Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
• Chicago Mayor: Even Mayor Rahm Emanuel's supporters acknowledge that at times he can be... a little abrasive. Rahm himself recently ran a spot arguing that while he has his flaws, he uses his stubbornness to fight for Chicago. But there's a fine line between being an asshole for justice and just a plain old asshole, and he may have crossed it on Wednesday.
The Mental Health Movement writes on their Facebook page that two of its members, Debbie Delgado and Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle, criticized Rahm during a meeting for shuttering clinics. They describe a heated conversation, culminating with the mayor yelling "YOU'RE GONNA RESPECT ME!" Rahm's spokesman acknowledges the meeting took place, but says things "ended very cordially."
There's no known recording of the alleged outburst, so we can't verify what happened one way or another. It's definitely not a good story for the incumbent though, who is already locked in a runoff with Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia. While it won't surprise any voters to learn that Rahm has a temper, there's a big difference between him screaming at political operatives or congressional Republicans and him attacking people advocating for more mental health clinics.
Rahm is too well-funded and formidable to ever count out though, and he's about to turn his Death Star on Garcia. Politico's Alex Isenstadt reports that the mayor and his allies are about to launch a massive advertising barrage aimed at portraying Garcia as an ineffective longtime politician. The spots will also depict Rahm as someone who has been willing to make tough choices for the greater good. Rahm's team executed a few late attacks on Garcia before the February primary, but it looks like Chicago viewers can expect wall-to-wall hits from now until April 7.
• CA-Sen: If you're a political analyst who's been yearning to toss out some gratuitous "Eye of the Tiger" references ever since Michigan Republican Rocky Raczkowski's 2010 campaign for Congress ended in failure, then we've got your Yo, Adrian right here. GOP Assemblyman Rocky Chávez just announced his formal entry into the race to succeed retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer, making him just the second candidate (after Democratic Attorney General Kamala Harris) to do so. But remember: Even Rocky Balboa lost to Apollo Creed, and Chávez is a much, much bigger underdog than the Italian Stallion.
• FL-Sen: In the event that Marco Rubio decides to run for the White House rather than seek re-election, plenty of his fellow Republicans would have to at least consider making a bid to succeed him (if they aren't doing so already). But for now, even the biggest names don't have a lot of recognition. GOP pollster Gravis Marketing tested a three-way matchup and finds state Attorney General Pam Bondi leading with 36, while state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam takes 12 and state Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater brings up the rear with 9. Unsurprisingly, a 43 percent plurality of voters are undecided.
• MD-Sen, 08: In the wake of Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen's announcement that he'll seek Barbara Mikulski's now-open Senate seat, his would-be rivals have mostly just re-affirmed that they're still considering the race. Counting Van Hollen, seven of Maryland's eight members of Congress are in the mix, including the state's lone Republican, Andy Harris, who says he'll make a decision by "early summer."
Plenty of non-congressional pols are looking, too. The most recent to declare her interest is ex-Del. Heather Mizeur, who "beat the spread" by finishing a respectable third in the Democratic primary for governor last year against much better-funded opponents. But with serious heavyweights already gunning for the Senate, Mizeur might be much better off taking a gander at Van Hollen's House seat, the solidly blue 8th District in the D.C. 'burbs. Mizeur lives in the liberal bastion of Takoma Park and would have a natural base from which to launch a campaign, buttressed by the donor network she built in her gubernatorial run.
She'd have company either way, though. Plenty of Democrats will also be keen to fill Van Hollen's shoes, and one of them, hotel executive Kathleen Matthews, is reportedly preparing a bid. Matthews is the wife of MSNBC gasbag Chris Matthews, but she also has a media profile of her own, as a longtime news anchor for a local ABC affiliate. That sort of background would give Matthews some built-in name recognition, always a valuable commodity in an expensive media market.
• OH-Sen: The Ohio Democratic Party, relying on their old buddies at Public Policy Polling, have put out the first numbers on their state's Senate race since Ted Strickland announced his entry, and they're quite positive for the former governor. Strickland ties with GOP Sen. Rob Portman at 45; Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, meanwhile, trails by a considerable 50-31 spread.
We certainly wouldn't expect the ODP to publish data that didn't look good for Team Blue, and this release is pretty thin (for instance, they didn't include favorables for any candidates), so don't call this race a tossup just yet. But it's now up to the GOP to show contradictory results, if they've got any. It's also possible that the Democratic establishment is trying to nudge the stubborn Sittenfeld out of the way by showing him what a disadvantage he'd start off at (and by showing him they're unafraid to demonstrate that publicly), though perhaps some primary head-to-heads would be even more illustrative.
• IL-18: The last month has been nothing short of brutal for Republican Rep. Aaron Schock. A strange story describing how he decorated his office to look like a room on Downton Abbey led to a slow drip of revelations about his habit of allowing taxpayers to foot the bill for his various adventures (his racist ex-communications director didn't help things). But so far, no ambitious Republicans have made any noise about challenging Schock in the primary, and there's a very good chance none will.
As the National Journal's Kimberly Railey explains, Schock has been careful to cultivate support at home. The congressman's allied PACs have dolled out money to Republican candidates across the district for various offices, and no one who could be in a position to beat Schock has shown any appetite for a campaign. As long as Schock can avoid a credible primary challenger, he'll be safe in this 61-37 Romney seat.
For all his mistakes, Schock has managed to avoid the errors that ended up dooming then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor last year. While Cantor lost touch with his district and took his renomination for granted, Schock has stayed in contact with local elites at home. In a seat this red, that can make all the difference between an easy victory and a humiliating defeat.
