• CT-Sen: Chris Shays sounds like he has zero fire in the belly. Just listen to the Republican ex-Rep. mope and moan about negative campaigning and Linda McMahon's money. Shays keeps saying he won't formally announce until October, but at this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if he had a change of heart some time before then.
• MO-Sen: Not what I would have expected in a Republican primary, but here we are: Sarah Steelman is now calling out Todd Akin for saying he thinks Medicare is unconstitutional. Steelman, who you might have thought would be interested in trying to out-teabag Akin, is actually quite convinced it is — and wants to know why Akin never did anything to eliminate Medicare in all his years in Congress if he's so convinced of the program's constitutional infirmity. I'm not quite sure what Steelman's hopes are here, but you know, Medicare is a lot more popular than movement conservatives wish it was.
• WI-Sen: No surprise: EMILY's List just endorsed Dem Rep. Tammy Baldwin's brand-new Senate campaign. You know, the public comments from Ron Kind and Steve Kagen, both of whom faced bruising re-election campaigns just last year, haven't sounded particularly enthusiastic. Do you think it's possible that Baldwin might be the only major Democratic name to get in?
• TX-Sen: State Sen. Dan Patrick, who had been considering an entry into the GOP primary, says he will not run "unless something unforeseen happens in the current field of candidates."
• FL-Gov: Nan Rich, the Democrats' minority leader in the state Senate, says she's considering a run against Gov. Rick Scott, who isn't up for re-election until 2014. Rich is term-limited and cannot seek re-election next year.
• MO-Gov: On the face of it, well, you're apt to make a face. But I consider it good news that Karl Rove is in Missouri tonight to do a fundraiser for the extremely embattled Peter Kinder. To me, it says that damaged Kinder intends to stay in the race, which at this point is exactly what we want. (Haley Barbour is visiting later this month, so, even better.)
• MT-Gov: In case you missed it, Dem AG Steve Bullock formally entered the race for governor yesterday. His welcome video is at the link.
• WV-Gov: PPP is out with their new West Virginia poll, and they show acting Dem Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin up just six points, with the election only a month away. Click the link for our full post at Daily Kos Elections.
• AR-01: Chad Causey, last year's Democratic nominee in the 1st CD open seat race, says he won't seek a rematch against GOP freshman Rick Crawford. Causey, a former chief of staff to ex-Rep. Marion Berry (the guy who held this seat before Crawford), ran a creditable race but got killed in 2010's red tide. He's only 35, though, and adds that he plans to run for office again in the future.
• CA-07, CA-04: Rep. Dan Lungren will not challenge fellow Republican Tom McClintock in the new 4th CD and will instead run in the 7th District "unless something changes." Lungren is going to be in for a serious fight. He already faces 2010 opponent Ami Bera, a strong fundraiser who is seeking a rematch, and Assemblywoman Alyson Huber has also filed paperwork here for what she's calling an exploratory committee. (Huber initially filed for CA-03 but later re-filed (PDF) for CA-07.)
• CA-37, CA-43: It looks like Rep. Karen Bass will seek re-election in the new 37th CD, which also happens to be home to fellow Democrat Maxine Waters. Waters, however, will run in the new 43rd.
• CA-39: This seems like pretty big news: NRCC chair Pete Sessions is headlining an event for Rep. Ed Royce, which of course ordinarily would be beneath our notice. But Royce is facing off in a GOP-on-GOP primary against fellow Republican Gary Miller, who both got drawn into the same district. It would surprise me if the NRCC plans to take sides in any redistricting fights (after all, they have far greater concerns on their hands), and perhaps Sessions plans to pretend like this is just a gesture in his individual capacity. But all we have right now is a tweet from Kyle Trygstad, who also reminds me that Royce is an NRCC vice-chair. I'll be curious to learn more.
• GA-09: That clears up any lingering ambiguity: Right-wing radio host Martha Zoller officially launched her campaign for Georgia's new 9th CD today, joining state Rep. Doug Collins in the GOP field. (There was some conflict in prior news reports as to whether she'd actually uttered the magic words "I'm running.")
• MI-14: Now this is really interesting. Politico's Dan Hirschhorn is reporting that Dem Rep. Gary Peters, squeezed out of his current seat in redistricting, will run in the redrawn 13th. (Peters' office isn't confirming anything.) It's a very complex situation since, as you'll know if you've been following this story, MI-14 only kinda-sorta has an incumbent. Freshman Dem Hansen Clarke currently represents the 13th CD but is swapping seats with John Conyers, since many of Clarke's current constituents have been moved to the new 14th and vice-versa — but definitely not all of them.
What's more, Clarke hasn't exactly had much time to establish himself. That's led to Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence all but declaring a primary challenge to Clarke, which seems to be giving Peters an opening. Both Clarke and Lawrence are black and could split the vote in what is still a heavily African-American district. A former state rep. quoted by Hirschhorn also adds that much of Peters' old state Senate district overlaps with the new 14th. Assuming Peters follows through, this could wind up being one of the most interesting redistricting-related primaries in the nation.
• MN-08: Democratic state Rep. Carly Melin says she's "keeping an open mind" about a possible challenge to GOP freshman Chip Cravaack, which is rather interesting, since she just won her state house seat in a special election in February (and she's also only 26 years old). For a complete list of who's in and who's out in this race, check out the Race Tracker Wiki.
• NV-02: Republican Mark Amodei's closing ad, if you care to watch it. Mostly anodyne crap, but he does wear a purple shirt for part of it.
