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Leading Off:

IL-Sen: Scary news for the junior senator from Illinois:

First-term Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk faces a potentially long road back from a weekend stroke that his neurosurgeon said could leave the lawmaker with lasting physical damage but also a full mental recovery.

The 52-year-old North Shore politician was under sedation after a three-hour operation that ended early Monday in which surgeons removed part of his skull to relieve pressure caused by swelling on the right side of his brain, Dr. Richard Fessler said.

The surgery came about 36 hours after the senator called his internist complaining of seeing white flecks, numbness in his left arm and unusual sensations in his left leg, said Dr. Jay Alexander, a cardiologist at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital.

More on his prognosis:

Fessler, who performed the surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, said Kirk had a "good" probability of making a full mental recovery from tearing of a carotid artery that stopped blood flow to the right side of his brain, causing an ischemic stroke. But Fessler said the chance of Kirk making a full physical recovery was "not great."

Fessler said the stroke will affect Kirk's "ability to move his left arm, possibly his left leg and possibly will involve some facial paralysis. Fortunately, the stroke was not on the left side of his brain, in which case it would affect his ability to speak, understand and think."

The doctor said he was hopeful that after rehabilitation, Kirk would regain use of his left leg, but he said prospects for regaining the full use of his left arm were "very difficult."

Fessler also said recovery is a matter of weeks or months. "It's not going to be days," he said. Kirk's relative youth and good physical shape are positives, Fessler said, and he expects Kirk could return to "a very vibrant life."

Needless to say, we wish him well in his recovery.

4Q Fundraising:

CA-26: Steve Bennett (D): $240K raised, $200K cash-on-hand

DE-Gov (for all of 2011): Gov. Jack Markell (D): $1.3 mil raised, $1.4 mil cash-on-hand

FL-22: Rep. Allen West (R): $1.75 mil raised, $2.7 mil cash-on-hand

MN-01: Rep. Tim Walz (D): $210K raised, $5617K cash-on-hand

NC-06: Rep. Howard Coble (R): <$18K raised, $152K cash-on-hand

WA-Sen: Michael Baumgartner (R): ~$125K raised


AZ-Sen: It was never clear to me why Rev. Warren Stewart was looking at a run in the Democratic primary after both former Surgeon General Richard Carmona and former state party chair Don Bivens were already in the race, but apparently, he's figured out that there isn't room for one more and is bowing out. Stewart (who was a leader in getting laggard Arizona to finally recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) candidly acknowledged that his polling showed a difficult race, especially because he is anti-choice.

HI-Sen: Ex-Rep. Ed Case, running to Rep. Mazie Hirono's right in the Democratic primary for the open Hawaii Senate seat, is out with his first TV spot of the campaign. Seeing as the buy is only for a small $26K (and seeing as how it's for Ed Case), we aren't going to waste the real estate on embedding it, but you can check it out at the link. (David Jarman)

MA-Sen: Ordinarily, a decision by the two candidates in a marquee race to agree to a moratorium on Super PAC involvement in the race would threaten to upend the race. But in the Elizabeth Warren vs. Scott Brown contest, which people are speculating may become the most expensive Senate fight ever, it may not matter that much, because it seems like both campaigns will already have all the money they need to utterly smother the airwaves.

It's a more airtight agreement than you might think, though, in that it covers all "third party groups," not just true super PACs. The central clause is that for every dollar spent on a candidate's behalf by an outside group, they have to give 50 cents from their own campaign kitty to charity. On the surface, this seems like it might work to Warren's advantage, given her success with small-dollar donors, but Brown's already sitting on eight digits of cash-on-hand. (Although it's probably an important positioning move for him, with the image he's trying to put forth for re-election.)

Leave it to Brown, though, to step all over the goodwill from that news with a weekend gaffe that veers dangerously toward Fred Heineman territory. Last Friday, he criticized proposals to raise taxes rates for persons making more than $250,000 per year, saying that would hurt "teachers, firefighters, policemen, people who work two jobs." (Is the opposite of class consciousness "class cluelessness"?) (David Jarman)

ME-Sen: State Sen. Cynthia Dill, who said earlier in the month that she was considering a run for Senate, has gone ahead and entered the Democratic primary. She joins former Secretary of State Matt Dunlap and state Rep. Jon Hinck in the contest. Another Democrat, home building company owner Ben Pollard, said he'd get in the race, too. They're all vying for a chance to take on GOP Sen. Olympia Snowe.

