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Leading Off:

CA-Sen, CA-31: Well, this is a novel idea. Kevin McCarthy, the third-ranking Republican in the House and last year's NRCC recruitment chair, is actually looking to give a member of his caucus the boot. I mean, not in so many words, but McCarthy is suggesting that Rep. David Dreier, who has gotten pretty screwed in redistricting, should run for Senate against Democrat Dianne Feinstein. No one really believes he'd do this, of course—not even McCarthy, it seems, who offered up what he has to know is the laughable notion that Dreier "probably [has] statewide name ID." And not even Dreier, who barely raised $100K through the first three quarters of 2011 and has $700K cash-on-hand—a respectable sum for a House race, but chump change for a statewide contest in California. Nonetheless, it is interesting to see how badly House Republicans in the Golden State seem to want out, with two already announcing their retirements (Wally Herger and Elton Gallegly), and two more (Dreier and Jerry Lewis) who might do the same.

4Q Fundraising:

CO-03: Sal Pace (D): >$200K raised

CO-06: Rep. Mike Coffman (R): $415K raised, $1 mil cash-on-hand

VA-Sen: George Allen (R): $1.1 mil raised, $2 mil cash-on-hand

Senate:

CT-Sen: This is a pretty good two-fer: Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon was caught plagiarizing talking points from energy company TransCanada's website, to pad an op-ed she "wrote" in support of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. What's even better is that the statistics she lifted were a load of crap. One expert called them "monkey math" and added: "They assume that if the money isn't spent on that project, it will get burned in the street." Actually, that's probably how the free-spending zillionaire McMahon treats money herself, so it makes sense.

FL-Sen, FL-Gov: Quinnipiac has some approval scores for GOP Gov. Rick Scott (38-50, up from 33-52 in December) and Dem Sen. Bill Nelson (47-30, little changed from November's 47-27), but they don't appear to have asked any head-to-heads in the Senate race.

NY-Sen: Marc Cenedella, founder of the jobs website TheLadders.com and previously floated as a potential Republican Senate candidate last month, now says he's a "9.2" (out of 10, I guess?) to make the race. Cenedella has an ideal profile for running in New York state: he's "a 41-year-old millionaire who contributed to Ron Paul's last presidential campaign and sits on the leadership council of the anti-tax Club for Growth." Perfect candidate, amirite?

Gubernatorial:

DE-Gov, DE-Sen: Lacking legitimate recruits, Delaware's reeling Republican Party is putting forth a trio of what they're calling "real people candidates" for governor, lt. gov., and senator. Guys, the correct phrase is "Some Dudes."

MO-Gov: Oh man. This is just absolutely priceless:

On his campaign website, Republican Dave Spence, the plastics guru running for governor, says he "earned a degree in Economics" from the University of Missouri.

That may be true — but it is not entirely accurate.

According to the university, Spence's degree is not in economics. It is in home economics.

And the proverbial chaser, from Mizzou's website:

The initial one-year program was designed for young women who wished to learn proper management of the home.

House:

CA-01: Veteran Republican Rep. Wally Herger is, at least somewhat unexpectedly, announced on Tuesday that he would not seek re-election. Click the link for our full post at Daily Kos Elections analyzing this retirement, which marks the fourth in a row for the GOP. (Note that while Herger currently represents the old 2nd CD, if he had run for another term, it would have been in the redrawn 1st District.)

CA-08: This is some awfully weak "pushback." In response to a right-wing blog publishing a report saying that GOP Rep. Jerry Lewis was planning to retire, a spokesman for Lewis could only say that there has been ""no announcement at this point," according to Dave Catanese. Later, the same spokesman said that Lewis hasn't made up his mind, but that he'll back in the district next week and will make an announcement then. At least one of Lewis's fellow Republicans is getting sick of waiting, though: Term-limited Assemblyman Paul Cook says he's "pretty well committed" to running himself, though perhaps he'll put off a formal decision until after Lewis finally tells the world what he's thinking. In any event, definitely not taking Lewis off the watch list.

CO-02: It's a weird move, but it's a free shot, so hey: State Sen. Kevin Lundberg, described by the AP as "one of the most conservative Republicans" in the Senate, will take on sophomore Rep. Jared Polis in the 2nd CD. The district went for Barack Obama by a 61-37 margin, plus Polis is rich as all get-out, so it's not like Lundberg has a real chance. But he's not up for re-election to his current seat until 2014, so if he loses, then the only thing he's done is piss off a few donors, at worst.

IL-08: Capitol Fax reports that the Illinois AFL-CIO decided not to endorse in the Democratic primary between Raja Krishnamoorthi and Tammy Duckworth, though Raja's campaign is framing it as a victory because, they claim, "their local supporters were able to keep DC labor leaders from handing the nod to Duckworth." Duckworth did, however, pick up the backing of Teamsters Joint Council 25, "which represents 20 locals in the Chicago area."

IL-10: The Illinois SEIU, as we mentioned, recently gave their backing to Tammy Duckworth in the 8th, and they've also rolled out their complete list of primary endorsements statewide, all of which went to Democrats. The only other non-incumbent congressional candidate they're supporting is ex-Rep. Bill Foster in the 11th, which means they aren't picking sides in the 10th, a multi-way contest between Ilya Sheyman, Brad Schneider, John Tree, and Vivek Bavda.

