• AZ-Sen: Outgoing Sen. Jon Kyl says he isn’t endorsing a successor – just yet. He wants to see how the field develops first.
• IN-Sen: Look who else isn’t endorsing – the forgotten man, Sen. Dan Coats, says he isn’t taking sides in the looming GOP primary battle, not for Lugar or anyone else. Way to stick by your colleagues, huh? I guess maybe Coats is thinking about 2016, when I’d be willing to bet dollars-to-donuts he’ll get teabagged himself (if he doesn’t hang up his spurs before then, something I’d also entertain action on).
Meanwhile, Mourdock is concerned about the possible entry of teabagging state Sen. Mike Delph, who Treasurer (and recently-announced candidate) Richard Mourdock says will split the vote with him if he runs. Delph previously issued the usual state legislator’s incantation, saying he’d wait until the legislative sessions concludes at the end of April before deciding on a run.
• NE-Sen: Gotta say this about Don Stenberg: He has no fear of losing. He’s making his fourth try for senate, having failed on his three previous attempts. Still, despite almost achieving perennial candidate status, he did have a triumphant return to statewide office last year, winning the Treasurer race by a landslide. And he served as state AG for over a decade starting in 1991, so it’s not like he can’t win a race. (Attentive law students might also remember him from the caption in Stenberg v. Carhart, the Supreme Court case about so-called “partial-birth abortion.”) In any event, Stenberg is looking to present himself as the far-right alternative to AG and not-exactly-firmly-entrenched frontrunner Jon Bruning.
• TX-Sen: Either Tom Leppert just scored a sweet season pass to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, or he’s going to dive into the crowded GOP senate race. Though he has four months to go, he’s resigning (effective Friday) from his current position as mayor of Dallas, so it’s gotta be one of those two. Who wants to give me ten-to-one on Hurricane Harbor?
Maybe that’s not a bad idea, actually, since the University of Texas (on behalf of the Texas Tribune) didn’t even test Leppert’s name in their new poll (PDF) of the GOP primary. It’s not especially fascinating, though, since “I dunno” leads the way at 52%, LG David Dewhurst (who hasn’t yet announced) is at 27%, and no one else is above 5%. They also looked at a hypothetical Dem primary, between a bunch of guys who aren’t running and no one knows. Click through the link if you insist.
• UT-Sen: What to do if you’re a pollster in Utah? You’ve got a major potential teabagging on your hands, but it’s very likely to be decided at a party convention, not in a normal primary. So what do you do? You poll it anyway! I can’t blame the folks at UtahPolicy.com – it’s not like you can really poll convention-goers. And there is worthwhile information you can learn from these sorts of things.
Anyhow, in a hypothetical primary, Sen. Orrin Hatch is tied with Rep. Jason Chaffetz at 42 apiece. This says to me that GOP state delegates are likely to be even more anti-Hatch than Republican voters at large, so the incumbent is probably in very serious trouble indeed. I’m not convinced Chaffetz will make the race, though – in response to this poll, he noted that he’s already a subcommittee chair in just his second term, and that it would be “pretty hard to walk away” from his newfound influence in the House majority. But certainly someone will step up.
• NY-26: I’ve been dismissive of him so far, and I remain skeptical, but David Bellavia is at least showing that can-do spirit. The former Army staff sergeant and Iraq war veteran filed paperwork with the FEC to form an exploratory committee, and his spokesman pointed to Republican nominee Jane Corwin’s support for abortion rights (at least “during the first trimester,” which, guys, hasn’t been the legal framework for twenty years). It’ll be interesting to see if a teabagger candidacy can use a social issue likes this as its hook. Anyhow, if he doesn’t score an existing third-party line, Bellavia will need 3,500 valid signatures to get on the ballot as an independent, which is a lot harder than it sounds.
• TX-15: Felicia Sonmez runs down the House members with the highest absentee rates so far – several have missed in the range of 30% of votes in the early going of the 112th Congress. But all of them have obvious excuses (mostly bereavement and health-related), except for one: Ruben Hinojosa, who has skipped over 40% of roll calls. His spokesman didn’t respond to The Fix, but I’m really curious to know what’s going on here. Could retirement be looming?
• DCCC: The D-Trip is doing a wave of robocalls, along with some web ads and emails, into fifty Republican districts. The Hill doesn’t seem to have (or at least, have published) the entire list, and NWOTSOTB. (That’s “No Word On The Size Of The Buy,” in case you haven’t seen that one before. Remember it, because candidates and organizations frequently launch tiny paid media campaigns with the hopes of garnering free press. If you don’t see information about how much a media buy actually costs, then odds are it falls into this category. Don’t let yourself get played, and always be looking for the size of the buy.)
• Census: Here’s a new tidbit from the Census Bureau: 760 of the nation’s 3,000+ counties are experiencing “natural decrease:” deaths are outweighing births. Although most of these counties are rural counties, it’s not purely a red state phenomenon; at the state level, four states (all of which, you might notice, have not only older-than-average populations but also low Hispanic populations) also fall into this category: West Virginia, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Maine. (C)