• HI-Sen: I don’t know whether this means that Linda Lingle isn’t interested in a Senate bid and attention is turning elsewhere, or if the now-unemployed ex-Rep. Charles Djou is just looking to parlay his accidental half-a-year in the House into something else to do. At any rate, Djou is getting back in the public eye with a new anti-Dem op-ed, and his name is correspondingly getting floated as a possible opponent to Dan Akaka. (Recall that Djou swore off electoral politics a few months ago though, in what seemed like pretty conclusive fashion at the time.)
• IN-Sen: Richard Lugar just keeps sticking it to the tea partiers, telling them one more time to “Get real” (this time in connection with their opposition to START… because nothing says “fiscal discipline” like buying a lot of nuclear missiles). Roll Call’s Tricia Miller also takes a look today at the increased efforts by the tea partiers to not split their votes against Lugar in the primary, which may actually lead to an informal statewide caucus in September to pick their prize pig. The latter article also mentions Rep. Joe Donnelly and ex-Rep. Brad Ellsworth (who officially says he “wouldn’t rule it out”) as potential challengers, suggesting that Dems are sensing this might turn into a winnable race if the primary teabagging is successful.
• MO-Sen: Ed Martin, who originally reported that he outraised both Claire McCaskill and fellow GOP primary candidate Sarah Steelman in December (with $229K raised and $176K CoH), has had to issue a little amended FEC report, seeing as how that number was… how do you say… completely wrong. He instead said he has $25K CoH, and blamed it on a “computer problem.” (A “computer problem” that gets it off by a factor of seven? What is he using, a Commodore 64?)
• MT-Sen: Hmmm, a little too soon after the murder of a federal judge to be making that kind of remark? Rep. Denny Rehberg (who seems to be running a full-throated teabagger campaign despite not having any primary opposition anymore), while appearing before the state legislature yesterday, remarked that he’d like to “put some of these judicial activists on the Endangered Species List.” That comes only a few days after his joint appearance with Michele Bachmann where he said “President Bachmann… that sounds pretty good” (although an adviser later appeared with mop and bucket to say that shouldn’t be construed as an actual endorsement).
• NE-Sen: You may have already seen this yesterday, but the bombshell revelation is that AG Jon Bruning, the apparent frontrunner for the GOP nomination to face Ben Nelson (and, let’s face it, frontrunner in the general too) was a librul!!1!! back when he was in college and law school. Some of his writings from that era surfaced, no doubt to the delight of potential primary opponents like Don Stenberg.
• VT-Sen: Fresh off his financial success in the wake of the publicity over Filibernie, Bernie Sanders actually seems to have taken to this whole fundraising thing with gusto. (It probably also helps that in 2012 he may face a challenger who’s credible, at least on paper, in the form of state Auditor Tom Salmon.) He’s holding a fundraiser in Boston this weekend.
• CA-36: Los Angeles city councilor Janice Hahn wasted no time in lining up some big name support for her House bid, from mayor (and the man who defeated her brother) Antonio Villaraigosa. (She also rolled out Joe Trippi as her media consultant.) We also have some additional names that we didn’t get yesterday: James Lau, former director of the California League of Conservation Voters Education Fund and narrow loser of an Assembly race last year, is interested. However, former Assemblyman Ted Lieu (currently running for a vacant state Senate seat in a special election to be held later this month) and Assemblyman Warren Furutani have ruled it out. On the GOP side, ’10’s sacrificial lamb, Mattie Fein, says she may run again; higher up the food chain, former NFL player Damon Dunn is mentioned as a possibility (which could set up a strange rematch of last year’s SoS election). Speaking of which, Debra Bowen seems to be in the race, at least privately; she’s reportedly the only candidate who has told the state Dem party that she is running, and she has an ActBlue page already set up.
The Fix also has a few other possible names: on the Dem side, state Controller John Chiang, and on the GOP side, county commissioner Don Knabe, or Nathan Mintz, a tea party fave who lost an Assembly race last year. The Sacramento Bee also mentions Craig Huey as a possible GOP candidate; he runs JudgeVoterGuide.org to help evangelical conservatives pick judicial candidates.
• NC-07: Republican Ilario Pantano, who came fairly close to beating Rep. Mike McIntyre last year despite some, um, glaring problems on his resume (y’know, like that murder charge and that working for Goldman Sachs), confirms he’s back for another try. The real question here is what happens to the district in the redistricting process? I’m wondering if he could wind up running in NC-08 if the GOP legislature decides to target Larry Kissell instead of McIntyre (it’d be very hard to do both while trying to protect Renee Ellmers in NC-02).
• NH-02, WI-01: Want to see your netroots dollars at work? Americans United for Change and Daily Kos are running 60-second radio spots targeting Charlie Bass in NH-02 and Paul Ryan in WI-01, in their first foray into issue advertising hitting them on their support for HCR repeal. (I’m especially pleased to see R+2 WI-01 treated as a target.) Blue America PAC is also running similar ads in FL-24 and NJ-07.
• Mayors: As if he needed any more momentum behind his candidacy, Rahm Emanuel got the endorsement of the one figure in Chicago politics who actually seems mostly beloved instead of just feared: SoS Jesse White. Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, incumbent mayor Michael Nutter is looking like he may have a similarly easy race this year. Perhaps his biggest-possible-name opponent, state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, has decided not to run; Nutter also picked up the endorsement of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia (I’m not sure whether the Williams dropout or the Clergy endorsement came first, but I’d bet they’re related.)
• Colorado GOP: Wow, you know the Republican Party has gone off a cliff when Dick Wadhams (Karl Rove protégé and svengali to George Allen) is suddenly the voice of reason in the room. Faced with a tea party challenge to his leadership, the Colorado state party chair just reversed course and said he won’t seek another term leading the state GOP. On his way out, he leveled some blasts at the very rank-and-filers that he helped whip up into a frenzy and lost control of:
“…frankly, I just got tired of the people who see a conspiracy behind everything we do, people who don’t have any clue what the role of the state party really is.”
• We Love the 90s: If you’re feeling the ground shaking, it’s because there’s a whole lot of dancing throughout the liberal blogosphere on the grave of the Democratic Leadership Council, which is shutting down. While I will gladly join in the Nelson Muntz-style ha-haing and agree that the primary factor in their demise was the fundamental crappiness of their product, it’s worth noting that their sudden rise in irrelevance seemed to go hand in hand with the sudden lack of celebrity power behind them, with the seeming end of the Clinton dynasty (and the failure of Harold Ford Jr. to pick up that flag for the next generation), and also just with the rise in polarization over the last few years, meaning less audience for their little portion of the political spectrum. I’d also point out that they provided a launching pad for some guys who are doing really good work these days, like Simon Rosenberg and Ed Kilgore.