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Been a while since we updated the News Dump, so let’s jump right into it and look at some of the future races that might be close to shaping up.

2014 Senate

New Jersey:  Democratic showdown?

New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone is apparently mulling a run for the state’s Senate seat if longtime Sen. Frank Lautenberg retires.  Joining Newark Mayor Cory Booker (who we will discuss in a moment) in openly touting their interest in the seat, Pallone looks to finally be acting upon the statewide ambitions he’s harbored.

Now, I believe Pallone has interest even if Lautenberg announces he will run but this could hurt Booker quite well.  In a one-on-one race against either Pallone or Lautenberg, Booker has a shot.  But in a fractured race?  Lautenberg would be the overwhelming favorite.  This could be an interesting primary.

Cory Booker appears to be trying to nudge Frank Lautenberg out the door but this time it’s getting rather public.  Booker, the young Newark Mayor, has drawn scorn from establishment New Jersey Democrats for some of his actions (including announcing an exploratory run for the seat) and this move won’t make him any more likable.

Lautenberg will be turning 89 this month but he’s a wealthy and tough campaigner.  Booker might be hedging his bets on New Jersey wanting a fresh face in the Senate but he better be careful as he could ruin his brand.  Booker also mentioned that he has yet to talk to Lautenberg directly to no avail.

Montana: Field Thins For Baucus Challenger

While Max Baucus is a longtime incumbent, he does have some shaky approval ratings given how he became one of the chief faces in the health care debates in 2010.  However, one of Baucus’s potential challengers is announcing he is done with politics.

Denny Rehberg, a former Representative from the state last seen losing in November to Sen. Jon Tester in the Senate race, is saying that he is done with electoral politics.  The link is actually a pretty interesting mini-profile on Rehberg as he does lament the presence of Libertarian candidate Dan Cox who netted nearly 7% of the vote.

Kentucky:  Ashley Judd-The Intimidator? 

As he concluded his interview on NBC’s Meet The Press, host David Gregory asked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell if he was preparing to campaign against actress Ashley Judd who is touted to be his top challenger in 2014.

McConnell brushed off the question with a reply of “Look, the election’s going to occur in 2014. In the meantime I’ve got my hands full trying to deal with all the issues that we’ve been discussing here this morning. We’ll worry about the election in 2014.”

Considering McConnell has released an internal poll concerning a hypothetical 2014 and has already hired Ron Paul’s campaign chairman Jesse Benton to lead his campaign, so I’m doubting his words.  Mitch McConnell, after all, appears to be the only Republican incumbent who might be vulnerable to a Democratic challenger in 2014.

So let’s just say, it’s on his mind no matter how much he brushes it off.

Texas – More Primary Fun?

Here’s a primary that was not on my radar.  Apparently some conservatives on the right wing are fairly upset concerning John Cornyn’s “YEA” vote on the “fiscal cliff” package.  Now, will it amount to much?  Unknown if it will amount to much but this blog post mentions State Sen. Dan Patrick as a viable candidate.

Also a commenter on that blog brought up Cornyn’s endorsement of Lisa Murkowski in the Senate race when she ran a successful write-in campaign following her primary loss to Joe Miller.  If the Tea Party wants to challenge an establishment figure, well, you can’t get anymore establishment than John Cornyn.

Race To The White House 2012

Kentucky’s other senator, Rand Paul, continues to drop hints that he’s considering a run for the Presidency in 2016 citing how only a “libertarian-Republican” could unite the GOP.

Oh boy.  Paul drew the scorn of his father’s vocal supporters by endorsing Mitt Romney in the run-up to the Republican National Convention and isn’t as revered as his father either.  Rand Paul discussing his role as a “uniter” is rather…..interesting….considering he hasn’t done too much on Capital Hill to suggest otherwise.  Nonetheless, if he earns the support from his father’s and Gary Johnson’s supporters, he will at least have one thing that other candidates don’t have; a coalition of supporters.

But jeez.