• CT-Sen: Paulist gazillionaire (and very failed 2010 Senate candidate) Peter Schiff says he’s moving to Florida because a proposed increase in the state’s top income tax rate from 6.5% to 6.7% means, according to Schiff: “Basically, what they’re saying is, ‘If you stay in Connecticut, you’re going to get mugged. You’re going to get raped.'” THAT’S EXACTLY RIGHT. A TWO-TENTHS PERCENT TAX HIKE ON THE RICH IS EXACTLY LIKE RAPE. Schiff then asked out loud, “The question is, do I really have a political future in Connecticut?” NO YOU DO NOT.
Meanwhile, despite the presence of two very big names already in the race, another Democrat says he’s thinking about getting in: state Rep. William Tong, the first Asian American elected to CT’s General Assembly and also a former law student of Barack Obama’s, says he’ll decide “shortly.” This sounds more like a reputation/name rec-enhancing move that a serious bid, though, as Tong is only in his late 30s.
• DE-Sen: The Christine O’Donnell watch is on, with the key (the only) question being whether she’ll launch a hopeless challenge to Gov. Jack Markell next year, or whether she’ll wait to launch a hopeless rematch against Sen. Chris Coons in 2014.
• FL-Sen: So here’s how you work up to a Senate bid these days. First, get your name circulated in early, unsourced media reports about “potential” candidates – you know, the kind of spitballing pieces which just list out various names based on speculation. Then, have a surrogate (probably on a not-for-attribution basis – they can call `em “an individual close to” you) tell the press they know you’re thinking about the race. Then, do some interviews yourself where you admit to actually considering a run, but that you need to discuss it with your family first/wait until the legislative session is over/see how the field develops/get the results of a poll back, etc. Then, once you’ve finally done all of this, you can take the bold step of… forming an exploratory committee. That’s where we finally are with Republican state Rep. (and former Majority Leader) Adam Hasner. Exciting, isn’t it?
• IN-Sen: This probably means more for the endorser than the endorsee, but embattled Sen. Dick Lugar (he’ll be referred to as “embattled” for the next year-plus) just got the backing of his home-state governor, Mitch Daniels. While in a more civilized age, this might be done just as common courtesy, the threat of getting teabagged often has Republicans clamming up when they get near their wobblier comrades. (Fellow Hoosier Sen. and all-around loser Dan Coats (R) has refused to support Lugar.) But like I said, this is a bigger deal for Daniels, who has presidential aspirations (yet is probably as wobbly as Lugar himself): the teabaggers are already calling for his head.
• MA-Sen: More staffing emails in the MA-Sen race-is this going to be the next frontier in tea leaf-reading? Anyhow, consultant Dorie Clark of Sommerville sent a job posting out into the aether seeking a press secretary, but refused to tell the Globe who she’s working for. The Globe notes that Rep. Mike Capuano (who lost in the Dem special primary in 2009) is also from Sommervile-as is activist Bob Massie, but he says the posting wasn’t on his behalf.
• ME-Sen: The Hotline already did this for Dick Lugar, so now they do it for Olympia Snowe – that is, they take a look at what it would take for her to run as an independent. The answer:
If Snowe wishes to run as an independent, she must file a withdrawal from the Republican Party by March 1, 2012-more than 3 months before the June 10 primary. If she did withdraw, she would need between 4,000 and 6,000 petitions from registered voters by June 1 to get on the ballot as an independent candidate.
A Snowe spokesperson insists, though, that his boss is running as a Republican. In other Maine news, PPP has one of its scorecards out (PDF), finding Gov. Paul LePage already underwater with approvals of 43-48. A narrow 47-45 plurality supports gay marriage (which was narrowly rejected by voters in 2009).
• MT-Sen: All politics definitely is not local anymore (if it ever was), but sometimes it still is. A looming issue in the Montana Senate race? The status of the gray wolf, which is on the Endangered Species List but which Montanans want to start hunting. (Farmers complain the wolves kill livestock, while hunters complain the wolves kill elk – which they want to kill themselves.) Roll Call explains the fault line between Republican Denny Rehberg and Dem Jon Tester:
Rehberg’s proposal would eliminate wolves from the list forever, and not just in the Big Sky State but nationwide. Tester prefers allowing wolves to be hunted in Montana and Idaho, while placing hunting control in the hands of state officials with federal oversight.
• NV-Sen: The Fix’s Rachel Weiner says that that unnamed (and unquoted!) “Democratic strategists” are saying they might actually prefer someone like Ross Miller to Rep. Shelley Berkley, who has already been elected statewide and doesn’t have “strong ties” to Las Vegas, which I guess is a potential liability.
• VA-Sen: God, could the Tim Kaine watch get any more tedious? I can’t even bear to go into the details of yesterday’s silliness, but now a DNC spokesman is saying that Kaine is “increasingly likely” to run. Whatever. Kaine did say last weekend at that Rick Boucher dinner that “I think we’ll make the decision this week,” but “when we’ll announce it I’m not quite sure.” Groan. I have no problem with politicians taking their time, but this endless media shtick is really tiresome. My personal feeling is that the beltway bloviators are unsually interested in this bit of kremlinology because Kaine is “of” their world in a way that few potential candidates ever are.
• WI-Sen: Is this the best we can do? Really? An unnamed “Senate Democratic leadership aide” said of Herb Kohl’s re-election intentions: “We’re pretty confident he’s going to do it.” As I’ve said before, I think you either get the answer locked down early, before reporters start asking (and hell, it’s an obvious question, given Kohl’s extremely… shall we say understated approach to governance and his age) – or you go out and say, “We know Herb will make a decision when he’s ready.” Playing the guessing game makes you look like a chump.
