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Off to the races: Christie to assume reins at RGA

Wall Street Journal: "When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie becomes Republican Governors Association chairman on Thursday, he embarks on a mission that could strengthen his national profile but also take him away from a home state facing multiple challenges....Political observers said the new role would help Mr. Christie draw headlines in states outside New Jersey and build a national portfolio of donors that he could call up in a 2016 presidential bid. "

The Hill: "Iowa Republicans are urging New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) to contest the state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses if he runs for president in 2016, warning a decision to ignore the Hawkeye State would do more harm than good to his campaign. Christie is widely expected to focus on the New Hampshire primary if he runs — partly out of a calculation that he’d fare better in the Granite State than among social conservatives, who hold powerful sway in the Iowa GOP."

Politico: "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker told a crowd of New York donors and activists on Monday that he’s not ruling out his congressional colleagues for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, only that a governor would be 'ideal'....Walker also took a shot at the last Republican nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, when a panelist asked how Republicans could win if an economic message like Romney’s wasn’t enough in 2012. Walker said that Romney “would have been a spectacular president” but that his message failed to break through."

National Journal interviews filmmakers who followed Tea Party members. They said the racism charge from liberals is misunderstood: “It's not so simple that Obama is black and that's the source of everything. Obama is a symbol of all the changes that have happened in this country and how the nation no longer looks or feels like the one that is familiar to them, so there is obviously race involved, but that's the thing I spend the most time adding nuance to.” And they said the subjects had a hard time with some things – like the 180 one does on her views on Mitt Romney and the other refused to meet with them after Obama won reelection. 

CALIFORNIA: The San Diego Union Tribune: “San Diegans will go to the polls Tuesday for the special mayoral election, choosing from 11 candidates to replace Bob Filner, who resigned in August following a sexual harassment scandal. Because it’s unlikely any one candidate will get more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff between the top-two finishers is expected to be scheduled for sometime in February.” Polls open at 10:00 am ET and close at 11:00 pm ET.

Los Angeles Times: "After the headline-inducing sex scandal that led to the resignation of Mayor Bob Filner, the special election campaign to find a replacement has been mostly civil and frightfully earnest. With some policy differences at the margins, the four top candidates have all promised to improve neighborhood services, hire more police officers and streamline city government to help private industry create jobs." 

AP: "Kevin Faulconer, a two-term city councilman, is the lone high-profile Republican in Tuesday’s election, facing several prominent Democrats. If no one wins a majority — a likely scenario with 11 names on the ballot — the top two finishers advance to a runoff. Faulconer, 46, is widely considered a shoo-in for a runoff against David Alvarez, a first-term city councilman, or Nathan Fletcher, an executive at wireless technology titan Qualcomm Inc. and former state assemblyman who finished third in last year’s race."

FLORIDA: Politico: "Florida Republican Kathleen Peters, a state representative, is set to join the special congressional election to succeed the late GOP Rep. Bill Young. Peters qualified as a candidate with the Florida Division of Elections on Monday, just one day before the candidate filing period for the race closes. She is expected to launch her campaign on Tuesday."

IDAHO: Idaho Statesman: "Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson on Monday said he has the support of 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who got 65 percent of the vote in Idaho. Simpson, seeking a ninth two-year term, faces tea party challenger Bryan Smith, an Idaho Falls lawyer. The race is getting considerable national attention as a test of the battle between establishment Republicans and insurgents."

KENTUCKY: Lexington Herald-Leader: "It was exactly what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had been hoping for. Except instead of President Barack Obama discussing gun control and his health care law at a New York fundraiser for female Senate candidates on Monday, it was first lady Michelle Obama. Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes was among the female candidates who gathered with the first lady for a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser, where Obama spoke of the need to elect more Democratic senators to further the president's agenda. The first lady, talking about how narrowly "Obamacare" had passed and the slim margin by which gun control legislation was defeated, said that "it is critical that we elect Michelle Nunn, Alison Grimes, Natalie Tennant."

MONTANA: Missoulian: "Gov. Steve Bullock on Friday endorsed his lieutenant governor, John Walsh, in the contested Democratic primary race for the U.S. Senate in 2014." 

VIRGINIA: Washington Post: "Two weeks after losing his bid for Virginia governor, Ken Cuccinelli II said that the failings of the new health-care law will make Sen. Mark R. Warner vulnerable next year in a contest the attorney general did not rule out. in his first interview since Democrat Terry McAuliffe defeated him to become the state’s 72nd governor, Cuccinelli (R) said Monday that although he has no current plans to run, he finds the idea of challenging Warner “tempting” because of the troubled rollout of the federal health-care law, which the Democratic senator supported." 

Charlottesville Daily Progress: "An attorney for state Sen. Mark Herring said Monday he expects the Democrat to retain his slim lead over Republican state Sen. Mark Obenshain in the race for Virginia attorney general. 'I don’t expect a significant change,’’ Washington, D.C.-based attorney Marc Elias, a veteran of election recounts, said in a teleconference. “I expect the attorney general-elect [Herring] — whether there is a recount or not — will prevail.”

WYOMING: Charlie Cook: “So when people ask, ‘Why in the world is Elizabeth Cheney taking on Mike Enzi?’ maybe the answer ought to be, ‘Why not?’ With so many Senate seats now in states where the opposition party has no plausible chance of winning, it does inject a bit of competition where there is effectively none and punishes complacency in a body where members in one-party states could easily get that way. When there is so much animosity toward Washington, it actually is surprising that there are fewer incumbents facing primary challenges. Cheney’s run appears to be a campaign against Washington more than an ideological jihad. It would be wrong to see this as a tea-party challenge; this is more of an outsider—albeit from an insider family—running against a longtime incumbent. These are so rare that they are newsworthy.”