9:48 AM PT: PA-Sen, -Gov: Ah, leave it to the Honey Badger to do something like this. Former Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak has long been notorious for refusing to share details about his electoral plans. He utterly stonewalled activists, officials, and reporters alike last year when asked if he'd seek his old seat in the House; indeed, we only knew for sure that he wasn't running when the filing deadline passed and he hadn't submitted petitions. This cycle, Sestak again refused to answer questions, but even more confoundingly, he started raising money—a lot of money—for lord only knows what reason.
Well, now we finally know, too. Sestak announced on Tuesday that he's getting an extremely, extremely early start on the 2016 Senate race. While it's obviously weird for a legitimate candidate to jump into a race three-and-a-half years ahead of time, I think this is good news. Sestak nearly defeated Sen. Pat Toomey during the disastrous year of 2010, and if he wants it this badly, he's probably our best hope of unseating Toomey the next time he's up for election.
It also removes Sestak from this cycle's gubernatorial race, which is good news, too. That's one fewer big-name candidate with a large warchest causing havoc in the Democratic primary, and it probably makes life easier for frontrunner Allyson Schwartz as well—which means it makes life even rougher for GOP Gov. Tom Corbett.
12:56 PM PT: GA-Sen: Republican businessman David Perdue had reportedly been interested in running for Senate, and now he's confirmed that directly for the first time. Perdue, a cousin of ex-Gov. Sonny Perdue, is a former CEO of Dollar General and is said to be quite wealthy, so his money could have a real impact in a GOP primary that lacks a single dominant candidate.
1:03 PM PT: ID-Sen: Will they never learn? Yet another example of a political campaign giving total control of its finances to a single individual... and a whole bunch of cash disappearing. This time, GOP Sen. Mike Crapo's former campaign manager, one Jake Ball, "invested" $250,000 in a Nevada company called Pyramid Global Resources as part of a two-month get-rich-quick scheme. Shockingly, the venture went bust. You'd think the name of the target entity would have been a sufficient clue, huh?
Ball had been district director for Republican Rep. Raul Labrador, also of Idaho, a post he just resigned in the wake of Crapo amending his FEC filings to explain that all this money is now gone. What's amazing is that this kind of thing just keeps happening, and frankly, campaigns allow it to keep happening by failing to institute sufficient safeguards. Just dumb.
1:12 PM PT: SD-Sen: It looks like South Dakota Democrats are preparing to rally 'round Rick Weiland as their candidate, with ex-Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and (apparently) U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson now out of the picture. Weiland just secured the endorsement of former Sen. Tom Daschle, though maybe we don't want to read too much into it, since Weiland was once a Daschle staffer.
1:23 PM PT: NY-13: When I imagine possible replacements for Rep. Charlie Rangel, former Gov. David Paterson doesn't exactly spring readily to mind. Paterson, as any New York political observer well remembers, fumbled through a pretty disastrous partial term as governor following Eliot Spitzer's resignation in 2008 and was plagued with ethical scandals of his own. Indeed, Paterson's situation was so precarious that he was (wisely) pressured into stepping aside in favor of Andrew Cuomo in the 2010 gubernatorial election.
Paterson, though, is at least thinking about a possible comeback, in the event Rangel were to retire. But if voters are looking for a clean break with Rangel's ethical troubles, then it doesn't seem like Paterson would be their man. And given his prominent name, Paterson could wind up splitting the black vote with other candidates, such as Assemblyman Keith Wright, thus helping state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who nearly unseated Rangel last year. So I don't see a lot of upside here for Paterson, but if Rangel does finally stand down, the Democratic primary would likely be a serious free-for-all, giving just about anyone a shot.
3:07 PM PT: IA-Sen: Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, 33 years old and described as a "young Steve King," is in DC this week to meet with Republican officials (presumably the NRSC) about a potential Senate bid.
3:32 PM PT: Netroots Nation: I'm very pleased to announced that the staff of Daily Kos Elections will once again be conducting a horserace Q&A panel at the Netroots Nation convention next month in San Jose, CA. It's a very fun and popular event, with no interminable introductory remarks or boring presentations. We jump in immediately and take questions from the audience on any congressional or gubernatorial election you're interested in, whether from last cycle or this cycle.
The panel will take place on Saturday, June 22 at 3 PM Pacific time, and you can find complete details here. I'm hopeful it will be streamed online (it was last year), and we'll also try to set up a way to take questions from folks unable to attend in person, probably via Twitter. And if you're thinking about coming to the conference but haven't signed up yet, you can still register here. Hotel rooms are going fast, though, so act now.
3:43 PM PT: NH-Sen, -Gov: Another day, another poll showing New Hampshire Democrats in strong shape heading into 2014. This time it's from New England College (PDF), which shows Sen. Jeanne Shaheen crushing Scott Brown 53-35 and Gov. Maggie Hassan stomping state Sen. Jeb Bradley 54-29. Shaheen sports a huge 61-27 job approval rating, far better than the 48-43 of her Republican counterpart, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, while Hassan is at 55-25.
4:21 PM PT: AZ-01: Abby Livingston reports on the curious situation in Arizona's 1st Congressional District, a rare seat carried by Mitt Romney but held by a Democrat, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, who narrowly defeated Republican Jonathan Paton last year. While the GOP should by all rights be eager to play offense here, Livingston was only able to get Republican operatives to scarf up a single potential name, state Rep. Adam Kwasman. Kwasman, though, is not without his shortcomings: He's only 30 years old, he was first elected just last year, he was campaign manager for the toxic Jesse Kelly in his 2010 race against Gabby Giffords, and he lives in what you'd have to call the "wrong" part of the district. AZ-01 is a monstrously sprawling rural jurisdiction, but Kwasman hails from the Tucson suburbs at its far southern end, which definitely makes him something of a "city boy" as far as this seat goes.
Anyhow, none of this is any reason to get cocky, as Kirkpatrick is certainly beatable even by a very generic Republican—and someone will definitely emerge, Kwasman or otherwise.
5:01 PM PT: MA-Sen: National Republicans are dipping their toes into Massachusetts Bay—just barely. Businessman Gabriel Gomez has opened a joint fundraising committee with the NRSC, though neither side shouted it from the rooftops. (It looks like the AP came across it while perusing FEC filings.) The committee is, however, holding a high-dollar Boston fundraiser for Gomez next week, headlined by Sen. John McCain.
Elsewhere on the fundraising front, Dem Rep. Ed Markey had to disinvite ex-Rep. Ben Jones of Georgia, who played the mechanic "Cooter" on the TV show "The Dukes of Hazzard," from a DC fundraising event this week. Last year, Jones penned a pro-Confederate flag rant after NASCAR cancelled an appearance of the infamous car from "Dukes" known as the General Lee, which is festooned with the stars-and-bars. Somehow, Markey's team wasn't aware of this, though considering that Jones was one of the few Democrats in Congress to call on Bill Clinton to resign during the Lewinsky saga, it's not like he doesn't have a well-known history of being on the wrong side of things. I feel like facepalming.