• OH-10: Now I can't say that I saw this coming, and I'm not sure anybody else did either. Republican Rep. Steve Austria, first elected in 2008 to current OH-07, announced late on Friday his retirement from Congress at the ripe old age of 53. However, he was one of the state's principal redistricting victims, getting thrown into a Dayton-area district with fellow GOPer Mike Turner that mostly contained Turner's turf. Click the link for our full post at Daily Kos Elections analyzing just what went down here. (David Jarman)
• KY-Gov/Sen: In a new interview, outgoing state Auditor Crit Luallen says that "if I decide to run for statewide race would be for governor," when the seat is next open in 2015. She didn't entirely rule out a race against Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014, though. Luallen, age 59, added that she'll decide before the end of 2012.
• RI-Gov: Here’s another statewide official already thinking about 2014: Democratic Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts (who briefly checked out the 2010 Governor's race before deciding against it) says she likes working with independent Gov. Lincoln Chafee and won't challenge him. She seemed to leave the door open a bit if Chafee doesn't run again, though, even if that means running against Treasurer Gina Raimondo (who seems to be everyone's consensus rising-star on the R.I. Dem bench) in the Democratic primary. (David Jarman)
• NJ-05: Two Democrats whose names were first floated late last week now confirm they are looking at the race against GOP Rep. Scott Garrett: Assemblywoman Connie Wagner says she is "seriously considering" a bid and will decide in the next few days, while state Sen. Bob Gordon sounded much less likely, though he did add "you never say never." Meanwhile, Passaic County Freeholder Director Terry Duffy, who expressed interested right out the gate, says he's formed an exploratory committee. One local party official says Democratic leaders want to try to reach consensus on a candidate, rather than face an expensive "civil war" in a primary… but we'll see if that actually happens.
• OH-11: Here's another unexpected dropout from a high-profile Ohio primary. State Sen. Nina Turner, who'd been challenging Rep. Marcia Fudge in the Dem primary in the Cleveland-centered, African-American-majority, super-solid-blue district, has ended her bid. She cited the difficulty of putting together a viable challenge before the new primary date of March 6 (though I suspect she may not have liked what she was seeing in her polling or her bank account). (David Jarman)
• WA-10: We've got two Republican possibilities bubbling up in Washington's new Olympia-based Dem-leaning district: Pierce County Councilor Dick Muri (whom we mentioned on Wednesday as likely), and a totally new name, his fellow Pierce Co. Councilor Stan Flemming. (The Seattle Times says they've both "indicated" they're in the race, without providing further details.) Also, speaking of the 10th, we've got an announcement from Brendan Williams, the ex-state Rep. who's the likeliest opponent to Denny Heck on the Dem side, but it's not what you'd expect. Rather than say anything about the 10th, instead he just endorsed state Sen. Steve Hobbs in the 1st... which is odd at first, since Williams was one of the House's biggest liberal firebrands and Hobbs is one of the Senate's most conservative Dems. Interestingly, Williams' rationale is purely pragmatic, nodding to the 1st's new purplish hue:
In designing a 1st Congressional District weighted toward Republicans, the Redistricting Commission made centrism essential.... With his fiscal conservatism and social progressivism—along with his military service—Steve is best-suited to win a district made very challenging.
(Of course, maybe Williams is also hoping for a Hobbs endorsement in the 10th, although I doubt either of them have any name rec whatsoever in each other's turf....) (David Jarman)
• DCCC: The DCCC added five new names to its Frontline program, which is oriented toward defending vulnerable incumbents. A couple aren't surprises at all: GA-12's John Barrow, who got a nasty district out of redistricting, and OH-16’s Betty Sutton, who's in a swing-district member-vs.-member battle with Jim Renacci. They've also added David Loebsack in IA-02, who's taken a bunch of NRCC heat already, and two Californians who've suddenly found themselves in swingy/light-blue districts, Lois Capps (CA-24) and John Garamendi (CA-03). (David Jarman)
• WATN?: I think it's official that ex-Rep. Artur Davis isn't even pretending to be a Democrat anymore; he's taking his concern trolling over to a writing gig at one of the GOP establishment's main megaphones, at National Review Online. And in a new interview with The Fix, he openly contemplates a return to elective office as an independent or Republican someday. (David Jarman)
• FL Redistricting: Florida's Senate Reapportionment Committee released an updated congressional redistricting proposal on Friday, which makes a few tweaks to the map they published in late November. You can view the latest map here. (James L)
• MS Redistricting: Unsurprisingly, the court hearing on Mississippi's new congressional map scheduled for last Wednesday was cancelled—no parties had filed objections to the plan, so there wasn't any reason to discuss it. I can only presume that a final order will be entered soon.
• NM redistricting: The congressional map that was picked last week by the New Mexico judge hearing the state’s redistricting case is described as a "least change" plan, and based on my having drawn it up in Dave's Redistricting App, boy is it ever:
NM-01: 59.7 Obama/39.0 McCain (was 60/40)1st, 2nd, and 3rd) and the Google Maps overlay we've put together above. The basic shapes are really the same, though if you squint you'll notice some lines moved around Bernalillo in Albuquerque's northern suburbs, Los Lunas to the south of Albuquerque, and Portales in the state's rural east. (David Jarman)
NM-02: 48.5/50.1 (was 49/50)
NM-03: 61.2/37.6 (was 61/38)