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Downballot: Get ready for Cuccinelli vs. McAuliffe

ILLINOIS: “Alderman Anthony Beale has filed paperwork to run in the special election for former Democratic Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s 2nd District seat on Chicago’s South Side,” Roll Call writes, adding, “Beale marks the second Democrat to officially jump into the race, following former Rep. Debbie Halvorson’s Monday morning announcement. The district is heavily Democratic, and the winner of the [Feb. 26] primary will serve in Congress in all likelihood.”

NEW JERSEY: Gov. Chris Christie (R) is the clear favorite for governor in 2013, according to a Quinnipiac poll. He leads Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the challenger who scores best, 53-35% in a hypothetical match up.

VIRGINIA: “Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling is expected to drop out of next year’s gubernatorial race Wednesday morning, leaving Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli with a clear path to the GOP nomination next year, two Virginia Republicans tell Politco. … Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) announced last week that he would not seek to run for governor again, likely leaving Terry McAuliffe with a clear path to the Democratic nomination.”

The Washington Post notes that this “sets up an unusually colorful race next fall. Virginia and New Jersey are the only states with gubernatorial contests in 2013, so the high-profile race in the commonwealth is sure to generate national attention. … Some Democrats are hoping ex-Rep. Tom Perriello, currently at the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, will decide to enter the gubernatorial race, but he has so far not indicated publicly that he is interested.”

TEXAS: Political Wire: “Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) said that he will ‘make an announcement about my future political plans’ in July, the Rio Grande Guardian reports.”