot measure aimed at overturning the state's new congressional map. If that feels like a bit of déjà vu, it's because Republicans have already moved forward with a referendum to undo the state senate map, something we mentioned a couple of weeks ago. There are no buy-in-bulk discounts, fortunately: Each initiative requires its own separate set of half a million signatures in order to get on the ballot.