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Leading Off:

MO-Gov: Given the extremely rocky road he's traveled down these past many months, it's no surprise that Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder finally decided not to run for governor—and that's exactly what he announced in a statement he released late Friday afternoon. Kinder endorsed wealthy plastics magnate Dave Spence for the gubernatorial nod in his stead, and he also said he'd seek a third term as lieutenant governor. Follow the link to Daily Kos Elections for our complete analysis of the events which lead to Kinder's downfall—and what it all means going forward.

Senate:

IN-Sen: Damnit. Is Dick Lugar about to get saved by a wealthy self-funder's entry into the clown car? Or should I say, clown limo? Auto dealer Bob Thomas is reportedly looking at the GOP primary, where Treasurer Richard Mourdock has been attempting to derail Lugar's career from the teabaggish right. Mourdock hasn't raised a lot of money, but I've been convinced all along that his success or failure would come down to how much outside groups like the Club for Growth are willing to invest. Now, it may all depend on Thomas, who threw in $600K of his own money in a failed attempt to primary ex-Rep. Mark Souder last year. Interestingly, Souder survived with just 48% because Thomas split the remaining vote with a third candidate, so if anyone knows the perils of piling in too many primary challengers, it oughta be this guy.

One additional detail worth noting: This isn't the first time Thomas's name has come up in connection with a Senate bid. Back in February of 2010, Thomas said he was going to run for Senate, just days before Dem Evan Bayh announced his surprising retirement. A spokesman even said at the time that petition-gathering efforts were underway. But then, two weeks later, he filed to run for the House instead. So maybe he's not serious about a statewide contest this time either.

RI-Sen: Not sure why this is coming up now, since he already endorsed fellow Republican Barry Hinckley for the nod earlier this month, but former Gov. Don Carcieri says he won't run for Senate next year against Sheldon Whitehouse.

Gubernatorial:

IN-Gov: Clinton Alert! The Big Dog held a fundraiser with some high-dollar donors for former state House Speaker John Gregg Friday, in advance of a lecture he gave at DePauw University.

MT-Gov: This nutty story about a gang of Americans who sought $10 million from Muammar Qaddafi's regime in order to advocate in Washington on his behalf is interesting in its own right. In fact, I clicked on it never imagining there'd be any horserace connection whatsoever, but there it is: One member of this cabal was Neil Livingstone, a national security consultant and a Republican candidate for governor in Montana. Livingstone claims that his group was simply trying to pave a way for Qaddafi to step down without mass bloodshed, but a Belgian partner sent a letter to the dictator saying it was crucial to begin a lobbying campaign "to help to block the actions of your international enemies and to support a normal working relationship with the United States Government." The letter was signed "Your Obedient Servants" and included Livingstone's name. Not sure I've seen many things harder to explain away on the campaign trail than this.

WI-Gov: Organizers of the drive to recall Scott Walker say they've collected 50,000 petitions in the first two days. That's well ahead of the 9,000-a-day pace necessary to achieve the bare minimum of 540,000 signatures (you always want a cushion), but there's still quite a lot more work to be done.

House:

AZ-09 (?): The Arizona Capitol Times reports that its sources are saying state Senate Minority Leader David Schapira will announce plans to create a congressional exploratory committee on Monday. While the map situation is still unsettled. Schapira hails from Tempe, which would put him in the proposed new 9th CD.

CA-30: Yowza. In the biggest incumbent-vs.-incumbent Democratic primary battle of them all, Rep. Howard Berman just unleashed some very big guns: He's announcing the support of two-thirds of the state's Democratic House members. Politico unfortunately hasn't published all the names, and Berman hasn't put the press release up on his website (grr), but here's a partial list:

Xavier Becerra; Dennis Cardoza; Jim Costa; Bob Filner; John Garamendi; Barbara Lee; George Miller; Lucille Roybal-Allard; Pete Stark; Mike Thompson; Maxine Waters; and Lynn Woolsey

Henry Waxman had previously given his endorsement to Berman, and Nancy Pelosi is staying neutral. That leaves only seven California Democrats who haven't taken sides. Berman's opponent, Brad Sherman, hasn't announced any backing from the congressional delegation yet.

MI-03: Justin Amash has proved brilliantly adept at pissing off the conservative establishment, and today we have not one but two examples of his apostasy. First up, the NRA has taken to Facebook to accuse the Republican freshman of "lying" about his support for a pet piece of legislation when he sought their endorsement in 2010. Amash was one of just seven House GOPers who voted against a bill that would created a federally-enforced regime of mandatory reciprocity between states that grant permits for concealed weapons, arguing that the legislation's reliance on the Constitution's Commerce Clause would usurp state's rights. The NRA says nuh-uh, you promised you'd back this bill when you came to us last year—and now they want their members to give Amash a piece of their minds on his Facebook page.

