• MA-Sen: Hah, there's going to be a contested Republican primary for the Massachusetts Senate special election? Sure looks that way—if everyone can get enough signatures to make it on the ballot in time. Businessman Gabriel Gomez, who seems to be the NRSC's preferred choice (to the extent they have one), declared on Wednesday that he would enter the race, joining state Rep. Dan Winslow who announced a few days earlier.
It could actually be entertaining, though: Again, to the extent there is one, the MA GOP establishment seems to prefer Gomez, because, opines local analyst David Bernstein, Winslow once served as chief counsel to Americans Elect, the third party splitter movement that may well have hurt Mitt Romney more than Barack Obama had it been successful. Of course, it wasn't successful, and it didn't matter in the end anyway, but that sort of disloyalty may well have cheesed off Romney's remaining Bay State partisans. Indeed, Romney's old lieutenant governor, Kerry Healey, has endorsed Gomez. Nothing like seeing old scores settled when the stakes are so small.
Want to know something even funnier, though? In a follow-up post, Bernstein discovered that Gomez donated $1,000 to none other than Alan Khazei, who ran for Senate against Scott Brown before Elizabeth Warren got into the race back in 2011. And on top of that, in 2007, he also gave money to Barack Obama's presidential campaign! So this is the guy the GOP wants as their standard-bearer? Pretty awesome, if you ask me. Hopefully a "true conservative" will emerge before time runs out!
• NC-Sen: I certainly understand why PPP likes to poll their home state every month, but Tom Jensen buried the lede in writing up his new North Carolina Senate poll. In the last graf, Tom says: "The story with this race remains the same," and indeed, it does. If you want to find out, uh, how the story stays the same, you'll have to click through, because only one person should have to suffer through writing up the same poll month after month, and if Tom's already taken the pain, then I'm not gonna double down!
• AR-Gov: Looks like the Arkansas GOP is rallying behind ex-Rep. Asa Hutchinson: Lt. Gov. Mark Darr, who seemed eager to drop the "lieutenant" part of his title almost since the day he was first elected, has decided against a run for governor and is instead endorsing Hutchinson. However, Darr recently started changing his tune (perhaps knowing that this day was coming) and has indicated interest in running for Senate instead. That's a tougher race, seeing as Dem Sen. Mark Pryor is running for re-election whereas the gubernatorial contest will be for an open seat, but it may be easier than running into the establishment buzzsaw that Hutchinson represents.
Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, local columnist John Brummett claims—based on "ever-reliable information," which sounds a lot like "rumors"—that ex-Rep. Mike Ross, who has twice declared he has no interest in running for governor, has in fact had a major change of heart and is now at a "90 percent likelihood" to enter the race. I suppose this is possible, but what makes Brummett's assertion a bit harder to swallow is that he doesn't seem to acknowledge (at least in the linked article) what a big turnaround this would be for Ross. In any event, former LG Bill Halter is the only declared Dem in the race at this point, but if Ross got in, that could lead to a serious primary rumble between the Blue Dog and labor wings of the party.
• IL-Gov: Obviously there's no point in wishing for Joe Walsh to run for governor, because the very notion is just too good to be true. Case in point: After finally resolving a much-publicized legal battle with his wife over his failure to pay child support, Walsh—churned out of Congress last year—is now telling a judge that he has no income and wants his payments "terminated." Even better, after the Chicago Sun-Times first broke the story, they altered their headline slightly, leading Walsh to furiously declare that he would sue the paper because the report was "pure defamation and a hit piece." Just awesome! But this, I think, takes the cake:
• NJ-Gov: Jesus. Seriously, Jesus. These two new polls—one from Rutgers-Eagleton, one from Monmouth—seriously suck for Democrat Barbara Buono. Fortunately, at least, no one was seriously hurt in the car crash she was involved in as a passenger on Monday.
