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Off to the races: Grimes is in…

Maggie Haberman wonders what happens if Hillary Clinton doesn’t run.

“The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Monday asked the Federal Election Commission to treat married gay couples the same as opposite-sex spouses, part of an early push to bring federal statutes in line with the Supreme Court’s decision last week striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act,” the Washington Post says.

KENTUCKY: Jessica Taylor: “Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes made her bid official on Monday, with the Democrat announcing she’ll challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014.”

Democrats are thrilled with her entry, but this will be a difficult line for her to walk: “Though she’s running in a state where President Obama got just 38 percent of the vote in 2012, she framed this as a choice against McConnell rather than one against the president. ‘This Kentucky woman does not believe that the voters of Kentucky will be fooled that easily. We cannot change who our president is, but we can change who represents us in Washington,’ she said.”

Mitch McConnell said in a statement: "Accepting the invitation from countless Washington liberals to become President Obama's Kentucky candidate was a courageous decision by Alison Lundergan Grimes and I look forward to a respectful exchange of ideas. The next 16 months will provide a great opportunity for Kentuckians to contrast a liberal agenda that promotes a war on coal families and government-rationed health care with someone who works everyday to protect Kentuckians from those bad ideas."

Harry Enten looks at the uphill climb for Grimes for three reasons: (1) “McConnell is running when the other party controls the White House,” (2) “McConnell is running in a state where his party did better in the presidential election than it did nationwide,” and (3) “McConnell is running with everything said above and is an incumbent.”

More: “If the president's approval is below 60%, then it's very bad news for the incumbent party. None of the 57 Republican or Democratic senatorial candidates who ran in a red or blue state respectively (as measured in the prior presidential election) lost when the other party controlled the White House and the incumbent president had an approval rating below 60%.”

MASSACHUSETTS: “Middlesex County Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian today launched his bid for the congressional seat set to be vacated by Senator-elect Edward J. Markey,” the Boston Globe writes. “Koutoujian, a Waltham Democrat and former state representative, announced his candidacy for the Fifth Congressional District in a four-minute YouTube video in which he speaks about his family’s immigrant roots and calls public service his ‘life’s work.’” He declares himself a “strong, progressive leader.”

“Two of the five declared Democratic candidates for the congressional seat set to be vacated by Senator-elect Edward J. Markey have proposed a pact that would attempt to limit outside spending in the US House race,” the Boston Globe writes. “State Senator Will Brownsberger and state Representative Carl Sciortino have both called for a ‘People’s Pledge’ in the special election. Sciortino referenced the pledge in his campaign kickoff announcement last week.”

There are a lot of people running for mayor of Boston.