• CA-15: Holy simoleons! Rohit "Ro" Khanna, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Commerce Department under Barack Obama's administration, just filed a truly wild fourth-quarter fundraising report. He pulled in an amazing $1.2 million in a single quarter, without self-funding—and without even really declaring whether he's seeking office or not! Khanna lives in Fremont and could conceivably mount a primary challenge to Dem Rep. Pete Stark, but in his FEC filings, he's refusing to say what district he's running in or even what year.
How about the money, though? Well, Khanna is tapping into the large Indian community in the U.S., which has raised a ton of cash for other Indian-American congressional hopefuls in recent years, like Ami Bera in California and Manan Trivedi in Pennsylvania. It also helps that none other than Nancy Pelosi attended a recent fundraiser which netted a cool $440K in a single night. (He's also been getting assistance from Gov. Jerry Brown and former cabinet secretary Norm Mineta.) Pelosi's involvement also tells us something, since it's hard to imagine her supporting a challenge against Stark in the primary, so she must be expecting Khanna to wait until the seat is open, perhaps next cycle.
Khanna did once try to oust a sitting incumbent Democrat, though: Back in 2004, he ran against the late Tom Lantos in CA-12, losing 74-20 (PDF), though he raised just a fraction of what he's already taken in this year. If and when Khanna does pull the trigger on a run, it will likely set off a massive primary battle with Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, who has also long been eyeing this seat but might not wait until 2014.
• MA-Sen: Sen. Scott Brown (R): $3.2 mil raised
• MA-06: Richard Tisei (R): $305K raised (in 7 weeks)
• NC-Gov: Gov. Bev Perdue (D): $1.3 mil raised, $2 mil cash-on-hand (for last 6 months of 2011)
• NY-Sen: George Maragos (R): $1 mil self-loan
• WI-01: Rob Zerban (D): $220K raised
• HI-Sen: Republican ex-Gov. Linda Lingle was just endorsed in her Senate bid by the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (aka SHOPO), the local police union.
• MA-Sen: This makes me really love Elizabeth Warren. Mother Jones' headline, complete with pics: "Elizabeth Warren Stands Outside Fenway, in the Cold, Shaking Hands."
• MD-Sen: Um, it's a little late to be taking a "second look" at the Maryland Senate race, seeing as how the filing deadline is on Wednesday. Nevertheless, Republican Eric Wargotz, who got a whopping 36% of the vote against Barbara Mikulski in 2010's Senate race, and who said in November that he wouldn't run against Ben Cardin for Maryland's other Senate seat, is re-evaluating. He says the Democratic primary challenge to Cardin from state Sen. C. Anthony Muse may provide an opportunity for him, presumably either in the form of a Muse victory or a banged-up Cardin. (David Jarman)
• NE-Sen: After a bunch of reports over the weekend (such as this one and this one) suggested that Rep. Jeff Fortenberry would be a late entrant into the weak GOP primary field, RPR's Nathan Gonzales updated to say on Monday that Fortenberry will not, in fact, run after all. I also don't think anyone had expected Lee Terry to run for Senate, but with Fortenberry bowing out, Terry also felt compelled to chime in that he's not going to make the race, either.
Meanwhile, former Dem Sen. Bob Kerrey sounds a bit more serious than he did before, saying he's visiting Nebraska (he currently lives in New York City) to explore a comeback bid in the wake of Ben Nelson's retirement. Three other Dems have also said they're interested in running, but it sounds like they'll all defer to Kerrey if he gets in: former Lt. Gov. Kim Robak, state Sen. Steve Lathrop, and Univ. of Nebraska regent Chuck Hassebrook.
Finally, Robynn Tysver of the Omaha World-Herald also makes a good point: Nebraska's unusual election laws require incumbents to file to run by Feb. 15, whether they're seeking re-election or another office. This would affect guys like Lathrop and also GOP Gov. Dave Heineman, who has been doing his best to pretend like he might go for it. But non-office holders like Kerrey have until March 1 to submit their paperwork. So like a golfer shooting second off the tee, Kerrey will be able to judge the roll and bounce of the fairway before he has to make up his mind. (David Nir & David Jarman)
• NJ-Sen: In response to news that state Senate President Stephen Sweeney is gearing up for a U.S. Senate run in 2014, a spokesman for Sen. Frank Lautenberg says his boss "will be prepared to meet any potential challenge." Sweeney could conceivably challenge Lautenberg in the primary then, when the incumbent will be 90 years old. I'd have figured Lautenberg would finally consider retirement, but given that he gladly un-retired back in 2002 when Bob "The Torch" Torricelli went down in flames, then showed no interest in leaving the stage when he was up for re-election in 2008, perhaps I really shouldn't be betting against old Frank.
