• CT-Sen: William Tong, a 38-year-old state rep. who got his start in politics thanks to Joe Lieberman (and opposed punishing him after he endorsed John McCain and slagged Barack Obama in 2008), says he's entering the Democratic Senate primary. We'd mentioned Tong before, and as I said then, this seems like the kind of move designed to increase name rec for a future run. I don't see him playing particularly well in a Dem primary, though, since Tong "considers himself a fiscal conservative" and "voted against almost every budget proposal since the 2007 legislative session."
• FL-Sen: This is pretty funny. You may recall that Republican Mike Haridopolos wrote a "book" (for six figures of taxpayer money) about the Florida's political processes that was so bad, the university who had commissioned it never even bothered to publish it (except, finally, in ebook form, after the whole scandal came to light). Well, Democrats have given Haridopolos an assist with the inevitable sequel… except this time, they've released it in coloring-book form. Perfect!
• MA-Sen: Dem state Rep. Thomas Conroy, who has been mercilessly hammering Scott Brown for (falsely) claiming to have seen a photo of bin Laden's dead body, is apparently now considering a run against Brown.
• RI-Sen, RI-01: Former State Police superintendent Brendan Doherty, thought by at least some political journalists to be interested in a possible race for Senate or House, has founded a new security consulting firm. However, he noted that this new business venture does "not preclude me from pursuing other interests."
• ND-Gov: Former Republican Gov. Ed Shafer says he's not interested in seeking his old job back—not too surprising, seeing as there's a Republican incumbent already holding the post, Gov. Jack Dalrymple. However, Dalrymple was never elected to the spot—he was LG, and then took over from Gov. John Hoeven when the latter was elected to the Senate last year—and hasn't announced his intentions for 2012. Oddly, no one seemed to ask Shafer if he was looking at the Senate race, which of course is an open seat.
• WV-Gov: Bill Maloney, who's giving former SoS Betty Ireland a real scare in the GOP primary, has the sort of problem which seems somewhat common for businessmen who make their first forays into politics relatively late in life: he's given a lot of money to Democrats over the years. When this news appeared on Friday, Maloney's campaign reacted rawly, claiming he only gave a single donation to Dem Mike Oliverio in the hopes of beating ex-Rep. Alan Mollohan, and accused Ireland of having donated to state-level Democrats over a decade ago. But Maloney himself has given $7,000 to state Dems; when confronted with this, his spokesman tried to act like this never happened. This is an amateur-hour defense from a scared campaign, because if you attack your opponent for behavior you've engaged in yourself, you're only going to draw more attention to your own acts.
• CA-36: In recent filings, Janice Hahn and Debra Bowen both raised around $140K last month; however, Hahn has a lot more cash on hand: $238K to $100K. The primary is a week from tomorrow. (See our full 2011 elections calendar for more.)
• CT-02: A Republican state legislator has filed to run against Joe Courtney: Rep. Christopher Coutu, who says he has raised $30K so far.
• IA-04: There was never any doubt that the race between Christie Vilsack and Steve King would be anything less than titanic, so no surprise that the Club for Growth wants a piece of the action. They're claiming they plan to get involved, but no word on any actual spending as yet.
• IN-06: Not exactly a shocker: Former state GOP official Luke Messer has all but made up his mind to run for Mike Pence's open seat, something he had previously said he was leaning toward. Pence, of course, is running for governor, and Messer last year nearly knocked off Rep. Dan Burton in the adjacent 5th CD. The new congressional maps, however, put Messer's home in Pence's slightly reconfigured district, so it's an obvious move for him.
• IN-08: Former state Rep. Dave Crooks, who had previously signaled strong interest in challenging GOP frosh Rep. Larry Buchson, has made it official. He'll face off in the Democratic primary against attorney Terry White.
• MO-01: Slay vs. Clay? Supposedly some unnamed Democrats "are encouraging" St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay to challenge Rep. Lacy Clay in the newly-redrawn 1st CD. I don't know that this would be a high-percentage play for Slay, who is white, seeing as the district is still majority African American. (Clay is black, and the Democratic primary electorate heavily so.)
• NH-02, NH-01: It's UNH, so as always, take with the recommended daily allowance of salt, but red-shirt freshman Charlie Bass's favorables have taken a nose-dive, dropping to 29-45 (down from 41-28 in February). That's a pretty wild descent that, even in this political environment, is hard to account for—especially since fellow Republican Rep. Frank Guinta's 31-26 rating is not much changed from its previous 30-22 mark. However, the Bass numbers are pretty similar to what PPP found last month.
• NJ-07: This seems like a pretty good get for Democrats: Former Edison Mayor Jun Choi announced he's running against sophomore GOP Rep. Leonard Lance, though I'd caution that this is serious Schrödinger's Seat territory. (With NJ losing a seat and Lance low on the seniority totem pole, it's hard to know what will be left of the 7th come election time.) Choi would be the second Korean-American elected to Congress (the first was Republican ex-Rep. Jay Kim of California). Choi first won office in 2005 by beating a longtime incumbent in the primary, then in 2009 narrowly lost in the primary himself, apparently after running afoul of entrenched interests thanks to his attempts at reform.
