| Tons--literally, TONS--of news today, so grab your coffee before you sit down to read. Who said nothing happens in January of off-years?
AR-Sen: Need confirmation that Sen. Mark Pryor (D) is feeling the heat? Bill Clinton, who usually emerges after Labor Day to help Dems in tight races, is hitting the campaign trail for him. In March. Of 2013.
GA-Sen: Rep. Tom Price once again firmly refused to rule out a primary challenge to Sen. Saxby Chambliss. With Rep. Paul Broun and former SoS Karen Handel also interested in running, it seems to be open season on Chambliss, who could be the only Republican Senator to face a serious primary next year.
MA-Sen: Mass Dems are generally good at getting their ducks in a row behind the establishment pick, so Ed Markey's latest endorsements are no surprise: Martha Coakley and Steve Grossman, who join John Kerry and the House of Kennedy.
ME-Sen: If Susan Collins leaves the Senate anytime soon, it will be voluntarily. Republicans, Dems, and Independents all give her high marks, and she trounces even Mike Michaud by 18 points. As with Snowe last year, we'd be in big trouble if Collins retires.
NJ-Sen: I have no idea what Frank Lautenberg is doing, but it's fun to watch. Down by 20 points in primary polls and reasonably likely to retire, Lautenberg continues to hit Cory Booker hard, this time over his mayoral record.
IL-Gov: AG Lisa Madigan (D) sounds more interested in a primary challenge to Gov. Pat Quinn, but has one big obstacle in her way: her father, Speaker Mike Madigan. The younger Madigan would make this race Safe D. Republicans hoping to get a shot at Quinn include Treasurer Dan Rutherford and Rep. Aaron Schock.
MA-Gov: Speaking of ducks in a row, it seems like Dems are rallying around the generic Steve Grossman in this race. Martha Coakley is out (she'll seek re-election), leaving Grossman as the only establishment figure, although he could be tested by an outsider like Dan Wolf or a DC technocrat like Donald Berwick.
ME-Gov: Ex-Gov. John Baldacci is "more likely than not" to run for his old job in 2014, which is great news for Gov. Paul LePage (R). The presence of a well-known but disliked Democrat on the ballot along with liberal Independent Eliot Cutler is perhaps the only recipe for a second LePage term.
NJ-Gov: The Big Fella is getting a hand from Mr. Social Network. Mark Zuckerberg will make his first foray into politics by hosting a Christie fundraiser next month.
OH-Gov: Ex-AG Richard Cordray (D) is staying in DC for another term as Consumer Finance Czar, which means John Kasich's opponent next year will likely be Cuyahoga Co. Exec Ed FitzGerald, although ex-Rep. Betty Sutton remains interested as well.
TX-Gov: Julian Castro, who reminds me of Jimmy Smits' character on The West Wing, will not run for governor. Castro gained a following in liberal circles after keynoting last year's DNC.
VA-Gov: A fairly useless poll from tiny Christopher Newport University has Terry McAuliffe (D) up 31-30 on Ken Cuccinelli, or 27-27-9 over Cuccinelli and Bill Bolling as an Indie.
CT-05: Andrew Roraback (R) seemed bullish on a rematch immediately after his loss to Elizabeth Esty, but now it sounds like he may be appointed to the state Supreme Court instead. Such a move would deprive the GOP of its best recruit here.
CA-35: Newly ex-Rep. Joe Baca is running for Congress again....but against Gloria Negrete McLeod, who just beat him by 12 points, instead of against Gary Miller, who is universally considered the most vulnerable Republican in the House. McLeod has now defeated both Baca and his son, so this is clearly a good old-fashioned revenge mission.
NY-11: Ex-Rep. Mike McMahon might challenge Mike Grimm, who ousted him in 2010. I have to think McMahon is kicking himself for not running in 2012.
SC-01: Add one more serious Republican to this primary field: Charleston school board trustee Elizabeth Moffley, who just loaned her campaign $200K.
Texas: Democrats are launching "Battlefield Texas," a sweeping initiative to distract party operatives and soak up tens of millions in cash for the next decade or two.
Virginia: A bill that would split Virginia's EV's by congressional district (a la Nebraska/Maine) appears unlikely to pass the Senate, as one Republican has already come out against it in the tied chamber. This bill seems as likely to hurt the GOP as help us; in a close election we could win Virginia but lose some of its electoral votes.
RNC: A pair Nevada GOP committee members will be among Reince Priebus' 6 nominators when he formally seeks re-election (he's unopposed). This is somewhat of an olive branch between the Paul-dominated Nevada party and the national GOP.