Anthony Brown is looking to salvage his political career after a shocking defeat last year
• MD-04: Love him or hate him, Anthony Brown is not the type of guy who stays down for long. On Thursday, the former lieutenant governor and 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nominee announced that he would run to succeed Senate candidate Donna Edwards in this suburban D.C. seat. Former Prince George's State's Attorney Glenn Ivey is also seeking the Democratic nomination here, and there are tons of other local politicians who are eying the race.
Until last year, Brown was a rising star in Democratic politics, and he looked poised to become the state's first African American governor. However, while Brown easily won the Democratic primary, he faced an unexpectedly tough challenge from Republican Larry Hogan. Fellow Democrats criticized Brown for allowing Hogan to define the last eight years of Democratic governance as a failure, and for focusing on social issues at a time when economic anxiety was the defining issue. Brown's role managing the state's chaotic Obamacare rollout also worked against him. Plenty of Democrats are still angry about Brown's 51-47 defeat, and that could conceivably make it harder for him to fundraise or win key endorsements.
Still, Brown has some assets. He has plenty of name recognition in the district, where he served as a state delegate before winning statewide. Brown took 71 percent in MD-04 during the 2014 primary, though neither of his opponents hailed from the area. Brown wouldn't be the first politician to bounce back after an embarrassing defeat, and we'll see if he can put his gubernatorial loss behind him and win next year. Obama carried this seat 78-21, so Brown would actually be in the clear this time if he wins the Democratic nomination.
• CA-Sen: Democratic state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones was mentioned as a potential candidate in the chaotic days after Barbara Boxer announced her retirement, but he never showed any obvious interest in this seat. And now he definitely won't: Jones just endorsed state Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is still the only Democrat running.
One of Harris' potential opponents, Rep. Xavier Becerra, continues to say that he's thinking "very seriously" about a campaign. However, Becerra would be sacrificing his senior position in the Democratic caucus on what would probably be a very uphill race. Now that rising stars Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards are leaving the House to run for Senate in Maryland, it takes two potential leadership rivals out of contention. Becerra is probably going to flirt with a Senate bid a bit longer, but it would be pretty surprising if he went for it in the end.
• CT-Sen: Freshman Democrat Richard Blumenthal has always looked safe for re-election, and Quinnipiac gives us no reason to reconsider that view. They give Blumenthal a strong 62-26 approval rating, and registered voters say he deserves to be re-elected by a 59-27 margin. Former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker has talked about running against Blumenthal as a Republican, but he'd definitely have his work cut out for him.
• FL-Sen: According to unnamed "top Democrats" who spoke with Politico's Marc Caputo, Rep. Patrick Murphy is set to announce a bid for Senate on March 23, supposedly with the "blessing" of Harry Reid and "in coordination with" the DSCC. Murphy's team did not confirm or deny the report, but Murphy's been publicly gearing up for a run for some time, and he's the clear establishment favorite. The main question is whether he'll have the primary field to himself.
To that end, Caputo adds that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's interest in pursuing a Senate bid "appears nearly nonexistent," but it's not at all clear what that's based on, and it also seems to walk back a Caputo piece from a month ago in which he said Wasserman Schultz was "strongly considering" the race. Meanwhile, Rep. Alan Grayson, another possible contender, is in the middle of a messy divorce suit in which he's contending his estranged wife was a bigamist and should therefore be denied a share of his $30 million fortune.
So it may be that no one of consequence will seek to deny Murphy the nomination, but if Caputo's report is accurate, that means Murphy isn't concerned about waiting to see whether a more liberal candidate enters the race (or perhaps hopes to deter such an entry with a show of strength). It also means Murphy is prepared to take on Sen. Marco Rubio, in the (seemingly unlikely) event that Rubio opts not to run for president—or, again, maybe he's trying to help Rubio make up his mind and push him toward a White House bid.
Regardless of what happens, Murphy would be the second big get of the cycle for the DSCC, after Ohio's Ted Strickland. Republicans, meanwhile, only have two offensive opportunities in the Senate next year, but they have no serious candidates running in either Colorado or Nevada yet.
• MD-Sen: Rep. Elijah Cummings has been considering joining his colleagues Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen in the Democratic primary, and it sounds like he's not just floating his name. Politico tells us that Cummings "appears to be on the verge of running," though he hasn't made any final decision. Cummings knows that his strong profile in Baltimore City could make him a formidable contender (both Edwards and Van Hollen come from the D.C. area), and he has a respected statewide get-out-the-vote organization. But Cummings also knows that he'd be giving up his senior post in the House, and would need to improve his fundraising.
Cummings is reportedly calling allies and has commissioned a poll. However, African American leaders are worried that with Edwards already in the race, Cummings could force them to choose between two candidates they like, and divide black voters. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has also been talking about jumping in, but she and Cummings share a base and could drag each other down. Of course, there are many other Democrats who are mulling bids, so it's impossible to effectively handicap the primary at this stage. If Cummings stays out, the rest of the field will be working hard to win over his support, which could make all the difference in a crowded contest.
• OH-Sen: After he announced his retirement last year, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman didn't rule out running for the Democratic nomination to face Republican incumbent Rob Portman. Well, Coleman has endorsed former Gov. Ted Strickland, so we can take him off the prospective candidate list for good. Barring a huge surprise, it looks like Strickland's only notable intra-party foe will be Cincinnati Councilor P.G. Sittenfeld.
