• MO-Gov: As the search for a Peter Kinder replacement looks like it's heating up, Dave Catanese says that St. Louis businessman Dave Spence is supposedly considering a bid for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. He also adds that Kinder, who still has never formally announced his candidacy, is expected to make a declaration in November, so we'll see if that actually ever happens. Meanwhile, a reader who is knowledgeable about Missouri politics writes in with some more thoughts on this front:
Here's what I think will happen. Educated hunches—not concrete. I think Peter will drop soon. State Sen. Brad Lager, a giant douche, thinks he's next in line, except that no one likes him. MO-02 candidate Ed Martin also thinks he's next in line. Everyone likes him, but no one thinks he can win. People think House Speaker Steve Tilley could maybe win, but I think he will decline.
So Kinder gives a chunk of his money to Dave Spence, CEO of Alpha Packaging, who likely retains Kinder consultant David Barklage as general consultant, and now Republicans have a successful businessman with no record (except that he's created jobs) and a chunk of change in addition to however much he can self-fund. That looks a heck of a lot better to me than the widely-disliked Lager with $71K or Martin with maybe $400K who would be on his third race of the cycle.
• FL-Sen: In case you hadn't seen it yet, Republican Marco Rubio's been caught telling quite a tale:
During his rise to political prominence, Sen. Marco Rubio frequently repeated a compelling version of his family’s history that had special resonance in South Florida. He was the “son of exiles,” he told audiences, Cuban Americans forced off their beloved island after “a thug,” Fidel Castro, took power.
But a review of documents — including naturalization papers and other official records — reveals that the Florida Republican’s account embellishes the facts. The documents show that Rubio’s parents came to the United States and were admitted for permanent residence more than two-and-a-half years before Castro’s forces overthrew the Cuban government and took power on New Year’s Day 1959.
• MA-Sen: This misguided AP story leads off by pointing out that a greater proportion of Elizabeth Warren's third-quarter donors came from out-of-state than did Scott Brown's. Here's the important point: Elizabeth Warren had more donors from Massachusetts than Scott Brown had donors, period. Brown received 7,135 individual donations in total. Warren scored an absolutely eye-popping 56,131 contributions, of which some 21% were from Bay State residents. That means something like 11,787 donations came out of Massachusetts. Scott Brown sure he wants to take this particular Pepsi Challenge?
• OH-Sen: PPP has new numbers for the Ohio Senate race, and they show Republican Josh Mandel gaining seven points—but they also show Sherrod Brown holding firm. Click the link for our full post at Daily Kos Elections.
• WI-Sen: Gwen Moore, one of Wisconsin's three Democratic members of the House, just endorsed her colleague, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, for the open Senate seat. The third Dem, Ron Kind, chose not to run, specifically because he wanted to avoid a "divisive primary" with Baldwin, but he hasn't given her his backing yet.
• KY-Gov: Braun Research's latest poll still shows a massive—and unchanged—lead for Dem Gov. Steve Beshear, as well as good numbers for the entire Democratic ticket further downballot. Click the link for our full post at Daily Kos Elections.
• WI-Gov/Lt. Gov: In addition to Scott Walker, Democrats are looking to recall Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch as well, but they're waiting on an opinion from the state attorney general's office as to whether a single petition form is sufficient for both Republicans, or whether signature-gatherers will have to carry separate papers for each. The Government Accountability Board thinks dual petitions are necessary, but Democrats point out that the two were elected on a single ticket, and ought to be recalled together.
• AZ-08: A tea leaf that Rep. Gabby Giffords will seek re-election? New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand just sent out a fundraising appeal for Giffords, saying "I am more confident than ever that she will return to Washington to serve Arizona’s 8th district again next term."
• CA-47: Having taken some lumps in the press for a godawful fundraising quarter (he took in just $39K), and facing rumors that another Democrat may get into the race, state Sen. Alan Lowenthal is pushing back with an internal poll. (The obvious joke: How did he pay for it?) The poll, from Goodwin Simon Strategic Research, featured a few different matchups:
Lowenthal was the choice of 40 percent of likely voters in a three-way race with Republicans Gary DeLong and Steve Kuykendall, who received 14 percent and 18 percent, respectively, in the poll by Culver City-based Goodwin Simon Strategic Research. […]
A possible Democratic challenger, former Orange County state Sen. Joe Dunn, trailed Lowenthal by 21 percent head-to-head. Matched up against the GOP candidates in the poll, Dunn received 33 percent to Kuykendall's 19 percent and DeLong's 14 percent.
