FLORIDA: After Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum all visited Florida last week, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune writes that the visits “before the state will even set a date for its primary vote underscores Florida's importance heading into the 2012 presidential election.”
Politico calls Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) “Obama’s secret weapon.” “Obama’s biggest asset in a critical swing state he won by a mere 2.8-percentage-point margin in 2008 might be Rick Scott, the wildly unpopular Republican governor Democrats are casting as Lex Luthor to Obama’s Clark Kent.”
ILLINOIS: “If beauty is in the eye of the gerrymanderer, the new congressional map leaked by Illinois Democrats is a priceless work of art. While politicians and pundits inside the Beltway have been fixating on the results of a special election for a single congressional district in upstate New York, Democrats in Springfield are on the verge of quietly passing a new congressional map that could net them a jackpot of five seats next November, more than a fifth of the total they now need to take back control of the House. In the process, six Republican incumbents could be left without districts,” David Wasserman and Cameron Joseph write in National Journal.
INDIANA: “State Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) was endorsed by former presidential candidate Steve Forbes,” Roll Call notes. “Mourdock is running against Sen. Dick Lugar in the GOP primary and is on track to give the six-term Senator the most challenging race of his Congressional career.”
IOWA: Some Iowa Republican activists looking to filch some of the new caucus participants that Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign found in Iowa, the Des Moines Register writes. National pollster Ann Selzer “said about 144,000 of the 240,000 people who participated in the Democratic caucuses that year were newcomers to the process. The largest share of those people supported Obama, and some probably have become disenchanted with his presidency, Selzer said. If a relatively moderate Republican candidate could corral a few thousand of them, it could make a significant difference in the outcome – especially if hard-core conservatives split their support among the several choices they’ll have, she said.”
MASSACHUSETTS: “The torrent of small campaign contributions from around the country that flooded GOP Senator Scott Brown’s campaign coffers ahead of his special election last year has all but dried up, as the excitement generated by his campaign has faded and some of his votes have disillusioned rank-and-file conservatives,” the Boston Globe reports.
WISCONSIN: “Rob Zerban thinks he can knock off a Wisconsin giant next fall,” Roll Call writes. “And Democrats on Capitol Hill agree that this 42-year-old businessman, a former Republican with limited experience in county politics, could be their best shot at defeating House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R) in more than a decade.”