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Off to the races: GOP overreach?

Stu Rothenberg warns Republicans of overreach on the trio of controversies: “Let’s not forget: Republicans failed to capitalize on President Bill Clinton’s inappropriate conduct by over-playing their hand and pushing impeachment. Not only did they fail to drive him from office, the GOP ended up losing a handful of House seats in the 1998 midterms instead of adding seats as initially expected. Republicans allowed themselves to look as if they were primarily interested in scoring political points and overturning the results of the 1996 election, even if it meant paralyzing the government. That same danger exists once again for the GOP.”

Charlie Cook: “One wonders how long Republicans are going to bark up this tree, perhaps the wrong tree, while they ignore their own party’s problems, which were shown to be profound in the most recent elections. Clearly none of these recent issues has had a real impact on voters yet. Republicans seem to be betting everything on them, just as they did in 1998—about which even Newt Gingrich (who was House speaker that year) commented recently to NPR, ‘I think we overreached in ’98.’ Republicans and conservatives who are so consumed by these ‘scandals’ should ask themselves why, despite wall-to-wall media attention and the constant focus inside the Beltway—some are even talking about grounds for impeachment—Obama’s job-approval needle hasn’t moved. The CNN/ORC poll suggests that people are aware of and watching the news, but they aren’t reacting, at least not yet. Clearly Republicans hope the public will begin to respond. But at what point do they decide that maybe voters might be more interested in other issues or worries than about politicians on one side pointing fingers and throwing allegations at those on the other side? At what point might the GOP conclude that it is just digging the hole a little deeper?”

ARKANSAS: A state treasurer accused of taking money from a broker who managed state funds says she won’t resign, despite Gov. Mike Beebe’s (D) call for her to do so.

GEORGIA: Michelle Nunn is planning her announcement for the Senate within weeks, Roll Call reports.

MISSISSIPPI: Sen. Thad Cochran (R), 75, says he’s undecided about running for reelection in 2014.

NEW YORK: Maggie Haberman: “Bill and Hillary Clinton are making clear they are staying out of the New York City Democratic mayoral primary, just as the race is about to be roiled by the candidacy of their close aide Huma Abedin’s husband, Anthony Weiner. The pair of stay-on-the-sidelines statements came as Weiner is set to declare his candidacy by video this week, likely on Tuesday or Wednesday. But the statements seem aimed at avoiding the appearance of taking sides in a race that includes the potential first female (and first openly gay) Democratic nominee, a potential second black New York mayor, and Hillary Clinton’s own former Senate campaign manager.”

SOUTH DAKOTA: Politico: Majority Leader Harry Reid and ex-Sen. Tom Daschle had a tense exchange over the South Dakota Senate race. Reid and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee “wanted to recruit former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.) as their candidate to replace [Tim] Johnson in 2014. … But against Reid’s will, Daschle … was privately encouraging a longtime former aide and personal friend, Rick Weiland, to mount a bid of his own. Daschle’s endorsement of Weiland helped persuade Herseth Sandlin to pass on the Senate race, according to Democratic sources close to the issue. Reid and top Senate Democrats were stunned and outraged by Daschle’s move, a sentiment Reid communicated directly to the former senator, according to several people familiar with the incident.”

UTAH: Mia Love, who lost in 2012, will try again for a rematch in 2014 against Democrat Jim Matheson. But in a year without Mitt Romney at the top of the ticket, the most popular politician in Utah, Love would start out with an uphill climb.

VIRGINIA: National Journal: “Virginia Republicans Panicking Over Their Choice for Lieutenant Governor.” Write Beth Reinhard: E.W. “Jackson’s unexpected entrance into the Virginia statewide elections this year is one of the starkest examples of the challenges facing the GOP as it tries to broaden its appeal on the way to 2016.” More: “Forced into an awkward arranged marriage, Cuccinelli’s top advisers have urged Jackson to put aside his social crusades and reinforce their campaign’s message on job growth. But until the campaign is comfortable that Jackson is on board with the plan, Cuccinelli is expected to keep his distance from Jackson after completing a two-day statewide tour with him on Tuesday.”