• TX-Sen: Another seemingly against-type endorsement for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: This time he's backing Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the GOP Senate primary in Texas. Not long ago, he gave his support to Tommy Thompson in the Wisconsin Senate race, but at least the two of them were fellow governors. Dewhurst, a sort of mainstream business conservative, doesn't seem to fit the Huck mold, but maybe Huckabee's trying to broaden his base of support for a possible second presidential run in 2016.
• UT-Sen: The infamous "clown car" dynamic (where a slew of challengers pile into a primary with the goal of taking out a weakened incumbent, but only wind up cancelling each other out and letting the incumbent survive) seems to be kicking into gear in Utah's Senate race, where Orrin Hatch just drew a second GOP primary opponent. Three-term state Rep. Chris Herrod of Provo joins Hatch and ex-state Sen. Dan Liljenquist, apparently trying to carve out space on the ultra-right as he's one of the state's main immigration hawks. Think back to Bob Bennett's demise, though: The clown car problem in the Beehive State may be diminished by Utah's unique nomination process, where an activist-dominated convention can winnow the field before the primary or even deliver a winner outright. (Of course, Hatch has learned from Bennett's mistakes and has worked to earn back into the Tea Partiers' good favor, so Hatch presumably has better odds of surviving the convention.) (David Jarman)
• VA-Sen: Hardcore social conservative state Del. "Sideshow" Bob Marshall has been teasing us for more than a year about getting into the GOP primary in this race (which, of course, at this point looks like an easy stroll for George Allen... unless Marshall gets in). But he may, just may, be getting serious about this: There are now reports that he's starting to collect signatures to get on the primary ballot. (David Jarman)
• WI-Sen: If anyone else was still thinking about competing against Rep. Tammy Baldwin for the Democratic Senate nomination, that window of opportunity looks like it's on the verge of closing. On Monday evening, retiring Sen. Herb Kohl gave his backing to Baldwin, who is the only prominent Dem in the race.
• NC-Gov: This sure is a strange way not to run for governor: Dem state Rep. Bill Faison, who has insisted for some time that he isn't planning a primary challenge to Gov. Bev Perdue, is nevertheless going up on the airwaves with an issue spot lamenting what he calls the state's "jobs crisis." It has some of the weakest production values I've seen in a while, though (you can watch it at the link), and of course, there's no word on the size of the buy.
• UT-Gov: Utah's other clown car just got a little more clown-stuffed on Monday as well. David Kirkham, who's billed as the "leading tea party activist in the state" (and apparently its leading fan of significant digits) has said he's "99.99%" certain to get in the race. It's likely that, at this point, Gov. Gary Herbert is more vulnerable in a GOP convention and/or primary than Orrin Hatch; Herbert is considered "moderate" by Utah's skewed standards and ticked off the red-meat crowd with his support for a guest worker program for immigrants (meaning he could, a la Bob Bennett, not make the cut for the primary if he finishes third or worse at the convention). Kirkham joins ex-state Rep. (and 2010 UT-02 loser) Morgan Philpot and current state Rep. Ken Sumsion in the RINO hunt. (David Jarman)
• AZ-04, AZ-01: Big news out of Arizona, where GOP freshman Paul Gosar announced over the weekend that he'll seek re-election in the redrawn 4th CD, rather than the 1st, where he serves at present. Most of Gosar's current territory remains in the 1st: Only about a third of the new 4th is made up of people he currently represents. But the 4th is very red, and the 1st seems to have been made a bit bluer. Gosar was also facing a pretty serious challenge from the woman he beat last cycle in the 1st, ex-Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick.