NY-Sen: Brock Landers takes New York:

Until recently, a Web site,, bore Mr. Cenedella’s photograph and the title “The personal blog of Marc Cenedella.” It provided tips on polishing résumés, preparing for job interviews and the like. But it also had a number of entries containing random observations about sex, women and drugs.

The entries had headlines like “Sexy vs. Skanky,” “Dating Advice for Girly Girls,” “He Stole My Weed” and “High Quality Dope.”

In an entry titled “A New Holiday for Men,” there was a link to a separate site that designates March 14 as a special occasion on which women are encouraged to offer steak and oral sex “to show your man how much you care for him.”

That's Republican Senate hopeful Marc Cenedella. By the way, the NYT adds that it "was made aware of the entries by an opponent of Mr. Cenedella." That's an irritatingly vague turn of phrase, but assuming they mean "political opponent" and not just "someone who hates Cenedella," that can only refer to two people: Dem Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Nassau County comptroller George Maragos, the only announced Republican candidate.

PA-Sen: We mentioned last week that Republican Gov. Tom Corbett was reportedly working behind the scenes to support rich guy Steve Welch for the Republican Senate nomination (for the unenviable task of going up against Bob Casey, Jr.). Well, you can change that "reportedly" to "officially," as Corbett gave a full-on endorsement to Welch over the weekend. Corbett clearly has an eye on the general election: Unlike the other rich guys jostling for the GOP nod—who are flamingly-right-wing and from the Pittsburgh area— Welch is from the Philly 'burbs and ostensibly more moderate. (David Jarman)

TN-Sen: It's easy to forget that Tennessee has a Senate race this cycle, since there aren't many Democrats of stature left in the state and what few there are haven't shown much interest in taking on GOP freshman Bob Corker. But there's a new movement afoot to draft state Sen. Beverly Marrero, who hails from the Memphis area and got the shaft in redistricting. (The new maps throw her into the same district as fellow Democratic Sen. Jim Kyle.) Marrero is 72 years old, but says she isn't ruling anything out.


WI-Gov: Here's a new name to add to the mix in the Democratic gubernatorial field for the looming recall election: state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, who says she's considering the race. Vinehout, who represents a seat in western Wisconsin, barely survived her re-election campaign in 2010, and, as she herself recognized, doesn't have much name recognition in the state's two main media markets, Madison and Milwaukee.


AR-04: I noted the other day that state Sen. Gene Jeffress was rather conspicuously left off the DCCC first round of Red to Blue candidates—which, despite the name, also features races where Dems are playing defense in open seats, as is the case here. (Rep. Mike Ross is retiring.) So I'm not surprised to hear that there's still talk of landing a new recruit. Roby Brock at Arkansas-centric site Talk Business suggests that consultant Greg Hale might be in the mix. Though only 36, Hale apparently has ties to Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Gov. Mike Beebe as well, so he might be well-suited to raise the money necessary for a run.

AZ-08: Obviously there's been a ton of talk about Rep. Gabby Giffords' incipient resignation and what kind of electoral impact it will have. First things first: GOP Gov. Jan Brewer must declare special election dates (both for the primary and the general) within 72 hours after Giffords' seat is officially declared vacant. Giffords plans to leave her seat after President Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday, so we should have clarity by the end of the week. Second, as we previously noted, Arizona law puts the primary some time in April and the general some time in June. The winner would then have to seek re-election in the regularly-scheduled elections in November, if he or she wants to remain in office. And to clarify a third point, the election will be held under the old 8th Congressional District lines, not the new 2nd CD lines recently passed by the state's redistricting commission.

With these procedural issues out of the way, now the question is: Who might run? The 8th is a swingy seat with a Republican lean. George W. Bush won it 53-46 over John Kerry, and John McCain held it 52-46 over Barack Obama. (Though McCain's numbers were somewhat inflated since Arizona is his home state.) Under the Cook Partisan Voting Index, that makes the seat R+4, or four points more Republican than the nation as a whole. After so many Democrats got swept out in 2010, only 11 now hold seats redder than this one (though again, there's a bit of a McCain discount.) So no matter what, both parties will contest this seat fiercely.

And because of that, as you'd expect, a lot of names are coming out of the woodwork. I think Arizona Dem chair Andrei Cherny put it well, though, when he offered this bit of wisdom on Sunday:

"That's the great 'mentioner' out there, and there are going to be a lot of people mentioned. I think the best rule in situations like this is, 'The folks who are talking don't know, and the folks who know aren't talking.'"

