Rand Paul: Rand has been booked by the Tea Party Express to give the Tea Party response to the State of the Union (the last two years the response was given by Herman Cain and Rep. Michelle Bachmann). More and more, the two most obvious candidates to run in 2016 looks like Rubio and Rand, who didn't really go out of his way to boost Rubio when asked. Senate
South Dakota: A snarky take on the state of the upcoming race for South Dakota's Senate seat. Republicans are already preparing their arguments against US Attorney Brendan Johnson(D) if his father, Senator Tim Johnson, does not run again (which seems more and more likely). One of the big arguments against him? That it will be argued he owes his law career to his father. Former Governor Mike Rounds (R) is already running here. New Jersey: The pressure builds against Senator Bob Menendez (D) as the New York Times encourages him to resign his gavel on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Beyond the usual conflict of interest stuff that has been building (inappropriately lobbying for his donor to federal agencies, taking flights to the Dominican Republic on said donor's dime, and generally riding that gravy train), the Times notes he "was never a distinguished choice for Chairman" of his committee. Owww.
Iowa: Rep. Steve King (R) is playing up the outside meddling card as much as he can against Karl Rove's anti-Akin/Mourdock/outsider insurgent candidate Super PAC. Now King is saying that while "it's under deliberation of course," he does not want to yet make an annoucement "in the face of the issue that Karl Rove has raised." He went on to say “We’ve got to decide first who’s going to nominate people for public office in America: Somebody outside the state with a big checkbook, or the people of Iowa.”
Kentucky: It is remarkable just how friendly Senators McConnell and Paul are in public now, but that's what happens when you have two prominent politicians looking at bigger things than intra-party politics in Kentucky, effusively praising each other at a local Lincoln Day dinner last Friday. Paul, whose former campaign manager now manages McConnell's campaign, is clearly not throwing support behind a primary to McConnell if that mythical prospect ever appears.
Massachusetts: Yeah, the massive blizzard is not doing any favors to State Rep. Dan Winslow (R), who must collect 10,000 signatures by February 27th and go through a convoluted turn-in process. He already tossed in $100k of his own money, which may be the cost of collecting all of those signatures.
More Massachusetts: Rep. Steven Lynch (D) is claiming the mantle of Scott Brown for himself in his Democratic primary with Rep. Ed Markey, even though Brown is a Republican. Lynch's campaign seems to hope that with a less competitive general, more Brown supporters will simply vote in the Democratic primary.
Illinois: State Senator Kirk Dillard (R) is not hiding his interest in running for Governor, noting "it's really no secret" that he is running again at a local Reagan Day dinner.
Massachusetts: Former Senator Scott Brown (R) said in an interview Sunday that he will announce a "potential TV deal" with one of a "couple of media outlets." We had already heard he was shopping around at Fox, but not anywhere else. Never fear, he refused to take a gubernatorial bid off the table and seemed quite open to the idea- plus, he called himself a moderate several times, a sure sign a Republican wants a political future in the Bay State.
Pennsylvania: Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D) is now "80% in" the Governor's race, according to her local party chairman and confirmed by her Chief of Staff. The DGA seems to like the idea as well- in a recent poll they conducted, she led Governor Corbett 58-31 on the informed ballot test. Treasurer Rob McCord (D) has also looked like a candidate for awhile, but with Schwartz' $3 million warchest and potential DGA support, we will have to see if there is a push to get McCord out of the race. Also of note, State Senator Daylin Leach wants Schwartz' congressional seat if she runs, saying "I support Allyson for anything." House
MO-08: On Saturday, a group of Republican Party officials in the district selected State Rep. Jason Smith over State Senator Crowell, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, and a handful of other candidates after numerous rounds of voting.
IL-02: The first congressional endorsements are in, from Reps. Bobby Rush and Danny Davis for Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly. Kelly also just wrapped up an endorsement from the Chicago Tribune.
Speaking of this seat, it seems former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has finally signed a plea deal with federal prosecutors.
Asked whether Democrats, who fiercely protested George W. Bush’s aggressive use of executive power to fight terrorism, should be protesting President Barack Obama’s similar policies, Grayson quickly pivots to an attack on Republicans.
“They love the taste of blood,” Grayson said. “They’re consistently pro-war, consistently pro-killing foreigners. They view the entire world as either a massive inconvenience or something they feel is a personal threat. One or the other. They don’t recognize the world as full of human beings.”
Rep. Grayson went on to compare himself to infamous former Louisiana Governor Huey Long and seemingly took no lessons from his defeat in 2010.
SC-01: Former Governor and Rep. Mark Sanford cannot escape his past on the trail, and he has confronted the issue of his very public affair head-on. Still, with a crowded field of candidates, Sanford seems to be the name that sticks out at events across the district. But we all knew it would be like this- the also-rans will try to get second place, get into a runoff with Sanford, and then lay into the former Governor's indiscretions.
Georgia: A good read on how politics in Georgia has shifted from the rural south to metro and suburban Atlanta.
TX-SD-6: The special election runoff for this safe Democratic Houston seat has been set for March 2nd. There is little policy difference between the two Democrats in the runoff, State Rep. Carol Alvarado and former Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia. So the winner will be in office around mid-March, and until then the seat will remain vacant. MN-HD-14A: This morning, Saint Cloud schools are starting late while MNDoT is advising no travel in the area as bad weather conditions sweep Minnesota. All of this is happening while GOTV cranks up for tomrrow's special election in this swingy seat.
Michigan Democrats: It is nice to see intra-party squabbles on the other side of the aisle, with a national vs. state take on the race for Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party between longtime incumbent Mark Brewer and national Democratic operative Lon Johnson. Johnson has already wrapped up support from the Teamsters, UAW, the Democratic congressional delegation, and Senator Levin, so it sounds like Brewer could be in trouble.