In the 4th, however, he'll have to deal with a primary fight. Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is already in the race and has been raising some decent cash, plus he brings a somewhat prominent public profile to the race. They might also be joined by state Sen. Ron Gould. (Babeu's campaign wouldn't comment directly on the development, but criticized Gosar for making his announcement on the one-year anniversary of the deadly Tucson shooting which also badly wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.) While ordinarily you might be thinking a multi-way primary field would help Gosar, given how much of this turf is new to him (plus the fact that the 4th is just simply an enormous district, geographically speaking), I think this race could be wide open, at least as far as the Republican nomination is concerned.
(Also, as something of an aside, for everyone who thought New Jersey's Steve Rothman wasn't being a team player when he decided to run in NJ-09 instead of NJ-05, note that the 9th contains the majority of Rothman's current constituents, and that the 5th is already GOP-held. Gosar, by contrast, is switching out of a district that houses most of his constituents purely to save his hide—and is putting the 1st at even greater risk of turning into a Democratic pickup. Plus, I'd argue that Gosar had a much better chance to hold the 1st than Rothman would have had trying to pick up the 5th. So if I were a Republican, I'd be pretty pissed at Gosar right now… except I'm not, so of course I'm delighted.)
In any event, the Gosar switch had been anticipated for some time, so the news isn't especially surprising. It also helps explain why some Republicans had already reportedly been looking at the seat in the 1st in case Gosar bailed. The Arizona Capitol Times mentions two: former state Rep. Bill Konopnicki and Arizona Corporation Commission Chairman Gary Pierce. (The Corporation Commission is the state's equivalent of a public utilities commission.) The Arizona Republic mentions another: ex-state Sen. Jonathan Paton, who was the establishment favorite for the GOP nod in Gabby Giffords' old AZ-08 last cycle. (Paton lost to Tea Party favorite Jesse Kelly, who in turn was narrowly beaten by Giffords.)
• CA-26: We've got our first confirmed Republican in the field to replace long-time Rep. Elton Gallegly, who announced his retirement this weekend in the face of a redrawn, much-bluer district. It's Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks, who has a mavericky reputation (and may in fact run as "no party preference," which is possible under California's new Top 2 primary system). Also widely considered likely to enter—though no comment from him yet—is Republican state Sen. Tony Strickland, which would set up something of a grudge match, as Parks won her post by defeating Strickland's wife, then-Assemblywoman Audra Strickland.
One other potential GOP candidate who sounds interested is Simi Valley city councilor Glen Becerra. On the flipside, Ventura Co. DA Greg Totten has taken his name out of circulation. (It's worth noting that a Tony Strickland run here would open up his state Senate seat, which might vacuum up a lot of the local GOPers lower on the totem pole than him.) Democrat and fellow Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett is probably the overall favorite here now, though, given the new district's lean. (David Jarman)
• CA-44: I'm surprised this member-vs.-member Dem primary hasn't attracted anywhere near the same number of public endorsers from the California delegation as the nearby Berman/Sherman tussle, as it seems like a much easier choice: Janice Hahn, or the ethically-troubled, bad-headline-generating Laura Richardson. John Garamendi is the second House Dem from California to weigh in on the race Monday; he and Grace Napolitano both back Hahn. Roll Call's writeup also reminds us of a Hahn internal poll from back in August, which had Hahn leading Richardson 47-26 in a two-person race. (That's suddenly relevant, seeing as how Assemblyman and third-wheel Isadore Hall recently dropped out.) (David Jarman)
• CO-07: Not to be deterred by the damage that the Pete Coors Senate campaign of 2004 did to the family name (to say nothing of the damage caused by a hundred-plus years of putting out a crappy product), another member of the brewing dynasty is contemplating a run for office. This time, it's Joe Coors, Jr. (Pete's older brother), who's reportedly about to kick off a run against Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter in the Dem-leaning suburban 7th. (David Jarman)
• IL-08: Another big get for Tammy Duckworth: She just secured the backing of the SEIU's Illinois Council, which has considerable resources it can bring to bear in a race like this. Meanwhile, Duckworth's opponent in the Democratic primary, Raja Krishnamoorthi, announced the endorsement of state Sen. Michael Noland. Ordinarily, state legislative endorsements aren't exactly a major deal, but Noland's a fairly big player, and more important, he's from the city of Elgin in Kane County, which is demographically quite different from the base in Schaumburg & DuPage that both Raja and Duckworth are drawing from.
