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Off to the races: Speculating about 2016

Charlie Cook writes that "all the speculation about ‘will Hillary run’ among Democrats and the curiosity on the Republican side about Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida, and, most recently, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is rather extraordinary a year before even the midterm elections."

New York Times: "In the 2008 presidential primary campaign, Mitch Stewart devoted himself to defeating Hillary Rodham Clinton, overcoming the advantages of a well-funded Democratic front-runner through grass-roots organizing, and propelling Barack Obama to victory. On Tuesday, Mr. Stewart and a dozen or so other political operatives and 170 donors will gather in New York to plot how to help Mrs. Clinton win in 2016. The meeting is the first national finance council strategy meeting of Ready for Hillary, a “super PAC” devoted to building a network to support Mrs. Clinton’s potential presidential ambitions."

National Journal: “History says President Obama's sagging approval ratings -- which this month have neared the lows of his entire presidency -- aren't going to improve before he leaves the White House in 2017. And that's a troubling trajectory for Democrats feeling the pressure of reelection next year.”

CALIFORNIA:Los Angeles Times: "Deep inside a new USC/Los Angeles Times poll are details that could make the California Republican Party, and by extension its cohorts elsewhere in the country, fear anew the march of time and demographics. California right now is an extreme example of the nation, to be sure: more ethnically mixed and younger than most states, and riven for 20 years by a hobbling GOP civil war that now is surfacing dramatically elsewhere in the country. But if California is on the leading edge, as opposed to an outlier, the poll serves as confirmation that long-term problems loom for Republicans."

COLORADO:National Journal: “Colorado is back as a national bellwether. Earlier this year, a Democratic-led push to enact stricter gun-control measures cost two state senators their jobs and tarnished once-popular Gov. John Hickenlooper's bipartisan sheen. Last week, voters overwhelmingly rejected a sweeping measure to raise the state's income tax. And now, Hickenlooper is in a fight with some of his core supporters over a ban on a process of natural-gas drilling known as ‘fracking.’ … Taken together, the moves are a course correction for a state that seemed to be drifting inexorably to the left. And they've caught the attention of the Democrats up for reelection in 2014, Hickenlooper and Sen. Mark Udall, both of whom have begun plotting their own paths back toward the political center.”

FLORIDA: MSNBC’s Michael LaRosa reports that Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D) is seriously considering a run for governor that could shake up the race as Democrats have embraced for Republican Gov. Charlie Crist.

MICHIGAN:The Detroit News: “Former U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter claims the longtime aide at the center of a nominating petition scandal that ruined his congressional career accepted a bribe to engage in a ‘deliberate sabotage’ of his 2012 re-election campaign. McCotter leveled the allegations against former aide Don Yowchuang in a complaint filed last month in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Detroit contesting Yowchuang’s personal bankruptcy. The court papers claim Yowchuang’s copy-and-paste petition fraud was ‘motivated by the promise of financial gain.’”

MONTANA:The Missoulian: "Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Bohlinger rapped Montana’s two sitting U.S. senators and “D.C. insiders” on Monday for their early support of fellow Democrat Lt. Gov. John Walsh, saying they should let Montana voters do the choosing. Bohlinger’s criticism stems in part from a fundraiser that U.S. Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester – both Montana Democrats – are hosting Wednesday in Washington, D.C., for Walsh.

NEBRASKA: “In a display of the unpredictability of the race, conservative groups are falling on opposite sides of the Republican Senate primary in Nebraska,” Roll Call writes. “FreedomWorks, a tea-party-affiliated group that has backed candidates like Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rand Paul, R-Ky., announced Monday that it has endorsed former state Treasurer Shane Osborn.”

SOUTH CAROLINA:The State: "U.S. Army veteran and Orangeburg attorney Bill Connor announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate Monday at a Myrtle Beach Tea Party meeting. Connor joins Spartanburg state Sen. Lee Bright, Easley businessman Richard Cash and Charleston PR executive Nancy Mace as the fourth candidate challenging U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in the June GOP primary. The only one of Graham’s challengers to run a statewide race, Connor ran for lieutenant governor in 2010 and lost in a runoff."

SOUTH DAKOTA:AP: "Former Sen. Larry Pressler said Monday he is considering running again for the U.S. Senate, this time as an independent. Pressler, 71, served three Senate terms as a Republican after first winning the seat in 1978. He lost a 1996 re-election bid to Democrat Tim Johnson, who is not seeking re-election next year after also serving three terms. Pressler, who lives most of the time in Washington, D.C., but maintains a home in Sioux Falls, said there is less than a 50-50 chance he will run for the Senate next year. But he said if he does run, he wants to do it as an independent because that would give him the best chance to find compromise in Congress."

VIRGINIA:Washington Post: "Democratic state Sen. Mark R. Herring took the lead in the extraordinarily tight Virginia attorney general race Monday evening, after he picked up more than 100 previously uncounted votes in Richmond. Herring had started the day trailing his Republican opponent, state Sen. Mark D. Obenshain (Harrisonburg), by a mere 17 votes out of 2.2 million cast. But as jurisdictions across the state continued to scrub their vote counts, the State Board of Elections showed Herring with a 117-vote lead late Monday.

Politico: "A year after the 2012 election in which the Obama campaign dominated on data and Republicans wondered how they could catch up, both parties saw 2013 as not only a testing ground for new digital strategies but also a test of how much ground the GOP has made up. Democratic Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe’s campaign, building on the foundations of Obama’s 2012 data operation, was able to adapt many of Obama’s data strategies to a state-level race."