Well, that still won't stop us from trying! Below, we've compiled as comprehensive a list as possible of everyone the Great Mentioner has mentioned as a potential special election candidate:

Democrats mentioned in news stories:

• State Sen. minority whip Paula Aboud

• Retired Brigadier General John Adams

• Software company owner David Crowe (who'd also been considering AZ-Sen)

• State Rep. Steve Farley (says he's interested but will run only if Giffords asks him to)

• State Rep. Matt Heinz

• 2006 Dem primary loser and former state party vice-chair Jeff Latas

• Farmer Investments VP, former Bill Bradley CoS, and 2010 Senate explorer Nan Stockholm Walden

Democrats mentioned as possibilities elsewhere (but whom an unnamed Giffords advisor says won't run, according to Politico):

• Giffords district director Ron Barber

• Giffords chief of staff Pia Carusone

• Giffords' husband, ex-astronaut Mark Kelly


• State Sen. Frank Antenori

• Some Dude Adam Hansen (already in race)

• 2010 GOP nominee Jesse Kelly (Kelly had been running before Giffords was shot, then suspended his campaign; spokesperson says he doesn't know if Kelly is interested, but that Kelly is currently living in Texas)

• State Sen. and loser of '10 GOP primary Jonathan Paton (although he has expressed recent interest in running in new AZ-01 instead)

• Former Univ. of Arizona TV sports announcer Dave Sitton (already has exploratory committee for the race)

A couple of other Dem names suggested by our commenters:

• Pima County sheriff Clarence Dupnik

• 2010 AZ-Sen nominee and ex-Tucson city councilor Rodney Glassman

Other Dem state legislators from the Tucson area:

• State Sens. Olivia Cajero Bedford and Linda Lopez

• State Reps. Sally Ann Gonzales, Daniel Patterson, Macario Saldate, and Bruce Wheeler

(David Nir & David Jarman)

AZ-09: A good endorsement for ex-state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in the Democratic primary: She just received the backing of AFSCME.

CA-02: California's state Democratic party is going through the candidate endorsement process—a less important ritual than, say, in Minnesota or North Dakota, but more important than in most other states, because the state party will send out mailers on that candidates' behalf. However, There was no consensus reached on the Democratic field in the new 2nd (the successor district to the old CA-06, where Lynn Woolsey is retiring). Assemblyman Jared Huffman came close to the necessary 50% mark, at 48, followed by activist Norman Solomon at 37, with 12 for Marin Co. Supervisor Susan Adams, and 1 for businesswoman Stacey Lawson. (David Jarman)

IL-02: Here's an interesting backgrounder on the Dem primary race in the black-majority 2nd, which pits Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. against ex-Rep. Debbie Halvorson (from the old IL-11), who is white. It's a reminder that, once again, all politics is local, and that pork and provincial projects often trump Beltway media tropes like race, or even ethics (where Jackson has had his fair share of bad headlines in the last few years). Here, issue #1 in the race has been the long-proposed, long-stalled plan for a third major airport in the Chicago area at Peotone, which would be in this district and has been Jackson's pet project for ages. (David Jarman)

IL-08: The Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois endorsed Tammy Duckworth in the Democratic primary.

IN-06: Ah, the enigmatic "businessman." The title covers everyone from the kid with the lemonade stand to Bill Gates, so it's always hard to know exactly what it means. Maybe the guy makes a decent but humble living. Maybe the guy's a bit of a fraud, like Rob Cornilles. Or maybe the guy is rich as hell, like, well, Bill Gates. It's often a bit of a mystery, like the case here with businessman Don Bates, who also gets described as a "financial advisor." On the one hand, there isn't much on him when you Google his name, so that augurs more toward the Some Dude end of the spectrum. On the other hand, he had a couple of state senators with him when he kicked off his campaign in the very crowded Republican primary to replace Rep. Mike Pence. Ah, but this is probably dispositive: He ran for the Republican Senate nomination in 2010 and came in fourth, scoring all of 4.5%. Yeah, sounds like Some Dude.

