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Leading Off:

AZ-Gov: Now this would be very interesting. In a paywalled report in the Arizona Capitol Times, former Surgeon General and 2012 Senate candidate Rich Carmona says he's not ruling out a run for governor in 2014. Carmona performed very impressively in his Senate race, losing by only three points to Republican Jeff Flake while Barack Obama got whooped by nine. The governor's mansion should be open in two years' time, assuming current Gov. Jan Brewer doesn't succeed in her half-baked plan to run for a third term in spite of term limits. (We'll see if she actually goes to court to test her theory.) Regardless of whom the GOP nominates, Carmona would probably be the strongest Democratic option, so you can bet the DGA is calling him weekly.

Senate:

MA-Sen: Well, this would be a big pile of suck: Rep. Stephen Lynch says he is still "giving serious consideration" to running in the Democratic special election primary to fill John Kerry's Senate seat (assuming Kerry is confirmed as Secretary of State). I'm groaning because Lynch is unacceptably conservative for the state of Massachusetts: He is emphatically anti-choice, and what's more, he voted against the Affordable Care Act despite sitting in a safely Democratic seat. (And no, Lynch did not, as some claim vote against the bill from the left. Besides, the choice was imperfect reform or none at all, and he sided with none at all.)

But why be worried about a Lynch bid, given that his views would be unpopular with a majority of the Democratic primary electorate? Two reasons. First off, Lynch is a strong labor guy—before politics, he was an Iron Worker and later became a union official—and if unions decide to rally around him, they could offer a potent get-out-the-vote machine in what might be a low-turnout affair. Second, if Rep. Mike Capuano were to get in (as he's threatened), that might split the liberal vote with Rep. Ed Markey—the frontrunner and only declared candidate so far. Put those two together and you've got the possibility that Lynch could sneak through. Let's hope nothing like that comes to pass.

MN-Sen: So what exactly did GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen say about a possible run for Senate in 2014 against Al Franken? Minnesota Public Radio first quoted him as saying, "No, that's ridiculous" in response to a question directly on point. But then Paulsen's campaign insisted he'd been misquoted, after a fashion:

Paulsen's office says his use of the word "ridiculous" wasn't about running for Senate. A spokesman says Paulsen used the word in the context to the preface of the question that mentioned Paulsen's "no" vote on the fiscal cliff deal before asking whether he was running for Senate.
That, uh, makes no sense at all. I mean, I just can't parse it. I'd love to hear the audio (if there is any) myself, or even just see what the wording of the original question was. Obviously, Minnesota Republicans would love to recruit Paulsen for this race, but he has a pretty safe seat in the House and I think Franken won't be a pushover, so Paulsen has a lot of reasons to stay put. Whether he will or won't, though, we just can't say—at least, based on this inscrutable interview.

Gubernatorial:

VA-Gov: You know me: Ordinarily I can't stand it when politicians slowly dribble out hints about whether they might run for this office or that. But for Bill Bolling, I'll gladly make an exception. Virginia's Republican LG keeps dicking with his own party, now saying he's busy polling a possible third-party run for governor. When Bolling first suggested he might go indy after "suspending" his campaign for the GOP nomination, it was a delightful thought bout hard to take seriously. Now, though, he's at least going through the motions, conducting some survey research and even reaching out to business leaders—and, no doubt, thoroughly pissing off the Republican establishment.

So I'll be very curious to see what PPP's new numbers look like. They're headed into the field in Virginia this weekend, and Tom Jensen will be testing a three-way matchup with Terry McAuliffe for the Ds, Ken Cuccinelli for the Rs, and Bolling for his own fine self. While I'm sure Bolling will prefer to rely on his own polling, with any luck, PPP's results will show him with just enough of a chance to entice him, but not enough for a real path to victory. And that, my friends, is a recipe for some Southern fried cat fud.

P.S. Bolling says he hopes to decide by March. Can't wait!

House:

MO-08: Let's get this (pantsless) party started! Republican Peter Kinder, fresh off winning a third term as LG, has started ambling toward the escape hatch: As expected, he just formally announced his entry in the MO-08 special election to replace Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, who will soon resign her post to make beaucoup cash in the private sector. There's no primary, though: Each party's nominee will be hand-picked by a group of local leaders, so campaigning will be very different than what we're accustomed to. (For the GOP, there are 80 voting members, though some get multiple votes.) Other notable Republicans hoping to get tapped include state party ED Lloyd Smith, state Rep. Jason Smith, and ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who, like Kinder, has also been emailing committee members.

