• NH-Sen: This sounds like something that was supposed to come out on April Fool's Day but got stuck in the pipeline. Scott Brown, the former half-term Republican senator from Massachusetts, is floating his name for a new Senate race... in New Hampshire. It's not entirely clear whether he brought up the idea himself, or if someone else prompted the question after he stated at a New Hampshire appearance on Thursday that he was "likely not done with politics," but in either case, he said he's "not going to rule out anything right now."
My assumption based on his most recent moves—such as filling in for Bill O'Reilly on Fox News the other day—was that he wasn't going to run for anything in 2014, including the most obvious choice of MA-Gov (the one slot where Bay Staters have shown some willingness to vote Republican).
But Brown may well truly want to find a way back into the Senate, whatever the method. With that in mind, New Hampshire does have a 2014 race for a Dem-held seat; the swingy Granite State is more receptive to moderate Republicanism than Massachusetts; and most of New Hampshire shares a media market with Boston, so name rec shouldn't be a problem. (In fact, a good number of people who work in Boston and would actually like to vote for Brown probably already live one state to the north: ex-Massholes who have fled the state for the lure of lower taxes.) However, that would put him on a collision course with Jeanne Shaheen, who's no pushover. She's one of New Hampshire's most popular politicians and is favored for re-election—though a Brown candidacy would certainly scramble the calculus.
So the next logical question is: "If the stars align in such a bizarre way to elect Scott Brown again, would that make him the first-ever senator to represent two different states?" The answer, in fact, is no, not by a long shot. Several senators have already done that—perhaps most famously Daniel Webster, who represented the exact same two states in question (though he served New Hampshire in the House). Indeed, one senator, James Shields, represented three different states (Illinois, Minnesota, and Missouri) in the Senate between 1849 and 1879. But this practice has become increasingly rare (in the House, for instance, it was only accomplished three times in the 20th century), so Brown would find himself in extremely unusual territory if he went ahead with such a move.
• IA-Sen: With each passing week, it seems like Republican Rep. Steve King's feet get a little colder regarding the open Iowa Senate seat, which would at least potentially be winnable for a skilled moderate Republican but would be a kamikaze mission for a nutter like him. King even acknowledged his own difficulties in recent comments on Iowa public TV, saying it would be a "slightly uphill battle" for him since Iowa's "turned a little to the left." He added that "I need to get a decision made pretty quickly" out of respect for other potential GOP candidates Kim Reynolds and Bill Northey. Cumulatively, those quotes don't make him sound very candidate-ish.
• MA-Sen: This may be too little too late for Stephen Lynch, who staked out the right flank in the Democratic primary for the Massachusetts Senate special election and is now finding out that there just aren't enough votes there for a path to victory. Lynch is now toying with flip-flopping on his support for the Keystone XL pipeline, which is one of the key differences he has with Ed Markey and also one of the main reasons why major enviro groups are backing Markey instead. Maybe most significantly, environmental issues are what's driven billionaire Tom Steyer to spend over $200,000 so far on defeating Lynch.
At this point, Lynch has only opened the door to dropping support for the pipeline and hasn't formally reversed course, but even if he did, the special primary is coming up soon (April 30), and his die is already cast as the less-eco-friendly candidate. It also might diminish enthusiasm for him from the hard-hat unions, many of which support the pipeline construction from a jobs-and-infrastructure angle. It's really a no-win situation for Lynch... but then, it's been one ever since he inexplicably got in the race in the first place.
• MI-Sen: Debbie Dingell is reportedly taking "concrete steps" toward a Senate run to replace the retiring Carl Levin, according to Politico. While Dingell—the wife of Rep. John Dingell, who hasn't held political office but is a Dem insider in her own right and a former General Motors exec—says that she's still "genuinely undecided," she is doing her due diligence. That means putting together a consulting team featuring a couple of big names and meeting with labor groups and EMILY's List (the latter of whom would probably be key to her winning a primary against Rep. Gary Peters). (Also, check out the picture of her at the link... she also seems to be working on her Carl Levin-style look, at least in terms of her eyeglasses and facial expression.)
