• FL-07, FL-06: So GOP Rep. John Mica confirmed what had been a whole bunch of rather fragmentary reports and announced that he would indeed seek re-election in the redrawn 7th CD, setting up an incumbent-vs.-incumbent battle in the Republican primary with freshman Sandy Adams, who represents the old 24th. And it's already juicy: Adams is claiming that last month, Mica told her "not to worry" because he'd run in the 6th. Mica obviously disputes Adams' version of events, claiming he only told Adams that they "both could win in either district." Ya gotta wonder if Adams, who has a lot less cash-on-hand and a lot less seniority, will budge, though our redistribution analysis suggests that Mica actually represents a lot more of the 6th than she does, while she represents more of the 7th. (So why is Mica doing this? His home is in the new 7th.) But if Adams sticks with her plans, this ought to be fun!
• AK-Sen, AK-AL: Joe Miller reiterates what he's said before: it's "unlikely" he'll take on Rep. Don Young in the GOP primary this year, but he does sound more interested in going after Dem Sen. Mark Begich in 2014. This reminds me of the chat I had with Begich at Netroots Nation last year—I asked him who he thought he might face when he seeks re-election. Suffice it to say the list he rattled off was extremely, extremely long... but perhaps that's actually a good thing for Democrats, if it leads to a messy primary—and especially if the abominable Miller is in the mix.
• MI-Sen: Christian private schools entrepreneur Clark Durant has been struggling to gain traction in his primary fight with the odious Pete Hoekstra, so it makes sense that he's out with a new ad trying to capitalize on his opponent's huge stumble with his offensive "Debbie Spend-it-now" spot. A caption labels Hoekstra's ad as "demeaning," then goes on to call him a hypocrite on spending. No word on how big of a buy Durant is launching, though.
Hoekstra, incidentally, is also out with a new ad. This one isn't overtly racist like the first one, but he's still doubling down on his bizarre "spend-it-now/spend-it-not" rubric. The first is an extremely childish play on words based on Sen. Debbie Stabenow's surname, of course, while the latter sounds like some kind of ridiculous nursery-rhyme. I mean, no actual speaker of contemporary English uses the construction "[verb] it not." What a freakshow. (Anyhow, you can watch both ads at the link.)
And we should also note that Hoekstra is denying that he's pulled his first ad in favor of the newer spot, though Dems are accusing him of just that... but what's not in dispute is that he yanked down the accompanying website, which managed to be even more offensive than the original ad in the first place. His spokesman's claims about why the campaign did this are, shall we say, a bit strained.
• NM-Sen, NM-01: Well, there you go: Republican Lt. Gov. John Sanchez is, as expected, finally pulling the plug on his go-nowhere Senate campaign, and he also won't drop down to the open 1st Congressional District race either. This gives ex-Rep. Heather Wilson a clear shot at her party's senatorial nomination, but since she was very likely to be the nominee anyway, this probably doesn't change things much. As for NM-01, while Sanchez had proven to be no great shakes, he could well have wound up being a stronger candidate than the decidedly "meh" GOP field in the race so far, so I suspect Dems caught a bit of a break here.
• AZ-08, AZ-02: As expected, Ron Barber, ex-Rep. Gabby Giffords' former district director, announced on Thursday that he'd run for Giffords' old seat in this year's special election. (Barber was also wounded in last year's rampage in Tucson by Jared Lee Loughner, in which he killed six people and shot Giffords in the head.) More surprising is news that he may not merely serve as a caretaker for the remainder of Giffords' term and could run again in November if he wins in June. Indeed, NBC reports that two unnamed sources in the Arizona Democratic Party say it's very possible that Barber will seek a full term, something the party apparently would like to see happen.
Following Barber's entry, state Rep. Matt Heinz (the only declared Democrat in the race before Thursday), dropped out of the AZ-08 special and endorsed Ron Barber instead, as he promised he would. Heinz, however, is continuing with his plans to run in the regular election later this year (in the district that will get renumbered as AZ-02), something he also said he'd do when talk of a Barber bid first surfaced last week. But as we noted above, we just don't know whether Barber wants to serve only as a caretaker for the rest of Gabby Giffords' term, or if he'd run again if he won in June.
• CA-47: Los Alamitos Mayor Troy Edgar is dropping out of the race for CA-47 and will instead run for state Assembly. That still leaves two Republicans in the running, Long Beach City Councilman Gary DeLong and ex-Rep. Steve Kuykendall. State Sen. Alan Lowenthal, who had a somewhat better but hardly great fundraising quarter than his miserable 3Q haul, is still the only Democrat in the contest.