• MI-10: On Thursday, Republican Rep. Candice Miller, the only female House committee chair, announced that she wouldn't seek an eighth term. Miller's seat, which includes communities north of Detroit (known as the Thumb of Michigan) is reliably Republican at 55-44 Romney, and most of the action is expected to be on the GOP side.
There are plenty of Republicans who could make the race, and Roll Call great mentions some of them. The list includes former state Rep. Pete Lund (who recently orchestrated an unsuccessful plan to allocate the state's electoral votes proportionately); state Sens. Jack Brandenburg, Phil Pavlov, and Tory Rocca; state Reps. Andrea LaFontaine and Todd Courser, and former state Rep. Leon Drolet. The Hill notes that Lund and LaFontaine are close and probably won't compete against one another, while Courser is allied with tea party groups.
Democrats don't have much of a bench here, but there are a few potential names. Roll Call cites former Rep. Jim Barcia, who retired from the House in 2003 after he was thrown into the same district as fellow Democratic incumbent Dale Kildee. Barcia served in the state Senate soon afterwards and retired in 2011, so he wouldn't be a complete blast-from-the-past. However, Barcia's state Senate seat only consisted of a small portion of the 10th, though it did include some of the more conservative areas. Barcia talked about running for the 5th District in 2012 and was mentioned as a possibility for the 4th District in 2014, but he sat both out and there's no guarantee he'll be make a move this time.
Another potential Democratic contender is former state Rep. Terry Brown. Brown's old HD-84 (located at the top of the Thumb) voted for Romney 56-43, so he has experience winning in red turf. But Brown's 2014 state Senate campaign in a similarly conservative seat didn't go so well, with him losing 56-42.
One more name that may be worth a look is state Rep. Henry Yanez, who is the only Democratic state legislator left in any part of the seat. Yanez actually ran against Miller in 2010 and lost by a brutal 72-26 margin. But Yanez bounced back quickly and won a seat in the state House the next cycle, and his 53-47 re-election victory last year during the GOP wave is nothing to sneeze at in a 51-48 Obama seat. Still, Yanez knows better than anyone else how tough it will be to win in the 10th (the 2010 version of this seat is almost the same as the current incarnation) and he may not want to risk his perch in the legislature on a longshot bid.
• MS-01: Over at Roll Call, Emily Cahn takes a look at the crowded, and ever growing, Republican field in the May 12 special election. While tea partying state Sen. Chris McDaniel is looking to field his own candidate here, no one from of the current crop is exactly his type. That may be about to change soon though.
GOP operatives report that physician Starner Jones is considering a run, and he certainly has some far-right street cred. Back in 2009, Jones penned a letter decrying Obamacare that soon went viral among tea partiers. Jones described how he treated a woman on Medicaid who "smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and somehow still has money to purchase beer," adding, "And our President expects me to pay for this woman's health care?" Jones then decried the "crisis of culture — a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on vices while refusing to take care of one's self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance."
Currently, none of the candidates hail from populous DeSoto County, an area where McDaniel scored a 70-30 win against Sen. Thad Cochran in the 2014 Republican primary runoff, and Jones could fill that void. However, even though Jones grew up in Mississippi, he currently lives and works in Memphis. While Jones' carpetbagging might not enrage voters in suburban DeSoto (which Dick Cheney once infamously called "South Memphis"), the rest of the district might not be as understanding.
We also got another Republican candidate on Thursday, with attorney Daniel Sparks declaring. Meanwhile, newly-minted candidate Boyce Adams is the first contender to reserve TV time. The size-of-the-buy is only $12,000, so he's not exactly blanketing the airwaves. The spots will run on Fox News in the Memphis and Columbus-Tupelo markets, so at least Adams knows his audience.
• PA-08: On Thursday, 2014 Democratic primary candidate Shaughnessy Naughton announced that she would run for this open swing seat. Last time, Naughton fared well against national party favorite Kevin Strouse despite being outspent, and her performance could earn her a second look from the DCCC.
Naughton will face state Rep. Steve Santarsiero in the primary, though others might still get in. Naughton's announcement came with the endorsement of former Gov. Ed Rendell, but Santarsiero was quick to step on her kickoff. The state representative rolled out a lengthy list of backers, including some people who supported Naughton last time. There are a few familiar names including Strouse, 2012 nominee Kathy Boockvar, and Bucks County Commissioner Diane Marseglia, whom the DCCC has been trying to recruit for years.
So far, no one is running on the GOP side, though state Rep. Gene DiGirolamo is considering and Team Red has a good bench here. Mitt Romney narrowly carried this Bucks County seat, and both parties are expected to fight hard for it.
• Jacksonville Mayor: The University of North Florida surveys the March 24 non-partisan primary, and finds that we're still likely headed to a May 19 runoff. Incumbent Democrat Alvin Brown leads with 37, with former state Republican Party head Lenny Curry, his main challenger, at 25. Republican Councilor Bill Bishop is further back at 11, with 25 percent undecided. Jacksonville is pretty conservative even in presidential years, and Brown will have a tough time prevailing with an off-year electorate. One good sign for Brown though is that he posts a strong 55-34 approval rating, which could give him some room for improvement.
• Redistricting: The U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering disbanding Arizona and California's independent redistricting commissions. If they go forward with it, Republicans in the Arizona legislature will have free hand to redraw the state's nine congressional districts in their favor, but California Democrats will also be able to remap the Golden State's 53 House seats.
It's far from clear what maps would come out of either state, so we're turning the question over to you, and asking you to show us what kind of gerrymanders can you draw out of both states using the free Dave's Redistricting App. For inspiration, check out some past submissions from the Swing State Project, collected by community member Skaje.
• WATN?: Would you take crisis communications advice from this man? You now can!
The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir and Jeff Singer, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Taniel, and Dreaminonempty