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10:10 AM PT: MA-05: In the previous Digest, we ran through a long list of possible Democrats who might run for Rep. Ed Markey's seat, should he prevail in the upcoming Senate special election. One name was mentioned in error, though: Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn announced a little while back that he would not make a bid for Congress. McGlynn, notes the Globe, briefly ran for the House in 1984, when Markey considered seeking the state's then-open Senate seat. But Markey ultimately backed down, allowing John Kerry—the man he is now hoping to replace—to succeed Paul Tsongas. McGlynn likewise abandoned his congressional hopes and later became mayor in 1988, serving ever since.

11:40 AM PT: AR-04: Democratic congressional recruitment in Arkansas last cycle was the pits—not a single candidate broke 40 percent in November, in a state that featured a 3 D, 1 R delegation as recently as 2010. Times, though, have changed in the Razorback State, and it may be a while before we elect another Dem there, but at least one guy is willing to consider a try: State Sen. Bruce Maloch says that if freshman GOP Rep. Tom Cotton runs for Senate, he'd "definitely be interested" in looking at the race.

If Cotton doesn't leave his seat open, though, then Maloch say he is (understandably) less enthused about the prospect of running. Despite serving in the House for less than two months, though, Cotton may well seek a promotion (many news reports suggest he's the preferred choice of the Republican establishment), so Maloch may get his shot. But seeing as Mitt Romney won this seat by a punishing 62-36 margin, he'll still have a hell of a time even if he doesn't have to face an incumbent.

11:57 AM PT: CA-21: It looks like Democrats won't get the guy who once was their top choice for California's 21st next year: State Sen. Michael Rubio is resigning to take a job as a lobbyist for Chevron, and he pretty clearly has no interest in politics anymore ("my current professional path has left little opportunity to be home for those who are most important to me"). Rubio specifically mentioned his youngest daughter, who was born with Down syndrome in late 2011, leading Rubio to abandon plans to run for Congress last cycle. That left Democrats without any strong candidates, ultimately handing this blue-tilting seat to Republican David Valadao. But even without Rubio, Valadao will be a top target for Dems next year.

A special election will also be necessary for Rubio's state Senate seat, which looks to be safely Democratic.

12:06 PM PT: Unfortunately, Rubio's departure does temporarily deprive California Democrats of super-majority status in the Senate thanks to some other vacancies, but we'll get it back shortly.

12:20 PM PT: WATN?: Justin Lamar Sternad, the fake Democrat put up by ex-Rep. David Rivera to try to harm Joe Garcia in the primary, was expected be indicted on Friday afternoon on charges of violating federal campaign finance laws. Sternad, a conservative without any money, somehow managed to pay for a host of mailers attacking Garcia (on incredibly specious bullshit), but the Miami Herald's reporting made it seem all but certain that the ethically challenged Rivera was behind the whole scheme. Unfortunately, according to the Herald, River is not named in the indictment, but perhaps he'll be charged separately at a later time.

12:38 PM PT: MA-Sen: Last week, I wondered about a discrepancy in the partisan composition of two MA-Sen Democratic primary polls: one from PPP, the other from MassINC. While the wording in MassINC's toplines PDF was a little confusing (they referred to all of their demographic categories as "questions"), it turns out that they were using party registration figures while PPP, as always, simply relied on partisan self-identification from its respondents. As you'd expect, these two metrics can yield very different results, and in a separate item, MassINC shows just how divergent they can be:

Using data from an October poll, MassINC compared partisan self-ID with actual registration data. As you can see, only 80 percent of self-identified Democrats are actually registered as such, while 13 percent are independents. Somewhat similarly, 76 percent of Republicans are officially members of the GOP while 8 percent are indies and, weirdly, 4 percent are enrolled Democrats! Meanwhile, about three quarters of self-professed independents are members of third parties or are "unenrolled" in either party, but a full quarter are actually registered Dems or Republicans.

It's for this reason that many pollsters (like the aforementioned PPP) prefer party self-ID to registration. Indeed, about 20 states don't even have registration by party, so this kind of data doesn't even exist. And in certain places, like some Southern states, there's still a considerable "Dixiecrat overhang," as I like to call it, whereby lots of voters are registered as Democrats due to tradition, even though they probably would never pull the lever for Team Blue. For instance, almost 55 percent of Kentucky voters are still enrolled as Democrats, despite the state's conservative nature.

It's not clear to me why MassINC likes to use registration figures, particularly since they themselves acknowledge that the overlap with partisan self-identification "is not close to perfect." Indeed, given how fluid party ID can be, it seems like you can miss real movement if you rely on registration instead of self-ID, since it's a lot easier to change your mind about what party you identify with when talking to a pollster versus actually bothering to fill out a new voter registration form.

2:08 PM PT: IL-02: So here's a copy of that mailer from the Illinois State Rifle Association, the local affiliate of the NRA that just sent out some lit on behalf of ex-Rep. Debbie Halvorson in the Democratic primary. It's a cheap two-sided postcard, printed in black ink (and sporting a union bug!) that weirdly conveys the message that state Sen. Toi Hutchinson is still in the race. (The piece went out just the other day, after Hutchinson dropped out, so it seems like there's no excuse.) Mostly it's just an attack on NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, whose super PAC has spent some $2 million on the race.

IL-02 ISRA mailer pt. 1
The back side features a wall of text (no photos, even), the nut of which is this:
The Bloomberg plan is to create a nanny state where the government controls what you eat, what you drink, how you travel, your health-care — Bloomberg wants to control it all.
Other than paranoid black helicopter-fearing maniacs (who don't typically vote in Democratic primaries), please tell me who is going to be receptive to this message? Is this seriously the best the NRA can muster?

2:13 PM PT: Hahah oh man. Just above the address area, they manage to misspell the current month as "Februay"!

2:24 PM PT: Oh sweet Jesus. They misspell "Halvorson" as "Halvorsen," too—in a four-line paragraph where they also spell it properly! What a bunch of clowns. If this is the best the NRA has to offer, then Democrats really ought to feel a lot more gung-ho about taking them on in the future.

2:29 PM PT: NE-Sen, -Gov, -01: Republican state Auditor Mike Foley says he's openly considering any of four electoral possibilities next year: Senate, governor, the 1st Congressional District (presumably if Rep. Jeff Fortenberry looks for a promotion of his own), or another term as auditor. Republicans (and Democrats) are all still waiting to see if term-limited Gov. Dave Heineman runs for Senate, though, as that will inform a lot of other decisions.

2:49 PM PT: AR-Gov: During his unsuccessful attempt to unseat then-Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the 2010 Democratic primary, unions were some of ex-LG Bill Halter's biggest backers. So it's little surprise to see one big labor group already getting behind him in his bid for governor: the United Steelworkers, who represent some 850,000 workers nationwide.

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