I don't know if this is the longest roundup ever posted on this site, but it sure comes close. I had the pleasure of taking a trip to WV-3 last week... and then returning to find the political world turned upside down with two Senate retirements, three new gubernatorial candidates, and enough Tea Leaves to caffeinate Boston Harbor. Let's sort out today's giant slug of news:
WV-Sen: After some brief posturing towards a primary challenge, Rep. David McKinley (R) seems to be much more at ease with supporting fellow Rep. Shelley Moore Capito for the Senate seat. McKinley is careful to say he is not officially endorsing Capito, but says that it's unlikely he would not eventually back her. I can also report (from personal sources) that John Raese has been telling those around him that he is not interested in re-entering politics with a primary challenge to Capito.
GA-Sen: Conventional wisdom on this race. Rep. Tom Price looks like the early front-runner.
More GA-Sen: Rep. John Barrow and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Dems' two strongest possible candidates, are both noncomittal on a Senate bid and both sound like they're leaning against a run.
IA-Sen: Conventional wisdom on the wide-open field. Rep. Bruce Braley will likely have the D nomination if he wants it. Republicans' picture is much more muddled, but most insiders want Rep. Tom Latham.
More IA-Sen: Braley confirms his interest. State Sen. Brad Zaun (R), a weak candidate who lost to Boswell in 2010, is also interested.
MA-Sen: Rep. Stephen Lynch (D) may or may not be running against Ed Markey in the Senate special primary. After news reports leaked Friday that Lynch would indeed run, the congressman pushed back, saying he has not made a decision. While Lynch would be the distinct primary underdog due to his relative social conservatism, he may have Menino's Boston machine behind him.
More MA-Sen: A new MassInc poll shows Scott Brown in commanding position if he runs again in the special.
AK-Sen: Joe Miller, the spectacularly bad candidate who beat Lisa Murkowski in the 2010 Republican Primary before losing to her in the general, is looking to try again in 2014 against Sen. Mark Begich (D). Miller met with Murkowski and NRSC chair Jerry Moran last week; here's hoping they did not offer him any encouragement as Miller is probably the only Republican nominee that could guarantee Begich's re-election.
IL-Sen: Sen. Dick Durbin (D) says he will announce in the next few weeks whether he'll seek re-election. I'm betting on retirement but so far I've been in the minority. The article speculates LG Sheila Simon as a potential replacement, though I think more realistic Dem options than the uncharismatic and Quinn-tied Simon are Cook Board Pres. Toni Preckwinckle and Reps. Tammy Duckworth, Mike Quigley, and Jan Schakowsky.
CO-Sen: Rep. Mike Coffman (R) says he's officially not interested in a challenge to Udall. Fellow R Rep. Cory Gardner is in no hurry to make a decision.
AR-Sen: Freshman Rep. Tom Cotton (R) continues to be talked about as a prospective candidate for this race, even though LG Mark Darr is putting out feelers for a run. Cotton recieved rockstar treatment at this week's National Review conference in DC.
NJ-Sen '18: You may recall that Sen. Bob Menendez (D) made it into our "Turkey of the Year" awards for patronizing Caribbean hookers and skipping out on the bill. Now the FBI is investigating him for breaking ethics rules and campaign finance laws in the course of his trips.Governor:
AR-Gov: After news of an affair left his campaign more-or-less fatally damaged, AG Dustin McDaniel (D) has left the Governor's race. McDaniel was initially thought to be a strong candidate but probably could not have even won the D primary now. McDaniel all but admits that his low chance of winning post-scandal is what's forcing him out of the race.
More AR-Gov: Immediately jumping in to replace McDaniel on the D side in this race is ex-LG Bill Halter, best known for primarying Sen. Blanche Lincoln in 2010. Halter looks like Dems' new consensus choice at this point, though he may draw a challenge in the primary from Beebe admin transportation official John Burkhalter.
ME-Gov: Elliot Cutler (I) has started raising money for a rematch with Gov. Paul LePage (R) in 2014. Seeing as a 3-way race is the only way Republicans hold this seat, and ex-Gov John Baldacci (D) is all but in, this is supremely good news.
AZ-Gov: Democrats have their first serious candidate here, as former Babbitt admin official and natural gas company executive Fred DuVal has filed to run. DuVal looks like a decent "B" team recruit for Democrats, but would likely be an underdog to 2012 Senate nominee Richard Carmona in the primary, should the latter run. SoS Ken Bennett is the lone declared candidate on the R side, but both primary fields are expected to grow for the seat of probably-term-limited Jan Brewer.
NJ-Gov: In something of a surprise, State Sen. Richard Codey (D-Verona) has declined to mount a bid for Governor. It appears that Senate Pres. Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) is the only remaining name considering challenging State Sen. Barbara Buono of Metuchen for the not-all-that-valuable D nomination against Christie.
NH-Gov: Former State Rep. Kevin Smith (R), who lost to Ovide Lamontagne in the 2012 primary, is already looking towards a repeat bid in 2014 against new Gov. Maggie Hassan (D). With Hassan just taking office, this race is nearly impossible to handicap.
FL-Gov: Former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz is moving forward with plans to take on Charlie Crist in the D primary. Diaz has been lining up support from financiers and strategists and would start with a decent network of support in Dade County. Diaz is unlikely to get a one-on-one shot at Crist in the primary though, as State Sen. Nan Rich of Weston is running and 2010 nominee Alex Sink is still considering a bid. VA-Gov: National Journal and Politifact take a look at former DNC chair Terry McAuliffe's somewhat strained relationship with telling the truth. With McAuliffe already widely known as the slickest guy in the room, caricaturing him as a typical politician is probably a potent line of attack here.