• NJ-Sen: Don't start coronating Cory Booker for the open New Jersey Senate seat just yet: Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone just popped up again to remind us that he's "very interested" in the race. We haven't heard much from Pallone since his name first got floated in the wake of Frank Lautenberg's retirement, but this is probably his strongest statement of interest so far, saying he's "pursuing that and working on it on a daily basis." Booker's star power will be difficult to overcome, but it seems like Pallone's gauging whether there's enough space on Booker's left to carve out a viable path to the nomination.
• IL-Gov: Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn doesn't seem to grok that his approvals have him down in dead-candidate-walking territory, such that he might actually be at risk of losing to a Republican in this blue state (not that it really matters since he'd probably be just a speed bump for AG Lisa Madigan in a Democratic primary). Yet Quinn's actions indicate that he's still fully intending to run for re-election, since he's going full speed ahead on the fundraising front. After ending 2012 with only about $1 million in campaign funds, he raised $550,000 in the first quarter of the year, with much of that coming from organized labor.
• CA-20: Nothing says pure excitement more than "Leon Panetta." But now that he seems to have retired for good after holding every single possible job in the Beltway at various points, it's time for... another Panetta. Leon's son James, a Monterey County assistant DA and a former Naval Intelligence officer, is floating his name for the House seat held long ago by his dad, once Sam Farr (who took over in 1993 after Panetta left to head OMB) retires. One slight catch: Farr hasn't expressed any interest in actually, you know, retiring, though he is 71 years old.
• Charlotte Mayor: When I saw "Foxx" and "North Carolina" in one place, my first instinct was that Virginia Foxx was retiring! Unfortunately, we aren't so lucky. Instead, Anthony Foxx, the up-and-coming mayor of Charlotte, announced that he won't be running for re-election this year. Foxx, who is African-American and 41 years old, was first elected in 2009. He's gotten mostly good notices as mayor, so it's not a question of being endangered. Rather, recent scuttlebutt has him on the short list to become Transportation secretary in Barack Obama's second term, so an announcement on that may be forthcoming soon.
Possible Democratic candidates here include Jennifer Roberts, the Mecklenburg County Commissioner who acquitted herself well in the open seat NC-09 race last year; City Councilor and Mayor-pro-tem Patrick Cannon; City Councilor David Howard; and state Sen. Dan Clodfelter. On the Republican side, ex-City Councilor and 2009 loser John Lassiter may try again, and City Councilor Edwin Peacock could also run.
• House: Maybe it was last week's Quinnipiac poll (which had a generic ballot of D+8) that suddenly got everyone to realize that polls are showing the Democrats hovering around the point where, if the numbers hold up, they might retake control of the House in 2014. (Rasmussen, weirdly, has been putting up those kinds of numbers routinely for months now, though I certainly won't fault you for not wanting to hang your hat entirely on Scotty's predictions.)
Think Progress's Ian Millhiser concludes, based on 2012 margins in individual House races, that Democrats would win a five-seat majority if this D+8 margin held, while other pundits have looked instead at Alan Abramowitz's model, which would require an ungodly D+13 on the generic ballot to flip the House.
The New Republic's Nate Cohn came out with a characteristically judicious piece on Friday, skeptical of whether the outlier-ish Quinnipiac poll of registered voters is that reliable, but also supposing that it would take significantly less than D+8 to flip the House. That's based on the role of open seats but also more generally on the lack of a uniform swing (as seen in the general trend that seats on the cusp mostly tend to fall in the same direction amidst a wave year).
However, as a final splash of cold water, there's also the wee matter, of course, of whether the Dems can actually sustain a D+8 for the next year and a half. Kyle Kondik points out that at this point in 2009, the generic ballot was running at D+4! (And we know how that movie turned out.)