• GA-06: Not that I ever trust Wenzel Strategies... actually, there is no "but" here. I don't trust this poll (PDF) either, of a hypothetical 6th Congressional District GOP primary if Rep. Tom Price runs for Senate. Why do I say that? First, because Price hasn't even declared a bid—in fact, he said he won't decide at least until May. And second, because the clear frontrunner in this poll, former SoS (and Susan Komen wrecker) Karen Handel, hasn't expressed any interest in running for the House but rather is reportedly eyeing the same Senate seat Price is looking at.
So this seems like it could well be a ploy by Price partisans to encourage Handel to drop down. Anyhow, Handel takes 40 percent in this poll, with her nearest competitor, state Sen. Judson Hill, at 13. Really not buying this whole thing, but who knows? Maybe Handel would indeed prefer an easier House race versus what is sure to be a scorching Senate war.
• CO-AG: The job of Colorado attorney general will be up for grabs next year because the incumbent, Republican John Suthers, is term-limited. As of Tuesday, Democrats are first out the gate with what looks like a strong candidate, former Adams County District Attorney Don Quick. Adams, in the Denver area, is the state's fifth-largest county, and Quick also served as the top deputy to Ken Salazar, who served as AG before getting elected to the Senate in 2004, so he certainly seems to have the right profile.
Meanwhile, the Great Mentioner offers this trio on the GOP side: Chief Deputy Attorney General Cynthia Coffman (who also happens to be married to Rep. Mike Coffman), House Minority Leader Mark Waller, and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck. Oh yeah, you read that last name right! The same gorgeous Ken Buck who saved our asses in the ultra-narrow 2010 Senate race that another less-awful Republican should by all rights have won. Second time's the charm?
• DCCC: I think I'll file this under "believe it when I see it": According to a piece the other day from Roll Call's Jonathan Strong, Barack Obama intends to not only host a number of fundraisers for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this cycle, but he's also planning to directly assist with candidate recruitment. This would be a major change from the Obama of old, who has always shown much less interest in helping his party downballot than other men who have held his job, like Bill Clinton and George Bush; perhaps he's liberated by the fact that he never has to run for office again.
I'm hoping he really sticks to his plans (he's apparently made a specific commitment directly to DCCC chair Steve Israel), because I'd imagine getting a phone call from the POTUS would really be quite something for a potential candidate and could definitely help wavering souls make the right choice. We may never know for sure what Obama actually winds up doing, but hey, at least we can hope.
• Pres-by-CD We've gotten some more county results, this time from Marion County, OH. Accordingly, we're adding OH-04 and OH-12. Both were drawn by Republicans to be solidly Republican, and their presidential results bear that: OH-04 is 42% Obama, while OH-12 is 44% Obama.
Meanwhile, the Texas Legislative Council has released its own tabulation by CD (PDF). They generally match ours to the percent (and for many districts, to the precise vote count), so we've added the TLC's results to our spreadsheet provisionally. The three Lower Rio Grande Valley districts (TX-15, TX-28, and TX-34) are all heavily Hispanic, and all went for Obama by healthy margins (57.4, 60.3, and 60.8 percent, respectively). Another district with new results, the 60.5 percent Romney TX-27, was drawn for Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold and is otherwise unremarkable. The Texas map will likely be redrawn before 2014, and of course, we'll keep you updated on those.
TX-23, the other border district yet unaccounted for, was a narrow Romney win at 51-48. Dem Rep. Pete Gallego joins eight other Dems in occupying Romney districts (Ann Kirkpatrick, Ron Barber, Patrick Murphy, John Barrow, Collin Peterson, Mike McIntyre, Jim Matheson, and Nick Rahall). For reference, there are 14 Republicans occupying Obama districts in the 419 districts for which we have estimates so far. (And my guess is that Frank LoBiondo in NJ-02 and Peter King in NY-02 almost certainly will join that group, as may potentially Jon Runyan in NJ-03 and Scott Garrett in NJ-05.)
Finally, we've also gotten official results from Luzerne County, PA. In PA-17, Obama added 118 votes to Romney's 102 (with 3 cast for Johnson/Stein), while in PA-11, Obama added 215 votes to Romney's 254 (and 6 for Johnson/Stein). None of the changes affected the percentages to the hundredth digit. As always, you can find our full chart here. (jeffmd)