KY-03: Here's one more teabagger realizing that 2012 isn't going to be the same year as 2010. Airline pilot Todd Lally, who came out of nowhere to win the GOP primary in the 3rd and then ran semi-competitively against Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth (losing 57-44 in this Dem-leaning Louisville-based district), has opted against another Congressional run. He's biting off a more-easily-chewable portion with a bid for the state House instead, in a suburban seat newly created by redistricting. (David Jarman)

LA-03: Rep. Charles Boustany has confirmed for the first time that he will indeed seek re-election, even though he may face an incumbent-vs.-incumbent primary battle with fellow Republican Jeff Landry. Boustany (whose old district was numbered the 7th) would have a clear edge purely based on the numbers in the new 3rd, since he represents 76% of its constituents (and has since 2005), while Landry, a freshman, represents only 24%. But Landry has Tea Party-fueled enthusiasm behind him, which Boustany most certainly does not. However, Landry still hasn't announced his plans, and even if he does run for re-election, it might be in another district (like GOPer Steve Scalise's 1st). So we continue to watch—and wait.

MA-04: If you were looking forward to the House continuing to have someone named "Mike Ross" in it even though the bad Mike Ross (from AR-04) is retiring, your hopes have been dashed. The Boston city councilor was the first Dem to jump into the open seat race after Barney Frank's retirement, but now he's jumped out of the race almost as quickly. This pretty much clears the path for the Kennedy Restoration (bringing the interregnum to a close after only two Kennedy-free years), as Joseph P. Kennedy III prepares for a run. (David Jarman)

MA-06: Woe to cat fud fans, as any hopes for a destructive GOP primary in Massachusetts' 6th district just vanished: Lawyer and teabagger Bill Hudak, who lost 57-43 to Democratic Rep. John Tierney in 2010, has dropped his bid for another try. Hudak says a "business opportunity" presented itself and he wouldn't be able to focus on the race, though I suspect the business opportunity had something to do with not getting crushed by ex-state Sen. Richard Tisei and the $305K he raised last quarter. The ostensibly moderate Tisei presents a much better general election profile to take on Tierney, who occasionally—albeit unfairly—gets referred to as "scandal-plagued," though that requires accepting that he actually is his brother-in-law's keeper. The 6th went 58-41 for Obama in 2008, but may have gotten a few points redder in redistricting.

Don't buy tickets for that big Hudak/Tisei unity rally just yet, though. Check out Hudak's scathing non-endorsement:

“The prospect of not following through and forcing Richard Tisei to be honest with his true record and motivation for running was one of my most difficult struggles in coming to this decision. I relish the opportunity, and will in 2014, because I’m sure you all know that little will change if he is elected. Worse, I know that this leaves most of you no real choice at all in this district in 2012.”

(H/t SaoMagnifico) (David Jarman)

MI-14: Four-and-a-half months after saying she'd be "announcing soon," Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence finally joined the Democratic primary field in Michigan's redrawn 14th District. Two incumbents are already running here: freshman Hansen Clarke and sophomore Gary Peters. As we've noted in the past, Lawrence's entry could be a boon for Peters in this heavily African-American district, since both she and Clarke are black. (Peters is white.) Lawrence, however, hasn't had much success on the campaign trail of late:

In 2008, Lawrence, as the Democratic candidate for Oakland County executive, lost, 58%-41%, to Republican L. Brooks Patterson in one of the best years ever for Democrats in Oakland County. Democrats won races for prosecutor and treasurer. In 2010, Lawrence was Democratic gubernatorial candidate Virg Bernero's choice for lieutenant governor. They lost to Republican Rick Snyder and running mate Brian Calley.

In fairness, Patterson has been Oakland executive for decades and Stewart's loss had a lot more to do with him than with her. And 2010, well, was 2010, after all. In between those two years, she did win re-election as mayor with 80% of the vote.

NM-01: This ought to be good news for Democrats: State Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela, who lost by less than four points to Dem Rep. Martin Heinrich in 2010 and had been considering a second attempt at least since June, now says he won't run. That leaves the GOP primary field to ex-state Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones, Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis, and Army veteran Gary Smith. The Democratic contest is also a three-way affair, between conservaDem former Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez, Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham, and state Sen. Eric Griego, who appears to be the progressive favorite.

NM-03: Former Santa Fe County commissioner Harry Montoya will try to do this year what he could not accomplish in 2008: win the Democratic nomination in New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District. The only problem is that this time, the guy who won four years ago, Ben Ray Lujan, is now the incumbent and will be even harder to defeat. Back in that 2008 race, when the seat was open because Rep. Tom Udall ran for Senate, Montoya came in fourth in a six-way primary with just 11% of the vote, raising only $138K along the way, so Lujan probably does not have too much to fear.

