• FL-22, FL-16: Wow, this is mega! The Miami Herald reports that "a highly placed source affiliated with" Rep. Allen West says that the GOP freshman is considering a switch from the 22nd District to the 16th if the state Senate's redistricting proposal passes into law. Both districts would be made considerably bluer, but the 22nd would become a lot more hostile to Republicans (56% Obama) than the 16th (51% Obama). But there's one serious freakin' problem with this plan: There's already a Republican who represents the 16th, sophomore Rep. Tom Rooney. That would set off a truly epic primary battle, and you'd have to figure that West, with his Tea Party credentials and impressive (if artificially fluffed) fundraising abilities would be the favorite. That would be extra-awesome for Democrats, because the revised 16th is at least winnable on paper, especially if the GOP nominates West after a bloody fight. I'm honestly not sure I could imagine tastier cat fud.
Of course, as the Herald's Marc Caputo suggests, this could all just be jockeying by West in the hopes of getting some more favorable lines out of the final product. But I wonder how much sympathy he'll get. After all, if West really had any allies in the legislature, he wouldn't have gotten such a crappy district in the first place. Then again, what really matters is how many friends Rooney has, which could make this a super-clever bit of jiu-jitsu on West's part. Caputo reminds us that Mark Foley made similar threats in 2002 in the other direction, in order to avoid having to give up red turf to fellow Republican Clay Shaw. (Foley represented the 16th and Shaw the 22nd.) But of course, Shaw wound up losing four years later to Ron Klein, so that augurs against the GOP trying to save both seats once again—and in favor of sticking with the plan to triage West. Anyhow, stay tuned!
• CT-Sen: Rep. Chris Murphy just secured the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters in his quest to win the Democratic nomination to succeed retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman. This is a welcome thing to see, considering the LCV had regularly given its support to Republican ex-Rep. Chris Shays in the past, even in his final (losing) campaign against Jim Himes in 2008. Shays, of course, faces wrestling impresario Linda McMahon's mega-millions in the GOP primary and isn't likely to emerge alive, so it makes sense that the LCV would spurn him. Oh, and yeah, Murphy has an infinitely better record on the environment. Funny, that.
• IL-Gov: It doesn't seem like there's much to this, but a report in Crain's Chicago Business claimed that GOP sophomore Aaron Schock was interested in running for governor in 2014, which was enough to get his chief of staff on the record refusing to rule anything out. But when you're all of 30 years old and you're talking about a race that's three years away, obviously you're not going to close any doors. Anyhow, the piece also mentions that 2010 nominee Bill Brady, 2010 primary candidate Kirk Dillard (who lost the nomination to Brady by just 193 votes), and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford are also possible candidates.
• GA-14: The Club for Growth is firing a warning shot over ex-Rep. Bob Barr's head, saying they'll support the incumbent, Tom Graves, if Barr goes ahead with a challenge in the GOP primary. As you may recall, back in October, Barr reportedly began expressing interest in making a comeback, even though he hasn't held office for a decade.
• MA-04: Right after Barney Frank announced his retirement, people started spitballing about Joseph P. Kennedy III (son of Joe II and grandson of Bobby) as a possible candidate to replace the incumbent. Now Kennedy says he "will give it some thought," though he didn't offer a timetable for a decision. Until September, Kennedy had been a prosecutor in the Cape & Islands, but he recently moved to the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office. While some parts of the new 4th overlap with Middlesex, Kennedy doesn't live there but rather splits his time between Brighton (in the 7th) and Cambridge (which is split between the 5th & 7th).
• MA-04: There's nothing really new here, but in a new interview with the Boston Globe, Barney Frank complained at length about how his district was altered in redistricting—much to his dissatisfaction. Frank claimed that fellow Dem Reps. Stephen Lynch and Ed Markey were "protected," while he (along with Bill Keating, John Tierney, and Niki Tsongas) got a "bad deal" (in the Globe's words). For his part, Markey said that the legislature's over-riding goal was to create nine safe Democratic districts, which they appear to have done.