• KY-04: Roll Call's Joshua Miller has a good backgrounder on the brewing GOP primary in the open 4th CD, with interesting details on the various candidates in the race so far (and those likely to join).
• MA-04: Here's one additional detail about Democrat Joseph P. Kennedy III that sure makes it sound like he's going to run for Congress: On Feb. 1, he's moving to the city of Newton, a key town in the 4th CD which might even be described as the heart of the district. (Previously, as you've probably heard, Kennedy said he'd form an exploratory committee to look at a bid for Barney Frank's open seat.)
Meanwhile, at least three Democrats who had been looking at the race now say they're not going to run: Brookline Selectwoman Jesse Mermell, former Brookline Selectwoman Deborah Goldberg, and state Sen. Cindy Creem. While Creem said she made her decision before Kennedy started talking about the race, Goldberg specifically cited his interest as a reason for her lack thereof. So it's starting to look like we're already seeing Kennedy clear the field.
• ME-01: Republican state Senate Majority Leader Jon Courtney promised a decision about whether he'd challenge Dem Rep. Chellie Pingree "soon after Thanksgiving," but that obviously didn't happen. (For that, my metric would be "Do you still have leftovers in your fridge from Turkey Day?") Jonathan Riskind of the Portland Press Herald did check in with him, though, and now Courtney is saying he's "not moving in that direction. It is probably pretty unlikely." A major reason he cited is the fact that Pingree recently married billionaire hedge fund manager Donald Sussman, which means she now has access to unlimited funds for her re-election. (Pretty ironic, if that's the right term, for a former head of Common Cause!)
• MS-01: I don't think Rep. Alan Nunnelee will have too much to worry about in the GOP primary, but he is getting an opponent from the teabaggish right who has at least served in office before: former Eupora Mayor and Circuit Judge Henry Ross. I would point out, though, that Eupora is a town of about 2,000 people. Plus, the primary is quite soon—March 13—so Ross doesn't exactly have a lot of time left.
• NE-02: Glenn Freeman, a former chair of the Douglas County Republican Party and a one-time aide to Sen. Chuck Hagel, became the third challenger to enter the Republican primary against Rep. Lee Terry. I'm not getting the sense that Freeman has a lot of juice, which means that he probably only adds to the clown car effect and should help rather than hurt the "moderate" Terry.
• NY-10: It's finally official: Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who's been laying the groundwork for a while for a Democratic primary challenge to long-time seat-filler Ed Towns, will be announcing his campaign kickoff this weekend. Towns has survived many primary challenges in this dark-blue district before, though, and Jeffries may yet have to worry about getting clown-carred by one of NYC's biggest clowns, City Councilman Charles Barron, who is already in the race. (David Jarman)
• NY-24, NH-01: These two districts ordinarily have nothing to do with each other, but they're bound by the theme of presidential endorsements. On the one hand, Richard Hanna just gave Jon Huntsman his first congressional endorsement, which might seem like an open invitation for a teabagger primary challenge, but not out of character given Hanna's status as probably the most moderate member of the GOP freshman class and his archetypally Rockefeller Republican upstate New York district. On the other hand, Frank Guinta, maybe the most-watched House member this weekend thanks to the New Hampshire primary, seemingly chickened out and decided not to endorse anyone.