PA-04: GOP state Rep. Scott Perry, who was talked about as a possible replacement for Rep. Todd Platts almost as soon as he made his retirement announcement, quietly declared late last week that he'd run for this open seat. On the Democratic side, attorney and state party committeeman Ken Lee also said he'd get into the race, as did supermarket merchandiser Matt Matsunaga.

PA-07: Joe Sestak really needs to decide ASAP. The former congressman has been weighing a bid to reclaim his old seat for what seems like ages now, but Tuesday is the drop-dead date. Candidates have just three weeks, beginning on Jan. 24, to collect a thousand valid signatures to get on the ballot. While Sestak would almost certainly be the strongest Democratic opponent for freshman GOPer Pat Meehan (whose seat was almost comically shored up in redistricting), I only hope that if Sestak doesn't get in, his delay hasn't precluded us from landing someone else.

PA-12: Just following up on a loose end from last week. The Fix had shared a the toplines from a new Jason Altmire internal taken Anzalone-Liszt, which found him leading fellow Rep. Mark Critz 50-34 in the Democratic primary, but further details were scant. The Altmire campaign did publicize their one-page polling memo the next day, though, so I just wanted to link to it here for the sake of completeness. There isn't a whole lot more to it (though now we have field dates and sample size, a pretty healthy 502), except for Altmire favorables (57-17).

PA-18: This seems like a pretty good get for the Democrats in the 18th, a swingy but red-trending seat in Pittsburgh's suburbs that has sadly been neglected for the last decade. Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi seems to have the "tough guy" cred that will play well in the blue-collar parts of the district: He's a 24-year state trooper who then served as county sheriff for five years prior to his current position (shades of Tim Holden, maybe?). The newly configured district went 44% for Obama, barely budging from under the old lines, but I think what's piquing Democratic interest in the race this year is that long-time GOP incumbent Rep. Tim Murphy is facing a primary challenge from the right from Evan Feinberg. Feinberg is credible to the extent that he he's gotten a lot of right-wing outside-group money flowing into the race, and Democrats must sense a pickup opportunity here if he stages an upset and wins the Republican nomination. (David Jarman)

SD-AL: This probably doesn't come as a surprise, since she was quick to settle in on the K Street/academia path after her narrow defeat in 2010, but now it's official: Democratic ex-Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin won't try a re-run against GOP frosh Kristi Noem in 2012. (PPP had her leading Noem 46-45 in a rematch poll in early 2011, but that probably didn't provide enough incentive.) Herseth Sandlin's Facebook statement seems to put an exclamation point on the fact that she won't run for office "in 2012," so that would leave the door open, though, for a 2014 run for Governor or for Senate, if Dem Sen. Tim Johnson retires. (David Jarman)

TN-04: This is just baffling. Republican state Sen. Bill Ketron has seemed for years now to be executing some sort of master plan for getting elected to the U.S. House, involving seizing control of the state's redistricting machinery, building himself a custom-made version of the 4th district centered on Murfreesboro (which many wags, even before it was officially unveiled, had taken to labeling the "Ketron-mander"), and, as something of an afterthought, defeating GOP freshman Scott DesJarlais in the primary.

Now, after loudly telegraphing his intent since the map was unveiled and bigfooting all the other potential primary challengers out of the race, Ketron suddenly announced that he won't be running after all. What was all that effort for, if he's going to chicken out at zero hour? Either those naked pictures are about to surface, or else he finally got around to polling the race and found to his surprise that DesJarlais is looking strong in the primary. That leaves no GOP challengers to DesJarlais whatsoever, but he'll still face Democratic state Sen. Eric Stewart in November in this solidly-red (but Blue Dog-friendly) district. (David Jarman)

VA-04: Chesapeake City Councilwoman Ella Ward says she'll run against Republican Rep. Randy Forbes in what will soon be the redrawn 4th District. Though Barack Obama narrowly won this district under the old lines, 50-49, it was made a bit redder in redistricting, enough to give John McCain a 51-48 edge. Despite the apparent closeness of these results, this will be a very difficult seat to unlock.

VA-10: It sounds like retired U.S. Air Force colonel Jeff Barnett is deferring to a superior officer: Barnett, the Democratic nominee against GOP Rep. Frank Wolf in 2010, won't run a second time. Though the linked article doesn't mention it, I'm sure a key reason is because Democrats have already recruited retired Air Force brigadier general John Douglass. Barnett raised some money last cycle ($600K) but, thanks both to the year and Wolf's strengths, he only scored 35% of the vote.

