Today we convene the 113th congress. It's going to be a busy day...
MA-Sen: In addition to Mike Capuano (see yesterday's AM Roundup), one other prospective senate challenger not intimidated by Ed Markey's show of Dem establishment heft is Rep. Steven Lynch. The blue-collar, socially conservative Lynch would have a difficult time winning a one-on-one primary, but in a multi-player scenario could very well slip through. Lynch would be MA Dems' strongest potential general election candidate against Brown due to their mutual rapport with urban, blue-collar, white-ethnic Dems. But, paradoxically, Lynch might be Dems' weakest choice against the socially liberal blue-blood Weld.
MN-Sen: Rep. Erik Paulsen (R), our best possible recruit against Franken, might or might not have ruled out a run yesterday. So far it's hard to tell. The other major speculated Franken challenger, fellow Rep. John Kline (R), is firmly noncommittal either way.
NJ-Sen: Rep. Frank Pallone (D) is openly making preparations for a bid against Booker - and maybe against Lautenberg too. This could be a very interesting primary.
IL-Sen '16: A very interesting piece on the first-hand details of Mark Kirk's recovery and return to the Senate, including an account of his near-death experience during the stroke. A very worthwhile read.
MO-8: LG Peter Kinder has officially thrown his hat into the ring for selection by Republican comitees (the real contest in this no-primary race). Kinder is considered, by outsiders at least, to be the front-runner. His major competition is Lloyd Smith, a former Emerson CoS and party official. Because of his personal issues, Kinder may be the only Republican capable of making this deep red seat at all competitive for Dems. And if he wins Republicans would lose the LG spot, as Nixon would appoint a Democrat in his stead. What's not to love?
More MO-8: Ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman is also placing her name in for consideration. But given her maverick repuation, her odds of being selected by a group of Rpublican party insiders are close to nil.
TN-4: State Sen. Jim Tracy (R) is quickly amassing establishment support for his newly-announced Congressional primary bid against Scott DesJarlais. Among the endorsements on his first day are Senate President Ron Ramsey, State Sen. Bill Ketron (himself a perennially speculated candidate for the seat), and ex-Gov Winfield Dunn. Collecting this kind of support is essential in this race, as it's imperative for Republicans not to allow a split vote to allow DesJarlais through.
NJ-Gov: State Sen. Barbara Buono (D) raised about $250K in December.
IL-GOP: Illinois's Republican Party Chair, Pat Brady, has personally come out in favor of Same-Sex Marriage.