- IL-Sen: Sen. Mark Kirk just can’t catch a break, can he? The Illinois Republican has undermined his own image as a reasonable, moderate sort of fellow with a string of remarks this year that, among other things, disparaged blacks, disparaged women, and accused Barack Obama of wanting “to get nukes to Iran.” So in an effort to shore up his fraying reputation—since, after all, he’s seeking re-election in a blue state—Kirk became the only GOP senator to vote against defunding Planned Parenthood last week … and now he’s paying a price for that, too. Ex-Rep. Bobby Schilling, who failed in a comeback bid last year after serving just one term in the House, went on local radio to chide Kirk for his vote, and further claimed that there are “five or six” candidates out there considering a primary challenge to him. We already know one of them (blowhard ex-Rep. Joe Walsh); another, said, Schilling, might be himself. Is it just hot air? Probably, but Schilling followed up by penning an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune that took Kirk to task over Planned Parenthood at length. It goes without saying that Democrats would love to see Kirk get bloodied in a primary, but we already enjoyed a bit of excitement when Walsh started shooting his mouth off months ago. So now, let’s just wait and see if Schilling (or some other dreamer) actually pulls the trigger. Talk is easy. Running against an incumbent is hard.
- FL-Sen: It’s a bit of a good news/bad news day for Rep. David Jolly, who is seeking the GOP nomination for Florida’s open Senate seat. Jolly scored the endorsement of fellow Rep. Dennis Ross, but a local blog also dredged up the fact that he donated over $2,100 to former Rep. Allyson Schwartz back in 2011—the same Allyson Schwartz who ran for governor of Pennsylvania last year and was for many years the executive director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Philadelphia. Jolly, who was a lobbyist before he was a congressman (in a reverse of the usual route), got a lot of crap for these kinds of contribution when he ran in the special election after Florida’s 13th District became vacant last year following the death of Rep. Bill Young. The Schwartz donation was known even then, but Jolly didn’t face much in the way of primary opposition when he sought Young’s seat. But Planned Parenthood, of course, wasn’t in the news in the same way, and this time, Jolly will face much more aggressive opponents.
- PA-Sen: Katie McGinty served in Ed Rendell’s cabinet back when he was governor in the aughts, so it’s no surprise that he just endorsed her Senate bid. McGinty is facing ex-Rep. Joe Sestak in the Democratic primary.
- IN-Gov: State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, who dropped out of the race for governor late on Friday, has endorsed former state House Speaker John Gregg, the leading candidate in the Democratic primary. Ritz says that instead she’ll seek re-election to her current post. Gregg still faces underfunded state Sen. Karen Tallian for the right to take on GOP Gov. Mike Pence, but former Evan Bayh aide Tom Sugar recently said he was taking a look at a bid, too.
- FL-10: Democrats in the Orlando area are getting excited about the new congressional map the legislature is considering in the special session that just began on Monday, since it would transform Republican Rep. Daniel Webster’s 10th District into a safely blue seat. Already, former Orlando police chief Val Demings, who ran against Webster under the old lines in 2012, is considering a bid, and another local politician, state Sen. Geraldine Thompson, is now saying the same thing. Thompson, like Demings, is black, as is about a quarter of the voting age population under the proposed new district lines, according to Matt Isbell.
- MI-08: Actress Melissa Gilbert, who is best known for playing Laura Ingalls Wilder on the hit show “Little House on the Prairie,” announced on Monday that she’d run against GOP Rep. Mike Bishop as a Democrat. Gilbert doesn’t have any campaign experience, but she did serve two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild, from 2001 to 2005. Michigan’s 8th District has been pretty inhospitable for Democrats, but Mitt Romney only carried the seat by a 51-48 margin, and Bishop won it last year with 54 percent of the vote, which isn’t exactly monster given the GOP wave. Gilbert, however, has some baggage. In recent years, she was hit with a pair of six-figure tax liens, which she ascribed to the economic downturn and says she’s been paying off through a settlement. Many politicians have successfully deflected questions about these kinds of financial difficulties in this way (ex-Rep. Allen West did so back in 2010, for instance), but Bishop was quick to point out that Gilbert went on Good Morning America last year to show off her French bulldog, whom she said wears a Louis Vuitton collar and has her own stylist. With that sort of pedigree, it’s a little harder to argue the recession hit you like it did everyone else.
