● LA-Sen: On Thursday, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu ruled out a Senate run for David Vitter's open seat. It will be very difficult for Team Blue to win a federal race in a state as conservative as Louisiana anytime soon, though local Democrats have a bit more spring in their step after Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards' victory over Vitter last month. Still, while Landrieu is well-known and well-connected, he may not have been an ideal Democratic nominee for this longshot race. Landrieu is very liberal by Louisiana standards, and Republicans wouldn't hesitate to use New Orleans' high crime rate against him.
Democrats don't have a large bench here, but they're not out of options. LaPolitics' Jeremy Alford reports that Democrats are looking at Don Cazayoux. Cazayoux won a 2008 special election to a conservative Baton Rouge-area congressional district, but lost his bid for a full term after a Democratic state legislator ran as an independent and took 12 percent of the vote. Cazayoux went on to serve as the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana, which is also centered around Baton Rouge.
Team Blue could certainly do worse than Cazayoux, though of course the GOP would remind conservative voters that he was Obama's nominee for U.S. Attorney. At the very least, Cazayoux won't need to worry about an independent fucking him over in a general election this time. Louisiana once again requires all candidates to run against each other on one ballot in federal races, and it sends only the top two vote-getters to the general unless someone takes a majority in the jungle primary.
There's no word how interested Cazayoux is in a Senate bid. If Cazayoux doesn't go for it, we'll at least always have this memorable 2008 campaign ad to remember him (and his name) by. Louisiana just held its legislative elections so if any Democratic legislators want to run and try to recreate the John Bel Edwards magic, they won't need to sacrifice their seats.
A number of Republicans are mulling bids here, and so is at least one notable independent. Alford recently reported that former state Sen. Troy Hebert was being encouraged to run, and Hebert has confirmed his interest to the National Journal . Hebert says he'll decide shortly after Jan. 10, when his term as Louisiana's Alcohol and Tobacco Control commissioner ends.
Hebert's only real hope of winning would be for him to edge his way into the December runoff and emerge as the de facto Democratic candidate (Hebert used to be a Democrat) while peeling off enough Republicans to win. However, Hebert may not have an easy time appealing to the Democratic voters he'd need. Hebert works for outgoing Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is especially despised by Pelican State Democrats, and he says he's leaning towards Donald Trump in the presidential race.
● GA-Sen: Democrats are still trying to land a candidate to take on Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson, and the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports that they've set their sights on Michael Sterling, an ally of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Sterling, who hasn't said anything public about his plans, is a former federal prosecutor and the head of the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency. Sterling has also been mentioned as a 2017 Atlanta mayoral candidate.
There doesn't seem much optimism that Democrats will actually unseat Isakson, who hasn't made many enemies in what is still a conservative state. However, Team Blue hopes that a candidate like Sterling could excite young and African American voters, which could help Democrats take the state's 16 electoral votes. And if the Democratic nominee does a bit better than expected against Isakson, it could set him or her up for a more winnable statewide bid down the line.
● MD-Sen: On Wednesday seven local SEIU groups, which together represent about 40,000 Maryland members, endorsed Rep. Chris Van Hollen. As the Baltimore Sun's John Fritze points out, labor has been close to Rep. Donna Edwards, Van Hollen's Democratic primary rival, ever since they helped her win her House seat in 2008. But several officials in one group say they're angry with Edwards over her support for a proposed non-union hospital.
● FL-21, 22: Redistricting dramatically reshaped both Democratic Reps. Ted Deutch and Lois Frankel's South Florida seats and on Wednesday, they announced they'd be essentially swapping seats. Deutch will run for the new version of FL-22, which is based around Broward County, while Frankel will seek the 21st District, which is contained entirely in Palm Beach County. While the two districts have traded a good deal of territory, they both remain dependably Democratic.
Frankel's base is in Palm Beach County, so it makes sense for her to run for the Palm Beach seat rather than the Broward-dominated 22nd. While Deutch lives in Palm Beach as well, he has plenty of name recognition in Broward from his time in the legislature and in Congress. The Sun Sentinel also speculates that Deutch will become better known in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale media market by representing Broward rather than Palm Beach, would could help him in a future statewide run.
Deutch may need to deal with a primary challenge next year though. Last month, attorney Stephanie Toothaker, who served as a special counsel to former Sen. Bob Graham, said she was considering running for the 22nd, and she was willing to face either Deutch or Frankel. However, she won't have an easy time if she makes the jump. Deutch is a formidable fundraiser, and he has over $1 million in the bank.