IL-16: At the same Capitol Fax link mentioned a couple bullets up, there's also some fun early cat fud flying between Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Don Manzullo, locked in an incumbent-vs.-incumbent primary battle in the redrawn 16th. Click through to enjoy.

MA-04: Here's another Democrat who has decided against a run for Rep. Barney Frank's open House seat: Alan Khazei, who also ran for the Senate last year before dropping out in the face of the Elizabeth Warren juggernaut.

MD-06: Well, that was weaksauce. After talking up a run against Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in the Republican primary, state GOP chair Alex Mooney says he's backing off… and is endorsing the incumbent. Bartlett still faces a whole host of potential primary challengers, though, including one unexpected new name: state Del. Kathy Afzali. Since Maryland's filing deadline is Wednesday, though, we'll know exactly what the field looks like then.

NJ-05: Adam Gussen, the deputy mayor of Teaneck (the second-largest city in Bergen County with a population of 40K), became the first Democrat to announce a run against Republican Rep. Scott Garrett in the redrawn 5th District. Oddly, in his launch statement, he took a not-at-all veiled shot at former New York Giants linebacker Harry Carson, who is also looking at a bid: "Bored celebrities and ex-athletes seeking the next thrill are not the answer to the critical and real issues facing us today." Um, not only is Carson one of the most beloved sports figures in the metropolitan area, but let's stay focused on Garrett here, shall we?

NY-13: What a dumbass:

Congressman Michael Grimm, who’s campaigning for Mitt Romney in New Hampshire and acting as a media surrogate, defended Romney’s statement that he likes “being able to fire people who provide services to me.” Congressman Grimm contended that the comments weren’t that bad. “Yesterday, the Governor said something about firing people. I think it was a very good thing because it’s honest and it’s real.”

WV-01: Well, this seems like a mistake to me. Democratic state Rep. Tim Manchin (cousin to Sen. Joe Manchin) was being recruited by the DCCC to take on GOP freshman David McKinley this year, and he seemed like a potentially strong candidate. But Manchin now says he won't make a bid, though he adds that he might make "a future run for federal office," in the words of the Times West Virginian. The problem here is that the state is quite clearly trending red and has been for some time. The longer Manchin waits, the more entrenched McKinley will become, and the more accustomed West Virginians will get to voting Republican. Here's a simple way to frame the issue: If you were a Democrat seeking office in the Mountain State, would you rather be running now or ten years ago? Clearly you'd prefer to run a decade ago, so by the same token, 2012 has to be preferable to any point further down the road. Get in now while you still can.

Other Races:

MO-LG: Former Democratic state Rep. Judy Baker, who ran a creditable race in the difficult 9th CD back in 2008 (losing by just 2.5% to now-Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer), says she's exploring a bid for lieutenant governor. Two other candidates are already seeking the right to take on infamous Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, though: former state Auditor Susan Montee and Missouri Conservation Commission member Becky Plattner. Kinder, for that matter, appears to have some primary opposition of his own, from two state senators: Brad Lager and Luann Ridgeway. However, Kinder only decided to seek re-election as LG in late November (after a very abortive non-run for governor), so it looks like there's still some reshuffling left to take place.

Redistricting Roundup:

CT Redistricting: Gotta give Nutmeg Republicans credit for trying: Having been told by the special master drawing Connecticut's new congressional map that any changes are going to be pretty minimal, the state GOP has switched tactics yet again and is now seeking to have Democratic New Britain moved out of the swingy 5th CD and into the dark blue 1st. The problem is that if the master is serious about creating a "least-change" plan, it's impossible to see how this will fly, since the 5th needs to pick up a teeny handful of people (523) and the 1st doesn't need a whole lot more (3,868). So shifting all of New Britain (pop. 71K) would seem like serious overkill, since an almost equivalent number of people would need to be shifted back.

FL Redistricting: Well, the Florida state House managed to narrow its Chinese menu's worth of congressional redistricting options down to a more reasonable handful, from seven to "just" three. It's not entirely clear which plans they've decided on, though that information should appear soon here.

Speaking of Florida redistricting, this story from thirty years ago is pretty amusing—file it under the category of "funnymanders." Back in 1982, Florida was gaining four new seats in Congress and powerful GOP state legislator Curt Kiser was perfectly positioned to scoop one of them up. Or so he thought:

It looked like a cinch. So confident was Kiser of his chances that one day he emerged from a Capitol hearing, smiled and said, "Just call me 'Congressman.'" This paper picked up the line and printed it, and Kiser has never quite lived it down.

"I deserved the criticism," Kiser said Monday, candid and straightforward as always. "I never should have said anything like that."

Kiser never made it to Capitol Hill. Instead, the prize went to an obscure lawyer from Tarpon Springs named Mike Bilirakis.

KY Redistricting: Hmm. Despite pledges from both sides to get redistricting finished quickly, it sounds like the process is already breaking down, even though the legislature has been back in session for barely a week. While it's not clear what exactly is causing the derailment, it seems like it's the usual wrangling over state legislative lines, rather than congressional redistricting, which is causing issues.

NC Redistricting: Since an earlier request to fast-track lawsuits objecting to the state's new legislative and congressional maps was denied, plaintiffs are now asking the court to delay North Carolina's May 8 primary by two months to ensure their claims can be resolved before any elections are held under the new lines.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Jan 11, 2012 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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