• KY-Gov: State Agricultural Commissioner James Comer recently promised to stay on the air from now until the May 19 primary, and he's rolling out his second spot as part of this endeavor. Comer talks about making state government more efficient and tells the viewer that, "[i]nstead of being forty-six or forty-seven in the nation, we should strive to be number one, just like our basketball teams." That would make a lot more sense if Comer promised to appoint John Calipari as his chief-of-staff, but it's not like you can go wrong in Kentucky by invoking basketball... except for that one time. Comer's team says the ad will run statewide, though there's no word on the size of the buy.
• CA-44: Democratic state Sen. Isadore Hall continues to rake in endorsements, with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti becoming the latest to back him. So far, no notable Democrats have made any moves to oppose Hall in this safely blue seat, and it's quite possible none of them will when all is said and done.
• IL-10: We have a little while to go before the rivalry between former Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider and his Republican predecessor/ successor Bob Dold! reaches Hill-Sodrel levels, but it looks likely that we'll see a third match between the two men in as many cycles. Schneider had been on the fence about a 2016 campaign, but he recently told the Chicago Sun-Times Lynn Sweet that he's "all but decided" to run, and plans to officially announce in a few weeks. The DCCC has been trying to land Schneider for round three, but he may need to get past Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rodkin Rotering in the Democratic primary first. Obama won this seat 58-41, but the North Shore district still has an affinity for moderate Republicans.
• MI-10: While no one has jumped in the race to succeed retiring Rep. Candice Miller yet, there's plenty of excitement on the Republican side. State Sen. Jack Brandenburg has confirmed that he's "90 percent there," while former state Sen. Alan Sanborn says he's "giving this serious consideration." Other Republicans who have expressed interest include former state Reps. Leon Drolet and Pete Lund and Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot, and there are plenty of others who could run. Romney won this seat, which is situated on the Thumb, by a strong 55-44 margin, and Democrats haven't made much noise about playing here yet.
• MN-06: Former Republican Rep. Michelle Bachmann never had a firm grasp on her red seat, and Democrats held out some hope that her successor Tom Emmer could crazy this district into contention again. But as the Star Tribune's Allison Sherry tells us, Emmer has emerged as a fairly conventional conservative, especially compared to the never-boring Bachmann.
Emmer was quite a firebrand during his time in the legislature (which probably cost him the governorship in 2010), but he's stayed out of trouble in Washington. Emmer's no moderate but it would take a lot for him to lose in this suburban Romney 57-42 seat. Bachmann had the right stuff, but unfortunately for the DCCC, Emmer just doesn't seem to anymore. Emmer also probably won't ever appear in the Sharknado series, which is for the best.
• NJ-05: This North Jersey seat has proven to be the source of much Democratic frustration. Romney only won it by a narrow 51-48 margin, and Republican Scott Garrett is one of the most conservative representatives in the Northeast. Still, Garrett has won easily cycle after cycle even against decent Democratic rivals. Team Blue may have already found someone willing to step into the ring with Garrett though. Josh Gottheimer, a former aide to both Bill and Hillary Clinton, recently filed papers to explore a bid, but he hasn't announced that he's in yet.
Gottheimer will need a lot to go right if he's going to succeed where so many others have failed. But if he can make the most of his Clinton ties, he could raise the money he'll need to advertise in this district, which sits in the ultra-expensive New York City media market. Still, the Republicans who drew the congressional map knew what they were doing when they put this seat together, and as controversial as Garrett can get, he hasn't alienated his conservative constituents. We'll see if the DCCC shows any interest in Gottheimer, or if the decide to focus elsewhere. (H/t Greg Giroux)
• Chicago Mayor: Both Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia have been courting third-place primary finisher Willie Wilson, who took 11 percent in February. On Wednesday, Wilson endorsed Garcia, though it's not clear what role he'll play in the runoff campaign. Garcia needs to improve his standing in African American areas in order to beat Rahm on April 7, and Wilson's backing could help him make inroads. In recent days, Garcia has also earned the endorsement of former state Senate President Emil Jones (a mentor to Obama during the president's time in the legislature) and Jesse Jackson.
Rahm still has a critical financial advantage, and he's making the most of it. Rahm's allied super PAC Chicago Forward has a new spot portraying Garcia as fiscally inept, concluding with a clip of Garcia calling for "creative sources of financing" (the Chicago Tribune has some background here). There's no word on the size of the buy, but Chicago Forward has more than enough money to burn on ads.
• LA-LG: Let's just say that state Democrats are not happy about the headline "Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden denies Kansas City woman's sexual harassment claims."
• Philadelphia Mayor: On Wednesday, we ran down the list of all the candidates who beat the filing deadline for mayor. But candidates running as independents don't need to file until August, so we don't know yet if wealthy businessman Sam Katz will be on the general election ballot. And PoliticsPA pointed out that there's one other potential big-name candidate scoping out the race who could still run as an independent: Bill Green. (Or more precisely, William Green IV, to distinguish him from William Green III, who served one term as mayor in the 1980s, and William Green Jr., who was U.S. Rep. in the 1950s).
One requirement for running as an indie in November is that you have to have been registered as an independent for at least 30 days before the primary election (which is on May 19) ... and Green may have just telegraphed his intentions by switching on Tuesday. Green was previously a Democrat when he was on the city council, but he's currently best-known as the former chair of the state-imposed Philadelphia School Reform Commission, where he approved the expansion of charter schools. He was appointed to that position by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, and recently removed from that role by new Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.
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