• NY-26: Dem Kathy Hochul is touting a new internal poll from Global Strategy Group showing the race as essentially a three-way tie. Republican Jane Corwin is at 31, Hochul's at 30, and Crazy Jack Davis is at 26. So it's no surprise that Corwin has an ad out attacking Davis for his supposed links to Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama, specifically calling him a "Democrat." (Of course, he did run on the D line three times.)
Davis, in turn, has a new spot up hitting both Corwin (for supporting Paul Ryan's Medicare vouchers) and Hochul (for allegedly wanting to "raise taxes"—though he doesn't even bother with the usual agate-type citation in support of this claim). Davis also claims that the NRCC is making deliberately annoying night-time phone calls, and trying to make it seem as though the Davis campaign is responsible for them. If the GOP manages to fuck this race up like they did in NY-23 in 2009, it would really be impressive.
• OH-??: It never ends, does it? Convicted criminal and Republican ex-Rep. Bob Ney says he won't rule out a run for his old seat in Congress. (I've used question marks here because there simply won't be an 18th CD in Ohio come next year.) Read the article to get the full flavor of what Ney's been up to since his release from prison (it involves a lot of meditation and a few shots at his former GOP colleagues).
• TX-27: Cameron County District Attorney Armando Villalobos says he's thinking about a congressional run against GOP freshman Blake Farenthold, and has in fact already formed an exploratory committee. This is an interesting example where, as Nonpartisan noted the other day, an exploratory committee does have an actual legal effect: Texas has a resign-to-run law (meaning you can't seek one office while you hold another), so this allows Villalobos to begin a possible campaign against Farenthold without having to quit his current job. This is also a possible Schrödinger's Seat situation, as a new district could get created in the Rio Grande Valley. (Cameron County is the last bit of southeastern Texas before you hit Mexico.)
• WA-10: Liberty Ryder, a local Dem official in Thurston County with an awesome name, says she thinks likely front-runners for the new 10th CD are Denny Heck (who lost in the WA-03 open seat race last year) and former state Rep. Brendan Williams. Both Heck and Williams live in Olympia (pop. 46K), so if Ryder's intel is right, this suggests that the new district would be centered there.
• LA-SoS, LA-Gov: Democrat Caroline Fayard, who had been discussed as a possible gubernatorial candidate, will instead run for Secretary of State. Fayard, just 32, ran for LG last year and did less-than-horribly, which kept her name alive, but she put both feet in her mouth and chomped down hard earlier this year with some ill-advised remarks about Republicans. There are already two Republicans in the race, current SoS Tom Schedler (who got elevated to the post when former SoS Jay Dardenne beat Fayard for the Lt. Gov slot), and state Rep. Walker Hines. Thanks to Louisiana's top-two runoff system, though, it seems hard to imagine Fayard prevailing even if she does make it into the second round.
• NJ-St. Sen.: Democrat and Olympic champion sprinter Carl Lewis, locked in a legal battle over his ballot eligibility, won a round at the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals late last week, but lost before the state Supreme Court. The state's high court refused to hear Lewis's appeal, which means that all attention will now get refocused on the federal district court. The Third Circuit panel said that the district court judge's initial ruling denying Lewis a ballot spot was flawed, and ordered the judge to reconsider the case. So Lewis still has a shot at staying on the ballot, but until the district court judge issues a final ruling, we won't know either way.
• Wisconsin Recall: Democrats have filed challenges to the recall petitions filed against all three Dem state senators so far (Jim Holperin, Dave Hansen, and Robert Wirch), alleging all manner of defects. The GOP also challenged the signatures filed against Alberta Darling, but it sounds to me like they're just repeating their technical claim that the original paperwork launching the recall efforts was flawed. (In other words, they're not challenging individual signatures, the way that Dems are.)
Meanwhile, the GOP has landed an opponent for Wirch (assuming the race goes forward): Fred Ekornaas, vice chair of the Kenosha County Board. (The Journal Sentinel has handy list of candidates in all the races.) And finally, The Fix says that the seriously screwed Dan Kapanke is out with an TV spot (though NWOTSOTB or even a link to the ad) apparently defending his pro-Walker actions. I dunno what choice the guy has, but good luck with that one.
• Maps: Not political at all, but these are some cool maps which show where (and how often) major U.S.-based airlines fly.
• Nebraska: Democratic hopes of defeating Rep. Lee Terry (or stealing an electoral vote in Omaha) just got slimmer. A committee in Nebraska's unicameral legislature passed a plan authored by GOP state Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh which would take eastern Sarpy County out of the 2nd CD and replace it with large slice of western Sarpy, a more Republican area. You can see the proposed map here (PDF). A vote by the full body will probably come soon, and I have to believe that Republican Gov. Dave Heineman will sign whatever the GOP-dominated legislature sends him.
• Nevada: New maps for congress, the state Assembly and the state Senate all flew through committees in both houses of the Dem-controlled state legislature. Presumably they'll pass the full chambers as well, at which point GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval will veto them. Then it will be on to the courts!
• South Carolina: Dick Harpootlian, who is once again chair of the SC Dem Party, says he plans to file a lawsuit which would press for looser interpretations of the Voting Rights Act, so that map-makers wouldn't be required to consolidate (or "pack") as many minority voters as they currently have to.
• Lawsuits: Speaking of litigation, Politico has a good roundup of the many redistricting-related lawsuits that have already started up around the country.
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