• CO-Sen: It’s primary protection week at the White House. Fresh off hosting a big fundraiser for Arlen Specter, Barack Obama officially endorsed Sen. Michael Bennet, who’s fending off an ideologically curious primary challenge from former CO House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. (J)
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio has picked up his second endorsement from Florida’s GOP House delegation. 5th District Rep. (and Main Street Partnership member, although certainly one of its less ‘moderate’ members) Ginny Brown-Waite endorsed Rubio yesterday, giving his Senate candidacy a potentially useful endorsement in the Tampa and Orlando exurbs. Back in June, dark red Panhandle Rep. Jeff Miller gave Rubio his official blessing. (J)
• MA-Sen: On a recent appearance on Fox Business, Harvard law professor and TARP watchdog Elizabeth Warren refused to flat-out say “no” when asked if she’d consider running for Ted Kenneday’s Senate seat. Warren is one of the most important progressive thinkers and activists in America today, but with little time, no prior electoral experience, and no campaign warchest, it’s hard to see how a potential candidacy could catch fire. (D)
Also, as expected, the Massachusetts legislature moved halfway toward modifying state law to allow temporary appointment of a stopgap Senator until the special election. The bill cleared the state House, 95-58; it is also expected to pass the state Senate, although procedural tactics will allow the Republicans to drag it out till next week.
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown is being coy about when (or if) he’ll announce his gubernatorial bid, appearing at a function with three other would-be governors but saying “The people of California are not anxious to hear from their candidates yet, and the deadline for filing papers isn’t until March – so tune in.” Hopefully he left off the part about turning on and dropping out.
• NY-Gov: David Paterson either isn’t getting the message or has an admirable single-mindedness, but either way, he’s gearing up for a re-election run, hiring a campaign manager, Richard Fife (who previously managed the failed-to-launch Carolyn Maloney senatorial campaign).
• OR-Gov: We have our first poll of the Oregon governor’s race since people started piling into it, courtesy of vaunted local pollster Tim Hibbitts’ firm on behalf of the Portland Tribune and Fox 12 News. Ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber has wide leads over his Republican opponents (although still below the 50% mark): 43-23 over state Sen. Jason Atkinson and 46-21 over Allen Alley. Ex-SoS Bill Bradbury, who made it offical yesterday, isn’t tested. In other news, ex-Sen. Gordon Smith hadn’t seemed likely to make the race, and now it’s even much less likely, as he took a cushy new job in DC as president of the powerful lobby National Association of Broadcasters. This would leave Rep. Greg Walden as the one Republican of interest who has yet to weigh in on the race.
• SC-Gov: Lt. Governor Andre Bauer has made the offer to stand down from running in the 2010 gubernatorial election if he has to succeed Mark Sanford in the event of a resignation (or impeachment). But he’s attaching an expiration date to that offer now (only through next month), saying he needs to get started on his campaign.
• NY-23: Here’s a weird thought: could the ACORN scandal wind up sinking the Republican in the special election in the 23rd? The Conservative Party is going after Dede Scozzafava for her previous relationship with the Working Families Party, whose line she’s run on in the past. The WFP often works together with ACORN, so now Doug Hoffman is accusing her of palling around with the “radical left” and demanding she disavow the WFP. (Also noteworthy though expected: state Sen. Darrel Aubertine endorsed Dem candidate Bill Owens yesterday.)
• PA-11: Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O’Brien has taken a step toward actually challenging crusty Rep. Paul Kanjorski in the Democratic primary by opening up a campaign account and filing a statement of candidacy with the FEC. O’Brien remains in exploratory mode, but says that he’ll have “more to say” on his campaign by the end of the year. (J)
• SD-AL: It’s starting to look like Republicans are going to make a real effort at giving Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin an actual race in 2010. The latest potential candidate whose name is being circulated in GOP circles is state Rep. Blake Curd of Sioux Falls. Secretary of State Chris Nelson says that he’s getting “very close” to making a decision, and state Rep. Shantel Krebs says that she’s still in “sit-and-wait mode” to see what Curd and Nelson decide. (J)
• Cap & Trade: A poll taken for the Environmental Defense Fund shows, contrary to conventional wisdom, support for cap-and-trade in some conservative Dem districts. While we haven’t seen the question wording yet, Greg Sargent says the numbers are positive in NC-11, IN-09 and VA-05, and promises full results soon. He also rightly points out:
When the cap and trade debate heats up again, we’ll hear lots more about how risky it is for “marginal” Dems to support it. It’s striking how often reporters (myself included) just accept the view that such votes are risky in districts like these, simply because someone, somewhere, claimed this is the case.
• Voting Rights: This is a welcome surprise. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a controversial Indiana law requiring voters to show identification last year, following a challenge to it in federal court. This year, though, there was a challenge to it in state court, and an appellate court in Indiana struck down the law for violating the state constitution’s Equal Privileges and Immunities Clause (primarily since it didn’t require mail-in voters to provide ID). The state plans to appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court. Has the pendulum swung far enough that challenges to voter suppression are likelier to get a fair hearing in state courts now instead of the federal system?