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More 2012: Big race in Big Sky country

Charlie Cook writes that after three-straight “change” elections, 2012 could be a “normal” one. “Some fairly exotic and politically problematic Republicans got elected in 2010 and might lose in 2012, but some of those losses might be offset by Republican gains due to redistricting. In short, it would take something of a wave for Democrats to secure the 25-seat net gain needed to win a House majority. It’s not impossible, but it is fairly unlikely in the absence of the kind of wave that Democrats enjoyed in 1964 when President Lyndon Johnson pummeled Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz. Short of Republicans nominating former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as their presidential nominee, or shutting down the government, it would be hard to see Democrats having that kind of year… In short, the odds are a lot higher for this to be a ‘normal’ election than we have seen since 2004 and not the time to fight the last war.”

MISSOURI: “Ed Martin, a former chief of staff to Gov. Matt Blunt, said Monday that he will run for the U.S. Senate in Missouri next year,” the Kansas City Star reports, adding, “Martin, a lawyer who ran a competitive but ultimately unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. House last year against Democrat Russ Carnahan, joins Republican Sarah Steelman, a former state treasurer, in the GOP field.” Others considering a run: former party chair Ann Wagner and Rep. Sam Graves.

Roll Call says Jim Talent’s (R) decision not to challenge McCaskill has opened up the GOP nomination to a free-for-all that’s opened the way for the Tea Party.

MONTANA: “Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) will announce Saturday he is challenging Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.),” Roll Call writes, adding, “Rehberg’s status as a well-known at-large Congressman immediately pushes the matchup between the two Big Sky State politicians to among the most competitive Senate races in the country. Recent polling conducted for the Rehberg campaign bears that out. The operative offered some internal Rehberg polling numbers showing the Montana Republican in a statistical tie with Tester in a prospective 2012 matchup.”