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Leading Off:

OH-Gov: Can't say I'm surprised at all: Dem Rep. Tim Ryan announced on Friday morning that he will not, in the end, run for governor. Ryan has long had "rising star" attached to his name, and he's often been mentioned for higher office, but he hemmed and hawed for quite a while over this one and just never seemed enthused about the prospect of running against Gov. John Kasich. Instead, he'll be able to seek re-election to his safe House seat in northeastern Ohio. Ryan did not endorse any other candidates.

But there are still three other notable Democrats in the mix: Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, former state AG Richard Cordray, and ex-Rep. Betty Sutton. FitzGerald has formed an exploratory committee while Cordray is awaiting Senate confirmation to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If that doesn't pan out—Republicans are extremely hostile to him and the agency—running for governor may be his fallback plan. But Fitz seems to have the most enthusiasm behind him: Ohio Dems held their big annual dinner in Columbus on Friday night, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer dubbed FitzGerald the "true headliner." Sutton doesn't seem to have made a splash at the event, and Cordray is busy in D.C., so with Ryan out, FitzGerald does indeed seem to be Democrats' top choice at the moment.


LA-Sen: Good news: Louisiana's Republican lieutenant governor, Jay Dardenne, has finally confirmed that he is "not going to run" next year against Dem Sen. Mary Landrieu. Dardenne has long seemed to have his eye on the governor's mansion, but a recent PPP poll showed him as the strongest potential GOP candidate for the upcoming Senate race. That prompted a brief moment of speculation, combined with a vague expression of possible interest on Dardenne's part. But now that door is firmly shut, and Pelican State Republicans will have to turn back to the mess of current and former congressmen who are all eager for a promotion.

NJ-Sen: While the "Dominican prostitutes" story now looks like utter b.s., Bob Menendez's ethics woes are apparently not over. Reports the Washington Post: "A federal grand jury in Miami is investigating Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), examining his role in advocating for the business interests of a wealthy donor and friend, according to three people aware of the probe."

Grab Bag:

DCCC: Obama Alert! The POTUS is making good on his promise to help the DCCC with their efforts in the 2013-14 election cycle and will headline a major fundraiser in San Francisco on April 4 along with Nancy Pelosi. Tickets start at $1,000, and for a cool $32,400, you can join the president for brunch with only 30 other people. (Some of the events will also help retire the DNC's outstanding debt.) In addition, reports The Hill's Justin Sink, "The White House has confirmed that the president intends to hold at least 14 fundraisers for Democratic congressional candidates, with 10 of the events set for outside of Washington D.C."

North Carolina: Really finding it hard to say much about PPP's March batch of Tarheel miscellany, but hey, there is one new question I like which Tom Jensen ought to ask in every one-party state: "Do you approve or disapprove of the job Republicans as a whole are doing of running state government?" The answer is 38 percent of voters approve while 52 percent disapprove. The North Carolina GOP might have gerrymandered itself into the majority, but you can't gerrymander popularity.

Redistricting: Could the GOP have sacrificed their long-term health for short-term political gain in the House? Veteran political analyst Charlie Cook makes a pretty intriguing case to that effect in a new column for the National Journal.

Cook notes that even as the nation has grown more diverse, with a 5-point drop in the non-Hispanic white population between 2000-2010, the districts represented by the GOP in that time span have actually become more white, going from 73 percent white to 75 percent white in the same time frame. Which, as Cook opines, is a potentially huge liability for the GOP down the line:

What do all these numbers boil down to? House Republicans have done a remarkable job of "sequestering" Democrats into the minority, but in the process they've also reduced their own incentive to reach out to groups their party badly needs if it wants to stay relevant beyond the Southern confines of the Capitol.
It's a piece worth reading in full. Aside from one muffed detail (saying that Republican Dan Webster won "easily," when he prevailed by just a 52-48 in 2012), there are a ton of observations here that are spot on. (Steve Singiser)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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