There's also an additional wrinkle to consider if Kinder is selected and then goes on to win the special in this dark-red district: Such a scenario would leave the lieutenant governor's seat open. There are apparently some questions as to whether Dem Gov. Jay Nixon would then be able to name a replacement, but Republicans—who control supermajorities in the legislature—may pass a bill that takes the decision out of Nixon's hands, or at least, ties them.

WV-02: Could Republican Attorney General-elect Patrick Morrisey be interested in a run for Congress—already? One West Virginia Democratic Party official, executive director Derek Scarbro, thinks so, point to the fact that Morrisey, who just ousted the incumbent AG in November and has not yet been seated, sent out a press release attacking federal lawmakers over their fiscal cliff deal. That's a wee bit outside the usual bailiwick of a state attorney general, and what's more, Scarbro points out that Morrisey ran for the House once before—in his home state of New Jersey. (He pulled in a pitiful nine percent in the open NJ-07 GOP primary in 2000.) With Rep. Shelley Moore Capito vacating her seat to run for Senate, there's a ton of interest on the part of a ton of possible successors, so it's not impossible to imagine the ambitious Morrisey winding up among them.

Grab Bag:

Demographics: You've most likely seen news stories that birthrates are dropping and we're on track for America's slowest-growth decade in ages, but here's an interesting new wrinkle: It turns out that Latino birth rates are falling even faster than those of other racial/ethnic groups. Since higher birth rates, more so than immigration, have been responsible for the surge in Latino population over the last few decades, that might slow down the country's trend toward becoming a majority-minority nation (currently projected for 2043). (David Jarman)

House: Well, the votes are in and... it was ugly for John Boehner. Two years ago, Boehner won all 241 Republican votes for Speaker of the House. This time, with a smaller majority of 233, he saw a number of embarrassing defections, leading to a weak 220-vote win (he needed 214). Notably, several freshmen went out of their way not to fit in on the first day of high school Congress. Here are the dissenters, along with the name of the people they voted for; expect to see these names as continued thorns in Boehner's side from here on out:

Jim Bridenstine (OK-01): Eric Cantor
Steve Pearce (NM-02): Eric Cantor
Ted Yoho (FL-03): Eric Cantor
Paul Broun (GA-10): Allen West
Louie Gohmert (TX-01): Allen West
Justin Amash (MI-03): Raul Labrador
Thomas Massie (KY-04): Justin Amash
Tim Huelskamp (KS-01): Jim Jordan
Walter Jones (NC-03): David Walker

In addition to Bridenstine, Massie, and Yoho, another freshman, Steve Stockman (TX-36) voted "present." There were a few defections on the Dem side, all from conservaDem/Blue Dog types:

Dan Lipinski (IL-03): Jim Cooper
Mike McIntyre (NC-07): Jim Cooper
Jim Cooper (TN-05): Colin Powell
John Barrow (GA-12): John Lewis
Jim Matheson (UT-04): John Dingell

Nancy Pelosi finished with 192 votes, though as you can see by the overall totals, six members (three from each party) simply weren't in the chamber at all to even cast votes. In general, not the prettiest showing for Boehner.

Maps: A couple neat maps to share today. One is from Kenton Ngo (an occasional diarist here), showing the 2012 presidential vote in Virginia. On the surface, we already know that Virginia's Democratic vote is heavily concentrated in its urban areas, but it's a remarkable map in the way that it keeps three different juggling balls in the air at once while still being easily intuitive to read. Ngo uses dot color to show vote percentage, dot size to show number of votes, and an overlay to show race.

The other is an interactive map from Property Shark that, on its face, purports to show changing property values neighborhood-by-neighborhood in Brooklyn: in other words, gentrification at work. But since gentrification goes hand-in-hand with a number of other demographic changes, though—race, income, and some other qualities that are harder to quantify (hipsterism?)—the map really tells a more complicated story. (David Jarman)

Pres-by-CD: Four districts today!

Alabama (AL-04, AL-06)

Michigan (MI-03, MI-04)

With most Democratic voters packed into the Black-majority AL-07, both AL-04 (75-24 Romney) and AL-06 (74-25 Romney) are ruby red and otherwise unremarkable. Meanwhile, in Michigan, results from the Montcalm County allow us to finish MI-03 and MI-04, completing the state. Those two districts are very similar as well, both having flipped from narrow 50-49 Obama wins in 2008 to 53-46 Romney districts in 2012. (jeffmd)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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