• MD-06: Uh, this is going to be one hell of an awkward office holiday party. Roscoe Bartlett's chief of staff Bud Otis has been going around soliciting support from Republican politicos for a congressional bid in case his boss decides to retire… but Bartlett's said all along that he plans to seek re-election, despite his age (85) and the new Obama percentage of his district (56). A Bartlett spokeswoman confirmed her boss's plans to run and wouldn't comment on Otis (except to call him "loyal,"), while Otis is refusing to say squat himself. I guess both men will be hoping that one intern gets totally blitzed and distracts everyone from the weirdness.
Oh, but it actually gets weirder, because yet another Republican says he's going to run—a state senator, no less. David Brinkley apparently plans to seek the GOP nomination regardless of what Bartlett does, which is just strange because really, this seat doesn't represent a good opportunity for any Republican looking to move up in the political world. Then again, unless you live on the state's Eastern Shore, there aren't many good opportunities for Republicans in Maryland, period, so this may be the best of otherwise bad options.
• OH-06: Dem ex-Rep. Charlie Wilson, who lost last year after serving two terms and has been mooting a rematch since January, made it official on Wednesday. He'll take on GOP freshman Bill Johnson, the man who beat him last year, though district lines are rather up in the air given Democratic attempts to put recent redistricting legislation on hold (and then repeal it altogether) via a ballot measure. Also of note, Wilson directly attacked Johnson by name in his kickoff for supporting recent "free trade" deals, an issue which ought to play well in a district like this.
• OR-01: Democrat Suzanne Bonamici also just scored the endorsement of Oregon's small Independent Party. The state is one of the few which uses fusion voting, so having extra ballot lines is always helpful. It also gives people who don't want to vote for a major party a less cognitively dissonant way to pull the lever on your behalf, especially when they get to regard themselves as "independent" for doing so. (In New York, where fusion tickets have long been an important feature of the political landscape, the similarly-named Independence Party plays a similar role.) Bonamici faces Republican Rob Cornilles in the Jan. 31 special election replace ex-Rep. David Wu.
• FL-Pres (R): Holy smokes! It's rare that we mention GOP primary polls in the digest, but wow. PPP's new Florida poll has Newt Gingrich at 47 and Mitt Romney at just 17!
• Special Elections: Via Johnny, in Tuesday's night's special in Alabama HD-45, Republican Air Force vet Dickie Drake defeating publishing company owner Paige Parnell, 56-44. Drake was the brother of deceased incumbent Owen Drake, who died in June.
• Arizona: PPP has a batch of Arizona miscellany, focused on gay marriage. As Tom notes, one thing that's worth mentioning is that Arizona voted down an anti-same sex marriage amendment in 2006 (before, unfortunately, voting in favor of one in 2008). The anti-equality movement likes to ignore that 2006 vote, though, always claiming they have never lost on a ballot measure.
• Pennsylvania: PPP's PA miscellany includes a generic House ballot question, on which Democrats lead 47-42. That's little changed from July's 46-40 edge, but at least it's a sign that our downballot fortunes haven't tanked even though our presidential numbers are awfully tight.
• AZ Redistricting: Gov. Jan Brewer formally declared on Tuesday that she would not call a special session of the legislature so that lawmakers could place a measure on the ballot to either repeal or modify the independent redistricting commission approved by voters back in 2000. This has seriously cheesed off a bunch of her fellow Republicans, who swear that Brewer promised them exactly this opportunity. But Brewer for once wasn't completely stupid, because there's no reason to believe voters would be receptive to this kind of referendum (and in fact every reason to think they'd be quite hostile).
However, she did hint that she might seek to re-impeach redistricting commissioner Colleen Mathis, despite getting twice smacked down by the Arizona Supreme Court. Somewhat ominously, she added that "there may be another time to deal with the court," which makes me wonder if (as andgarden has speculated) she's really thinking about trying to impeach the members of the high court as well!
• TX Redistricting: There are so many legal papers flying back and forth in Texas that I think we may have gotten a bit mixed up the other day. Only just yesterday did AG Greg Abbott filed a request with the Supreme Court for an emergency stay of the new court-drawn interim congressional map; he'd sought a stay of the legislative maps on Monday. He also has an appeal on the merits in the works, too, and on Tuesday, he amended that filing to include the congressional plan along with the legislative ones. (The purposes of the stay request is to bar implementation of the maps while the appeal on the merits is pending.)