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Leading Off:

WI-Gov, WI-LG, WI Recall: One meeelyon signatures! That's how many Wisconsin Democrats filed on Tuesday to force a recall of GOP Gov. Scott Walker, "nearly as many as the total votes cast for the governor in November 2010" and almost double the legal minimum. They also collected some 845K to ensure a recall for Walker's second-in-command, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. And on top of that, they're well over the requirements for three state Senate recalls; the party says it will file "over 21,000 for Pam Galloway of Wausau, over 21,000 for Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls and over 24,000 for Van Wanggaard of Racine." Finally, a group working independently of the state Democratic Party already submitted 20,600 signatures to recall state Sen. Scott Fitzgerald. With numbers like these, it'll probably be impossible for Republicans to invalidate enough signatures to prevent any recalls. Game on!

And timed perfectly, PPP has some new polling on a potential Democratic primary that might precede a Wisconsin gubernatorial recall. The numbers:

Tom Barrett would be the front runner if he decides to seek the Democratic nomination for Governor of Wisconsin in the upcoming recall election. He leads Kathleen Falk 46-27 and David Obey 42-30 in potential head to heads. He also gets 26% to 22% for Falk, 21% for Obey, and 11% for Tim Cullen in a hypothetical four way contest.

If Barrett doesn't end up throwing his hat in the ring, it looks like Obey would have a better chance at the nomination than Falk as well. He leads her 43-28 in a head to head contest.

Barrett has the best favorability numbers of the candidates at a +30 spread (53/23). He's followed by Obey at +20 (43/23), Falk at +8 (36/28), and Cullen at +6 (25/19).

4Q Fundraising:

AZ-Sen: Richard Carmona (D): $570K raised (in six weeks)

AZ-04: Paul Babeu (R): $263K raised, $235K cash-on-hand

FL-22: Lois Frankel (D): $320K raised, $1.4 mil cash-on-hand (the "$1.4 mil" figure was total raised from the start of her campaign)

IL-10: John Tree (D): $101K raised (incl. $20K from candidate), $80K cash-on-hand

IN-Gov (for all of 2011): John Gregg (D): $1.7 mil raised, $1.2 mil cash-on-hand

NY-Gov (last six months of 2011): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D): $6 mil raised, $14 mil cash-on-hand

VA-Gov (for all of 2011): Bill Bolling (R): $1.1 mil raised, $983K cash-on-hand; Ken Cuccinelli (R): $937K raised, $733K cash-on-hand

Senate:

IN-Sen: Dick Lugar finally put his new ad up on YouTube, the one we mentioned the other day. I will naturally take credit for goading him into doing so.

ND-Sen: Not sure what to make of this. Sen. Kent Conrad is refusing to comment on rumors that he could be tapped as President Obama's new director of the Office of Management and Budget, since the current head, Jack Lew, is becoming Obama's chief-of-staff. That would be a rather crazy thing to do, though, since Gov. Jack Dalrymple would be able to appoint a replacement if Conrad, who is retiring at the end of this term, stepped down early. Given that Democrats are trying hard to hold on to this seat, why would we want to give the GOP a leg up like that? (Presumably Dalrymple would tap the Republican frontrunner, Rep. Rick Berg.) Of course, it wouldn't be the first time an Obama appointment turned a blue seat red (cough Janet Napolitano cough).

PA-Sen: A second failed Tea Party candidate has endorsed Tim Burns for Senate: John Vernon, who bailed on the race last month. Laureen Cummings quit the contest a few days ago and also did the same.