• FL-02: You may remember former state Sen. Al Lawson as the guy who nearly unseated then-Rep. Allen Boyd in the Democratic primary in 2010, losing by just three points, despite getting out-spent almost 10-to-1. (And we're talking big sums here: Boyd shelled out well over $2 million before the primary... though he went on to get spanked in the general, losing 54-41 to GOPer Steve Southerland.) In any event, Lawson says he wants to try again, though first he'll have to contend with state Rep. Leonard Bembry for the Democratic nomination; Bembry was named to the DCCC's "Emerging Races" list in January.
• IL-13: The Illinois AFL-CIO just gave its endorsement to Greene County State's Attorney Matt Goetten, who faces physician David Gill in the Democratic primary. The winner will take on GOP Rep. Tim Johnson in November.
• NC-12: Ten-term Dem Rep. Mel Watt says he's undecided about whether to seek re-election this fall, but adds that he expects to make up his mind this weekend. Watt's seat is safely blue—indeed, Republicans packed it with even more Democratic voters in redistricting, sending it all the way to a 78% Obama district. Even if he doesn't retire now, it doesn't sound like Watt, who is 66, plans to stick around a whole lot longer: He openly mused that it may be "fairer to let someone who is planning to stay 10 more years develop those new relationships" occasioned by the addition of new territory to the 12th.
• NM-01: A pretty high-profile get for Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham in the three-way Democratic primary for the open House seat in New Mexico's 1st CD: Former Lt. Gov. (and 2010 gubernatorial nominee) Diane Denish is offering her endorsement. Grisham and her two rivals, state Sen. Eric Griego and former Albuquerque mayor Marty Chavez, all raised almost identical sums in the fourth quarter and have similar amounts of cash-on-hand, so it really feels like anybody's race.
• NY-22: So if, as rumored earlier on Thursday, Democrat Carolyn McCarthy's district is on the chopping block, that almost certainly has to mean the 22nd—home to another Dem, Maurice Hinchey—will get preserved, even though Hinchey is retiring. (I mean, I just can't imagine Shelly Silver agreeing to a map that nukes two Dem seats, can you? But who the hell knows.) That might help explain the recent interest in this district, which everyone assumed would get dismantled as soon as Hinchey announced his departure. Two Democrats are already running here (attorney Leslie Danks Burke and former Ulster County part chair Julian Schreibman), and now another says he's potentially interested, Tompkins County Legislator Nathan Shinagawa. (Ulster County Executive Mike Hein is considering the race, too.)
• Chamber of Commerce: God help us all: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching a $10 million moneynuke in 20 races (12 House, 8 Senate) around the nation, some of which are negative ads against Dems and some of which are positive ads on behalf of Republicans. The Hill has 18 of the spots at the link, arrayed in two unholy Brady Bunch-style 9x9 panels. (KingofSpades points out, though, that in this mega-blast, one ad is actually pro-Dem, on behalf of Rep. Jim Matheson in UT-04.)
• NRCC: Some more NRCC "Young Guns" additions, on the very bottom rung. Click through if you want to find out.
• FL Redistricting: As expected, Florida's state Senate signed off on the congressional plan passed by the House last week, with a 32-5 vote in favor. (That means a whole bunch of Democrats once again crossed lines to support the GOP's gerrymander—something their colleagues in the House pointedly did not do.) The map (which you can view here) now goes to Gov. Rick Scott for his signature, which he is expected to provide. Now that everything is finally settled, we'll bring you a detailed review of the new district lines on Friday.
• KS Redistricting: On Wednesday, the full Kansas Senate passed the new congressional redistricting map that cleared a committee last week, without any amendments, despite objections from conservatives. "Moderate" Republicans (15 of them) united with all eight Democrats to thwart the will of the chamber's 17 conservatives. The new plan puts all of Lawrence, a blue-leaning college town, into the 2nd CD (it's currently split between the 2nd and 3rd), but moves Manhattan (another college town) from the 2nd into the gigantic, heavily rural 1st. Conservatives were opposed to both changes, and in the House, where they hold more sway, there's a good chance they'll pass a different plan. If that happens and no agreement can be reached, it's possible this will all wind up in court. (Hat-tip: reader PG)
• NY Redistricting: Citing unnamed "insiders," the Daily News says that Dem Rep. Carolyn McCarthy's Long Island-based 4th Congressional District may be targeted for elimination by merging it with fellow Dem Rep. Gary Ackerman's 5th, supposedly "in a way that favors Ackerman in a potential primary." That would mean that Bob Turner's NY-09 would almost certainly survive, which in turn would require that an upstate Republican seat get whacked. Believe it when I see it, I guess.
• RI Redistricting: Add one more state to the "done" pile: Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed Rhode Island's new redistricting maps into law on Wednesday, both legislative and congressional. There had been some question as to whether Chafee, an independent, would go along with the wishes of the Dem-held legislature, but since Democrats control both chambers by veto-proof majorities, resistance was futile.