11:54 AM PT: MT-AL: Shortly after losing his race for Senate in 2012, Republican ex-Rep. Denny Rehberg declared he was finished with politics. But just a few months later, he started expressing interest in a second Senate campaign, after Max Baucus announced his retirement. Rehberg never followed through, but here's more proof (in addition to the beard) that retirement isn't suiting him: He just said that he's "seriously looking" at a run for his old House seat, which is open because Rep. Steve Daines decided to pursue the Senate bid that Rehberg eschewed.
None of the Republicans currently running for Montana's lone congressional district are especially prominent, so a Rehberg comeback could potentially clear the field, or at least render other candidates irrelevant. Democrats are hoping former Baucus aide John Lewis can convert a longshot pickup opportunity, but a November PPP poll showed him trailing all four GOP lesser lights. Against the well-known Rehberg, Lewis would face even steeper odds.
12:03 PM PT: ME-02: Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci, a brother of ex-Gov. John Baldacci, has decided not to run for Maine's open 2nd Congressional District. That leaves state Sens. Emily Cain and Troy Jackson as the most notable Democrats running to hold this seat.
12:14 PM PT: MA-09: Attorney John Chapman, a former aide to then-Gov. Mitt Romney, will run against Democratic Rep. Bill Keating. The 9th is one of Massachusetts' more competitive districts—both Scott Brown and Gabriel Gomez carried it—but Keating handily won re-election last cycle by a 59-32 margin.
12:27 PM PT: IA-Gov: Former state Rep. Bob Krause, who had for some time been exploring a gubernatorial bid, announced on Thursday that he won't run and will instead back fellow Democrat Jack Hatch, a state senator. Krause did say, however, that he will run for GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley's seat in 2016, though it's always good to be skeptical of these super-early declarations. Krause also apparently took himself out of the running for Iowa' open 3rd Congressional District, too.
12:34 PM PT: IA-03: It looks very likely that Secretary of State Matt Schultz will enter the GOP primary for Iowa's open 3rd District, since he's promising "an important and exciting announcement" next week about his plans. Schultz is probably the biggest Republican name considering a bid, though he doesn't have field-clearing star power, seeing as former Chuck Grassley chief of staff David Young has decided to drop down from the crowded Senate race to run for the House instead. One Republican is declining, though: State Sen. Jack Whitver says he'll seek re-election rather than join the congressional ruckus.
12:51 PM PT: Ideology: VoteView is out with new DW-Nominate scores, the gold standard for measuring the ideology of members of Congress, for the first session of the 113th Congress (i.e., all of 2013). If you're interested in learning more about Nominate, here's a primer.
1:04 PM PT: OH-Gov: Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune, who started contemplating a run for governor just a couple of weeks ago, has, somewhat surprisingly, decided to go ahead with a bid. Ohio Democrats have long been united behind Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, but Portune seemed to think that FitzGerald's recent stumbles over selecting a running-mate created an opportunity for a second candidate.
That doesn't really seem to be the case, though, as zero elected officials participated in Portune's announcement, and the party establishment is still solidly on Fitz's side. What's more, a recent PPP poll showed the race unchanged, with FitzGerald still neck-and-neck with GOP Gov. John Kasich. Even Portune seems to recognize this, telling the Cincinnati Enquirer: "If I'm wrong, if things really are all locked up and support doesn't materialize, I won't file just to be on the ballot." The filing deadline is Feb. 5.
1:32 PM PT: NJ-07: PolitickerNJ reports that Clinton Mayor Janice Kovatch is gearing up to run against GOP Rep. Leonard Lance, though that's only according to unnamed sources, not any kind of on-the-record quote. Kovach also reportedly met with the DCCC last month, but the 7th went for Romney 53-46 and Lance has proven to be a tough opponent, so this race will be very challenging for Democrats. (Clinton is also a very tiny town, with a population of just 2,700.)
1:43 PM PT: NY State Senate: A second Republican-held state Senate seat has opened up on Long Island, this time thanks to Charles Fuschillo, who has resigned to head up an Alzheimer's charity. According to our preliminary calculations, Fuschillo's 8th District went for Barack Obama 56-43 in 2012, meaning the seat is very winnable for Democrats. The party also has a chance for a pickup in the 3rd District, because state Sen. Lee Zeldin is running for Congress.
1:49 PM PT: ID-02: The dentists are back! The American Dental Association, one of the odder outside spending groups around, is forking out $22,000 on mailers to support GOP Rep. Mike Simpson, who faces a Club for Growth-backed primary challenge from attorney Bryan Smith.
2:30 PM PT: NC-, LA-, NH-Sen: Americans for Prosperity is launching a new $2.5 million ad campaign against three Democratic senators—Mary Landrieu (LA), Kay Hagan (NC), and Jeanne Shaheen (NH)—over Obamacare. All three spots revolve around various attacks along the "if you like it, you can keep it" theme. It looks like Hagan is bearing the brunt of this assault, since $1.4 million of this buy is devoted to her, bring AFP's total outlay in North Carolina this cycle to $4.2 million.
Hagan's also getting it from GOP frontrunner Thom Tillis, who says he is spending $300,000 to air his first ad of the campaign, also on the subject of Obamacare. Tillis speaks directly to the camera to castigate Hagan, saying she "enabled President Obama's worst ideas. She refuses to clean up his mess, so you and I have to clean up hers."
2:53 PM PT: FL-13: Candidates running in the special election to replace the late Rep. Bill Young were required to file fundraising reports on Thursday night, ahead of the Jan. 14 primary, but Republicans were utterly mowed down by Hurricane Alex. Democrat Alex Sink reported raising a mammoth $1.1 million from Oct. 30, when she entered the campaign, through Dec. 25, and she has over $1 million on hand. Republican lobbyist David Jolly didn't exactly do too badly, taking in $338,000, but that haul pales in comparison to Sink's, especially since he has only $142,000 left in the bank.
Jolly, as you'd expect, is spending heavily to win his upcoming primary against state Rep. Kathleen Peters, who raised just $160,000 and has a mere $18,000 in her coffers. (A third candidate, the Allen West-endorsed Mark Bircher, pulled in $35,000.) Peters' burn rate, of course, has been high, too, so not only will Sink be sitting on a huge pile of doubloons, but whoever emerges as the GOP nominee will likely be drained of resources as well.