Other Races:

WA-Init, WA-AG: The Washington state Senate now has the votes necessary to pass gay marriage legislation. Mary Margaret Haugen, a septuagenarian Dem who'll be retiring this year, was the 25th senator to support the legislation, taking it over the top. (Two elderly Dems and two young moderate suburban GOPers are still uncommitted, but it's a 49-member chamber.) This all but guarantees that it will become law, since Dems have a more comfortable majority in the state House and Gov. Chris Gregoire is supportive.

What's the electoral angle on all this? For one, it's almost certain that this will end up on the ballot, in the form of a "people's veto" referendum. To qualify, opponents will need to collect signatures equaling 8% of the number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election (240,000, by my calculations), which seems doable so long as the National Organization for Marriage kicks in toward the bill. However, this will just be a repeat of 2009's Referendum 71, where the legislation's implementation of "marriage-in-all-but-name" domestic partnership survived a people's veto, 53-47. That spread should be even larger given how rapidly polling has shown people's positions on the matter changing in the last few years.

One other place this is already having an impact is the Attorney General's race, where King County Councilor Reagan Dunn is one of the few prominent Republicans to support gay marriage (outgoing AG and gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna is tying himself in knots about it, but seems basically a "no"). For his trouble, Dunn has gone from having a clear shot to earning a right-wing primary challenger, attorney Stephen Pidgeon, who's been a prominent leader in the fight against gay marriage (though his embrace of birtherism probably will keep him from getting much traction). (David Jarman)

Redistricting Roundup:

KS Redistricting: Looks like a little cat fud is flying in the Kansas legislature, where state House Speaker Mike O'Neal does like the congressional maps proposed by Senate Reapportionment Committee Chairman Tim Owens, a fellow Republican. O'Neal apparently is upset these plans put the northeastern city of Manhattan into the sprawling 1st CD, which reaches all the way to the state's western edge, but Owens says they're just a starting point. I'm not sure if there's anything deeper going on here, but it certainly wouldn't be the first time that parochial interests have led to intra-party battles over redistricting.

KY Redistricting: Confirming earlier sentiments from Friday, it sounds like congressional redistricting negotiations between Republicans and Democrats in the Kentucky legislature have ground to a halt. Joseph Gerth of the Louisville Courier-Journal thinks that this failure "increas[es] the likelihood that lawmakers will have to push back the Jan. 31 filing deadline," which puts lie to the claim by Gov. Steve Beshear that he had to sign the abysmal state Senate plan because that date was looming.

And speaking of which, supporters of state Sen. Kathy Stein rallied again the map, which deliberately screws her in a transparently partisan—and very possibly unconstitutional—way. (More background on this whole saga here.) Stein, meanwhile, says she is giving "serious consideration" to filing a lawsuit.

NC Redistricting: The three-judge panel hearing consolidated redistricting litigation in North Carolina has declined to delay the state's May 8 primary to July 10, something plaintiff had asked for to give their case sufficient time to be heard and, if successful, new maps to be put in place this year. The court said (PDF) it isn't pre-judging the merits of the various challenges to the new maps, but rather that even under the plaintiffs' proposal, there still wouldn't be enough time to get everything done. Still, if no trial is necessary and the case can be decided purely based on legal arguments, a quick ruling is still possible.

TX Redistricting: Michael Li has a very good run-down on the "winners and losers" stemming from Friday's Supreme Court redistricting decision. Li takes a slightly contrarian take and counts the plaintiffs among the winners since, as he rightly points out, "the state also doesn’t get to use its maps on an interim basis as the state urged," and in a related post, he suggests that the final maps might be more favorable to Dems than many think. Li also points to an important post by Justin Levitt (writing at Rick Hasen's place) on the meaning of a key phrase from the SCOTUS's ruling, "not insubstantial." Levitt's analysis of the caselaw suggests an interpretation which would tilt toward the plaintiffs and against the state.

Elsewhere on his blog, Li is doing his usual excellent work keeping track of the latest developments in San Antonio, the court that the Supremes threw the whole case back to. With a number of important deadlines looming, things are moving fast, but there are still many, many questions left to answer, not least: What will the maps look like? Follow Li for the complete tick-tock.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Jan 24, 2012 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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