• FL-Sen: Oh please, oh please: The Club for Growth’s president, David Keating, says that he’s very impressed with Marco Rubio, and may run ads against Rubio’s primary opponent, Charlie Crist (although he said there’s no set timeline for “endorsement”). Politico also points to a strongly anti-Crist new editorial from the Wall Street Journal that, believe it or not, compares Crist to Barney Frank (get your mind out of the gutter… apparently it has something to do with an analogy between hurricane insurance and Fannie Mae).
• MN-Sen: Despite the fact that Tim Pawlenty (not running for re-election, but probably running for the Big Show in 2012) is now answerable to the nationwide GOP base rather than to all Minnesotans, he’s not going to obstruct the all-but-inevitable seating of Al Franken. He confirmed on CNN that he’ll certify Franken if Norm Coleman loses his Minnesota Supreme Court case.
• NC-Sen: While former state Sen. Cal Cunningham is making some senatorial noises, he says that he won’t commit to a timeline on getting into the race, saying only that he’ll make a “timely decision.”
• AL-Gov: We’re up to six Republican gubernatorial candidates now; Bill Johnson, the state director of Economic and Community Affairs, resigned his post on Friday and declared his candidacy. Despite his statewide position, Johnson seems like kind of an odd duck; he was the Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri in 1994.
• SC-Gov: The behind-the-scenes battle is heating up between Mark Sanford and his Lt. Governor and possible successor (either via resignation or the 2010 election), Andre Bauer. Bauer’s would-be opponents (who would be at a disadvantage if Bauer comes into the election as an incumbent) are already dusting off old lines of attack from his LG primary campaign in 2006, that Bauer is too much of a fast-driving, plane-crashing party boy and not sufficiently conservative. (Bauer’s spokesperson does some very strange pushback in this article, seemingly protesting too much that Bauer is merely a “red-blooded American male” and “straight.”) The New York Times details efforts by Bauer’s camp to exert pressure on legislators to pressure Sanford to resign (which came to public light when Bauer’s camp inadvertently contacted an ally of potential 2010 rival AG Henry McMaster).
Meanwhile, State Rep. Nikki Haley has been encouraging Sanford not to resign (which he says he won’t do) — on the surface because she was one of Sanford’s few legislative allies even before the scandal, but at this point, more importantly because she’s also running in 2010 and would be at a disadvantage if Bauer comes in as a one-year incumbent. She has also issued a statement “fear[ing] for the conservative reform movement” if Bauer takes office. Similarly, McMaster seems reluctant to launch criminal investigations into Sanford — again, the subtext being that would make Sanford’s immediate replacement by Bauer likelier.
• WI-Gov: Here’s an interesting rumor: Gov. Jim Doyle may be in line to take over as the next head of the Peace Corps. Not only would this spare us a 2nd re-election run by Doyle, who’s been posting mediocre poll numbers, but, assuming he resigns to take the new post, it would give Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton the chance to run in 2010 with a year of incumbency under her belt.
• AL-05: Despite earlier reports that the GOP was happy with their recruit to run in AL-05, businessman and local GOP “minority outreach” coordinator Lester Philip, they’ve recruited a higher-profile figure to run against freshman Rep. Parker Griffith. Madison Co. (location of Huntsville) Commissioner Mo Brooks said he’ll formally enter the race this week.
• CA-11: After first flirting with the CA-10 special election and then flirting with the idea of running against Rep. Jerry McNerney in CA-11 in 2010, Contra Costa Co. Sheriff Warren Rupf declared that he isn’t running for Congress, period. Rupf, in fact, basically gave Congress the middle finger, saying his values “don’t line up with the fringes of either party and compromising my values or my priorities is a price I am not willing to pay.”
• CA-24: The DCCC has been cajoling
Peter Jim Dantona, a local political consultant, to get into the race against longtime Rep. Elton Gallegly in the 24th. Dantona proved his bona fides by almost winning a seat on the Ventura Co. Board of Supervisors in a heavily Republican district. (Another consideration is the possibility that Gallegly, who’s tried to retire before, may turn this district, which Obama won 51-48, into an open seat if faced with a stiff challenge.)
• CA-50: A Francine Busby fundraiser in a supporter’s backyard turned into a bit of a melee when the police were called over a noise complaint, ending with the party’s 60-year-old host getting pepper-sprayed and arrested when she wouldn’t give the police her name and date of birth.
• FL-24: GOP State Rep. (and former mayor of Port Orange) Dorothy Hukill announced her interest in taking on Rep. Suzanne Kosmas. The NRCC was already highly touting Winter Park City Commissioner Karen Diebel in this race, so it’ll be interesting to see if Hukill is doing this on her own, or if the NRCC kept looking after pre-emptive Dem attacks on Diebel’s stability may have damaged Diebel.
• MI-03: Rep. Vernon Ehlers, who’s 75, sounded a little ambivalent about running for another term in 2010. Roll Call does some interesting dot-connecting: Ehlers and SoS Terri Lynn Land are friendly, and her sudden jump out of the governor’s race, where she looked competitive, may have something to do with her getting some insider information on MI-03 being available instead.
• NC-08: The GOP is still wondering what to do about a challenge to freshman Rep. Larry Kissell. Oddly, their first choice is a rerun by former Rep. Robin Hayes, who looked clueless en route to losing in 2008 by over 10 points. (Hayes is still considering it, but also helping to recruit other candidates.) Another possible (and more ominous) contender, who hasn’t ruled it out, is Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory, who lost the 2008 gubernatorial race and will be looking for something else to do after his seventh mayoral term ends this year. Union Co. District Attorney John Snyder was also cited as a possible GOPer.
• NE-02: Rep. Lee Terry seems to be under a lot of stress lately, as seen by his recent F-bomb-laced freak-out when trying to cross the street in Washington.
• Fundraising: Just a friendly reminder: the fundraising quarter ends tomorrow. If there’s a candidate out there who you want to give some early momentum to, now’s the time to contribute.