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• WV-Gov: In case you missed it, Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin pulled out a narrow victory over Republican businessman Bill Maloney last night, in a race where a Maloney upset had looked increasingly likely. Win or lose, though, this race has little bearing on national politics. Tomblin and Barack Obama are nothing alike, and West Virginia looks very different from the country as a whole — plus, it's not a swing state and isn't a factor in the president's re-election plans. Don't get me wrong: This is a very good win for Democrats. There's just no reason to read anything into it.
• MI-Sen: Clark Durant, who only officially launched his campaign at the end of September, announced that he raised $750K in the third quarter. Durant's Republican rival, Pete Hoekstra, hasn't made his totals public, but his consultant said it would be more than what Durant pulled in.
• WA-Sen: Nice try, bub. Freshman state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, who just declared he'd run for Senate, signed a Spokane Republican Party pledge last year that's equal parts Paulist and teabagger… and now of course he's trying to wiggle out of it. What did this pledge include? Publicola summarizes:
Privatize Social Security; abolish the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; eliminate the Department of Education; withdraw from the UN; return to the gold standard; ending no-fault divorce.
Baumgartner squirms: "I made it clear that I had some reservations" and "there was an understanding that I didn’t support everything on the pledge." Ah, no. You don't get to sign a pledge and then start editing it with some mental Track Changes. As far as I'm concerned, Baumgartner is on record supporting every one of these bits of insanity.
• WI-Sen: Can a state Senator ever be a Some Dude? Maybe, if he's running in a field that includes a former governor, an obscenely wealthy former congressman, the Speaker of the state House, and possibly an obscenely wealthy hedge fund manager. So yeah, I'm not sure what state Sen. Frank Lasee is hoping to accomplish, but he says he's running for the GOP nomination regardless.
• CA-10: Greg Giroux tweets that former NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez has filed paperwork with the FEC to run in California's new 10th Congressional District as a Democrat, presumably against GOP freshman Jeff Denham (who has said he's likely to seek re-election here).
• IL-12: Somewhat (but not entirely) surprisingly, Dem Rep. Jerry Costello announced yesterday that he would not seek re-election. Click the link for our full post at Daily Kos Elections, including thoughts about possible replacement candidates on both sides.
• FL-13: Former Dem state Rep. Keith Fitzgerald, who served two terms in the legislature before his luck ran out with 2010's red tide, looks like he's about to launch a campaign against GOP Rep. Vern Buchanan. Ol' Vern's one of the wealthiest members of the House and this district is not exactly friendly territory for Democrats. But Buchanan's been a bit dinged up over some ethical issues (with more shoes perhaps yet to drop), and Fitzgerald may be hoping that this seat will see some improvement during redistricting. It's a tough row to hoe, but this seems like a good get for Team Blue.
• ND-AL: The surprisingly small Republican field for the open House seat just doubled in size: State Rep. Bette Grande announced yesterday that she'd seek the GOP nomination, joining the lone candidate already in the race, Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk. At least two other legislators are still considering a run, state Sen. Tony Grindberg and state Rep. Al Carlson, though, and I'd be surprised if more people didn't get in, especially seeing as North Dakota hasn't had an open House seat since 1992.
• NY-13: The number of bona fide Democratic politicos looking at a challenge to GOP freshman Mike Grimm is reaching somewhat absurd proportions. Now comes word that NYC Councilman Vincent Gentile is considering the race, making him at least the fifth person with a political pedigree to do so. Gentile's district overlaps with the Brooklyn parts of this Staten Island-centric district, but he did represent part of S.I. when he previously served in the state Senate.
• VA-10: This is… irregular. Rep. Frank Wolf, one of only six Republican representatives who has refused to sign Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge, took to the House floor on Tuesday to really hammer Norquist hard:
"Simply put, I believe Mr. Norquist is connected with and has profited from a number of unsavory people and groups out of the mainstream. I also believe that Mr. Norquist has used the ATR pledge as leverage to advance many other issues that many Americans would find inappropriate, and when taken as a whole should give people pause."
Wolf also brought up Norquist's ties to disgraced one-time lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Is Wolf begging for a primary challenge? Or trying to look sane for the sake of the electorate at large? He does face a stronger-than-usual opponent this cycle, in the form of General John Douglass, but he's usually dispatched Democrats with ease. So maybe he's really a true believer on this.
• PA-AG: This seems like a pretty major score for ex-Rep. Patrick Murphy: Ed Rendell, the former governor and DNC chair, just endorsed his bid for the Democratic nomination for state attorney general. Even if Rendell doesn't lift another finger, this ought to open some doors for Murphy. (And if he does, it should help fill his coffers, too.)
• AZ Redistricting: Arizona's redistricting commission is out with a new draft map that's likely to be very close to the final product, and we've got a lot to say about it. The very short version is that it looks good for Democrats, but click the link for a whole boatload of analysis at Daily Kos Elections.
• UT Redistricting: Everybody, hold yer horses! The state Senate just passed the new congressional plan chosen by the redistricting committee (and favored by Senate President Michael Waddoups), but Utah looks like it could wind up being another one of those states where redistricting gets seriously bogged down despite one party controlling the trifecta. That's because the state House, at the request of Gov. Gary Herbert, has gone back to the drawing board and produced new map, ostensibly to add more rural territory to the new 4th, which originally occupied just Salt Lake and Utah Counties.
Senate Republicans have responded with this plan as a possible compromise, which makes me think that parochial concerns are really what's driving this dispute — rather than, as many have speculated, Herbert's desire to ensure that Dem Rep. Jim Matheson has a convenient district in which to seek re-election (instead of challenging Herbert for the governor's mansion).