• MO-Sen: Most likely you already saw this story yesterday, but the big story in the Missouri Senate race is that Politico’s Dave Catanese seems to be the recipient of various leaks that ex-Sen. Jim Talent will announce soon that he isn’t going to run for Senate. We won’t start jumping up and down and honking our clown horn until we actually hear it from Talent, but this isn’t a surprise, based on previous rumors out of the Show Me State and Talent’s seeming decision to focus on hitching his wagon to Mitt Romney’s star instead. Without a dominant establishment candidate in the field, it looks like even more GOPers are starting to sniff out the race: MO-08 Rep. Jo Ann Emerson is now on the record as at least “considering” a run. Emerson, who’s had some mavericky moments in the House, would easily be the most moderate GOPer in the field if she ran (and may see a path there, with multiple tea partiers seeming poised to cannibalize each others’ votes). Emerson’s potential departure would create an open seat in the currently R+15 8th, an area that actually went for Bill Clinton but has fallen off the cliff for Dems in recent years, most recently with the fizzle of the touted Tommy Sowers campaign last year.
• NJ-Sen: PPP, while “cleaning out their fridge” as they said, found some week-old GOP Senate primary numbers from their New Jersey sample. They find state Sen. and 2006 candidate Tom Kean Jr. in good shape, with support from both moderates (which is probably what he would qualify as) and conservatives; he leads Lou Dobbs 42-30 with Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno at 7, “someone else” at 6, and 15 undecided.
• KY-Gov: Filing day came and went without any last-minute shenanigans in Kentucky. Steve Beshear will get a totally free ride in the Democratic primary (looks like that primary from the scrap metal dealer didn’t materialize), and will face one of three GOP opponents: state Senate president David Williams, teabagging businessman Phil Moffett, or Jefferson Co. Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw. The general election field in the AG race is already set; Jack Conway and Todd P’Pool didn’t draw any primary challengers. The most activity seems to be in the Ag Commissioner race (vacated by Richie Farmer, who’s running for Lt. Gov.), with 5 Dems and 2 GOPers running.
• MN-08: This probably isn’t a surprise, but after his upset loss last year, 76-year-old Jim Oberstar has decided to opt for retirement rather than a rerun against new Rep. Chip Cravaack. Two other high-profile Dems, Duluth mayor Don Ness and state Sen. Tony Lourey have also recently said no. Two DFLers who are considering the race, though, are Duluth-based state Sen. Roger Reinert and Daniel Fanning, Al Franken’s deputy state director.
• Omaha mayor: Omaha mayor Jim Suttle narrowly survived a recall attempt in last night’s special election. He won 51-49. Suttle vows to do a better job of communicating with voters in the election’s wake, although it remains an open question whether he runs again in 2013.
• Redistricting: Here’s a new wrinkle in the fight over the Fair Districts initiatives in Florida: Rick Scott seems to be stalling implementation of the new standards (which would limit the state legislature’s ability to gerrymander districts). The state “quietly withdrew” its request that the federal DOJ approve implementation of the initiatives, which jeopardizes whether they’ll be in place in time for the actual business of redistricting. Florida, as a one-time part of the Deep South, is one of those states that requires DOJ preclearance for changes to its electoral regime under the Voting Rights Act.
Politico also has an interesting article today about the Congressional Black Caucus and redistricting, which will reshape many of their districts, seeing as how some of their members’ districts have had the biggest population losses of any districts in the nation (OH-11, MI-13, MI-14, and MO-01 in particular). These districts seem like they can absorb some suburban votes without losing their lopsided Dem advantages, but they’re probably more worried about members getting pitted against each other (as might happen with the two Detroit districts) or against another Dem (possible for Marcia Fudge and Lacy Clay). Other lingering questions are whether Sanford Bishop’s GA-02 (the only CBC-held district that’s legitimately swingy) gets shored up or made worse, and whether South Carolina can be compelled to eke out a second VRA seat.
• Turnout models: I rarely get the chance to say this, but if you look at only one scatterplot today, it should be this one. It’s a remarkably-clear slope showing how predictable presidential approval is across demographic groups, and more evidence that the swing in the 2010 election was uniform across groups in response to macro factors (i.e. the stupid economy) rather than a failure of microtargeting. And here are some further thoughts on the matter from Larry Sabato’s new book, pointing out the really steep dropoffs in 2010 turnout for the groups I tend to label the “casual voters” (reliably Dem lower-information voters, mostly young and/or people of color, who turn out for presidential races but not the less compelling stuff in between), and how the 2010 model isn’t anything like what the 2012 model will resemble.