SSP Daily Digest: 6/12

MO-Sen: I’m not sure if Roy Blunt’s task just got easier or harder. Tom Schweich, a law professor and former ambassador, who started exploring the Missouri Senate race and landed some surprisingly hard blows on Blunt, yesterday decided not to run and instead endorsed Blunt. Schweich was a friend of moderate ex-Sen. John Danforth and was understood to be something of a Danforth proxy in the race. So Blunt should be happy to be free of that challenge, right? No, because he’s still likely to face a challenge from former Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who hasn’t formally announced her candidacy but has been stepping up her attacks on Blunt as an unprincipled insider. Without Schweich in there splitting the outsider anti-Blunt vote, Steelman becomes more viable.

FL-Sen: Here’s an endorsement from a key player for Rep. Kendrick Meek: he was endorsed by Miami mayor Manny Diaz, who’s recently been associated with possibly running in FL-25 or for Lt. Gov. next year. Another interesting Meek tidbit that just came out: Meek has gotten more tobacco industry money than anyone else in the 2010 election cycle (more than, say, Jim Bunning or Richard Burr). Meek has close ties with the Tampa-based cigarmaking industry.

OH-Gov: What’s that? An endorsement from a puny mortal like Manny Diaz? Screw that, because John Kasich just got an endorsement from Chuck Norris. (Which is odd, because I thought the fact was that Chuck Norris didn’t endorse politicians; politicians endorse Chuck Norris.) Ted Strickland was reportedly last seen running in terror on the shoulder of I-70, trying to get out of Ohio before sunset.

CA-03: A second credible Dem has gotten into the race against the newly-vulnerable Rep. Dan Lungren in this R+6 district in the Sacramento suburbs. Bill Slaton, director of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (and overseer of the electrial grid for 1.5 million people), filed to enter the race, joining confusingly-named fellow Dem (and Elk Grove city councilor) Gary Davis.

CT-04: The GOP has landed an interesting challenger to go against freshman Rep. Jim Himes: 24-year-old Will Gregory, a “young, fiscally conservative, socially moderate Republican” activist who applied for a White House job during the Bush administration and, when asked to name two administration policies he agreed with, couldn’t provide an answer. State Senate minority leader John McKinney also seems likely to get in the race for the GOP and would bring a bit more, um, gravitas.

NY-29: Tom Reed, the mayor of Corning, New York, announced that he won’t run for a second turn but that he was looking at another public service opportunity that he couldn’t be specific about, but that sounded suspiciously like running in the 29th against freshman Rep. Eric Massa.

FL-Ag. Comm.: Ordinarily even we at SSP wouldn’t get so far down into the weeds as to post results of a poll of the GOP primary for the Florida Agriculture Commission race, but the results are too unbelievable to pass up… unbelievably funny, that is. The idea that the guy who used to be #3 on the House leadership ladder would try to demote himself to Florida Agriculture Commissioner is odd enough, but Rep. Adam Putnam is trailing a state Senator, Carey Baker, 26-17, in that race.

NY-St. Senate: As everyone sits and waits to see whether state Senator Hiram Monserrate should stay or go (he’s vacillating on his coup participation, meaning the whole thing turns on him now), two interesting new developments. One is that the coup may lead to ouster of Dem leader Malcolm Smith and his replacement with John Sampson, who apparently has a better relationship with the dissidents. Also, there’s buzz (though nothing confirmed) that Barack Obama himself has been on the phone with not just Monserrate and Pedro Espada, trying to get them back into the fold, but also with Darrel Aubertine (although it’s unclear whether Obama would encourage Aubertine to stay in the Senate as the Dems try to get their narrow edge back or to get into the NY-23 race that Obama opened up for him by promoting John McHugh).