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Off to the races: Dems lose their edge

Democrats lost their edge on the congressional ballot in a new CNN/ORC poll. A month ago, they led 50-42%, now Republicans hold the advantage 49-47%.

Charlie Cook: "Democrats and Obama-backers protest loudly when any comparisons are drawn between the debacle surrounding the launch and first impressions of the Affordable Care Act and President George W. Bush's presidential nadir, Hurricane Katrina. Of course, there are big differences between the two presidential stumbles, but similarly, in each case, public confidence in that president was seriously eroded, and questions about the administrations' core competence and honesty became highly prevalent."

FLORIDA: Miami Herald: "Florida's Republican chairman and the GOP county leaders represented by rehabbing Congressman Trey Radel called on him to 'resign immediately' Monday, saying his recent cocaine-possession arrest and guilty plea were not tolerable."

Roll Call's Abby Livingston: "A fast-approaching, divisive GOP primary has kick-started the sprint to a high-stakes 2014 House special election in Florida....The future nominees will soon endure a deluge from national parties in this long-held GOP district that President Barack Obama won by 1 point last year. The Republican nominee, especially, will have a responsibility as the first candidate of the 2014 cycle to test-drive the GOP’s case against Obama and the implementation of his health care overhaul law."

Susan Davis: “A special election for a vacant House seat in Florida is shaping up as an early bellwether race that may indicate how President Obama's health care law is going to affect the 2014 elections. The death in November of Rep. C.W. ‘Bill’ Young, R-Fla., opened up his St. Petersburg-based seat in a district where he would probably have been safely re-elected. The race to replace him is drawing national interest as a test battle for the party's warring messages over the Affordable Care Act.” More: “Republicans — including Young's widow, Beverly — lined up early behind David Jolly, an attorney, lobbyist and former Young aide, but he faces a three-way primary Jan. 14 against state Rep. Kathleen Peters and retired Marine Mark Bircher. Whoever wins will make health care a key issue.” The general election will be held March 11.

NEW YORK: “To punctuate an impassioned pitch for his signature plan to raise taxes on the wealthy, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio went out of his way during a speech on Monday to praise a cherished political mentor and former boss watching from the audience,” the New York Times writes. “The recipient of his warm words, former Mayor David N. Dinkins, did not exactly return the favor. In an unscripted and cringe-inducing moment of political candor, Mr. Dinkins opined before a crowd of journalists and academics at Columbia University that Mr. de Blasio should consider a different approach to funding an expansion of prekindergarten programs, throwing a wrench into what was meant to be a carefully choreographed day of municipal theater. Citing skepticism in Albany, Mr. Dinkins suggested that Mr. de Blasio could turn to a tax on suburban commuters, rather than the tax-the-rich plan that became a centerpiece of his mayoral campaign.” That left de Blasio, the Times says, with “a mirthless smile on his face” on stage.

TEXAS: Stu Rothenberg writes that "merely dismissing [Wendy] Davis’ prospects because she is a Democrat in a Republican state is shortsighted....Democrats and liberals believe that long-term demographic trends will turn Texas purple, and Davis’ effort could speed up that process, they hope. Moreover, she could well be a national fundraising machine for liberal groups, no matter how realistic her prospects. Texas may turn purple, but not in 2014. And not with Wendy Davis or a nominee like her."

VIRGINIA: Washington Post: "The State Board of Elections on Monday declared Democrat Mark R. Herring Virginia’s next attorney general, capping a dramatic three-week certification process in the closest statewide race in Virginia history." Republican Mark "Obenshain did not immediately call for a recount, but he has set up a transition team, and his campaign issued a statement Monday noting that there have been four statewide elections across the country since 2000 with margins within 300 votes — three of which were reversed by recounts."

Richmond Times-Dispatch: "Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and state Sen. Jeff McWaters, R-Virginia Beach, reportedly are considering a run against U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., next year, but Gov. Bob McDonnell says to count him out."

WYOMING: Daily Rundown's Jessica Taylor: "Liz Cheney’s very public spat with her sister over gay marriage has dominated her bid for Wyoming Senate the past week. But as she tries to move on in her campaign, she’s turning to other family members to help – her own daughters. The GOP hopeful is launching a new television ad featuring her own kids, along with an accompanying blog her children will write, titled “On the Road With Mom.” "