Beth Reinhard looks at Marco Rubio, the hype, his role in immigration reform, and his presidential chances: “No matter that he’s only punched up the old script, swung back and forth on immigration policy, and never shepherded major legislation through Congress. What Rubio brings is the star power, adoring fan base, and command of the national media unmatched these days by anyone in Washington outside of the Oval Office. It’s the same aggressive product placement that has made the 41-year-old a top-tier presidential contender just two years after his swearing-in. Rubio is the GOP’s Barack Obama, minus the intellectual heft intimated by two Ivy League degrees and a law-school faculty post. A Generation X-er with a name that sounds like change. The author of an American Dream-laced memoir that, audiences are frequently reminded, helped pay off his student loans. A former state lawmaker and a Senate short-timer with a thin binder of achievements but perhaps blessed with the greatest rhetorical gifts in politics today.”
USA Today looks at the backlash from conservative groups that Crossroads and Karl Rove have faced since the launch of a group to defeat fringe conservative candidates.
MASSACHUSETTS: Republicans might get another candidate in the Senate race: “Former US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan announced today that he is ‘giving serious consideration’ to running for US Senate, reaching out to activists and operatives and collecting signatures required to qualify for the April 30 Republican primary ballot,” the Boston Globe notes.
A WBUR poll has Ed Markey beating Stephen Lynch 38%-31%.
NEW JERSEY: “Don't get too excited about that Senate seat, Geraldo Rivera: A new poll says only a quarter of voters would consider backing you,” the New York Daily News writes. “The survey by Monmouth University found that only 26 percent of New Jersey voters are likely or somewhat likely to vote for the Fox News host. More troublesome, a majority of voters- 51 percent - wouldn't even consider voting for Rivera.
“It’s man vs. the machine: Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. are on track to have a New Jersey-style knockout primary for the Democratic Senate nod in 2014,” Roll Call’s Livingston writes, adding, “This brewing political battle would match an outsider with an army of Twitter followers, wealthy celebrity connections and television news fame against a congressman who has spent years currying favor with the state establishment to run for this very seat. Immediately, national Democrats predicted Booker would have an easy walk to the nomination. But some Garden State operatives are dubious. Booker upset party elders when he announced his exploratory committee in mid-December. Many Lautenberg loyalists are furious with him for not being patient and allowing Lautenberg a graceful exit. In the end, Booker only needed to wait two months to make his move. Meanwhile, Pallone bent over backward to take the opposite approach as he quietly prepared for a run.”
NEW YORK: “Swaggering through his final State of the City address on Thursday, Mayor Bloomberg defended his 11 years of accomplishments - and openly worried about what will happen when he's gone,” the New York Daily News writes. “In a boisterous event that featured dancing children, peppy cheerleaders and championship-style banners touting lower crime stats and higher test scores, Bloomberg used the speech to suggest that no one can do the job like him.”
A new Marist poll shows New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn leading the Democratic field in New York’s mayoral race with 37% among registered Democratic voters. She’s followed by former City Comptroller Bill Thompson at 13% and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio at 12%. The poll also shows that former MTA Chair Joe Lhota leads the GOP field.