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8:04 AM PT: MN-03: Former TV news anchor Don Shelby has responded to reports that he's considering a run for Congress, and, well, I wouldn't let your hopes get too high. Now, Shelby isn't ruling it out, but I'm going to quote him in full, since his remarks are definitely a bit quirky:

"I'm flattered I would be approached, but truth is, I'm not much of a partisan and my politics, for what they are, are a little goofy. I would be a terrible congressman. I would rat out every special interest hack and poser. Still a reporter. Therefore, I would be relegated to some form of quarantine."

Nevertheless, Shelby acknowledged that Paulsen's swing district could be in play. "Third can be won by a Democrat. It voted for Kerry, and Obama twice. But, that would make me a Democrat, if I ran. They are pushing hard, the Washington crowd. They think this is winnable, and I'm a guy who might do it. But, that would mean that I had written my last news story. I may just keep trying to bring ideologies together on science as a journalist."

It sounds like Shelby could be engaging in some Brian Schweitzer-esque positioning, to reinforce just how much of an establishment critic he is. Then again, that kind of banter didn't actually wind up portending a Schweitzer bid for federal office.

9:04 AM PT: Campaign Finance: This sure sounds like one hell of a research tool. The Database on Ideology, Money in Politics, and Elections, or DIME, from Prof. Adam Bonica at Stanford. Here's how he describes it:

Constructing the database required a large-scale effort to compile, clean, and process data on contribution records, candidate characteristics, and election outcomes from various sources. The resulting database contains over 100 million political contributions made by individuals and organizations to local, state, and federal elections spanning a period from 1979 to 2012. A corresponding database of candidates and committees provides additional information on state and federal elections.

9:38 AM PT: KS-Gov: Sam Brownback has not exactly been the most popular of governors. In fact, he wasn't even very popular before he was elected governor, but he had the good fortune to be a Republican running a dark red state in 2010, so he cruised to a big victory. Brownback would probably have to screw up a lot more to put this seat in play next year, but local Democrats are talking up three possible contenders who all have some measure of prominence: state House Minority Leader Paul Davis, businesswoman and former Board of Regents member Jill Docking, of Wichita, and former state Agriculture Secretary Joshua Svaty. Svaty and Davis haven't commented publicly, while Docking hasn't ruled out the possibility.

11:24 AM PT (David Jarman): Ideology: Those of you who've spent any time tinkering with DW-Nominate scores -- the remarkably thorough yet user-unfriendly system that's pretty much the gold standard for ideologically scoring elected officials' voting records -- are probably aware that in addition to the "first dimension" scores, which describe representatives on a traditional liberal-to-conservative continuum, there's a mysterious "second dimension." It rarely gets discussed, mostly because it's been decades since it seemed to pick up any significant differences. (In the 60s and earlier, it mostly picked up regional differences within each party, primarily in slavery, civil rights, and related states' rights issues, but also long-forgotten controversies like bimetallism.)

However, in recent years, the VoteView blog has discussed how the "second dimension" has seemed to make a bit of a comeback in the form of a growing elite-establishment/populist-outsider split within each party, showing up in privacy vs. security votes (like the FISA amendments). (It also occasionally shows up in other scope-of-government arguments; for example, I'd argue that one of the first times we saw this dynamic was the first 2008 vote on TARP, where both parties were closely divided and yes/no votes were distributed throughout the ideological spectrum.) Wednesday's NSA vote was another key example, maybe the starkest we've seen yet.

VoteView chimed in on the issue too late on Thursday for us to link them in our writeup about the Amash amendment vote, but they see exactly the same insider/outsider phenomenon that we did. Check out their graphs of the vote: the 'aye' votes are in red, and notice how much they cluster below the cutline. In other words, most of the red votes came from Reps. in both parties who already have developed a more anti-establishment track record (as measured by a lower second-dimension score).

1:25 PM PT: ME-Gov: The National Education Association is out with the most optimistic poll of the nascent Maine gubernatorial race to date, courtesy of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud, who is still in the exploratory phase, leads GOP Gov. Paul LePage 40-31, with independent attorney Eliot Cutler at 26. To give you a sense of just how unpopular LePage is, and how much Cutler undercuts Democrats, Michaud crushes the incumbent by a mind-boggling 61-34 (!) in a two-way head-to-head

In three-way matchups, other polls have tended to show Michaud neck-and-neck with LePage, so these numbers may be on the rosy side. And his GQR survey also has very few undecideds, meaning leaners were probably pushed quite hard. LePage, however, has been making local headlines for only bad reasons these past many months, so it's very possible his already lousy standing with voters has only grown lousier.

2:01 PM PT: SD Mayor: San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, under ceaseless pressure to resign—including from DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz—over allegations that he sexually harassed a number of different women, is not quitting. Instead, he says he'll enter a behavioral therapy clinic full-time for some unspecified length of time, starting next month.

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