• NY-09: God bless Bob Turner, magnificent moron. From Tuesday's candidate forum:
And Mr. Turner found himself befuddled when he and Mr. Weprin were asked to name one corporate tax loophole they would like to close. After pondering the matter, Mr. Turner smiled widely and pleaded no contest. “As a Republican, I never met a loophole I didn’t like,” he said. “I really don’t know.”
Colin Campbell scored some video of Bob Turner's insta-gaffe. And yes, the Weprin campaign was on the ball with this one — they started contacting reporters immediately and has blasted out at least a couple of press releases. Turner's on the defensive, and you know it because he was forced to issue a responsive statement, which is at the link just above. Not a particularly effective one, if you ask me.
Meanwhile, Weprin is going on the airwaves for the final weekend of the campaign. The Hotline's Jessica Taylor (via a GOP source) says that Weprin will spend at least $259K: $157K on broadcast and $102K on cable. Note, though, that these figures come from groups trying to track their opponent's spending, which is always an imperfect art, so the actual total could be higher. No word on whether Bob Turner plans to do the same, but I'd be surprised, since his fundraising has been weak. You can watch Weprin's ad here or below:As Colin says, seems like it was produced by Peter Bjorn and John! (Click here to see what he means.)
Finally, racist homophobe Dov Hikind, who embarrassingly for us is actually a Democrat in the state Assembly, just endorsed Turner. While Hikind does have some influence (he's got a radio show), Turner stepped all over any shot at getting this message out yesterday with his blunder at the candidate forum.
Only days after a record-setting storm destroyed her district, Rep. Nan Hayworth and her House colleagues threatened to withhold disaster money if lawmakers don’t cut additional spending from the federal budget. “We’re facing a natural disaster in the middle of an economic disaster,” Hayworth said Wednesday. “Certainly, the challenges we face with the national budget have not changed.”
Hayworth, R-Mount Kisco, said she would only vote to replenish the federal disaster fund if new spending was offset by budget cuts. She said those cuts should come from “non-defense discretionary spending.” Hayworth likened her position to a family skipping vacation if it was overwhelmed by bills. “We have to control spending,” she said. “There’s no question about it.”
Nan Hayworth now:
Nan Hayworth, a Republican freshman representing areas north of New York City who won her seat with strong Tea Party support, also sees no connection between disaster aid and spending cuts, according to her spokesman, Nathaniel Sillin.
“They are two separate issues,” he said.
Ms. Hayworth issued a statement last week intended to assure her constituents that she did not support the effort to make disaster aid contingent on spending cuts.
“My priority in the coming weeks will be to see that the Hudson Valley has all the federal resources necessary to recover from Hurricane Irene,” she said. “I simply won’t let politics get in the way of doing the right thing for our families and communities that have been affected by the disaster.”
Think her constituents are going to forget this?
• UT-0?: Greg Giroux tweets that former NFL defensive lineman (and BYU football star) Jason Buck plans to run for Congress as a Republican, but Buck's paperwork doesn't specify a particular district (as yet).
• WI-02: As expected, state Reps. Mark Pocan and Kelda Roys both just announced yesterday they'd join the Democratic field seeking Rep. Tammy Baldwin's now-open seat. I guess they preferred to step on each others' launches rather than give the other a cycle of local coverage all to themselves? Or maybe it's just one of those coincidences that sometimes just happens. Anyhow, as we've been saying, look for state Sen. Jon Erpenbach to also possibly join the field, and perhaps others as well.
• NJ St. Sen.: Another legal setback for Carl Lewis, and this one looks pretty bad. The Democrat and former Olympian has been waging a months-long battle to stay on the ballot for the state Senate, since Republicans think he violates the state's residency requirements. Lewis got dinged repeatedly in the state courts but had been hoping for a more favorable ruling from a federal court. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, and Lewis's claim that NJ's residency laws are unconstitutional was rejected. It sounds like Lewis will appeal, though.
• North Carolina: This is unexpected — and welcome. By a 55-30 margin in PPP's latest poll, North Carolina voters are opposed to a proposed state constitutional amendment that would forbid any legal recognition of same-sex couples: marriage, civil unions, the works. It's not that citizens are especially pro-gay marriage, but the over-inclusive nature of the amendment looks like it's proving to be too much since 54% of the state supports some kind of legal status for same-sex relationships (25% marriage, 29% civil unions).
• ID Redistricting: This is good news... and not for John McCain, for once. Idaho's redistricting commission failed to reach any kind of agreement on legislative and congressional districts by yesterday's deadline, so the matter will head straight to the state supreme court. There's a good chance the court will order the commission back to work, but it might also decide to face the inevitable and start drawing the maps itself. This isn't exactly a huge win, since Idaho interestingly requires an equal number of Democrats and Republicans to serve on the commission, and a minimum of four votes are needed to pass any maps, so it's not like we could have gotten railroaded. But it's hard to imagine a court doing worse for us than any plan which could have secured a single Republican vote.
• PA Redistricting: If you're willing to go on blind quotes from House Republican sources, it sounds like the contours of the new districts in western Pennsylvania are starting to take shape. This is where the expected lost Democratic seat is likely to come from, and it sounds like Jason Altmire is drawing the better hand: although his house (in Pittsburgh's affluent North Hills suburbs) is getting drawn into GOPer Tim Murphy's district, Altmire may be coming out ahead here, losing the mostly-Republican North Hills while gaining the friendlier parts of Westmoreland County to Pittsburgh's east. That would come at the expense of newbie Dem Rep. Mark Critz, who'd be the odd man out. Observers don't expect anything definite until October or November, though. (David Jarman)