Separately, on Friday, Amash became one of just four Republicans to vote against the so-called "balanced budget amendment," along with David Dreier, Louie Gohmert, and, oddly, enough, Paul Ryan. (Ryan was apparently concerned that the amendment would have rendered his infamous budget plan unconstitutional!) Twenty-five Democrats voted in favor (mostly your usual collection of Blue Dogs and centrists, with a few oddballs). The amendment, which required a two-thirds majority to move forward, failed to advance.

NC-10: Dem state Rep. Patsy Keever says she plans to run for Congress against GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry "if the redistricting maps hold." Keever and fellow Dem state Rep. Susan Fisher were drawn into the same district, but Keever says she won't run against Fisher, so McHenry's seat is her only real alternative. Keever ran against ex-Rep. Charles Taylor in the 11th CD in 2004, losing 55-45. (Taylor in turn was ousted by Heath Shuler the following cycle.) This time around, if she makes the race, Keever would face Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy in the primary.

OH-03: Dem state Rep. Ted Celeste has formed an FEC committee to run for Ohio's new 3rd CD, an incumbentless blue district centered around the city of Columbus. Celeste was drawn into the same state legislative seat as fellow Dem Michael Stinziano, so this was his expected escape hatch. Celeste is the brother of former Ohio Gov. Dick Celeste, and he also ran for Senate against Mike DeWine in 2000, getting crushed 60-36.

Grab Bag:

California: PPP's first batch of miscellany (from California) includes numbers on a seemingly likely referendum over the new state Senate map, which Republicans are trying to repeal. Obviously the issue has barely penetrated yet, but so far voter favor the lines by a 30-21 margin, with half undecided. There are also positive numbers for gay marriage (48-43) and marijuana legalization (48-42), both of which were rejected at the ballot box in recent years.

Campaign finance: Can cloud computing provide a simple end-run around the FEC's very 20th-century prohibitions on illegal campaign coordination? Those are the questions raised by the Atlas Project, an online hub for Democratic campaigns to unilaterally upload whatever data and materials they think other campaigns might find interesting (which has been around since 2004, but is only now starting to come into its own as a gathering place for Dems, who lack a big-money coordinating apparatus like Crossroads). This promises to be a big boon not just in terms of not duplicating messages in advertising (when, say, unions and SuperPACs are wading into a race simultaneously in the closing weeks), but even in terms of GOTV, and not duplicating knocking on the same doors and calling the same phones. (David Jarman)

Mississippi: PPP second pile of random helpings (out of Mississippi) is the usual sports-and-oddities fare, with one amusing presidential "fantasy election" matchup: Abraham Lincoln vs. Jefferson Davis. Honest Abe crushes by a 55-28 margin.

Redistricting Roundup:

AZ Redistricting: Gov. Jan Brewer is fast inventing new definitions of chutzpah. Late last week, right after the state Supreme Court humiliatingly reversed her removal of redistricting commissioner Colleen Mathis, a spokesman immediately began saying Brewer might try to impeach Mathis yet again. I think it's seriously time to start thinking about trying to recall Brewer. (Note that former Gov. Evan Mecham, a Republican, was successfully placed on the ballot for a recall in 1988, but he was impeached and removed from office before the recall could go forward.)

CO Redistricting: Colorado's Supreme Court said it will conduct oral arguments in the GOP's appeal over congressional redistricting on Dec. 1.

IL Redistricting: Gawd, check out these WATBs:

Reps. John Shimkus and Donald Manzullo got choked up during their testimony, and Rep. Peter Roskam recalled for the court his visceral reaction when he first saw the map when his wife pulled it up on their computer at home.

Three years of nine percent unemployment and these Republicans are crying about… redistricting. (And note that none of these three guys were detrimentally affected by the new map.)

TX Redistricting: Late last week, the federal court in San Antonio hearing the big Texas redistricting lawsuit issued orders putting into place interim state House and Senate maps. (Click those two links for instructions on viewing the maps; the Texas Tribune also has copies at the end of this piece.)

The three-judge panel was unanimous on the Senate map, which contains only one (pro-Dem) change, but it split on the House map, with two judges favoring one plan and a third judge (known to be very conservative) dissenting in support of another. The majority plan is much better for Democrats (and Latinos) than the one passed by the legislature earlier this year, so Texas's Republican AG is predictably pissed. It's not yet clear just how much more favorable, though, since different analysts have different opinions on how many seats are now in play. Charles Kuffner, for instance, thinks Dems have a "reasonable expectation of winning" 60 seats, with another 18 more which "could be competitive." But our own wwmiv is much more bearish, putting the split at 54 "Democratic" seats and 15 "opportunity" seats.

Michael Li has a good roundup of press coverage if you'd like to read more. Note that these maps could still change (objections were due on Friday), and we also don't know when the congressional map will issue, though I'd suspect that will happen soon.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Mon Nov 21, 2011 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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