• GA-Sen: After considering the possibility for many months, Republican Rep. Tom Price announced on Friday that he would not run for Georgia's open Senate seat. Price would have likely been the establishment choice in the GOP primary, but as vice chair of the Budget Committee, he's increasingly powerful in the House and he'd be putting all his gains at risk to, at best, restart his career as a freshman senator.
What's more, being the establishment favorite is, as we've seen so many times, often more of a burden than a boon when seeking a Republican Senate nomination. The primary is already crowded, with three other congressmen running, and you can never be sure that the ever-growing crazy vote will split the way you want it to, even in a multi-way race. (Case in point: Todd Akin.)
Price's decision may, however, inspire others to join the field. In particular, he's tight with former SoS Karen Handel and the two likely would not have run against one another. Had Price sought a promotion, Handel could have run for his House seat; now, she might jump into the Senate contest herself instead. (Indeed, following Price's announcement, Handel reaffirmed that she's considering the Senate race and will decide "in the very near future.") It's also possible that some random rich dudes, figuring there's still room for a mainstream business type, will want to try their hand in the primary, too. So things may yet get even busier on the Republican side.
• MA-Sen: On Thursday, a new story about Republican Gabriel Gomez's taxes broke with tremendous force, perhaps with enough to derail a campaign that was already a serious longshot at best. It's remarkably simple, which has probably contributed to its strength: Gomez took a $282,000 federal income tax deduction in 2005 for agreeing not to alter the exterior of his $2.1 million home in Cohasset, because it sits in an historic district… except the town of Cohasset already prohibits renovations to historic homes. So Gomez was consenting not to do something he was already forbidden from doing—and pocketing a huge chunk of change in the process. It sort of seems like the tax code equivalent of one of those construction jobs the guys on the Sopranos would show up for but sit around in lawn chairs all day, doing no work.
Anyhow, Gomez has been getting blistered by both the media and the Democrats non-stop since the news broke, but he pretty much ensured that the story wouldn't go away by refusing to release his tax returns, in an almost comically obvious echo of Mitt Romney circa 2012. Even more amusingly, Gomez insisted "I have nothing to hide" when pressed on the subject, which is probably not the right thing to say when you are rather obviously trying to hide something. It would be quite something if Gomez managed not only to lose himself a Senate race but earn an IRS investigation as well, all in one fell swoop.
• AR-Gov: Even though the GOP establishment seems to have rallied around ex-Rep. Asa Hutchinson, state Rep. Debra Hobbs says she's considering joining the Republican primary for governor. Businessman Curtis Coleman is also in the mix, and state House Speaker Davy Carter is still thinking about it, too, so the powers that be may not get what they want after all.
• IA-Gov: Democratic state Sen. Jack Hatch has been thinking about a bid for governor for a while, though he still hasn't made a decision. However, he did just create a new gubernatorial campaign committee and says, as state officials so often do, that he'll make an announcement after the legislative session ends. The legislature was actually supposed to finish its work on May 3, but activity is still ongoing, though state Senate leaders say they might be able to adjourn this week.
• MD-Gov: In a long expected move, Democratic Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown formally launched his campaign for governor on Friday. Here's one historical detail: No lieutenant governor has ever become governor of Maryland, or even won a seat in Congress. However, the post was only created in 1970, so this isn't some trend that dates back to colonial times.
• NJ-Gov: GOP Gov. Chris Christie just went up with another meaty television buy, this time for $800,000. That takes his total spending to $2 million in just a couple of weeks—and six months before Election Day.
• LA Mayor: In politics, there are lots of ways you can end a sentence that starts off with "It's never a good sign," and here's one of them: It's never a good sign when your campaign is forced to go dark on the airwaves just two weeks before Election Day due to a money shortfall. That's apparently what happened last week to Wendy Greuel, who is facing off against fellow Democrat Eric Garcetti in the Los Angeles mayoral runoff. Indeed, new campaign finance reports show Greuel with just one tenth of Garcetti's cash, though several unions have been spending heavily on her behalf, and she reportedly went back on TV on Thursday. Still, you can never feel good about having to go off the air, especially in such a neck-and-neck race that has turned so sharply negative.