● KS-01: Tea partying Rep. Tim Huelskamp has been a pain in the ass for the GOP establishment ever since he got elected in 2010, and one influential group is gearing up to get rid of him. The deep-pocked U.S. Chamber of Commerce hasn't said much publicly, but unnamed sources tell the National Review's Elaina Plott that Huelskamp is a "prime target."
After angering local agricultural interests, Huelskamp only defeated little-known primary foe Alan LaPolice 55-45, and physician Roger Marshall looks like a much more impressive opponent. LaPolice is running again and he could very well take enough anti-Huelskamp votes from Marshall to secure the incumbent renomination in this safely red western Kansas seat. However, the Chamber has a reputation for spending huge amounts in races they care about, and if they open their wallet once again, Huelskamp will be in real trouble. Huelskamp has barely been raising any cash this cycle, though he still has $700,000 in the bank.
● NY-05: Well, this is interesting. State Sen. James Sanders recently opened up a campaign account to run in Congress in the 5th District, a safely blue seat dominated by Queens. However, the 5th is already represented by Democrat Gregory Meeks, who has not signaled that he's planning to call it quits next year.
Sanders has not said anything publicly, so it's not clear what he's thinking. It's possible that Sanders is willing to go toe to toe with Meeks in a primary. Back in April, Sanders was one of several local politicians to criticize Meeks for his support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and maybe Sanders thinks that angry labor groups will come to his aid if he challenges the congressman. Sanders may also think that Meeks might retire: The incumbent had surgery in late October after what he said was a minor heart attack. (H/T Greg Giroux)
● OH-06: While Democratic state Sen. Lou Gentile said he was considering challenging Rep. Bill Johnson back in July, he's instead announced that he'll seek re-election to the state Senate next year. Romney won this eastern Ohio seat 55-43 and with the Dec. 16 filing deadline rapidly approaching, Team Blue has very little time to find a credible candidate.
● TX-15: On Thursday, realtor and former Hidalgo County Democratic Party chair Dolly Elizondo announced that she would seek this open Rio Grande Valley seat. Elizondo ran for state representative in 2014 against a Democratic incumbent, but she dropped out before the primary. This time, Elizondo may get some useful outside support from EMILY's List, who says they want to make this seat a priority. Elizondo is currently the only female Democrat running here, though someone else could enter before the Dec. 14 filing deadline.
Besides Elizondo, two Democrats are running: Edinburg school board member Sonny Palacios and attorney Vicente Gonzalez. Unnamed sources tell The Monitor that state Reps. Mando Martinez and Oscar Longoria are considering, but they both need to decide if they can raise enough money to win first.
● VA-04: Assuming the U.S. Supreme Court doesn't interfere, court ordered-redistricting is set to turn the light red 4th District into a heavily Democratic Richmond-area seat. It's going to be a while before we have a final map, but Democratic state Sen. Donald McEachin says he's "interested" in running if a new Richmond-based seat is created. It's a good bet that other Richmond-area Democrats will eye a new seat as well.
Republican Rep. Randy Forbes currently represents the 4th, but if the court redraws the seat, he'll have almost no chance to hold it. The court-appointed special master released two proposed plans, and they both give Obama at least 60 percent of the vote in the 4th. Forbes hasn't made it clear what he'll do if his district changes.
● WA-07: If there's one thing that's constant about Seattle other than the rain, it's Jim McDermott in the House. He's been there since 1988, and though he hasn't said anything about it, at age 78, retirement has to be somewhere on the horizon. And now one local up-and-comer has decided to give McDermott a little nudge toward the door; State Rep. Brady Walkinshaw, a fellow Democrat, has announced that he'll run against McDermott in 2016. Considering how blue Seattle is, this race will probably carry over from the top two primary into the general election.
The 31-year-old Walkinshaw (who's Latino and gay; he was appointed to the state House in early 2014 in a bit of musical chairs after Ed Murray was elected Seattle mayor) says he "would have voted similarly" to McDermott on almost everything, so he seems like he's going to be making more of a generational change argument. McDermott's still very popular locally, though, so Walkinshaw may be hoping just to raise his name recognition by losing so he'll be at the front of the line if McDermott retires in 2018. A McDermott retirement (whether in 2016 or 2018), however, would unleash a huge explosion of pent-up demand, with other better-known local pols piling into the race, so it still seems like a longshot roll of the dice for Walkinshaw.
The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir and Jeff Singer, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, and Stephen Wolf.