Gubernatorial:

MT-Gov: Drew Turiano, a native New Yorker and real estate investor, has decided to drop out of the crowded nine-way Montana Republican gubernatorial primary. We haven't seen the last of Turiano, though, as he says he'll give the much less crowded Secretary of State primary a shot instead. Turiano, a political novice, hopes to make as great an impact in the political arena as he did earlier this year in the field of science fiction literature with the (self-)publishing of his magnum opus, "George Buchanan Enters the Wormhole"... which you can currently purchase on Amazon for the bargain price of $0.99. (James L)

House:

AZ-09: The Democratic primary in Arizona's new 9th Congressional District is finally getting underway: As expected, state Sen. David Schapira formally joined the race on Tuesday, joining ex-state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. Schapira had been eyeing the contest since at least November; unlike Sinema, though, his entry won't trigger Arizona's resign-to-run laws because he's in the last year of his term.

CO-06, CO-04: Well, you don't say. The Denver Post's Lynn Bartells reports that state Senate President Brandon Shaffer is thinking about switching from the 4th District to the 6th as he pursues a congressional bid—even though he claimed back in November that he'd continue to run in the 4th despite the seat becoming much redder in redistricting. And Shaffer's not the only one: Another top Colorado Democrat, state Senate Majority Leader John Morse, is also considering a bid in the 6th.

Of course, Team Blue has long had a candidate running here, state Rep. Joe Miklosi, who seemingly lucked out in redistricting when this seat was made correspondingly bluer. That also made the 6th a much more tempting target for ambitious Dems, but for a little while, Miklosi managed to keep the race all to himself. Indeed, former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff declined to jump in and instead endorsed Miklosi. But then wealthy  physician (and one-time chiropractor) Perry Haney entered the contest in December, and now it seems that the floodgates are opening, so we could wind up with a very serious primary here, for the right to take on GOP Rep. Mike Coffman.

HI-02: Adrienne LaFrance, the reporter for Honolulu Civil Beat who did great work tracking down all of the Democratic candidates' views on key social issues, tries to dig deeper with Honolulu City Councilmember Tulsi Gabbard, who claims to have undergone a radical shift in her positions, from right to left. Gabbard obviously claims that it has nothing, nothing at all to do with her run for Congress this year, but ultimately, there's no way to know what's going on inside her head, or how genuine her about-face really is.

IL-02: Ex-Rep. Debbie Halvorson is touting a new internal poll from Anzalone-Liszt which interestingly shows her losing to Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. in the Democratic primary, by a 48-35 margin. But Halvorson clearly likes what the rest of the numbers are telling her, since JJJ has 96% name recognition while she's only at 56%. She also leads after an informed ballot (of course), but more interesting to me is that Jackson is only getting 63% of the black vote in the initial head-to-heads (or so it appears from the memo).

NC-04: It looks like the Democratic primary in NC-04 between Reps. Brad Miller and David Price is finally heating up a bit. Miller has now gone on record saying that Price "dropped broad hints" that he only planned to serve one more term, and would retire early if he wound up in the same seat as Miller. Price, of course, is not commenting, but he hasn't denied Miller's version of events, either. Miller's also trying to put some daylight between himself and Price on the issues:

Miller readily ticks off differences on votes between himself and Price. Miller says he supports reducing the size of banks, while Price voted to deregulate banks; Miller voted against legislation making it harder for consumers to declare bankruptcy, while Price voted for it; Miller voted to allow Americans to bring in prescription drugs from Canada, while Price voted against it; Miller voted against extending the Bush tax cuts, while Price voted for it.

"There are differences between us on the issues," Miller said. "On economic issues, I think I am much more of a populist or a progressive. I have not been a 'New Democrat' who has sided with industry on some of these issues. For most of David's career in Congress, he has identified himself as a 'New Democrat.' He has been a 'New Democrat' and was a founding member of the Democratic Leadership Council." (The DLC was formed in 1985 by Democrats who thought the party had moved too far to the left. Bill Clinton was its most famous member. The group was dissolved last year.)

But as Rob Christensen of the Raleigh-based News & Observer notes, two can play at that game:

Attacking Price from the left will not be an easy task because Price actually has a more liberal voting record than Miller, according to the nonpartisan National Journal.

Price had a liberal rating of 90.2 in 2010, compared to Miller's liberal rating of 74.8, according to the National Journal. Price's rating was also more liberal in previous years as well, according to the National Journal.