One other related side note: Mike Memoli reports seeing NH-Gov candidate Ovide Lamontagne at a Huntsman house party on Sunday. That may just be a courtesy call more than an open show of support, but it's still a weird bit of repositioning for Lamontagne, who re-emerged from oblivion and came within a hair's breadth of becoming Senator in 2010 by hitching his wagon to the Tea Party, to be hanging with Huntsman. Guess he has the general election in his sights, though he still has a Republican primary of his own to get through. (David Jarman)
• OR-01: The DCCC may well use that full million-plus dollars in ad space that they reserved for the Jan. 31 special election, at the rate they're going (despite polling suggesting the race is a layup... or at least a lightly contested jump shot... for Suzanne Bonamici). They pumped in $197K in independent expenditures late last week; Roll Call's Kyle Trygstad reckons the total D-Trip expenditures are now nearly $700K. Meanwhile, hot on the heels of her endorsement by ex-AG Dave Frohnmayer last week, Bonamici also scored a big endorsement from another keeper of the flame of Northwest-style moderate Republicanism: the editorial page of the state's paper of record, the Oregonian. (David Jarman)
• PA-01: As much as we at Daily Kos Elections like to get steamed about redistricting intrigue, trading accusations about gerrymandering usually doesn't have much resonance on the actual campaign trail. Well, that's not stopping Bob Brady's Democratic primary opponent, retired judge Jimmie Moore, who's now launching attacks on Brady based on his complicity in passing the GOP's redistricting map (which passed over some reservations within the GOP caucus, thanks to crossover votes from Brady allies in the Democratic legislative caucus—though Republicans themselves provided the final margin). (David Jarman)
• PA-11: Ordinarily, when someone identified in the media as "activist" enters a race, it's a clear Some Dude indication. Gene Stilp, who announced for the Democratic primary on Monday, however, seems like he's well-known enough that he might have some staying power: He was one of the leaders of the efforts to fight the controversial legislative pay raise of 2005 that still rankles a lot of hides today, became known for driving a large pig-shaped bus around the state (yes, there's a picture at the link), and narrowly lost a state House race to a Republican incumbent amidst 2010's red tide. However, conventional wisdom would still probably favor Bill Vinsko, an attorney who's already garnered some labor support, for the Dem nod to take on GOP frosh Lou Barletta. (David Jarman)
• PA-12: Rep. Jason Altmire just rolled out the now-standard boatload of endorsements from local elected officials, much like Rep. Mark Critz did in December. (The two, of course, have been mashed together in a single seat and will face off in the Democratic primary.) Keegan Gibson of PoliticsPA says that at least a couple of names are from Critz's end of the district, rather than Altmire's:
The mayor of Lower Burrell is a current Critz constituent (LB is Altmire's home town). Monroeville (whose mayor is also on the list) was not in either district before or the newly merged one now, but its suburbs are.
• PA-18: Well, that was quick. Just days after suggesting that ex-state Rep. Ralph Kaiser could plausibly run against GOP Rep. Tim Murphy, PoliticsPA managed to get him on the horn and the answer is a flat "no." Kaiser said he'd considered the race when Murphy was still considering a Senate bid (and that he'd even been recruited by the DCCC), but once Murphy decided to seek re-election, Kaiser lost interest. (P.S. Check out the awesome caption at the first link.)
• TN-04: One domino has already fallen in the immediate aftermath of the release of Tennessee's new congressional map, where one of the biggest actions was moving Rutherford Co., home of Murfreesboro, into the formerly mostly-rural 4th. After briefly saying over the weekend that he wasn't ruling out a run here, state Sen. Jim Tracy (who narrowly lost the TN-06 GOP primary to Diane Black in 2010) said on Monday that he would not make a bid. Lou Ann Zelenik, the Tea Party standard-bearer in the TN-06 2010 GOP field, also said that she wouldn't join the field. (Black had also been concerned that these two might seek a rematch in the 6th, which is why she wanted Rutherford—and thus these candidates—out of her district entirely.)
The big GOP name here, though, is state Sen. Bill Ketron, who is widely expected to run here since he directly had a hand in reconfiguring this seat to his liking. Earlier reports indicated he'd decide on Monday, but Ketron said he's still thinking about it (though he did say he "feels a calling" to the race). Lost in all this is that there's still a GOP incumbent here, Scott DesJarlais, one of the many random teabaggers who got swept into office in 2010 without having previously made any friends in the local establishment. The not-yet-entrenched DesJarlais (from near Chattanooga) may be at a disadvantage here seeing as how the district's center of gravity is now in Murfreesboro, and so he's already up with radio ads introducing himself to new constituents. (The Dems already have a state senator on deck here too, Eric Stewart, though this is a pretty red district on paper.) (David Jarman)
• WA-01: Call me Ishmael... Larry Ishmael. The Republican who in 2006 and 2008 failed to catch the white whale that is Jay Inslee is picking his harpoon back up for another campaign, this time in the open and reconfigured 1st. This ensures that the GOP will have almost as crowded a field as the Dems in this race's Top 2 primary, where 2010 WA-02 loser John Koster and 2010 WA-01 loser James Watkins are already in. Ishmael is at least one step up from Some Dude: He used to be president of the Issaquah School Board. (Although, on his campaign's bio page, notice the lengths he goes to, to avoid saying which school board he served on... Issaquah isn't in the 1st, though now he lives within the 1st's bounds in Redmond). (David Jarman)
• Special Elections: Johnny Longtorso is back with a trio of races taking place on Tuesday:
Connecticut HD-24: This is a Dem-held seat in parts of New Britain and Newington; the candidates are Democrat Rick Lopes, a former New Britain alderman, Republican Peter Steele, an executive assistant to a former New Britain Mayor, and independent Thomas Bozek. Bozek is a former conservaDem state Senator who lost to Donald DeFronzo twice in 2002: first, DeFronzo beat him in a primary, then he switched parties and ran as a Republican in the general... and lost again, 54-46. But wait, that's not all: He lost to DeFronzo a third time in 2008, by a 69-31 margin.