- NH-01: Former Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter has given off plenty of signals that she intends to run against GOP Rep. Frank Guinta again, in what would be the pair’s fourth consecutive matchup, and now it looks like she’s finally made it official—or has she? On Monday, Politics1 flagged a statement of candidacy that CSP filed with the FEC on Friday, which usually means exactly what it sounds like. But strangely, in the words of the National Journal‘s Jack Fitzpatrick, a spokesman for Shea-Porter insists she “hasn’t made a move.” This is either petty gamesmanship or just amateur-hour disorganization, because filing a statement of candidacy is definitely a “move” toward running. In the end, it sounds like it was a little bit of both. In a statement to Roll Call, Shea-Porter’s camp insisted she had only “filed to prepare to run” in the event that Guinta resigns over his campaign finance misdeeds, prompting a special election. Then, an hour later, the same staffer emailed Roll Call again, this time to clarify that “the filing also allows for a 2016 option.” When you’ve kept everyone waiting to see if you’re going to run for Congress, you don’t look sharp if you drop a stealth FEC filing without making any kind of announcement, then appear unprepared for the inevitable questions that follow.
- NV-03: Democrats finally have a candidate in Nevada’s open 3rd District, personal injury attorney Jesse Sbaih, but he doesn’t sound like a particularly notable recruit: Jon Ralston, who would know, says Sbaih was not on anybody’s list of possible options. Sometimes plaintiffs attorneys can be very wealthy if they’ve struck it rich with a big case, so maybe Sbaih has that going for him, but a quick Google search doesn’t show much.
- PA-AG: So what’s going to happen to state Attorney General Kathleen Kane? The Pennsylvania Democrat was indicted last week on charges that she leaked confidential grand jury materials to embarrass a critic, then lied under oath about what she’d done in an attempt to cover it up. Gov. Tom Wolf, a fellow Democrat, immediately called on her to resign, but Kane’s remained utterly defiant, saying, “A resignation would be an admission of guilt and I’m not guilty.” But the political establishment has several options for removing her. There’s impeachment, of course, and a similar legislative process known as “removal for reasonable cause”; the chief difference is that the former must originate in (and get voted on) in the state House, while the governor can initiate the latter process with the Senate. However, there’s a quicker alternative to both of these that would bypass any kind of vote altogether. The state Supreme Court could simply suspend Kane’s law license, which would instantly render her ineligible to serve as attorney general since the state constitution requires that anyone holding the post be a member of the bar. It sounds like Kane would have a difficult time fighting such a move, but it also sounds like reality has not yet set in for her. In any event, she just scheduled a press conference for Wednesday, so perhaps we’ll learn more then. Probably not, though.
- Special Elections: We have four different races coming up on Tuesday, per Johnny Longtorso:
Georgia HD-80: This is a runoff for an open Republican seat located in the Atlanta suburbs. Democrat Taylor Bennett, a former Georgia Tech quarterback, came in first in the first round with 37 percent of the vote, while Republican Max Davis won the second runoff slot with 31 percent. Two other Republicans won the remaining 32 percent of the vote. This district went 56-43 for Mitt Romney in 2012. Pennsylvania HD-174: This is an open Democratic seat in northeast Philadelphia, and another stop in the game of musical chairs that started with Mike Stack being elected lieutenant governor last year and followed by state Rep. John Sabatina, Jr. getting elected to Stack’s Senate seat. The candidates are Democratic former City Councilman Ed Neilson and Republican teacher Tim Dailey. Dailey, as you may or may not recall, ran in the state Senate special election and lost 3-1 to Sabatina. The House district went 62-37 for Barack Obama in 2012. Pennsylvania HD-191: This is an open Democratic seat straddling west Philadelphia and eastern Delaware County. The Democratic nominee is public defender Joanna McClinton, while the Republican nominee is Army veteran Charles Wilkins. Also on the ballot is Tracey Gordon, a former deputy city commissioner running as an independent. This seat went 97-2 for Obama. Pennsylvania HD-195: This is an open Democratic seat in Philadelphia. The Democratic nominee is Donna Bullock, an attorney who works for the City Council president, while the Republican nominee is Adam Lang, a networking engineer. This seat went 93-6 for Obama.
Even though it’s a pretty red seat, the Georgia race is a little bit interesting. Davis, the Republican, has faced some sexual harassment allegations, and if Bennett, the Democrat, can somehow win, he’d break the GOP’s supermajority in the state legislature.
- FL Redistricting: Last week, local media reported that Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown had filed a very belated lawsuit to stop the Florida Supreme Court from dismantling her congressional district. That wasn’t quite right, though: Brown had actually filed a motion to intervene as a defendant in an existing case (called Warinner v. Detzner) that challenged her seat’s boundaries as an impermissible racial gerrymander. It’s bizarre that Brown hadn’t sought to get involved earlier seeing as the lawsuit was initiated in 2013, but the case had been stayed pending the outcome of the main litigation against Florida’s congressional lines (known as Romo v. Detzner). It’s also entirely moot. On Monday, the plaintiffs in Warriner filed a motion to drop their own case, saying that the Supreme Court has already “granted the relief that we are seeking.” In other words, they’re happy with the court’s order that lawmakers must radically redraw the 5th District. And that means that Brown, who legal basis for arguing that her district should be preserved was non-existent, doesn’t even have a venue for advancing her bogus claims.