Foreign policy-related issues account in large part for Price's higher progressive rating.

Price voted against reauthorization of the Patriot Act, while Miller supported it. Price opposed the National Defense Authorization Act, which extended the war on terror, including the use of military tribunals on terror suspects, while Miller supported a tough House version before switching to a less problematic version. Price has voted to normalize U.S. relations with Cuba, while Miller has not.

Price was also the first member of the North Carolina delegation to co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage act, which repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal benefits to same sex couples.

MA-04: Republican Sean Bielat, who fell 11 points short in his challenge to Rep. Barney Frank last cycle, will give it another go, now that the seat is open. However, he'll have to face former state mental health commissioner Elizabeth Childs in the GOP primary first.

MI-06: As expected, ultra-conservative former state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk announced he would challenge Rep. Fred Upton in the Republican primary on Tuesday. It also looks like the Club for Growth is going up with a small buy backing yet another ad attacking Upton (as always, for being a "liberal"). While I have high hopes for Hoogendyk, I can't say I was impressed with his roll-out yesterday. Somehow, I wound up on his press list, and the first email he sent in on Tuesday afternoon was empty. The second attempt did contain a press release, but not in the body of the message—rather, it was attached as a Word document. Then, finally, late in the day, a proper email with the release in the right place went out. A small thing, perhaps, but this isn't how a professional campaign is run.

NY-19: A third Democrat has joined the race to take on GOP freshman Nan Hayworth: Tuxedo Park Mayor Tom Wilson. Don't get too excited, though: Tuxedo Park has all of 700 people in it. Already running are physician Rich Becker and Wappingers Falls Mayor Matt Alexander. (In the battle of the mayors, Wappingers Falls wins, but not by much: It's a town of 5,000.)

OH-03: Ex-Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy is out with a new poll from Benenson Strategy Group showing her with a strong lead in the Democratic primary in this new, incumbentless seat centered around Columbus. She takes 48% of the vote to 17% for state Rep. Ted Celeste and 14% for former state House Minority Leader Joyce Beatty. Kilroy, who served a single term in the old 15th CD before getting swept out in 2010, used to represent about 38% of the new 3rd.

OR-01: So the NRCC is going up with an ad in the 1st District special election, but don't fret: It's a coordinated expenditure, rather than an independent expenditure, which means it's necessarily very small. Indeed, according to the FEC, party committees can only directly assist House campaigns to the tune of $44,200. The total buy is for about $85K, which means the Cornilles campaign is probably chipping in half. That compares with roughly $874K spent by the DCCC so far, with another $400K+ in reserved in airtime. In any event, you can watch the ad here or below:

PA-04: Rep. Todd Platts announced his retirement on Tuesday, the sixth straight Republican to do so. Click the link for our full post at Daily Kos Elections where we Platts' decision and take a look at a couple of possible names who might succeed him.

PA-12: Another union endorsement for Dem Rep. Mark Critz, this time from the 17,000-strong Laborers District Council of Western Pennsylvania. Critz received the backing of the United Mine Workers last week.

WA-01: Attorney Andrew Hughes, whose third-quarter haul of $142K actually eclipsed the fundraising totals all of the established politicians running in the Democratic primary, is nevertheless dropping out of the race. Since those reports were filed, the fight for the Dem nomination became a whole lot more difficult, with the entry of Darcy Burner and Suzan DelBene into the contest.

Grab Bag:

DCCC: The D-Trip is holding a briefing for reporters on Wednesday to unveil their first round of Red-to-Blue candidates this cycle. So, any guesses as to whom they'll tap?

Redistricting Roundup:

AZ Redistricting: At long last, it's over: Arizona's redistricting commission adopted final versions of new congressional and legislative maps on Tuesday by a 3-2 vote, with the two Democratic commissioners and lone independent voting in favor and the two Republicans, predictably, voting against. Now the maps must be submitted for preclearance, but this is really amusing:

Commissioner Scott Freeman, a Republican, called his service on the commission "largely a waste of time," complaining the process was gamed from the beginning to favor Democrats.