• LA-Gov: Progressive blog Daily Kingfish is reporting, based on their own sources, that Democrat Caroline Fayard, contrary to other reports, is “seriously contemplating” (their words) a gubernatorial run. Fayard, who lost last year’s Lt. Gov. race, is also said to be considering a run for Secretary of State. Note that Fayard did link to the Kingfish story on her own website.
• OH-Gov: Ah, it warms my heart: The University of Cincinnati finds that Republican Gov. John Kasich’s job approval is just 40-47, with independents giving him an ugly 30-52 rating. Loves it.
• WA-Gov: The basic rule of thumb about Republicanism in Washington is that you can get elected statewide if and only if you’re moderate and technocratic enough that the “R” next to your name can get overlooked; that’s how Rob McKenna got elected AG twice. So McKenna’s decision to throw his lot in with the multi-state anti-HCR suit spearheaded by Ken Cuccinelli always seemed a baffling act of pulling the curtain away on his, well, Republicanism… and now he’s in full backpedal mode, with an explanation so contorted (something about how he actually likes everything in the bill except the individual mandate, and it’s all the Dems fault for forgetting to include the severability clause that led to the Vinson ruling) that it’s not going to win over any Dems and only going to make him look weaker to the local teabaggery.
The Seattle PI also points out how little room for error McKenna has with his needle-threading, in a state where the Republican base, as a percentage of the state’s population, is the smallest of any state not in the Northeast. The numbers are 41% Dem base, 31% swing voters, and 29% GOP base. In case you’re wondering, those numbers are from a Nate Silver post from last week, using Annenberg Election Survey data for every state; if you didn’t see the piece, please go back and take a look, as it’s remarkable even by Nate’s usual high standards. (Crisitunity)
• CA-36: Finally da herb come around: Gov. Jerry Brown announced that the special all-candidate top-two “primary” to fill Jane Harman’s seat will be held on May 17th. If no one can get 50%+1 that day, then the race goes to a run-off between the top two vote-getters-which seems very likely-regardless of party. (So yes, we could have a D vs. D second round.)
• FL-22: Looks like Ron Klein won’t be seeking a rematch against Allen West in 2012: Reid Wilson twitterizes that the former Dem congressman is taking a job with a Florida lobbying firm.
• MO-03: Is there a more talked-about likely redistricting victim than Russ Carnahan? I guess he has a somewhat odd combination of a famous name + junior status, so maybe that explains it. Anyhow, Carnahan says he’s “100% focused” on seeking re-election, regardless of what happens with redistricting, and that he isn’t thinking about a Lt. Gov. run (an idea which came up in the media recently).
• NY-13: We mentioned a very similar story a little while back, but here’s more confirmation that freshman Republican Mike Grimm actually wants to win re-election: He’s calling on his fellows GOPers to support another short-term government funding bill, though he manages to sneak some Pelosi-bashing in there as well. The wingnuts don’t want to play ball because (sayeth The Hill) the continuing resolution “does not contain riders defunding Planned Parenthood and the healthcare reform law.” Gooood luck with that. Anyhow, while I never want to rule anything out, I feel like teabaggers would have a hard time taking Grimm down. Hopefully I’m wrong!
• Wisconsin Recall: Greg Sargent says that the Wisconsin Democratic Party is telling him they’ve collected 45% of the signatures “necessary to hold recall elections.” Greg also notes that only a quarter of the time period for gathering petitions has elapsed. However, I put the exact phrase in quotes because it’s not clear from the piece whether Dems are benchmarking off the legal minimum, or whether they are using a higher target – which you need, because some signatures are invariably going to be found invalid. Still, this sounds like a pretty good pace to me.
Also today, look for full polling results a little later today from Daily Kos in each of the eight GOP-held recall targets.
• Special elections: Johnny Longtorso (who else?):
Just one seat is up today (the last special election for the month of March): Pennsylvania’s Reading-based SD-11, where the long-time incumbent recently passed away. The Democrat running is Judy Schwank, a former Berks County Commissioner, while the Republicans have Larry Medaglia, the Berks County Register of Wills. Trivia note: Register of Wills is an elected office in only three states, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. It’s a pretty Democratic district-it went about 60-40 for Obama-but of course these low-turnout elections can produce weird results.
It sounds like Republicans have given up, though: Medaglia’s paid media campaign has gone dark.
• WATN?: Blarggh….
• Arizona: This overview piece of Arizona’s redistricting situation is mostly speculation, but it does go into a discussion of where recent growth has been, per the newest census numbers.
• California: Crisitunity already said as much, but at least one expert agrees with us that the Bay Area is pretty much going to have to lose a seat: Tony Quinn, an editor of the California Target Book, a well-known Golden State political publication.
• Iowa: The Des Moines Register has a fun little Iowa redistricting tool you can play around with. Of course, the process is a lot easier in the Hawkeye State because state law requires that whole counties be kept intact. (Hat tip: Dave Wasserman)
• Mississippi: A big black eye for Lt. Gov., state Senate President, and gubernatorial hopeful Phil Bryant: The Republican-controlled Senate voted down his proposed map for that body and instead voted in favor of the the map that senators themselves originally drew. A key point of contention is the Hattiesburg area, which would get turned into a majority-minority district under the Senate plan but would remain cracked under Bryant’s.
• Nevada: Some Democrats are rooting for a Shelley Berkley Senate run for reasons other than what you might expect: If her 1st CD seat opens up, that makes redistricting a lot easier for Dems in the state legislature eager to carve her seat up. The piece also mentions two names who might succeed Berkley in the House if she makes the jump: Assembly Speaker John Oceguera and Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford.