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We got a lot of news today in our election news dump!

U.S. Senate 2012

Yes, shocking absolutely no one is today’s revelation that Maine Senator-Elect Angus King (I) will be caucusing with the Democrats.  King, an ardent supporter of the Affordable Care Act and filibuster reform, was widely expected to caucus with the Blue team so all today’s news does is make it official.  King did, however, assert that he wasn’t in “automatic opposition to the other” and hopes to be a bridge between the two parties.

Basically Democrats can expect Angus King to be slightly aggravating at times but a reliable vote on a few major issues.

The 2014 Senate Elections

In 2008, Senator Pryor did not (somewhat surprisingly) end up with a challenger but that looks to be the opposite in 2014.  While Pryor is considered a political “centrist”, Arkansas’s red tint definitely makes him one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the next midterm.

Now the Congressmen showcasing some public mild interest in the race against Pryor are Reps. Tim Griffin, Steve Womack and Rep.-elect Tom Cotton.  Griffin would probably be the best bet and it would set up a race that could be bathed in revenge.

Griffin was a former U.S. attorney who was appointed by former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales of the George W. Bush administration.  Gonzales bypassed Senate confirmation for Griffin and Pryor was one of the leading voices who said that Gonzales should resign or be fired immediately for going over the Senate’s head.

As we noted in the last News Dump, Mark Begich has been fundraising quite a bit recently and as we assumed, he’s considered a highly vulnerable Democrat in 2014.  The likely challengers appears to be Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell and two Dan Sullivans (one the mayor of Anchorage, the other the State Commissioner of Natural Resources) but I guess we should never count out Joe Miller?

One of the top names on “retirement-watch” lists is 78-year old Michigan senator Carl Levin.  Levin, who has easily marched to victory throughout his career, is expected to make a decision within the next year.  If he does run, expect this to be an easy hold for the Democrats and even if he retires; Democrats should have the early edge.

Another vulnerable Democrat in 2014 is North Carolina junior Senator Kay Hagan.  Hagan who memorably trounced Republican Elizabeth Dole in 2008.  North Carolina Democrats have fallen on tough times and while Barack Obama kept the state close, the Democrats lost the Governor’s race.

Hagan doing her best retail politics two years away might earn her some goodwill.  If anything, constituents like being able to see their representative and ask questions.  Maybe Hagan is doing a great job in North Carolina but we’ll see, there is a Republican bench in North Carolina.

In the last News Dump we mentioned how Steve King hasn’t shut the door on the possibility of a run against longtime Democratic incumbent Senator Tom Harkin.  King, who is well-known as being a hardline right-winger (which is the nicest thing I could say) would probably win a primary but would be on the losing end of a general election.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad appears to agree with that assumption and has been promoting Rep. Tom Latham as a potential candidate.  No doubt the RNC and NRSC are liking that Branstad is saying this now as opposed to later.

Well the title basically says it all.  Interesting though how Jerry Moran (a first-term Senator from Kansas) and Ted Cruz are both trying to help the GOP avoid the mistakes that led to people like Joe Miller, Christine O’Donnell, Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock winning the nominations.

Cruz, who beat the establishment pick of David Dewhurst, figures to be a future national candidate at some point or another.  Moran is a nondescript Senator who barely edged out Rep. Todd Tiahrt for the Republican nomination in the 2010 primary.  So both of these Senators were in pretty contested primaries.  Just an interesting tidbit.

This little news blurb about EMILY’s list President Stephanie Schriock on a potential Ashley Judd Senate bid is a bit interesting.

While we do know that Ashley Judd is being touted as a candidate and we also know that she hasn’t firmly said “no” yet, Schriock stated that they had some “initial conversations” with the actress.  That is far from announcing a bid to challenge Mitch McConnell but it does appear that a Judd Senate run is a bit more possible than it was a couple weeks ago.

I’m still wavering on the likelihood but this is a race to watch.

Somewhat buried in all the news was the “elections” for GOP leadership positions.  Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Whip Kevin McCarthy were unchallenged and will remain but there was a small fight between Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Rep. Tom Price for the “#4” spot (or the Chairman/woman of the Republican Conference).  McMorris Rodgers was the preferred establishment choice while Price represented the right wing of the party.

Price lost and as fellow Georgia rep. Phil Gingrey said:

He’s not the kind of guy that kind of takes his marbles and goes home,” Gingrey said. “He won’t do that. He will be right in there. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him seek another opportunity sooner rather than later to run for something else. Tom’s young and he’s healthy and he’s a friend, and I’ll be right there to help him all the way.

Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss has been considered a potential Republican to face a right-wing primary challenge.  Gingrey seems to be implying that Price would at least look into “another opportunity” which could mean a challenge to Chambliss.  Democrats better scramble to find a better candidate than Jim Martin, maybe House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams?

Race For The Presidency 2016

Yes this is happening and yes this is way too early with the election about 3 years and 350+ days away.  But it’s worth mentioning in the whole “why not?” way.  The Buffalo News endorsement though does say the same things that a lot of Democrats are saying about a potential Hillary Clinton Presidency though.

More to come later!