Minnesota SD-59: An open Dem seat in Minneapolis, this one should be no trouble for the DFL to hold. The Democratic nominee is Kari Dziedzic (note to Kari: never run as a write-in), a former Paul Wellstone aide and communications director in the Hennepin County Attorney office. The Republicans have nominated college student Ben Schwanke.
Minnesota HD-61B: Remember when Jeff Hayden was elected to the State Senate? This is his House seat, an uber-safe Democratic district in Minneapolis. The DFL nominee is Susan Allen, a tax and tribal law attorney. If elected (and that's pretty much a certainty), she'll be the first Native American woman to serve in the Minnesota state legislature. Oh, and she's a lesbian. How's that for diversity? Her opponent is independent Nathan Blumenshine, who's a carpenter and former volunteer for now-Sen. Hayden and is running on a left-wing platform.
• CA Redistricting: Democratic consultant Jason Kinney, who writes at the site California Majority Report, utterly demolishes Republican claims that their proposed referendum to overturn the new state Senate map is "almost certain to qualify" for the ballot this fall. In fact, quite the opposite: The bottom line is that in a preliminary review, too few signatures turned up valid, based on historical trends. A complete (and expensive) examination of all petitions must now be undertaken, but with the past as a guide, things look very bad for GOP hopes. Click the link for Kinney's detailed analysis.
• CA Redistricting: One question that's often puzzled me is why California doesn't "nest" two Assembly districts inside each of its Senate districts, like most states with a 2:1 ratio of upper chamber to lower chamber seats do, instead opting for a completely different tangle. The conservative Rose Institute has an interesting piece out arguing that even if there was a strong desire to do so, there probably wouldn't be a way to draw a "nested" map that complied with the VRA, because it wouldn't result in enough Hispanic-majority seats to represent the population as a whole. (I sense a cool map-drawing project here for the many DRA enthusiasts at our site....) (David Jarman)
• MN Redistricting: The judicial panel hearing Minnesota's redistricting lawsuit (necessary because the GOP-held legislature showed no interest in reaching any kind of deal with Dem Gov. Mark Dayton) just heard oral arguments last week and plans to release the state's new congressional map on Feb. 21.
• TN Redistricting, TN-09: Wowza. Rep. Steve Cohen, the only Jewish congressman in Tennessee history, says that nearly all the Jewish voters and Jewish institutions in his 9th District would be moved into the 8th under the legislature's proposed new map. Cohen doesn't seem to think this is part of any nefarious plot to divest him of part of his base, but rather that the GOP was doing a favor for Republican Rep. Stephen Fincher in the neighboring 8th, by giving him a swath of well-to-do East Memphis for the purposes of enhancing his already-considerable fundraising operation. Who knows whether any changes will actually happen, but Bartholomew Sullivan in the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports that Republican state Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris "said he spoke with Cohen… and said he told Cohen he would look into the matter and try to help resolve it."
• TX Redistricting: The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday in the Texas redistricting case over court-drawn interim maps that were intended to be used for the 2012 elections. (As you doubtless will recall, the SCOTUS rather stunningly blocked implementation of those maps last month, so now the justices have to figure out exactly which maps will get deployed.) Michael Li has some thoughts on what transpired, and since he's such a succinct writer, I don't usually like trying to summarize him when he opines on legal matters, so I'd encourage you to click through and read his post yourself. I also want to recommend two other reactions that Li links to: Rick Hasen's and Lyle Denniston's. And if you're inclined, you can read a transcript of the hearing here (PDF).