MN-Sen: Al Franken isn't nearly as popular as Amy Klobuchar, but he looks OK for re-election, sitting at 50% against a host of Republicans. This looks like a third-tier target, but then again, this seat is famous for producing entertaining elections.
NJ-Sen: Sen. Frank Lautenberg continues to gently attack Cory Booker, but the octogenarian incumbent has yet to say whether he'll run for another term. It's sounding more like Lautenberg is softening up Booker for his preferred successor. (Frank Pallone?)
NM-Sen: Sen. Tom Udall (D) is being vetted for Interior Secretary, a welcome development for Republicans who would love to see Gov. Susana Martinez appoint a replacement. Would Obama really cost his party a Senate seat for a middling Cabinet gig, though? Unlikely.
WV-Sen: Shelley Moore Capito (R) is crushing all comers in a poll from newcomer Harper (R). She leads longtime Rep. Nick Rahall, previously seen as the likely Democratic nominee, 50-32 and lesser Dems by wider margins. That ought to raise questions about whether Rahall even runs, although he does lead the Democratic primary. Capito crushes in the GOP primary and has better overall favorables than Joe Manchin.
Hagel: A neocon group called Americans for a Strong Defense is running anti-Hagel ads in Louisiana, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, and North Carolina. If you read RRH, you already know what those states have in common (Colorado is the interesting one).
CA-17: The San Jose-based 17th doesn't get much attention here, but Obama staffer Ro Khanna seems interested in challenging longtime Rep. Mike Honda after watching Eric Swalwell dispose of Pete Stark in 2012.
MO-08: Jo Ann Emerson made her resignation official, so we can circle February 9 as the date local Republicans will meet to choose her successor. (That person will run in a special election on June 4, but victory is assured in this deep red seat.) The four leading candidates are Emerson crony Lloyd Smith, LG and former Emerson crony Peter Kinder, House Speaker Pro Tem Jason Smith, and St. Rep. Todd Richardson, although 9 others are running.
SC-01: And the first ad of this special belongs to....Teddy Turner, the teacher and son of the media omnimogul. Unlike his dad, Teddy calls himself a conservative Republican in the bio spot. He's one of several candidates likely jockeying for a runoff spot behind Mark Sanford.
ME-Gov: Paul LePage is unpopular (39/55), can't crack 37%....and still leads every 3-way matchup PPP tests, because this is Maine, where only two governors have won 50% since 1970 and many don't get to 40%. Eliot Cutler (I) splits the anti-LePage vote with Dems, who would be in good shape if Cutler didn't run.
PA-Gov: Gov. Tom Corbett is vulnerable, but Democrats can't seem to draw an A-lister into the race. The Great Mentioner lists new AG Kathleen Kane, Treasurer Rob McCord, ex-Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, businessman Tom Wolf, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, and new MontCo Commission Chair Josh Shapiro.
VA-Redistricting: Lost amid the shuffle of the inauguration was the big news out of Richmond: the GOP-held Senate undid a Democratic gerrymander of their chamber and passed a Republican map while one Democratic member was out of town. (Had he been present, Bill Bolling would have been forced to break a tie.) Gov. Bob McDonnell is balking at the aggressive remap, but if he signs, it's great news for 2015 and 2019.
Cabinet: U.S. Trade Rep. Ron Kirk will depart in February. The two leading candidates to replace Kirk, who is black, are white men (Michael Punke and Mike Froman), so we're likely to see more clamoring from the identity-politickers. There's a chance Obama could dip into the House--Rob Portman made the leap to this gig during the later Bush years.
Biden: Joe Biden continues to enjoy himself by speculating over a 2016 bid.