IL-Gov: Hideously unpopular Gov. Pat Quinn (D) already cheated political death once, and he seems like he's gearing up to poke the tiger in the eye once again, unloading on AG (and now prospective primary challenger) Lisa Madigan over her relationship with her father, Pharoh -er, I mean Speaker, of the State House Mike Madigan. For his part, Mike Madigan says he has no intention of retiring. Everyone assumes Lisa is unbeatable for any office she wants, but with this big issue hanging over her - combined with relatively tepid recent poll numbers on her from PPP - I'm not so sure.
CA-Gov: Bush 43 Treasury official Neel Kashkari (R) is considering tackling the thankless task of running for Governor in 2014.
More CA-Gov: (Link in Spanish) There are very thin tea leaves that outgoing Sec. of Labor Hilda Solis might be interested. Solis has been more often connected with a bid for the LA County Board of Supervisors, but this is the first indication she may be interested in a bid for something bigger, either against Jerry Brown or for an open seat.
CO-Gov, CO-SoS: Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) is not looking terribly vulnerable in 2014. One potential R candidate, SoS Scott Gessler, has ruled himself out and has measured praise for Hickenlooper. Gessler's decision is just as well for Republicans as he has ethics issues that make him a weak candidate. Gessler says he will run for re-election but is sure to face a tough general election at a minimum.
House:IL-2: What could be stranger than a white former congresswoman winning a Dem primary for a seat on Chicago's South Side? A white, pro-gun former congresswoman winning a seat in arguably the nation's biggest gun control stronghold. But right now Debbie Halvorson seems poised to make that happen. And amazingly enough, the candidate two polls agree is running second in the race (see below), State Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields), has been generally pro-gun herself. I have to think that a rush to the left on guns by Black Ds is only another blessing for Halvorson here, as pro-gun Dems can probably comprise the 25-30% or so of the primary electorate she needs to win.
More IL-2: Two polls in this D primary race confirm the conventional wisdom: Halvorson is leading due to splitting of the black vote, and her two most serious black opponents are State Sen. Toi Hutchinson and 2010 Treasurer nominee Robin Kelly of Matteson. Hutchinson's internal poll shows her in an unambiguous second place and Kelly in third, while Kelly's shows the two in a tossup for second. The race for second is crucial for momentum building; Halvorson will win due to vote splitting unless one black candidate gains significant momentum over the others.
UT-4: Mia Love (R) is open to a rematch with Rep. Jim Matheson.
NY-24: Ex-Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R) sounds a similar note with regards to a third bout with Dan Maffei.
CA-31: Redlands mayor Pete Aguilar (D), fresh off being embarrased by fumbling a house seat that was his for the taking in 2012 (due to a fluke double-Republican primary win) is thinking about a rematch against the house's most vulnerable member, Rep. Gary Miller (R).
State & Local:
NYC-Mayor: Public Advocate (aka NYC's LG-type official) Bill DeBlasio (D) launched his mayoral campaign yesterday channeling a bit of John Edwards-style populism. DeBlasio is currently thought to have an iron grip on third place in this primary contest, behind Council Speaker Christine Quinn and ex-Comptroller Bill Thompson but ahead of Comptroller John Liu.
VA-Redistricting: There are new suggestions Gov. Bob McDonnell and State House Speaker William Howell (R-Stafford) are less than thrilled about the new State Senate map and may be looking for the easiest way to nix it.
MA-LG: After MA LG Tim Murray's abrupt decision not to run for Governor, another shoe may be dropping. State regulators believe Murray may have violated campaign finance laws through his ties to an overpaid Chelsea public housing official. Murray denies all wrongdoing, but expect this one to get worse for him before it gets better.
VA-SD-37: D-turned-R ex-Alabama Rep. Artur Davis may be considering a bid for the State Senate in 2015 if the new gerrymander is enacted. Only problem - in today's uninformed-journalist moment, they mention him as a challenger to David Marsden (D-Burke), whose district turns into a Dale City based MMD vote sink under the new plan. More realistic for Davis would be a bid against George Barker (D-Clifton) in the 39th, or for the 29th currently held by the elderly Chuck Colgan (D-Manassas). NV-LD-17: State Rep. Steven Brooks (D-North Las Vegas) is being detained for psychiatric evaluation after being arrested for threatening to kill State Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick (D-Las Vegas) over a political disagreement.
WV-SD-15: Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) has appointed judge Donald Cookman to fill the seat vacated by Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick (D). If 2008 Ag Commissioner R candidate Mike Teets ran here in 2014 it could be a great pickup opportunity for us.
NJ-SD-17: Ex-Franklin Twp. Mayor Brian Levine (R) is running against State Sen. Bob Smith (D-Piscataway). The Dem-leaning seat might be in play if Christie has strong coattails; Levine is a good recruit for Republicans here.
MD-AA-CE: Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold (who was also the 1978 Republican nominee for HI-Gov) is currently on trial. Leopold is accused of misusing his security detail to perform his personal tasks, including taking him to sexual trysts with a county employee. The trial continues this week; I believe councilman Jerry Walker (R-Gambrills) would take Leopold's slot if he left before 2014.