One thing the poll didn't seem to include (or at least, one thing that wasn't shared) was a proper jungle primary featuring all the Democrats and all the Republicans in one matchup. That's how the election will actually be fought if Dunn gets in, and it's a bit telling that Lowenthal didn't release that particular ballot test. (The poll also didn't include Los Alamitos City Councilman Troy Edgar, another Republican.)
• MD-06: Now that redistricting is complete—and now that the 6th CD is so much bluer—all sorts of Democratic names are surfacing as possible (and actual) candidates. Former Montgomery County Councilwoman Duchy Trachtenberg has already announced… and she's signed on Joe Trippi. (Sheesh.) State Sen. Robert Garagiola says there's a "high likelihood" he'll join the race and adds that he'll decide "within a matter of days." (We first took note of Garagiolia's interest back in August, when the new map was just a twinkle in Martin O'Malley's eye.) In fact, Greg Giroux spots Garagiola forming a 527 campaign committee with the IRS. (Still not clear on why some candidates choose to do this instead of creating a regular FEC committee.)
A couple of potentially bigger names are also reportedly looking at the race. Former Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan is said to be considering a run; you may recall that he ran for governor in the Democratic primary against O'Malley in 2006 before dropping out after receiving a diagnosis of clinical depression. Also possible (though it's less clear he's keen on the race) is former state Del. Mark Shriver, who narrowly lost the 2002 Democratic primary in MD-08 in an upset to Chris Van Hollen. (Van Hollen went on to beat GOP Rep. Connie Morella by a small margin, in a district that had been made, like MD-06 now, much bluer in redistricting.)
• NY-10: Maybe this really is going to be Hakeem Jeffries' moment. The up-and-coming Assembly is challenging longtime Rep. Ed Towns in the Democratic primary, and he's mostly known as an anti-establishment reformer. But Jeffries has also attracted the interest of Brooklyn party boss Vito Lopez, who has clashed with Towns in the past. If Jeffries can pull together both wings of the party—insider and outsider—then Towns is very probably doomed. For more color and background, click the link.
• OR-01: SurveyUSA has the first public poll of the special election primaries, both D & R, for the vacant 1st District seat. Click the link for our full post, including complete survey results and our analysis, at Daily Kos Elections.
• Slate has a great animation of the presidential horserace—literally.
• OH Redistricting: I sincerely hope this is true. Reginald Fields at the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Legislative Black Caucus plans to meet with Democratic party chair Chris Redfern to discuss redistricting and supposedly "will not immediately attempt to strike a side deal with Republicans" over a new (and referendum-proof) map.
Thing is, the LBC is still outlining its demands for a new redistricting plan, which includes no cracking of major cities and a district with at least 30% black voters somewhere outside of Cleveland. These demands (particularly the latter) would, as we've discussed at length, only make a bad map even worse, from the Democratic perspective. So it's not like OH Dems are going to want to play ball. The choices for the LBC now are to (a) make an unholy deal with the GOP; (b) let the Democratic Party push a referendum (and hence a court-drawn map); or (c) to go along with a grand compromise between the Dems and the Republicans. It's hard for me to envision the LBC getting what it wants with options b or c, though, so I still fear they might go for option a.
One small reason for optimism, though: LBC chair Sandra Williams (who voted for the original GOP map) said that "she is getting pressure from the national Democratic Party" not to play ball with the Republicans. Let's hope that does the trick.
And here's another cause for hope: The state legislature just passed—and Gov. John Kasich just signed—legislation that splits the state's primaries in two: Races for local offices, U.S. Senate, state House and Senate, and judgeships will take place as originally planned on March 6, but the primaries for president, the U.S. House of Representatives, and political party delegates would get delayed until June 12. That's because the latter trio is dependent on congressional district lines being in place, and if a referendum forces a court to draw its own interim map, Republicans want to have as much time as possible to get a plan in place before the relevant primaries. That honestly doesn't seem like a terrible idea to me, though Democrats are attacking the expense and confusion of having two separate primaries.
• UT Redistricting: Well, so much for that. I'd held out a faint hope that GOP Gov. Gary Herbert might not sign his state's new redistricting map, even though it was passed by his fellow Republicans, on account of his fear that Dem Rep. Jim Matheson might prefer to run for governor instead of seeking re-election in some dog's breakfast of a district. But it was not to be: Herbert went ahead and put his signature on the new plan Thursday, so cross another state off the list.