He suggested the commission bypass the U.S. Department of Justice for review of whether the maps protect minority voting rights and instead take the plans to a federal court, which he believed would be more neutral. He said he was suspicious of the intent of the Obama-run Justice Department.

"Are they going to give Arizona a pass because Arizona has the Democratic dream map?" he questioned.

Did you get that? Freeman wants to go to court not because he fears the Obama DoJ will be biased against the maps, as many other Republican-dominated states have feared, but because he's worried they'll go too easy on `em! Indeed, Freeman is praying that the plans will somehow be denied preclearance, though that seems very unlikely. Anyhow, presumably the commission will ignore his idea and avoid a pointless and costly lawsuit in favor of a direct submission to the Justice Department.

FL Redistricting: It's a little vague so far, but it certainly sounds like Florida Democrats are preparing to sue over whatever redistricting proposals the GOP-held legislature finally decides on. After all, would you spend all that time, money, and effort on getting the Fair Districts amendments passed and then not make use of them? One interesting detail, by the way, is that the legislative maps, after they're passed, will automatically get sent for review to the state Supreme Court, to see if they comply with Fair Districts. And for what it's worth, at least one Republican seems a bit worried that their plans could get overturned: state Sen. Don Gaetz, the redistricting committee chair, wants the legislature to extend its session so that it can take a second bite at the apple in case the courts smack down any of their maps.

MO Redistricting: Well, whaddya know. The Missouri Supreme Court turned out to be receptive to complaints about the state's new congressional map, as some of the justices hinted at oral arguments last week. Explains the AP:

The state’s high court ordered a trial judge to conduct a hearing and make a judgment by Feb. 3 on claims that the new congressional districts violate the state constitution because they were not drawn compactly.

On top of that, the court also threw out the state Senate map (again on compactness grounds), and ordered the line-drawing process to start over. Note that with regard to the congressional plan, it's possible no further changes will be made: The trial judge has to determine whether the 5th and 3rd Districts are sufficiently compact, and the answer may be "yes." Even if he thinks they aren't, the necessary fixes could be very minimal, so the de-districted Democratic congressman behind this lawsuit, Russ Carnahan, is far from out of the woods.

OH Redistricting: Roll Call's Jonathan Strong delves into the backstory behind the new congressional map the Ohio legislature ultimately passed (with shameful acquiescence from Democrats). The most salient feature wound up being changes to the 10th District, which shifted from a fair fight between Republican Reps. Mike Turner and Steve Austria to one which favored Turner heavily. That in turn prompted Austria, only in his third term, to announce his retirement late last month. It sounds like the legislature went rogue, ignoring entreaties from members of Congress in a last-minute rush to pass a new plan. GOP state Rep. Matt Huffman, the redistricting floor leader, even instructed his members to turn off their cell phones to immunize them from any pleas. So why did Republicans make this particular choice?

Tom Whatman, [John] Boehner’s top political aide, explained why the Austria-Turner matchup was preferable in an email to Thomas Niehaus, the Republican President of the Ohio Senate, that has not previously been made public. […]

“Turner/Austria makes the [Rep. Bob] Latta [(R)] and [Rep. Marcy] Kaptur [(D)]/[Rep. Dennis] Kucinich [(D)] districts possible. A Gibbs/Johnson district pushes population counterclockwise and forces 3 long east west districts for [Rep. Jean] Schmidt [(R)], Turner and Austria. In addition it makes it impossible to draw Latta w/a good index because you can’t get enough good to offset the bad he takes from Lucas County. Therefore you cannot draw a Kaptur/Kucinich district,” Whatman wrote.

Also of interest are some other recently publicized documents which show the legislature considered taking out Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, something many observers speculated could happen after Jordan tried to whip votes against one of Boehner's debt ceiling proposals last summer. Alas, it was not to be.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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