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While news has rightfully focused on the issue of gun control and the whole “fiscal cliff” negotiations, prospective politicians continue to scramble for future elections.  Let’s take a look.

Massachusetts Special Election?  Don’t Mind If I Do
In light of John Kerry’s nomination for Secretary of State, it could create shockwaves across Massachusetts if he is confirmed as speculated.  This segment focuses on those contending.

Here’s your long-shot, ladies and gentleman.  Ben Downing, a Democratic State Senator who is all of 31 years old, is publicly exploring a run for Kerry’s Senate seat.  Downing will likely be a long-shot if Reps. Ed Markey, Mike Capuano, Stephen Lynch (amongst others including AG Martha Coakley and whichever Kennedy thinks about it) but a run could very well help his name recognition across the state for a later run (say if Elizabeth Warren runs for the Presidency or retires after one-term).  He’s only 31 after all and as Ted Kennedy and John Kerry taught us, Massachusetts is fickle with their Senators.

Most speculation regarding a Kennedy and a Senate seat revolves around Ted Kennedy’s widow, Vicki.  However his son, Ted Kennedy Jr., is apparently open to the idea of running for the seat.  Kennedy Jr., who hails from Connecticut, would probably be able to raise millions easily and is likely well-connected given the strength of his last name.  But would there be allegations of carpet bagging?  Likely.  Would there be Kennedy animosity amongst Democrats who have waited patiently to run?  Definitely.

Still a Kennedy in the race would be one of the frontrunners given the name.  Classify this one under “Hmmm….”

According to a source, Rep. Stephen Lynch is privately telling confidantes that he’s set to run for the open Senate seat.  Lynch, who received some resentment for his vote against the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act, would have to deal with that specter again in a run with presumably more progressive options.

Retiring Rep. Barney Frank has been adamant that once he retires from Congress, he’s done with politics for good.  However Frank has apparently left the door ajar to being a temporary Senator for a few months before the special election.  Frank would be a solid choice for Massachusetts as he would have some allies in Senate and give Massachusetts a nice delegate for the interim.

Senate 2014

Now that Rep. Tim Scott has been elevated to Sen. Tim Scott, he has an election to start fundraising for.  Let’s remember, Scott is replacing Jim DeMint in red South Carolina; to expect a credible Democratic challenge would be classified under wishful thinking.

However Scott’s fundraising appears to give way to the theory that he could (somehow) get a primary challenge from one of his fellow Republicans.  State Senator Tom Davis has been making slight noise in challenging incumbent Lindsey Graham but he could find the race against Scott to be a better shot.  Mick Mulvaney might also consider dipping his toes in the water.  Regardless, it looks like Scott wants to put them away with a big fundraising effort.

As we have insinuated in prior News Dumps, Iowa could be very interesting when primary season winds up.  Steve King continues to play coy about a statewide run and this article by Sean Sullivan showcases some of King’s controversial moments and how establishment politicians such as Governor Terry Branstad; have been trying to publicly convince King not to run.

While Georgia and to a lesser degree South Carolina (with Graham) look to be the main “primaries to watch”; Iowa also promises to be fascinating.

If the Democrats are going to pick up one seat in 2014, it could very well be at the expense of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.  Most of the buzz surrounding this race has been focused on the possibility of a candidacy by actress Ashley Judd.

Not too long ago, Public Policy Polling released a poll showing Judd only down by 4 to McConnell and the McConnell campaign blasted the poll as being biased.

Now of course heads are scratching after the McConnell campaign released an internal poll supposedly confirming PPP’s findings.  Josh Kraushaar does bring up the theory that the McConnell campaign is trying to “rope-a-dope” Judd but as David Nir of Daily Kos Elections points out, that seems to be an odd strategy.

But Judd is pretty liberal and while that might do well for candidates like John Yarmuth and Jack Conway, Judd (who has residency in Tennessee) might have more difficulty with a tougher electorate.  She would be able to fundraise massively though, as would McConnell, but this should be a good one.

Race For The White House 2016

I think this should end speculation that Chris Christie isn’t interested in running for President.  At this point it sounds like he’s ready to almost announce an exploratory committee.

Jon Huntsman is apparently inching his way back into the mainstream.  Huntsman has recently been on social media a lot more actively than usual and written an OpEd on why Republicans have a path to move forward for America.  Huntsman might have done too much damage amongst the GOP establishment to be a big threat but his ties to business will still help him if he goes all in for New Hampshire.